The Project Gutenberg eBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 377, March 1847

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 377, March 1847

Author: Various

Release date: April 1, 2010 [eBook #31859]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

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On Pauperism, and Its Treatment 261
The Poacher 286
A Ride to Magnesia 305
Java 318
The Cave of the Regicides 333
Latest from the Peninsula 350
To the Stethoscope 361
Epigrams 367
Letters on the Truths Contained in Popular Superstitions 368
Horœ Catulliane 374



[Pg 261]




“If I oft
Must turn elsewhere—to travel near the tribes
And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
Of maddening passions mutually inflamed;
Must hear humanity in fields and groves
Pipe solitary anguish; or must hang
Brooding above the fierce confederate storm
Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
Within the walls of cities—may these sounds
Have their authentic comment!”

In order to deal effectively with pauperism, it is necessary to know the causes which lead to the impoverishment of individuals and masses of individuals, and to be familiar with the condition, manners, customs, habits, prejudices, feelings, and superstitions of the poor.

We do not propose to institute an elaborate inquiry into the causes of pauperism, or to make the topic a subject of separate investigation. Our chief object will be, to collect into classes those of the poor who are known, from personal observation, to become chargeable to parishes, which process will afford abundant scope for remark upon the causes which led to their impoverishment. We may require the company of the reader with us in the metropolis for a short space, and may satisfy him that he need not travel ten miles from his own door in search of valuable facts, and at the same time convince him that pauperism is not that simple compact evil which many would wish him to believe. We might also show that, in the metropolis and its suburbs, there exist types of every class of poor that can be found in the rural and manufacturing districts of England; just as it might be shown, that its inhabitants consist of natives of every county in the three kingdoms. Its fixed population, according to the quarter in which they live, would be found to resemble the inhabitants of a great town, a cathedral city, or a seat of manufactures. And that portion of its inhabitants which may be regarded as migratory, would complete the resemblance, except that the shadows would be deeper and the outline more jagged. These persons make London their winter-quarters. At other seasons they are employed by the farmer and the grazier. It is a fact, that the most onerous part of the duties of the metropolitan authorities are those which relate to these migratory classes. Among them are the most lawless and the most [Pg 262]pauperised of the agricultural districts. Others, during the spring, summer, and autumn months, were engaged, or pretend that they were engaged (and the statement cannot be tested,) in the cutting of vegetables, the making of hay, the picking of pease, beans, fruit, and hops, and in harvest work. Or they travelled over the country, frequenting fairs, selling, or pretending to sell, knives, combs, and stay-laces. Or they were knife-grinders, tinkers, musicians, or mountebanks. As the winter approaches, they flock into the town in droves. There they obtain a precarious subsistence in ways unknown; some pick up the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table, others overcrowd the workhouses. It would lead to many curious and useful results if this matter were fully investigated. The reader’s company is not, however, required for this purpose; at the same time, the previous remarks may, in some measure, prepare his mind for the consideration of kindred topics. It may introduce a train of reflection, and prompt him to inquire whether the wandering habits of these outcasts have been in any degree engendered by the strict workhouse system and workhouse test enforced in their native villages, by the destruction of cottages, and the breaking up of local associations, and whether these habits have been fostered by the facilities with which a bed and a mess of porridge may be obtained at the unions, without inquiry into their business and object in travelling.

Let us steer our course along the silent “highway,” the Thames, and make inquiries of the few sailor-looking men who may still be seen loitering at the several “stairs;” we shall learn that not many years since these narrow outlets were the marts of a thriving employment, and that there crowds of independent and privileged watermen plied successfully for fares. These places are now forsaken, and the men have lost their occupation. Some still ply; and the cry at a few stairs, of “Boat, your honour?” may still be heard. Others have been draughted into situations connected with the boat companies, which support them during the summer months. A large number swell the crowds of day-labourers, who frequent the legal quays, the sufferance wharves, and the docks. And the rest, unfitted by their age or habits to compete with labourers accustomed to the other fields of occupation, sink lower and lower; sustained for a time by the helping hands of comrades and old patrons, but at last obliged to seek a refuge at the parish workhouse. Death also does his part. At Paul’s Wharf stairs, a few inches above high-water mark, a few shrubs have been planted against the river wall—and above them is a small board, rudely cut, and on it are inscribed these words,—“To the memory of old Browny, who departed this life, August, 26, 1846.” Let us stroll to the coach offices. Here again we see a great change—great to the common eye of the public, who miss a raree show, and a still greater one to the hundreds and thousands of human beings whose subsistence depended upon the work done at those places. A few years ago, the reader may have formed one of a large group of spectators, collected at the “Peacock” at Islington, to witness the departure of the night mails, on the high north road. The cracking of whips, the blowing of horns, the prancing horses, the bustle of passengers and porters, and the consciousness of the long dreary distance they had to go, exercised an enduring influence upon the imagination and memory of the youthful observer. Now, a solitary slow coach may be sometimes seen. In those days, all the outlets of the metropolis presented similar scenes. Then call to remembrance the business transacted in those numerous, large, old-fashioned, square-galleried inn-yards; and reflect upon the hundreds who have been thrown out of bread. The high-roads and the way-side inns are now forsaken and silent. These remarks are not made merely to show that there is an analogy between the several districts and employments in the metropolis, and those of the country. If this were all, not another word would be written. But it so happens that the comparison affords an opportunity, which cannot be passed over, of referring to the changes which are going on in the world; and forcibly reminds us, that while some are rising, others are falling, and many are in the mire, trodden under foot, and forgotten. It[Pg 263] is with the miserable beings who are in the last predicament, that poor-laws have to do.

The political economist may be right when he announces, that the introduction of machinery has, on the whole, been beneficial; and that the change of employment from one locality to another, depends upon the action of natural laws, of which he is merely the expositor. It may be the case, too, that he is attending carefully to the particular limits of his favourite science, when he occupies his mind with the laws themselves, rather than with their aberrations. But those who treat upon pauperism as an existing evil, to be dealt with now, should remember that they have to do not with natural laws, as they are separated and classified in the works of scientific men, but with the laws in all their complexity of operation, and with the incidents which arise from that complexity.

The coachmen, the guards, the ostlers, the horse-keepers, the harness-makers, the farriers, the various workers in the trade of coach-builders, and the crowd of tatterdemalions who performed all sorts of offices,—where are they? The inquirer must go into the back streets and alleys of London. He must search the records of benevolent institutions; and he must hold frequent converse with those who administer parochial relief. But his sphere must not be confined to the metropolis. Let the reader unroll his library map of England, and devote an entire afternoon to the study of it. Trace the high-roads with a pointer. Pause at every town, and at every stage. Refer to an old book of roads, and to a more modern conveyance directory. Let memory perform its office: reflect upon the crowds of persons who gained a subsistence from the fact that yourselves and many others were obliged to travel along the high-road on your way from London to York. There were inn-keepers, and waiters and chambermaids, post-boys and “boots.” Then there were hosts of shop-keepers and tradesmen who were enabled to support their families decently, because the stream of traffic flowed through their native towns and villages. Take a stroll to Hounslow. Its very existence may be traceable to the fact that it is a convenient stage from London. It was populous and thriving, and yet it is neither a town, a parish, nor a hamlet. Enter the bar of one of the inns, and take nothing more aristocratic than a jug of ale and a biscuit. Lounge about the yard, and enter freely into conversation with the superannuated post-boys who still haunt the spot. You will soon learn, that it is the opinion of the public in general, and of the old post-boys in particular, that the nation is on the brink of ruin; and they will refer to the decadence of their native spot as an instance. The writer was travelling, not many months ago, in the counties of Rutland, Northampton, and Lincoln; and while in conversation with the coachman, who then held up his head as high, and talked as familiarly of the “old families,” whose mansions we from time to time left behind us, as if the evil days were not approaching, our attention was arrested by the approach of a suite of carriages with out-riders, advancing rapidly from the north. An air of unusual bustle had been observed at the last way-side inn. A waiter had been seen with a napkin on his arm, not merely waiting for a customer, but evidently expecting one, and of a class much higher than the travelling bagmen: and this was a solitary way-side inn. We soon learnt that the cortège belonged to the Duke of ——. The coachman added, with a veneration which referred much more to his grace’s practice and opinions than to his rank,—“He always travels in this way,—he is determined to support the good old plans,” and then, with a sigh, continued, “It’s of no use—it’s very good-natured, but it does more harm than good; it tempts a lot of people to keep open establishments they had better close. It’s all up.”

It is not necessary to pursue this matter further. Nor is it required that we should follow these unfortunates who have thus been thrown out of bread, or speculate upon their fallen fortunes. Nor need we specially remind the reader, that this is only one of many changes which have come upon us during the last quarter of a century, and which are now taking place. Space will not permit a full exposure[Pg 264] of the common fallacy, that men soon change their employments. As a general rule, it is false. The great extent to which the division of labour is carried, effectually prevents it. Each trade is divided into a great many branches. Each branch, in large manufactories, is again divided. A youth selects a branch, and by being engaged from day to day, in the same manipulation, he acquires, in the course of years, an extraordinary degree of skill and facility of execution. He works on, until the period of youth is beginning to wane; and then his particular division, or branch, or trade, is superseded. Is it not clear that the very habits he has acquired, his very skill and facility in the now obsolete handicraft, must incapacitate him for performing any other kind of labour, much less competing with those who have acquired the same skill and facility in those other branches or trades?

The most important preliminary inquiry connected with an improved and extended form of out-door relief is, how can the mass of pauperism be broken up and prepared for operation? We are told that the total number of persons receiving relief in England and Wales is 1,470,970, of which 1,255,645 receive out-door relief. Without admitting the strict accuracy of these figures, we may rest satisfied that they truly represent a dense multitude. It is the duty of the relieving officers to make themselves acquainted with the circumstances of each of these cases, and to perform other duties involving severe labour. The number of relieving officers is about 1310. This mass is broken up and distributed among these officers, not in uniform numerical proportion, but in a manner which would allow space and number to be taken into account. The officer who is located in a thickly populated district, has to do with great numbers; while the officer who resides in a rural district, has to do with comparative smallness of numbers, but they are spread over a wide extent of country. The total mass of pauperism is thus divided and distributed; but division and distribution do not necessarily involve classification, and they ought not to be regarded as substitutes for it.

To the general reader, the idea of the classification of the many hundreds of thousands of paupers, and the uniform treatment of each class according to definite rules, may appear chimerical. To him we may say, Look at the enormous amount of business transacted with precision in a public office, or by a “City firm” in a single day. All is done without noise or bustle. There is no jolting of the machinery, or running out of gear. There is that old house in the City. It has existed more than a hundred years. And it has always transacted business with a stately and aristocratic air,—reminding us of Florence and Venice, and the quaint old cities of Ghent and Bruges. The heads of the house have often changed. One family passed into oblivion. Another, when nature gave the signal, bequeathed his interests and powers to his heirs, who now reign in his stead. But, however rapid, or however complete the revolutions may have been, no sensible interruption occurred in the continued flow of business. The principles of management have apparently been the same through the whole period. Yet, as times changed, as one market closed and another opened, as new lands were discovered, trading stations established and grew into towns, as the Aborigines left the graves of their fathers, and retired before the advance of civilisation, and as India became English in its tastes and desires, so did the business and resources of the old house expand, and its machinery of management change. Once in a quarter of a century, a group of sedate looking gentlemen meet in the mysterious back-parlour; a few words are spoken, a few strokes of the pen are made, a few formal directions are given to the heads of departments, a new book is permitted, an addition to the staff is confirmed, and the power of the house is rendered equal to the transaction of business in any quarter of the world, and to any amount. Now, look at this great house of business from the desk. Study the machinery. A young man, perhaps the eldest son of a senior clerk, enters the house, and takes his seat at a particular desk: and there he remains until superannuation or death leaves a vacancy, when he[Pg 265] changes his place, from this desk to that, and so on, until old age or death creeps upon him in turn. He is chained daily to the desk’s dull wood, and makes entry after entry in the same columns of the same book. This is his duty. He may be unsteady, irregular, inapt, or incorrect, and his being so may occasion his brethren some trouble, and draw down upon himself a rebuke from a higher quarter; but the machinery goes on steadily notwithstanding. Each clerk, or each desk, has its apportioned duty, which continued repetition has rendered habitual and mechanical. In the head’s of departments, a greater degree of intellect may appear necessary. It is hardly the fact, however. For the head of the department has passed through every grade—he has laboured for years at each desk, and knows intuitively, as it were, the possible and probable errors. His discernment or judgment is a spontaneous exercise of memory, and resembles the chess-playing skill of one who plays a gambit. Now, what is all this? It is called “official routine.” It appears, then, that an extensive business may be transacted steadily and successfully, providing always that a few general rules are laid down, and steadily adhered to, and enforced. In books these rules are simplified, classified, and rendered permanent. A book-keeper may imagine that thousands of voices are above him and around him, giving orders and directions, and admonishing to diligence, and accuracy,—all of which are restrained, subdued, and silenced, and yet all are still speaking, without audible utterance, from the pages before him. And in strictness, it would not be a flight of imagination, but a mode of stating a truth which, from its obviousness, has escaped observation. Of course, these books may speak incoherently and discursively, just as the human being will do; and if they do speak, thus the evils which arise are apt to be perpetuated. The books, then, must have a large share of attention, and be carefully arranged. Then they must have a keeper, and his duties must be explicitly stated, and his character and his means of subsistence made dependent upon his accuracy and vigilance. There is then the choice of the person who is to perform the business which the books indicate and record. The requirements vary in different occupations. In one, strict probity is a grand point; in another, strict accuracy as to time, or skill in distinguishing fabrics and signatures. In some cases, firmness, mildness, and activity, under circumstances of excitement, is required; and these qualities, among others, would appear to be indispensable in parochial and union officers,—if the fact of their oversight did not render it doubtful. The last lesson we learn is, that business should be checked as it proceeds. There are two methods. The one is a system of checks, and is practicable when the business does not occupy much space. The other is a system of minute inspection; there are cases in which both methods may be partially applied, and that of poor-law administration is one of them.

The machinery by which pauperism may be efficiently dealt with, may be thus generally expressed. There would be required:—

First, A Board of Guardians, elected according to law, and with powers and duties defined and limited by legal enactment.

Second, A staff of efficient officers.

Third, A scroll of duties.

Fourth, A set of books, drawn up by men of scientific ability, and submitted to the severest scrutiny of practical men.

Fifth, A system of inspection under the immediate control of the government.

Sixth, District auditors, whose appointment and duties are regulated by the law.

Seventh, And in the negative, the absence of any speculative, interfering, disturbing, and irritating power, which may be continually adding to, varying and perplexing the duties and the management, in attempting to carry into practical operation certain crotchets, and in rectifying resulting blunders.

Much might be said upon each of these requisitions. But we propose rather to limit our remarks, and to turn them in that direction which will afford opportunities for exhibiting the various classes and varieties of poor, and suggesting modes of treatment.

The books which are necessary to enable the several boards of guardians[Pg 266] to deal with each individual case, not only as regards the bare fact of destitution, but also with reference, to its causes and remedies, are the Diary or Journal, and the Report Book. The Diary is simple, and may be easily constructed to suit the circumstances of each locality. Every person who has any business to transact, and values punctuality, possesses a Diary, which is drawn up in that form which appears most suitable to his peculiar business or profession. In it is entered the whole of his regular engagements for the day or year, and also those which he makes from day to day. Then on each day, he regularly, and without miss, consults his remembrancer, and learns from thence his engagements for the time being, and so arranges his proceedings. Such a book, drawn up in a form adapted to the nature of the business transacted, and ruled and divided in a manner which a month’s experience would suggest, would be, the Diary. It would differ from that raised by the man of ordinary business in the respect that its main divisions would not be daily, but weekly or fortnightly, according as the board held its meetings. It would be kept by the relieving officer, and laid before the Chairman at each Board meeting—it is in fact a “business sheet.” The name of each poor person who appears before the Board, and with respect to whom orders are made, would appear in this book on each occasion. And the arrangements of its contents would depend upon the classification of the poor.

The Report Book[1] was briefly commented upon in a former article. Its size should be ample—for it is presumed that each page will record the results of many visits, and be referred to on each occasion that the pauper appears before the Board. The lapse of time between the first entry and the last, may be seven or even ten years.



No. I Names of Dependent Family. Date of Birth Residence Present Relief The curcumstances as they existed when visited by R. O., &c. Orders of the Board, and Remarks
s.    d.
          Visited Dec. 16, 1846.  
          Visited, &c.  
The cause and date of first application.
The Facts of the history of the case, abstracted to the date of the last visit
Relations who, according to law, should assist.
Friends who do assist, or are likely to do so.


[Pg 267]

This report is prepared from the actual visit of the relieving officer at the home of the applicant, and by coincidental inquiry. Upon its first reading, there would appear the names of the heads of the family—the names of their children who may be dependent upon them, and the several dates of birth, the residence, the occupation of the several members of the family, their actual condition, the admitted cause of the application for relief, and a statement of such facts as a single visit may disclose respecting their past history. This would form a basis for a future report, and would lead the guardians to make comparisons, and judge whether the case is rising or falling, having reference not only to weeks, but years. The practical man will perceive, that the chief point of difference between this form of Report Book and that enforced by the Commissioners, is, that the latter speaks of the present only, while the proposed form speaks of the past as well,—an addition of vital importance, if character is to be considered. It is clear, if the past and present condition of the applicant be stated, together with the main facts of his history, the mental act of classification will follow inevitably, and will require merely the mechanical means of expression. It may be stated generally with reference to this book: First, Every case must be visited, and reported upon by a statement of facts, not opinions. Second, The report must be made returnable on a given day—this would be secured by the Chairman’s Diary. Third, Each applicant must appear personally before the Board, unless distance or infirmity prevent.

With these books in our possession, we may begin to separate the poor into masses, and collect them into groups. The facts contained in the Report Book would enable Boards of Guardians to decide in which class the applicants ought to be placed. But in order to preserve the classes in their distinctness, a ready and simple mode of grouping them in a permanent manner must be devised; and as it is desirable that old and existing materials should be used in preference to new, the “Weekly Out-Door Relief List,” now in daily use, may be made the basis of an improved form.[2]

How are we to proceed? Let the reader call to mind a parish or union with which he is acquainted, and make it the scene of his labours. That period of the year when the demands upon the attention of the Board of Guardians, and its officers, are at zero, may be selected for making the first step in advance. The most convenient season of the year would probably be a late Easter; for at that time the weekly returns for in-door and out-door relief are rapidly descending. The winter is losing its rugged aspect and is rapidly dissolving into spring: and labour is busy in field and market. And so it continues until the fall of the year, except when the temperature of the summer may be unusually high, and then low fever and cholera prevail in low, marshy, crowded, or undrained districts. Those cases which have received relief for the longest period may be taken first. The technicalities of the report may be made up from existing documents. The history of each case may not be so readily prepared. It being a collection of facts, they may be added slowly. The space allotted to this important matter is amply sufficient, unless the officer should unfortunately be afflicted with a plethora of words. The whole number of ordinary cases may be reported upon, and their classes apportioned, before the winter sets in. In the month of November, the medical list would begin to be augmented. And as the dreary season for the poor advances, the casual applications would multiply. In two or three years the names of all persons who ordinarily receive relief, or are casually applicants, would be found in the Report Book: and the facts having been recorded there, the labours of the officer would then decrease, and be confined to the investigation of existing circumstances.

The reader may have inquired, upon observing the number of classes into which the recipients of relief are proposed to be arranged, how can [Pg 268]accuracy be ensured—how can they be preserved intact? It is admitted, that unless the grounds of the distinctions are clearly defined, and the facts of frequent occurrence, the classes will manifest a tendency to amalgamation. If the reader will take the trouble to refer to the form of “Weekly Relief List” below,[3] he will perceive that the fourth, fifth, and sixth classes, have but one column. This was done, because it might be deemed that the distinctions which are there noted might escape the observation of Boards of Guardians. It is not our opinion. We have great confidence in the yeomanry and gentry of England, of whom Boards of Guardians are composed; and we believe that much of the bitter animosity manifested by the local boards against the triumvirate at Somerset House, owes its[Pg 269] existence to the authoritative attempts on the part of the latter to prevent these boards from recognising in any practical manner these very distinctions. Independently of this, the period for which the relief is ordered may be so determined as to allow of a particular time for each class; this will be made clear as we proceed. And, lastly, a brief and accurate description of each of the classes may be printed at the head of each of the pages of the Diary, Report Book, and Relief List.

The first class consists of aged and infirm persons who have no natural relations, but are enabled to eke out a subsistence with the aid of an out-door allowance from the parish. The poor of this class are frequently in receipt of other relief. It may be a tribute of memory from a child she nursed, from a family he served, an occasional donation from the church they attend, or a weekly trifle from one of those benevolent societies that assist the aged poor to retain their accustomed dwelling, or to enjoy the unexpensive luxuries which habit has made necessary. The circumstances of each of the individuals in these classes are presumed to be known through the report of the officer; and as each case, when health and vicinity of residence permit, appears personally before the board, it may be carried forward for revisal that day twelve months. The whole of the cases belonging to this class would be so treated. They may be distributed over a given number of Board days, and during a particular month of the year. In the month of July all the names of the poor of this class would appear in the Diary; and the reports of the relieving officer would then be called for, in the order in which the names are entered. Of course, if any change of circumstances should occur in the interval, application may be made to the officer; and as they are paid at their homes in the majority of instances, the application may then be made. At the end of twelve months, each case is formally revisited and reported. It would then appear that some are dead, some are bed-ridden, some are childish, and require an asylum—second childhood has commenced, and they require the nurture of children; they are therefore admitted into the Union. A few others have lost a bounty through the death of a friend, and their allowance requires augmentation.

The entrance to this class should be carefully guarded against admission by accident or undue influence. For instance, a lady not indisposed to relieve human suffering, receives an indirect application from a respectable elderly female, for charitable aid. Her charitable list is full, but she does not like to send her empty away, although she knows nothing of the person except through the excellent note of introduction. Temporary relief is given. The lady’s husband has an intimate friend, who is a guardian. And, through this medium, the female becomes an applicant for parochial relief. Forms are complied with. A sketch of her circumstances is entered in the Report Book, with such accuracy as the fact of the report being required at the next board meeting permitted. Her name appearing at the end of the page of the Diary which now lies before the chairman, and her turn having come, the guardian blandly informs the meeting, that a case has come to his knowledge, of whose fitness to be a recipient of their bounty he is credibly informed there can be no doubt; and the chairman is only too certain that a case so brought before them should be liberally responded to. An unusual amount of relief is given, and the name put on the yearly list. And thus, a decent person, who had by sometimes working, and by sometimes receiving those occasional aids to which her long life of probity and prudence had given her a title, is beguiled into that which it had really been the great object of her life to avoid. Thousands who have been accustomed to a life of labour, and especially those females who have lived in decent servitude, regard the workhouse with horror. Now, to avoid errors of this kind, and also to ensure that the necessities of the case are thoroughly known, it ought to be a “standing order” of the board that no case shall be draughted into the yearly list, without having been visited and reported upon six several times.

The second class consists of those[Pg 270] aged and infirm persons who possess relations who are legally liable to be made to contribute towards their support, or who have friends and relations who, in virtue of those social ties which bind men together, may be reasonably expected to assist them. The separation of the individuals of this class from those of the former one, is not made on the single ground that, according to law, sons and unmarried daughters, and grandchildren, call be compelled to support their sires. If the parochial authorities had no stronger appeal than that which the law of Elizabeth affords, the pauper list would soon be filled to overflowing. The law is more correct in principle than efficient in practice. Fortunately, the natural feelings of humanity effect that spontaneously, which the law with its penalties cannot compel. It is a matter of daily remark by those who mix much and observantly among the poor—not the class merely who struggle hard to preserve a decent appearance, and to drive destitution from their dwelling’s but those who have no qualities which can engage, whose ordinary habits are those of intemperance, whose manners are rough, and whose language is coarse and obscure—and to a class still lower, who are steeped in vice and crime, who seem regardless of God or man, and to whom society appears to have done its worst; that even in these rude, uncultivated, and depraved human beings, a strong under-current of natural feeling wells up and flows perpetually. So strongly are these feelings sometimes manifested in such characters, that they appear to be developed with an intensity proportionate to the extent to which the other feelings have been wrecked, and to the loss of sympathy which these miserables have sustained from the world. It is too often forgotten by those who are concerned for the poor, that these feelings—the love of parents for offspring, and the reverence of children for parents—are instinctive, and that their activity depends upon the fact, whether there are children to be loved and parents to be revered. And this being so, we may be satisfied that they are not extinct in any case. They may not be expressed in good set terms, or in the ordinary language of endearment. The conversation of these persons may sound harsh to unaccustomed ears, and the acts may often coincide with the words. But the bond of union is seen in acts of mutual defence, in acts of mutual aggression, and in acts of mutual assistance. The true ground of separation is, that it would be highly inexpedient, and prejudicial to public morals, if the duties of these relations were to be forgotten or superseded. And, therefore, when it appears from the relieving officer’s report that such connexions exist, the cases should be relieved of course; but it should be intimated that these parties are expected to assist; and it should be formally declared, that they are legally and morally bound so to do. In the majority of instances, the result would be satisfactory. This is not said because a trifle might be saved to parishes. It would most frequently happen, that all these parties could do would be to add a luxury very dear to the aged person, but which the parochial board could hardly grant. A daughter in service may send an article of apparel, a son-in-law may give a Sunday’s dinner, and a son may make a weekly contribution of grocery. In general, it being presumed that the several boards of guardians present a fair average of human nature, no reduction of allowance would ensue. In many instances the result flowing from this method would be still more satisfactory. It so happens in the strife for subsistence, that each striver is so occupied by his own affairs—and even when increased ability or established probity and diligence, has led, to the receipt of a higher wage, the mind is either so entirely absorbed by the new duties and increased responsibilities, or luxuries have so stealthily slipped from their places and become necessities—that he is apt to forget his poorer brethren, who, less fortunate than himself, or unblessed with his own patience and steadiness—

“Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin’,
To right or left eternal swervin’,
They zig-zag on,
’Till, curst with age obscure and starvin’,
They aften groan.”

[Pg 271]The attention of this prosperous relation must be arrested. Here is a fact. A man at the advanced age of seventy-six years, and his wife still more aged, applied for relief. He is a mechanic. He had never applied for relief during the threescore years and ten, and upwards, to which his life has spun out. Assistance was rendered. The law of settlement intervened, occasioned much trouble, and prevented the case from being dealt with permanently. This hinderance afforded an opportunity for the relations to consult and arrange. One son is at work in a distant county. Another is a mechanic with a full wage; he has four children—but he is industrious and temperate. The daughter is married to a clerk in a lawyer’s office, and has already two children. No magistrate would make an “order of maintenance” upon the sons, and the daughter being married is not liable. But a consultation is held of relations and friends. That member of the family upon whom there can be no legal demand, and whose circumstances are the least flourishing, is the first to make a proposal. He will take the old lady home: she can have a chair in the chimney-corner, and mind the children when their mother is away. The son in the country will give one or two shillings weekly, according as work is abundant. The son in town will guarantee the payment for the old man’s lodging. The right to a meal is not thought of—it is a matter of course. The old man had supposed that his work on earth was done; and he had therefore fallen into despondency. But the events of the last week have restored him to that elasticity of mind which had sustained him through many trials. Hope is again in the ascendant, and pours upon him her genial influence. His helpmate is provided for; and he has a home secured to himself, and is not in danger of starvation. He now says, “There is some work left in me yet.” He can no longer be the first in the throng, but he can take his place in the crowd. He can do all sorts of odd, light, casual jobs; and by the exercise of that perseverance and care, which enabled him during his long life to drive want from his homestead, he can provide for the future. He is no longer an applicant for parochial relief. This class may be easily distinguished, practically, from the former one, and from all others, without making any distinction or reference to the mode or value of the relief. Each case, after it has been visited and reported upon by the officer six several times, in the same way, and for the same reasons as class number one, must be carried forward in the chairman’s Diary to that board day in the summer months which has been appropriated for the class. This class would undergo revision twice in the year. The reports of the officer would especially refer to the circumstances of relations, and state the assistance which they do or are able to render. All this would become matter of routine.

The third class differs from the two former, in respect that the individuals who compose it are not aged, but are likely to be permanent burdens on parishes, from malformation of brain, or a disturbance in the sensuous system. They are idiotic, fatuous, blind, deaf or lame, or permanently disabled by chronic disease. It has been said that the workhouse is the best place for such persons; and in some localities it may be so. But there are places, where benevolent expedients have been adopted, which have saved these unfortunates from that stagnation of soul approaching melancholia, to which they would have been otherwise doomed. They may now hold converse in books. They are taught trades. They receive assistance which enables them to enter fields of competition with their more perfectly organised fellows. But this aid is often-times withheld, or it is insufficient, and so they become chargeable to parishes.

The fourth class consists of those widows with families upon whom the officer, after a series of visits, is enabled to report facts which must satisfy the guardians that she is industrious, temperate, and of strict probity. Her thoughts as a wife were confined to two great domestic questions,—how can my husband’s income be economised, without making his home no home? and how can I qualify my children to fill their appointed stations[Pg 272] in life? During the lifetime of her husband, her mind was so entirely absorbed by her household and family duties, that now she feels and acts like one who has just been disturbed from a long and troubled dream. Death has now turned the channel of her ideas. The change was one of bitter suffering. And now she must provide bread for her children by her own “hand-labour,”—without the habitude of labour. Death acts thus daily; and yet the number of widows so circumstanced, who apply for parochial relief, bears a very small proportion to the total number of persons thus bereaved. The fact is curious; and as sound methods of dealing with pauperism can be discovered only from a minute and comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy and pathology of the lower classes of society, the facts must be studied. The widows who compose this class were, previous to their marriage, either trusted servants in quiet families, daughters of respectable shop-keepers, or younger daughters of widows with small annuities: and their husbands were probably members of religious communities. Suppose the condition of the widow to have been that of a decent servitude. She performed her duties with credit; and her name is not forgotten. During the state of wifehood, intercourse was kept up by the exercise of kindly greetings on the one side, and respectful inquiries on the other. Her present circumstances excite sympathy. “Something must be done for poor Ann!” But she desires to subsist by labour rather than by gifts of charity. This is thought of by the reflecting patron, who knows full well how benefits unearned weaken the moral powers. But there are many ways by which the feeling of charity may be manifested without moral injury. A son may be in chambers, and who can so well clean and arrange them, as the nurse of his infancy? She may be intrusted with the care of an office; or she may be recommended to friends, who have hitherto taken labour from the labour market, at the lowest market price, and are just beginning to perceive that the moral qualities manifested in a prudent carriage, strict honesty, and taciturnity with respect to private affairs, are valuable, and have yet to learn that they are not common, and to be obtained must be paid for. The recommendation is well-timed. And although this friend of the family may miss the moral points of the matter, and would, if the patroness had not fixed her wages, by the force of example, tell the widow how little she gave the other “person,” and offer the same. The widow’s eyes now sparkle. She has reason to be grateful, and is not absolutely dependent. She is now in a fair way to gain an honest livelihood. The parish has not once been thought of. Then she may be a member of a religious body: which congregation is not a question of moment. As a member of the Established Church she has many advantages. Did you, reader, ever hear of a member of the Society of Friends being an applicant for parochial relief? The question may be repeated with respect to the Jews; not, however, with the expectation of an universal negative; but, having regard to the precariousness of their callings, the answer must be—No! The widow is a Wesleyan methodist. She is united with a religious body which includes within its pale many of those who compose the middle—or rather the lower middle—and lower classes of society. The members of it are closely cemented together—spiritually and temporally. As a member of a “class meeting,” her hopes and fears, her temptations, and trials, are known; not only to the members of her own section, but to the minister, and the members of the congregation. It may be true that the class system engenders spiritual pride and hypocrisy: that is not in point. We are dealing with facts. And it is a fact, and one which might be predicated from the circumstances, that the frequent meeting together of persons in nearly the same social position, to converse and advise upon practical religious matters, from which personal interests and temporalities, when they bear down the spirit, cannot be excluded, does exert an important influence on the fortunes of the distressed. In the Church of England, a minister may not mix so freely with his flock. His social position—his language, is different.[Pg 273] But although that sense of common interest and common danger, which opens the flood-gates of the soul, and allows it to pour forth an uninterrupted tide of emotion, cannot exist when one order of mind stammers to another order of wind, yet there are compensating circumstances. Learning does not necessarily enervate the active powers. And in these latter we find a common ground of meeting, chords which vibrate sympathetically. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” Then the clergy are the almoners of the rich. These influences, with many kindred ones, might be investigated with advantage; but enough is said to indicate why this class of poor, who at first sight appear so helpless, are not sustained by the poor-rate. But they are sometimes applicants, and as such form a class. It happens that, from the number of her family, her wants are greater than her limited connexions can relieve; or she may be alone. It must be again repeated, that the duty of a board of guardians is not only to relieve destitution, but likewise to check pauperism. This being so, the widow must not be allowed to sink so low as to drive hope away. Her projects, her means, and her actual necessities must be ascertained. Relief in money is the best mode of relief to this class; and it should be given liberally. It will not be given in vain. Of course there are many in this class not gifted with an active temperament, or a strong, mind. To such the warning from the chairman, that parochial assistance can only be temporary, must be frequently given: and sometimes her views and progress may be scrutinised and commented upon. The relief would be continued from time to time and in descending amounts, until it vanishes altogether. By this method of treatment an increase of expenditure may be occasioned for a time; but the widow will be delivered from her affliction, and her children’s names permanently erased from the black roll of pauperism.

The fifth class includes those widows who have, throughout their lives, been accustomed to labour. They have not the advantages of the former class, as regards connexions. They have been “dragged”[4] up. As an infant, “it was never sung to: no one ever told it a tale of the nursery. It was dragged up, to live or die, as it happened. It had no young dreams: it broke at once into the iron realities of life. The child exists not for the very poor as any object of dalliance; it is only another mouth to be fed, a pair of little hands to be betimes inured to labour. It is the rival, till it can be the co-operator, for food with the parent. It is never his mirth, his diversion, his solace; it never makes him young again, with recalling his young times. The children of the very poor have no young times. It makes the very heart bleed to overhear the casual street-talk between a poor woman and her little girl, a woman of the better sort of poor, in a condition rather above the squalid beings which we have been contemplating. It is not of toys, of nursery-books, of summer holidays, (fitting that age); of the promised sight, or play; of praised sufficiency at school. It is of mangling and clear-starching, of the price of coals, or of potatoes. The questions of the child, that should be the very outpourings of curiosity in idleness, are marked with forecast and melancholy providence. It has come to be a woman before it was a child. It has learned to go to market; it chaffers, it haggles, it envies, it murmurs; it is knowing, acute, sharpened: it never prattles.” Such was the child. The passage from the single to the married state, which generally changes the course of woman’s life, has to her been nothing more than a brief interval of pleasure. She soon joins the bands of the busy daughters of care. So the loss of her husband has been to her but a tragedy. The last act is over; the curtain has fallen: she is now in the outer world again; she is oppressed by sadness, vague and undefinable; but the noise and bustle around her, the tumult of her own thoughts, and her continued labour, afford that alleviation which the solitary and the unemployed seek for in vain. Those who would step in and, relieve her of her toil, may be well-meaning persons; but, they are[Pg 274] interfering in matters they do not understand. They would spend their money more beneficially, and with greater regard to the principles of Christian charity, if each would take care that those who do for him any kind of labour, receive an adequate remuneration. It may be a politico-economic law, that we buy in the cheapest market, and sell in the dearest; and, by a sophistical process, the limits of the principle may have been enlarged, so as not only to include raw materials, but manufactured products, and the labour which we ourselves employ. But it is forgotten, that a law which expresses merely what men do, has not the universality or fixity of a law of matter, but is liable to variation from the action of moral causes. The law may be partially true, as eliminated from a study of the present age. It is an age of calculators and economists. In a moral age it would be false. It is false in the present day, when moral men have to do directly with their lower and ruder brethren. This is an individual and personal matter, and each one will find that he has enough of his own work to do in his own sphere. This widow is an applicant for parochial relief. Repeated visits, and a succession of reports, at brief intervals, have enabled the officer to present an accurate narration of facts, both with reference to her past life and her present condition. It becomes clear that this widow differs from the other, in respect that she has greater habitude for labour, and that her mind is cramped down to the hard matters of the present hour: she goes to her work in the morning, and she returns home fatigued in the evening. To-morrow’s meal is secured, and the scene of to-morrow’s labour is known. Within the narrow limits of a week is her soul penned up. It is clear, then, what the duties of the guardians are. If their wish is to check pauperism, they must attend to that which this widow’s limited capacities prevent her from doing. In her young day, reading and writing were accomplishments; but the world has jogged on a little since then, without her knowing it. Reading and writing, as one of the mechanical arts, have become indispensable to every boy and girl. The same economic reasons which lead to the inference, that a girl should be taught to darn her own stockings, or mend her own frock, would also show that a boy and girl should be taught to read and write. The spread of education is something very different from the diffusion of knowledge. So, then, the officer’s report would show whether the children are duly sent to school; their progress might also be tested. At a future period, it might appear that the girl is strong enough to enter service, and the boy fit to be apprenticed either to a trade, or to the sea. In either case, the fitness of the master or mistress is ascertained and reported. A premium or outfit is given; and the particulars of the case are duly entered in the appropriate book, according to the existing method, and the master and child visited from time to time. The widow would thus be relieved in that particular respect in which she is least qualified to help herself, and her children are saved. She would soon discover that the time occupied in waiting for relief could be more profitably employed, and she soon ceases to apply.

The sixth class consists also of widows; but they are remarkable for idleness, intemperance, or improvidence. We know of no means of washing the Ethiop white. To this class, money-relief is the most objectionable form of relief. An allowance of bread should be given for brief periods, and given in instalments. Sometimes it may be necessary to intimate that work may be required for the value given, and at other times the order may be made. It will, however, be found that the individuals of this class are careless about every thing. If they are dealt with leniently, they take advantage of the supposed imbecility of the guardians: if they are dealt with too severely, they become familiarised with the interior of a prison; and the instant the gloomy portal of the county jail loses its terrors, they place themselves in attitude of defiance. As the inmates of workhouses, they are dangerous spies, and are regarded with awe by master and matron; as recipients of out-door relief, they are insolent and full of threats. Perhaps the best mode of dealing with these cases may be[Pg 275] ascertained, by allowing the attention to become abstracted from the mother, and concentrated upon the children. The mother is like a wild beast, whose nature and habits cannot now be subdued; but her cubs, her little ones, may still be tamed and humanised. At this point, reference may be made to a document which has not emanated from the Poor-law Commissioners, or from any parochial board, but from the magistrates of the county of Middlesex. It appears that a committee was appointed, in April last, to “inquire into the best means of checking the growth of juvenile crime, and promoting the reformation of juvenile offenders.” At a meeting of the magistrates of Middlesex, on the 3d of December, the report of the committee was read, and “received amidst repeated cheering.” The committee recommend that a bill should be introduced to Parliament, a draught of which is given in the report. The preamble states, “that the fearful extent of juvenile depravity and crime, in the metropolitan districts, and in large and populous towns, requires general and immediate interference on the part of the legislature; that the great causes of juvenile crime and depravity appear to be ignorance, destitution, and the absence of proper parental or friendly care; and that all children above the age of seven and under the age of fifteen years, suffering from these and similar causes, require protection, to prevent their getting into bad company, acquiring idle and dissolute habits, growing up in vice, and becoming an expense and burden on the county as criminals, and that such protection should be afforded by the county.” There are fourteen clauses: the first and fifth may be quoted—“1st, That an asylum for unprotected and destitute children be founded in and for the county of Middlesex by legislative enactment, and placed under the direction and management of the justices of the peace for the county.” “5th, That unprotected and destitute children shall be deemed to include all children above seven, and under fifteen years of age, under the following circumstances:—Children driven from their homes by the bad conduct of their parents; children neglected by their parents; children who are orphans, and neglected by their friends; children who are bastards; and children who are orphans, and have no one to protect them, or to provide for them, or for whom no one does provide; children who, from their own misconduct, have no protection or provision found them; children who are idle and dissolute, and whose parents or friends cannot control their bad conduct; children who are destitute of proper food, clothing, or education, owing to the poverty of their parents or friends, but whose friends or parents do not apply for, or receive parish relief; children who are destitute of employment; and children of the class which become juvenile offenders generally.”

It is probable that a plan of this description might have a great and beneficial effect in diminishing juvenile crime; and it is conceivable that the clauses of the bill may be so framed as to develop all the good, and avoid the evil. It is to be feared, however, that the bill is founded on partial views. The children who agree with the descriptions given in clause number five, are the offspring of those who reside in poor neighbourhoods, where the inhabitants are already paying high rates,—high in proportion to the poverty of the locality. If this be so, then every possible species of opposition, which can be offered legally or illegally, will be directed against the bill, and against its being carried into operation. The authorities of these poor and populous parishes already find it a matter of extreme difficulty to collect the rates, and are overwhelmed by the number of those poor housekeepers who apply to be “excused their rates” on the ground of poverty. All the schemes of the present day have one good point only, or it may be discovered by minute observation that the original idea was a good one. The bill is brought forth with a grand display of benevolent feeling; and it is passed, after suffering further distortion in Parliament. The law is, after all, found to be inoperative, from the omission or misapprehension of a plain obvious matter of detail, or because it originated from partial views, or came directly from the brain of an unpractical[Pg 276] theorist. It is, however, admitted, in the case of the magistrates’ bill, that the original idea is a good one. And if it should be realised, the children of the class of widows now under consideration, might in this “County Juvenile Asylum,” find a home, and be saved from destruction.

The seventh class consists of women who have cohabited with men, and have families. The individuals composing it generally resemble those of the two classes last mentioned—i.e. they are industrious or idle, intemperate or sober. Generally, this class requires relief more urgently than the several classes of widows; because by their past conduct they are shut out from any participation in many of the charities. It is needless to say that strict investigation into their circumstances and proceedings is necessary.

The eighth and ninth classes consist of single women. The eighth is composed of women who have had two children, and are prostitutes; the ninth of those who have only committed the first offence. The inquiries of the officer, in the ordinary routine, would develop the facts. The utility of this distinction is, that it would afford boards of guardians an opportunity of dealing fairly with the latter class: the fact of the distinction being noted in all the books would attract their attention to the point. To confound these cases together, and to act with, equal severity to all, is obviously unjust. In those unions where the prohibitory order has been issued, all the individuals of both these classes are relieved only in the house. In the case of their admission, the cognisance of this distinction, not casually, not specially, because a guardian may have had his attention drawn to a particular case, but as a matter of routine, would necessarily lead to a good result. No board of guardians, when their attention has been regularly and officially directed to the facts of the case, could compel both classes to herd together in one common room.

The medical relief list is composed of poor persons who are suffering from acute disease, and are, in consequence of their illness and extreme poverty, receiving relief in money or food. Those who are in the receipt of other relief by order of the board, and who belonged to one of the other classes, would be excluded from this list. There are two modes of regulating the medical out-door relief in kind. One mode is to require the medical officers to attend the meetings of the boards of guardians. It is their duty to report upon the state of health of each out-door sick person at specified times, and to state the kind of nutriment adapted to each case. The board is thus furnished with a sanatory report from one officer, and a report upon circumstances from the other. This is a satisfactory system. The other mode is, for the medical officer to report to the relieving officer in a prescribed form, that A B is ill with consumption, and requires —— food per diem. The relieving officer has a veto. If, upon visiting the case, he is satisfied that the head of the family can supply the articles recommended, the relief is withheld. The case is reported to the next board, who issue the necessary instructions thereon. The first plan is undoubtedly the preferable one, in all those parishes or unions where the population is large and the area small. But in all large rural unions, where the medical officers are many and their labours great, from bad roads and extent of district, the plan would be inapplicable. As regards the second method, it would be found to prevail as a rule, that, in the majority of cases, the recommendation of the medical officer is regarded by the relieving officer as tantamount to an order. The exception would be in those unions where the board is infested by persons who know of no means of estimating the value of an officer excepting by his supposed power of reducing expenditure; and in those parishes where the inhabitants are poor and embarrassed. And it is to be feared that this evil, against which the press exclaim so loudly, will continue to predominate so long as the existing unequal charge upon parishes continues. The magnates of St. George, Hanover Square, can afford to be magnanimous and humane. In St. Luke, Middlesex, or St. Leonard, Shoreditch, where the rate-payers are poor, it is a different matter altogether.[Pg 277] And yet it is in these poor neighbourhoods that the poor live; and where they live, there they must be relieved.

The administration of the relief given in consequence of poverty and illness requires great care. The list contains the most meritorious of the poor: and as the relief given is of the greatest value, it is the relief most sought after by “cadgers” and impostors. The great abuses which creep into the administration of out-door relief do not arise from the relief of the able-bodied, but from affording relief to persons who allege that they are suffering from bodily ailments without proper investigation. In ordinarily well managed parishes, impostors, cadgers, and mendicants have no chance of obtaining relief in money. Therefore the whole of their practised cunning is brought to bear upon this more valuable form of relief. Now, from the peculiar habits of this class of persons, there is often strong ground for the claim. They will starve three days, and complete the week in revel and debauchery. Those periods, which they consider days of prosperity, are too often occasions for emaciating their bodies by drinking gin and eating unnutritious food. A chilly, foggy, November night is the time when the supposed widow can parade her children on the highway with the best chance of exciting the compassion of the passersby; and it is the time, too, when, if there is any predisposition to disease, the circumstances are most favourable for its development. It is to this class that the workhouse may be offered—as an infirmary. It is a fact, however, that those of this class who suffer from external diseases, and especially those which may be exposed with impunity, do not desire to enter a workhouse, and will not remain there until they are completely cured. And then, with reference to children who are exposed at night in the streets, notwithstanding the parents may be warned that they are sowing the seeds of incurable disease in the bodies of these infants, and are offered relief sufficient to constitute the greater part of their support; yet, however they may promise, they will continue to sleep in the day-time, and prowl about as homeless outcasts in distant neighborhoods at night. It is useless to offer them the workhouse; they will refuse it, and make, the offer a ground of appeal to the benevolent. As regards the children, the medical officer declares that his medicines are useless, and even dangerous. They are taken in the morning, the child is exposed in the evening, and in a few months it dies—a natural death? Here is lower depth of crime and misery which baffles the benevolent and wise.[5]

The aged, the infirm, the sufferers from chronic disease, the permanently disabled, the several classes of widows, the single women who have one or more children, and those who are chargeable mainly from temporary illness, have been collected and separated from the dense mass of pauperism. Who are those that remain? There is much error abroad upon this question. They are legion, whether they be regarded in connexion with the causes which have led to their impoverishment, or with reference to their various modes of obtaining a livelihood. Reference has already been made to that portion of the population of England who are in a transition state—i.e. those whose ordinary employment has been superseded by more rapid and cheaper methods, and who have thereby lost their ordinary means of livelihood, and been drifted down from stage to stage until they have reached the lowest depth, and have at last been[Pg 278] compelled to ask for a morsel of bread at the workhouse door. Then it will appear upon inquiry that each separate locality will present its peculiar species of casual poor, who fall into a state of destitution from the action of peculiar causes. It frequently happens that the individuals were never trained to any ordinary species of labour. At an early period of their lives, they were put in the way to learn a trade, but from early habits of idleness, from the criminal neglect of masters or parents, from natural incapacity for the particular trade, or from an unconquerable dislike to it, they have never been able to earn “salt to their porridge,” as the saying is. They never received a regular or an average amount of wage. If they are tailors, they compete with old women in making “slopwork” for the lower class of salesmen. Or they convert old coat tails into decent cloth caps, and may be industrious enough to supply a tribe of women with a Saturday night’s stock. As cobblers, they ply the craft of “translation”—a trade, even in this lower acceptation of the term, peculiarly liable to abuse. To the unlearned, it may be necessary to state that translation is the act of converting old boots into new ones, and is done with thin strips of varnished leather, and plenty of wax and large nails. There are carpenters, whose ingenuity is confined to the manufacture of money-boxes, cigar-cases, and children’s stools. Smiths, male and female, forge garden rakes, small pokers, and gridirons, as the season may suggest. And then their wives and children, or other men’s wives and children, hawk them for sale in populous neighbourhoods on market evenings. Tin funnels are sold “at the low price of a halfpenny.” Minute and useless candlesticks, wire forks, children’s toys, and old umbrellas, are a few specimens of this miscellaneous merchandise, the sale of which brings bread to hundreds of families. They live in fœtid alleys, are not cleanly, and are sometimes intemperate; hence they are peculiarly liable to the attacks of disease. During illness, there are many things which the sick man craves which a parochial officer cannot grant, and which a medical man could neither recommend nor allow. The desire is gratified by the sale of a useful and indispensable tool; and thus, by degrees, he exits off his own means of subsistence. Then, like manufacturers of a higher grade, he may mistake the public wants, and the articles he has made may remain unsaleable on his hands, or he may fall into the error of over-production like a Manchester house. Then, in seasons when those commodities which constitute the common diet of the poor are scarce and dear, the persons who deal in them who are unable to buy, or uncertain to sell, are thrown back upon the few shillings which compose their capital. In large cities and towns, and in the neighbourhood of great markets, there are crowds of poor persons who gain their livelihood by the purchase and sale of the articles of daily food, and their combined purchases form a large item in the business of those markets. The costermongers, or costardmongers, consist of various grades. That brisk-looking man, who is riding so proudly in his donkey-cart, with his wife at his elbow, may be a very mean person in the estimation of the passer-by, but, in his world, he is a man of importance. He watches the “turns of the market,” and being either in the possession of capital himself, or in a position to command it, he is able to compete with large dealers. He is a money-lender; and, if security be left with him—a poor woman’s marriage certificate, or her wedding-ring is sufficient—he will enable her to buy her “little lot.” Through him many are able to procure a stock at a trifling expenditure, who otherwise would be unable to buy in sufficient quantities to satisfy the original salesman. This class has its peculiar casualties, and in consequence become chargeable to parishes. Their habits may be irregular and intemperate. Or a poor woman may have expended her last farthing in the purchase of a tempting basket of fish. Her child falls ill, or she herself is unable, from the same cause, or from an accidental injury, to stand the necessary number of hours in the drenching rain; and so her stock is spoiled, and she suffers a greater calamity in her sphere than the brewer whose consignment of ale has turned sour on an India voyage.

