The Project Gutenberg eBook of Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 15

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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 15

Editor: Charles Dudley Warner

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Lucia Isabella Gilbert Runkle

George H. Warner

Release date: June 29, 2010 [eBook #33027]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at



From the Hundeshagen Nibelungen manuscripts of the 10th century, in the Royal Library at Berlin.

"Let the messenger ride and thus we make
Known to you how the queen rode the country."

Kriemhild is the legendary heroine of the "Nibelungenlied," and the rival of Brunhild. She was the wife of Siegfried who was slain by her brothers. Later, as the wife of Etzel (Attila) King of the Huns, she avenged the murder of Siegfried by compassing the death of her brothers, but was herself slain.









Connoisseur Edition
Vol. XV.


Connoisseur Edition


No. ..........
Copyright, 1896, by
All rights reserved


Professor of Hebrew, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Professor of History and Political Science, Princeton University, Princeton, N. J.

Professor of Literature, Columbia University, New York City.

President of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures, Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.

Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer, University of California, Berkeley, Cal.

Professor of the Romance Languages, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.

Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of English and History, University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.

Professor of Greek and Latin Literature, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

United States Commissioner of Education, Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C.

Professor of Literature in the Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C.

[Pg v]



Folk-Song   5853
Samuel Foote 1720-1777 5878
How to be a Lawyer ('The Lame Lover') 
A Misfortune in Orthography (same) 
From the 'Memoirs': 
A Cure for Bad Poetry; 
The Retort Courteous; 
On Garrick's Stature; 
Cape Wine; 
The Graces; 
The Debtor; 
Arithmetical Criticism; 
The Dear Wife; 
Garrick and the Guinea; 
Dr. Paul Hifferman; 
Foote and Macklin; 
Baron Newman; 
Mrs. Abington; 
Mode of Burying Attorneys in London; 
Dining Badly; 
Dibble Davis; 
An Extraordinary Case; 
Mutability of the World; 
An Appropriate Motto; 
Real Friendship; 
Anecdote of an Author; 
Dr. Blair; 
Advice to a Dramatic Writer; 
The Grafton Ministry 
John Ford 1586-? 5889
From 'Perkin Warbeck' 
Penthea's Dying Song ('The Broken Heart') 
From 'The Lover's Melancholy': Amethus and Menaphon 
Friedrich, Baron de la Motte Fouqué 1777-1843 5895
The Marriage of Undine ('Undine') 
The Last Appearance of Undine (same) 
Song from 'Minstrel Lore' 
Anatole France 1844- 5909
In the Gardens ('The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard') 
Child-Life ('The Book of my Friend') 
From the 'Garden of Epicurus' 
St. Francis d'Assisi[Pg vi] 1182-1226 5919
The Canticle of the Sun 
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790 5925
Of Franklin's Family and Early Life ('Autobiography') 
Franklin's Journey to Philadelphia: His Arrival There (same) 
Franklin as a Printer (same) 
Rules of Health ('Poor Richard's Almanack') 
The Way to Wealth (same) 
Speech in the Federal Convention, in Favor of Opening Its Sessions with Prayer 
On War 
Revenge: Letter to Madame Helvétius 
The Ephemera: an Emblem of Human Life 
A Prophecy (Letter to Lord Kames) 
Early Marriages (Letter to John Alleyne) 
The Art of Virtue ('Autobiography') 
Louis Honoré Fréchette 1839- 5964
Our History ('Le Légende d'un Peuple') 
Louisiana ('Les Feuilles Volantes') 
The Dream of Life (same) 
Harold Frederic 1856-? 5971
The Last Rite ('The Damnation of Theron Ware') 
Edward Augustus Freeman 1823-1892 5977
The Altered Aspects of Rome ('Historical Essays') 
The Continuity of English History (same) 
Race and Language (same) 
The Norman Council and the Assembly of Lillebonne ('The History of the Norman Conquest of England') 
Ferdinand Freiligrath[Pg vii] 1810-1876 6002
The Emigrants 
The Lion's Ride 
Rest in the Beloved 
Oh, Love so Long as Love Thou Canst 
Gustav Freytag 1816-1895 6011
The German Professor ('The Lost Manuscript') 
Friedrich Froebel 1782-1852 6022
The Right of the Child ('Reminiscences of Friedrich Froebel') 
Evolution ('The Mottoes and Commentaries of Mother Play') 
The Laws of the Mind ('The Letters of Froebel') 
For the Children (same) 
Motives ('The Education of Man') 
Froissart 1337-1410? 6035
From the 'Chronicles': 
The Invasion of France by King Edward III., and the Battle of Crécy 
How the King of England Rode through Normandy 
Of the Great Assembly that the French King Made to Resist the King of England 
Of the Battle of Caen, and How the Englishmen Took the Town 
How the French King Followed the King of England in Beauvoisinois 
Of the Battle of Blanche-Taque 
Of the Order of the Englishmen at Cressy 
The Order of the Frenchmen at Cressy, and How They Beheld the Demeanor of the Englishmen 
Of the Battle of Cressy, August 26th, 1346 
James Anthony Froude 1818-1894 6059
The Growth of England's Navy ('English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century') 
The Death of Colonel Goring ('Two Chiefs of Dunboy')[Pg viii]
Scientific Method Applied to History ('Short Studies on Great Subjects') 
The Death of Thomas Becket (same) 
Character of Henry VIII. ('History of England') 
On a Siding at a Railway Station ('Short Studies on Great Subjects') 
Henry B. Fuller 1859- 6101
At the Head of the March ('With the Procession') 
Sarah Margaret Fuller (Marchioness Ossoli) 1810-1850 6119
George Sand ('Memoirs') 
Americans Abroad in Europe ('At Home and Abroad') 
A Character Sketch of Carlyle ('Memoirs') 
Thomas Fuller 1608-1661 6129
The King's Children ('The Worthies of England') 
A Learned Lady (same) 
Henry de Essex, Standard-Bearer to Henry II. (same) 
The Good Schoolmaster ('The Holy and Profane State') 
On Books (same) 
London ('The Worthies of England') 
Miscellaneous Sayings 
Émile Gaboriau 1835-1873 6137
The Impostor and the Banker's Wife: The Robbery ('File No. 113') 
M. Lecoq's System (same) 
Benito Perez Galdós 1845- 6153
The First Night of a Famous Play ('The Court of Charles IV.') 
Doña Perfecta's Daughter ('Doña Perfecta') 
Above Stairs in a Royal Palace ('La de Bringas') 
Francis Galton 1822- 6174
The Comparative Worth of Different Races ('Hereditary Genius') 
Arne Garborg[Pg ix] 1851- 6185
The Conflict of the Creeds ('A Freethinker') 
Hamlin Garland 1860- 6195
A Summer Mood ('Prairie Songs') 
A Storm on Lake Michigan ('Rose of Butcher's Coolly') 
Elizabeth Stevenson Gaskell 1810-1865 6205
Our Society ('Cranford') 
Visiting (same) 
Théophile Gautier 1811-1872 6221
The Entry of Pharaoh into Thebes ('The Romance of a Mummy') 
From 'The Marsh' 
From 'The Dragon-Fly' 
The Doves 
The Pot of Flowers 
The Poet and the Crowd 
The First Smile of Spring 
The Veterans ('The Old Guard') 
John Gay 1685-1732 6237
The Hare and Many Friends ('Fables') 
The Sick Man and the Angel (same) 
The Juggler (same) 
Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Eyed Susan 
From 'What D'ye Call It?' 
Emanuel von Geibel 1815-1884 6248
See'st Thou the Sea? 
As it will Happen 
The Woodland 
At Last the Daylight Fadeth 

[Pg x]

[Pg xi]



"How Kreimhild is Led to Etzel" (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
Russian Writing (Fac-simile) 5876
Franklin (Portrait) 5925
"Music, Science, and Art" (Photogravure) 5964
Freytag (Portrait) 6011
"The Menagerie" (Photogravure) 6034
"The Wedding Dress" (Photogravure) 6166
"The Juggler" (Photogravure) 6244


Foqué Froude
France Fuller (Margaret)
Frederic Fuller (Thomas)
Freeman Garland
Freiligrath Gaskell
Froebel Gautier
Froissart Gay
Von Giebel

[Pg 5853]




s in the case of ballads, or narrative songs, it was important to sunder not only the popular from the artistic, but also the ballad of the people from the ballad for the people; precisely so in the article of communal lyric one must distinguish songs of the folk—songs made by the folk—from those verses of the street or the music hall which are often caught up and sung by the crowd until they pass as genuine folk-song. For true folk-song, as for the genuine ballad, the tests are simplicity, sincerity, mainly oral tradition, and origin in a homogeneous community. The style of such a poem is not only simple, but free from individual stamp; the metaphors, employed sparingly at the best, are like the phrases which constantly occur in narrative ballads, and belong to tradition. The metre is not so uniform as in ballads, but must betray its origin in song. An unsung folk-song is more than a contradiction,—it is an impossibility. Moreover, it is to be assumed that primitive folk-songs were an outcome of the dance, for which originally there was no music save the singing of the dancers. A German critic declares outright that for early times there was "no dance without singing, and no song without a dance; songs for the dance were the earliest of all songs, and melodies for the dance the oldest music of every race." Add to this the undoubted fact that dancing by pairs is a comparatively modern invention, and that primitive dances involved the whole able-bodied primitive community (Jeanroy's assertion that in the early Middle Ages only women danced, is a libel on human nature), and one begins to see what is meant by folk-song; primarily it was made by the singing and dancing throng, at a time when no distinction of lettered and unlettered classes divided the community. Few, if any, of these primitive folk-songs have come down to us; but they exist in survival, with more or less trace of individual and artistic influences. As we cannot apply directly the test of such a communal origin, we must cast about for other and more modern conditions.

When Mr. George Saintsbury deplores "the lack, notorious to this day, of one single original English folk-song of really great beauty," he leaves his readers to their own devices by way of defining this species of poetry. Probably, however, he means the communal lyric in survival, not the ballad, not what Germans would include under volkslied and Frenchmen under chanson populaire. This distinction, so [Pg 5854] often forgotten by our critics, was laid down for English usage a century ago by no less a person than Joseph Ritson. "With us," he said, "songs of sentiment, expression, or even description, are properly called Songs, in contradistinction to mere narrative compositions, which now denominate Ballads."

Notwithstanding this lucid statement, we have failed to clear the field of all possible causes for error. The song of the folk is differentiated from the song of the individual poet; popular lyric is set over against the artistic, personal lyric. But lyric is commonly assumed to be the expression of individual emotion, and seems in its very essence to exclude all that is not single, personal, and conscious emotion. Professor Barrett Wendell, however, is fain to abandon this time-honored notion of lyric as the subjective element in poetry, the expression of individual emotion, and proposes a definition based upon the essentially musical character of these songs. If we adhere strictly to the older idea, communal lyric, or folk-song, is a contradiction in terms; but as a musical expression, direct and unreflective, of communal emotion, and as offspring of the enthusiasm felt by a festal, dancing multitude, the term is to be allowed. It means the lyric of a throng. Unless one feels this objective note in a lyric, it is certainly no folk-song, but merely an anonymous product of the schools. The artistic and individual lyric, however sincere it may be, is fairly sure to be blended with reflection; but such a subjective tone is foreign to communal verse—whether narrative or purely lyrical. In other words, to study the lyric of the people, one must banish that notion of individuality, of reflection and sentiment, which one is accustomed to associate with all lyrics. To illustrate the matter, it is evident that Shelley's 'O World, O Life, O Time,' and Wordsworth's 'My Heart Leaps Up,' however widely sundered may be the points of view, however varied the character of the emotion, are of the same individual and reflective class. Contrast now with these a third lyric, an English song of the thirteenth century, preserved by some happy chance from the oblivion which claimed most of its fellows; the casual reader would unhesitatingly put it into the same class with Wordsworth's verses as a lyric of "nature," of "joy," or what not,—an outburst of simple and natural emotion. But if this 'Cuckoo Song' be regarded critically, it will be seen that precisely those qualities of the individual and the subjective are wanting. The music of it is fairly clamorous; the refrain counts for as much as the verses; while the emotion seems to spring from the crowd and to represent a community. Written down—no one can say when it was actually composed—not later than the middle of the thirteenth century, along with the music and a Latin hymn interlined in red ink, this song is justly regarded by critics as communal rather [Pg 5855] than artistic in its character; and while it is set to music in what Chappell calls "the earliest secular composition, in parts, known to exist in any country," yet even this elaborate music was probably "a national song and tune, selected according to the custom of the times as a basis for harmony," and was "not entirely a scholastic composition." It runs in the original:—

Sumer is icumen in.
Lhude sing cuccu.
Groweth sed
And bloweth med
And springth the wde nu.
Sing cuccu.
Awe bleteth after lomb,
Lhouth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth,
Bucke verteth,
Murie sing cuccu.
Cuccu, cuccu.
Wel singes thu cuccu,
Ne swik thu naver nu.


Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu.[1]

The monk, whose passion for music led him to rescue this charming song, probably regretted the rustic quality of the words, and did his best to hide the origin of the air; but behind the complicated music is a tune of the country-side, and if the refrain is here a burden, to be sung throughout the piece by certain voices while others sing the words of the song, we have every right to think of an earlier refrain which almost absorbed the poem and was sung by [Pg 5856] a dancing multitude. This is a most important consideration. In all parts of Europe, songs for the dance still abound in the shape of a welcome to spring; and a lyrical outburst in praise of the jocund season often occurs by way of prelude to the narrative ballad: witness the beautiful opening of 'Robin Hood and the Monk.' The troubadour of Provence, like the minnesinger of Germany, imitated these invocations to spring. A charming balada of Provence probably takes us beyond the troubadour to the domain of actual folk-song.[2] "At the entrance of the bright season," it runs, "in order to begin joy and to tease the jealous, the queen will show that she is fain to love. As far as to the sea, no maid nor youth but must join the lusty dance which she devises. On the other hand comes the king to break up the dancing, fearful lest some one will rob him of his April queen. Little, however, cares she for the graybeard; a gay young 'bachelor' is there to pleasure her. Whoso might see her as she dances, swaying her fair body, he could say in sooth that nothing in all the world peers the joyous queen!" Then, as after each stanza, for conclusion the wild refrain—like a procul este, profani!—"Away, ye jealous ones, away! Let us dance together, together let us dance!" The interjectional refrain, "eya," a mere cry of joy, is common in French and German songs for the dance, and gives a very echo of the lusty singers. Repetition, refrain, the infectious pace and merriment of this old song, stamp it as a genuine product of the people.[3] The brief but emphatic praise of spring with which it opens is doubtless a survival of those older pagan hymns and songs which greeted the return of summer and were sung by the community in chorus to the dance, now as a religious rite, now merely as [Pg 5857] the expression of communal rejoicing. What the people once sang in chorus was repeated by the individual poet. Neidhart the German is famous on account of his rustic songs for the dance, which often begin with this lusty welcome to spring: while the dactyls of Walther von der Vogelweide not only echo the cadence of dancing feet, but so nearly exclude the reflective and artistic element that the "I" of the singer counts for little. "Winter," he sings,—

Winter has left us no pleasure at all;
Leafage and heather have fled with the fall,
Bare is the forest and dumb as a thrall;
If the girls by the roadside were tossing the ball,
I could prick up my ears for the singing-birds' call![4]

That is, "if spring were here, and the girls were going to the village dance"; for ball-playing was not only a rival of the dance, but was often combined with it. Walther's dactyls are one in spirit with the fragments of communal lyric which have been preserved for us by song-loving "clerks" or theological students, those intellectual tramps of the Middle Ages, who often wrote down such a merry song of May and then turned it more or less freely into their barbarous but not unattractive Latin. For example:—

Now is time for holiday!
Let our singing greet the May:
Flowers in the breezes play,
Every holt and heath is gay.
Let us dance and let us spring
With merry song and crying!
Joy befits the lusty May:
Set the ball a-flying!
If I woo my lady-love,
Will she be denying?[5]

The steps of the dance are not remote; and the same echo haunts another song of the sort:—

Dance we now the measure,
Dance, lady mine!
May, the month of pleasure,
Comes with sweet sunshine.
[Pg 5858]
Winter vexed the meadow
Many weary hours:
Fled his chill and shadow,—
Lo, the fields are laughing
Red with flowers.[6]

Or the song at the dance may set forth some of the preliminaries, as when a girl is supposed to sing:—

Care and sorrow, fly away!
On the green field let us play,
Playmates gentle, playmates mine,
Where we see the bright flowers shine,
I say to thee, I say to thee,
Playmate mine, O come with me!
Gracious Love, to me incline,
Make for me a garland fine,—
Garland for the man to wear
Who can please a maiden fair.
I say to thee, I say to thee,
Playmate mine, O come with me![7]

The greeting from youth to maiden, from maiden to youth, was doubtless a favorite bit of folk-song, whether at the dance or as independent lyric. Readers of the 'Library' will find such a greeting incorporated in 'Child Maurice'[8]; only there it is from the son to his mother, and with a somewhat eccentric list of comparisons by way of detail, instead of the terse form known to German tradition:—

Soar, Lady Nightingale, soar above!
A hundred thousand times greet my love!

The variations are endless; one of the earliest is found in a charming Latin tale of the eleventh century, 'Rudlieb,' "the oldest known romance in European literature." A few German words are mixed with the Latin; while after the good old ballad way the greeting is first given to the messenger, and repeated when the messenger performs his task:—"I wish thee as much joy as there are leaves on the trees,—and as much delight as birds have, so much love (minna),—and as much honor I wish thee as there are flowers and grass!" Competent critics regard this as a current folk-song of greeting inserted in the romance, and therefore as the oldest example of minnesang in German literature. Of the less known variations of this [Pg 5859] theme, one may be given from the German of an old song where male singers are supposed to compete for a garland presented by the maidens; the rivals not only sing for the prize but even answer riddles. It is a combination of game and dance, and is evidently of communal origin. The honorable authorities of Freiburg, about 1556, put this practice of "dancing of evenings in the streets, and singing for a garland, and dancing in a throng" under strictest ban. The following is a stanza of greeting in such a song:—

Maiden, thee I fain would greet,
From thy head unto thy feet.
As many times I greet thee even
As there are stars in yonder heaven,
As there shall blossom flowers gay,
From Easter to St. Michael's day![9]

These competitive verses for the dance and the garland were, as we shall presently see, spontaneous: composed in the throng by lad or lassie, they are certainly entitled to the name of communal lyric. Naturally, the greeting could ban as well as bless; and little Kirstin (Christina) in the Danish ballad sends a greeting of double charge:—

To Denmark's King wish as oft good-night
As stars are shining in heaven bright;
To Denmark's Queen as oft bad year
As the linden hath leaves or the hind hath hair![10]

Folk-song in the primitive stage always had a refrain or chorus. The invocation of spring, met in so many songs of later time, is doubtless a survival of an older communal chorus sung to deities of summer and flooding sunshine and fertility. The well-known Latin 'Pervigilium Veneris,' artistic and elaborate as it is in eulogy of spring and love, owes its refrain and the cadence of its trochaic rhythm to some song of the Roman folk in festival; so that Walter Pater is not far from the truth when he gracefully assumes that the whole poem was suggested by this refrain "caught from the lips of the young men, singing because they could not help it, in the streets of Pisa," during that Indian summer of paganism under the Antonines. This haunting refrain, with its throb of the spring and the festal throng, is ruthlessly tortured into a heroic couplet in Parnell's translation:—

Let those love now who never loved before;
Let those who always loved now love the more!

Contrast the original!—

Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!

[Pg 5860] This is the trochaic rhythm dear to the common people of Rome and the near provinces, who as every one knows spoke a very different speech from the speech of the patrician, and sang their own songs withal; a few specimens of the latter, notably the soldiers' song about Cæsar, have come down to us.[11]

The refrain itself, of whatever metre, was imitated by classical poets like Catullus; and the earliest traditions of Greece tell of these refrains, with gathering verses of lyric or narrative character, sung in the harvest-field and at the dance. In early Assyrian poetry, even, the refrain plays an important part; while an Egyptian folk-song, sung by the reapers, seems to have been little else than a refrain. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, courtly poets took up the refrain, experimented with it, refined it, and so developed those highly artificial forms of verse known as roundel, triolet, and ballade. The refrain, in short, is corner-stone for all poetry of the people, if not of poetry itself; beginning with inarticulate cries of joy or sorrow, like the eya noted above, mere emotional utterances or imitations of various sounds, then growing in distinctness and compass, until the separation of choral from artistic poetry, and the increasing importance of the latter, reduced the refrain to a merely ancillary function, and finally did away with it altogether. Many refrains are still used for the dance which are mere exclamations, with just enough coherence of words added to make them pass as poetry. Frequently, as in the French, these have a peculiar beauty. Victor Hugo has imitated them with success; but to render them into English is impossible.

The refrain, moreover, is closely allied to those couplets or quatrains composed spontaneously at the dance or other merry-making of the people. In many parts of Germany, the dances of harvest [Pg 5861] were until recent days enlivened by the so-called schnaderhüpfl, a quatrain sung to a simple air, composed on the spot, and often inclining to the personal and the satiric. In earlier days this power to make a quatrain off-hand seems to have been universal among the peasants of Europe. In Scandinavia such quatrains are known as stev. They are related, so far as their spontaneity, their universal character, and their origin are concerned, to the coplas of Spain, the stornelli of Italy, and the distichs of modern Greece. Of course, the specimens of this poetry which can be found now are rude enough; for the life has gone out of it, and to find it at its best one must go back to conditions which brought the undivided genius of the community into play. What one finds nowadays is such motley as this,—a so-called rundâ from Vogtland, answering to the Bavarian schnaderhüpfl:—

I and my Hans,
We go to the dance;
And if no one will dance,
Dance I and my Hans!

A schnaderhüpfl taken down at Appenzell in 1754, and one of the oldest known, was sung by some lively girl as she danced at the reapers' festival:—

Mine, mine, mine,—O my love is fine,
And my favor shall he plainly see;
Till the clock strike eight, till the clock strike nine,
My door, my door shall open be.

It is evident that the great mass of this poetry died with the occasion that brought it forth, or lingered in oral tradition, exposed to a thousand chances of oblivion. The Church made war upon these songs, partly because of their erotic character, but mainly, one may assume, because of the chain of tradition from heathen times which linked them with feasts in honor of abhorred gods, and with rustic dances at the old pagan harvest-home. A study of all this, however, with material at a minimum, and conjecture or philological combination as the only possible method of investigation, must be relegated to the treatise and the monograph;[12] for present purposes we must confine our exposition and search to songs that shall attract readers as well as students. Yet this can be done only by the admission into our pages of folk-song which already bears witness, more or less, to the touch of an artist working upon material once exclusively communal and popular.

[Pg 5862] Returning to our English type, the 'Cuckoo Song,' we are now to ask what other communal lyrics with this mark upon them, denoting at once rescue and contamination at the hands of minstrel or wandering clerk, have come down to us from the later Middle Ages. Having answered this question, it will remain to deal with the difficult material accumulated in comparatively recent times. Ballads are far easier to preserve than songs. Ballads have a narrative; and this story in them has proved antiseptic, defying the chances of oral transmission. A good story travels far, and the path which it wanders from people to people is often easy to follow; but the more volatile contents of the popular lyric—we are not speaking of its tune, which is carried in every direction—are easily lost.[13] Such a lyric lives chiefly by its sentiment, and sentiment is a fragile burden. We can however get some notion of this communal song by process of inference, for the earliest lays of the Provençal troubadour, and probably of the German minnesinger, were based upon the older song of the country-side. Again, in England there was little distinction made between the singer who entertained court and castle and the gleeman who sang in the villages and at rural festivals; the latter doubtless taking from the common stock more than he contributed from his own. A certain proof of more aristocratic and distinctly artistic, that is to say, individual origin, and a conclusive reason for refusing the name of folk-song to any one of these lyrics of love, is the fact that it happens to address a married woman. Every one knows that the troubadour and the minnesinger thus addressed their lays; and only the style and general character of their earliest poetry can be considered as borrowed from the popular muse. In other words, however vivacious, objective, vigorous, may be the early lays of the troubadour, however one is tempted to call them mere modifications of an older folk-song, they are excluded by this characteristic from the popular lyric and belong to poetry of the schools. Marriage, says Jeanroy, is always respected in the true folk-song. Moreover, this is only a negative test. In Portugal, many songs which must be referred to the individual and courtly poet are written in praise of the unmarried girl; while in England, whether it be set down to austere morals or to the practical turn of the native mind, one finds little or nothing to match this troubadour and minnesinger poetry in honor of the stately but capricious dame.[14] The folk-song [Pg 5863] that we seek found few to record it; it sounded at the dance, it was heard in the harvest-field; what seemed to be everywhere, growing spontaneously like violets in spring, called upon no one to preserve it and to give it that protection demanded by exotic poetry of the schools. What is preserved is due mainly to the clerks and gleemen of older times, or else to the curiosity of modern antiquarians, rescuing here and there a belated survival of the species. Where the clerk or the gleeman is in question, he is sure to add a personal element, and thus to remove the song from its true communal setting. Contrast the wonderful little song, admired by Alceste in Molière's 'Misanthrope,' and as impersonal, even in its first-personal guise as any communal lyric ever made,—with a reckless bit of verse sung by some minstrel about the famous Eleanor of Poitou, wife of Henry II. of England. The song so highly commended by Alceste[15] runs, in desperately inadequate translation:—

If the King had made it mine,
Paris, his city gay,
And I must the love resign
Of my bonnie may,[16]
To King Henry I would say:
Take your Paris back, I pray;
Better far I love my may,—
O joy!—
Love my bonnie may!

Let us hear the reckless "clerk":—

If the whole wide world were mine,
From the ocean to the Rhine,
All I'd be denying
If the Queen of England once
In my arms were lying![17]

The tone is not directly communal, but it smacks more of the village dance than of the troubadour's harp; for even Bernart of Ventadour did not dare to address Eleanor save in the conventional tone of despair. The clerks and gleemen, however, and even English peasants of modern times,[18] took another view of the matter. The "clerk," that delightful vagabond who made so nice a balance between [Pg 5864] church and tavern, between breviary and love songs, has probably done more for the preservation of folk-song than all other agents known to us. In the above verses he protests a trifle or so too much about himself; let us hear him again as mere reporter for the communal lyric, in verses that he may have brought from the dance to turn into his inevitable Latin:—

Come, my darling, come to me,
I am waiting long for thee,—
I am waiting long for thee,
Come, my darling, come to me!
Rose-red mouth, so sweet and fain,
Come and make me well again;—
Come and make me well again,
Rose-red mouth, so sweet and fain.[19]

More graceful yet are the anonymous verses quoted in certain Latin love-letters of a manuscript at Munich; and while a few critics rebel at the notion of a folk-song, the pretty lines surely hint more of field and dance than of the study.

Thou art mine,
I am thine,
Of that may'st certain be;
Locked thou art
Within my heart,
And I have lost the key:
There must thou ever be!