[Pg 279]In the vicinity of cathedrals and abbeys, in districts where dowagers and elderly maiden ladies most do congregate, and in

“Those back-streets to peace so dear,”

there is always to be found a great number of kindly-disposed people, who have wherewithal to make life flow smoothly, leisure to listen to tales of wo, and the ability and inclination liberally to relieve. Now wherever these benevolent persons may be located, there will a troop of jackals herd, and run them down. Wherever public or private charities exist, there do these persons thrive. Their organisation, the degree to which they endure occasional privations and exposure, the recklessness with which they endanger the health and lives of those connected with them, is so passing strange, and, if fully expatiated upon, would be a chapter in the history of man and society, so disgusting, as to be unfit and morally unsafe to publish. Among the beings who infest these neighbourhoods, are men and women of keen wit—too keen, in truth—who have been well educated. Clerks who have been discharged for peculation. Women who, from the turbulence of their passions, have descended from the position of governesses, and who possess talent and tact equal to any emergency. They can write petitions in the highest style of excellence, as regards composition and penmanship. And they can also write letters on dirty slips of paper, in such a manner as that the homely phrase and the supposed ignorance of the petitioner shall be correctly sustained. They know all the charitable people of the district. They know the species of distress each person is most likely to relieve, and the days and hours they are most likely to be seen. They are in a position to instruct the several members of the fraternity as to the habits and foibles of the “gentlefolks.” One is open-handed, but apt to exact a large degree of humility, and must be approached with deference. Another, if applied to at the wrong time, may give liberally to rid himself of their importunities. Another is rough and noisy; but if the applicant can endure it—which these people can, but decent people cannot—a largess is certain. With one, clean linen, a well-starched front, or a neat cap-border, is a desideratum, because it is supposed to indicate that the wearers were once in a better sphere. Another will only relieve those who are clothed in well-patched rags, or “real misery;” and then the appearance must be that of squalid destitution.

It happened the other day that an individual, in the regular exercise of his duty, was engaged in making inquiries in one of these neighbourhoods. The cooped-up dwellings were situated in the centre of a mass of buildings, round which a carriage might roll in five minutes, and yet nothing would appear to excite suspicions that within the area of a few hundred yards, so much real distress, and so much deceit, vice, and crime were in existence. The visitor has left the crowded thoroughfare, and entered a narrow cutting which leads to the heart of the mass of houses. In former days the street was the abode of the wealthy. Many of these aristocratic dwellings are still standing. They large and high. The rooms were once magnificent. Their great size is still visible, notwithstanding the partitions which now divide them. The elaborate, quaint, and, in some instances, beautiful style of ornament on the ceilings, the massive mouldings, and richly carved chimney-pieces, satisfy the observer that, in former days, they were the abodes of wealth and luxury. They are now tottering with age: the other day, the interior of one of them fell inwards. These houses may be entered, one after another, without intrusion. To the uninitiated, the rooms present the appearance of an unoccupied hospital. All the rooms on the upper floors are entirely filled with beds. If they are entered at the close of a cold winter evening, the aspect is cold and desolate. If you pause on the landing, you may hear sounds of voices. The whole of the occupants of these rooms are congregated at the bottom of the building. You should not enter, for, at the sight of a stranger, they would instantly reassume their several characters. If you look through a chink in the partition, you will see[Pg 280] an assemblage of men, women, and children, in whose aspect and mien—if you can read the biography of a human being by studying the lines on the countenance—you may read many a tale and strange eventful history,—illustrating the adage that “truth is stranger than fiction.” If the hour be midnight, and the season winter, the large hall will be lit up by a blazing fire. Around it are grouped men and women of all ages. Some are dressed as sailors. In a corner, some Malays are eating their mess alone. They pay their threepence, and are not disturbed:—they are supposed, with truth, to be unacquainted with the rules of English boxing, and to carry knives. Their white dresses and turbans, their dark but bright and expressive countenances, their jet-black hair, and strange language, give an air of romance to the scene. There are widows with children, traveling tinkers, and knife-grinders. All these are talking, laughing, shouting, singing, and crying in discordant chorus. There is no lack of good cheer; and it is but justice to add, that the less fortunate, providing they are “no sneaks,” are allowed a share. At the door, or busily employed among the guests, is mine host, and his female companion:—“old cadgers” both, but stalwart, and able to maintain the “respectability” of the house.

The visitor passes on, and turns down a lane. By day or night, it hath an ancient and a fish-like smell. Apparently the dwellings are inhabited by the very poor. In the day time there are no noises, except that of women bawling to their children, who are sitting in the middle of the causeway, making dikes of vegetable mud and soap-suds. There are no sewers;—the commissioners have no power to make them,—and do not ask for it. There is nothing outwardly to indicate that the inhabitants are other than honest. If you open the doors, you may perceive that the staircases are double and barricaded, that rooms communicate with each other, and that, in the rear, there are facilities for hiding or escape. If you stroll about this place at night, you may be surprised by the sight of two policemen patrolling together. You will be an object of scrutiny and suspicion,—notwithstanding your respectable appearance. And then, as you appear to have no business in the neighbourhood, you will be civilly greeted with, “You are entering a dangerous neighbourhood, sir!” In the newspapers of the following day, you may read of a gang of housebreakers, or coiners, having been secured in this spot. And if it be revisited when a group of felons have just left the wharf, you will find it a scene of drunken lamentation.

In this lane is a cul-de-sac. It is inhabited by persons with respect to whose actual condition the shrewdest investigator is at fault. The visitor enters a dwelling, and climbs the narrow staircase. Upon entering the small room, he is almost stifled by the fœtid smells. In one corner, on a mattress, lies a man, whose gaunt arms, wasted frame, milky eye-balls, and dry cough, sufficiently indicate the havoc which disease is doing at the seat of life. A fire has been recently kindled by the hand of charity. Near it, and seated upon a tub, is a woman, busily employed in toasting a slice of ham, which is conveyed rapidly out of sight upon hearing the ascending footsteps. Her dress is gay, but soiled, and her face is familiar to the pedestrian. Upon the entrance of the visitor, the Bible is hastily seized, and an attitude of devotion assumed. The question the visitor asks, is, Are you married? “Oh yes, I was married at a village near Bury, in Suffolk; I was travelling as a mountebank at the time.” The tale is not well told. After a few interrogatories, and the utterance of a score of lies, the truth appears,—he was never in the county of Suffolk in his life. In a few days he makes a merit of his confession, and marries,—a week before his death.

Within a few yards, another scene is presented. This is a case of a man, his wife, and his large family. The visitor is shown into a miserable apartment, destitute of furniture; and, upon some loose shavings in a corner, a child has been left to cry itself to sleep. The case is relieved as one of great suffering. Relief flows freely. The wife appears ill; and the medical man is much puzzled by her account of the symptoms. Apparently[Pg 281] she has been intemperate; but, according to the symptoms, it should be something between rheumatism and tic-doloreux. By-and-by a quarrel ensues, about the division of the spoil. An anonymous letter is received, declaring that the party has several residences,—that the room in which such a scene of destitution was presented, was not their ordinary place of habitation,—that they are in the receipt of fixed charities, names being given, and concluding with the allegation, subsequently verified, that their weekly receipts exceeded a mechanic’s highest wage. The bubble bursts, and the family migrates.

It is hardly necessary to remark, that this order of applicants require strict attention on the part of the parochial officers. It is of importance to ascertain whether the several applicants really do any work,—whether they cannot get it, or are likely to be disconcerted at the offer of it. If they belong to the orders last described, the fact of visitation from an officer, with a note-book in his hand, would, of itself, be a disagreeable circumstance, not to be endured unless necessity compelled. It is frequently a matter of difficulty to collect the facts; and appearances are very deceitful. Idleness assumes the garb and language of industry. Idleness can take the part of industry, and perform it with technical accuracy; and it will be rendered more interesting than the original. When an industrious man falls into misfortune, he is more disposed to conceal, than to expose it ostentatiously. His language is often abrupt and rude: betraying a conflict with his own feelings of independence and pride. This a judicious and accustomed eye can discern. But it must not be forgotten that the relieving officer’s inquiries have no legitimate reference to features, or doubtful signs, but to places and facts. These facts being added together, as they are collected from time to time, in the appropriate page in the report book, the board of guardians would have no difficulty in estimating the real character and circumstances of these applicants.

With the further consideration of the casual poor, the subject of Out-door employment may be usefully connected. We may state at once as our opinion, that any scheme which proposes to test destitution by offering the workhouse with its terrors, on the one hand, or which offers out-door employment indiscriminately to the able-bodied on the other, is detrimental to the interests of society. It is admitted that the offer of work to the well-disposed independent labourer may scare him away; he will consume his savings, sell his furniture, and break his constitution, rather than accept the relief on the terms offered. And some may be content with this. They may rejoice at the sight of the shillings saved. But it will soon be found, that when work has been offered indiscriminately, and after the lapse of time, that a large and yearly increasing number of labourers of various classes will accept the relief and do the work. This fact indicates with accuracy that the moral feelings of the labouring population are in process of deterioration. Then how unjust it is! Here is a stout, broad-shouldered, hard-handed, weather-tanned railway navigator, who would perform the hardest task with the greatest case and indifference; but it is a very different matter to the sedentary Liliputian workman of a manufacturing town. We can understand why the smooth-fingered silk-weavers of Spitalfields complained of being set to break stones. It is still presumed that the great object is to diminish pauperism. It is not a question of this day or this year, or of a parish or union; but of the age and nation. This being so, we have to ascertain which of two modes is the preferable one: should labour be offered to all comers, or should the right to make the performance of labour a condition of receiving relief, be reserved as a right, and used with caution and discrimination? Let us inquire. Among the higher classes of society, the gradations of rank are distinctly marked. Among the middle classes, the gradations and varieties of social position are more numerous, less distinctly marked, and therefore fenced round with a world of form and ceremony. And as we descend, and enter the lower ranks, and approach the lowest, the distinctions and grades multiply. To the common observer,[Pg 282] these distinctions may be unworthy of regard; but to the parties themselves, they are of importance. The higher grades among the poor have attained their position by the exercise of tact and talent, and by hard labour. Not that the accident of birth, or the position of the parents, are circumstances destitute of force—the son often follows the employment of the father, and the eldest son in many trades is permitted to do so, without the sacrifice of expense and time involved in an apprenticeship. There is a broad line of demarcation drawn between the skilled and unskilled trades. There are lines, equally as distinct, drawn between skilled trades, which correspond with the ancient guilds of cities. And in the present day, when the several ancient trades are so minutely divided, and subdivided, there are grades of workmen corresponding. Reference is not made to those distinctions which are recognised by the masters, but to those especially which obtain among the men themselves; for it is with their feelings we have to do. Now, these distinctions do not involve questions of difference and separation merely, but those also of resemblance and unity. Each “tradesman”[6] stands by his order; and that not only to preserve its dignity and privileges inviolate, but to render mutual aid. Many vanities may be associated with this, and many mummeries may be enacted, at which many who believe themselves wise may fancy they blush; but the mechanic is only guarding in an imperfect manner an ancient institution. It is when we look at labour from this point of view, that we begin to conceive how it happens that so few regular labourers, in proportion to the mass, become chargeable to parishes; and this, notwithstanding the vicissitudes of their several employments. This inwardly sustaining power, of which the world in general is ignorant, is worthy of study. The intensity varies as we descend. In a populous parish, there are many who, from the action of a thousand disturbing influences, drop from the ranks. Now, is it not obvious, that to offer, with the eyes of the understanding and judgment firmly closed, to each able-bodied applicant a degrading employment, must drag him to its level? In most cases the feeling of repugnance on the part of the head of the family against applying for relief in person—a rule in all parishes—is so intense, as to require the fact of his family being in a state bordering on starvation, to weaken it. If he is required to do labour for the relief proffered, in a place where he is known, and among an order of workmen who are pauperised and below him, who would welcome him with sneers and derision, the chances are that he will not accept the relief on the terms offered. Is pauperism checked thereby? Wait and see. It is likely he will not remain in a place where all his cherished associations have been so rudely broken up. Home he has none. The four naked walls, the mattress on the floor, the single rug, his sickly and fretful children—and these regarded with a jaundiced eye, are not the objects and associations which make up the idea of home. He hears strange tales from trampers about an abundance of work in other places, and misguidedly he wanders, with or without his wife and children, in search of the imaginary spot. He travels from town to town, and subsists on the pittance which the trades allow, so long as he journeys to the south. His original feeling of independence has become weakened: its main prop has been removed. The apprehension of what the denizens of our little world may say, is frequently a powerful auxiliary to a steady and moral course of action. This houseless man, by leaving his native village, or his usual haunts in the crowded city, has deprived himself of this sustaining power; and he falls, morally and socially. Another, with less strength of body, is subdued by his privations, and receives that relief as a sufferer from low fever or incipient consumption, which was withheld from him while in health. All this is natural, and it is true in point of fact. The inference is, that no able-bodied applicant should be set to work, until [Pg 283]it formally and clearly appears from a statement of facts, in the relieving officer’s report book, that he is idle or drunken. In the regular order of business, the man would be charged with the fault by the chairman, and should be allowed the benefit of any doubt. The applicant may say, “I worked last for A. B. at ——, and I left with others when the job was finished.” Let him have relief without labour, until the fact is ascertained. And as a page is opened to each case in the report book, the statement resulting from the inquiry is recorded, and is either for, or against him. If he pleads for another chance, give it him. Let the labour be regarded in all cases as a dernier resort.

What work should be given? This is mainly a local question: a few general remarks may, however, be made. Under the old system, the out-door work done by paupers, gradually assimilated with that performed by independent labourers, and at last became undistinguishable. It appears to have been a practice, if a man alleged that he was unable to support his family, to set him to work; and the parishioners were required to employ the labour. Now, the parishioners already employed as much labour as they required, and the individuals they preferred, and the necessity of employing the pauper labour, had the effect of reducing the wages of the independent labourer: he was either employed less, or paid less. Thus the labourer, who by his industry, and the exercise of temperance and frugality, had saved, and was therefore in a position to weather a long and dreary winter, by the influence of this baneful system, was reduced to the level of the idle and intemperate. This evil maybe averted. The old abuses were attributable to the fact, that the several parishes and hamlets were so small, and so poor, as to, render it impossible to adopt any system of management. The work given should be hard work, and preserved as distinct as possible from that performed by the independent labourer; and, in course of time, a wholesome feeling of aversion would grow up respecting it, similar to that which was entertained against the workhouse, before it became the compulsory residence of the casually unfortunate, as well as of those who had sunk morally and socially. The work given should be public work; or work which has a remote reference to a private good, but which no individual under ordinary circumstances would perform. For example, there is stone-breaking, and the general preparation of materials for the repair of the highway; the levelling of hills, and the raising of valleys; the clearing of main ditches; the draining of mosses; the dredging of rivers; the reclaiming of lands from the waste, or the sea; the collecting of certain manures; the raising of embankments to prevent the overflow of rivers; the cleansing of streets and the performance of certain kinds of labour for union-houses and other institutions supported at the public expense; and if the highway trusts should be consolidated, and placed under competent management, it is likely that some of the labour required might be performed by paupers.

The labour done must be tasked and estimated. This is indispensable. To allow an able-bodied man to lie upon his back, and bask in the mid-day sun, while he lazily picks up grass and weeds with his outstretched hands, and throws it in the air, may be considered as employment; but to call it labour is absurd. Pauper labour is proverbially unproductive, i.e. it costs nearly its value in superintendence. But, if it is resorted to, it must be watched with care, or its introduction will be injurious. Now, during the last few years, a class of men have arisen from the labouring class, who might be found qualified to superintend this labour. Railway enterprise has developed a certain order of skill which might be rendered available. It is well known that the several miles of railway are divided into a number of contracts, which are again divided, and taken by sub-contractors, and the sub-division proceeds until yards of work are taken by the men who engage or govern the lower class of labourers. A similar class of men is to be found on the banks of rivers, who are known as gangers. Then there are discharged sergeants and corporals, and even privates, who can produce their discharge with a favourable report upon character endorsed[Pg 284] upon it. We know the severity of the army, in this particular. A discharge, with that portion of it cut off on which the endorsement favourable to the soldier’s character should have been, ought not to lead necessarily to the inference that his character has been bad in a civil point of view. But, if the endorsement exists, we may rest assured that he has been staid in his deportment, clean in his person, careful in the performance of his duty, and regular as regards time. The classes of sergeants and corporals have the additional advantage of being accustomed to order, as well as to obey. Discharged soldiers generally require an active employment, or they sink morally and socially. Men from this class might be selected with advantage.

But some may exclaim, what an expense! Possibly! It remains, however, to be seen whether the weight is not felt because the pressure is unequal. A guardian of an ancient parish and borough, in an agricultural district, observed the other day, “This new removal act is a serious matter to us,—as the cottars in the out-parishes die off, the cottages are pulled down, and this impoverished borough will have to support the children, because they reside here.” Of course, while the inducement to such proceedings exists, and the poor are compelled to support the poor, every attempt at permanent improvement will meet with either active opposition or passive resistance. Then, again, it is said, that as the manufacturing system has created a weak and dangerous population, and one likely to be suddenly impoverished by the vicissitudes of the system, they should be compelled to relieve it when those adverse periods arrive. Does the rating of the manufacturer bear any proportion to his capital, the extent of his business, or his profits? His poor-rate receipt records an inappreciable item of expenditure. The pressure of the rate is not upon him, but upon the householders of the suburbs where the poor reside. It is not just that the manufacturer who owns a mill, or he who merely owns a warehouse, and employs out-door work-people—that the dealer in money, the discounter, the various large agencies, the merchant who transacts his business in a single office and sends his ship all over the world, and the great carriers, because their business happens not to be rateable according to the law, should bear no greater burden than the shop-keepers in a great London thoroughfare. It is likely that there would be a temporary increase of expenditure; but then justice would be done to the aged, the infirm, and the sick. In this respect the expenditure would increase; but as regards the able-bodied there would be a reduction, and in this way: If a man is thrown out of work, and his habits being known, he is relieved; he is thereby sustained, and when work begins to abound he starts fairly. If he is compelled to sink, the chances are he will never rise. Every guardian in the kingdom knows, from personal observation, how difficult it is to dispose of a family which has been forced into the union-house, and has lost a home. It is confidently expected, if out-door relief, accompanied by labour, be given only to those able-bodied applicants who are known, from the facts of their history as officially reported, to be idle, dissolute, and intemperate;—if the labour required to be done be public work; if it be apportioned and tasked by judiciously chosen task-masters, and given to each individual at a low rate of prices, lower than those of ordinary labour, and paid in food, or even in lodging when specially applied for and deemed necessary,—then, as regards the able-bodied applicants, the nearest approach will have been made to a perfect system. And if the system here sketched, or rather if the hints which have been dropped from time to time in the progress of this article, be collected and arranged, it is believed, that inasmuch as they have reference to the moral principles of our nature, as well as to the physical condition of the pauper, they will operate beneficially upon the poor of England. And if it should appear, from the statistics officially reported by a minister in the regular exercise of his duty in parliament, that the number of poor receiving relief who belong to the first three classes have slightly increased, that report should be considered as highly satisfactory, and[Pg 285] not as a disclosure injurious to national honour. It is not a matter of which Englishmen ought to be ashamed, or a subject to be bewailed, that the aged, the infirm, and the sick among the very poor, are not allowed either to perish, or to have their cherished habits and associations destroyed. Then, as regards the class of widows, if it should appear that the numbers do not go on increasing in the ratio of deaths, but continue nearly stationary, the report would be still satisfactory; because the inference from it would be, that, as new cases have been added, old ones must have discontinued. And the report respecting the two great divisions of the able-bodied—those who are not set to do work, and those who are—would be pregnant with information. And lastly, that part of the report which discloses the number of cases which have not been distributed in the several classes, would be of great value, as indicating the quarter where the inspectors under the orders of Government might most advantageously make their inquiries.

The classes and orders of poor that ordinarily become chargeable to parishes have been commented upon; and a few of the peculiar traits have been sketched of that motley group, which cannot be classified in any other way, than as persons who, from their admitted idleness, ought to be set to labour; or as persons to whom the exaction of labour in return for relief would be detrimental,—and not only detrimental to their personal interests, but to those of society. We have also stirred up and exposed the dregs of society: an operation neither pleasant nor useful under ordinary circumstances. But our inquiries have been pathological. And it is the duty of the physician or surgeon to probe the wound, and examine minutely the abscess, and then to institute inquiries equally minute and more general into the habits and constitution of the patient. Then the physician may have occasion to comment, in the lecture-room, upon this class of diseases; and he would then show how many circumstances must be considered and estimated before the true mode of treatment can be known. And as quacks thrive upon ignorance and credulity, he might gratify the curious student by an exposition upon the facility with which imaginary cures might be effected. He might show that by the employment of quack medicines the diseased part might be made to assume the appearance of health. The abscess can be closed; but the corruption, of which the open wound was only the outlet, will still circulate through the system, deteriorate the blood, and at last seriously derange the vital organs. The reader will apply these remedies in the proper quarter. And then, as in the consideration of the first series of classes we had occasion to dwell mainly upon those characteristics of the poor which attract regard and sympathy, it became necessary, in order that the general idea might be in accordance with the general bearing of the facts, to conduct the reader into strange scenes, and among classes of human beings, which might otherwise have been disregarded or unknown. The reader now sees distinctly that which the clamour and clash of rigourists and universal-benevolence-men might have led him to overlook, viz.—that pauperism includes in its legions the most virtuous, the most vicious, the most industrious, and the most idle; and refers to decent, honest poverty as well as to squalid destitution. We may conclude by averring, that the tendency of an extended system of out-door relief, administered in the manner, and according to the principles laid down, would be, to raise one class from the state of pauperism,—to confront distresses which the complexity of civilised society, and the extension of the manufacturing systems have occasioned, boldly, firmly, and humanely,—to distinguish between the honest industrious poor, and the lazy vagabond—to give one a fair chance of obtaining employment, and to remove inducements from the other to prowl about and live upon the public. And if this can be in any degree attained, it will so far stand out in bold contrast to the doctrines of The Edinburgh Review, and the practice of the Poor-Law Commissioners, which have reference only to the health of the animal fibre, and not to the soul which gives it life.



[Pg 286]



From the Danish.


The Danish isles have such a pleasant, friendly, peaceful aspect, that, when carried by our imagination back to their origin, the idea of any violent shock of nature never enters into our thoughts. They seem neither to have been cast up by an earthquake, nor to have been formed by a flood, but rather to have gradually appeared from amid the subsiding ocean. Their plains are level and extensive, their hills few, small, and gently rounded. No steep precipices, no deep hollows remind one of the throes at Nature’s birth; the woods do not hang in savage grandeur on cloud-capt ridges, but stretch themselves, like living fences, around the fruitful fields. The brooks do not rush down in foaming cataracts, through deep and dark clefts, but glide, still and clear, among sedge and underwood. When, from the delightful Fyen, we pass over to Jutland, we seem, at first, only to have crossed a river, and can hardly be convinced that we are on the continent, so closely resembling and near akin with the islands is the aspect of the peninsula. But the further we penetrate, the greater is the change in the appearance of the country. The valleys are deeper, the hills steeper; the woods appear older and more decayed; many a rush-grown marsh, many a spot of earth covered with stunted heath, huge stones on the ridgy lands—every thing, in short, bears testimony to inferior culture, and scantier population. Narrow roads with deep wheel-ruts, and a high rising in the middle, indicate less traffic and intercourse among the inhabitants, whose dwellings towards the west appear more and more miserable, lower and lower, as if they crouched before the west wind’s violent assault. In proportion as the heaths appear more frequent and more extensive, the churches and villages are fewer and farther from each other. In the farm-yards, instead of wood, are to be seen stacks of turf; and instead of neat gardens, we find only kale-yards. Vast heath-covered marshes, neglected and turned to no account, tell us in intelligible language that there is a superabundance of them.

No boundaries, no rows of willows, mark the division of one man’s land from another’s. It appears as if all were still held in common. If, at length, we approach the hilly range of Jutland, vast flat heaths lie spread before us, at first literally strewn with barrows of the dead; but the number of which gradually decreases, so that it may reasonably be supposed that this tract had never, in former times, been cultivated. This high ridge of land, it is thought, and not improbably, was the part of the peninsula that first made its appearance, rising from the ocean and casting it on either side, where the waves, rolling down, washed up the hills and hollowed out the valleys. On the east side of this heath, appear, here, and there, some patches of stunted oaks, which may serve a compass to travellers, the tops of the trees being all bent towards the east. On the large heath-covered hills but little verdure is to be seen,—a solitary grass-plot, or a young asp, of which one asks, with surprise, how it came here? If a brook or river runs through the heath, no meadow, no bush indicates its presence: deep down between hollowed-out hills, it winds its lonely course, and with a speed as if it were hurrying out of the desert.

Across such a stream rode, one beautiful autumn-day, a young well-dressed man, towards a small field of rye, which the distant owner had manured by scraping off the surface, and burning it to ashes. He and his people were just in the act of reaping it, when the horseman approached[Pg 287] them, and inquired the road to the manor-house of Ansbjerg. The farmer, having first requited his question with another,—to wit, where did the traveller come from?—told him what he knew already, that he had missed his way; and then calling a boy who was binding the sheaves, ordered him to set the stranger in the right road. Before, however, the boy could begin to put this order in execution, a sight presented itself which, for a moment, drew all the attention both of the traveller and the harvest people. From the nearest heath-covered hill there came directly towards them, at full speed, a deer with a man on his back. The latter, a tall stout figure, clad in brown from head to foot, sat jammed in between the antlers of the crown-deer, which had cast them back, as these animals are wont to do when running. This extraordinary rider had apparently lost his hat in his progress, as his long dark hair flowed back from his head, like the mane of a horse in full gallop. His hand was in incessant motion, from his attempt to plunge a knife it held into the neck of the deer, but which the violent springs of the animal prevented him from hitting. When the deer-rider approached near enough to the astonished spectators, which was almost instantaneously, the farmer, at once recognising him, cried, “Hallo, Mads! where are you going to?”

“That you must ask the deer or the devil!” answered Mads; but before the answer could be completely uttered, he was already so far away, that the last words scarcely reached the ears of the inquirer. In a few seconds both man and deer vanished from the sight of the gazers.

“Who was that?” inquired the stranger, without turning his eyes from the direction in which the centaur had disappeared.

“It is a wild fellow called Mads Hansen, or Black Mads: he has a little hut on the other side of the brook. Times are hard with him: he has many children, I believe, and so he manages as he can. He comes sometimes on this side and takes a deer; but to-day it would seem that the deer had taken him: that is,” added he, thoughtfully, “if it really be a deer. God deliver us from all that is evil! but Mads is certainly a dare-devil fellow, though I know nothing but what is honourable and good of him. He shoots a head of deer now and then; but what matters that? there’s enough of them; far too many, indeed. There, you may see yourself how they have cropped the ears of my rye. But here have we Niels the game-keeper. Yes; you are tracking Black Mads. To-day he is better mounted than you are.”

While he was saying this, a hunter appeared in sight, coming towards them at a quick trot from the side where they had first seen the deer-rider. “Have you seen Black Mads?” cried he, before he came near them.

“We saw one, sure enough, riding on a deer, but can’t say whether he was black or white, or who it was; for he was away in such haste that we could hardly follow him with our eyes,” said the farmer.

“The fiend fetch him!” cried the huntsman, stopping his horse to let him take breath; “I saw him yonder in the Haverdal, where he was skulking about, watching after a deer. I placed myself behind a small rising, that I might not interrupt him. He fired, and a deer fell. Mads ran up, leaped across him to give him the death-blow, when the animal, on feeling the knife, rose suddenly up, squeezed Mads between his antlers—and hallo! I have got his gun, but would rather get himself.” With these words he put his horse into a trot, and hastened after the deer-stealer, with one gun before him on his saddle-bow, and another slung at his back.

The traveller, who was going in nearly the same direction, now set off with his guide, as fast as the latter could go at a jog-trot, after having thrown off his wooden shoes. They had proceeded little more than a mile, and had reached the summit of a hill, which sloped down towards a small river, when they got sight of the two riders. The first had arrived at the end of his fugitive course: the deer had fallen dead in the rivulet, at a spot where there was much shallow water. Its slayer, who had been standing across it, and struggling to free himself from its antlers, which[Pg 288] had worked themselves into his clothes, had just finished his labour and sprung on land, when the huntsman, who at first had taken a wrong direction, came riding past our traveller with the rein in one hand and the gun in the other. At a few yards’ distance from the unlucky deer-rider he stopped his horse, and with the comforting words, “Now, dog! thou shalt die,” deliberately took aim at him. “Hold! hold!” cried the delinquent, “don’t be too hasty, Niels! you are not hunting now; we can talk matters to rights.”

“No more prating,” answered the exasperated keeper, “thou shalt perish in thy misdeeds!”

“Niels, Niels!” cried Mads, “here are witnesses; you have now got me safe enough, I cannot go from you; why not take me to the manor-house, and let the owner do as he likes with me, and you will get good drink-money into the bargain.”

At this moment the traveller rode up, and cried out to the keeper, “For heaven’s sake, friend, do not commit a crime, but hear what the man has to say.”

“The man is a great offender,” said the keeper, uncocking his gun, and laying it across the pommel of his saddle, “but as the strange gentleman intercedes for him, I will give him his life. But thou art mad, Mads! for now thou wilt come to drive a barrow before thee[7] for the rest of thy life. If thou hadst let me shoot thee, all would now have been over.” Thereupon he put his horse into a trot, and the traveller, who was also going to Ansbjerg, kept them company.

They proceeded a considerable way without uttering a word, except that the keeper, from time to time, broke silence with an abusive term, or an oath. At length the deer-stealer began a new conversation, to which Niels made no answer, but whistled a tune, at the same time taking from his pocket a tobacco-pouch and pipe. Having filled his pipe, he endeavoured to strike a light, but the tinder would not catch.

“Let me help you,” said Mads, and without getting or waiting for an answer, struck fire in his own tinder, blew on it, and handed it to the keeper; but while the latter was in the act of taking it, he grasped the stock of the gun which lay across the pommel, dragged it with a powerful tug out of the strap, and sprang three steps backwards into the heather. All this was done with a rapidity beyond what could have been expected from the broad-shouldered, stout and somewhat elderly deer-stealer.

The poor gamekeeper, pale and trembling, roared with rage at his adversary, without the power of uttering a syllable.

“Light thy pipe,” said Mads, “the tinder will else be all burned out; perhaps it is no good exchange thou hast made; this is certainly better,—”here he patted the gun,—“but thou shalt have it again when thou givest me my own back.”

Niels instantly took the other from behind him, held it out to the deer-stealer with one hand, at the same time stretching forth the other to receive his own piece.

“Wait a moment,” said Mads, “thou shalt first promise me—but it is no matter, it is not very likely you’d keep it—though should you now and then hear a pop in the heather, don’t be so hasty, but think of to-day and of Mike Foxtail.” Turning then towards the traveller, “Does your horse stand fire?” said he, “Fire away,” exclaimed the latter. Mads held out the keeper’s gun with one hand, like a pistol, and fired it off; thereupon he took the flint from the cock, and returned the piece to his adversary, saying, “There, take your pop-gun; at any rate it shall do no more harm just yet. Farewell, and thanks for to-day.” With these words he slung his own piece over his shoulder, and went towards the spot where he had left the deer.

The keeper, whose tongue had hitherto been bound by a power like magic, now gave vent to his long-repressed indignation, in a volley of oaths and curses.

The traveller, whose sympathy had transferred itself from the escaped deer-stealer to the almost despairing game-keeper, endeavoured to comfort [Pg 289]him as far as lay in his power. “You have in reality lost nothing,” said he, “except the miserable satisfaction of rendering a man and all his family unhappy.”

“Lost nothing!” exclaimed the huntsman, “you don’t understand the matter. Lost nothing! The rascal has spoiled my good gun.”

“Load it, and put in another flint,” said the traveller.

“Pshaw!” answered Niels, “it will never more shoot hart or hare. It is bewitched, that I will swear; and if one remedy does not succeed—aha! there lies one licking the sunshine in the wheel-rut; he shall eat no young larks to-day.” Saying this, he stopped his horse, hastily put a flint in his gun, loaded it, and dismounted. The stranger, who was uninitiated in the craft of venery, and equally ignorant of its terminology and magic, also stopped to see what his companion was about to perform; while the latter, leading his horse, walked a few steps forward, and with the barrel of his piece poked about something that lay in his way, which the stranger now perceived to be an adder.

“Will you get in?” said the keeper, all the while thrusting with his gun at the serpent. At length, having got its head into the barrel, he held his piece up, and shook it until the adder was completely in. He then fired it off with its extraordinary loading, of which not an atom was more to be seen, and said, “If that won’t do, there is no one but Mads or Mike Foxtail who can set it to rights.”

The traveller smiled a little incredulously, as well at the witchcraft as at the singular way of dissolving it; but having already become acquainted with one of the sorcerers just named, he felt desirous to know a little about the other, who bore so uncommon and significant a name. In answer to his inquiry, the keeper, at the same time reloading his piece, related what follows:—“Mikkel, or Mike Foxtail, as they call him, because he entices all the foxes to him that are in the country, is a ten times worse character than even Black Mads. He can make himself hard.[8] Neither lead nor silver buttons make the slightest impression on him. I and master found him one day down in the dell yonder, with a deer he had just shot, and was in the act of flaying. We rode on till within twenty paces of him before he perceived us. Was Mike afraid, think you? He just turned round, and looked at us, and went on flaying the deer. ‘Pepper his hide, Niels,’ said master, ‘I will be answerable.’ I aimed a charge of deer-shot point-blank at his broad back, but he no more minded it than if I had shot at him with an alder pop-gun. The fellow only turned his face towards us for a moment, and again went on flaying. Master himself then shot; that had some effect; it just grazed the skin of his head: and then only, having first wrapped something round it, he took up his little rifle that lay on the ground, turned towards us, and said, ‘Now, my turn is come, and if you do not see about taking yourselves away, I shall try to make a hole in one of you.’ Such for a chap is Mike Foxtail.”


The two horsemen having reached Ansbjerg, entered the yard containing the outhouses, turned—the keeper leading the way—towards the stable, unsaddled their horses, and went thence through an alley of limes, which led to the court of the mansion. This consisted of three parts. The chief building on the left, two stories high, with a garret, gloried in the name of “tower”—apparently because it seems that no true manor-house[Pg 290] ought to be without such an appurtenance, and people are, as we all know, very often contented with a name. The central building, which was tiled, and consisted only of one story, was appropriated to the numerous domestics, from the steward down to the lowest stable-boy. The right was the bailiff’s dwelling. In a corner between the two stood the wooden horse, in those days as indispensable in a manor-house as the emblazoned shields over the principal entrance.

At the same instant that the gamekeeper opened the wicket leading into the court-yard of the mansion, a window was opened in the lowest story of the building occupied by the family, and a half-length figure appeared to view, which I consider it my duty to describe. The noble proprietor—for it was he whose portly person nearly filled the entire width of the large window—was clad in a dark green velvet vest, with a row of buttons reaching close up to the chin, large cuffs, and large buttons on the pockets; a coal-black peruke, with a single curl quite round it, completely concealed his hair. The portion of his dress that was to be seen consisted, therefore, of two simple pieces, but as his whole person will hereafter appear in sight, I will, to avoid repetition, proceed at once to describe the remainder. On the top of the peruke was a close-fitting green velvet cap with a deep projecting shade, nearly resembling those black caps which have been worn by priests even within the memory of man.[9] His lower man was protected by a pair of long wide boots with spurs; and a pair of black unutterables, of the kind still worn by a few old peasants, even in our own days, completed the visible part of his attire.

“Niels keeper!” cried the master. The party thus addressed, having shown his companion the door by which he was to enter, stepped, holding his little gray three-cornered hat in his hand, under the window, where the honourable and well-born proprietor gave audience to his domestics and the peasants on the estate, both in wet and dry weather. The keeper on these occasions had to conform to the same etiquette as all the others, though a less formal intercourse took place between master and man at the chase.

“Who was that?” began the former, giving a side-nod towards the corner where the stranger had entered.

“The new writing-lad, gracious sir,” was the answer.

“Is that all! I thought it had been somebody. What have you got there?” This last inquiry was accompanied by a nod at the gamekeeper’s pouch.

“An old cock and a pair of chickens, gracious sir!” (This “gracious sir,” we shall in future generally omit, begging the reader to suppose it repeated at the end of every answer.)

“That’s little for two days’ hunting. Is there no deer to come?”

“Not this time,” answered Niels sighing. “When poachers use deer to ride on, not one strays our way.”

This speech naturally called for an explanation; but as the reader is already in possession of it, we will, while it is being given, turn our attention to what was passing behind this gracious personage’s broad back.

Here stood, to wit, the young betrothed pair, Junker Kai and Fröken Mette.[10] The first, a handsome young man of about twenty-five, elegantly dressed and in the newest fashion of the time. To show with what weapons ladies’ hearts were in those days attacked and won, I must attempt to impart some idea of his exterior, beginning with the feet, that I may go on rising in my description: these, then, were protected by very broad-toed short boots, the wide legs of which fell down in many folds about his ankles; under these he wore white silk stockings, which were drawn up about a hand’s-breadth above the knees, and the tops of which were garnished with a row of the finest lace; next came a pair of [Pg 291]tight black velvet breeches, a small part only of which appeared in sight, the greater portion being concealed by the spacious flap of a waistcoat also of black velvet. A crimson coat with a row of large covered buttons, short sleeves, scarcely reaching to the wrists, but with cuffs turned back to the elbows, and confined by a hook over the breast, completed his outward decorations. His hair was combed back perfectly smooth, and tied in a long stiff queue close up in his neck. I should merit, and get but few thanks from my fair readers, if I did not with the same accuracy describe the dress of the honourable young lady, which may be considered under three principal divisions: firstly, the sharp-pointed, high-heeled, silver-buckled shoes; secondly, the little red, gold-laced cap, which came down with a sharp peak over the forehead, and concealed all the turned up hair; and thirdly, the long-waisted, sky-blue flowered damask gown, the wide sleeves of which, hardly reaching to the elbows, left the shoulders and neck bare, and—what may seem singular—was not laced; but Fröken Mette’s face was so strikingly beautiful, that, in looking at her, her dress might easily be forgotten.

These two comely personages stood there, as we have said, behind the old gentleman, hand in hand, and, as it seemed, engaged in a flirtation. The Junker from time to time protruded his pointed lips as if for a kiss, and the lady as often turned her face away, not exactly with displeasure, but with a roguish smile. The most singular thing was, that every time she bent her head aside, she peeped out into the court, where at the moment nothing was to be seen (for the gamekeeper stood too close under the window to be visible) but the wooden horse and the new writing-lad, who, the instant he entered the office, had placed himself at the open window. That this latter, notwithstanding the predicate “writing-lad,” was a remarkably handsome youth, it may seem strange to say, for, in the first place, he had a large scar above his cheek, and, in the second, he was clad wholly and solely as a writing-lad. It is needless to stay my narrative in portraying the mother of Fröken Mette, the good Fru[11] Kirsten, who was sitting in another window, and, with a smile of satisfaction, observing the amorous play of the two young people. The good old lady could with the greater reason rejoice at this match, as, from the beginning, it was entirely her own work. She had, as her gracious spouse in his hunting dialect jocosely expressed it, among a whole herd of Junkers scented out the fattest, and stuck a ticket on his foot. As the young gentleman was an only son, the heir to Palstrup, as well as many other lordships, the match was soon settled between the parents, and then announced to their children. The bridegroom, who was just returned from Paris when Fru Kirsten, in her husband’s phraseology, took him by the horn, was perfectly well inclined to the match, for which no thanks were due to him, as Fröken Mette was young, beautiful, an only child, and heiress to Ansbjerg, the deer, wild-boars, and pheasants of which were as good as those of Palstrup, while with respect to heath-fowl and ducks it was vastly superior. As to the bride, she was so completely under subjection to the will of her parents, that for the present we may leave it doubtful how far her own inclination was favourable to the Junker. We know, indeed, that the female heart usually prefers choosing for itself, and often rejects a suitor for no other reason than because he was chosen by the parents; though if Junker Kai had been first in the field we should not have been under any apprehension on his account.

When the keeper had recounted all his misfortunes, which he did not venture to conceal, as both the writing-lad and his guide, and probably also the deer-stealer himself, would have made it known, the harsh master, whose anger often bordered on frenzy, broke forth into the most hearty maledictions on the poacher, from which shower of unpropitious wishes a few drops fell on poor Niels, [Pg 292]who, out of fear of his master, was obliged to swallow his own equally well-meant oaths. As soon as the first fury of the storm had subsided and given place to common sense, a plan was devised for immediate and ample vengeance; the daring culprit should be seized, and, as he could now be easily convicted of deer-stealing, should be transferred to the hands of justice, and thence, after all due formalities, to Bremerholm. The difficulty was to catch him, for if he got but the slightest hint of his danger, he would, it was reasonable to imagine, instantly take to flight, and leave his wife and children in the lurch. The lord of the manor, who had been severely wounded in so tender a part, was for setting forth without a moment’s delay, as so much of the day was left, that before the appearance of night they might reach the hut of Black Mads. But the gracious lady, in whose revenge a surer plan and maturer consideration were always manifest, represented to her impetuous mate, that the darkness would also favour the culprit’s flight; or, if this were prevented, a desperate defence; it would therefore be better to march out a little after midnight, so that the whole armed force might invest and take the hut at break of day. This proposition was unanimously approved, and the Junker was invited to share in the peril and glory of the undertaking. The bailiff (who had just entered to announce the arrival of the new writing-lad, and to show a letter of recommendation brought by him from the bailiff at Vestervig) received orders to hold himself in readiness, together with the gardener, the steward, and the stable-boys, and also to order a peasant-cart to follow the march.


Who does not know—at least by name—the Nisse, the being whose waggeries almost all bear the stamp of good-humoured frolic? Who has not heard tell of his little rotund figure and his red Jacobin cap, the symbol of unrestricted liberty? Who knows not that the house he chooses as a dwelling, is perfectly safe from fire and other calamities? The Nisse is a true blessing to the habitation that he honours with his presence; it is secure against fire, storms, and thieves,—who, then, would take so greatly amiss the little fellow’s gambols? If he now and then takes out one of the horses and rides him till he is white with sweat, it is merely [Pg 293]for the sake of improving his action; if he milks a cow before the milk-maid is up, it is solely to get her into the habit of early rising; if he occasionally sucks an egg, cries “miou” with puss in the cock-loft, or oversets a utensil, who can be angry with him, or grudge, him his little dish of Christmas porridge, which no considerate housewife omits setting for him in a corner of the loft? It is only when this is neglected that his character assumes a slight dash of vindictiveness: for then the mistress of the house may be tolerably sure of having her porridge burnt, or her soup grouty; her beer will turn, or her milk will not cream, and she must not be surprised if she churn a whole day without getting butter.

Such a little domestic goblin had from time out of mind (and still has, for aught I know to the contrary,) his abode at Ansbjerg; though it seems probable that this was not his only habitation, as many years sometimes passed without a trace appearing of his existence. But just at the period in which the events recorded in our history took place, he began to resume his old pranks. The gardener from time to time missed some of his choicest flowers, or several of the largest and ripest peaches; but, what was most wonderful, these were often found in the morning in Fröken Mette’s chamber, whence it was reasonably concluded that the lady stood high in the good graces of the beforementioned Nisse. The grooms, moreover, declared that often during the night there seemed witchery among the horses, and that in the morning one of them would be found so jaded, that it would appear to have just come off a very long and rapid journey. They protested—and who could doubt it—that they had often been heard springing about the stable, but that on entering every thing was perfectly quiet. Once indeed they even got a glimpse of the portentous red cap, and afterwards took great care to meddle no farther in the concerns of the Nisse,—a very prudent resolve. Such unquestionable testimony failed not to make a deep impression on all the inmates of the mansion, particularly the womankind; even the gracious lord of the manor himself listened to these reports with a silence big with signification.

Such was the state of things when the expedition against Black Mads was undertaken, which formed an epoch in the history of Ansbjerg, and was used for many years after as an era in the dating of events, as, “that happened in the year we went in search of Black Mads; that was two or three years after,” &c. &c. In anxious expectation those left behind waited the whole day for the return of the army of execution. Noon came, evening, midnight; but still not one of the party appeared. They at home comforted themselves with the supposition, that the delinquent, after his capture, might have been conducted to Viborg, in which case the whole day might easily have been spent, and after so wearying a march, it was but right that the troops should get an evening’s refreshment, and a night’s rest, in the town. On the strength of this extremely reasonable hypothesis, both mistress and domestics went to bed, one servant only remaining up. At length, about an hour after midnight, came Junker Kai and his groom. But before I proceed further, it will be desirable to explain the cause of his late arrival, and of the continued absence of the rest of the party.

The poacher’s hut, which he had himself erected in a remarkably simple style, with walls of green turf, and a covering of heather, which rested unconfined on crooked oak branches set together like the timbers of a roof, had, considered as a fortress, an advantageous position. In the centre of a moor, about eight miles in circuit, arose a little eminence, which not even the most rapid thaw ever placed under water, and which, to a horseman at least, was inaccessible, except along a narrow strip of land, which wound among turf-pits and gushing springs. On this spot Black Mads had raised his Arcadian abode, where, with a wife and five children, he lived by hunting. The larger game was eaten fresh, salted, or smoked; the smaller he sold under the rose, together with the deer and fox-skins, and with the money thus gained bought bread and other eatables. Milk the wife and children begged from the neighbouring peasants.

[Pg 294]Just as the day was beginning to peep forth, the Lord of Ansbjerg approached the moor at the head of his troop. Niels gamekeeper, who was well acquainted with the country, now rode forwards, and led the entire united force in safety to the spot where the hut ought to have stood. With consternation he looked in every direction: no hut was to be seen; and yet it was already so light, that, if there, no one could avoid seeing it. The first thing he had recourse to—his usual refuge in all times of affliction and perplexity—was a long and energetic malediction. His gracious lord, who at this moment approached for the purpose of learning the cause of so cordial an outpouring, gave his keeper an equally cordial morning salutation, and maintained that he had mistaken the road and led them all astray. But Niels, who was confident on the point, assured him, and even called a dozen black angels to witness, that the hut stood there, but that Mads had most probably rendered it invisible, no doubt with the assistance of his good friend with the horse’s foot;[13] for it was beyond all doubt that he understood what the common people call “at hverre syn.” His master was just on the point of coinciding in this opinion as the most rational, when the Junker, who had ridden further forwards, cried, “Here is fire!” All now hurried to the spot; and it was soon discovered that the entire hut lay in ashes, the glowing embers of which here and there still glimmered. This discovery led Niels to the conclusion, that the aforesaid long-tailed personage had carried the poacher off, together with his whole brood; while the Junker, on the other hand, was of opinion, that Black Mads himself had set fire to the hut, and then fled. During these debates it had become broad day-light, when a closer examination of the spot was undertaken, though nothing was found but ashes, embers, charcoal, and burnt bones, which the huntsmen pronounced to be those of deer. In accordance with the Junker’s hypothesis, it was resolved to search the neighbouring heath, as the fugitive, with his family and baggage, could not possibly have reached any considerable distance. They, therefore, divided themselves into four bodies. The Junker, with his own and another servant, took an eastern direction, probably that he might be the nearer to Ansbjerg and his beloved; but all his endeavours proved fruitless. It was to no purpose that he hurried to and fro, and exhausted himself, his attendants, and his horses. Sometimes he fancied that he saw something moving in the distance, but which, on a nearer view, appeared to be sheep grazing, or a stack of turf. Once, indeed, he was certain that he perceived people about the spot on which the German church now stands; but, by degrees, the nearer they approached, the forms became more and more indistinct, until they at length wholly disappeared. Amid the preparations for this unlucky expedition, a supply of provisions—that necessary basis of heroism—had, as it sometimes happens in greater wars, been entirely forgotten. A third part of the Junker’s division was, therefore, despatched to supply the omission; but as the man, on the approach of evening, had not returned, the half-famished Junker resolved on turning his face homewards. This resolve, however, was more easily adopted than executed. The horses were as exhausted and faint as their riders. Matters, therefore, proceeded but slowly; and they were unable to wend their way out of the heath before darkness came on. The consequence was, that they lost their road, and did not reach Ansbjerg till after midnight.

To avoid retrograding in my narrative, I will just briefly mention, that the other three divisions met with a share of luck equally slender: not one of them found what they sought. In vain did they traverse every turf-moor; in vain descend into every dell, or mount every rising; in vain did they seek through all the neighbouring villages and farms—no one had seen or heard of Black Mads. Day was drawing to a close, and a night’s lodging was to be provided. The Lord of Ansbjerg himself landed on [Pg 295]Rydhauge, whence, after two days’ successful sport in shooting heath-fowl, he returned to his home.

The fatigued Junker had scarcely satisfied the cravings of hunger before he began seriously to think of doing like justice to those of drowsiness, and therefore ordered his servant to light him to his sleeping-room. It happened, however, as the latter was in the act of opening the door, that he snapt the key in two, so that a part remained fixed in the lock. To wrench it off required a crow and hammer; and then the noise caused by this operation would wake the whole house. For to what end had he hitherto been so quiet, but that he might not disturb the ladies’ repose? and had even been contented with a morsel of cold meat, which his servant had succeeded in procuring for him. In such dilemmas, the first suggestion generally proves the best; and on this occasion the servant was provided with one.

“The tower-chamber,” said he, in a half-suppressed voice, and casting a look of doubt on his master. At the name of this well-known, though ill-famed apartment, a slight shudder passed over the Junker, but he strove to conceal his fear both from the servant and himself, with a forced smile, and with the question, tittered in a tone of indifference, whether the bed there was in order for sleeping?

The answer was in the affirmative, as the gracious lady always had the bed in this chamber held in readiness, although it had never been used within the memory of man. As she kept the keys of all the other spare bed-chambers—a precaution quite needless with the one we speak of, which contained only a bed, two chairs and a table, and was, moreover, by its ghostly visiters, considered as sufficiently secured against depredations—no excuse nor objection could be made. The Junker, therefore, suffered himself to be conducted to the formidable apartment; and the servant having assisted him to undress, left a light on the table, took his departure, and closed the door after him.

It was a darkish autumnal night. The waning moon was approaching her last quarter, her curved half disc stood deep in the heavens, and shone in at the chamber’s one high and narrow bow-window; the wind was up; small clouds drifted in rapid, almost measured time over the moon. Their shadows glided, as it were, like figures in the magic lantern, along the white wall, and vanished in the fire-place. The leaden window flames clattered with each gust, which piped and whistled through the small loose panes; it thundered in the chimney; the chamber door rattled. Junker Kai was no coward, his heart was set pretty near the right place; he dared to meet his man, ride his horse, had it even been a Bucephalus; in short, he feared no living, or, more correctly speaking, no bodily creature; but spirits he held in most awful respect. The time and circumstances, but more particularly the bad reputation of the chamber, set his blood in quicker motion; and all the old ghost-stories presented themselves unbidden before his excited imagination. Phantasus and Morpheus contended for possession of him: the first had the advantage. He did not venture to shut his eyes, but stared unceasingly on the opposite wall, where the shapeless shadows seemed gradually to assume form and meaning. Under such circumstances, it is a comfort to have one’s back free, and all one’s foes in front. He therefore sat up, dashed aside the curtain at the bed’s head, and cast a glance backwards. The bed stood in a corner; at the foot was the window; opposite the side of the bed was the plain wall, the fire-place, and beyond that the door. His eyes glided along to the wall behind him, where hung an ancient portrait of a doughty knight in plate armour, with a face in form and dimensions resembling a large pumpkin, and shadowed with dark thick locks. On this his anxious looks were fixed. It appeared and vanished alternately, as the clouds passed from or covered the face of the moon. In the first case, the countenance seemed to expand itself into a smile, in the latter, to shrink into a gloomy seriousness. It might possibly, thought he, be the spirit of a former possessor of the manor, which now, after the extinction of his race, had taken possession of this remote apartment. Like the shadows on the wall, courage and fear chased each[Pg 296] other in the Junker’s soul; at length courage having gained the mastery, he lay down and delivered himself into the power of Morpheus.

He had hardly slumbered more than half-an-hour, when he was waked by a noise like that caused by the opening of a rusty lock. He involuntarily opened his eyes, which fell on the opposite door, where a white figure appeared and vanished almost at the same instant. The door was then shut with a soft creaking. A shivering sensation passed over him. He, nevertheless, continued master of his terror, his cooler reason had not quite succumbed under the powers of imagination. It was probably the servant, thought he, who, although undressed, wished to see if the light were extinguished. Somewhat tranquilised by this supposition, he withdrew his looks from the door, but now perceived before the window the dark upper half of a human figure. The outline of the head and shoulders was perfectly distinguishable. The Junker’s courage now forsook him; but what was to be done? flight was not to be thought of, for if he would escape by the door, by which the white figure had disappeared, he might again encounter it; the window was out of the question, and other outlets he had not noticed. His natural courage rose again to a pitch that enabled him to cry out, “Who is there?” At this exclamation, the figure seemed to turn quickly round, but made no answer; and after some moments sank down slowly under the window, and nothing more was afterwards to be seen or heard. No be-nighted wanderer could long more heartily for day-light than our poor Junker: he did not venture to close his eyes again, fearing, when he opened them, he should see something appalling. He looked alternately towards the door, the fire-place, and the window, in painful expectation; he listened with the most intense anxiety, but heard nothing save the howling of the wind, the rattling of the windows, and his own breathing. Day at length broke forth, and as soon as it was sufficiently light to distinguish the several objects in the chamber, he arose and examined every thing with the utmost attention. In vain, he found not a trace of his nightly visiters. Having thus paid dearly for his experience, he hastened to leave this unquiet lodging, with the sincere resolve of never more passing a night in the haunted chamber.

As soon as the family met at breakfast, and the Junker had given an account of their fruitless expedition, the lady of the house put to him the very natural question, How he had slept after so much fatigue?

“Quite well,” was the answer.

The Fröken smiled. “I think you slept in the tower-chamber,” said she.

The Junker acknowledged he had; but, being desirous of concealing his fright from his intended, he deemed it advisable flatly to deny his nocturnal acquaintances, while the young lady seemed equally bent on extorting a confession from him. She assured him that she could see by his eyes he had not slept, and that he looked uncommonly pale; but he declared the ill-famed chamber to have acquired its character unjustly, and added, she might very safely sleep there herself if she only had the courage.

“I think,” said she, laughing, “that I shall one night make the trial of it.” The subject was now dropt, and the conversation turned to other matters.

After the old gentleman’s return, a few days passed before any further mention was made of the tower-chamber; for, in the first place, every one was fully occupied in devising, setting forth, and passing judgment on the several ways by which Black Mads might have been captured, as well as in forming the most plausible conjectures as to his actual whereabout; and, secondly, much time was consumed in accurately and circumstantially describing the two days’ sport at Rydhauge. This copious topic being also exhausted,—that is, when the history of each bird, hit or missed, had been related, satisfactory reasons alleged for each miss, sagacious comparisons made between dogs and guns, &c. &c.,—Fröken Mette began to lead the conversation to the subject of the haunted chamber, by informing her father of the night passed therein by her intended; at the same time playfully directing his attention to the seriousness of the[Pg 297] latter. In this second examination he had two inquisitors to answer, of whom the young lady pressed him so unmercifully by her arch bantering, that he at length found it advisable to recall his former denial, and confess that he was not particularly desirous of sleeping there again.

“Is it becoming a cavalier,” said Mette, “to be afraid of a shadow? I am but a woman, and yet I dare undertake the adventure.”

“I will stake my Sorrel,” answered the Junker, “that you will not try it.”

“I will wager my Dun against it,” cried Mette.

It was believed that she was in jest; but as she obstinately insisted on adhering to the wager, both her lover and father strove to dissuade her from so hazardous an enterprise. She was inflexible. The Junker now considered it his duty to make a full confession. The old man shook his head; Fröken Mette laughed, and maintained he had dreamed, and, in order to convince him that he had, she felt herself the more bound to fulfil her engagement. The father, whose paternal pride was flattered by the courage of his daughter, now gave his consent; and all that Junker Kai could obtain was, that a bell-rope should be brought close to the bed, and that her waiting-maid should lie in the same chamber. Mette, on the other hand, stipulated, that all persons in the house should continue in their beds, that it might not afterwards be said they had frightened away the spectre; and that no one should have a light after eleven o’clock. Her father and the Junker would take up their quarters for the night in the so-called gilded chamber, which was separated from the tower-chamber only by a long passage. In this room hung the bell with which, in case of need, the young lady was to sound an alarm. The mother, no less heroic than the daughter, readily gave her consent to the adventure, the execution of which was fixed for the following night.


Throughout this momentous night, which was to fix the future lot of the Isabel, or Dun, and the Sorrel, neither family nor domestics enjoyed much sleep: all lay in anxious expectation of the extraordinary things that were likely to come to pass. Mewing of cats, screeching of owls, barking of dogs, drove the dustman[14] away every time he came sneaking in. The stable-boys heard the horses pant, snort, and kick; to the bailiff it seemed as if sacks were being dragged about the granary; the dairy-maid declared it was precisely like the noise of churning; and the housekeeper heard, plainly enough, a sort of rummaging in the pantry. Nor did sleep find its way into the gilded chamber. The lord of the manor and the Junker lay silent, from time to time casting a look at the little silver bell that hung between them; but it was mute, and so continued to be. When the tower-clock struck one, the Junker began to regard his wager as half-lost; but comforted himself with the reflection, that a loss to one’s wife is merely a transfer from one hand to the other. In short, the night passed, and—as far as the tower-chamber was concerned—as quietly as if there had never been ghost or goblin in the world. With the first discernible peep of day-light, both the half-undressed gentlemen rose, and hastened, with a morning greeting, to the bold layer of spirits. They tapped at the door,—no “Come in.” “They must both still be asleep.” Papa opened the door—they entered—the lady’s bed was deserted and the bed-clothes cast aside. “Bravo,” cried the Junker, “she has taken flight and the Dun is mine.” The old man did not utter a syllable, but proceeded to the servant’s bed, where no one was to be seen; but, on raising the clothes, she appeared to view, with a face like crimson, and in a state of profuse perspiration. To her master’s first eager inquiry she returned no [Pg 298]answer, but stared at them both with a bewildered half-frantic look. Having at length recovered the faculty of speech, she informed them, in broken and unconnected sentences, that, soon after midnight, she had seen a terrific spectre come through the wall. In her fright she had buried herself under the bed-clothes, and had not afterwards ventured to raise them; of what subsequently took place she knew nothing. This, however, did not long continue a mystery, for the window was open, and under it stood a ladder—Fröken Mette had been carried off, but by whom?

What an uproar was now in the mansion! what outcry, screaming, and maledictions without object—questions without answer! “After them!” was the first order, both of father and lover; but in what direction? The mother, the most sagacious of them all, proposed a general muster of the whole household, which the father undertook to carry into effect personally. Having, therefore, summoned each living being by name, he declared that no one was missing. The whole assembled corps were of the same opinion, until Fru Kirsten exclaimed, “Where is the writing lad?” “The writing lad! the writing lad!” now resounded from every mouth. They looked around—looked at each other—no! no writing lad was there. The bailiff, with two or three others, went over to the writing-room, and the master cried to the stable-boys, “Saddle the horses and bring them to the gate like thunder and lightning!” The bailiff soon returned, with a rueful countenance, and almost breathless, with the intelligence, that the missing sheep must actually have decamped, for the bed showed plainly that no one had slept in it that night; nor were his spurs or riding-whip to be found. At the same instant, one of the stable-boys came running with the news, that the Dun was away. All now stood as petrified, speechless and looking at each other, until Fru Kirsten broke the silence. “Our Fröken daughter,” said she, “cannot have been carried off by a writing-boy; he only came sneaking here as a spy. If I greatly err not, the robber is from the west; see, therefore, if you cannot trace them on the road to Vium, and now away! It is even yet possible to overtake them, for the Dun cannot have gone any great distance with two.” Her surmise was correct; on the road she mentioned, traces of a quick-trotting horse were plainly to be seen; and, as a further proof, not far from the mansion, a bow was found, and, a little further, a glove, both belonging to Fröken Mette.

Armed with guns, pistols, and swords, master, Junker, bailiff, and gamekeeper, with four other well equipped men, hastened away in chase of the fugitives, while Fru Kirsten exclaimed, “After them! Bring them back dead or alive!” We will now accompany the lord of Ansbjerg a little way on his second expedition. As far as Vium, the traces were visible enough; but here they would have been lost, if a peasant, of whom they made inquiry, had not informed them, that about two hours before daybreak he had heard the tramp of a horse leaving the town in a westward direction. Profiting by this intelligence, they soon recovered the track, which continued in the same direction by the inn at Hvam. Here they learned that, about two hours before, the dogs had made a great disturbance. The speed of the fugitives, therefore, it was now evident, had began to slacken, as might also be seen by the traces. The pursuers had reached Sjörup, where a man, standing before the mansion, had heard a horse pass by, and thought he could discern two persons on it. Now the track was at an end; here were many roads, all with deep narrow wheel-ruts; which was the one to follow? The fugitives had followed none of them, probably from fear that the horse might fall, but had ridden among the heath. The pursuers now halted to hold a consultation. Of three high roads, one followed a north-west, one a south-west direction, the third lay between them. While these, one after another, were under consideration, the conversation turned on the great event of the night, and particularly on the suspicious writing-lad. One of the men remarked, that it occurred to him that he had seen the youth before, though he could not[Pg 299] just then recollect where. Another had seen a stranger a few days previously speaking with him privately in the wood, and he thought the stranger addressed him twice by the title of Cornet. Now a sudden light burst in upon the old gentleman. “Ha!” exclaimed he, “then let us take the middle road leading to Vestervig. I dare swear that the writing-lad is no other than the Major’s third son, who is a Cornet in the cuirassiers. I remember that Fru Kirsten once cautioned me against him, and said that he came prowling after Fröken Mette. And you,” cried he to the bailiff, “yourself saw the handwriting of the bailiff at Vestervig. Either he has made fools of us all, or the letter was forged. And all the while he was so still, orderly, and diligent, so courteous, and so humble, that I could never have imagined he was of noble race.” Then putting his horse into a trot, “He who first gets sight of the runaways,” said he, “shall have three crowns.” The troop had about six miles to ride before they could reach the ford through the rivulet at Karup; in the meanwhile, therefore, with our reader’s leave, I will hasten forward to our fugitives, who have just reached the opposite side. The poor Dun, exhausted under her double burden, and with the first four or five miles’ hurried flight, walked slowly and tottering up the heath-covered bank. The Cornet—for it really was he—from time to time cast an anxious look backwards, and at each time gained a kiss from his dear Mette, who sat behind him, holding him fast round the waist. “Do you yet see nothing?” she asked, in a tone of anxiety, for she herself did not dare to look round. “Nothing yet,” answered he; “but I fear—the sun is already a little above the horizon—they must be on the road in pursuit of us. If the mare could but hold out.” “But where is your brother’s carriage?” asked she, after a pause.

“It ought to have met us by the rivulet at day-break; nor can I imagine what detains it, for my brother promised to send his young Hungarian servant with it, whose life I saved five years ago in the war with the Turks, when I received this sabre cut in the face. That he is not here is perfectly inexplicable. We have still eight miles before we get out of the heath.”

While he was thus speaking, they had reached the top of the bank, and the great west heath lay spread out before them like a vast sea; but no carriage, no living being was to be seen. The Cornet stopped to let the mare take breath, at the same time making a half turn, the more easily to survey that part of the heath that lay behind them. This was also naked and desolate; nothing was there to be seen save a few scattered turf stacks, nothing to be heard but the cry of the heathcock, the rushing of the rivulet, the panting of the mare, and their own sighs. Awhile they thus remained, until the Fröken broke silence with the question, “Is there not something moving yonder?” She uttered this in a suppressed voice, as if she feared it would be heard on the other side of the waste.

“There is no time for staying longer,” answered he; “I am fearful it is your father who is coming yonder.” With these words, he turned again towards the west.

“Oh! my father,” exclaimed Mette sighing, and at the same time clasping her lover still more closely.

He again looked round. “They seem to draw nearer,” said he; “if I urge on the mare, I fear she will fall.” They rode onwards a short distance, he with an oppressed, she with an anxiously throbbing heart.

“I must walk,” cried he, and dismounted, “that will so far help; do not look back, dearest girl.”

“Ah heaven! can it be our pursuers?”

“There are seven or eight of them, as far as I can discern.”

“How far off may they be?” asked Mette again.

“Scarcely more than two miles,” he replied, and notwithstanding his admonition she again looked back.

“I see no one,” said she.

“Nor do I at this moment,” he answered, “they are most probably down in a valley: one is just now making his appearance, and now another. Come, come, poor Bel,” cried he, drawing the mare after him, “you are accustomed at other times to carry an arched neck, and to lift your feet[Pg 300] high enough; now you drag them along the ground, and stretch out your neck like a fish when it is being hauled out of the water.”

After a pause, the Fröken asked, “Can they see us?”

“They ride point blank after us,” answered the Cornet, “and gain more and more upon us.”

“Heavens! if they overtake us, I fear my father will kill you, dearest Holger! but I will shield you with my weak body, for I cannot outlive you.”

During these painful, interrupted conversations, they had travelled about two miles from the rivulet, across the western heath. Their pursuers were already close to the east bank, and might be both distinguished and counted. The apprehension of the fugitives was rapidly passing into despair; there seemed not a gleam of hope. The Cornet vied with the mare in panting, the Fröken wept. At this moment, a tall man clad in brown, with a gun in one hand, and a low-crowned hat in the other, started up before them out of the high heather. The fugitives made a stand. “Who is there? Where are you from?” cried the Cornet, in a military tone.

“From there,” answered the man, “where the houses stand out of doors, and the geese go barefoot. And where are you from? and where are you going? But stop, have not we two seen each other before? Are you not the person who lately begged for me, when Niels keeper would have laid me sprawling?”

“Black Mads!” exclaimed the Cornet.

“So they call me,” answered the poacher; “but how happens it that I meet you here so early with such a pretty companion? You have also apparently been out poaching. If I can help you in any way, let me know.” “In time of need,” said the Cornet, “the first friend is the best. I am the Major’s son at Vestervig, and have been fetching a bride from Ansbjerg. Her father and a whole troop of horse are after us. If you can save or conceal us, I will be grateful while I live; but it must be instantly, for they are on the other side of the rivulet.”

Holding his hat before his eyes on account of the sun, Mads exclaimed, “Faith! here we have him sure enough, with all his people. Kinsmen are hardest towards kinsmen, as the fox said, when the red dogs were after him. If you will promise never to make known the place to which I take you, I will try to hit upon some plan.”

The Fröken promised, and the Cornet swore.

“Hear then, children,” continued he, “they are just now riding along the bank on the opposite side of the rivulet; before they can arrive on this side, a good time must pass; and they cannot see what we are about. In the mean while we will set up a hedge for them that they will not so easily jump over.” Saying these words, he laid down his gun, drew forth his tinder-box and struck fire. He then rubbed two or three handfuls of dry moss together, placed the tinder-box among it, blew till he caused it to blaze, then cast it down into the midst of the heather, where, after crackling and smoking for a few seconds, the fire spread itself in all directions. While engaged in this occupation, the object of which was not immediately manifest to the fugitives, Black Mads did not cease giving vent to his thoughts in the following broken sentences:—“The wind is with us, the heather’s dry; now Niels keeper can soon get a light for his pipe—it is the second time he has had the benefit of my tinder-box; the man will, no doubt, curse and swagger about the heath-fowl, because I roast them without basting; but need knows no law, and a brave fellow takes care of himself. See now! it’s beginning to smoulder.” With these words he rose, and said to the Cornet, “Do now as you see I do, pull up a head of heather, set fire to it, run ten paces towards the north, and fire the heath; then pull up another, run, and again set fire, all towards the north, till you approach that little heath-hill yonder two or three gunshots distant. I will do the same towards the south, and then we will run as quickly back. The Fröken can in the mean time stay here with the horse. It will soon be done: now let us begin! Light before and dark behind.” With this formula the poacher commenced[Pg 301] his operations. The Cornet followed his instructions, and soon a tract of heath, two miles in breadth, stood in a blaze, and both incendiaries immediately rejoined the trembling Fröken.

“We have now earned our breakfast!” cried Mads, “be so good as follow me, and put up with very humble accommodation—but what can we do with this?” he gave the mare a slap with his open hand, “Can you find your way home alone?”

“O,” said the Fröken, “she follows me wherever I go.”

“No, that she certainly must not, for she would betray us: the door of my house is too narrow for her to enter, and we dare not let her stand without. You are too good to suffer harm,” said he to the mare, while taking off the saddle and pillion, “but every one is nearest to himself.”

The Cornet, who saw his design, took his mistress by the hand and led her some stops aside, as if to place her beyond the range of the conflagration. The poacher took his piece, cocked it, went up to the side of the mare, held it behind her ear, and fired. The Fröken turned round with a shriek of horror, just in time to see her poor Dun, sinking down among the heather. Tears of pity flowed down the pale cheeks of the sorrowful girl.

“The jade is as dead as a herring,” cried Mads, by way of comforting her; “she did not even hear the report.”

He then took off the bridle, laid saddle and pillion on one shoulder, his gun on the other, and began to move onwards, at the same time encouraging the lovers to follow as fast as they could, with the grateful intelligence that his castle lay at no great distance.

“Only don’t look behind you,” added he, at the same time quickening his pace, “but think of Lot’s wife.”

The Fröken, though in a riding habit,[15] was unable to go so fast through the tall heather. She frequently stumbled and entangled herself in the branches. The Cornet, therefore, without waiting for permission, took her in his arms, and, notwithstanding her reluctance, bore her away.

“Now we are at home,” at length cried their conductor, at the same time flinging saddle and package at the foot of a little heath-grown hill.

“Where,” cried the Cornet, also relieving himself of his burden. He looked around without discovering any thing bearing the remotest resemblance to a human habitation. A suspicion darted rapidly into his mind; but for a moment only. Had the man been a murderous robber, he could long ago have executed his villanous purpose without any risk of resistance, as long as he himself had literally both hands full.

“Here,” answered the poacher; at the same time raising a very broad piece of turf and laying it aside, he said, “Some days since I lived above ground, there I might not remain; but it is a poor mouse that has but one hole.” While saying this, he lifted and laid aside four or five stones, each as large as a strong man could carry, and now an opening was disclosed to view sufficiently wide for a person to creep into it.

“It looks as if they had been digging out foxes here,” said the Cornet.

“So it should look,” answered Mads; “but before we go in, we will just see around us, not on account of the Ansbjerg folks, who cannot yet have passed by the fire, but there might possibly be others in the neighbourhood.” They looked on every side: to the south, west, and north, not a living being was to be seen, and all the eastern quarter was hidden in clouds of smoke so dense that the beams of the morning sun were unable to penetrate them.

“Have the kindness to stoop,” said Mads, while he himself crept in on all fours, “and just follow me. The door is low, but the place will very well hold us; I will bring your baggage in instantly.”

With some difficulty they followed their conductor, and soon found themselves in the subterranean dwelling, a spacious apartment, the walls of which were composed of huge unhewn [Pg 302]stones, and the roof of beams laid close to each other, from which hung a lamp, whose faint light but imperfectly illumined the objects present. On the one side were two beds, a larger and a smaller; on the other a bench, a table, two or three chairs, a chest, and two hanging presses. In the smaller bed lay three naked children, who, on the entrance of the strangers, dived, like so many young wild ducks, under the covering. On the side of the large bed sat Lisbeth, alias Madame Mads, knitting a stocking, which in her astonishment she let fall with both hands into her lap. At the end of the table stood a little red-haired man, clad in skin from his chin to his knees, whom the host introduced to his guest as his good friend Mikkel Foxtail. “We were once digging here,” added he, smiling, and pointing to Mikkel, “after his half-brother,[16] and so found this nook. Mike thinks it has been a robber’s cave in former times; but it may also have been some old warrior’s burial-place, for there stood there two or three black pots with bones and ashes in them.” At the name of “robber’s cave,” a shudder passed over all the Fröken’s frame: her lover observing it, said in French, “Fear not, my dearest, here we are secure; but it pains me that the first habitation into which I conduct you, should inspire you with horror and disgust.”

“I will show you all my conveniences and luxuries,” continued the poacher, at the same time opening a door in the background. “There is my kitchen, where we dare have fire only in the night; here is also my dining-room,” added he, pointing to a salting trough and some legs of venison that were hung to smoke over the fire-place. “Bread and meat I have also got, and I bought a drop of mead in Viborg with the last deer-skin.” With these words, he set a stone bottle and a wooden dish, with the aforesaid provisions on the table. “Eat and drink as much as you desire, and of whatever the house affords; and when you wish to depart, you shall have a trustworthy guide.”

The Cornet pressed the hand of the honest Troglodyte, and said, “At the present moment I have nothing to offer you but my thanks—”

“I require nothing,” said Black Mads, interrupting him; “but promise me only that you will never betray me or my cave.”

With the most solemn assurances, this promise was given; and the lovers now partook of a breakfast, to which hunger and joy at their safety imparted a double relish.

At the suggestion of their host, they resolved on waiting till evening, before they again entered on their interrupted journey. In the meantime, Mikkel offered to go out and reconnoitre; both to watch the pursuers, and make inquiry after the carriage from Vestervig. The first time he went no further than the opening of the cavern, from whence he informed them, that the party had ridden round the burnt space, and, in two divisions, proceeded westwards. Some hours after, he ventured out a short distance on the heath, and returned with the intelligence, that they had now taken a north-west direction, and that the heath would most probably be quite safe, as they could not suspect that the fugitives were still on it, and had no doubt been led out of the right track by false information. A little past noon Mads and Mikkel went out together, the latter to order a conveyance in one of the villages lying to the west. After an hour had passed, Mads returned with the intelligence that he had met with a young fellow who appeared to him somewhat suspicious, and who from his accent seemed to be a German. He inquired the way to the inn at Hvam, and whether some travellers had not passed by in the course of the day. From the description of the young man’s person and dress, the Cornet felt convinced that it was his brother’s Hungarian servant. They therefore both went out, and were so fortunate as to overtake him about a mile from the cave. We will not detain the reader with the Hungarian’s account relative to the non-appearance of the carriage, but merely mention, that both he and the coachman had mistaken for Karup rivulet that which runs some miles to the west, and [Pg 303]where the carriage was then waiting. With equal brevity, we will further remark, that a little before noon he had been stopped and interrogated by the pursuers, and that he had not only skilfully extricated himself out of this examination, but had sent them in a direction which he rightly judged would not lead them into the track of the fugitives, of whose fate, however, he was in a state of the most painful uncertainty.

The next morning, the Cornet and his fair companion arrived safe at Vestervig, where they became man and wife, and obtained from his elder brother, the owner of the estate, a small country house at Thye for their habitation. Junker Kai got at first a galling disappointment, and secondly, after the lapse of a twelve-month, a still richer Fröken from the Isle of Fyen. The lord of Ansbjerg and his lady washed their hands clean of their daughter, and, notwithstanding the humble and penitent letters of her and her husband, were not to be reconciled.


Near the west end of Ansbjerg wood there is an open space, consisting of an extensive green, entirely surrounded by old venerable beeches. Annually, on the first afternoon of Whitsuntide, the greater part of the inhabitants of the neighbouring parishes are accustomed to assemble at this spot. On that day many houses stand empty, and in many are left only the blind and the bed-ridden; for the halt and crippled, provided they lack not the sense of seeing, must once a-year enjoy themselves amid the new fresh verdure, and—like Noah’s dove—bring home a bright green beechen bough to their dusky dwellings.

What joy! what shoals! The Horse-Garden—so is this trysting-place named—at this time resembles a bee-hive; incessant bustle, endless pressing backwards and forwards, in and out: every soul bent only on sucking in the honey of joyousness, and imbibing the exhilarating summer air. How they hasten, how they flutter from flower to flower! greet, meet, separate, familiarly, gaily and hastily! How many a young swain brings or finds here the lady of his heart! At a considerable distance from the hive may be heard its ceaseless hum and tumult.

The nearer you approach, the more varied is the joyous uproar. The monotonous hum resolves itself into shout, song, and laughter, rattling of leaves, sound of fiddles and flutes. Swarms pour in and out on every side of the green wood. The lower orders in their Sunday garments, the higher classes in elegant summer attire, cavaliers in black, ladies in white.

“Is there dancing here?”

“Oh, yes, here is a forest ball, a dance on the elastic greensward.”

“Do you see that village fiddler by the large beech yonder, towering high above the surrounding multitude? Do you see how rapidly his bow dances up and down amid hats adorned with flowers? And there is a regular country dance, a real Scottish!”

“Am I in the Deer-park, in Charlottenlund?”[17] you will ask. “See what a number of carriages, elegant equipages, coachmen in livery, horses with plated harness, tents with cold meat and confectionery, coffee-pots on the fire, families reclining on the grass around a basket of eatables!”

You are in the Horse-Garden. This is Whitsuntide’s evening in Lysgaard district,—the beauteous Nature’s homage-day. Thus is this holiday celebrated till the sun goes down; but formerly it was only the common people of two or three neighbouring parishes that assembled here, though this innocent merry-making is, without doubt, an ancient custom, as old as the wood itself.

Ten years after the events related in the foregoing chapters had taken place, the summer festival was, as usual, held in the Horse-Garden. A [Pg 304]man from whose grandson I in my young days heard the story, gave the following account of it:—

“It was during my first year’s service as bailiff at Kjærsholm, I had my sweetheart at Vium; she was distantly related to the clergyman there. On the first day of Whitsuntide she agreed to meet me in the Horse-Garden, where we arrived so early that we found ourselves the only persons in the place. We wandered for an hour or two in the wood, until the sound of a violin announced to us that the people were assembled. We went to the spot as lookers on, sat down and observed the dancers. Shortly after, I noticed that two gentlemen, with a lady and two children, were approaching along the path leading from Ansbjerg. Being a stranger in the neighbourhood, I inquired of my companion who they were. ‘Hush,’ answered she, ‘it is the family. The tall stout man is the old gentleman who became a widower about five years since. The young one, with a scar on his cheek, is his son-in-law, the lady his daughter, and the two Junkers their children. Ten years ago she eloped by night with the young gentleman. While the old lady was living, a reconciliation was not to be thought of; but after her death, the old gentleman allowed himself to be persuaded, and he received them into his house. At his decease they will inherit both house and land.’ The party continued standing for some time, amusing themselves with looking at the country folks, and then gave them something for drink. On a tree that had been levelled by the wind, sat two elderly men, with a jug of beer between them, and each with his pipe. On the family approaching them they rose and took the pipes from their mouths.

“‘Sit still,’ I heard the young man say; and turning to the elder, ‘you are now better friends than when you struck a light for Niels’ pipe by Karup rivulet?’

“‘Yes, gracious sir,’ answered the person addressed with a smile; ‘there is no animal however small that will not fight for its life. It was a bad business, yet has turned out well.’ The party laughed.

“‘Be careful,’ said the old gentleman in going away, ‘that you do not get jammed between the branches of the deer you are riding on there.’ At this they all laughed heartily, and I could, from time to time, hear the old man’s jolly roar, that resounded far in the wood.

“‘What does that allude to?’ said I to my companion, ‘and who are these two old men?’

“‘The one,’ answered she, ‘in the green frock, with the gray hat, is the gamekeeper. The other, in the brown habit, is Mads the under-ranger, who lives close by, and whom the young gentleman brought with him. The story of the deer I will tell you.’

“While she was relating this and the whole history of the elopement, my notice was attracted by a pair, who were having a dance to themselves, while all the others stood watching them.

“‘Who are they?’ inquired I; ‘they look a little remarkable, particularly the youth in the long yellow skin ineffables, in that blue jacket, and that extraordinary cap on his head?’

“‘He is no youth,’ answered she, ‘but a married man; it is his wife he is dancing with; he comes from Turkey, and accompanied his young master home from the wars. He is secretary and gardener, and is both pot and pan in the house. His wife has been long in the young lady’s service, and, they say, helped her away when she eloped from her parent’s house.’”

And now my story is ended. Many ages of man lie between then and now. There has been ringing and singing over several generations since the persons therein commemorated passed to eternal rest. Both the old and the young lords of Ansbjerg have long been forgotten in the neighbourhood, and no one now knows aught to tell of Black Mads. The manor-house has often changed its proprietors, the lands have been sold and divided.

Of the robber’s cave alone, an obscure and confused tradition has been preserved. On the great heath, about two miles west of Karup stream, are some heath-covered hills, which yet bear, and ever will bear that sinister name; but no one now thinks that there was once an asylum for tender and steadfast love, a paradise underground.



[Pg 305]


The sun was already below the horizon, when we entered on the plain of Magnesia. Our poor brutes were sadly jaded; for the latter part of the journey had been very severe. For some time it had been over a rocky path, strewn with loose stones; and the last stage is by a pretty abrupt, and very rough descent. My poor animal had cast a shoe, and the only relief that could be afforded in his calamity, was to dismount and lead him. We, too, were somewhat tired; but the glorious sight that burst upon us, bathed our spirits afresh in the waters of invigoration. The road had, for some time, kept us dodging among crags and corners, which allowed no prospect, and where, indeed, we were well employed picking out our way. But when we emerged, what a sight did we behold! One of the noble Asiatic plains stretched before us. Far as the eye could reach, to right and left, the green expanse extended; and immediately before us, it was only in the far distance that the boundary of hills was seen. Here and there clumps of trees variegated the turf; and a fair river wound itself amid all, looking like some huge and silvery serpent disporting itself in this apt solitude. Think how beautiful such a scene must have looked at evening, when the tops of the hills, and a few fleecy clouds were rosy in the sunbeams. Its expression was Paradisaical, the rather because the empire of Peace was invaded by no sight nor sound. The air was absolutely still, except for the sound of our own footsteps: as for our voices, after the first expression of delight, they were hushed. We seemed to be gazing on some primeval solitude,—on the spot where Astræa might have last lingered, and whence the impress of her footstep had not been yet obliterated by the violence of man. It was a perfect presentation of the still and calm, and touched the same associations that are made to thrill by Flaxman or Retsch.

On the verge of this plain, snugly ensconced under the lee of the hills we had been descending, lies the city of Magnesia. It is of reverend aspect, and quite worthy of its incomparable situation. It is placed so closely under the hills, that its details are very gradually unfolded to one advancing. First appears a minaret, that most graceful of architectural conceptions; then comes a burying ground, and at last peep out the domes of the baths and mosques, and particular houses. The place has quite the air of having come to hide itself in this quiet nook; and its inhabitants seemed to be of the same mind, for not one of them could we see. At such an hour, poetic justice demanded that there should have been, scattered over the ways, groups of peasants returning from their toil, and citizens refreshing themselves with an evening walk. But here seemed to be no fields to cultivate. All looked as if it were common land; and one could but feel what a first-rate exercising ground Oglú Pascha had for his cavalry. As for the citizens, walking does not come within their idea of enjoyment; to which exertion is so essentially opposed, that probably half of them would forego their very pipes, if smoking were attainable only on condition of filling and lighting for one’s self.

Now, let me say, that a wayfarer’s trouble is not always over when he has arrived at the city of his destination. I should like to put any one who thinks it is, outside of one or two places that I know, and tell him to find his way in. Le grand capitain thanked the garrison of Malta for having had the kindness not only to capitulate, but to open the gates for him, as otherwise he did not see how he should ever have got in. And so, I opine, there be places where a capitulation would be incomplete without the attendance of one of the indigenous to act as pilot. I am afraid that I might have taken this journey in vain, and sighed in exclusion, had I been left to my own devices for the effecting of an entry. The river surrounds, in great part, the walls; and one might make pretty well the entire circuit before hitting the right point of ingress. But one of us was gifted with topographical[Pg 306] instinct in high degree, and at once nosed the course that was to lead us to the bridge. Our poor brutes seemed to sympathise in the refreshment of our spirits; and even my unfortunate Rosinante consented to his burden, and put his best foot foremost. One of his feet, alas! was what maritime gentlemen would call a regular worser—the foot which lacked a shoe, and which, defenceless, had to sustain such rude battering. The hoof of this foot was cracked, and I was in much tribulation, both on the poor horse’s account and on my own. But I made the best of the circumstances; encouraging the animal with all that I could remember and imitate of the dialect in which man converses with the horse; and comforting myself with thinking how soon the poor fellow would be stabled and shod.

The bridge, over which we passed, was very pretty and not very shaky, nor by any means so broken-backed as are the greater number of Turkish specimens. At the moment of our passing, it was lined with venerable old fellows, who had turned out to enjoy their evening pipe. They were dressed in the most approved and unreformed style, and many of them had long beards, descending to the girdle. They sat in perfect stillness, no man speaking to, or seeming to care for his neighbour. Indeed, from experiences among them, we might almost argue that though man is by nature gregarious, he is conversational only by acquirement. At any rate, they show how few words may answer all the purposes of business, and how little all of us would talk, if wives and domestic matters were proscribed subjects. As we passed through the midst of them, not a soul looked at us, not a nudge did one of them give to his neighbour, not a puff less of smoke was emitted. One might have concluded it to be with them an every day occurrence to see three Europeans ride in such style into their town. Yet you might be bold to say, that they had never seen such an entry before. The mode of travelling is so strictly regulated by necessity, that, in all probability, of all the few Franks who have entered this place, none have ever done so in the independent style we affected. At least if, by chance, some couple may have done so, it has certainly been where there has existed a knowledge of the people and language. If our appearance did not at first enlighten them as to our greenness and ignorance, we soon stood confessed by our attempts at inquiry. Our first object was, of course, to discover the habitation of the Seraph, whose name we had written down in our own character; as the hieroglyphics which stood for direction to the letter would have been no guide to us. Now, our stock of words did not go the length of any direct inquiry; for Katch Sahet, our old stand-by, was now used up.

“Seraph,—Seraph,”—we sang out, with as strong an expression of inquiry as we could throw into our looks and gestures. At this some of them certainly did look up, but with the least excitement conceivable. One of the more benevolent vouchsafed to us a few words, but soon stopped with the most unmistakeable look of pity when he saw that we did not understand him. Evidently he pitied our ignorance and despised us. No farther attempt was made to enlighten us; nor were the peaceful seniors in the least discomposed at the unsuccessful result of the inquiries that possibly were uttered in the speech of the old man. We had nothing for it but to go a-head, and trust to the chance of falling in with some one better skilled in the language of signs. Oh, thought we, had it been any where near Naples that this escapade had conducted us, we might have done well. Among those pantomimic people the language of the lips becomes an unimaginative and lazy expedient, by no means necessary to the uses of communication. Nature, whose voice is one to all, has given to them such force of gesture, that it must be a very long and difficult story that they could not tell or understand without words. But poor old John Turk is a different animal, and can be dealt with only by dialectic precision. Never had we seen such an exemplification of their incurious, impassible diathesis as they now presented to our cost. We turned back a long and admiring gaze at the group as we passed onwards, for truly it was a most picturesque position. But we[Pg 307] had to revert to the present necessity of finding some lodging, more perhaps on account of the horses than of ourselves. For us it would have been no great hardship to pass the night, should need be, on the dry soft turf, beneath the clear sky, which shone so purely above us that we absolved the neighbourhood from all suspicion of marshes, which are the only objection to sleeping in the open air in this country. All looked dry, and clear, and pure. But our poor horses, who had been beguiled into an effort by the sight of the town, began now again to droop, and evidently considered us chargeable with a breach of promise in thus prolonging their labours. Whither to go we could not tell. A labyrinth of streets lay before us, and amongst them it was our object to pick out the way to the Armenian quarter. Turks keep early hours, and but few people were astir in the streets when we entered, and after our wanderings had continued but a short time scarcely a soul was to be seen. Now I am prepared to say, that no desolation is like the desolation of strangeness in a large city. St. Jerome in the wilderness, or Stylites on his pillar, were not more lonely than many a poor recluse in our city of two million inhabitants. And we ourselves would have been infinitely more at ease had we been called upon to bivouac beyond the sight of human habitation.

Up one street and down another we passed, till we were wearied almost beyond endurance, and really uneasy for our cattle. We met no one; or if we did, no one that noticed us. The muffled figure of some woman would pass by, who, when she saw the gaoórs, would draw her veil yet more closely over her, and hurry, on her way. One or two children stopped to stare at us; but we knew experimentally that their untutored fanaticism was more likely to have a shy at our heads, than to attempt to understand or direct us. We kept a sharp look-out for some Greek or Armenian house wherein, for lucre’s sake, we might be received in the first instance: reserving to ourselves the introduction to the Seraph as a bonne bouche. But still we wearied on, and saw no hospice. All was, shut up, and closed. They were evidently not of the social temperament that distinguished our Smyrna friends,—no doors were open, no family parties visible, no suppers spread out. Some two hours passed away—night fairly descended; and then the place might have passed for a city of the dead.

The fix was becoming unquestionably awkward, and our mirth, which had thriven wonderfully on the absurdity of our position, was passing over to what old ladies call the wrong side of our mouths. Such an incurious, apathetic set we had never before met. If our expectation had not been exactly that some bustling Boniface, would have come rushing out to welcome us to his best parlour, we had at least reckoned on finding some person who knew the value of money, and the requirements of strangers. But we were completely nonplused at the actual complexion of affairs, and I am afraid began to be out of humour with this particular part of the Sultan’s dominions. Still, however, we retained that facetious satisfaction that every wise man finds at the bottom of a really good embroglio,—viz., the sense of having concocted an adventure, and the curiosity of seeing what will come of it. Thus, though appearances were as if we should have to remain riding about those streets in infinitum, we knew that something or other must turn up; and were only a little impatient for the denouement.

At last we stumbled on the benevolent stranger who was to help us out of our difficulty. A man in Christian costume was seen hastening towards us with the air of one who had heard that his friends were in trouble, and needed his assistance.

“Bona sera, signori.”

How musical did the words sound!

“Oh man,” said we, “per carità, tell us what good soul of a Greek will take us into his house this night.”

Padroni miei, you are too late to get into any house this night. They are all gone to bed, and their houses are shut up. You must go to the Khan.”

“Do you know where the Seraph —— lives?”

“Surely I know—it is not far from this spot.”

[Pg 308]“Then, if you would be very kind, you will take us to his house: for we have a letter for him, and we hope to put up at his house.”

Andiam,—come along; it is late, but the Seraph will not have gone to bed, for he is rich, and has much business. Only, my masters, you must make haste, so that if he cannot receive you, I may have time to lead you to the Khan before that be also shut.”

This last was a very disagreeable suggestion; but we would not admit in our own minds the probability of our needing the resources of public entertainment. We had made up our conclusions that the Seraph was a very good fellow; and that no good fellow would turn us adrift under the circumstances, even though the entertainment of us might cost him a little inconvenience.

For something like another quarter of an hour we followed our benevolent guide, who led us into a quarter of comfortable and respectable appearance. It was not inferior to the Armenian quarter of Smyrna, except in respect to pictorial effect as a whole. The houses were particularly good, and built in a more seclusive spirit; the better ones being almost all detached. Before one of the very best of these our guide stopped.

“Here lives the Seraph ——.”

It was a domicile of most promising appearance, surrounded by a garden, and in every respect snug and unexceptionable. We had so lived in hopes of finding this house, and so thoroughly made up our minds to stop therein, that we were nearly riding at once into the enclosure as if we had been invited and expected. We were discreet enough, though, to consider that the worthy Armenian might possibly be a little startled at the unexpected apparition of such a party, so detached K—— as a deputation, to present our compliments, and accept the invitation which we doubted not would follow.

J—— and myself remained without the gate to take care of the steeds, and to expect the result of our embassy. We exchanged congratulations on the good fortune of having brought up in such snug quarters, and agreed that we were all right now. If the Seraph could not receive us himself, he would be sure to know some family of the place which would, on his recommendation, receive us. But after some few minutes we began to think our messenger was a long time away, and I determined to have a peep at what was going on. I entered the garden, and saw at once that the work was in no prosperous condition—the letter was not even yet read. The worthy merchant had evidently been disturbed in the prosecution of culinary duties, for a vessel of water was before him, and a lettuce in his hand. He had taken a good look at K——, who was not quite unabashed at this cold reception, and was now minutely inspecting the letter before opening it. Like most moneyed men, he was very silent and very deliberate. At last he got the length of opening the letter, and slowly read it through. This being achieved, it did not seem to occur to him that it was necessary to say any thing to us. The scene was much such as might take place at the reception of some poor relative by a rich London merchant.

“Signore Seraph,” said K——, “our friend John gave us this letter to you, because he thought you might like to be of some service to us during our short visit.”

“What can I do for you?”

“You can tell us of some house where we can put up for the night.”

“I do not know any such house. There is none such in Magnesia.”

“You cannot mean to say that none will receive the friends of your countryman, John.”

“Gentlemen, you must go to the Khan. I know of no place but the Khan. In the Khan you will find excellent accommodation.” And having said thus much, he recommenced scuttling about among his cookery, and fairly turned the cold shoulder on the whole party of strangers.

Now this gentleman was a bad specimen of his kind, thus to dishonour the recommendation of his very respectable friend at Smyrna. Or perhaps something had gone wrong with him that day on ‘Change. Certain it is that such a reception we had never before experienced. In every place to which we had come, we had always found some one who, for love[Pg 309] or money, was glad to receive us. In more than one case, it had been for the former consideration; and indeed in some villages it is the recognised privilege of the greatest man to receive the wayfarer. It is to them a rare occasion of playing the entertainer, and, besides, gives them an opportunity of hearing all sorts of travellers’ tales. Besides, it is a good office, which they themselves may require at any time; and it is, even on sordid grounds, good policy for them to establish relations of hospitality throughout the country. One case is in my recollection, where a large party of us, with I know not how many followers and horses, were received most cheerfully, though arriving at a late hour, and in such formidable numbers. The most hospitable attention was paid to us, and abundant provision of all kinds made; and at our departing our entertainers would receive no penny of recompense. And other such can I remember, though none perhaps where the demand was so strong.

Rejected from the gate of the Seraph, whom we voted a barbarian and a curmudgeon, our ambition resolved itself into the anxiety to reach the Khan before they shut up for the night. Our new acquaintance, who had guided us to this inhospitable threshold, was waiting for us outside, as though in distrust of our being received. He stuck by us like a good man and true, till he had conducted us far away to the upper part of the town, where lies the Khan.

We saw a large building, with a frontage something like Newgate. On a rude sort of divan, in the doorway, sat the Khandgi smoking, who gave not the least sign of noticing our approach. Through the doorway we had a perspective view of an inner court of considerable extent, in different parts of which glimmered the cheerful blaze of fire and lamp. Several people were passing to and fro, and altogether the place looked far more life-like than the dull streets through which we had been passing.

Our friend approached and saluted the Khandgi, who returned the compliment with all grave civility. A colloquy then followed on the subject of ourselves, during which the Turk read our personal presentments with some apparent interest. It probably required some scrutiny to convince him that men travelling thus unattended were not vagabonds. Perhaps the same idea had something to do with the shortcomings of our friend the Seraph. In the present case the result was of a more satisfactory kind, for the Khandgi uttered a courteous welcome, and motioned to us to dismount. Our friend, to whom we had previously explained our necessities, told us that, in consideration of his request, the Khandgi would take the trouble of supplying our wants in the way of eating, though, as the bazaar was long since closed, we should have to wait some time for our supper. We were only too glad to hear that there was any prospect of a refection, and, thanking him heartily for his good offices, we entered the caravanserai.

Immediately at the entrance of this hostelry was an uncommonly snug little apartment, wherein many of the more sociable of the guests were taking their baccy. Our will was very good to have made a temporary lodgement here while the more substantial repast was in course of preparation. But we followed the respectable gentleman to whose care we had been consigned. Our luggage was not very cumbersome, consisting only of our saddles and holsters, which we were able to remove at once, as the two hours’ patrolling had quite cooled the horses. Poor things! they had still to wait for their provender, for though we signified that we wished them to be fed directly, the authorities gave us to understand that they must wait. They have a great objection in these parts to feed any particular horse, or horses, except at the same time with all the others, believing that those of the animals who have nothing to eat, hearing the others chumping their corn, are made envious. It is but fair to them to say, that they are very kind to the brute creation. To their care we left our quadrupeds awhile, and ascended to what was to be our chamber. We passed along an extensive gallery with a great many doors, at one of which our conductor stopped and produced a large key. We were introduced to a moderately[Pg 310] capacious cell, entirely bare of furniture, but quite clean. Of this room and key we were put into possession, and, throwing down our traps, made ourselves comfortable. It was exactly like the cell of a prison; massy stone walls, with one little aperture by way of window, which, however, was not barred, neither was it glazed; at which we were not astonished, for glass is hereaway an expensive, or at least an unusual luxury. The character of the Khan is consistently observed throughout, as we learnt subsequently more particularly—viz., that of a place which affords necessities, but no superfluities—nothing portable. House and home you cannot easily carry about with you, and these the public institution provides; but all things edible, or wearable, or convenient, you must provide for yourself.

Our good friend brought a lamp, which he set upon the floor; and, as the evening was coolish, and the cell had the air of not having been tenanted for a long time, we signified to him that a fire would be agreeable. Having made the exception in our favour, in virtue of which he had undertaken to supply our various necessities, he set about fulfilling his contract with a good will, and seemed only anxious to know what he could do for us. We pointed to the bare floor, and insinuated an appeal to him, as a man of honour and a gentleman, whether such a couch did not admit of improvement. It is very probable that he uttered in his sleeve some objurgation on Frankish luxury, that could not be contented to sleep as other people did; or, at any rate, to provide capotes like other people. But he signified to us his intelligence of our meaning, and his ready acquiescence; and soon entered a satellite laden with rugs, on which a prince might have reposed, to say nothing of a weary traveller.

Behold us, then, stretched on our couches around the fire, soothing our spirits with that best of smoking inventions, the nargillé. The providing of these, and of coffee, without sugar, came within the legitimate province of the Khandgi, who keeps a café in the establishment; every thing else that he may give you, is of pure grace. Should any body, in these travelling days, be ignorant of the constitution of a nargillé, let him understand that it is a smoking device on the same principle as a hookah, but marvellously superior in effect. The smoke is drawn through water by means of a long, snake-like tube. Herein lieth its agreement with the Indian vanity; but the difference is this, that instead of the sickly composition, half rose-leaves, half guava jelly, that composes the chillum of the hookah, the nargillé is fed with pure tobacco; of a particular kind, indeed, and passing by a particular name, but still a veritable specimen of the genus nicotiana. It is called timbooké, and professes to come only from Persia.

We were not left long in undisturbed possession of our apartment. The key had been made over to us with much formality; but we soon found that our tenancy was understood to imply no right of seclusion. The news of our arrival had spread, and sundry of the other inhabitants of the Khan were smitten with the desire of seeing what sort of animals these were who travelled in such fashion. Our door opened, and first one man, and then another, entered in the most unconcerned style. It was highly amusing to see how coolly they walked in: some saluted us, and some did not. Some brought their pipes or nargillés, with which they squatted on the floor, and watched us. As we could not talk to them, they talked to one another about us; staring, at the same time, with all their eyes, and pointing unconstrainedly to the individual or object that happened, for the time being, to engage their curiosity. Many addressed inquiries to us, and shrugged their shoulders at our ignorance of a language with which, probably, they had never before met any one unacquainted. These gentlemen, be it remembered, were not of the sober inhabitants, but chance occupants of the inn—merchants and vagabonds of all kinds. Merchants, among them, always are vagabonds; men who travel with their wares from one place to another, according to the complexion of markets.

We were at least as much amused at marking them, as they were with[Pg 311] us, and not much more constrained in our personal observations. Many an equivocal compliment fell harmless on their ears, which, had it been understood, would have ruffled their smiles. At last an individual entered, who evidently came on business. He made a short announcement to us, and waited for a reply. Of course no reply was forthcoming, except some general invitation to sit down and make himself happy. This he was by no means disposed to do. He repeated his words with an emphasis that seemed to imply that he was not to be trifled with, and that it was no use pretending not to understand him. He exemplified what I suppose to be a general fallacy of our nature,—for I have often encountered the same anomaly,—that is to say, he repeated his words slowly and emphatically, as if one, though ignorant of the language, could not fail to comprehend his meaning, if expressed clearly and deliberately. We were brought no whit nearer to a sense of the emergency.