Now it happens that this notion of heart and key recurs in later German folk-song. A highly popular song of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries has these stanzas:[20]

For thy dear sake I'm hither come,
Sweetheart, O hear me woo!
My hope rests evermore on thee,
I love thee well and true.
Let me but be thy servant,
Thy dear love let me win;
[Pg 5865]Come, ope thy heart, my darling,
And lock me fast within!

Where my love's head is lying,
There rests a golden shrine;
And in it lies, locked hard and fast,
This fresh young heart of mine:
Oh would to God I had the key,—
I'd throw it in the Rhine;
What place on earth were more to me,
Than with my sweeting fine?
Where my love's feet are lying,
A fountain gushes cold,
And whoso tastes the fountain
Grows young and never old:
Full often at the fountain
I knelt and quenched my drouth,—
Yet tenfold rather would I kiss
My darling's rosy mouth!
And in my darling's garden[21]
Is many a precious flower;
Oh, in this budding season,
Would God 'twere now the hour
To go and pluck the roses
And nevermore to part:
I think full sure to win her
Who lies within my heart!

Now who this merry roundel
Hath sung with such renown?
That have two lusty woodsmen
At Freiberg in the town,—
Have sung it fresh and fairly,
And drunk the cool red wine:
And who hath sat and listened?—
Landlady's daughter fine!

What with the more modern tone, and the lusty woodsmen, one has deserted the actual dance, the actual communal origin of song; [Pg 5866] but one is still amid communal influences. Another little song about the heart and the key, this time from France, recalls one to the dance itself, and to the simpler tone:—

Shut fast within a rose
I ween my heart must be;
No locksmith lives in France
Who can set it free,—
Only my lover Pierre,
Who took away the key![22]

Coming back to England, and the search for her folk-song, it is in order to begin with the refrain. A "clerk," in a somewhat artificial lay to his sweetheart, has preserved as refrain what seems to be a bit of communal verse:—

Ever and aye for my love I am in sorrow sore;
I think of her I see so seldom any more,[23]

rather a helpless moan, it must be confessed.

Better by far is the song of another clericus, with a lusty little refrain as fresh as the wind it invokes, as certainly folk-song as anything left to us:—

Blow, northern wind,
Send thou me my sweeting!
Blow, northern wind,
Blow, blow, blow!

The actual song, though overloaded with alliteration, has a good movement. A stanza may be quoted:—

I know a maid in bower so bright
That handsome is for any sight,
Noble, gracious maid of might,
Precious to discover.
In all this wealth of women fair,
Maid of beauty to compare
With my sweeting found I ne'er
All the country over!

Old too is the lullaby used as a burden or refrain for a religious poem printed by Thomas Wright in his 'Songs and Carols':—[Pg 5867]

Lullay, myn lykyng, my dere sone, myn swetyng,
Lullay, my dere herte, myn owyn dere derlyng.[24]

The same English manuscript which has kept the refrain 'Blow, Northern Wind,' offers another song which may be given in modern translation and entire. All these songs were written down about the year 1310, and probably in Herefordshire. As with the carmina burana, the lays of German "clerks," so these English lays represent something between actual communal verse and the poetry of the individual artist; they owe more to folk-song than to the traditions of literature and art. Some of the expressions in this song are taken, if we may trust the critical insight of Ten Brink, directly from the poetry of the people.

A maid as white as ivory bone,
A pearl in gold that golden shone,
A turtle-dove, a love whereon
My heart must cling:
Her blitheness nevermore be gone
While I can sing!
When she is gay,
In all the world no more I pray
Than this: alone with her to stay
Withouten strife.
Could she but know the ills that slay
Her lover's life!
Was never woman nobler wrought;
And when she blithe to sleep is brought,
Well for him who guessed her thought,
Proud maid! Yet O,
Full well I know she will me nought.
My heart is woe.
And how shall I then sweetly sing
That thus am marréd with mourning?
To death, alas, she will me bring
Long ere my day.
Greet her well, the sweetë thing,
With eyen gray!
[Pg 5868]
Her eyes have wounded me, i-wis.
Her arching brows that bring the bliss;
Her comely mouth whoso might kiss,
In mirth he were;
And I would change all mine for his
That is her fere.[25]
Her fere, so worthy might I be,
Her fere, so noble, stout and free,
For this one thing I would give three,
Nor haggle aught.
From hell to heaven, if one could see,
So fine is naught,
[Nor half so free;[26]
All lovers true, now listen unto me.]
Now hearken to me while I tell,
In such a fume I boil and well;
There is no fire so hot in hell
As his, I trow,
Who loves unknown and dares not tell
His hidden woe.
I will her well, she wills me woe;
I am her friend, and she my foe;
Methinks my heart will break in two
For sorrow's might;
In God's own greeting may she go,
That maiden white!
I would I were a throstlecock,
A bunting, or a laverock,[27]
Sweet maid!
Between her kirtle and her smock
I'd then be hid!

The reader will easily note the struggle between our poet's conventional and quite literary despair and the fresh communal tone in such passages as we have ventured, despite Leigh Hunt's direful example, to put in italics. This poet was a clerk, or perhaps not even that,—a gleeman; and he dwells, after the manner of his kind, [Pg 5869] upon a despair which springs from difference of station. But it is England, not France; it is a maiden, not countess or queen, whom he loves; and the tone of his verse is sound and communal at heart. True, the metre, afterwards a favorite with Burns, is one used by the oldest known troubadour of Provence, Count William, as well as by the poets of miracle plays and of such romances as the English 'Octavian'; but like Count William himself, who built on a popular basis, our clerk or gleeman is nearer to the people than to the schools. Indeed, Uhland reminds us that Breton kloer ("clerks") to this day play a leading part as lovers and singers of love in folk-song; and the English clerks in question were not regular priests, consecrated and in responsible positions, but students or unattached followers of theology. They sang with the people; they felt and suffered with the people—as in the case of a far nobler member of the guild, William Langland; and hence sundry political poems which deal with wrongs and suffering endured by the commons of that day. In the struggle of barons and people against Henry III., indignation made verses; and these, too, we owe to the clerks. Such a burst of indignation is the song against Richard of Cornwall, with a turbulent refrain which sounds like a direct loan from the people. One stanza, with this refrain, will suffice. It opens with the traditional "lithe and listen" of the ballad-singer:—

Sit all now still and list to me:
The German King, by my loyalty!
Thirty thousand pound asked he
To make a peace in this country,—
And so he did and more!


Richard, though thou be ever trichard,[28]
Trichen[29] shalt thou nevermore!

This, however, like many a scrap of battle-song, ribaldry exchanged between two armies, and the like, has interest rather for the antiquarian than for the reader. We shall leave such fragments, and turn in conclusion to the folk-song of later times.

The England of Elizabeth was devoted to lyric poetry, and folk-song must have flourished along with its rival of the schools. Few of these songs, however, have been preserved; and indeed there is no final test for the communal quality in such survivals. Certainly some of the songs in the drama of that time are of popular origin; but the majority, as a glance at Mr. Bullen's several collections will prove, are artistic and individual, like the music to which they were [Pg 5870] sung. Occasionally we get a tantalizing glimpse of another lyrical England, the folk dancing and singing their own lays; but no Autolycus brings these to us in his basket. Even the miracle plays had not despised folk-song; unfortunately the writers are content to mention the songs, like our Acts of Congress, only by title. In the "comedy" called 'The Longer Thou Livest the More Foole Thou Art,' there are snatches of such songs; and a famous list, known to all scholars, is given by Laneham in a letter from Kenilworth in 1575, where he tells of certain songs, "all ancient," owned by one Captain Cox. Again, nobody ever praised songs of the people more sincerely than Shakespeare has praised them; and we may be certain that he used them for the stage. Such is the 'Willow Song' that Desdemona sings,—an "old thing," she calls it; and such perhaps the song in 'As You Like It,'—'It Was a Lover and His Lass.' Nash is credited with the use of folk-songs in his 'Summer's Last Will and Testament'; but while the pretty verses about spring and the tripping lines, 'A-Maying,' have such a note, nothing could be further from the quality of folk-song than the solemn and beautiful 'Adieu, Farewell, Earth's Bliss.' In Beaumont and Fletcher's 'Knight of the Burning Pestle,' however, Merrythought sings some undoubted snatches of popular lyric, just as he sings stanzas from the traditional ballad; for example, his—

Go from my window, love, go;
Go from my window, my dear;
The wind and the rain
Will drive you back again,
You cannot be lodged here,—

is quoted with variations in other plays, and was a favorite of the time,[30] and like many a ballad appears in religious parody. A modern variant, due to tradition, comes from Norwich; the third and fourth lines ran:—

For the wind is in the west,
And the cuckoo's in his nest.

From the time of Henry VIII. a pretty song is preserved of this same class:—

Westron wynde, when wyll thou blow!
The smalle rain downe doth rayne;
Oh if my love were in my armys,
Or I in my bed agayne!

This sort of song between the lovers, one without and one within, occurs in French and German at a very early date, and is probably much older than any records of it; as serenade, it found great favor [Pg 5871] with poets of the city and the court, and is represented in English by Sidney's beautiful lines, admirable for purposes of comparison with the folk-song:—

"Who is it that this dark night
Underneath my window plaineth?"
"It is one who, from thy sight
Being, ah, exiled! disdaineth
Every other vulgar light."

The zeal of modern collectors has brought together a mass of material which passes for folk-song. None of it is absolutely communal, for the conditions of primitive lyric have long since been swept away; nevertheless, where isolated communities have retained something of the old homogeneous and simple character, the spirit of folk-song lingers in survival. From Great Britain, from France, and particularly from Germany, where circumstances have favored this survival, a few folk-songs may now be given in inadequate translation. To go further afield, to collect specimens of Italian, Russian, Servian, modern Greek, and so on, would need a book. The songs which follow are sufficiently representative for the purpose.

A pretty little song, popular in Germany to this day, needs no pompous support of literary allusion to explain its simple pathos; still, it is possible that one meets here a distant echo of the tragedy of obstacles told in romance of Hero and Leander. When one hears this song, one understands where Heine found the charm of his best lyrics:—

Over a waste of water
The bonnie lover crossed,
A-wooing the King's daughter:
But all his love was lost.
Ah, Elsie, darling Elsie,
Fain were I now with thee;
But waters twain are flowing,
Dear love, twixt thee and me![31]

Even more of a favorite is the song which represents two girls in the harvest-field, one happy in her love, the other deserted; the noise of the sickle makes a sort of chorus. Uhland placed with the two stanzas of the song a third stanza which really belongs to another tune; the latter, however, may serve to introduce the situation:—

I heard a sickle rustling,
Ay, rustling through the corn:
I heard a maiden sobbing
Because her love was lorn.
[Pg 5872]
"Oh let the sickle rustle!
I care not how it go;
For I have found a lover,
A lover,
Where clover and violets blow."
"And hast thou found a lover
Where clover and violets blow?
I stand here, ah, so lonely,
So lonely,
And all my heart is woe!"

Two songs may follow, one from France, one from Scotland, bewailing the death of lover or husband. 'The Lowlands of Holland' was published by Herd in his 'Scottish Songs.'[32] A clumsy attempt was made to fix the authorship upon a certain young widow; but the song belies any such origin. It has the marks of tradition:—

My love has built a bonny ship, and set her on the sea,
With sevenscore good mariners to bear her company;
There's threescore is sunk, and threescore dead at sea,
And the Lowlands of Holland has twin'd[33] my love and me.
My love he built another ship, and set her on the main,
And nane but twenty mariners for to bring her hame,
But the weary wind began to rise, and the sea began to rout;
My love then and his bonny ship turned withershins[34] about.
There shall neither coif come on my head nor comb come in my hair;
There shall neither coal nor candle-light come in my bower mair;
Nor will I love another one until the day I die,
For I never loved a love but one, and he's drowned in the sea.
"O haud your tongue, my daughter dear, be still and be content;
There are mair lads in Galloway, ye neen nae sair lament."
O there is none in Gallow, there's none at a' for me;
For I never loved a love but one, and he's drowned in the sea.

[Pg 5873] The French song[35] has a more tender note:—

Low, low he lies who holds my heart,
The sea is rolling fair above;
Go, little bird, and tell him this,—
Go, little bird, and fear no harm,—
Say I am still his faithful love,
Say that to him I stretch my arms.

Another song, widely scattered in varying versions throughout France, is of the forsaken and too trustful maid,—'En revenant des Noces.' The narrative in this, as in the Scottish song, makes it approach the ballad.

Back from the wedding-feast,
All weary by the way,
I rested by a fount
And watched the waters' play;
And at the fount I bathed,
So clear the waters' play;
And with a leaf of oak
I wiped the drops away.
Upon the highest branch
Loud sang the nightingale.
Sing, nightingale, oh sing,
Thou hast a heart so gay!
Not gay, this heart of mine:
My love has gone away,
Because I gave my rose
Too soon, too soon away.
Ah, would to God that rose
Yet on the rosebush lay,—
Would that the rosebush, even,
Unplanted yet might stay,—
Would that my lover Pierre
My favor had to pray![36]

[Pg 5874] The corresponding Scottish song, beautiful enough for any land or age, is the well-known 'Waly, Waly':—

Oh waly, waly, up the bank,
And waly, waly, down the brae,
And waly, waly, yon burn-side,
Where I and my love wont to gae.
I lean'd my back unto an aik,
I thought it was a trusty tree;
But first it bowed and syne it brak,
Sae my true-love did lightly[37] me.
Oh waly, waly, but love be bonny
A little time, while it is new;
But when 'tis auld it waxeth cauld,
And fades away like morning dew.
Oh wherefore should I busk my head?
Or wherefore should I kame my hair?
For my true-love has me forsook,
And says he'll never love me mair.
Now Arthur's Seat shall be my bed,
The sheets shall ne'er be fyled by me;
Saint Anton's well shall be my drink,
Since my true-love has forsaken me.
Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blaw
And shake the green leaves off the tree?
O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
For of my life I am weary.
'Tis not the frost that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's inclemency;
'Tis not sic cauld that makes me cry,
But my love's heart grown cauld to me.
[Pg 5875]
When we came in by Glasgow town,
We were a comely sight to see;
My love was clad in the black velvet,
And I myself in cramasie.
But had I wist, before I kissed,
That love had been sae ill to win,
I'd locked my heart in a case of gold.
And pinned it with a silver pin.
Oh, oh, if my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurse's knee,
And I myself were dead and gone,
[And the green grass growing over me!]