As in despair he continued to repeat one word, “Aiván, aiván,” in a tone that appealed to our every sympathy as reasonable beings, we felt the full indecorum of our continued unintelligence, and would gladly have compounded, by appearing to understand, and allowing the event to work itself out. But this would not satisfy our friend: there was evidently something to be done by us.

“Aiván, aiván!” shouted the assistants, in chorus.

It was useless. The word was not in our vocabulary. He now began to gesticulate vehemently, passing his hand several times over his face, and performing other evolutions. These to me, I confess, conveyed no meaning; but K——, being of quicker apprehension, somehow extracted from the pantomime an idea of the fact.

“Depend upon it, he means something about the horses.”

S—— improved upon this suggestion, turning to account the extra knowledge that he possessed of the ways of these people. “I have it. He means where are the halters for our horses. These are never provided in the Khan stables, and all travellers take them for themselves.”

Here we were at fault: none of us had been provident of this article, and we wanted words to beg the stable-man to provide, if he could, the halters, and put them in the bill. In the midst of our perplexity a man entered, whom we hailed as a friend in need. He was a Greek, unmistakeable by physiognomy, even had he not been so by dress. How delightful it was to find a channel of communication re-opened, those only can judge who, like us, have been deprived of the uses of speech. Our words became, indeed, ἔπεα πτερόεντα. In a trice he explained to us the whole matter, which was as we had supposed. He appeared to be quite proud of the distinction of being the only person who could communicate with us, and assumed the office of interpreter with great gusto. Through him we explained that we should like to pay a visit to the stables, and the groom summoned us at once to follow him. The company all cleared out as we rose; partly from civility, and partly because they wanted to see a little more of us. We did not, in the least, doubt the honesty of these gentry; but, seeing that so little ceremony existed as to right of entry into our apartment, we did not know but that some unscrupulous person might take advantage of our absence to overhaul our effects. We therefore judged it prudent to remove those of our effects which might most strongly provoke their cupidity. Our saddles were heavy, and could not easily be pocketed, but our pistols might have been stowed away under their voluminous dresses, and carried off without the observation of the Khandgi. These, therefore, we carried with us, and with such garniture I personally cut a pretty figure. My weapons were so prodigiously long, that their but-ends considerably overtopped the boundary of my pockets, and gave me thoroughly the air of a highwayman. The exhibition amazed us, but did not appear to strike the natives as extraordinary, who doubtless thought that such was the ordinary walking attire of our nation.

The unintelligible groom walked foremost with a lantern, and led us across the great quadrangle of the Khan, to his particular domain. It was a right good stable, comfortable[Pg 312] and clean, and in which a horse might rejoice himself. It was full of horses, and asses, and camels—for which last species of animal a stable is only an occasional luxury. Generally, the track of these hardy brutes lies where there is no stable to be found, and they are wont to travel in such numbers as to defy any ordinary bounds of habitation. Here they seemed to be quiet neighbours, and not at all offensive to the smaller quadrupeds. Once on the spot, we managed to get over the difficulty of the halters, and as the time of feeding was approaching, we led our steeds out to water. The poor shoeless one was sensibly the worse for his journey, and stuck out his off fore-leg in a manner that boded ill for the morrow. However, they all took their corn well, so we bade them good-night, and hoped for the best. As we were out, we pursued our peregrinations awhile, and inspected the domestic economy of the establishment. The building occupied a large square, with the court open in the middle. The stables and other offices occupied most of the ground floor, though some little room was left for public apartments. The gallery, on one side of which we were lodged, extended round the court, and was throughout divided into separate guest chambers. These were all, like ours, solid, square cells, affording the accommodation of four walls, and a pan for fire. Besides this, each room contained a water pitcher, and this was the sum of furniture. We promenaded for some time up and down the gallery, and peeped into many open doors, so that we saw several samples. In one or two of these we saw parties of travellers, on whom we gazed with as little ceremony as had been used towards ourselves, and with as little offence. They certainly were worth looking at, for they were wild fellows, collected from no one knows where, and looked uncommonly picturesque. At last our host brought in the supper, for which we were particularly well disposed. We were at no time fastidious, and at that precise moment of most indulgent mood toward all cooks. But the mess that appeared almost baffled appetite. Turkish cookery, as practised by the great, is first-rate in its kind. But if this supper was a fair sample of their homely fare, I should not be ambitious of again proving the cookery of a Khan. It was presented in a tub of vile aspect, which one would have scrupled to admit to the office of a pediluvium, and which certainly any respectable scullion would have rejected from the service of washing dishes. Its contents were of the most suspicious character. In a greasy soup floated fragments of animal substance, corresponding in texture and form to the parts of no edible creature within our knowledge. This was garnished with anchovies, and a goodly loaf of bread, which last article was beyond reproach. Of course we had no spoons, nor forks; so we tucked up our sleeves, and dived into the soup. That which had offended the sight proved yet more vile in the tasting; yet, since it pretty well quenched all desire to eat, it in some sort, after all, did the duty of a supper.

All was quiet in the Khan at an early hour, and nothing disturbed our slumbers. Early the next morning we rose and wandered forth into the town. It is a happy custom for the traveller, that the Mussulmans are careful to place a fountain near all places of public resort, for thus has he always means of performing in some sort his ablutions. What with the fountain, and a Turkish bath, we contrived to put ourselves into condition for the emergencies of the day. The first thing was to sally forth into the bazaar in search of a breakfast. Here we made it out on kabobs, and a sort of cake like a large crumpet; the cake doing the office of a plate. Kabobs are things better in a story than in manducation, being excessively greasy compositions of odd pieces of meat stuck on skewers, a poor imitation of the sausage. We found the town rising in our estimation as we viewed it by daylight. The bazaar does not, of course, afford such a display of rich merchandise as is to be found in that of Smyrna. There is no show of costly carpets, and silks from Brousa and Damascus. But the town, quoad town, is decidedly superior to the Asiatic metropolis. The streets are[Pg 313] wider, the buildings more substantial, the vagabonds not so many. All looks clean and respectable. Here is no bustle of commerce, no appearance of social fermentation. All has the quiet and settled air of a place where the inhabitants have made their fortunes, and retire to enjoy themselves. Seclusion and blissful ignorance have preserved them from the crotchets of reformers, and continued to them the benefits of a wholesome despotism.

But a sound burst upon our ears which made us start. A gush of music as from a full military band was borne upon the air: and in good tune and measure, moreover, did it sound. We knew that we were in a country accustomed to raise any given number of soldiers at short notice; but irregulars, wont to be disbanded on the termination of their special service. But the case turned out to be that Magnesia was a grand cavalry depot. We followed the sound and came up with the regiment, returning to their barracks. A noble appearance they presented. The horses were first-rate, and the men fine strapping fellows, who looked as if they could do the state some service. We stood at the corner of a street past which they were marching, and had a good view of them. It was a very strong regiment, with a full complement of a thousand men. Their uniform was of the new school, that is to say, after the European model. The specimens of the regular infantry that are to be seen at Smyrna and Constantinople, give but an unfavourable idea of the Turkish troops of the line. It becomes them little to be cross-belted after our fashion, and they seem to be sulky under the constraint of their accoutrements. But these horsemen rode by in gallant style, showing, as occasion arose, excellent horsemanship, and gathering perhaps some vivacity from the noble animals whose curvetings demanded a vigilant eye, and firm seat. After all, cavalry seems to be their natural strength, as it has been ever since the days when they rode wild in the plains of the Selinga. The natural genius of the people may be sufficiently understood, by a comparison of the gallant-looking, serviceable dragoons, with the sluggish fellows who carry the musket. They seem to be no more the stuff whereof infantry is to be composed, than they are the stuff of which sailors are to be composed. At this latter transmutation many efforts have recently been made, and a good deal certainly effected, so far as regards the mechanical duties of the sailor. All who were in presence with the Capitan Pasha, lately, on the coast of Syria, were surprised at the improved state of their powers of nautical evolution. But this is merely an effort, whose effects cannot last, for the stuff is not in them of which a sailor is made. Their look and bearing is enough to condemn them immediately, and, moreover, enough to show that the training is by no means agreeable to them. Now all these dragoons looked as if their occupation was exactly to their taste, and as if they were proud of their horses and themselves. The only absurdity on the parade (for there was all absurdity, or it would have been contrary to all Turkish precedent) was, that after the colonel, as gallant-looking a fellow as one would wish to see, came his pipe-bearer, with the tools of his craft strapped to his back. This certainly did come at the tail of the procession with something of the air of an anti-climax.

We followed closely after them to see the fun, and arrived at the parade ground before the barracks, just as they had dismounted, and were walking about their horses to cool. We had some little hesitation about venturing among them; for they have curious notions on the subject of the evil eye; and it had happened to one of our friends to get a particularly good pummeling from some soldiers, merely for looking attentively at their horses. But these men were very civil, and even invited our approach. One or two of the officers spoke to us. Presently came a man who beckoned us to follow him, which we did without the least idea of whither it was that we were bound. He led us right across the parade ground, and into the grand entrance of the barracks. Here we were received by a gentleman, who addressed us in Italian, and informed us that he was the[Pg 314] head physician to the regiment, and the particular friend of the colonel, who was waiting up stairs to receive us. Up stairs we went, the doctor preceding us, and volunteering to interpret. The room was a most delightful retreat from the glaring heat of the day. The floor was coolly matted, the walls were nearly bare, the sun was excluded, and nothing hot met the eye. The colonel was sitting on the divan at the upper end of the room. He rose as we entered, and received us most politely. I call him colonel to express the fact of his being at the head of a regiment. But in truth he was a much greater man than such a title is wont to describe. Not only was his regiment so strong in numbers, but he was the military governor of the town; his correct style, in their own language is Miralāhi.

We could see plainly enough that he was a person of some consequence; but the Italian doctor was determined to leave us, if possible, no chance of a mistake in this matter. He interlarded his internunciary discourse, with a continual annotation of asides, which became monstrously amusing, seeing that they were spoken in full audience of the individual who was their unsuspecting subject. He impressed on our serious consideration that the colonel was a very great man indeed; able to do pretty well what he liked in Magnesia: and we were to take note that he, the doctor, could do what he liked with the colonel. I do not know whether he handed over our speeches to the colonel in a more genuine state, than we were quite sure he did those of the colonel to us, from the quantity of alloy that we were able to detect. It is probable that at least he polished our compliments, and somewhat exaggerated our conditions. At any rate we were a very pleasant party, and seemed mutually satisfied with our conversation. After a considerable interval, during which we had partaken of his hospitable cheer, we arose to depart. But he would not allow us to go, saying, that English officers visiting that strange place must be his guests. He would first show us the barracks, and then we must go home with him, and dine. This proposal delighted us much, and we bowed a willing assent. We had the curiosity to inquire how he had been made aware of our arrival, as he evidently must have been, by the token of his having recognized us on the parade ground, and having sent to us the invitation. He told us that in the routine of his daily reports, our descriptions had been presented to him as having arrived at the Khan: so that when he saw us, he knew who we must be.

Presently we proceeded to inspect the barracks. Nothing could be nicer or better kept than they were in all respects. No English barracks could be cleaner or better ventilated. We saw also some of the officers’ quarters, which spoke well for the taste of the occupiers. The band, we found, was composed entirely of natives. We had supposed that the master of the band at least would have been a foreigner; but were assured that Turkish skill, unassisted, had the training of the musicians, and even the composition of much of the music. We went into the kitchen, and tasted the men’s dinner, which was ready prepared. It was a most excellent soup or hodge-podge, that Meg Dods herself might have owned. Thence we went to the stables, and here all was admirable. One might be bold to say that no European regiment is better mounted. The colonel’s special stud was a noble collection, in whose exhibition he had evidently much pride. We wound up our inspection with a visit to the hospital, which we found the most admirable part of their menage. This was the doctor’s own province, and he minutely exhibited particulars. I have seen a great many hospitals in my day, and am able to judge that this was excellent. The building was of no pretence, but substantial convenience was consulted. It was quite spacious enough for ventilation; and the beds were all clean and comfortable, and disposed at sufficiently wide intervals. This establishment is governed in chief by the Italian doctor; but the second in direction, the surgeon as they term him, and all the other functionaries, are native Turks. The dispensary is excellently well kept, and among its duties is the keeping of a regular sick-register. This details in form the malady and treatment of each patient:[Pg 315] so that satisfactory information concerning any particular inmate may as readily be obtained here as in any London hospital; and medical precedents as certainly established.

This register our friend had the complaisance to submit to our inspection, and we were astonished at the exactitude of its detail. He told us that among his duties, is that of making a regular nosological return to government periodically, and a report of the number of deaths with their respective causes. Few people would have been prepared to find the exhibition of so much solicitude for the life and well-being of the private soldier, on the part of the Turkish government. Such humanised policy is at least wonderfully in contrast with all that we hear of the domestic economy of these people but a few years back, and with what, by all accounts, is the method pursued, even at this day, in the armies of Mehemet Ali. In a very recent number of a French periodical are given some details concerning the military usages of that potentate, that, with every allowance for possible exaggeration, leave the impression of a terrible reality. Indeed, without precise data, it is easy to conceive that disease and death must riot among such subjects, unless checked by vigilant supervision. Their habits are very dirty, in spite of the ablutions to which they are constrained by their religion, which affect only their arms and legs. Of the benefits of clean linen they are in mere ignorance, and their fatalism is the spring of all kinds of indiscretion. Think of seven or eight hundred such fellows congregated in a barrack, with more than the probability that some one of the number may have brought with him, from his dirty home, the contagion of fever, perhaps of plague; and it will be easy to conceive how great and constant must be the care that can maintain them in tolerable health and comfort—a care that must subsist not only in the hospital, but be extended over all arrangements affecting them.

The healthy and active appearance of the men was the best presumptive evidence of the excellence of their régime. Had we even left Magnesia without positive witness of their barrack economy, we should have felt sure that these men must be ably officered and well looked after. It is, with regiments as with ships, a standing truth, that efficiency of condition is compatible only with efficiency and sympathy on the part of the officers. The grand secret of our naval discipline is the recognition of this truth: and no where does it find a more full exemplification than on board our ships. There every officer (every good officer) feels for, and with, his men. Nothing, save the positive requirement of the service, is allowed to interfere with their comfort. The care of their health is as much the ambition and duty of the captain as is the care of his ship. Few things in the strange world afloat would strike a landsman more, than the minute attention habitually paid to men who are hourly liable to the most perilous risks. At the need of the service, limb and life are freely ventured; but not a wet jacket is inflicted, nor a meal prorogued wantonly. Jack, who is burdened with no care for himself, becomes devoted to his officers who care for him; ready at their bidding to jump overboard, or to turn to and get the mainmast out all standing. A well-ordered man-of-war, where this feeling prevails from the quarter-deck to the forecastle, affords perhaps the finest exhibition of harmony of purpose of which our nature is capable. The inspection of a single regiment is insufficient ground whereon to found general observations; but so far as this one specimen is concerned, we can speak of the Turks as having made some slight approach to this most desirable condition. We were surprised to find an Osmanli in the position of surgeon to the establishment; because the religious principles of such a one are understood to be invincibly opposed to the prosecution of the studies that must qualify for such a post. Without dissection what can they know of anatomy? and unskilled in anatomy, how can they guide the knife healingly among the intricacies of the human frame? Yet all the operative surgery in this hospital is the care of the native surgeon, by whom the most formidable operations are successfully performed. The best proof that these medicos are[Pg 316] up to their work, is found in the fact, that the sick-list was very small. It was quite surprising to see how few beds were occupied. Indeed, the men are so well clothed, well fed, and lodged so airily, that their tenure of health must be far more secure when on service than when in their own homes.

Our inspection had occupied some time, and brought the day well on to the hour of dinner. The hospitable colonel having right courteously satisfied all our inquiries, led the way to his domicile. Among the notable experiences of this day, it was not the least that he himself by his presence afforded us, enabling us to mark the tone of feeling subsisting between himself and his men. I will defy any harsh taskmaster to take me among his men, and prevent my reading in their demeanour the fact of his ungentleness. Aversion and constrained fear, are motives too powerful for the possibility of suppression in the presence of their object. The eye is too faithful an index of the soul to give no spark when the fire of hatred rages within. But as we passed through the different buildings, every eye expressed cheerfulness and satisfaction. They seemed pleased at our curiosity, and gratified with his visit. He himself seemed delighted to play the part of exhibitor. He walked through the different compartments, not exactly with the air of an English dragoon, but still with a good deal of the soldier about him. Take him all in all, he was one of the two best specimens of Turkish great men that I have seen. The first place I reserve for my excellent friend the Pasha of Rhodes. With all his slouching, happy-go-lucky air, it was astonishing to see how much grace he managed to preserve; and how the sense of authority was kept up, notwithstanding the simplicity of his good humour.

When a man asks you to dinner, unless, indeed, he be a gipsy living under a hedge, it is usual to suppose that you must enter his house. We had reckoned on being introduced to the particular establishment of the Miralāhi, and rejoiced in the prospect of so befitting a conclusion to our morning’s researches. But our friend marshalled us onward through stables and gardens, to the prettiest little kiosk you would wish to see, snugly ensconced beneath vines and creepers, at one end of his dwelling. Here-away nature assumes a regularity in her moods of which we Englishmen know little in our own land. Here it really does rain in the rainy season, and really is hot in summer. Thus knowing, almost to a degree, the heat or cold they are at any time to expect, the happy indigenous are in condition to suit their manner of life to the humour of the season. This kiosk was the usual summer sitting-room; contrived to a nicety in all respects so as to woo all cooling influences, and exclude the sun. The sides were open towards that quarter whence the breeze was wont to come; and a beautiful fountain threw up its abundant stream so near to us that we almost received its splashing. We were raised somewhat above the level of the garden, which lent to our enjoyment the blended odours of lemon and citron. No carpet was there, nor woollen substance, nor aught that looked hot. Cool mats covered the tesselated floor within; and without, the eye was refreshed by gushing water, and by the deep green of the orange and lemon trees. Truly, one might be in a worse billet on a hot day!

But nothing edible appeared, nor any table, nor other appliance whose presence we are wont to associate with the idea of dinner. One might almost have supposed the kiosk to be the drawing-room, reserved for the collecting together of the guests before their proceeding to the banquet. Our host had picked up another friend in the course of the morning, so that, with ourselves and the doctor, he had a very respectable party.

We had been but a short time sitting in that state of palpable waiting for dinner, which from St. James’ to Otaheité is one and the same recognised misery, when our host propounded to us, through the doctor, the following thesis.

“There are different modes of dining, according to different nations.” The proposition was axiomatic: we looked assent, and waited for what was to come next.

“The English have their way, the French theirs, and the Turks theirs. How will you dine to-day?”

[Pg 317]“Like true Osmanlis,” we cried, emphatically and enthusiastically. “Truly, mine host, we have capital appetites, and, moreover, an old proverb on our side.”

Now, it is not to be supposed that this worthy gentleman could really have given us an entertainment in the styles he offered. No doubt it was but a conventional phrase, and meant no more than the speech of the Mexican does, who tells you to consider his house and all he possesses as your own:—still it was civil. A sign was made to one of the domestics, and significant preparations were forthwith commenced. Each of us was furnished with a napkin, which we spread out upon our knees. We further followed lead so far as to tuck up our sleeves: then came a pause. Presently arrived an attendant, bringing an apparatus much like a camp-stool, which was planted in the midst of us; and, on the top of this, was anon deposited a large and bright brass tray. On this, in a twinkling, appeared a basin filled with a savoury composition of kind unknown. Into this all hands began to dig. It was uncommonly good indeed, and disposed one for another taste. But almost before a second taste could be had, the dish had vanished and was succeeded by another. And so it was throughout the repast: the first momentary pause in the attack was the signal for removal of the reigning basin, and the production of another. There could not have been less than eighteen or twenty dishes in all; most of them quite capital, and deserving of more serious attention than the bird-like pecking for which alone space was allowed. On the whole, it was a style of thing which would hardly suit men seriously hungry: but it suits these fellows well enough, who, as they never take more exercise than they can help, may be supposed never to know what downright hunger is. Among their plats was one of pancakes, made right artistically, and as though in regard of Shrovetide. We wound up with a bowl of sherbet, or some variety of that genus, for the consumption of which we were allowed the use of spoons. It would be pleasant enough to dine with them, were it not for the barbarity of eating with one’s fingers: an evil which their notions of hospitality tend still further to aggravate. On occasions when they wish to do particular honour to a guest, it is their custom to pick tit-bits out of the dish, perhaps to roll up such morsels in a ball, and pop them into the stranger’s mouth. Sometimes the attentive host will dig his fingers into the mass, and pile up the nicest pieces on the side of the dish, ready for your consumption, and this by way of saving you the trouble of selection. Happy were we that our friendly entertainer was content with this milder exhibition of benevolence; for it did not require any great ingenuity to pretend a mistake as to the identity of morceaux. The malicious doctor seemed bent on making us undergo this trial, and did his best, with winks and whispers, to rob us of our ignorance. Very kind was this good Miralāhi to us. We sat long, and talked much with him, and he was urgent in invitations to us to prolong our stay in the city. The inducement that he held out was certainly tempting—nothing less than the promise that he would have, on our especial behoof, a grand review of all his troops. Had we been free to follow our will, we should most assuredly have accepted his invitation, as well for the sake of its kindness, as because the chance of such a review is not to be met with every day. He did give us a military spectacle in a small way. In the course of conversation he fell upon some inquiries concerning the cutlass exercise, and requested illustrations. He then called one of his dragoons, and put him through the cavalry sword exercise, after their manner: and a particularly ferocious-looking exercise it was.

But the time was now come when we must bid farewell to the good colonel; and we did so with a cordial sense of his hospitality, and a great increase of respect for him as an officer. He pursued us with his good offices; sending the doctor to the Khan with us, to assist us in a settlement there, and giving us good counsel for our progress. He tried very seriously, at first, to dissuade us from attempting a start so late in the day, as he conceived it would be impossible for us to reach Manimen, whither we were bound, that night. It is a[Pg 318] fact, that travelling after dark is not safe in Turkey: indeed, you would hardly be allowed, after nightfall, to pass a guard-house. But we were determined to take our chance of doing the distance within the time, as we knew well that the number of hours allowed by authority were very much beyond the mark of what we should take. Like a truly hospitable man, when he found us bent on departing, he set himself to speed our departure. His friend the doctor was at the trouble of repeating to us several times, till we had pretty well learned them by rote, some of the most necessary inquiries for food and provender, in the vernacular. When we had written these down in the characters, and after the orthography of our mother-tongue, we felt fully prepared for all contingencies.

How different was the spirit of our departure from that of our entry! Not four-and-twenty hours since, we had ridden into the town, unnoticed and unsheltered: we were now almost pained to say farewell. So short a time had sufficed to work the difference between desolation and good-fellowship. And though this instance be but of a feebly marked, an almost ludicrous difference; you have but to multiply the degrees, and you arrive at a picture of what is every day happening in the course of the long journey on which we are all engaged. A man is stricken and mourning to-day, because he is desolate; to-morrow he is radiant with joy, because he has found a soul with which he can hold fellowship. The spirit makes music only as the spheres do, in harmony. When I have thought of these things, and felt that they tend to the cultivation of human sympathies, it has seemed to me that I might draw a moral lesson even from the recollection of my “Ride to Magnesia.”




The wealthy owner of a vast estate takes little heed of the peasant gardens fringing its circumference. Absorbed in the consideration of his forest glades and fertile corn-fields, his rich pastures and countless kine, he forgets the existence of the paddocks and cabbage-plots that nestle in the patronising shadow of his park paling. Occasionally he may vouchsafe a friendly glance to the trim borders of the one, or the solitary milch cow grazing in the other: he must be a very Ahab to view them with a covetous eye; for the most part he thinks not of them. In the broad domains that call him master, he finds ample employment for his energies, abundant subject of contemplation. Thus it is with Englishmen and colonies. Holding, in right and virtue of their adventurous spirit and peculiar genius for colonisation, immense territories in every quarter of the globe—territories linked by a chain of smaller possessions and fortified posts encircling the world—they slightly concern themselves about the scanty nooks of Asia, America, and Africa, over which wave the banners of their European rivals and allies. They visit them little—write about them less. In some cases this indifference has been compulsory. When the second title of the Sovereign of Spain and the Indies was something more than an empty sound, and half America crouched beneath the Spanish yoke, every discouragement was shown to travellers in those distant regions; lest some French democrat or English Protestant should disseminate the tenets of Jacobinism and heresy, and awaken the oppressed multitude to a sense of their wrongs. Thus was it with Mexico, of whose condition, until she rebelled against the mother country, scarce any thing was known save what could be gathered from the lying writings of [Pg 319]Spanish monks. Again, remote position and pestilential climate have daunted curiosity and repelled research. To the Dutch possessions in the island of Java this especially applies. Seized by the English in 1811—to prevent their falling into the hands of the French—upon their restoration to Holland at the peace, their ex-governor, Sir Stamford Raffles, wrote his voluminous and erudite “History of Java.” Three years later, further accounts were given of the island in Crawford’s “History of the Indian Archipelago.” In 1824, Marchal’s book was published at Brussels, but proved a mere compilation from those above named. And since then, several works upon the same subject, some possessing merit, have been produced in Holland and Germany, out of which countries they are little known. At the present day, a periodical, appropriated to the affairs of the Dutch East Indies, appears regularly at Amsterdam. But Englishmen take little interest in Dutch colonies and colonists; and although now and then some Eastern traveller has devoted to them a casual chapter, for a quarter of a century nothing worth the naming has been written in our language with reference to the island of Java.

Most men have a pet country which, above all others, they desire to visit. Some long to roam amidst the classic relics of Italian grandeur, or to explore the immortal sites and renowned battle-fields of Greece; some set their affections upon Spain, and languish after Andalusia and the Alhambra; whilst others, to whose imagination the hardy North appeals more strongly than the soft and enervating South, meditate on Scandinavia, thirst after the Maelstrom, and dream of Thor and Odin, of glaciers and elk-hunts. We have a friend for whom the West Indies had a peculiar and irresistible fascination, to which neither length of voyage nor dread of Yellow Jack prevented his yielding; we have another—who has never yet lost sight of Britain’s cliffs—whose first period of absence from his native land is to be devoted to a pleasure trip to Hindostan. Such fancies and predilections may often be traced to early reading and association, but not unfrequently they are capricious and unaccountable, and we shall not investigate why the Eastern Archipelago, of all the regions he had read and heard of, had the greatest attractions for Dr. Edward Selberg, a young German physician of much intelligence but little fortune, strongly imbued with a love of adventure and the picturesque, and with a desire to increase his stores of medical and scientific knowledge. The motives of his preference he himself is puzzled to explain. Many difficulties opposed themselves to the realisation of his darling project—a visit to the Sunda Islands. His means were inadequate to the cost of so expensive an expedition; and although the advantage of science was one of his objects, he had no hope that his expenses would be defrayed by the government of his own or of any other country. At last, through friends in Amsterdam, he obtained the appointment of surgeon to a transport, on board of which, in September 1837, he sailed from the Helder for the island of Java. Besides the ship’s company, he had for companions of his voyage a hundred soldiers and two officers. The Dutch East Indies hold out small temptation either to civil or military adventurers. Few visions of speedy fortune, fewer still of rank and glory, dazzle the young and ardent, and lure them from their native land to the fever-breeding swamps of Batavia. Thus the Dutch government cannot afford to be very squeamish as to the character and quality of the men it sends thither. Dr. Selberg’s account of his fellow-passengers is evidence of this. “Amongst the soldiers,” he says, “were natives of various countries, Dutch, Belgians, French, Swiss; nearly half of them consisted of the refuse of the different German states. Most villanous was the physiognomy of many of these; the traces of every vice, and the ravages of the various climates they had lived in, were visible upon their countenances. They were men who had served in Algiers, Spain, or the West Indies, who had been driven back to Germany by a craving after their native land, and who, after a short residence there, weary of inactivity, or urged by necessity, had enlisted in[Pg 320] the Dutch East India service. The Dutchmen consisted of convicts, whose imprisonment had been remitted or abridged, on condition of their entering a colonial regiment. These were the worst of the whole lot; they feared no punishment, being fully persuaded that death awaited them in the terrible climate of Java, and it was scarcely possible to check their insubordination and excesses. Another very small section of the detachment was composed of adventurers, whom wild dreams of fortune, never to be realised, had induced to enlist for the sake of a free passage.”

Idleness would render such motley herds of evil-doers doubly difficult to restrain, and the Dutch government provides, as far as is possible on board ship, for their occupation and amusement. On the Betsey and Sara, the name of Dr. Selberg’s transport, guards were regularly mounted; pipes, tobacco, dominos, nine-pins, and even musical instruments, were abundantly supplied to the restless and discontented soldiery. But it was the season of the equinox, and, for some time, sea-sickness caused such toys to be neglected. Only when they had passed Madeira, the weather became fine, and Dr. Selberg was able to enjoy his voyage and make his observations. The latter were at first confined to the dolphins, sharks, and shoals of flying-fish which surrounded the vessel; and as to the enjoyment, it was of very short duration. After the first month, the cool trade-wind left them, and they suffered from intolerable heat. The soldiers had a comical appearance, standing on sentry with musket and side-arms, but with a night-cap, shirt, linen shoes, and trousers for their sole garments. To add to the irksomeness of life at sea, there was little cordiality amongst the officers, who lived apart as much as their narrow quarters would allow. One of them, a young lieutenant, who, in hopes of advancement, had abandoned his country, family, and mistress, was unable to bear up against the regrets that assailed him, and shot himself early in the voyage. For fear of quarrels between soldiers and sailors, the Line was passed without the usual burlesque ceremonies. At last, on New-Year’s-day, the ship dropped her anchor in Batavia roads, at about a league and a half from shore. The mud banks at the entrance of the two rivers which there enter the sea, prohibit the nearer approach of large vessels; and many ships observe a still greater distance to avoid the malaria blown over to them by the land-wind.

The heat of those latitudes rendering rowing too violent an exertion for European sailors, four Malays were taken on board the Betsey and Sara, to maintain the communication with shore. It was with a joyful heart that Dr. Selberg, weary of his protracted voyage, sprang into a boat, and was landed in the port of Batavia. He found few traces of the grandeur which once gave to that city the title of the Pearl of the East. The gem has lost its sparkle; scarce a vestige of former brilliancy remains. Choked canals, falling houses, lifeless streets, on all sides meet and offend the eye; only here and there a stately edifice tells of better days. The most remarkable is the Stadt-Huis, or town-house, a gigantic building of a simple but appropriate style of architecture, with handsome wings enclosing a large paved court. Formerly, this structure included the tribunals, bank, and foundling-hospital, but the unhealthiness of the city has caused the removal of those institutions to the elevated suburb of Weltevreden. The wings are still used as prisons. None of the other public buildings claim especial notice. Built after the plan of Amsterdam, the close streets, and the canals that intersect them, have contributed no little to the insalubrity of Batavia. Only in the day-time does the city show signs of life; towards evening, all Europeans fly the poisonous atmosphere that has destroyed so many of their countrymen, and seek the purer air of the suburbs and adjacent villages. There they have their dwelling-houses, and pass the night. At nine in the morning, the roads leading to Batavia are covered with carriages,—as necessary in Java as boots and shoes are in Europe, walking being out of the question in that climate,—and life returns to the deserted city. Chinese, Arabs, and Armenians busy[Pg 321] themselves in their shops, where the products of three-quarters of the globe are displayed; the European merchant, clad in a loose cotton dress, repairs to his counting-house, the public offices are thrown open, and the bazaar is crowded with the numerous races of men whom commerce has here assembled.

Including the neighbouring villages and country-houses properly belonging to it, the city of Batavia contains about 3000 European inhabitants, exclusive of the garrison, 23,000 Javans and Malays, 14,700 Chinese, 600 Arabs, and 9000 slaves. A grievous falling off from the time when the population was of 160,000 souls. The Arabs, Chinese, and Javans, have each their allotted quarter, or camp, as it is termed. That of the Arabs is in the Rua Malacca—a remnant of the old Portuguese nomenclature—and consists of a medley of low, Dutch-built houses, and of light bamboo huts. The Arabs are greatly looked up to by the aborigines, who attribute to them an especial holiness on account of their strict observance of the Mahomedan law; and to such an extent is this reverence carried that vessels known to belong to them are respected by the pirates of the Archipelago. Remarkable for their quiet, orderly lives, crime is said to be unknown amongst them. They are under the orders of a chief upon whom the Dutch government confers the title of Major, and who is answerable for the good behaviour of his countrymen. Whilst traversing their quarter, Dr. Selberg observed, in front of many of the doors, triumphal arches of green boughs, decorated with coloured paper—an indication that the occupants of those dwellings had recently returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca, and thence had a peculiar claim on the respect of all true believers.

The way to the Chinese district is through a labyrinth of deserted streets and crumbling houses, abandoned on account of their unhealthiness. The contrast is striking on emerging from this scene of solitude and desolation into the bustling Chinese Kampong, where that active and ingenious people carry on their innumerable trades and handicrafts. Here mechanics, with the simplest and seemingly most inadequate tools, give a perfect finish to their manufactures; here are shops full of toys, clothes, food, of every thing in short that can minister to the wants and tastes of Chinese, Javans, or Europeans. “On the roofs of several Chinese houses, I saw jars, some with the mouth, others with the bottom turned towards the street. They are so placed in conformity with a singular custom. The jar whose bottom is turned to the street indicates that there is in the house a daughter not yet grown up. When the damsel becomes marriageable, the position of the jar is reversed; and when she marries, it is taken down altogether.”

Both numerically and by reason of their energy and industry the Chinese form a very important part of the population of Java, and but for the precautions of the Dutch government they would soon entirely overrun the island. The number allowed to settle there annually, is limited by law, and during Dr. Selberg’s stay at Surubaya, he saw a large junk, containing four hundred of them, compelled to put back without landing a passenger. Thus their numbers are kept stationary, or may even be said to decrease; for in 1817, Raffles estimated the Chinese in Java at nearly a hundred thousand, whilst Dr. Selberg, twenty years later, calculates them at eighty-five thousand. Although in China emigration is forbidden by law, from the over-populated districts, and when the harvest fails, thousands of Chinese make their escape, and repair to various of the East Indian islands. The majority of those in Java have been born there of Javan women married to Chinese men, who compel their wives to adopt their national usages. The children of these unions are called pernakans by the Dutch, and in their turn are married to Chinese. The result has been a race which cannot be distinguished from the pure Chinese. New comers from the mainland generally arrive with little besides the clothes upon their backs, and obtain employment and support from their more prosperous countrymen until they know the customs and language sufficiently to make their way[Pg 322] unassisted. Proud and conceited as they are in their own land, in Java they are humble and submissive, and seek their ends by craft and cunning. Laborious and clever, they would be of great benefit to their adopted country, but for their greediness and want of principle. In that oppressive and relaxing climate, the European workman has no chance with them, and moreover they accomplish the same results with half the number of tools. On the other hand, they are sensual and debauched, and desperate gamblers. Their favourite game is Topho, a bastard Rouge et Noir, at which they swindle the simple Javans in the most unscrupulous and barefaced manner.

The unhealthiness of Batavia, arising from stagnant canals, bad drinking-water, and adjacent swamps, has often been erroneously considered to extend to the entire island. The whole has been condemned for the fault of a fraction. Intermittent and remittent fevers, and dysentery, are the diseases most common, but they are generally confined to small districts. “Java,” says Mr. Currie, surgeon of the 78th Regiment, which was quartered in Batavia during the whole period of the British occupation, from 1811 to 1815, “need no longer be held up as the grave of Europeans, for, except in the immediate neighbourhood of salt-marshes and forests, as in the city of Batavia, and two or three other places on the north coast, it may be safely affirmed that no tropical climate is superior to it in salubrity.” The author of a hastily written and desultory volume of oriental travel,[19] founded, however, on personal experience, goes much further than this, and maintains, that “with common prudence, eschewing in toto the vile habit of drinking gin and water whenever one feels thirsty, living generously but carefully, avoiding the sun’s rays by always using a close or hooded carriage, and taking common precautions against wet feet and damp clothing, a man may live, and enjoy life too, in Batavia, as long as he would in any other part of the world.” Mr. Davidson here refers not to the city of Batavia—which he admits to be a fatal residence, especially in the rainy season—but to the suburbs where he resided some years. These, however, only come in the second class, as regards salubrity, and are much too near the swamps, forests, and slimy sea-shore, to be a desirable abode, except for those whom business, compels to live within a drive of the city. Waitz, the Dutch writer, in his Levensregeln voor Oost Indie, divides the European settlements in Java into three classes; the healthy, or mountain districts, where the air is dry, and the temperature moderate; the less healthy, which are warm and damp; and finally, the positively pestiferous, where, besides tremendous heat and great moisture, the atmosphere is laden with marsh miasmata. Weltevrede, Ryswyk, and the other villages, or rather, faubourgs, south of Batavia, belong to the second class; Batavia itself, Bantam, Cheribon, Tubang, and Banjowangie, to the third, or worst division. And Dr. Selberg informs us, that the only two upas-trees whose existence he could ascertain, grow at Cheribon and Banjowangie, which of course was likely to confirm the popular superstition concerning the baneful influence of that tree. The coincidence, which at first appears remarkable, is of easy explanation, the upas preferring a swampy soil.

With respect to the possible longevity of Europeans in Java, Dr. Selberg’s account materially differs from Mr. Davidson’s estimate. The Dutch employés have to serve sixteen years in the colony to be entitled to a furlough and free passage home, and twenty years for a pension. Very few, according to the doctor, live long enough to enjoy the one or the other. And those who do, buy the privilege at a dear rate. Their emaciated bodies, enfeebled minds, thin hair, and dim eyes, show them to be blighted in their prime. True it is that, with few exceptions, they utterly neglect the primary conditions of health in a hot country. They enervate themselves by sensual indulgences, and consume spirits and spices by wholesale. There is an absurd belief [Pg 323]amongst them, that drink keeps off disease and preserves life, a case of aut bibendum aut moriendum; whereas the truth is precisely the contrary, for in that climate spirits are poison. The fact probably is, that they drink to dispel ennui, and to banish, at least for a while, the regret they feel at having exchanged Europe for Java. Dr. Selberg, states, that every European he spoke to in the colony, longed to leave it. But the voyage home is costly, and so they linger on until death or their furlough relieves them. Some lucky ones succeed in making rapid fortunes, but these are the very few, whose example, however, suffices to seduce others of their countrymen from their Dutch comforts, to brave fevers, tigers, mosquitoes, and the other great and little perils of Java, in pursuit of wealth which they rarely acquire, and which, when obtained, their impaired health renders it difficult for them to enjoy. Another class of the colonists consists of men who, having committed crimes in their own country, have fled from the vengeance of the law. These are thought little the worse of in Java, where the transition from one quarter of the globe to the other seems admitted as a species of moral whitewashing. And indeed, bad characters so abound amongst the scanty European population, that if the respectable portion kept themselves aloof, they would probably be found the minority. Many of the reprobates have realised considerable property. The rich host of the principal hotel at Surabaya, is a branded galley-slave. Dr. Selberg often found himself in the society of hard drinkers, and these, when wine had loosened their tongues, would let out details of their past lives, which at first greatly shocked his simplicity. “I was once,” he says, “invited to a dinner, which ended, as usual, with a drinking bout. My neighbour at the table, was a German from the Rhine provinces, who had been twelve years in Java. He got very drunk, and spoke of his beloved country, which he should never see again. He was a man of property, well looked upon in the island, and I asked him what had first induced him to settle there. He replied very quietly, that it was on account of a theft he had committed. I started from my chair as if an adder had bitten me, and begged the master of the house to let me sit elsewhere than beside that man. He complied with my request, at the same time remarking, with a smile, that I should hear similar things of many, but that they were Europeans, and jolly fellows, and their conduct had been blameless since their residence in Java.” In such a state of society, the best plan was to abstain from inquiries and intimacies. So the doctor found, and after a while, was able to eat the excellent Javan dinners, and sip his Medoc and Hochheimer, without asking or caring whether his fellow-feeders would not have been more in their places in an Amsterdam Zuchthaus, than in an honest man’s company.

Dr. Selberg was at Batavia during the wet season, when torrents of rain, of whose abundance and volume Europeans can form no idea, alternate with a sun-heat that cracks the earth and pumps up pestilence from the low marshy ground upon which this fever-nest is built. He had abundant opportunity to investigate the causes and symptoms of the fevers and other prevalent maladies. His zeal in the cause of science led him into serious peril, by inducing him to pass a night in the city, at a time when that unlucky portion of the inhabitants whom poverty or other causes prevent from leaving it, were dying like flies from the effects of the noxious exhalations. The quality of the air was so bad as sensibly to affect the lungs and olfactories, and impede respiration; and, though exposed to it but a very few hours, he experienced various unpleasant symptoms, only to be dissipated by recourse to his medicine chest. Hence some idea may be formed of the terrible effect of that corrupt atmosphere upon those who continually breathe it. The plague of mosquitoes, who find their natural element in the marsh-vapour, also contributes to render Batavia an intolerable sleeping-place. One very singular phenomenon observed by Dr. Selberg, but for which he does not attempt to account, is the strong odour of musk constantly perceptible in the city and its environs.

[Pg 324]As less interesting to the general than to the medical reader, we pass over the doctor’s febrile researches, and accompany him to the town of Surabaya, to which he proceeded after a few days’ stay at Batavia. “It was four in the afternoon when we came to an anchor: in an instant the ship was surrounded by a swarm of the small native boats—tambangans, as they are called; and we were assailed by all manner of noisy greetings and offers of service. Some of the applicants wished to row us to the town, others insisted upon selling us fruit and eatables, pine-apples, shaddocks, arrack, dried fish, boiled crabs, &c. &c., contained in tubs and jars of very dubious cleanliness. Chinese pressed upon our notice their various wares;—large straw hats, beautifully plaited; cigars, parasols, Indian ink, fans, and the like trifles. Here was a Javan proa, full of boots and shoes, of all colours; yonder, a floating menagerie of parrots, macaws, apes, and cockatoos, equally variegated, and to be sold for a song. There were jewellers, and diamond merchants, and dealers in carved horn and ivory; washer-women petitioning for custom, and exhibiting certificates of honesty in a dozen different languages, not one of which they understood; canoes full of young Javan girls,—these last also for sale. I at once saw that I had come into a neighbourhood where European civilisation had made considerable progress. Without exception, I found the morals of the aborigines at the lowest pitch in the vicinity of the large European establishments.

“It was a cheerful bustling scene. ‘Here, sir, food!’ ‘Sir, you are welcome!’ ‘Gold from Padang!’ ‘Shoes for a silver florin!’ ‘Capital arrack!’ and fifty other cries, mingled with the screams and chatter of the birds; whilst a great orang-outang from Borneo, and a number of monkeys, in different boats, insulted one another by the most diabolical grimaces. Many of the canoes were mere hollow trees, enclosed, to prevent their capsizing, in a frame-work of large bamboo stems, two of these being fixed transversely to bow and stern of the boat, and having their extremities connected by others running parallel to it. The lightness and buoyancy of the bamboos obviate all risk of the boats swamping. I have seen them out in a rough sea, tossed upon the waves, and showing nearly the whole of their keel, but I never knew one to upset.”

The town of Surabaya, or Sorabaya, (Crocodile Resort,) is situated towards the eastern extremity of the north coast of Java, opposite the island of Madura, and at five hundred English miles from Batavia. It stands in a large plain near the mouth of the Kalimas, or Gold River; and, at the present day, is the most flourishing of the Dutch establishments in Java. The climate is damp and hot, the thermometer often standing at eighty-five in the night; but it is less unhealthy than that of Batavia. The river is not drained and frittered away by canals; the town is well planned and open; and the handsome houses are interspersed with beautiful gardens. As at Batavia, however, the harbour is more or less impeded by mud-banks, which prevent the entrance of large ships. Favoured and encouraged by the Dutch governor, General Daendels, and by his successor, Baron Van der Capellen, the place grew rapidly in size and prosperity. It possesses a mint, an arsenal, docks for ship-building, anchor-founderies, and other similar establishments. Notwithstanding these advantages, the European population amounts, in the town and entire province, which latter is of considerable extent, to no more than six hundred and fifty persons, exclusive of the troops. The whole population, of all nations and colours, reaches a quarter of a million. The mode of living is far gayer and more agreeable than at Batavia, which, whatever it may have been in former days, is now a mere place of business, a collection of offices, shops, and warehouses. At Surabaya life is more secure and its enjoyment greater. Every evening, during the fine season, the large square in the Chinese quarter—composed of massive comfortable buildings, contrasting favourably with the fragile huts of the Javans—is converted into a kind of fair, where the whole city assembles. “The place is illumined with a thousand torches, which increase, to a stranger’s eyes, the curious[Pg 325] exotic character of the scene. Javans, Chinese, Europeans, Liplaps, (the Batavian term for the children of Europeans and Javan women,) and various other races, crowd thither to gaze at the shows and performances. There jugglers and rope-dancers display their dexterity, far surpassing that of their European brethren; Chinese comedies are acted, and Chinese orchestras jar upon the ear of the newly arrived foreigner; the Rongengs (dancing girls) go through their series of voluptuous attitudes; gongs are beaten, trumpets blown; Chinese gamblers lie upon the ground and rob the Javans at the much-loved games of tzo and topho.” The people of Java are very musical, after their fashion, and have all manner of queer instruments, many of a barbarous description, some borrowed from the Chinese. They are much addicted to dramatic exhibitions and puppet shows, and claim to be the original inventors of the ombres chinoises, figures moved behind a transparent curtain. Crawford, in his “History of the Indian Archipelago,” gives them the credit of this triumph of inventive genius, which has found its way from the far Fast to the streets of London, and to Monsieur Seraphin’s saloon in the Palais Royal.

Javan diversions are not all of the same human and gentle character as those just cited. Although mild and peaceable in disposition, the Javans are passionately fond of fights between animals. Whilst beholding these encounters, their usual calm gravity and mysterious reserve disappear, and are replaced by the noisy, vehement eagerness of an excited boy. Cock-fights are in great vogue, and in many an old Javan poem the exploits of the crested combatants are related in a strain of laughable magniloquence. But other and more serious contests frequently take place. Before speaking of them, we turn to Dr. Selberg’s spirited account of a tiger-hunt, which occurred during his stay at Surabaya. Tigers of various species abound in Java. The commonest are the royal tiler and the leopard, of which latter animal the black tiger is a bastard variety. Cubs of both kinds are frequently found in the same lair; and when the black tiger is very young, leopard-like spots are discernible on its skin. As it grows older, they disappear, and the hair becomes of a uniform black. In the interior of Java much mischief is done by these cowardly but bloodthirsty and cunning beasts. In the neighbourhood of the large European settlements, accidents are less frequent, the tiger shunning populous districts, and retreating into the forest on the approach of man. When one makes its appearance, the authorities generally order a battue. Very few, however, are killed, though a price is set upon their heads, and they continue to destroy about three hundred Javans per annum, on a moderate average. This is, in great measure, the fault of the natives themselves, who, instead of doing their utmost to exterminate the breed, entertain a sort of superstitious respect for their devourers, and carry it so far as to place food in the places to which they are known to resort, thinking thereby to propitiate the foe, and keep his claws off their wives and children. They themselves, when compelled to oppose the tiger, or when led against him by their European allies, show vast coolness and courage, the more remarkable, as, in ordinary circumstances of danger, they are by no means a brave people. Raffles quotes several anecdotes of their fearlessness before wild beasts, and Dr. Selberg furnishes one of a similar kind. “A Javan criminal was condemned by the sultan to fight a large royal tiger, whose ferocity was raised to the highest point by want of food, and artificial irritation. The only weapon allowed to the human combatant was a kreese with the point broken off. After wrapping a cloth round his left fist and arm, the man entered the arena with an air of undaunted calmness, and fixed a steady menacing gaze upon the brute. The tiger sprang furiously upon his intended victim, who with extraordinary boldness and rapidity thrust his left fist into the gaping jaws, and at the same moment, with his keen though pointless dagger, ripped up the beast to the very heart. In less than a minute, the tiger lay dead at his conqueror’s feet. The criminal was not only forgiven but ennobled by his sovereign.”

[Pg 326]A tiger having attacked and torn a Javan woman, a hunt was ordered, and Dr. Selberg was invited to share in it. He got on horseback before daybreak, but the sun was up and hot when he reached the place of rendezvous, where he found a strong muster of Europeans and Javans. “In front of us was a small wood, choked and tangled with bushes: this was the tiger’s lair. At about twenty paces from the trees, we Europeans posted ourselves, with our rifles, twelve paces from each other, and in the form of a semicircle. Behind us was a close chain of several hundred Javans, armed with long lances, kreeses, and short swords. If the tiger broke through our ranks, they were to kill him after their fashion. The natives—those, at least, who have not served as soldiers—being unskilled in the use of fire-arms, are not trusted with them, for fear of accidents. From the opposite side of the wood a crowd of musicians now advanced, beating drums, triangles, and gongs, and making an infernal din, intended to scare the tiger from his lurking place, and drive him towards us. We were all on the alert, guns cocked, eyes riveted on the wood. The instruments came nearer and nearer, and I expected each moment to see the monster spring forth. There were no signs of him, however, and presently the beaters stood before us. Heartily disappointed at this fruitless chase and unexpected result, I was about to join the hunter stationed to my left, when the one on my other hand called a Javan, and bade him thrust his lance into a bush on my right front, between our line and the little wood. Impossible, thought I, that the beast should be there: and I turned to speak to my friend. I had uttered but a word or two, when a rustle and rush made me look round. The Javan stood before the bush, clutching a tiger by the throat with both hands. The brute was already pierced with bullets, lances, and daggers: a broad stream of blood flowed over the face of the Javan, who continued firmly to grasp his enemy, until we released the lifeless carcase from his hands. His wound was not so serious as we had at first feared: a bit of the scalp was torn off, and the nose slightly injured. He stood silent, and apparently stupefied, and revived only when an official informed him that he should receive the reward of ten dollars, set upon the head of every tiger.”