The same ballad touch overweighs even the lyric quality of the verses about Yarrow:—

"Willy's rare, and Willy's fair,
And Willy's wondrous bonny,
And Willy heght[38] to marry me
Gin e'er he married ony.
"Oh came you by yon water-side?
Pu'd you the rose or lily?
Or came you by yon meadow green?
Or saw you my sweet Willy?"
She sought him east, she sought him west,
She sought him brade and narrow;
Syne, in the clifting of a craig,
She found him drowned in Yarrow.[39]

Returning to Germany and to pure lyric, we have a pretty bit which is attached to many different songs.

High up on yonder mountain
A mill-wheel clatters round,
And, night or day, naught else but love
Within the mill is ground.
The mill has gone to ruin,
And love has had its day;
God bless thee now, my bonnie lass,
I wander far away.[40]

[Pg 5876] But there is a more cheerful vein in this sort of song; and the mountain offers pleasanter views:—

Oh yonder on the mountain,
There stands a lofty house,
Where morning after morning,
Yes, morning,
Three maids go in and out.[41]
The first she is my sister,
The second well is known,
The third, I will not name her,
No, name her,
And she shall be my own!

Finally, that pearl of German folk-song, 'Innsprück.' The wanderer must leave the town and his sweetheart; but he swears to be true, and prays that his love be kept safe till his return:—

Innsprück, I must forsake thee,
My weary way betake me
Unto a foreign shore,
And all my joy hath vanished,
And ne'er while I am banished
Shall I behold it more.
I bear a load of sorrow,
And comfort can I borrow,
Dear love, from thee alone.
Ah, let thy pity hover
About thy weary lover
When he is far from home.
My one true love! Forever
Thine will I bide, and never
Shall our dear vow be vain.
Now must our Lord God ward thee,
In peace and honor guard thee,
Until I come again.
A public document of Kamtschatka, written on birch bark.

In leaving the subject of folk-song, it is necessary for the reader not only to consider anew the loose and unscientific way in which this term has been employed, but also to bear in mind that few of the above specimens can lay claim to the title in any rigid classification. Long ago, a German critic reminded zealous collectors of his [Pg 5877] day that when one has dipped a pailful of water from the brook, one has captured no brook; and that when one has written down a folk-song, it has ceased to be that eternally changing, momentary, spontaneous, dance-begotten thing which once flourished everywhere as communal poetry. Always in flux, if it stopped it ceased to be itself. Modern lyric is deliberately composed by some one, mainly to be sung by some one else; the old communal lyric was sung by the throng and was made in the singing. When festal excitement at some great communal rejoicing in the life of clan or tribe "fought its battles o'er again," the result was narrative communal song. A disguised and baffled survival of this most ancient narrative is the popular ballad. Still more disguised, still more baffled, is the purely lyrical survival of that old communal and festal song; and the best one can do is to present those few specimens found under conditions which preserve certain qualities of a vanished world of poetry.

It may be asked why the contemporary songs found among Indian tribes of our continent, or among remote islanders in low stages of culture, should not reproduce for us the old type of communal verse. The answer is simple. Tribes which have remained in low stages of culture do not necessarily retain all the characteristics of primitive life among races which had the germs of rapidly developing culture. That communal poetry which gave life to the later epic of Hellenic or of Germanic song must have differed materially, no matter in what stage of development, from the uninteresting and monotonous chants of the savage. Moreover, the specimens of savage verse which we know retain the characteristics of communal verse, while they lack its nobler and vital quality. The dance, the spontaneous production, repetition,—these are all marked characteristics of savage verse. But savage verse cannot serve as model for our ideas of primitive folk-song.

F.B. Gummere

[1] For facsimile of the MS., music, and valuable remarks, see Chappell, 'Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time,' Vol. i., frontispiece, and pages 21 ff. For pronunciation, see A. J. Ellis, 'Early English Pronunciation,' ii., 419 ff. The translation given by Mr. Ellis is:—

"Summer has come in; loudly sing, cuckoo! Grows seed and blossoms mead and springs the wood now. Sing, cuckoo! Ewe bleats after lamb, lows after (its) calf the cow; bullock leaps, buck verts (seeks the green); merrily sing, cuckoo! Cuckoo, cuckoo! Well singest thou, cuckoo; cease thou not never now. Burden.—Sing, cuckoo, now; sing, cuckoo! Sing, cuckoo, sing cuckoo, now."—Lhude, wde (=wude), awe, calve, bucke, are dissyllabic. Mr. Ellis's translation of verteth is very doubtful.

[2] The first stanza in the original will show the structure of this true "ballad" in the primitive sense of a dance-song. There are five of these stanzas, carrying the same rhymes throughout:—

    A l'entrada del temps clar,—eya,—
    Per joja recomençar,—eya,—
    E per jelos irritar,—eya,—
    Vol la regina mostrar
    Qu' el' est si amoroza.


        Alavi', alavia, jelos,
        laissaz nos, laissaz nos
        ballar entre nos, entre nos!

[3] Games and songs of children are still to be found which preserve many of the features of these old dance-songs. The dramatic traits met with in the games point back now to the choral poetry of pagan times, when perhaps a bit of myth was enacted, now to the communal dance where the stealing of a bride may have been imitated.

[4] Unless otherwise credited, translations are by the writer.

[5] From 'Carmina Burana,' a collection of these songs in Latin and German preserved in a MS. of the thirteenth century; edited by J. A. Schmeller, Breslau, 1883. This song is page 181 ff., in German, 'Nu Suln Wir Alle Fröude Hân.'

[6] Ibid., page 178: 'Springe wir den Reigen.'

[7] Ibid., page 213: 'Ich wil Trûren Varen lân.'

[8] Article in 'Ballads,' Vol. iii., page 1340.

[9] Uhland, 'Volkslieder,' i. 12.

[10] Grundtvig, 'Danmarks Gamle Folkeviser,' iii. 161.

[11] We cannot widen our borders so as to include that solitary folk-song rescued from ancient Greek literature, the 'Song of the Swallow,' sung by children of the Island of Rhodes as they went about asking gifts from house to house at the coming of the earliest swallow. The metre is interesting in comparison with the rhythm of later European folk-songs, and there is evident dramatic action. Nor can we include the fragments of communal drama found in the favorite Debates Between Summer and Winter,—from the actual contest, to such lyrical forms as the song at the end of Shakespeare's 'Love's Labor's Lost.' The reader may be reminded of a good specimen of this class in 'Ivy and Holly,' printed by Ritson, 'Ancient Songs and Ballads,' Hazlitt's edition, page 114 ff., with the refrain:—

    Nay, Ivy, nay,
      Hyt shal not be, I wys;
    Let Holy hafe the maystry,
      As the maner ys.

[12] Folk-lore, mythology, sociology even, must share in this work. The reader may consult for indirect but valuable material such books as Frazer's 'Golden Bough,' or that admirable treatise, Tylor's 'Primitive Culture.'

[13] For early times translation from language to language is out of the question, certainly in the case of lyrics. It is very important to remember that primitive man regarded song as a momentary and spontaneous thing.

[14] Yet even rough Scandinavia took up this brilliant but doubtful love poetry. To one of the Norse kings is attributed a song in which the royal singer informs his "lady" by way of credentials for his wooing,—"I have struck a blow in the Saracen's land; let thy husband do the same!"

[15] 'Le Misanthrope,' i. 2; he calls it a vielle chanson. M. Tiersot concedes it to the popular muse, but thinks it is of the city, not of the country.

[16] May, a favorite ballad word for "maid," "sweetheart."

[17] 'Carm. Bur.,' page 185: "Wær diu werlt alliu mîn."

[18] See Child's Ballads, vi. 257, and Grandfer Cantle's ballad in Mr. Hardy's 'Return of the Native.' See next page.

[19] 'Carm. Bur.,' page 208: "Kume, Kume, geselle min."

[20] Translated from Böhme 'Altdeutsches Liederbuch,' Leipzig, 1877, page 233. Lovers of folk-song will find this book invaluable on account of the carefully edited musical accompaniments. With it and Chappell, the musician has ample material for English and German songs; for French, see Tiersot, 'La Chanson Populaire en France.'

[21] The garden in these later songs is constantly a symbol of love. To pluck the roses, etc., is conventional for making love.

[22] Quoted by Tiersot, page 88, from 'Chansons à Danser en Rond,' gathered before 1704.

[23] Böddeker's 'Old Poems from the Harleian MS. 2253,' with notes, etc., in German; Berlin, 1878, page 179.

[24] See also Ritson, 'Ancient Songs and Ballads,' 3rd Ed., pages xlviii., 202 ff. The Percy folio MS. preserved a cradle song, 'Balow, my Babe, ly Still and Sleepe,' which was published as a broadside, and finally came to be known as 'Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament.' These "balow" lullabies are said by Mr. Ebbsworth to be imitations of a pretty poem first published in 1593, and now printed by Mr. Bullen in his 'Songs from Elizabethan Romances,' page 92.

[25] Fere, companion, lover. "I would give all I have to be her lover."

[26] Superfluous verses; but the MS. makes no distinction. Free means noble, gracious. "If one could see everything between hell and heaven, one would find nothing so fair and noble."

[27] Lark. The poem is translated from Böddeker, page 161 ff.

[28] Traitor.

[29] Betray.

[30] The music in Chappell, page 141.

[31] Böhme, with music, page 94.

[32] Quoted by Child, 'Ballads,' iv. 318.

[33] Separated, divided.

[34] An equivalent to upside down, "in the wrong direction."

[35] See Tiersot, 'La Chanson Populaire,' p. 103, with the music. The final verses, simple as they are, are not rendered even remotely well. They run:—

    Que je suis sa fidèle amie,
    Et que vers lui je tends les bras.

[36] Tiersot, p. 90. In many versions there is further complication with king and queen and the lover. This song is extremely popular in Canada.

[37] Lightly (a verb) is to treat with contempt, to undervalue. Compare the burden quoted by Chappell, p. 458, and very old:—

    The bonny broome, the well-favored broome,
        The broome blooms faire on hill;
    What ailed my love to lightly me,
        And I working her will?

[38] Promised.

[39] Child's Ballads, vii. 179.

[40] Böhme, p. 271.

[41] The rhyme in German leaves even more to be desired.

[Pg 5878]




he name of Samuel Foote suggests a whimsical, plump little man, with a round face, twinkling eyes, and one of the readiest wits of the eighteenth century. This contemporary of the elder Colman, Cumberland, Mrs. Cowley, and the great Garrick, knew many famous men and women, and they admired as well as feared his talents.

Samuel Foote was born at Truro in 1720. He was a young boy when he first exhibited his powers of mimicry at his father's dinner-table. At that time he did not expect to earn his living by them, for he came of well-to-do people, and his mother, who was of aristocratic birth, inherited a comfortable fortune.

Throughout his school days at Worcester and his college days at Worcester College, Oxford, where he did not remain long enough to take a degree, and the idle days when he was supposed to be studying law at the Temple and was in reality frequenting coffee-houses and drawing-rooms as a young man of fashion, he was establishing a reputation for repartee, bons mots, and satiric imitation. So, when the wasteful youth had squandered all his money, he naturally turned to the stage as offering him the best opportunity. Like many another amateur addicted to a mistaken ambition, Foote first tried tragedy, and made his début as Othello. But in this and in other tragedies he was a failure; so he soon took to writing comic plays with parts especially adapted to himself. 'The Diversions of the Morning' was the first of a long series, of which 'The Mayor of Garratt,' 'The Lame Lover,' 'The Nabob,' and 'The Minor,' are among the best known. As these were written from the actor's rather than from the dramatist's point of view, they often seem faulty in construction and crude in literary quality. They are farces rather than true comedies. But they abound in witty dialogue, and in a satire which illuminates contemporary vices and follies.

Foote seems to have been curiously lacking in conscience. He lived his life with a gayety which no poverty, misfortune, or physical suffering could long dampen. When he had money he spent it lavishly, and when the supply ran short he racked his clever brains to make a new hit. To accomplish this he was utterly unscrupulous, and never spared his friends or those to whom he was indebted, [Pg 5879] if he saw good material in their foibles. His victims smarted, but his ready tongue and personal geniality usually extricated him from consequent unpleasantness. Garrick, who aided him repeatedly, and who dreaded ridicule above all things, was his favorite butt, yet remained his friend. The irate members of the East India Company, who called upon him armed with stout cudgels to administer a castigation for an offensive libel in 'The Nabob,' were so speedily mollified that they laid their cudgels aside with their hats, and accepted his invitation to dinner.

To us, much of his charm has evaporated, for it lay in these very personalities which held well-known people up to ridicule with a precision which made it impossible for the originals to escape recognition. Even irascible Dr. Johnson, who wished to disapprove of him, admitted that there was no one like "that fellow Foote." So this "Aristophanes of the English stage" was mourned when he died at the age of fifty-seven, and a company of his friends and fellow-actors buried him one evening by the dim light of torches in a cloister of Westminster Abbey.

There is often a boisterous unreserve in the plays of Foote, as in other eighteenth-century drama, which revolts modern taste. As they consist of character study rather than incident, mere extracts are apt to appear incomplete and meaningless. Therefore it seems fairer to represent the famous wit not alone by formal citation, but also by some of his bons mots extracted from the collection of William Cooke in his 'Memoirs of Samuel Foote' (2 vols. 1806).


From 'The Lame Lover'

Enter Jack

Serjeant—So, Jack, anybody at chambers to-day?

Jack—Fieri Facias from Fetter Lane, about the bill to be filed by Kit Crape against Will Vizard this term.

Serjeant—Praying for an equal partition of plunder?

Jack—Yes, sir.

Serjeant—Strange world we live in, that even highwaymen can't be true to each other! [Half aside to himself.] But we shall make Vizard refund; we'll show him what long hands the law has.

Jack—Facias says that in all the books he can't hit a precedent. [Pg 5880]

Serjeant—Then I'll make one myself; Aut inveniam, aut faciam, has been always my motto. The charge must be made for partnership profit, by bartering lead and gunpowder against money, watches, and rings, on Epping Forest, Hounslow Heath, and other parts of the kingdom.

Jack—He says if the court should get scent of the scheme, the parties would all stand committed.

Serjeant—Cowardly rascal! but however, the caution mayn't prove amiss. [Aside.] I'll not put my own name to the bill.

Jack—The declaration, too, is delivered in the cause of Roger Rapp'em against Sir Solomon Simple.

Serjeant—What, the affair of the note?


Serjeant—Why, he is clear that his client never gave such a note.

Jack—Defendant never saw plaintiff since the hour he was born; but notwithstanding, they have three witnesses to prove a consideration and signing the note.

Serjeant—They have!

Jack—He is puzzled what plea to put in.

SerjeantThree witnesses ready, you say?


Serjeant—Tell him Simple must acknowledge the note [Jack starts]; and bid him against the trial comes on, to procure four persons at least to prove the payment at the Crown and Anchor, the 10th of December.

Jack—But then how comes the note to remain in plaintiff's possession?

Serjeant—Well put, Jack: but we have a salvo for that; plaintiff happened not to have the note in his pocket, but promised to deliver it up when called thereunto by defendant.

Jack—That will do rarely.

Serjeant—Let the defense be a secret; for I see we have able people to deal with. But come, child, not to lose time, have you carefully conned those instructions I gave you?

Jack—Yes, sir.

Serjeant—Well, that we shall see. How many points are the great object of practice?


Serjeant—Which are they?

Jack—The first is to put a man into possession of what is his right.[Pg 5881]

Serjeant—The second?

Jack—Either to deprive a man of what is really his right, or to keep him as long as possible out of possession.

Serjeant—Good boy! To gain the last end, what are the best means to be used?

Jack—Various and many are the legal modes of delay.

Serjeant—Name them.

Jack—Injunctions, demurrers, sham pleas, writs of error, rejoinders, sur-rejoinders, rebutters, sur-rebutters, re-plications, exceptions, essoigns, and imparlance.

Serjeant [to himself]—Fine instruments in the hands of a man who knows how to use them. But now, Jack, we come to the point: if an able advocate has his choice in a cause, which if he is in reputation he may readily have, which side should he choose, the right or the wrong?

Jack—A great lawyer's business is always to make choice of the wrong.

Serjeant—And prithee, why so?

Jack—Because a good cause can speak for itself, whilst a bad one demands an able counselor to give it a color.

Serjeant—Very well. But in what respects will this answer to the lawyer himself?

Jack—In a twofold way. Firstly, his fees will be large in proportion to the dirty work he is to do.


Jack—His reputation will rise, by obtaining the victory in a desperate cause.

Serjeant—Right, boy. Are you ready in the case of the cow?

Jack—Pretty well, I believe.

Serjeant—Give it, then.

Jack—First of April, anno seventeen hundred and blank, John a-Nokes was indicted by blank, before blank, in the county of blank, for stealing a cow, contra pacem, etc., and against the statute in that case provided and made, to prevent stealing of cattle.

Serjeant—Go on.

Jack—Said Nokes was convicted upon the said statute.

Serjeant—What followed upon?

Jack—Motion in arrest of judgment, made by Counselor Puzzle. First, because the field from whence the cow was conveyed is laid in the indictment as round, but turned out upon proof to be square.[Pg 5882]

Serjeant—That's well. A valid objection.

Jack—Secondly, because in said indictment the color of the cow is called red; there being no such things in rerum natura as red cows, no more than black lions, spread eagles, flying griffins, or blue boars.

Serjeant—Well put.

Jack—Thirdly, said Nokes has not offended against form of the statute; because stealing of cattle is there provided against: whereas we are only convicted of stealing a cow. Now, though cattle may be cows, yet it does by no means follow that cows must be cattle.

Serjeant—Bravo, bravo! buss me, you rogue; you are your father's own son! go on and prosper. I am sorry, dear Jack, I must leave thee. If Providence but sends thee life and health, I prophesy thou wilt wrest as much land from the owners, and save as many thieves from the gallows, as any practitioner since the days of King Alfred.

Jack—I'll do my endeavor. [Exit Serjeant.]


From 'The Lame Lover'

Sir Luke—A pox o' your law; you make me lose sight of my story. One morning a Welsh coach-maker came with his bill to my lord, whose name was unluckily Lloyd. My lord had the man up: "You are called, I think, Mr. Lloyd?"—"At your Lordship's service, my lord."—"What, Lloyd with an L?"—"It was with an L indeed, my lord."—"Because in your part of the world I have heard that Lloyd and Floyd were synonymous, the very same names."—"Very often indeed, my Lord."—"But you always spell yours with an L?"—"Always."—"That, Mr. Lloyd, is a little unlucky; for you must know I am now paying my debts alphabetically, and in four or five years you might have come in with an F; but I am afraid I can give you no hopes for your L. Ha, ha, ha!"

[Pg 5883]


A Cure for Bad Poetry

A physician of Bath told him that he had a mind to publish his own poems; but he had so many irons in the fire he did not well know what to do.

"Then take my advice, doctor," said Foote, "and put your poems where your irons are."

The Retort Courteous

Following a man in the street, who did not bear the best of characters, Foote slapped him familiarly on the shoulder, thinking he was an intimate friend. On discovering his mistake he cried out, "Oh, sir, I beg your pardon! I really took you for a gentleman who—"

"Well, sir," said the other, "and am I not a gentleman?"

"Nay, sir," said Foote, "if you take it in that way, I must only beg your pardon a second time."

On Garrick's Stature

Previously to Foote's bringing out his 'Primitive Puppet Show' at the Haymarket Theatre, a lady of fashion asked him, "Pray, sir, are your puppets to be as large as life?"

"Oh dear, madam, no. Not much above the size of Garrick!"

Cape Wine

Being at the dinner-table one day when the Cape was going round in remarkably small glasses, his host was very profuse on the excellence of the wine, its age, etc. "But you don't seem to relish it, Foote, by keeping your glass so long before you."

"Oh, yes, my lord, perfectly well. I am only admiring how little it is, considering its great age."

The Graces

Of an actress who was remarkably awkward with her arms, Foote said that "she kept the Graces at arm's-length."

[Pg 5884]

The Debtor

Of a young gentleman who was rather backward in paying his debts, he said he was "a very promising young gentleman."


An assuming, pedantic lady, boasting of the many books which she had read, often quoted 'Locke Upon Understanding,' a work she said she admired above all things, yet there was one word in it which, though often repeated, she could not distinctly make out; and that was the word ide-a (pronouncing it very long): "but I suppose it comes from a Greek derivation."

"You are perfectly right, madam," said Foote, "it comes from the word ideaousky."

"And pray, sir, what does that mean?"

"The feminine of idiot, madam."

Arithmetical Criticism

A mercantile man of his acquaintance, who would read a poem of his to him one day after dinner, pompously began:—

"Hear me, O Phœbus! and ye Muses nine!
Pray be attentive."

"I am," said Foote. "Nine and one are ten: go on."

The Dear Wife

A gentleman just married, telling Foote that he had that morning laid out three thousand pounds in jewels for his "dear wife": "Well," said the other, "you have but done her justice, as by your own reckoning she must be a very valuable woman."

Garrick and the Guinea

Foote and Garrick, supping together at the Bedford, the former in pulling out his purse to pay the reckoning dropped a guinea, which rolled in such a direction that they could not readily find it.

"Where the deuce," says Foote, "can it be gone to?"

"Gone to the Devil, I suppose," said Garrick.

"Well said, David; you are always what I took you for, ever contriving to make a guinea go farther than any other man."

[Pg 5885]

Dr. Paul Hifferman

Paul was fond of laying, or rather offering, wagers. One day in the heat of argument he cried out, "I'll lay my head you are wrong upon that point."

"Well," said Foote, "I accept the wager. Any trifle, among friends, has a value."

Foote and Macklin

One night, when Macklin was formally preparing to begin a lecture, hearing Foote rattling away at the lower end of the room, and thinking to silence him at once, he called out in his sarcastic manner, "Pray, young gentleman, do you know what I am going to say?"

"No, sir," said Foote quickly: "do you?"

Baron Newman

This celebrated gambler (well known about town thirty years ago by the title of the left-handed Baron), being detected in the rooms at Bath in the act of secreting a card, the company in the warmth of their resentment threw him out of the window of a one-pair-of-stairs room, where they were playing. The Baron, meeting Foote some time afterward, loudly complained of this usage, and asked him what he should do to repair his injured honor.

"Do?" said the wit; "why, 'tis a plain case: never play so high again as long as you live."

Mrs. Abington

When Mrs. Abington returned from her very first successful trip to Ireland, Foote wished to engage her for his summer theatre; but in the mean time Garrick secured her for Drury Lane. Foote, on hearing this, asked her why she gave Garrick the preference.

"I don't know how it was," said she: "he talked me over by telling me that he would make me immortal, so that I did not know how to refuse him."

"Oh! did he so? Then I'll soon outbid him that way; for come to me and I will give you two pounds a week more, and charge you nothing for immortality."

[Pg 5886]


Laughing at the imbecilities of a common friend one day, somebody observed, "It was very surprising; and Tom D —— knew him very well, and thought him far from being a fool."

"Ah, poor Tom!" said Foote, "he is like one of those people who eat garlic themselves, and therefore can't smell it in a companion."

Mode of Burying Attorneys in London

A gentleman in the country, who had just buried a rich relation who was an attorney, was complaining to Foote, who happened to be on a visit with him, of the very great expense of a country funeral in respect to carriages, hat-bands, scarves, etc.

"Why, do you bury your attorneys here?" asked Foote gravely.

"Yes, to be sure we do; how else?"

"Oh, we never do that in London."

"No?" said the other much surprised, "how do you manage?"

"Why, when the patient happens to die, we lay him out in a room over night by himself, lock the door, throw open the sash, and in the morning he is entirely off."

"Indeed!" said the other in amazement; "what becomes of him?"

"Why, that we cannot exactly tell, not being acquainted with supernatural causes. All that we know of the matter is, that there's a strong smell of brimstone in the room the next morning."

Dining Badly

Foote, returning from dinner with a lord of the admiralty, was met by a friend, who asked him what sort of a day he had had. "Very indifferent indeed; bad company and a worse dinner."

"I wonder at that," said the other, "as I thought the admiral a good jolly fellow."

"Why, as to that, he may be a good sea lord, but take it from me, he is a very bad landlord."

[Pg 5887]

Dibble Davis

Dibble Davis, one of Foote's butts-in-ordinary, dining with him one day at North-end, observed that "well as he loved porter, he could never drink it without a head."

"That must be a mistake, Dibble," returned his host, "as you have done so to my knowledge alone these twenty years."

An Extraordinary Case

Being at the levee of Lord Townsend, when that nobleman was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he thought he saw a person in his Excellency's suite whom he had known to have lived many years a life of expediency in London. To convince himself of the fact, he asked his Excellency who it was.

"That is Mr. T——, one of my gentlemen at large," was the answer. "Do you know him?"

"Oh, yes! perfectly well," said Foote, "and what your Excellency tells me is doubly extraordinary: first, that he is a gentleman; and next, that he is at large."

Mutability of the World

Being at dinner in a mixed company soon after the bankruptcy of one friend and the death of another, the conversation naturally turned on the mutability of the world. "Can you account for this?" said S——, a master builder, who happened to sit next to Foote. "Why, not very clearly," said the other; "except we could suppose the world was built by contract."

An Appropriate Motto

During one of Foote's trips to Dublin, he was much solicited by a silly young man of fashion to assist him in a miscellany of poems and essays which he was about to publish; but when he asked to see the manuscript, the other told him "that at present he had only conceived the different subjects, but had put none of them to paper."

"Oh! if that be the state of the case," replied Foote, "I will give you a motto from Milton for the work in its present state:

'Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.'"

[Pg 5888]

Real Friendship

A young gentleman, making an apology to his father for coming late to dinner, said "that he had been visiting a poor friend of his in St. George's Fields." "Ah! a pretty kind of friend indeed," says the father, "to keep us waiting for dinner in this manner."

"Aye, and for the best kind, too," said Foote: "as you know, my dear sir, a friend in need is a friend indeed."

Anecdote of an Author

An author was boasting that as a reviewer he had the power of distributing literary reputations as he liked. "Take care," said Foote, "you are not too prodigal of that, or you may leave none for yourself."

Dr. Blair

When Foote first heard of Dr. Blair's writing 'Notes on Ossian' (a work the reality of which has always been much doubted), he observed, "The publishers ought to allow a great discount to the purchaser, as the notes required such a stretch of credit."