Although these field-days occasionally take place, the Javans have another and easier way of tiger catching, by means of a magnified rat-trap, baited with a goat, and of which the door closes as the tiger rushes in. The captive is then killed with bamboo spears, or, more frequently, transferred to a strong wooden cage, and taken to a town, where he contributes to the amusement of his conquerors by fighting the buffalo. The Java buffalo is of the largest species, is covered with short thick hair, and has sharp horns, more than two feet long, growing in a nearly horizontal direction. His colour is of a dirty blue-black, and altogether he is a very ugly customer, as the unfortunate tiger usually finds. For these duellos between the forest grandee and the lord of the plain, a regular arena is erected, surrounded by strong palisades, behind which stand Javans armed with lances. After the buffalo has been brought into the ring, a native, generally a chief, approaches the tiger’s cage with a dancing step, accompanied by music, opens it, and retires in the same manner, keeping his eyes fixed upon the tiger. The tiger, who well knows his formidable opponent, comes unwillingly forth, and creeps round the arena, avoiding his foe, and watching an opportunity to spring upon his head or neck. Presently the buffalo, who is lost always the assailant, rushes, with a tremendous bellow, at his sneaking antagonist. The tiger seizes a favourable moment, and fixes his long claws in the buffalo’s neck; but the furious bull dashes him against the palisades, and, yelling fearfully, he relinquishes his hold. He now shirks the combat more than ever; but the buffalo follows him up till he pierces him with his horns, or crushes him to death against the barrier. Sometimes friend Tiger proves dunghill from the very first, and then the Javans goad him with pointed sticks, scald him with boiling water, singe him with blazing straw, and resort to[Pg 327] other humane devices to spur his courage. If the buffalo fights shy, which does not often happen, he is subjected to similar persecutions. But the poor tiger has no chance allowed him; for if he does, through pluck and luck, prove the better beast, the Javans, who evidently have not the slightest notion of fair play, or any sympathy with bravery, subject him to an unpleasant operation called the rampoh. They make a ring round him, and torment him till he hazards a desperate spring, and finds his death upon their lance points.

It is a remarkable fact, that the Java tigers seldom or never attack Europeans. They consume the natives by dozens; but Dr. Selberg could get no account of an onslaught on a Dutchman or any other white man. The Javans are well aware of this, and assert, that if a number of Europeans, amongst whom there is only one native, are exposed to the attack of a tiger, the native is invariably the victim. This assertion is confirmed by many examples. Dr. Selberg conjectures various reasons for this eccentricity or epicurism, whichever it may be termed, on the part of the tiger, and amongst other hypotheses, suggests that the animal may be partial to the hogoo of the Javans, who anoint their yellow carcases with cocoa-nut oil. The Javans themselves explain it differently, and maintain that the souls of Europeans pass, after death, into the bodies of tigers—a bitter satire upon those whose mission it was to civilise and improve, and who, but too often, have preferred to persecute and deprave. Such a superstition demonstrates more than whole volumes of history, after what manner the first acquaintance was made between this artless, peaceful people, and their European conquerors. The early administration of the Dutch in Java was marked by many acts of cruelty. “Their leading traits,” says Raffles, “were a haughty assumption of superiority, for the purpose of over-awing the credulous simplicity of the natives, and a most extraordinary timidity, which led them to suspect treachery and danger in quarters where they were least to be apprehended.” Thus we find them, in the sixteenth century, murdering the Prince of Madura, his wives, children, and followers, merely because, when he came to visit them on board their ships, with friendly intentions and by previous agreement, his numerous retinue inspired them with alarm. The massacre of the Chinese in the streets of Batavia, in the year 1731, when nine thousand were slain in cold blood in the course of one morning, is another crime on record against the Dutch. Step by step, their path marked with blood, the people who had at first thankfully received permission to establish a single factory, obtained possession of the whole island. On its southern side there are still two nominally independent princes, in reality vassals of the Dutch, and existing but at their good pleasure. The present character of the Dutch administration is mild; the slaves, especially, now few and decreasing in number, are humanely treated, and in fact are better off than the lower orders of the free Javans, being employed as household servants, whilst the natives drag out a painful and laborious existence in the rice and coffee-fields. But, however good the intentions of the Dutch government, however meritorious the endeavours of certain governors-general, especially of the excellent Van der Capellen, to civilise and improve the Javans, little progress has as yet been made towards that desirable end. In the interior of the island, where Europeans are scarce, the character of the natives is far better than on the coast, where they have contracted all the vices of which the example is so plentifully afforded them by their conquerors. Dwelling in wretched huts, the cost of whose materials and erection varied, in the time of Raffles, from five to ten shillings, they till, for a wretched pittance, the soil that their forefathers possessed. Brutalised, however, as they are, living from hand to mouth, and suffering from the diseases incident to poverty and the climate, and from others introduced from Europe, they appear tolerably contented. In the midst of their misfortunes, they have one great solace, one consoling and engrossing vice; they live to gamble. For a game of chance, they abandon every thing, forget their duties and families, spend[Pg 328] their own money and that of other people, and even set their liberty on a cast of the die. It is a national malady, extending from the prince to the boor, and including the Liplaps or half-breeds, who generally unite the vices of their European fathers and Indian mothers. The beast-fights are popular, chiefly because they afford such glorious opportunity for betting. Besides cocks and quails, tigers and buffaloes, other animals, the least pugnacious possible, are stimulated to a contest. Locusts are made to enter the lists, and are tickled on the head with a straw until they reach the fighting pitch. Wild pigs are caught in snares and opposed to goats, who generally punish them severely, the Javan pigs being small, and possessing little strength and courage. Then there are races between paper kites, whose strings are coated with lime and pounded glass, so that, on coming in contact, they cut each other, and the falling kite proclaims its owner’s bet lost. And by day and night, Dr. Selberg, informs us, on the high roads, and near the villages, groups are to be seen stretched upon the earth, playing games of chance. Nor are these by any means the lowest of the people. The doctor cites several instances of the extraordinary addiction both of men and women to this vice. He had ordered a quantity of cigars of a Javan, who undertook to make and deliver a hundred daily, for which he was to be paid a florin. For two days the man kept to his contract, and then did not show his face for a week. On inquiry, it appeared that, although wretchedly poor, and having a large family to support, he had been unable to resist the dice-box, and had gone to gamble away his brace of florins. To get rid even of this small sum might take him some time, thanks to the infinite subdivisions of Javan coinage, which descend to a Pichi, or small bit of tin with a hole through it, whereof 5,600 make a dollar. When Dr. Selberg left Java, a Dutch pilot steered the ship as far as Passaruang. The man appeared very melancholy, and, on being asked the of his sadness, said that, during his previous trip, his wife had gambled all his savings. He had forgotten the key in his money-box, and, on going home, the last doit had disappeared. Dr. Selberg asked him if he could not cure his better-half of so dangerous a propensity. “She is a Liplap, sir,” replied the man, with a shrug, meaning that correction was useless, and a good lock the only remedy. The merchants who ship specie and other valuable merchandise on vessels manned by Javans, supply the crew with money to gamble, as the only means to rouse them from their habitual indolent lethargy, and ensure their vigilance.

Whilst rowing up the Kalimas, Dr. Selberg was greatly dazzled by the bright eyes and other perfections of a young half-breed lady, as she took her airing in a tambangan, richly dressed in European style, and attended by two female slaves. A few days afterwards, when driving out to visit his friend Dr. F., the German chief of the Surabaya hospital, he again caught sight of this brown beauty, reclining in an elegant carriage-and-four, beneath the shadow of large Chinese parasols, held by servants in rich liveries. Our adventurous Esculapius forthwith galloped after her. Unfortunately, his team took it into their heads to stop short in full career—no uncommon trick with the stubborn little Javan horses—and before they could be prevailed upon to proceed, all trace of the incognita was lost. Subsequently the doctor was introduced to her husband, a German of good family, who had left his country on account of an unfortunate duel, and who, after a short residence in Java, where he held a government situation, had been glad to pay his debts and supply his expensive habits by a marriage with a wealthy half-caste heiress. The history of the lady is illustrative of a curious state of society. She was the daughter of a Javan slave and a Dutch gentleman, the administrator of one of the richest provinces of the island. As is there the case with almost all half-breed children, and even with many of pure European blood, she grew up under the care of her mother—that is to say, under no care at all—in the society of Javans of the very lowest class, her father’s domestics. The Dutchman died when she was about ten years old, having[Pg 329] previously acknowledged her as his daughter, and left her the whole of his property. The child, who, till then, had been allowed to run about wild and almost naked, was now taken in hand by her guardians, and converted, by means of European clothes, into an exceedingly fine lady. Education she of course had none, but remained in her original state of barbarous ignorance. Four years afterwards she became acquainted with the German gentleman above-mentioned, and soon afterwards they were married. Dr. Selberg gives a characteristic account of his first visit at their house. “I went with Dr. F. to call upon Mr. Von N., but that gentleman was out. ‘Let us wait his return,’ said my friend, ‘and in the meantime we will see what his lady is about, and you can pay your respects to her. N. likes his wife to be treated with all the ceremony used to a lady of condition in our own country.’ We passed through several apartments, filled with European and Asiatic furniture and luxuries, and paused at the entrance of a large open room. With a slight but significant gesture, F. pointed to a group which there offered itself to our view. On a costly carpet lay several of Mr. Von N.’s black servants, both male and female, and in the midst of them was Mevrouw Von N., only to be distinguished from her companions by the richer materials of her dress. A silken sarong (a kind of plaid petticoat,) and a kabaya of the same material composed her costume; a pair of Chinese slippers, of red velvet, embroidered with gold, lay near her naked feet. She rattled a dice-box, and the servants anxiously awaited the throw, watching with intense eagerness each movement of their mistress. Down came the dice, and with an inarticulate cry the winners threw themselves on the stakes. So preoccupied were the whole party, that for some moments we were unobserved. At last an exclamation of surprise warned the lady of our unwelcome presence. The slaves ran away helter-skelter. Mevrouw Von N. snatched up her slippers, and with a confused bow to Dr. F., disappeared. I was confounded at this strange scene. My companion laughed, led me into another room, and desired me to say nothing of what I had seen to N., who presently came in, and received us with the unaffected frankness and hospitality universal in Java.” The Vrouw was now summoned, and, after a while, made her appearance in full European fig. Conversation with her was difficult, for she could not speak Dutch, and through a feeling of shame at her ignorance, would not speak Malay. Neglected by her husband, and placed by her birth in an uncertain position between Javan and European women, the poor girl had neither the education of the latter, nor the domestic qualities inherent in the former. Subsequently Dr. Selberg passed some time in Von N.’s house, and his account of what there occurred is not very creditable to the tone and morals of Javan society. Driving out one morning with his host, the latter quietly asked him if he was not carrying on an intrigue with his wife. “You may speak candidly,” said he, with great unconcern, and to the infinite horror of the innocent doctor. It appeared that Von N. had allowed his lady to discover a conjugal dereliction on his part, and he suspected her of using reprisals. “She is a Liplap,” he said, “and though you are only an orang bar (a new comer,) you know what that means.” Shocked by this cynical proceeding on the part of his entertainer, Dr. Selberg left the house the next day, after presenting Von N. with a double-barrelled gun in payment of his hospitality. Throughout Java, and even where hotels exist, private houses are invariably open to the stranger, and his reception is most cordial. But on his departure, it is incumbent on him, according to the custom of the island, to make his host a present, sufficiently valuable to show that he has not accepted hospitality from niggardly motives.

The credulity and superstition of the Javans exceed belief. Dreams, omens, lucky and unlucky days, astrology, amulets, witchcraft, are with them matters of faith and reverence. They believe each bush and rock, even the air itself, to be inhabited by Dhewo or spirits. Not satisfied with the numerous varieties of supernatural[Pg 330] beings with which their own traditions supply them, they have borrowed others from the Indians, Persians, and Arabs. The Dhewos are good spirits, and great respect is shown to them. They regulate the growth of trees, ripen the fruit, murmur in the running streams, and abide in the still shades of the forest. But their favourite dwelling is the Warinzie tree (ficus Indica,) which droops its long branches to the earth to form then a palace. The Javans mingle their superstitions with the commonest events of every-day life. Thieves, for instance, will throw a little earth, taken from a new-made grave, into the house they intend to rob, persuaded that the inmates will thereby be plunged into a deep sleep. When they have done this, and especially if they have managed to place the earth under the bed, they set to work with full conviction of impunity. Bamboo boxes of soil are frequently found in the possession of captured thieves, who usually confess the purpose to which they were to be applied. During the English occupation, it was casually discovered that a buffalo’s skull was constantly carried backwards and forwards from one end of the island to the other. The Javans had got a notion that a frightful curse had been pronounced upon the man who should allow it to remain stationary. After the skull had travelled many hundred miles, it was brought to Samarang, and there the English resident had it thrown into the sea. The Javans looked on quietly, and held the curse to be neutralised by the white men’s intervention. Dr. Selberg gives various other examples, observed by himself, of the ridiculous superstitions of these simple islanders. A very remarkable one is given in the works of Raffles and Crawford. In 1814, it was found out that a road had been made up to the lofty summit of the mountain of Sumbing. The road was twenty feet broad, and about sixty English miles in length, and a condition of its construction being that it should cross no water-course, it straggled in countless zig-zags up the mountain side. This gigantic work, the result of the labours of a whole province, and of a people habitually and constitutionally averse to violent exertion, was finished before the government became aware of its commencement. Its origin was most absurd and trifling. An old woman gave out that she had dreamed a dream, and that a deity was about to alight upon the mountain top. A curse was to fall upon all who did not work at a road for his descent into the plain. Such boundless credulity as this, is of course easily turned to account by mischievous persons, and has often been worked upon to incite the Javans to revolt. The history of the island, even in modern times, abounds in insurrections, got up, for the most part, by men of little talent, but possessing sufficient cunning to turn the imbecility of their countrymen to their own advantage.

The weakness of the Javans’ intellects is only to be equalled by their strange want of memory. A few weeks after the occurrence of an event in which they themselves bore a share, they have totally forgotten both its time and circumstances. None of them have any idea of their own age. Dr. Selberg had a servant, apparently about sixteen years old. He frequently asked him how old he was, and never got the same answer twice. Marsden remarked this same peculiarity in the Sumatra Malays, and Humboldt in the Chaymas Indians. The latter people, however, do not know how to count beyond five or six, which is not the case with the Javans. Their want of memory renders their historical records of questionable value, producing an awful confusion of dates, in addition to the childish tales and extraordinary misrepresentations which they mingle with narratives of real events.

Although, is already observed, the corruption and immorality of the natives in and near European establishments is as great as their virtue and simplicity in the interior, it cannot be said that crime abounds in any part of Java. Within the present century prayers were read for the Governor-general’s safety when he went on a journey, and thanksgivings offered up on his return; now the whole island may be travelled over almost as safely as any part of[Pg 331] Europe. The Javans are neither quarrelsome nor covetous, and even when they turn robbers they seldom kill or ill-treat those they plunder. On the other hand they are terribly sensitive of any injury to their honour, and all insult is apt to produce the terrible Amók, freely rendered in English as “running a muck.” It is a Malay word, signifying to attack some one furiously and desperately with intent to murder him. It is also used to express the rush of a wild beast on his prey, or the charge of a body of troops, especially with the bayonet. This outbreak of revengeful fury is frequent with Malays, and by no means uncommon amongst Javans. In the latter, whose usual character is so gentle, these sudden and frantic outbursts strike the beholder with astonishment, the greater that there is no previous indication of the coming storm. A Javan has received an outrage, perhaps a blow, but he preserves his usual calm, grave demeanour, until on a sudden, and with a terrible shriek, he draws his kreese, and attacks not only those who have offended him, but unoffending bystanders, and often the persons he best loves. It is a temporary insanity, which usually lasts till he sinks from exhaustion, or is himself struck down. The paroxysm over, remorse assails him, and he bewails the sad results of his matta glab or blinded eye, by which term the Javans frequently designate the amók. Apprehension of danger often brings on this species of delirium. “Two Javans,” says Dr. Selberg, “married men, and intimate friends, went one day to Tjandjur, to sell bamboo baskets. One got rid of all his stock, went to a Chinese shop, bought a handkerchief and umbrella for his wife, and set out on his return home with his companion, who had been unfortunate, and had sold nothing. The lucky seller was in high spirits, childishly delighted at his success, and with the presents he took to his wife; his friend walked by his side, grave and silent. Suddenly the former also became mute; he fancied his comrade envied and intended to stab him. Drawing his kreese, he fell upon the unoffending man, and laid him dead upon the ground. Sudden repentance succeeded the groundless suspicion and cruel deed, and some Javans, who soon afterwards came up, found him raving over the body of his friend, and imploring to be delivered to justice.” Seldom, however, does an amók make only one victim. The Javan women are not subject to these fury-fits, but are not on that account the less dangerous. Of an extremely jealous disposition, they have quiet and subtle means of revenging themselves upon their rivals. They are skilled in the preparation of poisons—of one especially, which kills slowly, occasioning symptoms similar to those of consumption. When a Javan perceives these, she resigns herself to her fate, knowing well what is the matter with her, and rejecting antidotes as useless. And European physicians have as yet done little against the effects of this poison, whose ingredients they cannot discover with sufficient accuracy to counteract them. A medical man told Dr. Selberg that copper dust and human hair were amongst them, combined with other substances entirely unknown to him. The dose is usually administered in rice, the chief food of the Javans. Arsenic, another poison in common use, is sold in all the bazaars. This poisoning practice is not unusual amongst Liplap women married to Europeans, and who, although nominally Christians, possess, for the most part, all the vices and superstitious of their Mahometan sisters. The latter can hardly be said to have any religion, for they know little of the faith of Mahomed beyond a few of its outward forms. It has been remarked, that since Java has been more mildly governed, and that the natives have been better treated by the Dutch, amóks have been far less frequent. By kindness, it is evident that much may be done with the Javans, whose gratitude and fidelity to those who show it them are admitted by all Europeans who have lived any time in the island. Another excellent quality is their love of truth. The tribunals have little trouble in ascertaining a criminal’s guilt. He at once confesses it, and seeks no other extenuation than is to be found in the usual plea of moral and momentary blindness.

[Pg 332]Passaruang was the last Javan town visited by Dr. Selberg. He had promised himself much pleasure in exploring the province of the same name, and in examining the various objects of interest it contains. He intended to ascend the volcano of Pelian Bromo, whose fiery crater, seen from a distance at sea, had excited his lively curiosity; he wished to visit the ruins of old temples, vestiges of Javan civilisation a thousand years ago, and to gaze at the cataracts which dash, from a height of three hundred feet, down the rocky sides of Mount Arjuna. But he was doomed to disappointment. Up to this time his health had been excellent; neither heat nor malaria had succeeded in converting his wholesome German complexion into the bilious tint that stains the cheeks of most Europeans in Java. The climate, however, would not forego its customary tribute, and, on his passage from Surabaya to Passaruang, he fell seriously ill. After suffering for a week on board ship, he felt somewhat better, and went on shore, but experienced a relapse, and was carried senseless into the house of a rich Javan. He was gradually getting acquainted with the comforts of the country he had so lunch desired to visit. Already he had been nearly choked by the marsh vapour at Batavia, half devoured by mosquitoes, and all but drowned in a squall. In the island of Madura, whilst traversing a swamp, on the shoulders of a native, his bearer had attempted to rob him of his watch, and, on his resenting this liberty, he and his boat’s crew were attacked, and narrowly escaped massacre. And now came disease, aggravated by the minor nuisances incidental to that land of vermin and venom. Confined to bed by sudden and violent fever, he received every kindness and attention from his friendly host, who, on leaving him at night, placed an open cocoa nut by his bed-side, a simple but delightful fever-draught. Awaking with a parched tongue and burning thirst, he sought the nut, but it was empty. The next night the same thing occurred, and he could not imagine who stole his milk. He ordered two nuts and a light to be left near him: towards midnight a slight noise attracted his attention, and he saw two small beasts steadily and cautiously approach, stare at him with their protruding eyes, and then dip their ugly snouts into his cocoa nuts. These free-and-easy vermin were geckos, a species of lizard, about a foot long, of a pale grayish-green colour, spotted with red, having a large mouth full of sharp teeth, a long tall, marked with white rings, and sharp claws upon their feet. Between these claws, by which they cling to whatever they touch, is a venomous secretion that distills into the wounds they make. Dr. Selberg was well acquainted with these comely creatures, and had even bottled a couple, which now grace the shelves of a German museum; but, in his then feeble and half delirious state, their presence intimidated him; and, fancying that if he disturbed their repast, they might transfer their attentions to himself, he allowed them to swill at leisure, until an accidental noise scared them away. Their visit was, perhaps, a good omen, for, on the following day, the doctor found himself sufficiently recovered to return on board his transport. After some buffeting by storms, and a passing ramble in St. Helena, he reached Europe, his cravings after Eastern travel tolerably assuaged, to give his countrymen the benefit of his notes and observations upon the fair but feverish shores of the Indian Archipelago.



[Pg 333]



“Oliver Newman” is a poem which I opened with trembling; for the last new poem that ever shall be read from such an one as Southey, is not a thing that can be looked upon lightly. Then it came to us from his grave, “like the gleaming grapes when the vintage is done;” and the last fruit of such a teeming mind must be relished, though far from being the best; as we are glad to eat apples out of season, which, in the time of them, we should hardly have gathered. But this is not to the purpose. I was surprised to find the new poem built on a history which novelists and story-tellers have been nibbling at these twenty years, and which seems to be a peculiarly relishable bit of news on an old subject, if we may judge by the way in which literary epicures have snatched it up piecemeal. In the first place, Sir Walter Scott, who read every thing, got hold of a “North American publication,”[20] from which he learned; with surprise, that Whalley the regicide, “who was never heard of after the Restoration,” fled to Massachusetts, and there lived concealed, and died, and was laid in an obscure grave, which had lately been ascertained. Giving Mr. Cooper due credit for a prior use of the story, he made it over, in his own inimitable way, and puts it into the mouth of Major Bridgenorth, relating his adventures in America. Southey seems next to have got wind of it, reviewing “Holmes’ American Annals,”[21] in the Quarterly, when he confesses he first thought of King Philip’s war as the subject for an epic—a thought which afterwards became a flame, and determined him to make Goffe (another regicide) the hero of his poem. A few details of the story got out of romance and gossip into genuine history, in a volume of “Murray’s Family Library;”[22] and the great “Elucidator” of Oliver Cromwell’s mystifications condenses them again into a single sentence, observing, with his usual buffoonery, that “two of Oliver’s cousinry fled to New England, lived in caves there, and had a sore time of it.” And now comes the poem from Southey, full of allusions to the same story, and, after all, giving only part of it; for I do not see that any one has yet mentioned the fact, that three regicides lived and died in America after the Restoration, and that their sepulchres are there to this day.

In truth, the new poem led me to think there might be some value in a certain MS. of my own,—mere notes of a traveller, indeed, but results of a tour which I made in New England in the summer of 18—, during which, besides visiting one of the haunts of the fugitives, I took the pains to investigate all that is extant of their story. I found there a queer little account of them, badly written, and worse arranged; the work of one Dr. Stiles, who seems to have been something of a pious Jacobin, and whose reverence for the murderers of King Charles amounts almost to idolatry. He was president of Yale College, at Newhaven, and thoroughly possessed of all the hate and cant about Malignants, which the first settlers of New England brought over with them as an heir-loom for their sons. A member of his college told me, that Stiles used to tell the undergraduates that silly story about the king’s being hanged by mistake for Oliver, after the Restoration; and that he only left it off when a dry fellow laughed out at the narration, and on being asked what there was to laugh at, replied, “hanging a man that had lost his neck.” After reading the doctor’s book on the Regicides, I cannot doubt the anecdote, for he carries his love of Oliver into rapture; talks of “entertaining angels” in the persons of Goffe and [Pg 334]Whalley, and applies to them the beautiful language in which St. Paul commemorates the saints—“they wandered about, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth—of whom the world was not worthy.” The book itself is the most confused mass of repetition and contradiction I ever saw, and yet proved to me vastly entertaining. In connexion with it, I got hold of several others that helped to “elucidate” it; and thus, with much verbal information, I believe I came to a pretty clear view of the case. I can only give what I have gathered, in the off-hand way of a tourist, but perhaps I may serve some one with facts, which they will arrange much better, in performing the more serious task of a historian.

After spending several weeks in the vicinity of New York, I left that city in a steamer for a visit to the “Eastern States;” our passage lying through the East River and Long Island Sound, and requiring about five hours sail to complete the trip to Newhaven. I found the excursion by no means an agreeable one. The Sound itself is wide, and our way lay at equal distances between its shores, which, being quite low, are not easily descried by a passenger. Then there came up a squall, which occasioned a great swell in the sea, and sickness was the consequence among not a few of the company on board. Altogether, the steamer being greatly inferior to those on the Hudson, and crowded with a very uninteresting set of passengers, I was glad to retreat from the cabin, going forward, and looking out impatiently for the end of our voyage.

Here it was that I first caught sight of two bold headlands, looming up, a little retired from the shore, and giving a dignity to the coast at this particular spot, by which it is not generally distinguished. We soon entered the bay of Newhaven, and the town itself began to appear, embosomed very snugly between the two mountains, and deriving no little beauty from their prominent share in its surrounding scenery. I judged them not more than four or five hundred feet high, but they are marked with elegant peaks, and present a bold perpendicular front of trap-rock, which, with the bay and harbour in the foreground, and a fine outline of hills sloping away towards the horizon, conveys a most agreeable impression to the approaching stranger of the region he is about to visit. A person who stood looking out very near me, gave me the information that the twin mountains were called, from their geographical relations to the meridian of Newhaven, East and West Rocks, and added the remark, for which I was hardly prepared, that West Rock was celebrated as having afforded a refuge to the regicides Goffe and Whalley.

My fellow-passenger, observing my interest in this statement, went on to tell me, in substance, as follows. A cleft in its rugged rocks was once actually inhabited by those scape-goats, and still goes by the name of “The Regicides’ Cave.” Newhaven, moreover, contains the graves of these men, and regards them with such remarkable veneration, that even the railroad speed of progress and improvement has been checked to keep them inviolate;—a tribute which, in America, must be regarded as very marked, since no ordinary obstacle ever is allowed to interfere with their perpetual “go-ahead.” It seems the ancient grave-yard, where the regicides repose, was found very desirable for a public square; and as a mimic Père-la-Chaise had just been created in the outskirts of the town, away went coffins and bones, grave-stones and sepulchral effigies, and monumental urns, to plant the new city of the dead, and make way for living dogs, as better than defunct lions. Such a resurrection the towns-folk gave to their respectable grandfathers and grandmothers; but not to the relics of the regicides. At these shrines of murder and rebellion, the spade and the mattock stood still; and their once restless tenants, after shifting between so many disturbances while living, were suffered to sleep on, in a kind of sepulchral limbo, between the marble in Westminster Abbey, to which they once aspired, and the ditch at Tyburn, which they so narrowly escaped.

I was cautioned by my communicative friend not to speak too freely of ‘the Regicides.’ I must call[Pg 335] them “the Judges,” he said; for, in Newhaven, where Puritanism perpetuates some of its principles, and all of its prejudices, it appears that such is the prevailing euphuism which is employed, as more in harmony with their notions of Charles as a sinful Malignant, and of the Rebellion as a glorious foretaste of the kingdom of the saints. “The Judges’ Cave” is therefore the expression by which they speak of that den of thieves on West Rock; and they always use an equally guarded phrase when they mention those graves in the square,—graves, be it remembered, that enclose the ashes of men, who should have been left to the tender mercies of the public executioner, had they only received in retribution what they meted out to their betters.

Newhaven, in addition to these treasures, boasts another Puritan relic, of a different kind. The early settlers founded here a Calvinistic college, which has become a very popular sectarian university, and my visit at this time was partly occasioned by the recurrence of the annual commemoration of its foundation. I suspect the person who leaned over the bulwarks of the steamer, and gave me the facts—which I have related in a very different vein from that in which I received them—was a dissenting minister going up to be at his college at this important anniversary. There was a tone in his voice, as was said of Prince Albert’s, when he visited the savans at Southampton, which sufficiently indicated his sympathies.[23] The regicides were evidently the calendared saints of his religion, and their adventures his Acta Sanctorum. He was nevertheless very civil and entertaining, and I was glad, on arriving at the quay, to find no worse companion forced upon me in the carriage which I had engaged (as I supposed for myself alone) to take me into the city. There was so great a rush for cabs and coaches, however, that there was no going single; and I accordingly found myself again in close communication with my narrative fellow-traveller, who soon made room for two others; grave personages with rigid features and polemical address, which convinced me that I was in presence of the dons and doctors of a Puritan university.

“Go-ahead!” sung out somebody, as soon as our luggage was strapped behind; and away we drove, in full chase, with drays and cabs, towards the central parts of the city. The newer streets are built, I observed, with snug little cottages, and intersect at right angles. The suburban Gothic, so justly reprobated by the critics of Maga, is not quite as unusual as it ought to be; but a succession of neat little shrubbery-plots around the doors, and a trim air about things in general, suits very well the environs of such a miniature city as Newhaven. I never saw such a place for shade-trees. They are planted every where; little slender twigs, boxed carefully from wheels and schoolboys, and struggling apparently against the curse, “bastard slips shall not thrive;” and venerable overarching trees, in long avenues, so remarkable and so numerous that the town is familiarly called, by its poets, the “City of Elms.”

The Funereal Square, of which I had already learned the history, was soon reached, and we were set down at a hotel in its neighbourhood. Its “rugged elms” are not the only trace of the fact, that the rude forefathers of the city once reposed in their shadow; for, in the middle of the square, a church of tolerable Gothic still remains; in amiable proximity to which appear two meeting-houses, of a style of architecture truly original, and exhibiting as natural a development of Puritanism, as the cathedrals display of Catholic religion. Behind one of these meeting-houses protrudes, in profile, the classic pediment of a brick and plaster temple, of which the divinity is the Connecticut Themis, and in which the Solons of the commonwealth biennially enact legislative games in her honour. Still farther in the back-ground are seen spire and cupola, peering over a thickset grove, in the friendly shade of whose academic foliage a long line of barrack-looking buildings were pointed out to me as the colleges.

These shabby homes of the Muses [Pg 336]were my only token that I had entered a university town. The streets, it is true, were alive with bearded and mustached youth, who gave some evidences of being yet in statu pupillari; but they wore hats, and flaunted not a rag of surplice or gown. In the old and truly respectable college at New York, such things are not altogether discarded; but, at Newhaven, where they are devoutly eschewed as savouring too much of Popery, not a member of its faculties, nor master, doctor, or scholar, appears with the time-honoured decency which, to my antiquated notion, is quite inseparable from the true regimen of a university. The only distinction which I remarked between Town and Gown, is one in lack of which Town makes the more respectable appearance of the twain; for the college badges seem to be nothing more than odd-looking medals of gold, which are set in unmeaning display on the man’s shirt ruffles, or dangle with tawdry effect from their watch ribbons. I have no doubt that the smart shopmen who flourish canes and smoke cigars in the same walks with the collegians, very much envy them these poor decorations; but in my opinion, they have far less of the Titmouse in their appearance without them, and would sooner be taken for their betters by lacking them. My first impressions were, on the whole, far from favourable, therefore; as from such things in the young men, I was forced to judge of their alma mater. And I must own, moreover, that my subsequent acquaintance with the university did little to diminish the disappointment which I unwillingly felt in this visit to one of the most popular seats of learning in America. I certainly came prepared to be pleased; for I had met in New York several persons of refined education, who had taken their degrees at this place; but, to dismiss this digression from my main purpose, I must say that the Commencement was any thing but a creditable affair. After carefully observing all that I could unobtrusively hear and see, I cannot speak flatteringly of the performances, whether the matter or the manner be considered. I can scarcely account for it that so many educated men as took part in the exercises should make no better exhibition of themselves. One oration delivered by a bachelor of arts, was vociferated with insolence so consummate, that I marvelled how the solemn-looking divines, whom it occasionally seemed to hit, were able to endure it. In all that I heard, with very few exceptions, there was a deficiency of good English style, of elevated sentiment, and even of sound morality. Many of the professors and fellows of the University are confessedly men of cultivated minds, and even of distinguished learning: yet this great celebration was no better than I say. I can account for it only by the sectarian influences which imbue every thing in Newhaven, and by the want of a thoroughly academic atmosphere, which sectarianism never can create. It was really farcical to see the good old president confer degrees with an attempt at ceremony, which seemed to have no rubric but extemporary convenience, and no purpose but the despatch of business. All this may seem to have nothing to do with my subject; yet I felt myself that the regicides had a good deal to do with it. In this college, one sees the best that Puritanism could produce; and I thought what Oxford and Cambridge might have become under the invading reforms of the usurpation, had the Protectorate been less impotent to reproduce itself, and carry out its natural results on those venerable foundations.

On the day following that of the Commencement, I took a drive to West Rock. I was so happy as to have the company of a very intelligent person from the Southern States, and of a young lady, his relative, who was very ambitious to make the excursion. It was a pleasant drive of about three miles to the foot of the mountain, where we alighted, the driver leaving the horses in charge of themselves, and undertaking the office of guide. It was somewhat tedious climbing for our fair friend; but up we went, over rough stones, creeping vines and brushwood, that showed no signs of being very frequently disturbed; our guide keeping the bright buttons of his coat-skirts before us, and in some other respects reminding[Pg 337] me of Mephistopheles on the Hartz. It certainly was very accommodating in Nature, to provide the lofty chambers of the regicides with such a staircase; for in their day it must have defied any ordinary search, and when found must have presented as many barriers of brier and thicket, as grew up around the Sleeping Beauty in the fairy tale.

As we reached what seemed to be the top of the rock, we came suddenly into an open place, but so surrounded by trees and shrubs, as effectually to shut in the view. Here was the cave; and very different it was from what we had expected to find it! We had prepared ourselves to explore a small Antiparos, and were quite chagrined to find our grotto diminished to a mere den or covert, between two immense stones of a truly Stonehengian appearance and juxtaposition. I doubted for a moment whether their singular situation, on the top of this mountain, were matter for the geologist or the antiquary; and would like to refer the question to the learned Dean of Westminster, who hammers stones as eloquently as some of his predecessors have hammered pulpits. The stones are well-nigh equal in height, of about twenty feet perpendicular, one of them nearly conical, and the other almost a true parallelopiped. Betwixt them another large stone appears to have fallen, till it became wedged; and the very small aperture between this stone and the ground beneath, is all that justifies the name of a cave, though there are several fissures about the stones, in which possibly beasts might be sheltered, but hardly human beings. To render the cave itself large enough for the pair that once inhabited it, the earth must have been dug from under the stone, so as to make a covered pit; and even then, it was hardly so good a place as is said to have been made for “a refuge to the conies,” being much fitter for wild-cats or tigers. I could scarcely persuade myself, that English law could ever have driven a man three thousand miles over the sea, and then into such a burrow as this! But so it was; and it was retribution and justice too.

Bad as it was, it looked more agreeable Goffe and Whalley, than a cross-beam and two halters, or even than apartments in the Tower of London. They had it fitted up with a bed, and other “creature-comforts” of a truly Crusoe-like description. The mouth of the cave was screened by a thick growth of bushes, and the place was in several other respects well suited to their purposes. The parallelopiped, of which I have spoken, was easily climbed, being furnished with something like stairs, and its top commands a fine view of the town, the bay, and the country for miles around. It served them, therefore, as a watch-tower, and must have been very useful as a means of protection, and as an observatory for amusement. I mounted the stone myself, and tried to fancy how different was the scene two hundred years ago. There the exile would sit hour after hour, not as one may sit there now, to see sails and steamers entering and leaving the harbour, and post-coaches and railroad cars passing and re-passing continually; but to gaze in astonishment and fear, if one lone ship might be descried coming up the bay, or if a solitary horseman was to be seen or heard pursuing his journey in the valley below.

While the fugitives lived in this den, they were regularly supplied with daily bread and other necessaries of life, by a woodman, who lived at the foot of the rock. A child came up the mountain daily with a supply of provisions, which he left on a certain stone, and returned without seeing any body, or asking any questions of Echo. In this way he always brought a full basket and took back an empty one, without the least suspicion that he was becoming an accessory in high treason, and, as it is said, without ever knowing to whom, or for what, he was ministering. As a Brahmin sets rice before an idol, so the little one fed the stone, or left the basket to “the unseen spirit of the wood;” and well it was that the little Red-riding-hood escaped the usual fate of all lonely little foresters, for it seems there were mouths and maws in the mountain which cheesecakes would not have satisfied. The dwellers in the rock had a terrible fright one night from the visit of some indescribable beast—a panther, or[Pg 338] something worse—that blazed its horrid eyes into their dark hole, and growled so frightfully, that if all the bailiffs of London had surrounded their den, they would have been less alarmed. It seemed some motherly tigress in search of her cubs, and when she discovered the intruders, she set up such an ululation of maternal grief as made every aisle of the forest ring again, and so scared the inmates of her den, that, as soon as they dared, they took to their heels down the mountain, ready to hear any hue and cry on their track, rather than hers. This story was told us by our guide, who gave it as the reason for their final desertion of the place.

On the stone which I climbed, I found engraven a great number of names and initials, with dates of different years. Apparently they had been left there by visiters from the university. In more than one place, some ardent youth, in his first love with democracy, had taken pains to renew the inscription, which tradition says Goffe and Whalley placed over their retreat. “Opposition to tyrants is obedience to God.” I suppose there will always be fresh men to do Old Mortality’s office for this inscription, for the maxim is one which has long been popular in America among patriotic declaimers. How long it will continue generally popular, may indeed be doubted, since the abolitionists have lately adopted it, and in their mouths it becomes an incendiary watchword, which the supporters of slavery have no little reason to dread. I myself saw this motto on an anti-slavery placard set up in the streets of New York.

I inferred from this inscription, and the names on the rock, that the spot is visited by some with very different feelings from those which it excited in me and my companions. Our valuable conductor, it is true, spoke of “the Judges” with as much reverence as so sturdy a republican would be likely to show to any dignity whatever; and really the honest fellow seemed to give us credit for more tenderness than we felt, and tried to express himself in such a manner, when telling of the misery of the exiles, as not to wound our sensibilities. But I fear his consideration was all lost; for, sad as it is to think of any fellow-man reduced to such extremity as to take up a lodging like this, we could only think how many of the noble and the lovely, and how many of the true and loyal poor, had been brought by Goffe and Whalley to greater miseries than theirs. I could not force myself, therefore, to the melting mood; it was enough that I thought of January 30, 1648, and said to myself, “Doubtless there is a God that judgeth in the earth.” The lady recalled some facts from Lord Clarendon’s History, and said that her interest in the spot was far from having anything to do with sympathy for the regicides. Her patronising protector expressed his surprise, and jokingly assured me that she regarded it as a Mecca, or he would not have given himself the trouble of waiting on her to a place he so little respected. She owned that she was hardly consistent with herself in feeling any interest at all in the memorial of regicides; but I reminded her that Lord Capel kissed the axe which completed the work of rebellion, and deprived his royal master of life;[24] and we agreed that even the intelligent instruments of that martyrdom acquired a sort of reliquary value from the blood with which they were crimsoned.

The troglodytes, then, were but two; but there was a third fugitive regicide who came to Newhaven, and now lies there in his grave. This was none other than John Dixwell, whose name, with those of Goffe and Whalley, may be found on that infamous death-warrant, which some have not scrupled to call the Major Charta. Dixwell’s is set among the οἱ πολλοι, who, in the day of reckoning, were judged hardly worth a hanging; but Whalley’s occupies the bad eminence of being fourth on the list, and next to the hard-fisted autograph of Oliver himself; while William Goffe’s is signed just before the signature of Pride, whose miserable penmanship that day, it will be remembered, cost his poor body an airing on the gibbet, in the year 1660. Scott, by the way, [Pg 339]gives Whalley the prænomen Richard; but there it is on the parchment, too legible for his soul’s good—Edward Whalley. Shall I recur to the rest of their history in England before I come to my American narrative? Perhaps in these days of “elucidations,” when it is said that every thing about two hundred years since is, for the first time, undergoing a calm but earnest review, I may be indulged in recapitulating what, if every body knows, they know only in a great confusion with other events, which impair the individual interest.

Of Dixwell, comparatively little is known, save that his first act of patriotism seems to have consisted in leaving his country. Enough that he served in the parliamentary army; sat as judge, and stood up as regicide in that High Court of Treason in Westminster Hall; was one of Oliver’s colonels during the Protectorate; became sheriff of Kent, and no doubt hanged many a rogue that had a better right to live than himself; and finally sat in parliament for the same county in 1656.[25] His experiences after the Restoration are not known, till he emerged in America almost ten years after the last-mentioned date.

Whalley was among the more notorious of the rebels. He was cousin to Oliver, and one of the few for whom Oliver sometimes exhibited a savage sort of affection. He proved himself a good soldier in a bad cause, at Naseby; and a furious one at Banbury. When the rogues fell out among themselves, he was the officer that met Cornet Joyce as he was convoying the king’s majesty from Holmby,[26] and offered to relieve the royal prisoner of his protector; an offer which Charles with great dignity refused, preferring to let them have all the responsibility in the matter, and not caring a straw which of the two villains should be his jailor. At Hampton Court, however, fortune decided in favour of Whalley, and put the king, for a time, into his power; till like fortune put it into the king’s power to get rid of his brutality by flight, an accident for which our hero got a hint of displeasure from parliament. Just at this point Cromwell addressed a letter to his “dear cousin Whalley,”[27] begging him not to let any thing happen to his majesty; in which his sincerity was doubtless as genuine as that of certain patriots in the Pickwick history, who, out of regard to certain voters coming down to the election, with money in their hands and tears in their eyes, besought the senior Weller not to upset the whole cargo of them into the canal at Islington. After getting out of this scrape, and doing the damning deed that got him into a worse one, he fleshed his sword against the king’s Scottish kinsmen, at Dunbar, where he lost a horse under him, and received a cut in his wrist,[28] though not severe enough to prevent his writing a saucy letter to the governor of Edinburgh castle. He was the man that took away the mace, when Cromwell broke up his Barebones’ parliament. Then he rode through Lincoln, and five other counties, dealing with recusant Anabaptists,[29] as one of the “Major Generals;” demurred a little, at first, at the king-manufacturing conference, but finally came into the project; and, from a sense of duty, so far overcame his republican scruples as to allow himself to take a seat in the House of Lords, as one of the Oliverian peerage.[30] If titles were to be had with estates, like the Lordship of Linne, he was surely entitled to his peerage, for he was growing fat on the Duke of Newcastle’s patrimony, with part of the jointure of poor Henrietta Maria, when, God be praised, the day of reckoning arrived; and my Lord Whalley, surmising that, should any one come to the rope, he was likely to swing if he remained in England, made off beyond seas.

Goffe, too, was of the Cromwellian cousinry, having married a daughter of Whalley.[31] He was a soldier, but could do a little exposition besides, when there was any call for such an exercise; as, for instance, at that celebrated groaning and wrestling which was performed at Windsor, and ended in resolving on the murder of [Pg 340]the king,[32] after extraordinary supplication and holding forth. When father Whalley removed the mace, son-in-law Goffe led in the musqueteers, and bolted out the Anabaptists, against whom he rode circuit through Sussex and Berks, growing rich, and indulging dreams of disjointing the nose of Richard, and thrusting himself into the old shoes of the Protector, as soon as they should be empty.[33] He, too, sacrificed his feelings so far as to become a lord; and, perhaps, thinking that royal shoes would fit him as well as republican ones, he at last consented to making Oliver a king.[34] Nor were his honours wholly of a civil character, for he was made an M.A. at Oxford, and so secured himself a notice in Anthony Wood’s biographies, where his story concludes with a set of mistakes, so relishably served up, that I must give it in the very words of the Fasti, as follows:—“In 1660, a little before the restoration of King Charles II., he betook himself to his heels to save his neck, without any regard had to his majesty’s proclamation; wandered about fearing every one that he met should slay him; and was living at Lausanna in 1664, with Edmund Ludlow, Edward Whalley, and other regicides, when John l’Isle, another of that number, was there, by certain generous royalists, despatched. He afterwards lived several years in vagabondship; but when he died, or where his carcase was lodged, is as yet unknown to me.”[35]

On Christmas day, 1657, good John Evelyn went to London, in spite of many severe penalties incurred thereby, to receive the holy sacrament from a priest of the Church of England.[36] Mr. Gunning, afterwards Bishop of Ely, was the officiating clergyman, and preached a sermon appropriate to the festival. As he was proceeding with the Eucharist, the place where they were worshipping was beset by Oliver’s ruffians, who, pointing their muskets at the communicants, through the doors and windows, threatened to shoot them as they knelt before the altar. Evelyn surmises that they were not authorised to go so far as that, and consequently they did not put their threat into execution; but both priest and people were taken prisoners, and brought under guard before the magistrates to answer for the serious misdemeanour of which they had been guilty. Before whom should the gentle friend of Jeremy Taylor find himself standing as a culprit, but these worshipful Justices, Whalley and Goffe! It was, doubtless, by their orders that the solemnities of the day had been profaned.

Evelyn seems to have got off with only a severe catechizing; but many of his fellow-worshippers were imprisoned, and otherwise severely punished. The examination was probably conducted by the theologically exercised Goffe, for the specimen preserved by Evelyn is worthy of his genius in every way. The amiable confessor was asked how he dared to keep “the superstitious time of the Nativity;” and was admonished that in praying for kings, he had been praying for Charles Stuart, and even for the king of Spain, who was a Papist! Moreover, he was told that the Prayer-book was nothing but the Mass in English, and more to the like effect; “and so,” says Evelyn, “they dismissed me, pitying much my ignorance.”

This anecdote, accidentally preserved by Evelyn, shows what kind of characters they were. They seem to have been as sincere as any of their fanatical comrades, though it is always hard to say of the Puritan leaders which were the cunning hypocrites, and which the deluded zealots. Whatever they may have been, their time was short, so far as England is concerned with them; and in three years after this event, they suddenly disappeared. So perfectly did they bury themselves from the world, that from the year 1660, till the romance of Scott[37] again brought the name of Whalley before the world, it may be doubted whether any thing was known in England of lives, which in another hemisphere were protracted almost [Pg 341]into another generation. Nobody dreamed there was yet an American chapter in the history of the regicides.

Yet, considering the known disposition of the colonies, and their inaccessible fastnesses, it is remarkable that only three of the fugitives found their way across the Atlantic. Another, indeed, there was, a mysterious person, of whom it is only known, that though concerned in the regicide, he was not probably one of “the judges.” He lived in Rhode Island till he was more than a hundred years old, begetting sons and daughters, to whom he bequeathed the surname of Whale. Whoever he was, he seems to have been a sincere penitent, whose conscience would not let him rest. He slept on a deal board instead of a bed, and practised many austerities, accusing himself as a man of blood, and deprecating the justice of God. The particulars of his guilt he never disclosed; and as his name was probably an assumed one, it is difficult to surmise what share he had in the murder of his king. There was in Hacker’s regiment one Whalley, a lieutenant; and Stiles, the American writer, thinks this Whale may have been the same man. But then, what did this Whalley perpetrate to account for such horrible remorse? Considering Hacker’s active part in the bloodiest scene of the great tragedy, and the conflicting testimony in Hulet’s trial,[38] as to the man that struck the blow; and coupling this with the fact, that an effort was made to procure one of several lieutenants to do the work,[39] I confess I once thought there was some reason to suspect that this fellow’s accusing conscience was terribly earned, and that he at least had been one of the masks that figured on the scaffold. This surmise, though shaken by nothing that came out on the state trials, I have since discharged, in deference to the opinion of Miss Strickland,[40] who is satisfied that the greybeard was Hulet, and the actual regicide, Gregory Brandon.

The American history of the regicides begins with the 27th of July following the Restoration, when Whalley and Goffe landed at Boston, bringing the first news that the king had been proclaimed, of which it seems they had tidings before they were clear of the Channel. Proscribed as they were, they were heroes among the colonists, and even Endicott, the governor, ventured to give them a welcome. The inhabitants of Boston and its environs paid them many attentions, and they appeared at large with no attempt at concealing their names and character. The Bostonians were not all Republicans, however; and several zealously affected Royalists having been noticed among their visiters, they suddenly conceived the air of Cambridge more salubrious than that of Boston, and took up their abode in that village, now a mere suburb of the city. There they freely mingled with other men, and were admitted as communicants in the Calvinistic meetings of the place; and sometimes, it appears, they even ventured, like the celebrated party at the Peak, “to exhibit their gifts in extemporaneous prayer and exposition.” On visiting the city, they once received some insult, for which the assailant was bound over to keep the peace; though, if he had but known it, he was so far from having done any wrong in the eye of law, that he was entitled to a hundred pounds reward, for bringing before a magistrate either of the worthies who appeared against him. The authorities, however, had received no official notice of the Restoration, and chose to go on as if still living under the golden sway of the second Protector.

A story is told of one of the regicides, while living at Cambridge, which deserves preservation, as it not only illustrates the open manner in which thy went to and fro, but also shows how well exercised were the soldiers of Cromwell in military accomplishments. A fencing-master had appeared at Boston, challenging any man in the colonies to play at swords with him; and this bravado he repeated for several days, from a stage of Thespian simplicity, erected in a [Pg 342]public part of the town. One day, as the mountebank was proclaiming his defiance, to the terror and admiration of a crowd of bystanders, a country-bred fellow, as it seemed, made his appearance in the assembly, accepting the challenge, and pressing to the encounter with no other weaponry than a cheese done up in a napkin for a shield, and a broom-stick, well charged with puddle water, which he flourished with Quixotic effect as a sword. The shouts of the rabble, and the confusion of the challenger, may well be imagined; but the countryman, throwing himself into position, lustily defied the man of foils to come on. A sharp command to be gone with his nonsense, was all the notice which the other would vouchsafe; but the rustic insisted on having satisfaction, and so stubbornly did he persist in brandishing his broomstick, and opposing his cheese, that the gladiator, in a towering fury, at last drove at him desperately enough. The thrust was very coolly received in the soft and savoury shield of the countryman, who instantly repaid it by a dexterous daub with his broom, soaking the beard and whiskers of the swordsman with its odorous contents. A second and more furious pass at the rustic was parried with masterly skill and activity, and rewarded by another salute from the broomstick, which ludicrously besmeared the sword-player’s eyes; the crowd setting up a roar of merriment at his crest-fallen appearance. A third lunge was again spent upon the cheese, amid shouts of laughter; while the broomsman calmly mopped nose, eyes, and beard, of his antagonist’s puffing and blowing physiognomy. Entirely transported with rage and chagrin, the champion now dropped his rapier, and came at his ridiculous adversary with the broadsword. “Hold, hold, my good fellow,” cried Broomstick, “so far all’s fair play! but if that’s the game, have a care, for I shall certainly take your life.” At this, the confounded gladiator stood aghast, and staring at the absurd apparition before him, cried out, amid the jeers of the mob, “Who is it? there were but two in England that could match me! It must be Goffe, Whalley, or the Devil!” And so it proved, for it was Goffe.