Advice To a Dramatic Writer

A dull dramatic writer, who had often felt the severity of the public, was complaining one day to Foote of the injustice done him by the critics; but added, "I have, however, one way of being even with them, by constantly laughing at all they say."

"You do perfectly right, my friend," said Foote; "for by this method you will not only disappoint your enemies, but lead the merriest life of any man in England."

The Grafton Ministry

A gentleman coming into the Cocoa-Tree one morning during the Duke of Grafton's administration, was observing "that he was afraid the poor ministry were at their wits' end."

"Well, if it should be so," said Foote, "what reason have they to complain of so short a journey?"

[Pg 5889]




he dramatic genius of the English Renaissance had well-nigh spent itself when the sombre creations of John Ford appeared upon a stage over which the clouds of the Civil War were fast gathering. Little is known of this dramatist, who represents the decadent period which followed the age of Shakespeare. He was born in 1586; entered the Middle Temple in 1602; after 1641 he is swallowed up in the turmoil of the time. The few scattered records of his life add nothing to, nor do they take anything from, the John Ford of 'The Broken Heart' and 'Perkin Warbeck.'

His plays are infected with a spirit alien to the poise and beauty of the best Elizabethan drama. His creations tell of oblique vision; of a disillusioned genius, predisposed to abnormal or exaggerated forms of human experience. He breaks through the moral order, in his love for the eccentricities of passion. He weaves the spell of his genius around strange sins.

The problems of despair which Ford propounds but never solves, form the plot of 'The Broken Heart'; Calantha, Ithocles, Penthea, Orgilus, are wan types of the passive suffering which numbs the soul to death. Charles Lamb has eulogized the final scene of this drama. To many critics, the self-possession of Calantha savors of the theatrical. The scene between Penthea and her brother Ithocles, who had forced her to marry Bassanes though she loved Orgilus, is replete with the tenderness, the sense of subdued anguish, of which Ford was a master. He is the dramatist of broken hearts, whose waste places are unrelieved by a touch of sunlight. His love of "passion at war with circumstance" again finds expression in 'Love's Sacrifice,' a drama of moral confusions. In 'The Lover's Melancholy' sorrow has grown pensive. A quiet beauty rests upon the famous scene in which Parthenophil strives with the nightingale for the prize of music.

'The Lady's Trial,' 'The Fancies Chaste and Noble,' 'The Sun's Darling' (written in conjunction with Dekker), are worthy only of passing notice. They leave but a pale impression upon the mind. In 'Perkin Warbeck,' the one historical play of Ford, he exhibits his mastery over straightforward, sinewy verse. 'The Witch of Edmonton,' of which he wrote the first act, gives a signal example of his modern style and spirit.[Pg 5890]

With the exception of 'Perkin Warbeck,' his dramas are destitute of outlook. This moral contraction heightens the intensity of passion, which in his conception of it has always its ancient significance of suffering. His comic scenes are contemptible. He is at his greatest when dealing with the subtleties of the human heart. Through him we enter into the darker zones of the soul; we apprehend its remoter sufferings. Confusion of spiritual vision, blended with the tyranny of passion, produce his greatest scenes. His are the tragedies of "unfulfilled desire."

The verse of Ford is measured, passionless, polished. There is a subtle music in his lines which haunts the memory.

"Parthenophil is lost, and I would see him;
For he is like to something I remember,
A great while since, a long, long time ago."

With Ford the sun-born radiance of the noblest Elizabethan drama fades from the stage. An artificial light, thereafter, replaced it.


[Perkin Warbeck and his followers are presented to King Henry VII. by Lord Dawbeny as prisoners.]


Life to the King, and safety fix his throne.
I here present you, royal sir, a shadow
Of Majesty, but in effect a substance
Of pity; a young man, in nothing grown
To ripeness, but th' ambition of your mercy;
Perkin, the Christian world's strange wonder!

King Henry

We observe no wonder; I behold ('tis true)
An ornament of nature, fine and polished,
A handsome youth, indeed, but not admire him.
How come he to thy hands?


From sanctuary.
At Bewley, near Southampton; registered,
With these few followers, for persons privileged.

King Henry

I must not thank you, sir! you were to blame
To infringe the liberty of houses sacred;
Dare we be irreligious?


Gracious lord!
They voluntarily resigned themselves,
Without compulsion.

[Pg 5891]

King Henry

So? 'twas very well
'Twas very well. Turn now thine eyes,
Young man! upon thyself and thy past actions:
What revels in combustion through our kingdom
A frenzy of aspiring youth has danced;
Till wanting breath, thy feet of pride have slipt
To break thy neck.


But not my heart; my heart
Will mount till every drop of blood be frozen
By death's perpetual winter. If the sun
Of Majesty be darkened, let the sun
Of life be hid from me, in an eclipse
Lasting and universal. Sir, remember
There was a shooting in of light when Richmond
(Not aiming at the crown) retired, and gladly,
For comfort to the Duke of Bretagne's court.
Richard, who swayed the sceptre, was reputed
A tyrant then; yet then, a dawning glimmer'd
To some few wand'ring remnants, promising day
When first they ventur'd on a frightful shore
At Milford Haven.


Whither speeds his boldness?
Check his rude tongue, great sir.

King Henry

Oh, let him range:
The player's on the stage still; 'tis his part:
He does but act.—What followed?


Bosworth Field:
Where at an instant, to the world's amazement,
A morn to Richmond and a night to Richard
Appear'd at once. The tale is soon applied:
Fate which crowned these attempts, when least assured,
Might have befriended others, like resolved.

King Henry

A pretty gallant! thus your aunt of Burgundy,
Your duchess aunt, informed her nephew: so
The lesson, prompted, and well conned, was molded
Into familiar dialogue, oft rehearsed,
Till, learnt by heart, 'tis now received for truth.


Truth in her pure simplicity wants art
To put a feigned blush on; scorn wears only
Such fashion as commends to gazers' eyes
Sad ulcerated novelty, far beneath; in such a court
Wisdom and gravity are proper robes
By which the sovereign is best distinguished
From zanies to his greatness.

[Pg 5892]

King Henry

Sirrah, shift
Your antic pageantry, and now appear
In your own nature; or you'll taste the danger
Of fooling out of season.


I expect
No less than what severity calls justice,
And politicians safety; let such beg
As feed on alms: but if there can be mercy
In a protested enemy, then may it
Descend to these poor creatures whose engagements
To the bettering of their fortunes have incurred
A loss of all to them, if any charity
Flow from some noble orator; in death
I owe the fee of thankfulness.

King Henry

So brave?
What a bold knave is this!
We trifle time with follies.
Urswick, command the Dukeling and these fellows
To Digby, the Lieutenant of the Tower.


Noble thoughts
Meet freedom in captivity: the Tower,
Our childhood's dreadful nursery!

King Henry

Was ever so much impudence in forgery?
The custom, sure, of being styled a king
Hath fastened in his thought that he is such.


From 'The Broken Heart'

Oh, no more, no more,—too late;
Sighs are spent; the burning tapers
Of a life as chaste as fate,
Pure as are unwritten papers,
Are burnt out; no heat, no light
Now remains; 'tis ever night.
Love is dead; let lovers' eyes
Locked in endless dreams,
Th' extremes of all extremes,
Ope no more, for now Love dies;
Now Love dies—implying
Love's martyrs must be ever, ever dying.

[Pg 5893]


Amethus and Menaphon


Passing from Italy to Greece, the tales
Which poets of an elder time have feigned
To glorify their Temple, bred in me
Desire of visiting that paradise.
To Thessaly I came; and living private
Without acquaintance of more sweet companions
Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts,
I day by day frequented silent groves
And solitary walks. One morning early
This accident encountered me: I heard
The sweetest and most ravishing contention
That art and nature ever were at strife in.


I cannot yet conceive what you infer
By art and nature.


I shall soon resolve ye.
A sound of music touched my ears, or rather
Indeed entranced my soul. As I stole nearer,
Invited by the melody, I saw
This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute,
With strains of strange variety and harmony,
Proclaiming, as it seemed, so bold a challenge
To the clear quiristers of the woods, the birds,
That, as they flocked about him, all stood silent,
Wondering at what they heard: I wondered too.


And so do I: good, on!


A nightingale,
Nature's best skilled musician, undertakes
The challenge, and for every several strain
The well-shaped youth could touch, she sung her own;
He could not run division with more art
Upon his quaking instrument than she,
The nightingale, did with her various notes
Reply to: for a voice and for a sound,
Amethus, 'tis much easier to believe
That such they were than hope to hear again.


How did the rivals part?

[Pg 5894]


You term them rightly;
For they were rivals, and their mistress harmony.
Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last
Into a pretty anger, that a bird,
Whom art had never taught cliffs, moods, or notes,
Should vie with him for mastery, whose study
Had busied many hours to perfect practice.
To end the controversy, in a rapture
Upon his instrument he plays so swiftly
So many voluntaries and so quick,
That there was curiosity and cunning,
Concord in discord, lines of differing method
Meeting in one full centre of delight.


Now for the bird.


The bird, ordained to be
Music's first martyr, strove to imitate
These several sounds; which when her warbling throat
Failed in, for grief down dropped she on his lute,
And brake her heart. It was the quaintest sadness,
To see the conqueror upon her hearse
To weep a funeral elegy of tears;
That trust me, my Amethus, I could chide
Mine own unmanly weakness that made me
A fellow mourner with him.


I believe thee.


He looked upon the trophies of his art,
Then sighed, then wiped his eyes, then sighed and cried:—
"Alas, poor creature! I will soon revenge
This cruelty upon the author of it;
Henceforth this lute, guilty of innocent blood,
Shall never more betray a harmless peace
To an untimely end:" and in that sorrow,
As he was pushing it against a tree,
I suddenly stept in.

[Pg 5895]




he romantic school had many false and erratic tendencies, but it produced some of the most fanciful and poetic creations of literature. Fouqué was called the Don Quixote of the Romanticists, and his early romances of chivalry were devoured by the public as quickly as they appeared. But his fame proved to be a passing fancy; and his later works scarcely found a publisher. This was owing partly to a change in public taste, and partly to his mannerisms. His descriptions often deteriorate into tediousness, and the narrative is broken by far-fetched digressions. He was so imbued with the spirit of chivalry that he became one-sided, and his scenes were always laid in "the chapel or the tilt-yard." Critics of his time speak of his mediæval romances as "full of sweet strength and lovely virtue." Others say "the heroes are almost absurd, and do not arouse enthusiasm." Heine asserts that Fouqué's laurel is genuine; Coleridge places him above Walter Scott; Thomas Carlyle compares him to Southey, and describes him as a man of genius, with little more than an ordinary share of talent. Fouqué was introduced to romanticism by Wilhelm von Schlegel, and drew his first inspiration from Cervantes. Whatever his shortcomings, it cannot be denied that he succeeded in catching the spirit of chivalry. His knights may be unreal and quixotic, but he delineates his characters with the irresistible touch of a poet, and his work displays noble thoughts and depth of feeling.

Fouqué Fouqué

Friedrich, Baron de la Motte Fouqué, was descended from a French family that had emigrated to Prussia, and his grandfather was a general under Frederick the Great. Fouqué was born at Brandenburg, February 12th, 1777, and was a thorough German at heart. He received a military education, and at the age of nineteen proved himself a brave soldier in the campaign of the Rhine. He served under the Duke of Weimar, and his friend, and comrade in arms was the wonderfully gifted but unfortunate Heinrich von Kleist. He was obliged to resign on account of ill health, and withdrawing to his [Pg 5896] estates he devoted himself to literary pursuits. Once again, however, in the exciting times of the war against Napoleon, his sword defended his country. He enlisted as a volunteer, and was afterwards honorably retired with the rank of major and decorated with the Order of St. John. One of his patriotic poems, 'Frisch auf zum Fröhlichen Jagen' (Come, rouse ye for the merry hunt), with reference to the rising against Napoleon, is still a popular song. In Halle, Fouqué delivered lectures on history and poetry which attracted much attention and admiration. In 1842 he was called to Berlin by Frederick William IV., but his literary efforts were at an end. He died in Berlin, January 23d, 1843.

At the beginning of this century, Fouqué was one of the most celebrated authors. At the present day, with a few brilliant exceptions, all of his plays, romances, and poems have been relegated to oblivion. There is one work, however, a gem in German literature, that has won for its author an enduring place in the memory of readers; and that is the charming and graceful narrative of 'Undine.' It affords an example of the writer's best style of production; it breathes the fresh fragrance of the woods, and is animated by the beautiful thought that peoples the sea and air with nymphs and spirits. With exquisite tenderness Fouqué portrays the beautiful character of Undine. At first her nature reflects all the capriciousness of the elements, then, gradually growing more human through her love, her soul expands and she becomes an ideal of womanly love, devotion, and unselfishness.

The real and unreal are so perfectly blended in this story, that the suffering of Undine excites deep sympathy. Undine, the foster-daughter of a good old fisherman and his wife, is a water nymph, and as such is born without a soul. The knight Huldbrand von Ringstetten is sent by Bertalda in quest of adventure, and riding through an enchanted forest he reaches the fisherman's hut, where he is detained by a storm. He falls in love with the laughing, wayward Undine, and marries her. At once the bewitching maiden gives up her wild pranks, grows gentle, and is devoted to the knight with all her heart; for through her marriage to a human being she receives a soul. Her uncle Kühleborn, a forest brook, tries to entice her back to her native element the sea.

The bridal couple go to their castle, where Bertalda joins them, doing much to disturb their happiness. Huldbrand, though he still loves his beautiful wife, cannot at times suppress an instinctive shudder, and he is attracted to Bertalda, whose nature is more akin to his own.

One day, while they are sailing on the Danube, Kühleborn manages to steal away a necklace with which Bertalda is playing in the [Pg 5897] water. Undine richly compensates Bertalda for her loss by a much rarer gift, but Huldbrand angrily upbraids her for continuing to hold intercourse with her uncanny relatives. In tears she parts from him, and vanishes in the waves. The knight marries Bertalda, but on the wedding-day, Undine, deeply veiled, rises from the sea to claim her husband, and with a kiss she takes away his life.

Heine says of 'Undine':—

"A wondrous lovely poem. The genius of Poetry kissed slumbering Spring, and smiling he opened his eyes, and all the roses and the nightingales sang; and what the fragrant roses said and what the nightingales sang, our worthy Fouqué put into words and called it 'Undine.'"


From 'Undine'

Before the nuptial ceremony, and during its performance, Undine had shown a modest gentleness and maidenly reserve; but it now seemed as if all the wayward freaks that effervesced within her burst forth with an extravagance only the more bold and unrestrained. She teased her bridegroom, her foster-parents, and even the priest, whom she had just now revered so highly, with all sorts of childish tricks; but when the ancient dame was about to reprove her too frolicsome spirit, the knight in a few words imposed silence upon her by speaking of Undine as his wife.

The knight was himself indeed just as little pleased with Undine's childish behavior as the rest; but all his looks and half-reproachful words were to no purpose. It is true, whenever the bride observed the dissatisfaction of her husband—and this occasionally happened—she became more quiet, and placed herself beside him, stroked his face with caressing fondness, whispered something smilingly in his ear, and in this manner smoothed the wrinkles that were gathering on his brow. But the moment after, some wild whim would make her resume her antic movements; and all went worse than before.

The priest then spoke in a kind although serious tone:—

"My fair young maiden, surely no one can look on you without pleasure; but remember betimes so to attune your soul, that it may produce a harmony ever in accordance with the soul of your wedded bridegroom."[Pg 5898]

"Soul!" cried Undine, with a laugh. "What you say has a remarkably pretty sound; and for most people, too, it may be a very instructive and profitable caution. But when a person has no soul at all, how, I pray you, can such attuning be then possible? And this in truth is just my condition."

The priest was much hurt, but continued silent in holy displeasure, and turned away his face from the maiden in sorrow. She went up to him, however, with the most winning sweetness, and said:—

"Nay, I entreat you, first listen to me, before you are angry with me; for your anger is painful to me, and you ought not to give pain to a creature that has not hurt you. Only have patience with me, and I will explain to you every word of what I meant."

It was evident that she had come to say something important; when she suddenly faltered as if seized with inward shuddering, and burst into a passion of tears. They were none of them able to understand the intenseness of her feelings; and with mingled emotions of fear and anxiety, they gazed on her in silence. Then wiping away her tears and looking earnestly at the priest, she at last said:—

"There must be something lovely, but at the same time something most awful, about a soul. In the name of God, holy man, were it not better that we never shared a gift so mysterious?"

Again she paused, and restrained her tears, as if waiting for an answer. All in the cottage had risen from their seats, and stepped back from her with horror. She, however, seemed to have eyes for no one but the holy man; an awful curiosity was painted on her features, which appeared terrible to the others.

"Heavily must the soul weigh down its possessor," she pursued, when no one returned her any answer—"very heavily! for already its approaching image overshadows me with anguish and mourning. And alas, I have till now been so merry and light-hearted!" and she burst into another flood of tears and covered her face with her veil.

The priest, going up to her with a solemn look, now addressed himself to her, and conjured her, by the name of God most holy, if any spirit of evil possessed her, to remove the light covering from her face. But she sank before him on her knees, and repeated after him every sacred expression he uttered, giving praise to God, and protesting that she "wished well to the whole world."[Pg 5899]

The priest then spoke to the knight: "Sir bridegroom, I leave you alone with her whom I have united to you in marriage. So far as I can discover there is nothing of evil in her, but assuredly much that is wonderful. What I recommend to you is prudence, love, and fidelity."

Thus speaking, he left the apartment; and the fisherman with his wife followed him, crossing themselves.

Undine had sunk upon her knees. She uncovered her face, and exclaimed, while she looked fearfully round upon Huldbrand, "Alas, you will now refuse to look upon me as your own; and I still have done nothing evil, poor unhappy child that I am!" She spoke these words with a look so infinitely sweet and touching, that her bridegroom forgot both the confession that had shocked and the mystery that had perplexed him; and hastening to her, he raised her in his arms. She smiled through her tears; and that smile was like the morning light playing upon a small stream. "You cannot desert me!" she whispered confidingly, and stroked the knight's cheeks with her little soft hands. He turned away from the frightful thoughts that still lurked in the recesses of his soul, and were persuading him that he had been married to a fairy, or some spiteful and mischievous being of the spirit world. Only the single question, and that almost unawares, escaped from his lips:—

"Dearest Undine, tell me this one thing: what was it you meant by 'spirits of earth' and 'Kühleborn,' when the priest stood knocking at the door?"

"Tales! mere tales of children!" answered Undine laughing, now quite restored to her wonted gayety. "I first frightened you with them, and you frightened me. This is the end of my story, and of our nuptial evening."

"Nay, not so," replied the enamored knight, extinguishing the tapers, and a thousand times kissing his beautiful and beloved bride; while, lighted by the moon that shone brightly through the windows, he bore her into their bridal apartment.

The fresh light of morning woke the young married pair: but Huldbrand lay lost in silent reflection. Whenever, during the night, he had fallen asleep, strange and horrible dreams of spectres had disturbed him; and these shapes, grinning at him by stealth, strove to disguise themselves as beautiful females; and from beautiful females they all at once assumed the appearance of dragons. And when he started up, aroused by the intrusion [Pg 5900] of these hideous forms, the moonlight shone pale and cold before the windows without. He looked affrighted at Undine, in whose arms he had fallen asleep: and she was reposing in unaltered beauty and sweetness beside him. Then pressing her rosy lips with a light kiss, he again fell into a slumber, only to be awakened by new terrors.

When fully awake he had thought over this connection. He reproached himself for any doubt that could lead him into error in regard to his lovely wife. He also confessed to her his injustice; but she only gave him her fair hand, sighed deeply, and remained silent. Yet a glance of fervent tenderness, an expression of the soul beaming in her eyes, such as he had never witnessed there before, left him in undoubted assurance that Undine bore him no ill-will.

He then rose joyfully, and leaving her, went to the common apartment, where the inmates of the house had already met. The three were sitting round the hearth with an air of anxiety about them, as if they feared trusting themselves to raise their voice above a low, apprehensive undertone. The priest appeared to be praying in his inmost spirit, with a view to avert some fatal calamity. But when they observed the young husband come forth so cheerful, they dispelled the cloud that remained upon their brows: the old fisherman even began to laugh with the knight, till his aged wife herself could not help smiling with great good-humor.

Undine had in the mean time got ready, and now entered the room: all rose to meet her, but remained fixed in perfect admiration—she was so changed, and yet the same. The priest, with paternal affection beaming from his countenance, first went up to her; and as he raised his hand to pronounce a blessing, the beautiful bride sank on her knees before him with religious awe; she begged his pardon in terms both respectful and submissive for any foolish things she might have uttered the evening before, and entreated him with emotion to pray for the welfare of her soul. She then rose, kissed her foster-parents, and after thanking them for all the kindness they had shown her, said:

"Oh, I now feel in my inmost heart how much, how infinitely much, you have done for me, you dear, dear friends of my childhood!"

At first she was wholly unable to tear herself away from their affectionate caresses; but the moment she saw the good old [Pg 5901] mother busy in getting breakfast, she went to the hearth, applied herself to cooking the food and putting it on the table, and would not suffer her to take the least share in the work.

She continued in this frame of spirit the whole day: calm, kind, attentive—half matronly and half girlish. The three who had been longest acquainted with her expected every instant to see her capricious spirit break out in some whimsical change or sportive vagary. But their fears were quite unnecessary. Undine continued as mild and gentle as an angel. The priest found it all but impossible to remove his eyes from her; and he often said to the bridegroom:—

"The bounty of Heaven, sir, through me its unworthy instrument, intrusted to you yesterday an invaluable treasure: cherish it as you ought, and it will promote your temporal and eternal welfare."

Toward evening Undine was hanging upon the knight's arm with lowly tenderness, while she drew him gently out before the door, where the setting sun shone richly over the fresh grass and upon the high slender boles of the trees. Her emotion was visible; the dew of sadness and love swam in her eyes, while a tender and fearful secret seemed to hover upon her lips, but was only made known by hardly breathed sighs. She led her husband farther and farther onward without speaking. When he asked her questions, she replied only with looks, in which, it is true, there appeared to be no immediate answer to his inquiries, but a whole heaven of love and timid devotion. Thus they reached the margin of the swollen forest stream, and the knight was astonished to see it gliding away with so gentle a murmuring of its waves, that no vestige of its former swell and wildness was now discernible.

"By morning it will be wholly drained off," said the beautiful wife, almost weeping, "and you will then be able to travel, without anything to hinder you, whithersoever you will."

"Not without you, dear Undine," replied the knight, laughing: "think only, were I disposed to leave you, both the Church and the spiritual powers, the emperor and the laws of the realm, would require the fugitive to be seized and restored to you."

"All this depends on you—all depends on you," whispered his little companion, half weeping and half smiling. "But I still feel sure that you will not leave me; I love you too deeply to fear that misery. Now bear me over to that little island which[Pg 5902] lies before us. There shall the decision be made. I could easily, indeed, glide through that mere rippling of the water without your aid, but it is so sweet to lie in your arms; and should you determine to put me away, I shall have rested in them once more, ... for the last time."

Huldbrand was so full of strange anxiety and emotion, that he knew not what answer to make her. He took her in his arms and carried her over, now first realizing the fact that this was the same little island from which he had borne her back to the old fisherman, the first night of his arrival. On the farther side he placed her upon the soft grass, and was throwing himself lovingly near his beautiful burden; but she said to him:—"Not here, but opposite me. I shall read my doom in your eyes, even before your lips pronounce it; now listen attentively to what I shall relate to you." And she began:—

"You must know, my own love, that there are beings in the elements which bear the strongest resemblance to the human race, and which at the same time but seldom become visible to you. The wonderful salamanders sparkle and sport amid the flames; deep in the earth the meagre and malicious gnomes pursue their revels; the forest spirits belong to the air, and wander in the woods; while in the seas, rivers, and streams live the widespread race of water spirits. These last, beneath resounding domes of crystal, through which the sky can shine with its sun and stars, inhabit a region of light and beauty; lofty coral-trees glow with blue and crimson fruits in their gardens; they walk over the pure sand of the sea, among exquisitely variegated shells, and amid whatever of beauty the old world possessed, such as the present is no more worthy to enjoy,—creations which the floods covered with their secret veils of silver; and now these noble monuments sparkle below, stately and solemn, and bedewed by the water, which loves them, and calls forth from their crevices delicate moss-flowers and enwreathing tufts of sedge.

"Now, the nation that dwell there are very fair and lovely to behold, for the most part more beautiful than human beings. Many a fisherman has been so fortunate as to catch a view of a delicate maiden of the waters, while she was floating and singing upon the deep. He would then spread far the fame of her beauty; and to such wonderful females men are wont to give the name of Undines.—But what need of saying more? You, my dear husband, now actually behold an Undine before you."[Pg 5903]

The knight would have persuaded himself that his lovely wife was under the influence of one of her odd whims, and that she was only amusing herself and him with her extravagant inventions. He wished it might be so. But with whatever emphasis he said this to himself, he still could not credit the hope for a moment: a strange shivering shot through his soul; unable to utter a word, he gazed upon the sweet speaker with a fixed eye. She shook her head in distress, sighed from her full heart, and then proceeded in the following manner:—

"We should be far superior to you, who are another race of the human family,—for we also call ourselves human beings, as we resemble them in form and features,—had we not one evil peculiar to ourselves. Both we and the beings I have mentioned as inhabiting the other elements vanish into air at death and go out of existence, spirit and body, so that no vestige of us remains; and when you hereafter awake to a purer state of being, we shall remain where sand and sparks and wind and waves remain. Thus, we have no souls; the element moves us, and again is obedient to our will while we live, though it scatters us like dust when we die; and as we have nothing to trouble us, we are as merry as nightingales, little gold-fishes, and other pretty children of nature.

"But all beings aspire to rise in the scale of existence higher than they are. It was therefore the wish of my father, who is a powerful water prince in the Mediterranean Sea, that his only daughter should become possessed of a soul, although she should have to endure many of the sufferings of those who share that gift.

"Now, the race to which I belong have no other means of obtaining a soul than by forming with an individual of your own the most intimate union of love. I am now possessed of a soul, and my soul thanks you, my best beloved, and never shall cease to thank you, if you do not render my whole future life miserable. For what will become of me, if you avoid and reject me? Still, I would not keep you as my own by artifice. And should you decide to cast me off, then do it now, and return alone to the shore. I will plunge into this brook, where my uncle will receive me; my uncle, who here in the forest, far removed from his other friends, passes his strange and solitary existence. But he is powerful, as well as revered and beloved by many great rivers; and as he brought me hither to the fisherman a light-hearted and laughing child, he will take me home to my[Pg 5904] parents a woman, gifted with a soul, with power to love and to suffer."

She was about to add something more, when Huldbrand with the most heartfelt tenderness and love clasped her in his arms, and again bore her back to the shore. There amid tears and kisses he first swore never to forsake his affectionate wife, and esteemed himself even more happy than Pygmalion, for whom Venus gave life to this beautiful statue, and thus changed it into a beloved wife. Supported by his arm, and in the confidence of affection, Undine returned to the cottage; and now she first realized with her whole heart how little cause she had for regretting what she had left—the crystal palaces of her mysterious father.