In November, came out the Act of Indemnity, by which it appeared that Goffe and Whalley were not included in the amnesty which covered a multitude of sins. It was nevertheless far in February before the governor had entered upon even a formal inquiry of his council, as to what he should do with the fugitives; a formality which, empty as it was, must have occasioned their abrupt departure from Massachusetts. At Newhaven, a concentrated Puritanism seems to have offered them a much safer asylum;[41] and as a brother-in-law of Whalley’s had lately held a kind of pastoral dignity in that place, it is not improbable that they received pledges of protection, should they choose it for their city of refuge. One now goes from Boston to Newhaven, by railroad and steamer, in less than a day; but in those times it was very good travelling which brought them to their Alsatia in less than a fortnight. There they were received as saints and confessors; and Davenport, the strait-laced pastor of the colony, seems to have taken them under his especial patronage. He seems to have been a kind of provincial Hugh Peters, though he was not without his virtues: and there was far more fear of him before the eyes of the local authorities, than there was of King Charles and his Council. His Majesty was in fact completely browbeaten and discomfited, when his warrant was afterwards brought into collision with the will of this doughty little Pope: and to him the regicides owed it, that they finally died in America.

The government at home seems really to have been in earnest in the matter, and a royal command was not long in reaching Endicott, requiring him to do all his power for the arrest of the runaways. He seems to have been scared into something like obedience, and two zealous young royalists offering their services as pursuers, he was obliged to despatch them to Newhaven. So vigorously [Pg 343]did these young men prosecute their errand, that but for the bustling fanaticism of Davenport, they would certainly have redeemed the honour of the colonies, and given their lordships at Westminster Hall the trouble of two more state trials. For its own sake, no one, indeed, can be sorry that such was not the result. But when one thinks how many curious details of history would have transpired on the trials of such prominent rebels, it seems a pity that they could not have been made serviceable in this way, and then set, with Prynne, to do penance among the old parchments in the Tower.

The governor of the Newhaven colony, one Leete, lived a few miles out of the town, but not far enough off to be out of the control of Davenport, whose spiritual drill had got him in good order for the expected encounter. That painstaking pastor had, moreover, felt it his duty to give no uncertain blast of preparation on his Sabbath-day trumpet, and had sounded forth his deep concern for the souls committed to his care, should they, by any temptation of the devil, be led to think it scriptural to obey the king and magistrate, instead of him, their conscience-keeper and dogmatist. With a skill in the application of holy writ, peculiar to the Hugh Peters’ school of divinity, he had laboriously pounded his cushion, in some thirty or forty illustrations of the following text from the prophet Isaiah: “Hide the outcasts, bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab! be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler.”[42] After this exposition, there was of course no dispute as to duty. The Pope is a deceiver, and Catholic Councils are lies; but when was a Puritan preacher ever doubted, by his followers, to be an oracle from heaven?

It was in vain that the loyal pursuers came to Newhaven, after the little general had thus got his forces prepared for the contest. Wellington, with the forest of Soignies behind him, at Waterloo, was not half so confident of wearing out Napoleon, as Davenport was of beating back King Charles the Second, in his presumptuous attempt to govern his Puritan colonies. Accordingly, when the pursuers waited on Governor Leete, they found his conscience peculiarly tender to the fact, that they were not provided with the original of his Majesty’s command, which he felt it his duty to see, before he could move in the business. He finally yielded so far, however, as to direct a warrant to certain catchpoles, requiring them to take the runaways, accompanying it, as it would seem, with assurances of affectionate condolence, should they happen to let the criminals, when captured, effect a violent escape. A preconcerted farce was enacted, to satisfy the forms of law, the bailiffs seizing the regicides, a mile or two from town, as they were making for East Rock; and they very sturdily defending themselves, till the officers had received bruises enough, to excuse their return without them. But after this pleasant little exercise, the regicides had an escape of a more really fortunate character, and quite in the style of King Charles Second’s Boscobel adventures. For while cooling themselves under a bridge, they discovered the young Bostonians galloping that way, and had only time to lie close, when a smart quadrupedal hexameter was thundered over their heads, as they lay peering up through the chinks of the bridge at their furious pursuers. No doubt the classic ear of Goffe, the Oxford Master of Arts, was singularly refreshed with the delightful prosody, which the retiring horse-hoofs still drummed on the dusty plain; but they seem to have been so seriously alarmed by their escape, that if they ever smiled again, they certainly had little cause for their good-humour; for that very day they took to the woods, and entered upon a long and wretched life of perpetual apprehension, from which death, in any shape, would have been, to better men, a comfortable relief. They immediately directed their course towards West Rock, where, with an old hatchet which they found in the forest, they built themselves a booth [Pg 344]in a spot which is still called, from the circumstance, “Hatchet-Harbour.” Here they became acquainted with one Sperry, the woodman who finally fitted up the cave, and introduced them to their life in the rock.

It seems that on stormy days, and sometimes for mere change of air, the poor Troglodytes would come down the mountain, and stay a while with the woodman at his house. They had lived about a month in their cave, when such an excursion to the woodman’s had nearly cost them their liberty. The pursuers, meantime, had accomplished a wild-goose chase to New York, and had returned, after more perils and troubles than the regicides were worth. Somehow or other, they got scent of their game this time, and actually came upon them at Sperry’s before they had any notice of their approach. Fortune favouring them, however, they escaped by a back-door, and got up to their nest, without giving a glimpse of themselves to the pursuers, or even leaving any trace of their visit to favour a suspicion that they had recently been in Sperry’s protection. But Leete, who had received at last the original warrant, and thus was relieved of his scruples, seems to have been so alarmed about this time, that he sent word to the fugitives that they must hold themselves ready to surrender, if it should prove requisite for his own safety and that of the town. To the credit of the poor men, on receiving this notice, they came out of their cave like brave fellows, and went over to their cowardly protector, offering to give themselves up immediately.

Here the redoubtable Davenport again interfered, and though all the colony began to be of another opinion, he fairly drubbed the prudent Leete into a postponement of the time of surrender; and Goffe and Whalley were accordingly respited for a week, during which they lived in painful suspense, in the cellar of a neighbouring warehouse, supplied with food from the governor’s table, but never admitted to his presence. Meantime, the bustling pastor preached and exhorted, and stirred up all the important settlers to take his part against the timorous counsels of the governor, and finally succeeded in preventing the surrender altogether; and the fugitives went back to their cave, never again to show themselves openly before men, though their days were prolonged through half another lifetime.

It seems incredible that there was any real call for such singular caution, under the loose reign of Charles the Second: yet it is remarkable how timid they had become, and how long they supported their patient mousing in the dark. Nothing seems to have inspired them with confidence after this. The pursuers returned to Boston, and made an indignant report of the contempt with which his Majesty’s authority had been treated at Newhaven; all which had no other effect than to give colour to a formal declaration of the united colonies of New England, that an ineffectual though thorough search had been made. On this the hue-and-cry was suffered to stop; but the regicides still kept close, and shunned the light of day. Who would have believed that the lusty Goffe and Whalley, whose fierce files of musqueteers seemed once their very shadow, could have subsided into such decorous subjects, as to live for three lustres in the heart of a village, so quietly, that, save their feeder, not a soul ever saw or heard of them. Yet so it proved; for so much do circumstances make the difference between the anchorite and the revolutionist, and so possible is it for the same character to be very noisy and very still.

After two months more in the cave, they probably found it time to go into winter quarters, and accordingly shifted to a village a little westward of Newhaven, where one Tompkins received them into his cellar. There they managed to survive two years, during which their only recreation seems to have been, the sorry one of hearing a maid abuse them, as she sung an old royalist ballad over their heads. Even this was some relief to the monotony of their life in the cellar, and they would often get their attendant to set it agoing. The girl, delighted to find her voice in request, and little dreaming what an audience she had in the pit, would accordingly strike up with great effect, and fugue[Pg 345] away on the names of Goffe and Whalley, and their fellow Roundheads, another Wildrake. Perhaps the worthies in the cellar consoled themselves with recalling the palmy days, when the same song, trolled out on the night air from some royalist pothouse, had been their excuse for displaying their vigilant police, and putting under arrest any number of drunken malignants.

If they had any additional consolation, it seems to have been derived from an enthusiastic interpretation of Holy Writ, in which, after the manner of their religion, they saw their own peculiar history very minutely foreshadowed. They had heard of the sad end of Hugh Peters, and his confederates, which they were persuaded was the slaying of the two witnesses, predicted in the Apocalypse;[43] and they now looked in sure and certain hope for the year 1666, which they presumed would be marked by some great revolution, probably on account of its containing “the number of the Beast.”[44] But after two years in this cellar, there arrived in Boston certain royal commissioners, in fear of whom they again retreated to their cave, and stayed there two months, till the wild beast drove them away. About the same time, an Indian getting sight of their tracks, and finding their cave, with a bed in it, made such an ado about his discovery, that they were obliged to abandon Newhaven for ever. It is probable that Davenport now counselled their removal, and provided their retreat; for one Russell, the pastor of Hadley, a backwood settlement in Massachusetts, engaged to receive and lodge them; and thither they went by star-light marches, a distance of an hundred miles, through forests, where, if “there is a pleasure in the pathless woods,” they probably found it the only one in their journey. Rogues as they were, who can help pitying them, thus skulking along by night through an American wilderness, in terror of a king, three thousand miles away, who all the while was revelling with his harlots, and showing as little regard for the memory of his father as any regicide could desire.

At Hadley, pastor Russell received them into his kitchen, and then into a closet, from which, by a trap-door, they were let down into the cellar—there to live long years, and there to die, and there—one of them—to be buried, for a time. While dwelling in this cellar, poor Goffe kept a record of his daily life; and it is much to be regretted that this curious journal perished, at Boston, in the succeeding century, during the riots about the Stamp Act, in which several houses were burned. Scraps of it still exist, however, in copies; and enough is known of it, to prove that the exiles were kept in constant information of the progress of events in England; that Goffe corresponded with his wife, addressing her as his mother, and signing himself Walter Goldsmith; and that pastor Russell was supplied with remittances for their support. One leaf of the diary which, fortunately, was copied, is a mournful catalogue of the regicides, and their accomplices, all classed according to their fate, with some touching evidences of the melancholy humour in which the records had been set down. It is a table of sixty-nine as great rogues, or as deluded fanatics, as have left their names on the page of English history; but there they stand on Goffe’s list, a doleful registry indeed,

“Some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they had deposed;”

but all noted by the wanderer as his friends, “faithful and just to him.” Twenty-six are marked as certainly dead; others, as condemned and in the Tower; some as fugitives, and some, as quietly surviving their ruin and disgrace. How dark must have been the past and the future alike, to men whose histories were told in such chronicles; but thus timorously from their “loop-hole of retreat,” did they look out on the Great Babel; and saw their cherished year of the Beast go by, and still no change; and then consoled themselves with hoping there was some slight error in the vulgar computation; and so hoped on against hope, and kept in secret their awful [Pg 346]memories, and perchance with occasional misgivings of judgment to come, pondered them in their hearts.

At Hadley they had one remarkable visiter, from whom they probably learned much gloomy gossip about things at home. In 1665, John Dixwell joined them, having made his escape to the colonies with astonishing secrecy. He seems to have been a venturous fellow, who was far from willing to spend his days in a cellar, and accordingly he soon left them to their own company, and went, nobody knows where; but it is certain that in 1672 he appeared in Newhaven as Mr. James Davids, took a wife, and settled down with every sign of a determination to die in his bed. The first Mrs. Davids dying without issue, we find him, a few years after, married again, begetting children, and supporting the reputation of a grave citizen, who kept rather shy of his neighbours, and was fond of long prosy talks with his minister—the successor of Davenport, who seems to have rested from his labours. I wonder if those talks were so prosy! The good wife of the house, no doubt, supposed Mr. Davids and her husband engaged in edifying conclave upon the five points of Calvinism: but who does not envy that drowsy New England pastor the stories he heard of the great events of the Rebellion, from the lips of one who had himself been an actor therein! How often he filled his pipe, and puffed his pleasure, or laid it down at a more earnest moment, to hear the stirring anecdotes of Oliver; how he looked; how he spoke and commanded! What unwritten histories the pastor must have learned of Strafford,—of Laud,—of Pym pouncing on his quarry,—of how the narrator felt, when he sat as a regicide judge,—and of that right royal face which he had confronted without relenting, with all its combined expressions, of resignation and resolution, of kingly dignity and Christian submission.

Time went on, and the Hadley regicides wasted away in their cellar, while Dixwell thus flourished like a bay-tree in green old age. A letter from Goffe, to his “mother Goldsmith,” written in August, 1674, of which a copy is preserved, shows that years had been doing their work on the once bold and stalwart Whalley. “Your old friend Mr. R.,” he says, using the feigned initial, “is yet living, but continues in that weak condition. He is scarce capable of any rational discourse (his understanding, memory, and speech, doth so much fail him,) and seems not to take much notice of any thing ... and it’s a great mercy to him, that he hath a friend that takes pleasure in being helpful to him ... for though my help be but poor and weak, yet that ancient servant of Christ could not well subsist without it. The Lord help us to profit by all, and to wait with patience upon him, till we shall see what end he will make with us.”

Boys grew to be men, and little girls marriageable women, while they thus dwelt in the cellar; and the people of Hadley passed in and out of their pastor’s door, and doubled and trebled in number around his house, and not a soul dreamed that such inhabitants lived amongst them. This remarkable privacy accounts for the historical fact, given as a story in “Peveril of the Peak.”[45] It occurred during the war of King Philip, in 1675, the year following the date of Goffe’s letter, and when Whalley must have been far gone in his decline, so that he could not have been the hero, as is so dramatically asserted by Bridgenorth to Julian Peveril. It was a fast day among the settlers, who were imploring God for deliverance from an expected attack of the savages; and they were all assembled in their rude little meeting-house, around which sentinels were kept on patrol. The house of the pastor was only a few rods distant; and probably, through the miserable panes that let in all the sun-light of their cellar, Goffe watched the invasion of the Indians, and all the horrors of the fight, till the fires of Dunbar began to burn again in his old veins, and, overcoming his usual caution, sent him forth to his last achievement in this [Pg 347]world, and perhaps his best. On a sudden, as the settlers were giving up all for lost, and about to submit to a general massacre, a strange apparition was seen among them exhorting them to rally in the name of God. An old man, with long white locks, and of unusual attire, led the last assault with the most daring bravery. Not doubting that it was an angel of God, they followed up his blows, and in a short time repulsed the savages; but their deliverer was gone. No clue or trace could be found of his coming or going. He was to them as Melchisedek, “without beginning of life, or end of days;” and their confirmed superstition that the Lord had sent his angel in answer to their prayers, though quite in accordance with their enthusiasm, was doubtless not a little encouraged by the wily pastor himself, as an innocent means of preventing troublesome inquiries. In many parts of New England it was long regarded as a miracle, and the final disclosure of the secret has spoiled the mystery of a genuine old wives’ tale.

About three years after this, Whalley gave his soul to God, and was temporarily buried in the cellar, where he had lived a death-in-life of fourteen years. Russell was now in a great fright, and with good reason, for a new crown officer was at work in New England, with a zealous determination to bring all offenders to justice, and if not the offenders themselves, then somebody instead of them. Edward Randolph, who has left a judge Jeffreys’ reputation in America to this day, was a Jehu for the government, and his feelings towards the regicides are well touched off by Southey, in the words put into his mouth in “Oliver Newman:”—

“Fifteen years,
They have hid among them the two regicides,
Shifting from den to cover, as we found
Where the scent lay. But, earth them as they will,
I shall unkennel them, and from their holes
Drag them to light and justice.”

Alarmed by the energetic measures of such a man, Goffe, who was now released from his personal attentions to his friend, appears to have departed from Hadley for a time; while Russell gave currency to a report, that when last seen, he was on his way towards Virginia. It was soon added, that he had been actually recognised in New York, in a farmer’s attire, selling cabbages; but he probably went no further than Newhaven, where he would naturally visit Dixwell, and so returned to Hadley, whence his last letter bears date, 1679, and where he undoubtedly died the following year.

How the two bodies ever got to Newhaven has long been the puzzle. It seems that Russell buried Goffe at first in a grave, dug partly on his own premises, and partly on those adjoining, intending by this stratagem to justify himself, should he ever be forced to deny that the bones were in his garden. But, in the years 1680 and 1684, Randolph’s fury being at its height, he probably dug up the remains of both the regicides, and sent them to Newhaven, where they were interred secretly by Dixwell and the common gravedigger of the place. Some suppose, indeed, that they were not removed till the sad results of the Duke of Monmouth’s rebellion had put the colonists in terror of the inexorable Jeffreys. The fate of Lady Alicia Lisle,—herself the widow of a regicide,—who had suffered for concealing two of the Duke’s followers, may very naturally have alarmed the prudent Russell, and led him to remove all traces of his share in harbouring Goffe and Whalley. His friendship for two “unjust judges” seems to have led him to dread the acquaintance of a third. As for Dixwell, he lived on in Newhaven, maintaining the character of Mr. James Davids with great respectability, and so quietly, that Randolph seems never to have suspected that a third regicide was hiding in America. He had one narrow escape, nevertheless, from another zealous partisan of the crown, quite as lynx-eyed, and even more notorious in American history. In 1686, Sir Edmund Andross paid a visit to Newhaven, and was present at the public worship of the inhabitants, when James Davids did not fail to be in his usual place, nor by his dignity of person and demeanour to attract the special notice of Sir Edmund, who probably began to think[Pg 348] he had got scent of Goffe himself. After the solemnities were over, he made very particular inquiries as to the remarkable-looking worshipper, but suffered himself to be diverted from more searching measures, by the natural and unstudied description which he received of Mr. Davids and his interesting family. It was well that they could answer so unaffectedly, for Andross was ready to pick a quarrel with them, conceiving himself to have received a great affront at the religious exercise which he had honoured with his presence. It seems the clerk had felt it his duty to select a psalm not incapable of a double application, and which accordingly had hit Sir Edmund in a tender part, by singing “to the praise and glory of God” the somewhat insinuating stave—

“Why dost thou, tyrant, boast abroad,
Thy wicked works to praise.”

After this, though for forty years the righteous blood of a murdered king had been crying against him, Dixwell’s hoar hairs were suffered to come to the grave in a peace he had denied to others, in 1688. Meantime, that king had lain in his cerements at Windsor, “taken away from the evil to come,” and undisturbed alike by the malice that pursued his name, and the far more grievous contempt that fell on his martyr-memory from the conduct of his two sons, false as they were to his honour, recreant to his pure example, and apostate to the holy faith for which he died. Such sons had at last accomplished for the house of Stuart that ruin which other enemies had, in vain, endeavoured; and two weeks after James Davids was laid in his grave, came news which was almost enough to wake him from the dead. “The glorious Revolution,” as it is called, was a “crowning mercy” to the colonies; and the friends of the late regicide now boldly produced his will, and submitted it to Probate. It devised to his heirs a considerable estate in England, and described his own style and title as “John Dixwell, alias James Davids, of the Priory of Folkestone, in the county of Kent, Esquire.”

After my visit to West Rock, I went in the early twilight to the graves of the three regicides. I found them in the rear of one of the meeting-houses, in the square, very near together, and scarcely noticeable in the grass. They are each marked by rough blocks of stone, having one face a little smoothed, and rudely lettered. Dixwell’s tomb-stone is far better than the others, and bears the fullest and most legible inscription. It is possibly a little more than two feet high, of a red sand-stone, quite thick and heavy, and reads thus:—“I. D. Esq., deceased March ye 18th, in ye 82d year of his age, 1688-9.” To make any thing of Whalley’s memorial, I was obliged to stoop down to it, and examine it very closely. I copied it, head and foot, into my tablets, nor did I notice, at the time, any peculiarity, but took down the inscription, as I supposed correctly, “1658, E. W.” While I was busy about this, there came along one of the students, escorting a young lady, who bending down to the headstone of Goffe’s grave, examined it a few minutes attentively, and then started up, and went away with her happy protector, exclaiming, “I must leave it to Old Mortality, for I can see nothing at all.” I found it as she had said, and left it without any better satisfaction; but, during the evening, happening to mention these facts, I was shown a drawing of both Goffe’s and Whalley’s memorials; by help of which, on repeating my visit early next morning, I observed the very curious marks which give them additional interest. Looking more carefully at Whalley’s headstone, one observes a 7 strongly blended with the 5, in the date which I had copied; so that it may be read as I had taken it, or it may be read 1678, the true date of Whalley’s demise. This same cipher is repeated on the footstone, and is evidently intentional. Nor is the grave of Goffe less curious. The stone is at first read, “M. G. 80;” but, looking closer, you discover a superfluous line cut under the M, to hint that it must not be taken for what it seems. It is in fact a W reversed, and the whole means, “W. G. 1680;” the true initials, and date of death of William Goffe. If Dixwell was not himself the engraver of these rude devices, he doubtless contrived them; and they have well accomplished their purpose, of avoiding detection in their[Pg 349] own day, and attracting notice in ours.

There was something that touched me, in spite of myself, in thus standing by these rude graves, and surveying the last relicts of men born far away in happy English homes, who once made a figure among the great men, and were numbered with the lawful senators of a free and prosperous state! I own that, for a moment, I checked my impulses of pity, and thought whether it would not be virtuous to imitate the Jews in Palestine, who, to this day, throw a pebble at Absalom’s pillar, as they pass it in the King’s Dale, to show their horror of the rebel’s unnatural crime. But I finally concluded that it was better to be a Christian in my hate, as well as in my love, and to take no worse revenge than to recite, over the ashes of the regicides, that sweet prayer for the 30th of January, which magnifies God, for the grace given to the royal martyr, “by which he was enabled, in a constant meek suffering of all barbarous indignities, to resist unto blood, and then, according to the Saviour’s pattern, to pray for his murderers.”

Two hundred years have gone, well-nigh, and those mean graves continue in their dishonour, while the monarchy which their occupants once supposed they had destroyed, is as unshaken as ever. Nor must it be unnoticed, that the church which they thought to pluck up, root and branch, has borne a healthful daughter, that chaunts her venerable service in another hemisphere, and so near these very graves that the bones of Goffe and Whalley must fairly shake at Christmas, when the organ swells, hard-by, with the voices of thronging worshippers, who still keep “the superstitious time of the Nativity,” even in the Puritans’ own land and city. What a conclusion to so much crime and bloodshed! Such a sepulture—thought I,—instead of a green little barrow, in some quiet churchyard of England, “fast by their fathers’ graves!” Had these poor men been contented with peace and loyalty, such graves they might have found, under the eaves of the same parish church that registered their christening; the very bells tolling for their funeral, that pealed when they took their brides. How much better the “village Hampden,” than the wide-world’s Whalley; and how enviable the uncouth rhyme, and the yeoman’s honest name, on the stone that loving hands have set, compared with these coward initials, and memorials that skulk in the grass!

Sta, viator, judicem calcas!

A judge, before whose unblenching face the sacred majesty of England once stood upon deliverance, and awaited the stern issues of life and death; an unjust judge, who, for daring to sit in judgment, must yet come forth from this obscure grave, and give answer unto Him who is judge of quick and dead.



[Pg 350]


We have lately been surfeited with the affairs of that portion of Europe south of the Pyrenees, and did intend not again to refer, at least for some time, to any thing connected with it. We are sick of Spanish revolutions, disgusted with causeless pronunciamentos, and corrupt intrigues, weary of Madame Muñoz and “the innocent Isabel,” of palace plots and mock elections, base ministers and imbecile Infantas. We care not the value of a flake of bacallao, if Das Antas the Bearded, Schwalbach the German, Saldanha the Duke, or any other leader of Lusitania’s hosts, wins a fight or takes to his heels. Profoundly indifferent is it to us whether her corpulent majesty of Portugal, (eighteen stone by the scale, so she is certified,) holds on at the Necessidades, or is necessitated to cut and run on board a British frigate. Portugal we leave to the care of Colonel Wylde, homœopathic physician-in-ordinary to all trans-Pyrennean insurrections and civil wars; and Spain we consign to the tender mercies of Camarillas, propped by bayonets and inspired by the genial influences of the Tuileries. We have been pestered with these two countries, and with their annual revolutions, reminding us of a whirlwind in a wash-tub, until, in impatience of their restless, turbulent population, we have come to dislike their very names. Nevertheless, here are a brace of books about the Peninsula, concerning which we have a word to say, although we shall not avail ourselves of the opportunity they offer to discuss Portuguese rebellions and Spanish politics.

Writers on Spain, long resident in the country, acquire a borracha twang, a smack of the pig-skin, a propensity to quaint and proverb-like phrases, characteristic of the land they write about. The peculiarity is perceptible in the books before us; in both of them the racy Castilian flavour reeks through the pages. And first—to begin with the most worthy—as regards Mr. Ford’s “Gatherings.” There be cooks so cunning in their craft, that out of the mangled remains of yesterday’s feast, they concoct a second banquet, less in volume, but more savoury, than its predecessor. This to do, needs both skill and judgment. Spice must be added, sauces devised, heavy and cumbrous portions rejected, great ingenuity exercised, fitly to furnish forth to-day’s delicate collation from the fragments of yesterday’s baked meats. Mr. Ford has shown himself an adept in the art of literary rechauffage. His masterly and learned “Handbook of Spain,” having been found by some, who love to run and read, too small in type, too grave in substance, he has skimmed its cream, thrown in many well-flavoured and agreeable condiments, and presented the result in one compact and delightful volume. He has at once lightened and condensed his work. Mr. Hughes, the Lisbon pilgrim, has gone quite upon another tack. He makes no pretensions to brevity or close-packing, but starts with a renunciation of method, and an avowed determination to be loquacious. Dashing off in fine desultory style, with a fluent pen, and a flux of words, he proclaims that his sole ambition is to amuse, and with that view he proposes to be discursive and parlous. Amusing he certainly is; his irrepressible tendency to exaggeration is exceedingly diverting, whilst the excellent terms he is upon with himself, frequently compel a smile. His prolixity we can overlook, but we have difficulty in pardoning the questionable taste of certain portions of his book. In commenting on its defects, however, allowances must be made for the bad health of the writer. Doubtless he intends that they should be, for he repeatedly informs us that he is troubled with a pulmonary complaint of many years’ standing, to which he anticipates a fatal termination. “I [Pg 351]strive,” he says, “to escape, by observation of the outer world, and of mankind, from the natural tendency to brood over misfortune, and seek to discover in occupation that cheerfulness which would be inevitably lost in an unemployed existence, and in dwelling on the phases of my illness.” What can we say after such an appeal to our feelings? how criticise with severity a book written under these circumstances? If we hint incredulity as to the gravity of the author’s malady, we shall be classed with those unfeeling persons, “whose levity and heartlessness not only refuse to sympathise, but often even doubt if my sickness be real.” Truly, when we learn that between the months of September and December last, the sick man travelled fifteen hundred miles—the latter portion of the distance through districts where he was compelled to rough it—exposed to frequent vicissitudes of temperature, and to the unhealthy climate of Madrid—sudden death to consumptive patients—eating, according to his own record, with the appetite of a muleteer, “rushing into ventas, and roaring lustily for dinner,” (vide vol. i. p. 206.)—holding furious discussions in coffee-houses, and winding them up, after utterly extinguishing his opponents, with Propagandist harangues eight pages long, (ibid. p. 334,)—and, finally, writing—in the intervals of his journey, we presume,—the two bulky and closely printed volumes now upon our table, we must say that many persons in perfect health would rejoice to vie with so sturdy an invalid. We do hope, therefore, and incline to believe, that the yellow flag thus despondingly hung out is a false signal; that Mr. Hughes, if not to be ranked altogether under the head of imaginary valetudinarians, is at any rate in a far less desperate state than he imagines; and that he will live long, long enough to amend his style, refine his tone, and write a book as commendable in all respects as this one often is for its fun and originality.

It is very unfavourable to the “Overland Journey,” that its coincidence of publication and similarity of subject with the “Gatherings from Spain,” render a comparison between them scarcely avoidable. A comparison with so elegant and scholarly a book as Mr. Ford’s, very few works on the Peninsula that have come under our notice could advantageously sustain. But, after dismissing all idea of establishing a contrast, we still find much to quarrel with in Mr. Hughes’s recent production. It is careless, often flippant, sometimes even coarse, and as we read, we regret that a shrewd observer and intelligent man should thus run into caricature, and neglect the proprieties expected from all who present themselves in print before the public. Against these he offends at the very outset. Scarcely has he put foot in France, when he begins his comments on the fair sex, in which, whilst aiming at acuteness and wit, he displays very little delicacy. Neither are his inferences the most charitable. The young ladies at Havre, who, to preserve their drapery from mud and dust, display, according to the universal French custom, some inches of their very handsome legs, are assumed to do so at mamma’s instigation, and to ensnare husbands. “She is not more than seventeen, and appears to have no consciousness—her face all seeming simplicity and serenity, as are those of most French unmarried misses, (after marriage it is a little t’other.) How ridiculous to suppose that she is not conscious of her exquisite shapes!” Mr. Hughes has a shocking opinion of the maidens of Gaul, whose conduct towards him seems to have been somewhat indecorous. “Very young girls abroad appear to have attained to consciousness, and often laugh out if you only give them a casual glance.” We know not whether there is any thing especially mirth-provoking in the glances of our lively invalid, but this is the first time we have heard tell of such very unbecoming behaviour on the part of respectable young French women. The next insinuation we stumble upon is of a different nature, although it would scarcely be more relished by its objects. Mr. Hughes is at Paris, indulging in a flânerie on the Boulevards, and taking notes of the latest fashions. “The dresses are now worn extravagantly high, stuck up[Pg 352] into the throat, and suggesting a suspicion that there may be something blotchy underneath.” To say nothing of the suggestive and unsavoury nature of this remark, we are quite puzzled to know what would satisfy so captious a critic. One lady shows her ankle, and is set down as an immodest schemer; another covers her neck, and is suspected of a cutaneous affection. On a par with such an inference, is the gross account of an alabaster group in a shop window, and the wit of the conjecture whether Dr. Toothache, who attends to the “teeth, gums, tongue, throat, &c., has any cure for a long tongue, or if he patches the gums with gum elastic!” Such stuff as this would hardly pass muster in familiar conversation, or in a gossipping letter to an intimate friend; but in a printed book, intended, doubtless, for the perusal of thousands, it is sadly out of place. It is a relief to revert from it to the strong good sense and graceful raillery of Mr. Ford’s pages.

Sure, where all is good, to fall in a pleasant place, we open the “Gatherings” at random. Upon what have we stumbled? Railroads. Interesting to Threadneedle Street. True that the mania days are past, when an English capitalist caught at any new line puffed by a plausible prospectus, however impossible the gradients and desolate the district. Nevertheless, and in case of relapse, a word or two about the practicability of Spanish railroads will not be out of place. Mr. Ford is a man who knows Spain thoroughly: that none can doubt. Neither can there be any question of his veracity and impartiality. Whatever interest he might have to cry up such projects, he can have none to cry them down. We, therefore, recommend all persons who have not already made up their minds as to the bubble nature of Peninsular railway schemes, to send forthwith to Mr. Murray for a copy of the “Gatherings,” and to read thrice, with profound attention, the last six pages of Chapter Five. They may also glance at pages 8 and 13, and learn, what the majority of them are probably ignorant of, that the Peninsula is an agglomeration of mountains, divided by Spanish geographers into seven distinct chains, all more or less connected with each other, and having innumerable branches and off-shoots. Notwithstanding this very discouraging configuration of the land, “there is,” says Mr. Ford, “just now much talk of railroads, and splendid official and other documents are issued, by which ‘the whole country is to be intersected (on paper) with a net-work of rapid and bowling-green communications,’ which are to create a ‘perfect homogeneity amongst Spaniards.’” The absurdity of this last notion is only appreciable by those who know the vast differences that exist, in character, interests, feelings, and even race, between the different provinces of Spain. Time, tranquillity, and a secure and paternal government, may eventually produce the blending deemed so desirable, and railways would of course largely contribute to the same end, could they be made. But to say nothing of the mountains, there are a few other impediments nearly as formidable. Spain is an immense country, thinly peopled, whose inhabitants travel little, and whose commerce is unimportant. And, moreover, projectors of Peninsular rails have reckoned without a certain two-legged animal, indigenous to the soil, and known as the muleteer. To this gentleman is at present committed the whole inland carrying trade of Spain. What will he say when he finds his occupation gone? how will he get his chick peas and sausage when he has been run off the road by steam? Mr. Ford opines that he, as well as the smuggler, who also will be seriously damaged by the introduction of locomotives, will turn robber or patriot,—the two most troublesome classes in all Spain. As to prevailing on him to act as guard to a railway carriage, to trim lamps, ticket portmanteaus, or stand with outstretched arm by the road-side, the idea will only be entertained by persons who know nothing either of Spain or Spanish muleteers. By the side of the line he doubtless would often be found; but not as a telegraph to warn of danger. In his new capacity of brigand, his look-out would be for the purses of the passengers. He could hardly stop an express train in the old Finchley style of presenting[Pg 353] himself and his pistol at the carriage window, but a few stones and tree-trunks would answer the purpose as well. “A handful of opponents,” says Mr. Ford, “in any cistus-grown waste, may at any time, in five minutes, break up the road, stop the train, stick the stoker, and burn the engines in their own fire, particularly smashing the luggage-train.” To English ears this may sound like absurd exaggeration. We have difficulty in imagining a gang of stage-coachmen, even though they have been puffed off their boxes by the mighty blast of steam, combining, under the orders of Captain Brown or Jones, the gentleman driver of some Cambridge, Rockingham, or Brighton bang-up, to build barricades across railways and pick off engineers from behind a quickset hedge. Here there would be no impunity for such malefactors; their campaign against innovation would speedily conduct them to Newgate and the hulks. Not so in the Peninsula, where roads are few, police defective, and where, at the present time, smugglers and other notorious law-breakers strut upon the crown of the causeway, appear boldly in towns, and hold themselves in every respect for as honest men as their neighbours. But it is not to be supposed that popular opposition, probable, almost certain, as it is, to be met with in such a half African, semi-civilized country, would be held worth a moment’s consideration by the dashing schemers who propose to cover the Peninsula with iron arteries. The audacity of those persons is only to be equalled by their consummate geographical ignorance, several instances of which are shown up with much humour and irony by the author of the “Gatherings.” Some of the most notoriously absurd of the schemes set afloat, have had their origin with Englishmen, of whom, since the close of the civil war, and especially within the last year or two, a vast number have betaken themselves to Spain, to follow up ventures more or less hopeful or hopeless. Owing to a long peace, to a rapid growth of population, and to the daily-increasing difficulty of fortune-making, the class Adventurer has of late years, both in this country and the sister kingdom, greatly augmented its numbers. This is evident from the throng of unemployed and aspiring gentlemen ever ready to engage in any undertaking, however desperate and doubtful of success. Let a clandestine expedition be contemplated to some hole-and-corner state or antipodean republic, and up start a host of mettlesome cavaliers, from all ranks and classes, including Irish lords and English baronets and squires of low degree, having all fought in three or four services, more or less piratical or illegitimate, all bearded like the pard, and be-ribboned like maypoles, and all eager once more to rush to the fray, and signalise themselves under a foreign banner. These are specimens of the adventurer bellicose, the Mike Lambournes and Dugald Dalgettys of the nineteenth century. Of a more calculating and ambitious class is the adventurer speculative, who possesses a Dousterswivel aptitude for discovering mines, devising railways, projecting canals, and the like undertakings. Spain has of late been favoured with the attentions of many of these gentlemen, flying at every thing, from a common sewer to a coal mine, an omnibus company to a hundred leagues of railway. With geniuses of this stamp have originated some of the impracticable projects so eagerly caught at by English capitalists, whose unemployed cash had mounted, as Mr. Ford expresses it, from their pockets to their heads. We know not who was the projector of that most magnificent scheme to connect Madrid with the Atlantic, in defiance of such trifling impediments as the Guadarama range and the Asturian Alps, but we learn from the “Gatherings” that he was “to receive £40,000 for the cession of his plan to the company, and actually did receive £25,000, which, considering the difficulties, natural and otherwise, must be considered an inadequate remuneration.” Unfortunately, when he sold his plan, he did not show the buyers how to surmount the difficulties; and indeed he would have been puzzled to do so, since they subsequently proved insurmountable. But the whole of the facts relating to Spanish railroads lie in a nutshell, and may be set forth in ten lines. Neither by the nature of[Pg 354] its surface, nor by amount of population and importance of trade, is Spain adapted to receive this greatest invention of the present century. As to a regular system of railways, diverging from Madrid to the frontiers and principal seaport towns, on the plan laid down for France, it is not to be thought of, and can never be accomplished. And with respect to those lines which might be made along the valleys, and by following the course of rivers, the country is not yet ripe for them. Spain has not yet been able to get canals; her highroads, worthy of the name, are few and far between, leading only from the capital to coast or frontier, whilst cross roads and communications between towns are for the most part mere caminos de herradura, horse-shoe or bridle roads of a wretched description. A few short lines of cheap construction over level tracts, and favoured by peculiar circumstances, such as a populous district, the proximity of large towns, or of a country unusually rich in natural productions, are the only railways that can as yet be undertaken in Spain without certainty of heavy loss. The line between Madrid and Aranjuez is the only one, Mr. Ford thinks, at all likely to be at present carried out.

We have been greatly delighted with the pictures scattered through Mr. Ford’s book, pictures that owe nothing to pencil or graver, half pages of letter-press placing before our eyes, with the brilliant minuteness of a richly-coloured and highly-finished painting, men, things, and scenes characteristic of Spain. Amongst these, the sketch of the muleteer, that errant descendant of the old Morisco carriers, is full of life; and we defy the brush of the most cunning artist to bring the man, in all his peculiarities, more vividly before us than is done by Mr. Ford’s vigorous and graceful pen and ink touches. We see the long line of tall mules, with dusty flanks and well-poised burdens, winding their way over some rugged sierra, or across a weary despoblado, their gay worsted head-gear nodding in the sunbeams, the tinkle of their innumerable bells mingling with the mournful song of their conductor, to which, when the latter, weary of striding beside his beasts, mounts aloft upon the bales for a temporary rest, is added the monotonous thrum of a guitar. The song is as unceasing as the bells, unless when interrupted by a pull at the wine bota, or by the narration of some wild story of bandit cruelty or contrabandist daring. “The Spanish muleteer is a fine fellow; he is intelligent, active, and enduring; he braves hunger and thirst, heat and cold, mud and dust; he works as hard as his cattle, never robs or is robbed; and whilst his betters in this land put off every thing till to-morrow, except bankruptcy, he is punctual and honest.” Mr. Ford’s book will hardly find much favour in the country of which it treats. It tells too many home truths. We have heard his “Hand-book” found fault with by Spaniards, although it was evident they were puzzled where to attack him, and equally so that their hyper-critical censure of certain trifling inaccuracies, real or imaginary, was merely a mode of venting their vexation at the shrewdness, wit, and delicious impertinence with which he shows up the national vices and foibles. He dives into the most secret recesses of the Spanish character, and whilst admitting its good points, probes its weakness with an unsparing hand. No people in the world entertain such an arrogant overstrained good opinion of themselves and their country as Spaniards. To hear them refer to Spain, one would imagine it to be the first kingdom in the world, combining the advantages of all the most civilized and flourishing countries in Europe. We here speak of the masses; of course there is an enlightened and clear-sighted minority, that sees and deplores its fallen condition. But the popular notion is the other way. “Who says Spain, says every thing;” so runs the proverb. And yet whilst they mouth about España, and exalt it, not in the way of an empty boast, which the utterer believeth not, but in full conviction of the good foundation of their vaunts, above all the kingdoms of the earth, they are, in fact, the least homogeneous nation in existence,—the least patriotic, in the comprehensive sense of the word. Nowhere[Pg 355] are distinctions of provinces so strongly marked, in no country are so many antipathies to be found between inhabitants of different districts. “Like the German, they may sing and spout about Fatherland: in both cases the theory is splendid, but in practice each Spaniard thinks his own province or town the best in the Peninsula, and himself the finest fellow in it.” The patriotisme du clocher, with which French provincials have been reproached, but which, in France, the system of centralisation has done so much to eradicate, the prejudice which narrows a man’s sympathies to his own country or department, is extra-ordinarily conspicuous in Spaniards. It is traceable to various causes; to the former divisions of the country, when it consisted of several kingdoms, independent and jealous of each other; to want of convenient communications and to the stay-at-home habits of the people; and also to the unimportance of the capital, which title has been so frequently transferred from city to city. When one Spaniard talks of another as his countryman, he does not refer to their being both Spaniards, but means that both are from the same province. “The much used phrase, ‘Españolismo,’” says Mr. Ford, who is very hard upon the poor Dons on this head, “expresses rather a dislike of foreign dictation, and the self-estimation of Spaniards, ‘Españoles sobre todos,’ than any real patriotic love of country, however highly they rate its excellencies and superiority to every other one under heaven.”

So much for a go off. We find this in the first chapter, and few of the subsequent ones conclude without some similar rap on the knuckles for the countrymen of Don Quixote; raps always dexterously applied, and in most instances well deserved. On Spanish securities, (to use a misnomer,) whether loan, land, or rail, and on the unremitting punctuality of Spanish finance ministers, Mr. Ford is particularly severe, and not without good cause. The Hispanica fides of the present day may well rival the Punica fides of the ancients. It has become as proverbial. Painful is it to behold a people, possessing so many noble qualities, held up to the scorn of surrounding nations for repeated acts of dishonesty, which, under a good government, and with a proper administration of their immense resources, they would never have been tempted to perpetrate. Under the present plan, however, with their absurd tariff, the parent of the admirably organised system of smuggling that supplies the whole country with foreign commodities, and reduces the customs revenue to a tithe of what it might be made, we see no possible exit for Spain from the labyrinth of financial embarrassment in which dishonesty and corruption have plunged her. She resembles a reckless spendthrift, who, having exhausted his credit and ruined his character amongst honest money-lenders, has been compelled to resort to Jews and usurers, and who now, when the days of his hot youth and uncalculating dissipation are past, and he wishes to redeem his character and compound with his creditors, lacks resolution to economise, and judgment to avail himself of, the resources of his encumbered but fertile estates. The debts of Spain are stated by Mr. Ford at about two hundred and eighty millions sterling, this estimate being based on reports laid before parliament in 1844 by Mr. Macgregor. The statement, however, whose possible exaggeration, owing to the difficulty of getting at correct information, is admitted in the “Gatherings,” is fiercely contradicted by an anonymous correspondent, whose letter Mr. Ford prints at the end of his volume. Some of the assertions of this “Friend of Truth” (so he signs himself) are so astonishing, as utterly to disprove his right to the title. According to him, the whole Spanish debt is less than a fourth of the sum above set down, the country is very rich, quite able to meet her trifling engagements, and Spanish stock is a fortune to whomsoever is lucky enough to possess it! After this, it was supererogatory on the part of the unknown letter-writer to inform us that he is a large holder of the valuable bonds he so highly esteems, and whose rise to their proper price, about 60 or 70, he confidently predicts. Crumbs of comfort these, for the creditors of insolvent Spain. Nevertheless, Mr. Ford[Pg 356] persists in his incredulity as to the sunny prospects of Peninsular bond-holders; and whilst hoping that the bright visions of his anonymous friend may be fully and promptly realised, declares his extreme distaste for any thing in the shape of Spanish stock, whether active, passive, or deferred. “Beware,” he says, in his pithy and convincing style, “of Spanish stock, for, in spite of official records, documentos, and arithmetical mazes, which, intricate as an Arabesque pattern, look well on paper without being intelligible; in spite of ingenious conversions, fundings of interest, &c. &c. the thimblerig is always the same. And this is the question:—Since national credit depends on national good faith, and surplus income, how can a country pay interest on debts, whose revenues have long been, and now are, miserably insufficient for the ordinary expenses of government? You cannot get blood from a stone; ex nihilo nihil fit.” After which warning, coming from such a quarter, sane persons on the look-out for an investment will, we imagine, as soon think of making it in Glenmutchkin railway shares, as in the dishonoured paper of all-promising, non-performing Spain.

The popular notion prevalent in England, and still more so in France, that Spain is an unsafe country to travel in, is energetically combated by Mr. Ford. It, of course, would be highly impolitic in the author of a hand-book to admit that, in the country he described, the chances were about equal whether a man got to his journey’s end with a whole throat or a cut one. But this consideration, we are sure, has had no weight with Mr. Ford, both of whose books are equally adapted to amuse by an English fireside or to be useful on a Spanish highway. His contempt for the exaggerated statements and causeless terrors of tourists leads him, however, rather into the opposite extreme. Believe him, and there is scarcely a robber in the Peninsula, although he admits that thieves abound, chiefly to be found in confessional boxes, lawyers’ chambers, and government offices. The naiveté of the following is amusing:—He speaks of travellers who, by scraping together and recording every idle tale, gleaned from the gossip of muleteers and chatter of coffee-houses, “keep up the notion entertained in many counties of England, that the whole Peninsula is peopled with banditti. If such were the case society could not exist.” The assertion is undeniable. Equally so is it that in a country where civil war so lately raged, and where, until a very recent date, revolutions were still rife, where a large portion of the population lives by the lawless and demoralising profession of smuggling, where the police is bad, where roads are long and solitary and mountains many, highwaymen must abound and travelling be unsafe. That it is so, may be ascertained by a glance at any file of Spanish newspapers. And the peculiar state of Spain, its liability to the petty insurrections and desperate attempts of exiled parties and pretenders, encourages the growth of robber bands, who cloak their villanous calling with a political banner. These insurgents, Carlists, Progresista, or whatsoever they may style themselves, act upon the broad principle that those who are not with them are against them, and consequently are just as dangerous and disagreeable to meet as mere vulgar marauders of the “stand and deliver” sort, who fight upon their own account, without pretending to defend the cause either of King or Kaiser, liberty or absolutism. At the same time to believe, as many do, that of travellers in Spain the unrobbed are the exceptions or even the minority, is a gross absurdity, and the delusion arises from the romancing vein in which scribbling tourists are apt to indulge. It is certain that nearly all travellers, especially French ones, who take a run of a month or two in the Peninsula, and subsequently print the eventful history of their ramble, think it indispensable to introduce at least one robber adventure, as having occurred to themselves or come within their immediate cognisance. And if they cannot manage to get actually robbed, positively put down with their noses in the mud, whilst their carpet bags are rummaged, and their Chub-locks smashed by gloomy ruffians with triple-charged blunderbusses, and knives like scythe-blades,[Pg 357] they at least get up a narrow escape. They encounter a troop of thorough-bred bandits, unmistakable purse-takers, fellows with slouched hats, truculent mustaches and rifle at saddle-bow, who lower at them from beneath bushy brows, and are on the point of commencing hostilities, when the well-timed appearance of a picket of dragoons, or perhaps the bold countenance of the travellers themselves, makes them change their purpose and ride surlily by. Mr. Ford shows how utterly groundless these alarms usually are. Most Spaniards, when they mount their horses for a journey, discard long-tailed coats and Paris hats, and revert in great measure to the national costume as it is still to be found in country places. A broad-brimmed, pointed hat, with velvet band and trimmings—the genuine melodramatic castor—protects head and face from the sun; a jacket, frequently of sheepskin, overalls, often of a half-military cut and colour, and a red sash round the waist, compose the habitual attire of Spanish wayfarers. Such a dress is not usual out of Spain, and to French and English imaginations does not suggest the idea of domestic habits and regular tax-paying. And when the cavaliers thus accoutred possess olive or chocolate complexions, with dark flashing eyes and a considerable amount of beard, and are elevated upon demi-pique saddles, whose holsters may or may not contain “pistols as long as my arm,” whilst some of their number have perhaps fowling-pieces slung on their shoulder, it is scarcely surprising if the English Cockney or Parisian badaud mistakes them for the banditti whom he has dreamed about ever since he crossed the Bidassoa or landed at Cadiz. And upon encounters of this kind, and incidents of very little more gravity, repeated, distorted, and hugely exaggerated, are founded five-sixths of the robber stories to which poor Spain is indebted for its popular reputation of a country of cut-throats and highwaymen.

Amongst the measures adopted for the extirpation of banditti, was the establishment of the guardias civiles, a species of gendarmerie, dressed upon the French model, and who, from their stations in towns, patrol the roads and wander about the country in the same prying and important style observable amongst their brethren of the cocked hat north of the Pyrenees. Spaniards have a sneaking regard for bold robbers, whom they look upon as half-brothers of the contrabandist—that popular hero of the Peninsula: they have also an innate dislike of policemen, and a still stronger one for every thing French. They have bestowed upon the Frenchified guardias the appellations of polizones,—a word borrowed from their neighbours,—and of hijos de Luis Felipe, sons of Louis Philippe. “Spaniards,” saith Richard Ford, “are full of dry humour;” he might have added, and of sharp wit. Nothing escapes them: they are ever ready with a sarcasm on public men and passing events, and when offended, especially when their pride is hurt, they become savage in their satire. When it was attempted to force Count Trapani upon Spain as a husband for the Queen, the indignation of the people burst out in innumerable jokes and current allusions, any thing but flattering to the Neapolitan prince. Every thing filthy and disgusting received his name. In the Madrid coffee-houses, when a dirty table was to be wiped, the cry was invariably for a Trapani, instead of a trapo, the Spanish word for a dishclout or rag used for the most unclean purposes. Since then, the Duke of Montpensier has come in for his share of insulting jests. The Madrileños got all unfounded notion that he was short-sighted, and made the most of it. Mr. Hughes was at a bull-fight where one of the bulls showed the white feather, and ran from the picador. “The crowd instantly exclaimed, ‘Fuera el toro Monpenseer! Fuera Monpenseer! Turn him out!’ They used to call every lame dog and donkey a Trapani; and now every blind animal is sure to be christened a Monpenseer.”

If the danger to which peaceable travellers are exposed, in Spain, from the knives of robbers, be considerably less than is generally believed, great peril is often incurred at the hands of men who wield cutting weapons professedly for the good of their species.[Pg 358] The ignorance and inefficiency of Spanish surgeons and physicians is notorious, and admitted even by their countrymen, who, it has already been shown, are not prone to expose the nakedness of the land. “The base, bloody, and brutal Sangrados of Spain,” says Mr. Ford, “have long been the butts of foreign and domestic novelists, who spoke many a true word in their jests.” The eagerness with which Spaniards have recourse to French and English medical men whom chance throws in their way, proves how low they estimate the skill and science of their professional countrymen. Many a naval surgeon whose ship has been stationed on the Spanish coast, could tell strange tales of the fatal ignorance he has had opportunity to observe amongst the native faculty. It will be remembered how Zumalacarregui, whose wound would have offered little difficulty to an English village practitioner, was hurried out of the world by the butchering manœuvres of his conclave of Spanish quacks and medicos, terms too often synonymous. And it may be remarked, that in Spain, where there has been so much fighting during the last fifteen years, amputated persons are more rarely met with than in countries that have enjoyed comparative peace during the same period. The natural inference is, that the unlucky soldier whose leg or arm has been shattered by the enemy’s fire, usually dies under the hands of unskilful operators. “All Spaniards,” Mr. Ford remarks, “are very dangerous with the knife, and more particularly if surgeons. At no period were Spaniards careful even of their own lives, and much less of those of others, being a people of untender bowels.” If the Peninsula surgeon is reckless and destructive with his steel, the physician, on the other hand, is usually overcautious with his drugs. Almond-milk and vegetable decoctions, impotent to cure or aggravate disease, are prominent remedies in the Spanish pharmacopœia; minerals are looked upon with awe, and the timid tisane practice of the French school is exaggerated to absurdity. Upon the principle of keeping edged tools out of the hands of children, it is perhaps just as well that Spanish doctors do not venture to meddle with the strong drugs commonly used in England. Left to nature, with whose operation asses’-milk and herb-broth can in few cases interfere, the invalid has at least a chance of cure.

Unassailed by either variety of Spanish bloodletters, the doctor or the bandit, Mr. Hughes pursued, in high spirits and great good humour, his long and leisurely journey from Irun to Lisbon, via Madrid. We left him at Paris, strolling in the passages, dining with his friends of the Charivari, frequenting the foyer de l’opera, leading, in short, rather a gay life for a man in such delicate health; we take him up again upon his own favourite battle-ground of the Peninsula, where we like him far better than in the French metropolis. At Burgos he is in great feather, winning hearts by the dozen, frightening the garrison by sketching the fortress, waging a victorious warfare of words at the table-d’hôte, and playing pranks which will doubtless cause him to be long remembered in the ancient capital of Castile. There the maid of the inn, a certain black-eyed Francisca, fell desperately in love with him, and so far forgot maidenly reserve as to confess her flame. “She had large and expressive eyes,” says the fortunate man, “and had tried their power on me repeatedly, and the like, I am bound to say, (in narrating this truthful history,) did sundry Burgalese dames and damsels of more pretensions and loftier state.” These were far from being the sole triumphs achieved at Burgos by this lover of truth, and loved-one of the ladies. He managed to excite the suspicions of the whole population, especially of the police, who set spies to dog him. He was taken for a political agent, a propagandist, and at last for a diplomatist of the first water, and secretary of legation at Madrid. The origin of these suspicions was traceable to his disregard of a ridiculous and barbarous prejudice, a relic of orientalism worthy of the Sandwich islanders, still in force amongst Spaniards. “Nothing throughout the length and breadth of the land”—we quote from Mr. Ford—“creates greater suspicion or jealousy than a stranger’s[Pg 359] making drawings, or writing down notes in a book; whoever is observed ‘taking plans,’ or ‘mapping the country,’—for such are the expressions of the simplest pencil sketches,—is thought to be an engineer, a spy, or, at all events, to be about no good.” Mr. Hughes was caught taking notes; forthwith Burgos was up in arms, whilst he, on discovering the sensation made by his sketch-book, and by his free expression of political opinions, did his utmost to increase the mysterious interest attached to him. He galloped about the castle, book and pencil in hand, making imaginary sketches of bastions and ravelins; he talked liberalism by the bushel, and raved against the Montpensior alliance. The results of the triumphant logic with which he electrified a brigadier-general, a colonel, and the whole company at his hotel, are recorded by him in a note. It will be seen that they were not unimportant. “I have the satisfaction to state that the words which I said that day bore good fruit subsequently, for the Ayuntamiento of Burgos declined to vote any taxation for extraordinary expenses to commemorate the Duke of Montpensier’s marriage.” A dangerous man is the overland traveller to Lisbon, and we are no way surprised that, at Madrid, Señor Chico, chief of police, vouchsafed him his special attention, and even called upon him to inquire whether he did not intend to get up a commotion on the entrance of the Infanta’s bridegroom. Mr. Bulwer also, aware that a book was in embryo, and anxious for a patronising word in its pages, paid his court to the author by civilities, “all of which I carefully abstained from accepting, except one formal dinner, to which I first declined going; but, on receiving a renewal of the invitation, could not well refrain from appearing.... I have had six years’ experience of foreign diplomatists, and know that the dinner was pressed on me a second time for the very purpose of committing me to a particular line of observation.” After this, let any one tell us that Mr. Hughes has not fulfilled his promise of being amusing. Unfettered by obligations, he runs full tilt at poor Mr. Bulwer, the fatal error of whose career is, he says, an excessive opinion of himself. This fault must be especially odious to the author of the “Journey to Lisbon.” The British ambassador at Madrid, we are told, by his vanity and lack of energy, left full scope for the active and tortuous intrigues of M. Bresson, who fairly juggled and outmanœuvred him. “The marriages were arranged in his absence. He was not consulted on the question, nor was its decision submitted to him; and when the news, on the following day, reached the British legation, after having become previously known to the metropolis, our minister was at Carabanchal! (one of his country-houses.) Then, indeed, he became very active, and displayed much ex post facto energy, writing a series of diplomatic notes and protests, in one of which he went the length of saying, ‘Had he known this result, he would have voted for Don Carlos instead of Queen Isabel,’—for even the ambassador cannot lose sight of the individual,—‘when he (Mr. Bulwer) was member of Parliament!’” Did Mr. Hughes see this note or protest? Unless he did, we decline believing that a man of Mr. Bulwer’s talents and reputation would expose himself to certain ridicule by so childish and undiplomatic a declaration. Such loose and improbable statements need confirmation.

Very graphic and interesting is Mr. Hughes’ narrative of his journey from Madrid to Portugal, especially that of the three days from Elvas to Aldea Gallega, which were passed in a jolting springless cart, drawn by mules, and driven by Senhor Manoel Alberto, a Portuguese carrier and cavalheiro, poor in pocket, but proud as a grandee. Manoel was a good study, an excellent specimen of his class and country, and as such his employer exhibits him. At Arroyolos Mr. Hughes ordered a stewed fowl for dinner, and made his charioteer sit down and partake. “I soon had occasion to repent my politeness, for Manoel, without hesitation, plunged his fork into the dish, and drank out of my glass; and great was his surprise when I called for another tumbler, and, extricating as much of the fowl as I chose to consume, left him in undisturbed possession of the remainder.”[Pg 360] His next meal Mr. Hughes thought proper to eat alone, but sent out half his chicken to the muleteer. “He refused to touch it, saying that he had ordered a chicken for himself! This was a falsehood, for he supped, as I afterwards ascertained, on a miserable sopa, but his pride would not permit him to touch what was given in a way that indicated inferiority.” In his rambles through Alemtejo, a province little visited and not often described by Englishmen, Mr. Hughes exposes some of the blunders of Friend Borrow, of Bible and gipsy celebrity, whose singularly attractive style has procured for his writings a popularity of which their mistatements and inaccuracies render them scarcely worthy. He refers especially to the absurd notion of the English caloro, that the Portuguese will probably some day adopt the Spanish language; a most preposterous idea, when we remember the shyness, not to say the antipathy, existing between the two nations, and the immense opinion each entertains of itself and all belonging to it. He regrets “that one who has so stirring a style should take refuge in bounce and exaggeration from the honourable task of candid and searching observation, and prefer the fame of a Fernão Mendez Pinto to that of an honest and truthful writer.” With respect to exaggeration, Mr. Borrow might, if so disposed, retaliate on his censor, who, whilst wandering in the olive groves of Venda do Duque, encounters “black ants as large almost as figs, unmolested in the vivid sun-beam.” Before such monsters as these, the terrible termes fatalis of the Indies, which undermines houses and breakfasts upon quarto volumes, must hide its diminished head. A misprint can scarcely be supposed, unless indeed an f has been substituted for a p, which would not mend the matter. Apropos of Mr. Borrow: it appears that the ill success of his tract and Testament crusade did not entirely check missionary zeal for the spiritual amelioration of the Peninsula. His followers, however, met with small encouragement. One of their clever ideas was to bottle tracts, throw them into the sea, and allow them to be washed ashore! This ingenious plan, adopted before Cadiz, did not answer, “first,” says Mr. Hughes, who, we must do him the justice to say, is a stanch foe to humbug, “because the bottling gave a ludicrous colour to the transaction; and, secondly, for the conclusive reason, that Cadiz, being surrounded by fortified sea walls, mounted with frowning guns and sentries, the bottles never reached the inhabitants.”

Whilst touching on Portuguese literature, Mr. Hughes refers to what he considers the depreciating spirit of English critics. “There is a ludicrous difference,” he says, “in the criticism of London and Lisbon. Every thing is condemned in the former place, and every thing hailed with rapture in the latter. There are faults on both sides.” We have been informed that previous literary efforts of the author of the “Overland Journey” met, at the hands of certain reviewers, with rougher handling than they deserved. His present book is certainly not so cautiously written as to guarantee it against censure. The good that is in it, which is considerable, is defaced by triviality and bad taste. We shall not again dilate on faults to which we have already adverted, but merely advise Mr. Hughes, when next he sits down to record his rambles, to eschew flimsy and unpalatable gossip, and, bearing in mind Lord Bacon’s admonition to travellers, to be “rather advised in his discourse than forward to tell stories.”



[Pg 361]


“Tuba mirum spargens sonum.”
Dies Iræ.

[The Stethoscope, as most, probably, of our readers are aware, is a short, straight, wooden tube, shaped like a small post-horn. By means of it, the medical man can listen to the sounds which accompany the movements of the lungs and heart; and as certain murmurs accompany the healthy action of these organs, and certain others mark their diseased condition, an experienced physician can readily discover not only the extent, but also the nature of the distemper which afflicts his patient, and foretell more or less accurately the fate of the latter.

The Stethoscope has long ceased to excite merely professional interest. There are few families to whom it has not proved an object of horror and the saddest remembrance, as connected with the loss of dear relatives, though it is but a revealer, not a producer of physical suffering.

As an instrument on which the hopes and fears, and one may also say the destinies of mankind, so largely hang, it appears to present a fit subject for poetic treatment. How far the present attempt to carry out this idea is successful, the reader must determine.]

stethoscope! thou simple tube,
Clarion of the yawning tomb,
Unto me thou seem’st to be
A very trump of doom.

Wielding thee, the grave physician
By the trembling patient stands,
Like some deftly skilled musician;
Strange! the trumpet in his hands.
Whilst the sufferer’s eyeball glistens
Full of hope and full of fear,
Quietly he bends and listens
With his quick, accustomed ear—
Waiteth until thou shalt tell
Tidings of the war within:
In the battle and the strife,
Is it death, or is it life,
That the fought-for prize shall win?

Then thou whisperest in his ear
Words which only he can hear—
Words of wo and words of cheer.
Jubilatés thou hast sounded,
Wild exulting songs of gladness;
Misererés have abounded
Of unutterable sadness.
Sometimes may thy tones impart,
Comfort to the sad at heart;
Oftener when thy lips have spoken,
Eyes have wept, and hearts have broken.

Calm and grave physician, thou
Art like a crownéd KING;
Though there is not round thy brow
A bauble golden ring,
As a Czar of many lands,
Life and Death are in thy hands.
[Pg 362]Sceptre-like, that Stethoscope
Seemeth in thy hands to wave:
As it points, thy subject goeth
Downwards to the silent grave;
Or thy kingly power to save
Lifts him from a bed of pain,
Breaks his weary bondage-chain,
And bids him be a man again.

Like a Priest beside the altar
Bleeding victims sacrificing,
Thou dost stand, and dost not falter
Whatsoe’er their agonising:
Death lifts up his dooming finger,
And the Flamen may not linger!

Prophet art thou, wise physician,
Down the future calmly gazing,
Heeding not the strange amazing
Features of the ghastly vision.
Float around thee shadowy crowds,
Living shapes in coming shrouds;—
Brides with babes, in dark graves sleeping
That still sleep which knows no waking;
Eyes all bright, grown dim with weeping;
Hearts all joy, with anguish breaking;
Stalwart men to dust degraded;
Maiden charms by worms invades;
Cradle songs as funeral hymns;
Mould’ring bones for living limbs;
Stately looks, and angel faces,
Loving smiles, and winning graces,
Turned to skulls with dead grimaces.
All the future, like a scroll,
Opening out, that it may show,
Like the ancient Prophet’s roll,
Mourning, lamentation, anguish,
Grief, and every form of wo.

On a couch with kind gifts laden,
Flowers around her, books beside her,
Knowing not what shall betide her,
Languishes a gentle maiden.
Cold and glassy is her bright eye,
Hectic red her hollow cheek,
Tangled the neglected ringlets,
Wan the body, thin and weak;
Like thick cords, the swelling blue veins
Shine through the transparent skin;
Day by day some fiercer new pains
Vex without, or war within:
Yet she counts it but a passing,
Transient, accidental thing;
Were the summer only here,
It would healing bring!
And with many a fond deceit
Tries she thus her fears to cheat:
“When the cowslip’s early bloom
Quite hath lost its rich perfume;
When the violet’s fragrant breath
Tasted have the lips of death;
[Pg 363]When the snowdrop long hath died,
And the primrose at its side
In its grave is sleeping;
When the lilies all are over,
And amongst the scented clover
Merry lambs are leaping;
When the swallow’s voice is ringing
Through the echoing azure dome,
Saying, ‘From my far-off home
I have come, my wild way winging
O’er the waves, that I might tell,
As of old, I love ye well.
Hark! I sound my silver bell;
All the happy birds are singing
From each throat
A merry note,
Welcome to my coming bringing.’
When that happy time shall be,
From all pain and anguish free,
I shall join you, full of life and full of glee.”

Then, thou fearful Stethoscope!
Thou dost seem thy lips to ope,
Saying, “Bid farewell to hope:
I foretell thee days of gloom,
I pronounce thy note of doom—
Make thee ready for the tomb!
Cease thy weeping, tears avail not,
Pray to God thy courage fail not.
He who knoweth no repenting,
Sympathy or sad relenting,
Will not heed thy sore lamenting—
Death, who soon will be thy guide
To his couch, will hold thee fast;
As a lover at thy side
Will be with thee to the last,
Longing for thy latest gasp,
When within his iron grasp
As his bride he will thee clasp.”

Shifts the scene. The Earth is sleeping,
With her weary eyelids closed,
Hushed by darkness into slumber;
Whilst in burning ranks disposed,
High above, in countless number,
All the heavens, in radiance steeping,
Watch and ward
And loving guard
O’er her rest the stars are keeping.

Often has the turret-chime
Of the hasty flight of time
Warning utterance given;
And the stars are growing dim
On the gray horizon’s rim,
In the dawning light of heaven.
But there sits, the Bear out-tiring,
As if no repose requiring,
One pale youth, all unattending
[Pg 364]To the hour; with bright eye bending
O’er the loved and honoured pages,
Where are writ the words of sages,
And the heroic deeds and thoughts of far distant ages.

Closed the book,
With gladsome look
Still he sits and visions weaveth.
Fancy with her wiles deceiveth;
Days to come with glory gildeth;
And though all is bleak and bare,
With perversest labour buildeth
Wondrous castles in the air.
He who shall possess each palace,
Fortune has for him no malice,
Only countless joys in store:
Over rim,
And mantling brim,
His full cup of life shall pour.
Whilst he dreams,
The future seems
Like the present spread before him:
Nought to fear him,
All to cheer him,
Coming greatness gathers o’er him;
And into the ear of Night
Thus he tells his visions bright:—

“I shall be a glorious Poet!
All the wond’ring world shall know it,
Listening to melodious hymning;
I shall write immortal songs.

“I shall be a Painter limning
Pictures that shall never fade;
Round the scenes I have portrayed
Shall be gathered gazing throngs:
Mine shall be a Titian’s palette!

“I shall wield a Phidias’ mallet!
Stone shall grow to life before me,
Looks of love shall hover o’er me,
Beauty shall in heart adore me
That I make her charms immortal.
Now my foot is on the portal
Of the house of Fame:
Soon her trumpet shall proclaim
Even this now unhonoured name,
And the doings of this hand
Shall be known in every land.

“Music! my bewitching pen
Shall enchant the souls of men.
Aria, fugue, and strange sonata,
Opera, and gay cantata,
Through my brain,
In linkéd train,
Hark! I hear them winding go,
Now with half-hushed whisper stealing,
Now in full-voiced accent pealing,
Ringing loud, and murmuring low.
[Pg 365]Scarcely can I now refrain,
Whilst these blessed notes remain,
From pouring forth one undying angel-strain.

“Eloquence! my lips shall speak
As no living lips have spoken—
Advocate the poor and weak,
Plead the cause of the heart-broken;
Listening senates shall be still,
I shall wield them at my will,
And this little tongue, the earth
With its burning words shall fill.

“Ye stars which bloom like flowers on high,
Ye flowers which are the stars of earth,
Ye rocks that deep in darkness lie,
Ye seas that with a loving eye
Gaze upwards on the azure sky,
Ye waves that leap with mirth;
Ye elements in constant strife,
Ye creatures full of bounding life:
I shall unfold the hidden laws,
And each unthought-of wondrous cause,
That waked ye into birth.
A high-priest I, by Nature taught
Her mysteries to reveal:
The secrets that she long hath sought
In darkness to conceal
Shall have their mantle rent away,
And stand uncovered to the light of day.
O Newton! thou and I shall be
Twin brothers then!
Together link’d, our names shall sound
Upon the lips of men.”

Like the sullen heavy boom
Of a signal gun at sea,
When athwart the gathering gloom,
Awful rocks are seen to loom
Frowning on the lee;
Like the muffled kettle-drum,
With the measured tread,
And the wailing trumpet’s hum,
Telling that a soldier’s dead;
Like the deep cathedral bell
Tolling forth its doleful knell,
Saying, “Now the strife is o’er,
Death hath won a victim more”—
So, thou doleful Stethoscope!
Thou dost seem to say,
“Hope thou on against all hope,
Dream thy life away:
Little is there now to spend;
And that little’s near an end.
Saddest sign of thy condition
is thy bounding wild ambition;
Only dying eyes can gaze on so bright a vision.
Ere the spring again is here,
[Pg 366]Low shall be thy head,
Vainly shall thy mother dear,
Strive her breaking heart to cheer,
Vainly strive to hide the tear
Oft in silence shed.
Pangs and pains are drawing near,
To plant with thorns thy bed:
Lo! they come, a ghastly troop,
Like fierce vultures from afar;
Where the bleeding quarry is,
There the eagles gathered are!
Ague chill, and fever burning,
Soon away, but swift returning,
In unceasing alternation;
Cold and clammy perspiration,
Heart with sickening palpitation,
Panting, heaving respiration;
Aching brow, and wasted limb,
Troubled brain, and vision dim,
Hollow cough like dooming knell
Saying, ‘Bid the world farewell!’
Parchéd lips, and quenchless thirst,
Every thing as if accurst;
Nothing to the senses grateful;
All things to the eye grown hateful;
Flowers without the least perfume;
Gone from every thing its bloom;
Music but an idle jangling;
Sweetest tongues but weary wrangling;
Books, which were most dearly cherished,
Come to be, each one, disrelished;
Clearest plans grown all confusion;
Kindest friends but an intrusion:
Weary day, and weary night—
Weary night, and weary day;
Would God it were the morning light!
Would God the light were pass’d away!
And when all is dark and dreary,
And thou art all worn and weary,
When thy heart is sad and cheerless,
And thine eyes are seldom tearless,
When thy very soul is weak,
Satan shall his victim seek.
Day by day he will be by thee,
Night by night will hover nigh thee,
With accursed wiles will try thee,
Soul and spirit seek to buy thee.
Faithfully he’ll keep his tryst,
Tell thee that there is no Christ,
No long-suffering gracious Father,
But an angry tyrant rather;
No benignant Holy Spirit,
Nor a heaven to inherit,
Only darkness, desolation,
Hopelessness of thy salvation,
And at best annihilation.

“God with his great power defend thee!
Christ with his great love attend thee!
May the blessed Spirit lend thee
[Pg 367]Strength to bear, and all needful succour send thee!”
Close we here. My eyes behold,
As upon a sculpture old,
Life all warm and Death all cold
Struggling which alone shall hold—
Sign of wo, or sign of hope!—
To his lips the Stethoscope.

But the strife at length is past,
They have made a truce at last,
And the settling die is cast.
Life shall sometimes sound a blast,
But it shall be but “Tantivy,”
Like a hurrying war reveillie,
Or the hasty notes that levy
Eager horse, and man, and hound,
On an autumn morn,
When the sheaves are off the ground,
And the echoing bugle-horn
Sends them racing o’er the scanty stubble corn.
But when I a-hunting go,
I, King Death,
I that funeral trump shall blow
With no bated breath.
Long drawn out, and deep and slow
Shall the wailing music go;
Winding horn shall presage meet
Be of coming winding-sheet,
And all living men shall know
That beyond the gates of gloom,
In my mansions of the tomb,
I for every one keep room,
And shall hold and house them all, till the very
Day of Doom.

V. V.


Bait, hook, and hair, are used by angler fine;
Emma’s bright hair alone were bait, hook, line.

Faraday was the first to elicit the electric spark from the magnet; he found that it is visible at the instants of breaking and of renewing the contact of the conducting wires; and only then.

Around the magnet, Faraday
Is sure that Volta’s lightnings play;
But how to draw them from the wire?
He took a lesson from the heart:
’Tis when we meet, ’tis when we part,
Breaks forth the electric fire.




[Pg 368]



February, 1847.

Dear Archy,—As a resource against the long ennui of the solitary evenings of commencing winter, I determined to betake me to the neglected lore of the marvellous, the mystical, the supernatural. I remembered the deep awe with which I had listened many a year ago to tales of seers, and ghosts, and vampires, and all the dark brood of night; and I thought it would be infinitely agreeable to thrill again with mysterious terrors, to start in my chair at the closing of a distant door, to raise my eyes with uneasy apprehension towards the mirror opposite, and to feel my skin creep with the sensible “afflatus” of an invisible presence. I entered, accordingly, upon what I thought a very promising course of appalling reading; but, alack and well-a-day! a change has come over me since the good old times, when Fancy, with Fear and Superstition behind her, would creep on tiptoe to catch a shuddering glimpse of Cobbold Fay, or Incubus. Vain were all my efforts to revive the pleasant horrors of earlier years. It was as if I had planned going to the play to enjoy again the full gusto of scenic illusion, and through some unaccountable absence of mind, was attending a morning rehearsal only; when, instead of what I had expected, great coats, hats, umbrellas, and ordinary men and women, masks, tinsel, trap-doors, pulleys, and a world of intricate machinery, lit by a partial gleam of sunshine, had met my view. The spell I had anticipated was not there. But yet the daylight scene was worth a few minutes’ study. My imagination was not to be gratified; but still it might be entertaining to see how the tricks are done, the effects produced, the illusion realised. I found myself insensibly growing philosophical; what amused me became matter of speculation—speculation turned into serious inquiry—the object of which shaped itself into “the amount of truth contained in popular superstitions.” For what has been believed for ages must have something real at bottom. There can be no prevalent delusion without a corresponding truth. If the dragons, that flew on scaly wings and expectorated flames, were fabulous, there existed nevertheless very respectable reptiles, which it was a credit to a hero or even a saint to destroy. If the Egyptian worship of cats and onions was a mistake, there existed nevertheless an object of worship.

Among the immortal productions of the Scottish Shakspeare,—you smile, but that phrase contains the true belief, not a popular delusion; for the spirit of the poet lived not in the form of his productions, but in his creative power and vivid intuition of nature; and the form even is often nearer you than you think: See the works of imaginative prose writers, passim.

Well, among the novels of Scott, I was going to say, none perhaps more grows upon our preference than the Antiquary. In no one has the great Author more gently and more indulgently, never with happier humour, displayed the mixed web of strength and infirmity of human character, (never, besides, with more facile power evoked pathos and terror, or disported himself in the sublimity and beauty of nature.) Yet gentle as is his mood, he misses not the opportunity, albeit in general he betrays an honest leaning towards old superstitions, mercilessly to crush one of the humblest. Do you remember the Priory of St. Ruth, and the pleasant summer party made to visit it, and the preparation for the subsequent rogueries of Dousterswivel, in the tale of Martin Waldeck, and the discovery of a spring of water by means of the divining rod?

I am disposed, do you know, to rebel against the judgment of the novelist on this occasion,—to take the part of the charlatan against the author of his being, and to question, whether his performance last alluded to might[Pg 369] not have been something more and better than a trick. Yet I know not if it is prudent to brave public opinion, which has stamped this pretension as imposture. But, courage! I will not flinch. I will be desperate, with Sir Arthur, defy the sneeze of the great Pheulphan, and trust to unearth a real treasure in this discredited ground.

Therefore leave off appealing to the shade of Oldbuck, and listen to a plain narrative, and you shall hear how much truth there is in the reputed popular delusion of the divining rod.

I see my tone of confidence has already half-staggered your disbelief; but pray do not, like many other incredulous gentry, run off at once into the opposite extreme. Don’t let your imagination suddenly instal you perpetual chairman of the universal fresh-water company, or of the general gold-mine-discovery-proprietary-association. What I have to fell you falls very far short of so splendid a mark.

But perhaps you know nothing at all about the divining rod. Then I will enlighten your primitive ignorance.

You are to understand, that, in mining districts, a superstition prevails among the people, that some are gifted with an occult power of detecting the proximity of veins of metal, and of underground springs of water. In Cornwall, they hold that about one in forty possesses this faculty. The mode, of exercising it is very simple. They cut a hazel twig that forks naturally into two equal branches; and having stripped the leaves off, they cut the stump of the twig, to the length of three or four inches, and each branch to the length of a foot or something less: for the end of a branch is meant to be held in each hand, in such a manner that the stump of the twig may project straight forwards. The position is this: the elbows are bent, the forearms, and hands advanced, the knuckles turned downwards, the ends of the branches come out between the thumbs and roots of the forefingers, the hands are supinated, the inner side of each is turned towards its fellow, as they are held a few inches apart. The mystic operator, thus armed, walks over the ground he intends exploring, with the full expectation, that, when he passes over a vein of metal, or underground spring of water, the hazel fork will move spontaneously in his hands, the point or stump rising or falling as the case may be. This hazel fork is the divining rod. The hazel has the honour of being preferred, because it divides into nearly equal branches at angles the nearest equal.

Then, assuming that there is something in this provincial superstition, four questions present themselves to us for examination.

Does the divining fork really move of itself in the hands of the operator, and not through motion communicated to it by the intentional or unintentional action of the muscles of his hands or arms?

What relation has the person of the operator to the motion observed in the divining rod?

What is the nature of the influence to which the person of the operator serves as a conductor?

Finally, what is the thing divined? the proximity of veins of metal or of running water? what or what not?

Then, let me at once premise, that upon the last point I have no information to offer. The uses to which the divining fork may be turned, are yet to be learned. But I think I shall be able to satisfy you, that the hazel fork in some hands, and in certain localities, held as I have described, actually moves spontaneously, and that the intervention of the human body is necessary to its motion; and that it serves as a conductor to an influence, which is either electricity, or something either combined with electricity, or very much resembling that principle in some of its habitudes.

I should observe, that I was no wiser than you are upon this subject, till the summer of 1843, and held the tales told of the divining rod to be nonsense, the offspring of mere self-delusion, or of direct imposture. And I think the likeliest way of removing your disbelief, will be to tell you the steps by which my own conversion took place.

In the summer of 1843, I lived some months under the same roof with a Scottish gentleman, well informed, of a serious turn of mind, endowed with the national allowance of caution,[Pg 370] shrewdness, and intelligence. I saw a good deal of him; and one day by accident the subject of the divining rod was mentioned. He told me that at one time his curiosity having been raised upon the subject, he had taken pains to learn what there was in it. And for that purpose he had obtained an introduction to Mrs. R., sister of Sir G. R., then residing at Southampton, whom he learned to be one of those in whose hands the divining rod was said to move. He visited the lady, who was polite enough to show him what the performance amounted to, and to answer all his questions, and to allow him to try some simple experiment to test the reality of the phenomenon and its nature.

Mrs. R. told my friend, that being at Cheltenham in 1806, she saw for the first time the divining rod used by the late Mrs. Colonel Beaumont, who possessed the power of imparting motion to it in a very remarkable degree. Mrs. R. tried the experiments herself at the time, but without any success. She was, as it happened, very far from well. Afterwards, in the year 1815, being asked by a friend how the divining rod was held, and how it is to be used, on showing it she observed that the hazel fork moved in her hands. Since then, whenever she had repeated the experiment, the power has always manifested itself, though with varying degrees of energy.

Mrs. R. then took my friend to a part of the shrubbery, where she knew, from former trials, the divining rod would move in her hands. It did so, to my friend’s extreme astonishment; and even continued to do so, when, availing himself of Mrs. R.’s permission, my friend grasped her hands with such firmness, as to preclude the possibility of any muscular action of her wrist or fingers influencing the result.

On another day my friend took with him pieces of copper and iron wire about a foot and a half long, bent something into the form of the letter V, with length enough in the horizontal limbs of the figure to form a sufficient handle for either branch of these new-fashioned divining forks. He found that these instruments moved quite as freely in Mrs. R.’s hands as the hazel fork had done. Then he coated the two handles of one of them with sealing-wax, leaving, however, the extreme ends free and uncovered. When Mrs. R. used the rod so prepared, grasping it by the parts alone which were coated with sealing-wax, and walked over the same piece of ground as before, the wires exhibited no movement whatever. As often, however, as, with no greater change than touching the free ends of the wire with her thumbs, Mrs. R. established again a direct contact with the instrument, it again moved. The motion again ceased, as often as that direct contact was interrupted.

This simple narrative, made to me by the late Mr. George Fairholm, carried conviction to my mind of the reality of the phenomenon. I asked my friend why he had not pursued the subject further. He said he had often thought of doing so; and had, he believed, been mainly prevented by meeting with a work of the Count de Tristan, entitled, “Recherches sur quelques Effluves Terrestres,” published at Paris in 1826, in which facts similar to those which he had himself verified were narrated, and a vast body of additional curious experiments detailed.

At my friend’s instance, I sent to Paris for the book, which I have, however, only recently read through. I recommend it to your perusal, if the subject should happen to interest your wayward curiosity. Any thing like an elaborate analysis of it is out of the question in a letter of this sort; but I shall borrow from it a few leading facts and observations, which, at all events, will surprise you. I am afraid, after all, I should have treated the Count as a visionary, and not have yielded to his statements the credence they deserve, but for the good British evidence I had already heard in favour of their trustworthiness; and still I suspect that I should have imagined many of the details fanciful had I perused them at an earlier period than the present; for, it is but lately that I have read Von Reichenbach’s experiments on the action of crystals, and of what not, upon sensitive human bodies; a series of phenomena utterly unlike those explored by the Count de Tristan, but[Pg 371] which have, nevertheless, the most curious analogy and interesting points of contact with them, confirmatory of the truth of both.

But permit me to introduce you to the Count: he shall tell you his own tale in his own way; but as he does not speak English, at least in his book, I must serve as dragoman.

“The history of my researches is simply this:—Some twenty years ago, a gentleman who, from his position in society, could have no object to gain by deception, showed to me, for my amusement, the movements of the divining rod. He attributed the motion to the influence of a current of water, which I thought no unlikely supposition. But my attention was rather engaged with the action produced by the influence, let that be what it might. My informant assured me he had met with many others, through whom similar effects were manifested. When I was returned home, and had opportunities of making trials under favourable circumstances, I found that I possessed the same endowment myself. Since then I have induced many to make the experiment; and I have found a fourth, or at all events a fifth of the number, capable of setting the divining rod in motion at the very first attempt. Since that time, during these twenty years, I have often tried my hand, but for amusement only, and desultorily, and without any idea of making the thing an object of scientific investigation. But at length, in the year 1822, being in the country, and removed from my ordinary pursuits, the subject again came across me, and I then determined to ascertain the cause of these phenomena. Accordingly, I commenced a long series of experiments, from 1500 to 1800 in number, which occupied me nearly fifteen months. The results of above 1200 were noted down at the time of their performance.”

The scene of the Count’s operations was in the valley of the Loire, five leagues from Vendôme, in the park of the Chateau de Ranac. The surface of ground which gave the desired results, was from 70 to 80 feet in breadth. But there was another spot equally efficient near the Count’s ordinary residence at Emerillon, near Clery, four leagues southwest of Orleans, ten leagues south of the Loire, at the commencement of the plains of Sologne. The surface was from north to south, and was about of the same breadth with the other. These exciting tracts form, in general, bands or zones of undetermined, and often very great length. Their breadth is very variable. Some are only three or four feet across, while others are one hundred paces. These tracts are sometimes sinuous and sometimes ramify. To the most susceptible they are broader than to those who are less so.

The Count thus describes what happens when a competent person, armed with a hazel fork, walks over these exciting districts.

When two or three steps have been made upon the exciting tract of ground, the fork (which I have already said is to be held horizontally with its central angle forward,) begins gently to ascend; it gradually attains a vertical position—sometimes it passes beyond that, and lowering itself with its point towards the chest of the operator, it becomes again horizontal. If the motion continue, the rod, descending, becomes vertical with the angle downwards. Finally, the rod may again ascend and reassume its first horizontal position, having thus completed a revolution. When the action is very lively, the rod immediately commences a second revolution; and so it goes on as long as the operator walks over the exciting surface of ground.

It is to be understood that the operator does not grasp the handles of the fork so tightly but that they may turn in his hands. If, indeed, he tries to prevent this, and the fork is only of hazel twig, the rotatory force is so strong as to twist it at the handles and crack the bark, and finally, fracture the wood itself.

I can imagine you at this statement endeavouring to hit the proper intonation of the monosyllable “Hugh,” frequently resorted to by Uncas, the son of Chingachkook, as well as by his parent, on similar occasions; though I remember to have read of none so trying in their experience. I anticipate the remarks you would subsequently make, which the graver Indian would have politely repressed:[Pg 372]—“By my patience, this bangs Banagher, and exhausts credulity. The assertion of these dry impossibilities is too choking to listen to. The fork cannot go down in this crude and unprotected state. It is as inconvenient a morsel as the ‘Amen’ inopportunely suggested to the conscience-stricken Macbeth. Cannot you contrive some intellectual cookery to make the process of deglutition easier? Suppose you mix the raw facts with some flowery hypothesis, throw in a handful of familiar ideas to give a congenial flavour, and stir into the mess some leaven of stale opinion to make it rise; so, do try your hand at a philosophical soufflé.”

Do manus.

Then you are to imagine that a current of electricity, or of something like it, may use your legs as conductors, as you walk over the soil from which it emanates, the circuit which it seeks being completed through your arms and the divining rod.

Nothing, then, would be more likely, upon analogy,—the extreme part of the current traversing a curved and movable conductor,—than that the latter should be attracted or repelled, or both alternately, by or from the soil below, or by your person, or both.

And see, what would render such an explanation plausible? Why, the cessation of the rotatory motion of the divining fork, on the operator simultaneously holding in his hands a straight rod of the same substance,—that is, conjointly with the other,—offering a shorter road to the journeying fluid, and so superseding the movable one. Well, the Count de Tristan did this, and the result was conformable to the hypothesis. When he walked over the exciting soil, with two rods held in his two hands, the one a hazel fork, the other a straight hazel twig, no motion whatever manifested itself in the former.

I flatter myself, that if you now continue to disbelieve, the fault is not mine: the fault must lie in your organisation. You must have a very small bump of credulity, and a very large bump of incredulity. You must be, actively and passively, incapable of receiving new ideas. How on earth did you get your old ones?—They must come by entail. But you are still a disbeliever?

Bless me! how am I to proceed? I catch at the slenderest straw of analogical suggestion. I have heard that the best cure, when you have burned your finger, is to hold it to the fire. Let me try a corresponding proceeding with you. My first statement has sadly irritated and blistered your belief; oblige me by trying the soothing application of the following fact:—

Although, in general, the divining rod behaves with great gravity and consistency, and looks contemplatively upward, when it comes upon grounds that move it, and then twirls respectably round, as you might twirl your thumbs in a tranquil continuity of rotation, yet there are some—a small proportion only—in whose hands it gibs at starting, and with whom it delights to go in the opposite direction. I say “delights” considerately; for it has a voice in the matter. So that a divining rod that has been used for some little time to go the wrong way, requires further time before it will go round right again.

The Count de Tristan found out the key to this anomaly.

He had discovered that a thick cover of silk upon the handles of the divining fork, like Mr. Fairholm’s coating of sealing wax, entirely arrested its motion. Then he tried thinner covers, and found they only lowered, as it were, and lessened it. The thin layer of silk was only an imperfect impediment to the transmission of the influence. Then he tried the effect of covering one handle only of the divining rod with a thin layer of silk stuff. He so covered the right handle, and then the enigma above proposed was explained. The divining fork, which hitherto had gone the usual way with him, commencing by ascending, now, when set in motion, descended, and continued to perform an inverse rotation.

I think this is the place for mentioning, that when the Count walked over the exciting soil, rod in hand, but trailing likewise, from each hand, a branch of the same plant, (which therefore touched the ground with one end, and with the other touched, in his hand, the magic fork,) the latter had lost its virtue. There is no[Pg 373] motion when the ends of the divining rod are in direct communication with the soil. The intervention of the human body is necessary for our result.

Then we are at liberty to suppose that the two sides of our frame have some fine difference of quality; that there is in general a sort of preponderance upon the right side; that in general, in reference to the divining rod, there is a superior vigour of transmission in the right side; that this difference, whatever it may be, of kind or degree, determines a current, causes motion, in the unknown fluid, which, in a simple arched conductor, with its ends upon the soil, remains in equilibrium. To explain the result of the last experiment I have cited of the Count de Tristan, no difference in quality in the two sides of the body need be assumed. Difference in conducting power alone will do. Then it might be said, that by covering the right handle of the divining rod, he checked the current rushing through the right side of the frame, and so gave predominance to the left current. One cannot help conjecturally anticipating, by the way, that with left-handed diviners, the divining rod will be found habitually to move the wrong way.

But it will not do now, to let this indication of a curious physiological element pass slurred over and unheeded,—this evidence so singularly furnished by the Count de Tristan’s experiments, of a positive difference between the right and left halves of the frame, as if our bodies were the subjects of a transverse polarity. I expect it is too late to pass over now any such facts, the very genuineness of which derives confirmation, from their pointing to a conclusion so new to, and unexpected by their observer, yet recently made certain through an entirely different order of phenomena, observed by one clearly not cognisant of the Count de Tristan’s researches.

I allude to the investigations of the Baron Freyherr von Reichenbach, published in Wohler and Liebig’s “Annals of Chemistry,” and already translated for the benefit of the English reader, and familiar to the reading public.

I take it for granted, Archy, that you have read the book I refer to, and that I have only to bring to your recollection two or three of the facts mentioned in it, bearing upon the present point.

Then you remember that Von Reichenbach has shown, that the two ends of a large crystal, moved along and near the surface of a limb, in certain sensitive subjects, produced decided but different sensations, one that of a draught of cool air, the other of a draught of warm air. That the proximity of the northward pole of a magnet again produces the former, of the southward pole the latter; of the negative wire of a voltaic pile, the former, of the positive wire, the latter; finally, that the two hands are equally and similarly efficient, the right acting like the negative influence, the left like the positive, of those above specified. Von Reichenbach came to the conclusion, from these and other experiments, that the two lateral halves of the human body have opposite relations to the influence, the existence of which he has proved, while he has in part developed its laws. And he throws out the very idea of a transverse polarity reigning in the animal frame. Do you remember, in confirmation of it, one of the most curious experiments which he leads Fräulein Maix to execute; valueless it might be thought if it stood alone, but joined with parallel effects produced on others, its weight is irresistible. Miss M. holds a bar magnet by its two ends. In any case it is sensibly inconvenient to her to do so. But when she holds the southward or positive pole of the magnet in her right hand, the northward or negative pole in her left, the thing is bearable. When, on the contrary, she reverses the position of the magnet, she immediately experiences the most distressing uneasiness, and the feeling as of an inward struggle in her arms, chest, and head. This ceases instantly on letting go the magnet.

I will not inflict upon you more of Von Reichenbach, though sorely tempted, so much is there in common between his Od and the influence investigated by the Count de Tristan. If you know the researches of the former already, why verbum sat; if not, I had better not attempt further[Pg 374] to explain to you the ignotum per ignotum.

And in truth, with reference to the divining rod, I have already given my letter extension and detail enough for the purpose I contemplated, and I will add no more. I had no intention of writing you a scientific analysis of all that I believe to be really ascertained upon this curious subject. My wish was only to satisfy you that there is something in it. I have told you where you may find the principal collection of facts elating to it, should you wish further to study them; most likely you will not. The subject is yet in its first infancy. And what interest attaches to a new-born babe, except in the eyes of its parents and its nurse? I do not in the present instance affect even the latter relation. I am contented with exercising the office of registrar of the births of this and of two or three other as yet puling truths, the feeble voices of which have hitherto attracted no attention, amidst the din and roar of the bustling world. Hoping that I have not quite exhausted your patience, I remain, Dear Archy, yours faithfully.

Mac Davus.





My Dear Eusebius,—I have lately spent a few weeks with our old friend Gratian, at his delightful retreat in Devonshire, which he has planted, fenced, and cultivated, and made as much a part of himself in its every fit and aspect as his own easy coat. You see him in every thing, in the house and out of it. Cheerful, happy, kind, and best of men! Not an animal in his stall, or his homestead, but partakes of his temper. His horses neigh to you, his cows walk up to you, his pigs run to you, rather disappointed, for you have not his stick to rub their backs with. Rise in the early morning, when the dew is sparkling on the lawn, and his spaniel greets you, runs round and round you with a bark of joyous welcome; and even his cat will, as no other cat will, show you round the gravel walks. And thrice happy are all when their expected master appears, somewhat limping in his gait, (and how few, under his continual pain, would preserve his cheerfulness as he does!) Every creature looks up into his face as better than sunshine, and he forgets none. He has a good word for all, and often more than that in his pockets. The alms beggar, the Robin, is remembered and housed. There is his little freehold of wood raised some feet from the ground opposite the breakfast room window—an entrance both ways—there is he free to come and go, and always find a meal laid for him. Happy bird, he pays neither window-tax nor servant’s tax, and yet who enjoys more daylight, or is better served?

Our good old friend still goes on improving this and improving that—has his little farm and his garden all in the highest perfection. Nor is the least care bestowed on the greenhouse, and the little aviary adjoining; for here are objects of feminine pleasure, and he loves not himself so well as he does the mistress of all, the mother and the partner. O the terrestrial paradise, in which to wait old age, and still enjoy, and breathe to the last the sunshiny breath of heaven, and feel that all is blessed and blessing; for there is peace, and that is the true name for goodness within! You shall have, my dear Eusebius, no farther description. A drop-scene, however, is not amiss to any little conversational drama. You may shift it, if you like, occasionally to the small snug library—just such a one as you would have for such a retreat. Our excellent friend took less part in our talk than we could have wished; for it began generally at night, and his[Pg 375] infirmity sent him to bed early. But in spite of a little remnant of influenza, I and the Curate often kept it up to a late hour, which you, Eusibius, will construe into an early one. Never mind; though, perhaps, it was whispered to his discredit that the Curate kept bad hours. Those, however, who knew the fact did not keep better, and so he thought all safe. How sweet and consoling is sometimes ignorance!

Now, the Curate—let me introduce you,—“My dear Eusebius, the Curate, a class man some year or two from Oxford—a true man, in a word, worthy of this introduction to you, Eusebius.” “Mr. Curate, my friend Eusebius; see, don’t trust to his gravity of years; it is quite deceptive, and the only deceit he has about him. He is Truth in sunshine and a fresh healthy breeze. So now you know each other.” I wish, Eusebius, this were not a passage out of an imaginary conversation. Wait but for the swallow, and you shall shake hands; and you, I know, will laugh merrily within ten minutes after; and a laugh from you is as good as a ticket upon your breast, “All is natural here;” and for the rest, let come what will, that is uppermost. There will be no restraint. I cannot forbear, Eusebius, writing to you now, early in this new year, paying you this compliment, that your real conversations resemble in much “Landor’s Imaginary,” which you tell me you so greatly admire. Full, indeed, are they, these last two volumes, his works, of beautiful thoughts set off with exquisitely appropriate eloquence. You are in a garden, and if you do not always recognise the fruit as legitimate, you are quite as well pleased to find it like Aladdin’s, and would willingly store all, as he did, in the bosom of your memory. Precious stones, bigger than plums and peaches, are good for sore eyes, and something more, though they have not the flavour of apricots.

We—that is, the Trio—had been reading one evening; or rather, our friend Gratian read to me and the Curate, the “Conversation with the Abbé Delille and W. L.” We loitered, too, in the reading, as we do when the country is of a pleasant aspect, to look about us and admire—and we interspersed our own little talk by the way. Our friend could not consent that Catullus should walk with, and even, as it should seem, take the lead of his favourite Horace. “Catullus and Horace,” says Landor, “will be read as long as Homer and Virgil, and more often, and by more readers.”

“If,” said the Curate, “Catullus were not nearly banished from our public schools and our universities.”

“As he deserves,” replied Gratian; “for although there is in him great elegance, yet is there much that should not be read; and his most beautiful and most powerful little poem, his ‘Atys,’ is in its very subject unfit for schoolboys.”

Curate.—Yes, if in the presence of a master; that makes the only difficulty. The poem itself is essentially chaste, and of a grand tragic action, and grave character—is in fact a serious poem, and as such any youth may read it to himself, scarcely to another. The very subject touches on that mystical, though natural sanctity that every uncorrupted man is conscious of in the temple of his own person. To impart a thought of it is a deterioration. But a master must not hear it; and even for a very inferior reason. He cannot be a critical instructor.

Gratian.—You are right: that was a deep observation of Juvenal; it gave the caution,

“Maxima debetur pueris reverentia.”

I have often thought that good masters have ever shown very great tact in reading the Classics, where there is so much, even in the purest, that it is best not to understand.

Aquilius. (I choose to give myself that name)—Or rather to pass lightly over, for you cannot help seeing it; put your foot across it, and not lengthways; as you would over a rut in a bad bit of road, which may nevertheless lead to a most delightful place at the end. I cannot but think the “Atys” to be a borrowed poem. It is quite Greek—unlike any thing Roman. What Roman ever expressed downright mad violent action? How much there is in it that reminds you of the story of Pentheus of Euripides. Both deny a deity, and both are[Pg 376] punished by their own hands. But the resemblance is less in the characters than in the vivid pictures and rapidity of action; and the landscape glows like one fresh from Titian’s pencil. Our friend Landor, here, I see, calls the author “graceful.” He says of Virgil that he is not so “graceful as Catullus.”

Curate.—Grace, as separate from beauty, I suppose, means something lighter. It admits a feeling not quite in earnest, not so serious but it may be sported with.

Gratian.—It is a play, however, at which only genius is expert. It is many years since I read Catullus,—I confess I thought him rather a careless fellow, and that his Lesbia was but a doll to dress out in the tawdry ribbons of his verse.

Aquilius.—Whatever his Lesbia was, his verses are chaste; and if I find a Lesbia that is not as his verse, I think it a duty of charity to conclude there were two of the name; and we know that one Lesbia was a feigned name for Clodia.

Gratian.—That is not very complimentary to the constancy of Catullus.

Curate.—I am afraid we are speaking of a virtue that was not Roman. I have been reading Catullus very recently, and was so much pleased with his gracefulness, that I thought it no bad practice to translate one or two of his small pieces: as I translated I became more and more aware of the clear elegance of his diction.

Aquilius.—I have always been an admirer of Catullus; and as I think a little employment will dissipate the remaining imaginary symptoms of influenza, when our friend and host is indulging his pigs by rubbing their backs with the end of his stick, and extending his walk to admire his mangel-worzel, or talking to his horses, his dogs, or his cat, and learning their opinions upon things in general, (for he is persuaded they have opinions, and says he knows many of them, and intends one day to catalogue them;) or while he is beyond his own gates, (and whoever catches a sight of his limp and supporting stick, is sure to hasten pace or to slacken it, loving his familiar talk,) looking out for an object of human sociality, I will steal into his library—take down his Catullus, and try my hand, good master Curate, against you. We will be, or at least believe ourselves to be,

“Et cantare pares et decantare parati.”

Gratian.—Ay, do; and as the shepherds were rewarded by their umpires of old, will I reward one or both with this stick. Shall I describe its worth and dignity after the manner of Homer, that it may be worthy of you, if you are “baculo digni;” but whatever Aquilius may say in its disparagement, it is not a bit the worse for its familiarity with my pig’s back. It is a good pig, and shall make bacon for the winner, which is the best lard he will get for his poetry. But I feel a warning hint, and must to bed—it is no longer with me the

“Cynthius aurem
Vellit et admonuit.”

The warning comes rather stronger upon bone and muscle. Heaven preserve you both from the pains of rheumatism in your old age. I suppose a troubled conscience, which they say never rests, is but the one turn more of the screw: so good night.

Our friend gone, we took down Catullus, and read with great pleasure many of his short pieces, agreeing with Landor as to the gracefulness of the poet, and resolved, if it be trifling, to trifle away some portion of our time in translating him, and with this resolve we parted for the night.

We did not, Eusebius, meet again for some days, the Curate being fully employed in his rounds of parochial visiting by day, and in preparation by night for his weekly duty. You must imagine you now see us after tea retired to the snug library. Gratian, some years the elder, resting, (if that word may be allowed to his pain,—if not to his pain, however, it shall be due to his patience) resting, I say, his whole person in his easy chair, and tapping pretty smartly with his stick the thigh from his hip to his leg, and then settling himself into the importance of a judge; but do not imagine you see us like two culprits about to be condemned for feloniously breaking into the house of one Catullus, and[Pg 377] stealing therefrom sundry articles of plate, which we had melted down in our own crucibles, and which were no longer, therefore, to be recognised as his, but by evidence against us. All translators show a bold front; for if they come short of the meed of originality, they shift off from them the modesty of responsibility, and unblushingly ascribe all faults to their author. We were therefore easy enough, and ready to make as free with our Rhadamanthus as with our Catullus. Not to be too long—thus commenced our talk.

Aquilius.—The first piece Catullus offers is his dedication—it is to an author to whom I owe a grudge, and perhaps we all of us do. He has caused us some tears, and more visible marks, and I confess something like an aversion to his concise style. It is to Cornelius Nepos. How much more like a modern dedication, than one of Dryden’s day, both as to length and matter.

ad cornelium nepotem.

This little-book—and somewhat light—
’Tis polished well, and smoothly bright,
To whom shall I now dedicate?
To you, Cornelius, wont to rate
My trifling wares at highest worth.
E’en then, when boldly you stepped forth,
First of Italians to compose,
In three short books of nervous prose,
All age’s annals—work of nice
Research, and studiously concise.
Such as it is receive—and look
With usual favour on my book;
And grant, O queen of wits and sages,
Motherless Virgin, these my pages
May pass from this to future ages.

Curate.—Queen of wits and sages,—“O Patrima Virgo”—is that translating?

Gratian.—That’s right—have at him!

Aquilius.—To be sure it is. What English reader would know else that Minerva was meant by “Motherless Virgin?” he would have to go back to the story of Jupiter beating her out of his own brains. So as he is not familiar with the creed, as one of it, I let him into the secret of it at once; and thus out comes the book from the “Minerva Press,” “λαβὲ τὸ βυβλὶον.”

Gratian.—(Reads, “O Patrima Virgo,” &c.) Well, well—let it pass. The dedication won’t pay along reckoning. We must not look too nicely into the mouth of the book—let it speak for itself. Now, Mr. Curate, what have you?

Curate.—I didn’t trouble myself with such a dedication, but passed on to “Ad Passerem Lesbiæ.”

Gratian.—More attractive metal.

Curate.—Not at all attractive; for there is considerable difficulty, and as I suppose a corrupted text, before we reach six lines. Here I let the bird loose.

Sparrow, minion of my dear,
Little animated toy,
Whom the fair delights to bear
In her bosom lapt in joy.

Whom she teases and displeases,
With her white forefinger’s end,
Thus inviting savage biting
From her tiny feather’d friend.

Image burning of my yearning,
[Pg 378]When at fondness she would play;
Thus she takes her aught that makes her
Pensive moments glide away.

’Tis a balm for her soft sorrow,
Tranquillising beauty’s breast;
Would I might her plaything borrow,
So to lull my cares to rest.

I would prize it, as the maiden
Prized the golden apple thrown,
Which displacing her in racing,
Loosed at last her virgin zone.

Aquilius.—Here lies the difficulty:

“Quum desiderio meo nitenti
Carum nescio quid lubet jocari,
(Ut solatiolum sui doloris
Credunt, quum gravis acquiescet ardor.”)

Another edition has it:

“Credo ut gravis acquiescat ardor.”

Gratian.—Leave it to Œdipus—make sense of it, and we must not be too nice.

Aquilius.—Well, then, it possibly means, that she passes off the pain of the bite with a little coquetry and action, as we move about a limb pretty briskly when it tingles.

Gratian.—O, the cunning—argumentum ad hominem.

Aquilius.—Thus I venture—

ad passerem lesbiæ.

Little sparrow, gentle sparrow,
Whom my Lesbia loveth so;
Her sweet playmate, whom she petteth,
And she letteth
To her bosom come and go.

Loving there to hold thee ever,
Her forefinger to thy bill,
Oft she pulleth and provoketh;
And she mocketh,
Till you bite her harder still.

Then new beauty glistening o’er her,
Pain’d and blushing doth she feign,
Some sweet play of love’s excesses,
And caresses
More to soothe or hide her pain.

Would thou wert my pretty birdie,
Plaything—playmate unto me,
Knowing when her loss doth grieve me,
To relieve me,
For she seeks relief from thee.

Birdie, thou shouldst be such treasure
As the golden apple thrown,
Was to Atalanta, spying
Which in flying,
Cost the loosening of her zone.

Curate.—That may be a possible translation of the difficulty, if the text be somewhat amended; but who ever heard of a hurt from the peck of a sparrow?

Gratian.—I’ll take you into our aviary to-morrow, and you shall try on your own rough-work finger the peck of a bullfinch; and I think you may grant that Lesbia’s finger was a[Pg 379] little softer. Who would trust the tenderness of a Curate’s forefinger, case-hardened as it is with his weekly steel-pen work, and deadened by the nature of it, against all Lesbias and their sparrows. Lesbia’s forefinger was the very pattern of a forefinger, soft to touch as to feel—that did no work. I dare to say Shakspeare was thinking of such a one, when he said,

“The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.”

There’s something playfully pretty, and lightly tender in this little piece; but I don’t see by what link of thought poor Atalanta is brought in, and thus stripped to the skin, as she was out-stripped in the race. Admitting the text emendable, may not there be supposed such a connexion as this,—that he wishes the bird would be his plaything, that he might lay it as an offering at her feet,—that she might take it, as did Atalanta the golden apple, and become herself the winner’s reward? Why should not I come in with an ad libitum movement? We, limping rheumaticists, have ever a spiteful desire to trip up the swift-footed. Now, then, for an old man’s limp against Atalanta’s speed.

Birdie, be my plaything, go—
At her flying feet be thrown;—
Like the golden apple, woo her,
Atalanta’s wise pursuer
Cast and won her for his own;—
Pretty birdie aid me so.

Galatea won her lover by the apple. “Malo me Galatea petit.”

Curate.—A well thrown apple that golden pippin, grown doubtless from a pip dropt on Mount Ida, and hence the name. We shall not run against you, I perceive.

Gratian.—Don’t talk of golden pippins, or I shall mount my hobby, and go through the genealogy of my whole orchard, and good-bye to Catullus.

Curate.—If you give way to your imagination, you may invent a thousand meanings to the passage; but taking it as I find it, I would attach only this meaning to it,—that Catullus would say, “Lesbia’s favourite sparrow” would be as attractive to me as was the golden apple which was thrown in her way when she was racing, to Atalanta. She was to be married to the first youth who could outrun her, so that literally she was very much run after.

Gratian.—Run after, indeed! Her pursuer, Hippomanes, hadn’t my rheumatism (tapping his knee and leg with his stick) or she would have had the apple, and not him. You young men of modern days do not throw your golden apples, but look to pick up what you can. These old tales, or old fables, cast a shade of shame upon our unromantic days. There was a king’s daughter offered like a “handy-cap,” as if the worthy of mankind were a racing stud.

Aquilius.—But the lady was not so easily won after all; for there were three golden apples to be picked up: and a bold man was he that threw them, for if he lost, there was neither love nor mercy for him. The condition was worse than Sinbad’s. It is a strange story this of Atalanta and her lover, turned into lions by Cybele. The passage in Catullus being corrupt, there is probably an omission, for, as it is, the transition is very abrupt.

Gratian.—I see the golden apples running about in all directions, and am half asleep, and should be quite so but for this rheumatic hint that it is time to retire: so good-night.

Now you will conclude, Eusebius, that I and the Curate made a night and morning of it. On the present occasion, at least, it was not the case; we very soon parted.

The following morning, which for the season was freshly sunny, found us on a seat under a verandah near the breakfast room, and close to the aviary, from which we had a moment before come; and the Curate was then wringing his finger after the bites and pecks the bullfinch had given him, which Gratian told him, jocularly, was having a comment on the text at his finger’s end, and immediately asked for Catullus. The book was opened[Pg 380]—and the Curate put his finger upon the “Death of Lesbia’s Sparrow,”—which he read as he had thus rendered it:—

de passere mortuo lesbiæ.

Ye Graces, and ye Cupids, mourn,
And all that’s graceful, woman born,
My sweet one’s sparrow dead!
Smitten by death’s fatal arrow
Lies my darling’s darling sparrow!
As the eyes in her sweet head
She did love him, and he knew her
As my fair one knows her mother;
He was sweet as honey to her,
In her lap for ever sitting,
Hither thither round her flitting,
To his mistress and no other
He address’d his twittering tale.
Now adown death’s darksome vale
He is gone to seek a bourn
Whence they tell us none return.
Plague upon you, dark and narrow
Shades of Orcus, without pity
Swallowing every thing that’s pretty—
As ye took the pretty sparrow.
Wo’s the day that you lie dead!
Little wretch, ’tis all your doing
That my fair one’s eyes are red,
Swoln and red with tearful rueing.

Aquilius.—It would be childish to blame the poor bird for the crime of dying, as if he had died out of spite; when, if the truth could be told, perhaps the cat killed him. (At this moment, Gratian’s favourite cat rubbed herself against his legs, first her face and head, and then her back, and looked up to him, as if begging him to plead for her race; and he did so, and spoke kindly to her, and said, pussey would not kill any bird though he should trust her in the aviary; and she, as if she knew what he said, walked off to it, and rubbed her face against the wires, and returned to us again.) Well, I continued, I don’t see why the bird should be called wretch fer that; and factum male means to express misfortune, not fault. So let the malefactum be the Curate’s, and treat him accordingly.

Gratian.—Come, let us see your bird. Perhaps it may be necessary to kill two with one stone. But I forget—the bird is dead already.


de passere mortuo lesbiæ.

Ye Cupids, every Queen of Love,
Whate’er hath heart or beauty, shed
Your floods of tears, now hang the head—
My darling’s sparrow, pet, and dove,
Is dead: that bird she prized above
Her own sweet eyes, is dead, is dead.

That little bird, that honey bird,
As fair child knows her mother, knew
His own own mistress; and he, too,
From her sweet bosom never stirred,
As prompt at every look and word,
He to that nest of softness flew.
[Pg 381]
But archly pert and debonnair,
Still further in he fondly nestled,
For her alone piped, chirped, and whistled.
But he has reached that dismal where,
Whose dreary path none ever dare
Retrace, with whom death once hath wrestled.

O Orcus’ unrequiting shade,
Devouring all the good, the dear,
Couldst thou not spare one birdling here?
Alas, poor thing! for thou hast made
Her eyes, how loved, with grief o’erweighed,
Grow red, and gush with many a tear.

Curate.—Is that translating? Look at the first line of the original—

Lugete, o Veneres, Cupidinesque.

You have acted the undertaker to the sorrow, dressed it out, and protracted it, and set it afloat upon a river of wo, with Queens of Love as chief-mourners, hanging out their weepers.

Aquilius.—Yes, for the Zephyrs to blow. They are light, airy, graceful. They did not come from the first room of the mourning institution, where the soft-slippered man in black gently, and bowing low as he shows his grief-items, whispers, “Much in vogue for deep affliction.” The Queens of Love pass on to “the mitigated wo department,” and I hope you will confess they have put on their sorrow with grace and taste.

Gratian.—That’s good—“the mitigated wo department.” But there’s a department in these establishments farther on still. There is a little glass door, generally left half open, where there is a most delicate show of “orange blossoms.” But my good worthy Curate, I don’t blame our friend for this little enlargement, because, if it is not in the words of the original, it is every bit of it in the tune and melody of the verses. See how it swells out in full flow in “venustiorum,”—stays but a moment, and is off again without stop to “puellæ,”—and that again is repeated ere grief can be said to take any rest. I shall acquit the translator as I would the landscape painter, who, seeing how flowing a line of easy and graceful beauty pervades all nature, and is indeed her great characteristic, rather aims to realise that, than laboriously to dot in every leaf and flower. Characteristic expression is every thing. I am not quite satisfied that either of you have hit the

Flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.

Curate.—If we have not, you remember that Juvenal has, and hit those eyes rather hard, considering whose they are. He, however, only meant the hit for Catullus:

nec tibi, cujus
Turbavit nitidos extinctus passer ocellos.

Gratian.—Turbavit is “mitigated wo” again:

Unlike the Lesbias of our modern years,
Who for a sparrow’s death dissolve in tears.

Aquilius.—Satire is like a flail, an ugly weapon in a crowd, and hits more than it aims at. I won’t allow the blow to be a true hit on Catullus. But let us pass on; there is a vessel waiting for us, though we should be loth to trust to her sheathing, no longer sea-worthy. Our poet now addresses his yacht. Are there many of the “Club” who would write better verses on theirs?

de phaselo, quo in patriam revectus est.

This bark that now, my friends, you see,
Asserts she once was far more swift
Than other craft, whate’er the tree
Might ply the oar or sailyard shift,
She passed them all on every sea.

She asked the Cyclad Isles to say—
Can they deny—rough Adria’s shore,
[Pg 382]Proud Rhodes, and every land that lay
Where savage Thracia’s tempests roar—
She asked her native Pontic bay—

Where first her leafy crown was stirred
By winds that swept Cytorian rocks.
(Through rustling leaves her voice was heard.)
And you, Cytorus, crowned with box,
And you, Amastris, hear the word.

For all, she says, was known to you,
And still is known. For on your top
She first took root and proudly grew,
Till severed trunk and branches drop,
And keel and oars thy waves embue.

How oft she bore, when winds were light,
Her master over sea and strait,
Stemmed currents strong, and tacked to right
Or left, and bravely held the weight
Of breeze that strained her canvass tight.

Nor was there need for her to make
Or costly vows, or incense burn;
Or sea-shore gods her guides to take
On her last voyage, last return,
From sea-ward to this limpid lake.

Now all is o’er—grown old, in rest
She waits decay—with homage due,
And grateful thought, and prayer addressed,
She dedicates herself to you,
Twin stars, twin gods, twin brothers blest.

Gratian.—Ah! well done, poor old timber-toe—laid up at last—no “mutile lignum,” that’s clear enough. I hope she had a soft berth, and lay evenly in it. It is quite uncomfortable to see a poor thing, though it be little more than decayed ribs, with hard rock piercing them here and there, and the creature labouring still to keep the life in and weather out of her unsupported sides and bottom, and looking piteously to be moved off those jutting points that pin her down in pain, as boys serve a cock-chafer. He is a hard man that does not animate inanimate things. He is out of nature’s kin. All sailors love their ships, and they are glorious. Catullus is more to my humour here than in his love-lines on Lesbia. She could get another lover, and if truth be told, and that by Catullus himself, did; but his poor boat! If captured and taken to the slave-market, she would not find a bidder. Well, well, it is pleasanter to see her laid up high and dry, with now and then her master’s and owner’s affectionate eye upon her, than to look at the broom at her mast head. Catullus knew the wood she came from, and how it grew—it had vitality, and he never can believe it quite gone.

Aquilius.—There is a poem by Turner on this subject.

Gratian.—By Turner?—what Turner?—You don’t mean, “The Fallacies of Hope” Turner?

Aquilius.—The same—but I should be sorry indeed, to see a vessel built after the measure of his verses. She would require too nice an adjustment of ballast. I doubt if she would bear a rough sea. The poem I speak of was written with his palette’s pen. It was the towing in the old Temeraire to be broken up. There she was, on the waters, as her own element, a Leviathan still, a history of “battle and of breeze”—behind her the night coming in, sun setting, and in glory too. Her days are over, and she is towed in to her last anchorage. The feeling of the picture was touching, and there was[Pg 383] a dignity and greatness in it of mighty charm.

Gratian.—I remember it well, and it is well remembered now: but here is the Curate with his paper in his hand: let us hear what he has to say.

Curate.—I have the worse chance with you, for you have poeticised the subject so much more largely than Catullus himself, that you will listen with less pleasure to my translation; but you shall have it.

dedicatio phaseli.

Strangers, the bark you see, doth say
Of ships the fleetest far was she.

Aquilius.—Stay for a moment: “the fleetest,” then she was one of a fleet, and sailed perhaps under convoy, and ought not to have outsailed the fleet—say quickest.

Gratian.—No interruption, or by this baculus! Go on, Mr. Curate.

Curate.—If you please, I’ll heave anchor again.

Strangers, this bark you see doth say,
Of ships the fleetest far was she:
And that she passed and flew away
From every hull that ploughed the sea,
That fought against, or used the gale
With hand-like oar or wing-like sail.

She cites, as witness to her word,
The frowning Adriatic strand;
The Cyclades which rocks engird,
And noted Rhodus’ distant land;
Propontis and unkindly Thrace,
And Savage Pontus’ billowy race.

That which is now a shallop here,
Was once a tract of tressed wood,
Its foliage was Cytorus’ gear,
Upon the topmost ridge it stood,
And when the morning breeze awoke
Its whistling leaves the silence broke.

Pontic Amastris, says the bark,
Box-overgrown Cytorus, you
Know me by each familiar mark,
And testify the tale is true.
She says you saw her earliest birth
Upon your nursing mountain-earth,

She dipped her blades, a maiden launch,
First in your waves, and bent her course
Thence, ever to her master staunch,
Through seas that plied their utmost force.
If right or left the breeze did strike,
Or gentle Jove did strain alike,

Each sheet before the wind. She came
From that remotest ocean-spot
To this clear inlet, still the same,
And yet audaciously forgot
The bribes which, under doubtful skies,
Are vowed to sea-side deities.

Her deeds are done, her tale is told,
For those were feats of bygone strength;
[Pg 384]In secret peace she now grows old,
And dedicates herself at length,
Twin-brother Castor, at thy shrine,
And Castor’s brother twin, at thine.

Gratian.—Hand me the book. I thought so—that “audaciously forgot” is your audacious interpolation. She does not forget her vows, for she never made any. You bring her back, good Master Curate, not a little in the sulks, like a runaway wife, that had forgotten her vows, and remembered all her audacity. We see her reluctantly taken in tow—looking like a profligate, weary, and voyage worn, buffeted and beaten by more storms than she likes to tell of. You must alter audaciously.

Aquilius.—And I object to bribes; it is a satire upon the underwriters.

Curate.—The underwriters?

Aquilius.—Yes, the “Littoralibus Diis;” what were they but an insurance company, with their chief temple, some Roman “Lloyd’s,” and offices in every sea-port?

Curate.—Or perhaps the “Littoralibus Diis,” referred to a “coast-guard.”

Gratian.—Worse and worse, for that would imply that they took bribes, and that she was an old smuggler. Keep to the original, and if you will modernize Catullus, you must merely say, she was so safe a boat that the owner did not think it worth while to insure.

Curate.—The learned themselves dispute as to the identity of the “Dii Littorales.” In the notes, I find they are said to be Glaucus, Nereus, Melicerta, Neptune, Thetis, and others; but in the notes to Statius, you will find Gevartius bids the aforesaid learned tell that to the marines. He knows better. I remember his words,—“Sed male illi marinos et littorales deos confundunt. Littorales enim potissimum Dii Cælestes erant, Pallas, Apollo, Hercules, &c., unde illi potius apud Catullum sunt intelligendi.”

Gratian.—She might have been doubly insured; for besides Glaucus, Neptune, Thetis, and Co., there was the company registered by Gevartius.

Curate.—I have looked again at the passage, and think I have not quite given the meaning of “novissimo.” I doubt if it does mean remote—it more likely means the last voyage—so let me substitute this:—

She came,
’Twas her last voyage, from far sea,
To this clear inlet-home, the same
Good bark and true, and proudly free
From vows which under doubtful skies,
Are made to sea-side Deities.

Gratian.—Probatum est.—We have, however, run the vessel down. Let me see what comes next. Oh, “To Lesbia.” This is the old well-known deliciously elegant little piece that I remember we were wont to try our luck with in our youth; and many a translation of it may yet be found among half-forgotten trifles. We are, some of us, it is true, a little out of this cherry-season of kissing—there is a time for all things, and so there was a time for that. It is pleasant still to trifle with the subject: even the wise Socrates played with it in one of his dialogues, and so may we, innocently enough. Though there be some greybeards, (no, I am wrong, they are not greybeards, but grave-airs, and they, more shame to them, with scarcely a beard at all,) that would open the book here, and shut it again in haste, and look as if they had just come out of the cave of Trophonius. That is not a healthy and honest purity.

Aquilius.—But these do not object to a little professional kissing.

Gratian.—More shame to them—that is the worst of all, but pass on; here is nothing but a little harmless play. Yet I don’t see why the young poet, (you know he died at thirty,) should mock his elders in “rumoresque senum severiorum,” these “sayings of severe old men.” Why should old men be severe? O’ my conscience, I believe they are far less severe than the young. Had I been present when the poet indited this to his Lesbia, I might just have ventured to hint to him thus:—“My dear friend, you have had enough, perhaps too much of kissing; my advice is, that you keep it to yourself, and tell it to no one; and don’t[Pg 385] despise the words of us old men, and mine are words of advice, that if not married already, after all this kissing, you take her, your Lesbia, to wife, as soon as you conveniently can.”

This was pronounced with an amusingly affected gravity. I and the Curate assumed the submissive. We were, as I told you, Eusebius, sitting under the verandah, and very near the breakfast room; the window of which (down to the ground) was open. While our good old friend and host was thus Socratically lecturing, I saw a ribbon catch the air, and float out towards us a little from the window—then appeared half a bonnet, inclined on one side, and downwards, as of one endeavouring to catch sounds more clearly. Seeing that it continued in this position, as soon as my friend had uttered the last words, I walked hastily towards the room, and saw the no very prepossessing countenance of a lady, whose privilege it is to be called young. She blushed, or rather reddened, and boldly came forward, and addressed our friend,—that she had come to see some of the family on a little business for the “visiting and other societies,” and seeing us so enjoying ourselves out of doors, she could not but come forward to pay her respects, adding, with a look at the Curate, whom she evidently thought to be under reproof, that she hoped she had not arrived mal-apropos. Our friend introduced her thus,—Ah, my dear Miss Lydia Prate-apace, is that you?—glad to see you. But (retaining his assumed gravity,) you are not safe here: there has been too much kissing, and too much talk about it, for one of your known rectitude to hear. Dear me, said she, you don’t say so: then I shall bid good-day; and with an inquisitive look at me, and an awful one at the Curate, she very nimbly tripped off. You will be sure to hear of that again, said I to the Curate. He laughed incredulous, in his innocency. Not unlikely, upon my word, said Gratian; for I see them there trotting down the church-path, Lydia Prate-apace, and her friend Clarissa Gadabout; so look to yourself, Mr. Curate. But we have had enough for the present. I must just take a look at my mangel, and my orchard, which you must know is my piggery. Good-bye for the present. In the evening we meet again in the library, and let Catullus be of our company. It was time to change our quarters; for the little spaniel, knowing the hour his master would visit his stock, and intending as usual to accompany him, just then ran in to us, and jumping about and barking, gave us no rest for further discussion.

You must now, my dear Eusebius, behold us in the library as before—G. reads,—

“Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
Rumoresque senum severiorum.”

Ah, that’s where we were; I remember we did not like the senum severiorum.


G.—Yes, we; for the veriest youth that shoots an arrow at old age, is but shooting at himself some ten or a dozen paces off. I remember, when a boy, being pleased with a translation of this by Langhorne; but I only remember two stanzas, and cannot but think he left out the “soles occidere et redire possunt;” if so, he did wrong; and I opine that he vulgarised and removed all grace from it by the word “pleasure.” Life and love, Catullus means to say, are commensurate; but “pleasure” is a wilful and wanton intrusion. If I remember, his lines are,—

“Lesbia, live to love and pleasure,
Careless what the grave may say;
When each moment is a treasure,
Why should lovers lose a day?

Give me then a thousand kisses—
Twice ten thousand more bestow;
Till the sum of endless blisses,
Neither we nor envy know.”

Catullus himself might as well have omitted the “malus invidere.” Why should he trouble his head about the matter—envied or not? but now, Mr. Curate, let us hear your version.

Curate.—Ad Lesbiam.

Love we, live we, Lesbia, proving
Love in living, life in loving,
For all the saws of sages caring
Not one single penny’s paring.
[Pg 386]Suns can rise again from setting,
But our short light,
Once sunk in night,
Sleeps a slumber all forgetting:
Give me then a thousand kisses,
Still a hundred little blisses—
Yet a thousand—yet five score,
Yet a thousand, hundred more.
Then, when we have made too many
Thousands, we’ll confound them all,
So as not to know of any
Number, either great or small;
Or lest some caitiff grudge our blisses
When he knows the tale of kisses——

Gratian.—Tale is an ambiguous word, “Kiss and tell” is not fair play—Tale, talley, number. I hope it will be so understood at first reading.—It reminds me of the critical controversy respecting a passage in “L’Allegro,”—

“And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.”

The unsusceptible critic maintained that the shepherd did but count, or take the tale of his sheep. Why not avoid the ambiguity thus—a hasty emendation.

“Knowing our amount of kisses.”

Aquilius.—In the other sense, it will go sadly against him, if Miss Prate-apace should be a listener—she would like to have all the telling to herself.

Gratian.—Doubtless, and matter to tell of too—but, as I suppose that paper in your hand is your translation of this common-property bit of Latin, read it.

Aquilius.—Here it is.

ad lesbiam.

We’ll live and love while yet ’tis ours,
To live and love, my Lesbia, dearest,
And when old greybeard saws thou hearest,
(Since joy is but the present hour’s,)
We’ll laugh them down as none the clearest.

For suns will set again to rise,
But our brief day once closed—we slumber
Long nights, long days—too long to number;—
Perpetual sleep shall close our eyes,
And one dark night shall both encumber.

A thousand kisses then bestow;
Ten thousand more,—ten thousand blisses,—
And when we’ve counted million kisses—
Begin again,—for, Lesbia, know,
We way have made mistakes and misses.

Then let our lips the full amount
Commingle so, in one delusion,
Blending beginning with conclusion,
Nor we, nor envy’s self can count
How many in the sweet confusion.

Curate.—I protest against this as a translation. There is addition. Catullus says nothing of “mistakes and misses.”

Aquilius.—I maintain it is implied in “conturbabimus illa:” it shows they had given up all idea of counting correctly.

[Pg 387]Gratian.—I think it may pass; but you have a word twice,—“day closed,” and “close our eyes.” Why not have it thus:—

“But our brief day once o’er,” or once pass’d,—yet it is not so good, as “closed.” I see in the note on “conturbabimus,” great stress is laid on the mischievous spell that envy was supposed to convey, like the “evil eye.” This does not make much for Catullus—for a good kiss in real earnest, not your kiss poetical, might bid defiance to every charm but its own.

Curate.—There is something of the same superstition in the piece but one following, “malâ fascinare lingua” alludes evidently to the εὐφημία of the Greeks,—the superstition of the evil eye and evil tongue. The very word invidere seems to have been adopted in its wider sense, from the particular superstition of the evil eye. The Neapolitans of the present day inherit, in full possession, both superstitions.

Gratian.—Nor are either quite out of England; and I can hardly think that a legacy left us by the Romans. There is something akin to the feeling in the dislike old country gossips show to having their likenesses taken. I have known a sketcher pelted for putting in a passing figure. And I have seen a servant girl, in the house of a friend, who, having never, until she came into his service, seen a portrait, could not be prevailed upon, for a long while, to go alone into a room where there were some family portraits. What comes next after all these kisses?

Aquilius.—More kisses.

Gratian.—Then you force a bad pun from me, and put my aching bones into an omni-bus, and it is as much as I can do to bear the shaking. Give your account of them, Aquilius.

Aquilius.—ad lesbiam.

How many kisses will suffice,
You ask me, Lesbia,—ask a lover!
Go bid him count the sands;—discover,
Even to a very grain precise,
How many lie in heaps, or hover,
When gusty winds the sand hills stir
About the benzoin-bearing plain,
Between Jove’s Cyrenean fane,
And Battus’ sacred sepulchre.

How many stars, in stillest night,
On loving thefts look down approving,—
So many kisses should requite
Catullus, ah too madly loving.—
Ye curious eyes, be closed in slumber,
That would be spies upon our wooing,
That there be none to note the number,
Nor tongue to babble of our doing.

Gratian.—Read that last again—for “my eyes,” I confess, were not as “curious” as they should have been, and were just closing as you came to the wooing.


That there be none to note the number,
Nor tongue to babble of our doing.

Gratian.—Well, rubbing his eyes, I am quite awake now; let us have your version, Master Curate.

Curate.—ad lesbiam.

Dost bid me, my Lesbia,
A number define,
To fill me, and glut me
With kisses of thine?

When equal thy kisses
The atoms of sand,
[Pg 388]By spicy Cyrene
On Lybia’s strand,

The sand grains extending
From Ammon’s hot shrine,
To the tomb of old Battus,
That land-mark divine.

Or count me the star-lights
That see from above,
In still night, the thievings
Of mortals in love.

Thus canst thou, my Lesbia,
A number assign,
To glut thy mad lover
With kisses of thine.

A number the prying
To reckon may spare;
And gossips, unlucky,
Give up in despair.

Gratian.—(After a pause, his eyes half closed,)

“Give up in despair.”

Very mu—si—cal—sooth—ing.

Aquilius.—See, you have set our host asleep; and, judging from his last words, his dream will not be unpleasant. We must not come to a sudden silence, or it will waken him. The murmur of the brook that invites sleep, is pledged to its continuance. The winds and the pattering rain, says the Roman elegiast, assist the sleeper.

Aut gelidas hibernus aquas eum fuderit auster
Securum somnos imbre juvante sequi.

We must not, however, proceed with our translations. Take up Landor’s Pentameron, and begin where you left off, when we first entered upon this discussion of Catullus. He seemed to give the preference to Catullus over Horace. Here is the page,—read on.

The Curate at once took the volume and read aloud.—The following passage arrested our attention:—

“In return for my suggestion, pray tell me what is the meaning of

Obliquo laborat
Lympha fugax trepidare rivo.

Petrarcha.—The moment I learn it you shall have it. Laborat trepidare! lympha rivo! fugax, too! Fugacity is not the action for hard work or labour.

Boccaccio.—Since you cannot help me out, I must give up the conjecture, it seems, while it has cost me only half a century. Perhaps it may be curiosa felicitas.”

Aquilius—Stay there:—that criticism is new to me. I never even fancied there was a difficulty in the passage. Let us consider it a moment.

Curate.—Does he then think Horace not very choice in his words? for he seems to be severe upon the “curiosa felicitas.” Surely the diction of the Latin poets is all in all—For their ideas seem hard stereotyped,—uninterchangeable, the very reverse of the Greek, in whom you always find some unexpected turn, some new thought, thrown out beautifully in the rapidity of their conception—excepting in Sophocles—who, attending more to his diction, deals perhaps a little too much in common-place.

The object of the Latin poets should seem to have been to introduce gracefully, into their own language, what the Greeks had left them; and the nature of this labour quenched the fire of originality, if they had any.—It is hard, however, to deny them the fruits of this labour; and who was more happy in it than Horace?

Aquilius.—Surely, and the familiar love that all bear to Horace, confirms your opinion—the general opinion. Now, I cannot but think Horace happy in his choice of words, in this very passage of

obliquo laborat,
Lympha fugax trepidare rivo.

[Pg 389]Let me suggest a meaning, which to me is obvious enough, and I am surprised it should have escaped so acute and so profound a critic. Horace supposes his friend enjoying the landscape in remoto gramine, and there describes it accurately; and it is a favourite scene with him, which he often paints in words, with the introduction of the same imagery. Suppose, then, the scene to be in remoto gramine at Tiber, our modern Tivoli; where, as I presume, the water was always, as now, though not in exactly the same way, turned off from the Anio into cut channels; and such I take to be the meaning generally of rivers, a channel, not a river. And the Lympha here is appropriate; not the body of the stream, but a portion of its water. In this case, “obliquo” may express a new direction, and some obstacle in the turn the river takes, where the water would for a moment seem to labour, “laborare fugax,” expressing its desire to escape. May not, therefore, the first evident meaning be allowed to “trepidare,” to tremble, or undulate, showing the motion a rivulet assumes, just after it has turned the angle of its obstruction. “Obliquo,” may, too, mean the slope, such as would be in a garden at Tivoli, on the verge of the precipice. Possibly Horace generally uses “rivus” in this sense, “Puræ rivus aquæ.”—Then, again, describing the character of Tibur or Tivoli, he does not say the Anio; but “aquæ,” as in the other instance “Lympha.”

“Sed quæ Tibur aquæ fertile præfluunt,”

—“fertile,” being the effect of the irrigation, the purpose for which the aquæ are turned from the river; and this agrees well with the word præfluunt, as applied to irrigated gardens. Pliny thus uses the adjective præfluus: “Hortos esse habendos irriguos præfluo amne.” But there is one passage in Horace where this meaning is so distinctly given to rivers, and which is so characteristic of the very scene of Tibur, that to me it is conclusive.

“et uda
Mobilibus pomarea rivis.”

Evidently channels, moveable and diverse at pleasure, for irrigation.

Nor would Horace use Lympha for a river, or be amenable to a charge of such tautology as this:—

“Labuntur altis interim ripis aquæ,
Quæruntur in sylvis aves,
Fontesque Lymphis obstrepunt manantibus,
Somnos quod inortet leves.”

Curate.—I fancy I now see the garden, where somewhat artificial planting had put together the “Pinus ingens albaque Populus,” to consociate, and form the shady arbour, where the wine and unguents are to be brought, and through which the rivus passes angularly, and doubtless with a view to the garden-beauty. It is a sketch from nature of some particular and favourite spot.

Quo Pinus ingens albaque Populus
Umbram hospitalem consociare amant
Ramis, et obliquo laborat
Lympha fugax trepidare rivo.

Aquilius.—Truly, in many places Horace delights to paint this one individual spot. We have in all, the wood, the waters from their higher banks, making falls such as to induce sleep, the garden with its shade, and its fountain, near the house, this continual “aquæ fons.” Such as was his “Fons Bandusiæ,” not fons a mere spring, but sanctified by architectural art, as well as feeling.

“Fies nobilium tu quoque fontium,
Me dicente cavis impositam illicem
Saxis, unde loquaces
Lymphæ desiliunt tuæ.”

But listen to what he desired to possess, and did possess.

“Hoc erat in votis, modus agri non ita magnus,
Hortus ubi, et tecto vicinus jugis aquæ fons,
Et paulum sylvæ super his foret.”

Is he describing his Sabine villa?—I have a sketch on its site—and there is now, whatever there may have been in his days, a high bank, over which the water still falls, (I believe from the Digentia) which by conduits supplied the house, and cattle returned from their labour, and the flocks. There is a small cascade filling a marble basin (the fountain) and thence flowing off through the garden. Perhaps he had in these descriptions one or two scenes in his mind’s eye much alike. A poet’s geography shifts its[Pg 390] scenery ad libitum. But see what his Sabine farm was.

Curate.—I remember it.

“Scribetur tibi forma loquaciter, et situs agri.”

But does he not in that passage make rivus a river?—

“Fons etiam rivo dare nomen idoneus, ut nec
Frigidior Thracam, nec purior ambiat Hebrus.”

Aquilius.—The river was the Digentia, the cold Digentia.

“Me quoties reficit gelidus Digentia rivus.”

It may be here a river, but not certainly. Do you suppose he went down in sight of the whole neighbourhood to bathe in the little river? for little river it is, and cold enough, too; for I have bathed in it, and can testify of its coldness. Would you take him, 1 say, down from his house to the river itself, when he had it conveyed to his own home by a rivus, or channel, and by a fons such as has been described, from which, without doubt, he was supplied with water enough for his hot and his cold baths? The gelidus Digentia rivus, I well know, and, as I said, bathed in it. A countryman seeing me, cried out, “Fa morir!” The Italians now (at least inland) never bathe; they have a perfect hydrophobia. Few even wash themselves. I asked a boy, whom we took about with us to carry our sketching materials, when he had last washed his face. He confessed he had never washed it, and that nobody did.

Curate.—We know Horace delighted in Tibur,—his “Tibur argeo, positum colono.” In the passage criticised in the Pentameron, I shall always see Tivoli, with its wood, its rocks, and cascatelle. He had the scene before him when he wrote,—

“ego laudo ruris amæni
Rivos; et museo circumlita saxa, nemusque.”

Tibur still; its rocks, woods, and rivus again; and perhaps the “nemus” was “Tiburni lucus.”

Aquilius.—Perhaps a line in this epistle from the lover of country to the lover of town, may throw some light on “obliquo” and “trepidare,” if indeed he has the scene in his eye.

“Purior in vicis aqua tendit rumpere plumbum,
Quam que per pronum trepidat cum murmure rivum.”

Great indeed is the difference, whether the water passes through a leaden pipe, or by the rivers, a mere direction by a channel open to the sky, and whose bed is the rock.

But there is a passage which still more clearly, I think, marks the distinction between the rivus and the river. The poet invites Mæcenas to the country, and tells him,—

“Jam pastor umbras cum grege languido
Rivumque fessus querit, et horridi
Dumeta Silvani, caretque
Ripa vagis taciturna ventis.”

Now, if the shepherd had driven his flock to the river, all bleating and languid with heat, the bank of the river would scarcely have been taciturn; doubtless the shepherd sought the “fontem,” into which the water was conveyed, and under shade, a place not exposed to the sun, or the wind, as was the ripa, the river’s bank. And besides, in this passage, the rivos and the ripa are certainly spoken of as two separate places.

Here our friend and host began to mutter a little. He was evidently going over his model-farm, while we were at the Sabine. He now talked quicker—“John,” (so he always called his hind, his factotum,) “plant ’em a little farther apart, d’ye see, and trench up well.” “That’s the way.” “Now, John, d’ye know how—to clap an old head on young shoulders—why dig a trench the width of the spade, from the stem of an apple-tree, and fill up with good vegetable mould. First pollard your tree, John.” “That’s it, John.” This and more was said, with a few sleepy interruptions; he soon awoke, and said with an amusing indifference,—“Well, any more news of Catullus?”

Aquilius.—We left Catullus asleep some time ago, and thinking it probable that you and he might wake at the same time, we determined to wait for you both, and, in the meanwhile, we have been discussing a passage in Horace, of which, (for we will not now[Pg 391] renew the discussion,) I will one day hear your opinion. A very favourite author, however, of yours, doubts the felicity of Horace in the choice of words.

Curate.—And in the structure of his sentences, and says, “How simple in comparison are Catullus and Lucretius.”

Gratian.—Indeed! now I think that is but finding one fault, for the choice of words and construction of sentences go pretty much together. An ill-constructed sentence can hardly have a good choice of words, for it is most probably unmusical, and that fault would make the choice a jumble. If the words were nonsense in Milton, the music of them would make you believe he could have used no other. They are breathed out so naturally; take the first line of Paradise Lost—it is in this manner perfect. Good words are, to good thoughts, what the stars are to the night, sunshine to the brook, flowers to the field, and foliage to the woods; clothing what is otherwise bare, giving glory to the dark, and to the great and spacious; investing the rugged with grace, and adding the vigour and motion of life to the inanimate, the motionless, and the solid. I must defend my friend Horace against all comers.

“—rura, quæ Liris quietâ
Mordet aquâ, taciturnus amnis.”

Is there a bad choice of words there? How insidiously the silent river indents the banks with its quiet water, and how true to nature! It is not your turbulent river that eats into the land, (it may overflow it,) but that ever heavy weight of the taciturn rivers, running not in a rocky bed, but through a deep soft soil.

Curate.—You are lucky in your quotation, for we were discussing some such matter. Horace is particularly happy in his river scenes. Did not he know the value of his own words—he thus speaks of them:

“Verba loquor socianda chordis.”

Aquilius.—Yes, but he speaks of them as immortal. “Ne credas interitura.” But if the “socianda chordis,” means they are to be set to music, I deny that music is

“Married to immortal verse,”

or there has long ago been a divorce. I am told, the more manifest the nonsense, the better the song.

Gratian.—Then I leave you to sing it, and reserve your sense and sense-verses for to-morrow. But it cannot be till the evening, for I must attend an agricultural meeting in the morning, some distance off. Would you believe it, I have to defend my own statement. A stupid fellow said publicly, that he would not believe that the produce of my Belgian carrots, which you saw, was 360 lbs. per land-yard, which is at the rate of 25 tons, 14 cwt. 1 qr. 4 lbs. per acre. There are people who will doubt every thing. You see they doubt what I say of my carrots, and what Horace says of his own words.—So, good-night.

This “good night,” Eusebius, was not the abrupt leave-taking which it may here appear. For our friend’s habit was to close the day not unthankful. We regularly retired to the dining-room, where the servants and family were assembled, and prayers were read. So that this “good-night” of our excellent host were but his last worldly and social words. And if devotion, and most kind feelings towards all creatures—man and beast—can ensure pleasant and healthful sleep, his pillow is a charm against comfortless dreams and rheumatic pains.

There we leave him—and if, Eusebius, you are amused with this our chat, you may look again for Noctes Catullianæ.

Postscript.—This should have gone to you, my dear Eusebius, two days ago, but by some accident it was left out of the post-bag. By the neglect, however, I am enabled to tell you that our friend the Curate is in trouble: the very trouble, too, which I foresaw. He came to us this morning with a very long face, and told us that yesterday, on going as usual to his parochial Sunday school, he was surprised that nearly all the bigger girls were absent; that the mistress of the school did not receive him with her usual respect; that the three maiden ladies, Lydia Prateapace, Clarissa Gadabout, and Barbara Brazenstare, were at the farther end of the room, affectedly busy with[Pg 392] the children; that seeing him, they slightly acknowledged his presence, as Goldsmith well expresses it, by a “mutilated curtsey.” He approached them, and expressed his surprise at the absence of the elder children. Prateapace looked first down, then away from him, and said it was no business of hers to question their parents. Miss Gadabout added, that every body knew the reason. And Brazenstare looked him boldly in the face, and said, she supposed nobody knew so well as himself. Prateapace put in her word, that now he was come, there was no need of their presence, as there were not too many to teach. Upon which Gadabout cried, “Then let us be off: it is quite time we should.” And as they were moving off, Brazenstare turned round and asked him, mutteringly, if he intended to kiss the schoolmistress. Upon this, he went to some of the parents to inquire respecting the absence of their daughters, and little satisfaction could he get. They didn’t like to say—but people did say—indeed it was all about the township—that they were quite as well at home, for that they might learn more than the book taught—for that his honour had been reproved by good Mr. G. for too great familiarity.

So ends the matter, or rather such is the position of affairs at present—the Curate has come to consult what is to be done. I tell him, that if he knows what he is about, it will proceed with some violence, then an opposition, and end with offerings of bouquets, and perhaps the presentation of a piece of plate. Gratian tells him he hopes nothing so bad as that will come to pass—the Curate almost fears it will, and is vexed at his present awkward position.

You, Eusebius, already see enough mischief in it to delight you; you are, I know, laughing immoderately, and determine to write the inscription for the plate in perspective. Adieu, ever yours. Aquilius.



Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.




[1] See No. CCCLXXIII, page 555.

[2] See next page.


Form 25 (a.)

Weekly Out-Door Relief List, for the quarter ending  18 , District. Relieving Officer.

Ordinary. Medical. Casual.   Name of the Pauper, and Wife if any. When Born. If not residing in Parish, where resident. No. of the Class in the Quarterly Abstract. For what Period Relief ordered, and date of order. 1st. Week. 2d to 13th Week.
Classes.   Able-bodied. Unclassified.
1 2   3   4  5
7 8 9 8
  Unemployed. Employed.   In Money. In Kind. In Money. In Kind.
M F M F M F Ch F Ch F Ch F F Ch M F Ch M F M F Ch M F Ch
                                                             s.  d.   s.  d.   s.  d.   s.  d. 

It is possible that a union maybe found in which the number of poor are so few, as to allow of the four orders of poor—the Ordinary, the Medical, the Casual, and the Unclassified—to be contained in one book; but in general it would be necessary to separate them and to appropriate a book to each order; and there are parishes so large, and in which certain classes of poor abound, as to require separate books for those particular cases.

[4] Elia

[5] If the reader will refer again to the form of “Relief List,” he will perceive that there are three general divisions, named severally, ordinary, medical, and casual. These terms were preserved, because they are well known in actual practice, rather than because they express a really broad distinction. The ordinary relief list is supposed to contain all those recipients of relief who are likely to continue chargeable for a long period. But the distinction attempted to be drawn between those who may require relief for a long and those who require it for a short period only, depends upon circumstances too vague and variable to be of any practical utility. These objections are not applicable to the generic term “medical.”

[6] A tradesman is not a shopkeeper, but a mechanic who is skilled in his particular branch of industry.

[7] In other words, that he will be condemned to slavery, and employed on the public works in wheeling a barrow.

[8] The belief in hard men, i.e. of men whose skins were impervious to a musket or pistol ball, was extremely prevalent during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They could be killed only by a silver bullet. Fitzgerald, the notorious duellist and murderer, in the middle of the last century, was said to have been a hard man.—See Thoms’ Anecdotes and Traditions, printed for the Camden Society, p. 111.

[9] It must be borne in mind that the priests here alluded to are Danish.

[10] Junker (pronounced Yunker,) the title given to a son of noble family. Fröken (dimin. of Frue, madam, lady; Ger. Fräulein) is the corresponding title of a young lady of rank.

[11] Madam, applied strictly to ladies of rank only.

[12] The Nisse of the Scandinavian nations is, in many respects, the counterpart of the Scottish Brownie, while, in others, he occasionally resembles the Devonian and Cornish Pixie and Portune. He is described as clad in gray, with a pointed red cap. Having once taken up his abode with a family, it is not easy to dislodge him, as is evident from the following anecdote:—A man, whose patience was exhausted by the mischievous pranks of a Nisse that dwelt in his house, resolved on changing his habitation, and leaving his troublesome guest to himself. Having packed his last cart-load of chattels, he chanced to go to the back of his cart, to see whether all was safe, when, to his dismay, the Nisse popped his head out of a tub, and with a loud laugh, said, “See, we flit to-day,” (See, idag flytte vi.)—Thiele, Danske Folkesagn, i. p. 134, and Athenæum, No. 991.

There are also ship Nisses, whose functions consist in shadowing out, as it were, by night all the work that is to be performed the following day,—to weigh or cast anchor, to hoist or lower the sails, to furl or reef them—all which operations are forerunners of a storm. For the duty even of a swabber, he does not consider himself too high, but washes the deck most delicately clean. Some well-informed persons maintain that this spiritus navalis, or nautical goblin, proves himself of kindred race with the house or land Nisse by his roguish pranks. Sometimes he turns the vane, sometimes extinguishes the light in the binnacle, plagues the ship’s dog, and if there chance to be a passenger on board who cannot bear the sea, the rogue will appear before him with heart-rending grimaces retching in the bucket. If the ship is doomed to perish, he jumps overboard in the night, and either enters another vessel or swims to land.

[13] According to the Germanic nations, the devil has a horse’s, not a cloven foot.

[14] In the original, “Ole Luköje,” i.e., Olave Shut-eye, a personage as well known by name to the children of Denmark, as the dustman is to those of England.

[15] She was no doubt habited en Amazone, as was the fashion in Denmark about the date to which our story refers. At a much later period, Matilda (sister of our George III.) Queen of Christian VII. rode in a garb nearly resembling a man’s.

[16] Viz. a fox, in allusion to Mikkel’s surname of Foxtail.

[17] Two places of public resort and great beauty in the neighbourhood of Copenhagen. On St. John’s (Hans’) eve, the former place is thronged with the inhabitants of the capital and vicinity, for the purpose of drinking the waters of a well held in great esteem.

[18] Reise nach Java, und Ausflüge nach den Inseln Madura und St. Helena. Von Dr. Eduard Selberg. Oldenburg and Amsterdam: 1846.

[19] Trade and Travel in the Far East. London: 1846.

[20] Notes to “Peveril of the Peak.”

[21] Notes to “Oliver Newman.”

[22] Trial of Charles I. and the Regicides, which I see referred to in “Oliver Newman,” but I have not the book myself.

[23] London Times of that date.

[24] State Trials, ii. 389.

[25] Somers’ Tracts, vi. 339.

[26] Carlyle and Clarendon.

[27] Carlyle.

[28] Carlyle.

[29] Clarendon, iii. 590.

[30] Percy’s Reliques, 121.

[31] Fasti Oxon. ii. 79.

[32] Letters and Speeches, &c. by Carlyle.

[33] Fasti Oxon. ii. 79.

[34] Carlyle.

[35] Fasti Oxon, ii. p. 79. Anno 1649.

[36] Evelyn’s Memoirs, i. 308.

[37] Notes to Peveril of the Peak.

[38] Sir Thomas Herbert’s Two Last Years, p. 189.

[39] State Trials, ii. 886.

[40] Lives of the Queens, vol. viii.

[41] Holmes’ American Annals.

[42] Isaiah xvi. 3.

[43] Rev. xi. 8.

[44] Rev. xiii. 18.

[45] Holmes’ American Annals, in Ann. Also, Notes to “Oliver Newman.”

[46] Gatherings from Spain, by Richard Ford. London, 1846.
An Overland Journey to Lisbon, &c., by T. M. Hughes. London, 1847.



Transcriber’s Notes

The Table of Contents does not appear in the original. It has been generated by the transcriber as an aid to the reader.

Printer’s inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained.

Greek variants have been standardized.