From 'Undine'

Should I relate to you how passed the marriage feast at Castle Ringstetten, it would be as if you saw a heap of bright and pleasant things, but all overspread with a black mourning crape, through whose darkening veil their brilliancy would appear but a mockery of the nothingness of all earthly joys.

It was not that any spectral delusion disturbed the scene of festivity; for the castle, as we well know, had been secured against the mischief of the water spirits. But the knight, the fisherman, and all the guests were unable to banish the feeling that the chief personage of the feast was still wanting, and that this chief personage could be no other than the gentle and beloved Undine.

Whenever a door was heard to open, all eyes were involuntarily turned in that direction; and if it was nothing but the steward with new dishes, or the cup-bearer with a supply of wine of higher flavor than the last, they again looked down in sadness and disappointment, while the flashes of wit and merriment which had been passing at times from one to another were extinguished by tears of mournful remembrance.

The bride was the least thoughtful of the company, and therefore the most happy; but even to her it sometimes seemed strange that she should be sitting at the head of the table, wearing a green wreath and gold-embroidered robe, while Undine was lying a corpse, stiff and cold, at the bottom of the Danube, or carried[Pg 5905] out by the current into the ocean. For ever since her father had suggested something of this sort, his words were continually sounding in her ear; and this day in particular, they would neither fade from her memory nor yield to other thoughts.

Evening had scarcely arrived when the company returned to their homes; not dismissed by the impatience of the bridegroom, as wedding parties are sometimes broken up, but constrained solely by heavy sadness and forebodings of evil. Bertalda retired with her maidens, and the knight with his attendants, to undress; but there was no gay laughing company of bridesmaids and bridesmen at this mournful festival.

Bertalda wished to awake more cheerful thoughts: she ordered her maidens to spread before her a brilliant set of jewels, a present from Huldbrand, together with rich apparel and veils, that she might select from among them the brightest and most beautiful for her dress in the morning. The attendants rejoiced at this opportunity of pouring forth good wishes and promises of happiness to their young mistress, and failed not to extol the beauty of the bride with the most glowing eloquence. This went on for a long time, until Bertalda at last, looking in a mirror, said with a sigh:—

"Ah, but do you not see plainly how freckled I am growing? Look here on the side of my neck."

They looked at the place and found the freckles indeed, as their fair mistress had said; but they called them mere beauty-spots, the faintest touches of the sun, such as would only heighten the whiteness of her delicate complexion. Bertalda shook her head, and still viewed them as a blemish.

"And I could remove them," she said at last, sighing. "But the castle fountain is covered, from which I formerly used to have that precious water, so purifying to the skin. Oh, had I this evening only a single flask of it!"

"Is that all?" cried an alert waiting-maid, laughing as she glided out of the apartment.

"She will not be so foolish," said Bertalda, well pleased and surprised, "as to cause the stone cover of the fountain to be taken off this very evening?" That instant they heard the tread of men already passing along the court-yard, and could see from the window where the officious maiden was leading them directly up to the fountain, and that they carried levers and other instruments on their shoulders.[Pg 5906]

"It is certainly my will," said Bertalda with a smile, "if it does not take them too long." And pleased with the thought that a word from her was now sufficient to accomplish what had formerly been refused with a painful reproof, she looked down upon their operations in the bright moonlit castle court.

The men raised the enormous stone with an effort; some one of the number indeed would occasionally sigh, when he recollected that they were destroying the work of their former beloved mistress. Their labor, however, was much lighter than they had expected. It seemed as if some power from within the fountain itself aided them in raising the stone.

"It appears," said the workmen to one another in astonishment, "as if the confined water had become a springing fountain." And the stone rose more and more, and almost without the assistance of the workpeople, rolled slowly down upon the pavement with a hollow sound. But an appearance from the opening of the fountain filled them with awe, as it rose like a white column of water; at first they imagined it really to be a fountain, until they perceived the rising form to be a pale female, veiled in white. She wept bitterly, raised her hands above her head, wringing them sadly as with slow and solemn step she moved toward the castle. The servants shrank back, and fled from the spring, while the bride, pale and motionless with horror, stood with her maidens at the window. When the figure had now come close beneath their room, it looked up to them sobbing, and Bertalda thought she recognized through the veil the pale features of Undine. But the mourning form passed on, sad, reluctant, and lingering, as if going to the place of execution. Bertalda screamed to her maids to call the knight; not one of them dared to stir from her place; and even the bride herself became again mute, as if trembling at the sound of her own voice.

While they continued standing at the window, motionless as statues, the mysterious wanderer had entered the castle, ascended the well-known stairs, and traversed the well-known halls, in silent tears. Alas, how differently had she once passed through these rooms!

The knight had in the mean time dismissed his attendants. Half undressed and in deep dejection, he was standing before a large mirror; a wax taper burned dimly beside him. At this moment some one tapped at his door very, very softly. Undine[Pg 5907] had formerly tapped in this way, when she was playing some of her endearing wiles.

"It is all an illusion!" said he to himself. "I must to my nuptial bed."

"You must indeed, but to a cold one!" he heard a voice, choked with sobs, repeat from without; and then he saw in the mirror that the door of his room was slowly, slowly opened, and the white figure entered, and gently closed it behind her.

"They have opened the spring," said she in a low tone; "and now I am here, and you must die."

He felt in his failing breath that this must indeed be; but covering his eyes with his hands, he cried:—"Do not in my death-hour, do not make me mad with terror. If that veil conceals hideous features, do not lift it! Take my life, but let me not see you."

"Alas!" replied the pale figure, "will you not then look upon me once more? I am as fair now as when you wooed me on the island!"

"Oh, if it indeed were so," sighed Huldbrand, "and that I might die by a kiss from you!"

"Most willingly, my own love," said she. She threw back her veil; heavenly fair shone forth her pure countenance. Trembling with love and the awe of approaching death, the knight leant towards her. She kissed him with a holy kiss; but she relaxed not her hold, pressing him more closely in her arms, and weeping as if she would weep away her soul. Tears rushed into the knight's eyes, while a thrill both of bliss and agony shot through his heart, until he at last expired, sinking softly back from her fair arms upon the pillow of his couch a corpse.

"I have wept him to death!" said she to some domestics who met her in the ante-chamber; and passing through the terrified group, she went slowly out, and disappeared in the fountain.

[Pg 5908]


Oh welcome, Sir Bolt, to me!
And a welcome, Sir Arrow, to thee!
But wherefore such pride
In your swift airy ride?
You're but splints of the ashen tree.
When once on earth lying,
There's an end of your flying!
Lullaby! lullaby! lullaby!
But we freshly will wing you
And back again swing you,
And teach you to wend
To your Moorish friend.
Sir Bolt, you have oft been here;
And Sir Arrow, you've often flown near;
But still from pure haste
All your courage would waste
On the earth and the streamlet clear.
What! over all leaping,
In shame are you sleeping?
Lullaby! lullaby! lullaby!
Or if you smote one,
'Twas but darklingly done,
As the grain that winds fling
To the bird on the wing.

[Pg 5909]




natole France, whose real name of Thibault is sunk in his literary signature, was born in Paris, April 16th, 1844. His father, a wealthy bookseller, seems to have been a thoughtful, meditative man, and his mother a woman of great refinement and tenderness. Their son shows the result of the double influence. Always fond of books, he early devoted himself to literary work, and made his début as writer in 1868 in a biographical study of Alfred de Vigny. This was shortly followed by two volumes of poetry: 'Les Poèmes Dorés' (Golden Verses) and 'Les Noces Corinthéennes' (Corinthian Revels). Since this work of his youth he has published at least twelve novels and romances, of which the most familiar are: 'Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard' (The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard), 'Le Livre de Mon Ami' (My Friend's Book), 'Le Lys Rouge' (The Red Lily), and 'Les Désirs de Jean Servieu' (Jean Servieu's Wishes). Several volumes of essays, critical introductions to splendid editions of Racine, Molière, La Fontaine, and Le Sage, of 'Manon Lescaut' and 'Paul and Virginia,' numberless studies of men and books for the reviews and journals,—these measure the tireless industry of an incessant worker. In 1876 M. France became an attaché of the Library of the Senate. In December 1896 he was received as member of the French Academy, succeeding to the chair of Ferdinand de Lesseps, whose eulogy he pronounced with exquisite taste and grace.

Anatole France Anatole France

Like Renan, whose disciple he is, this fine artist was formed in the clerical schools. His perfection of style, clear, distinguished, scintillating with wit and fancy, furnishes, as a distinguished French critic remarks, a strong contrast to the painful and heavy periods of the literary products of a State education. He is an enthusiastic humanist, a fervent Neo-Hellenist, delicately sensitive to the beauty of the antique, the magic of words, and the harmony of phrase.

Outside of France, his best known works are 'Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard' (crowned by the Academy) and 'Le Livre de Mon[Pg 5910] Ami.' The first of these expresses the author's Hellenism, sentiment, experience, love of form, and gentle pessimism. Into the character of Sylvestre Bonnard, that intelligent, contemplative, ironical, sweet-natured old philosopher, he has put most of himself. In 'Le Livre de Mon Ami' are reflected the childhood and youth of the author. It is a living book, made out of the impulses of the heart, holding the very essence of moral grace, written with exquisite irony absolutely free from bitterness.

It is to be regretted that in some of his later writings this charming writer has fallen short of the standard of these works, though the versatility of talent he displays is great and admirable. In 'Thaïs' he has painted the magnificent Alexandria of the Ptolemies; in 'Le Lys Rouge' the Florence of to-day. In 'La Rôtisserie de la Reine Pedauque' (The Cook-Shop of the Queen Pedauque) and in 'Les Opinions de M. Jérome Coignard,' Gil Blas, Rabelais, Wilhelm Meister, and Montaigne seem to jostle each other. In 'Le Jardin d'Épicure' (The Garden of Epicurus) a modern Epicurus, discreet, indulgent, listless, listens to lively discussions between the shades of Plato, Origen, Augustine, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, while an Esquimaux refutes Bossuet, a Polynesian develops his theory of the soul, and Cicero and Cousin agree in their estimate of a future life.

In his own words, M. Anatole France has always been inclined to take life as a spectacle, offering no solution of its perplexities, proposing no remedies for its ills. His literary quality, as M. Jules Lemaître observes, owes little or nothing to the spirit or literature of the North. His intelligence is the pure and extreme product of Greek and Latin tradition.


From 'The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard.' Copyright, 1890, by Harper & Brothers

April 16.

St. Droctoveus and the early abbots of Saint-Germain-des-Prés have been occupying me for the past forty years; but I do not know whether I shall be able to write their history before I go to join them. It is already quite a long time since I became an old man. One day last year, on the Pont des Arts, one of my fellow-members at the Institute was lamenting before me over the ennui of becoming old.

"Still," Sainte-Beuve replied to him, "it is the only way that has yet been found of living a long time."[Pg 5911]

I have tried this way, and I know just what it is worth. The trouble of it is not that one lasts too long, but that one sees all about him pass away—mother, wife, friends, children. Nature makes and unmakes all these divine treasures with gloomy indifference, and at last we find that we have not loved,—we have only been embracing shadows. But how sweet some shadows are! If ever creature glided like a shadow through the life of a man, it was certainly that young girl whom I fell in love with when—incredible though it now seems—I was myself a youth.

A Christian sarcophagus from the catacombs of Rome bears a formula of imprecation, the whole terrible meaning of which I only learned with time. It says:—"Whatsoever impious man violates this sepulchre, may he die the last of his own people!" In my capacity of archæologist I have opened tombs and disturbed ashes, in order to collect the shreds of apparel, metal ornaments, or gems that were mingled with those ashes. But I did it only through that scientific curiosity which does not exclude the feelings of reverence and of piety. May that malediction graven by some one of the first followers of the Apostles upon a martyr's tomb never fall upon me! I ought not to fear to survive my own people so long as there are men in the world; for there are always some whom one can love.

But the power of love itself weakens and gradually becomes lost with age, like all the other energies of man. Example proves it; and it is this which terrifies me. Am I sure that I have not myself already suffered this great loss? I should surely have felt it, but for the happy meeting which has rejuvenated me. Poets speak of the Fountain of Youth: it does exist; it gushes up from the earth at every step we take. And one passes by without drinking of it!

The young girl I loved, married of her own choice to a rival, passed, all gray-haired, into the eternal rest. I have found her daughter—so that my life, which before seemed to me without utility, now once more finds a purpose and a reason for being.

To-day I "take the sun," as they say in Provence; I take it on the terrace of the Luxembourg, at the foot of the statue of Marguerite de Navarre. It is a spring sun, intoxicating as young wine. I sit and dream. My thoughts escape from my head like the foam from a bottle of beer. They are light, and their fizzing amuses me. I dream; such a pastime is certainly permissible to an old fellow who has published thirty volumes of texts, and[Pg 5912] contributed to the Journal des Savants for twenty-six years. I have the satisfaction of feeling that I performed my task as well as it was possible for me, and that I utilized to their fullest extent those mediocre faculties with which nature endowed me. My efforts were not all in vain, and I have contributed, in my own modest way, to that renaissance of historical labors which will remain the honor of this restless century. I shall certainly be counted among those ten or twelve who revealed to France her own literary antiquities. My publication of the poetical works of Gautier de Coincy inaugurated a judicious system and made a date. It is in the austere calm of old age that I decree to myself this deserved credit, and God, who sees my heart, knows whether pride or vanity have aught to do with this self-award of justice.

But I am tired; my eyes are dim; my hand trembles, and I see an image of myself in those old men of Homer, whose weakness excluded them from the battle, and who, seated upon the ramparts, lifted up their voices like crickets among the leaves.

So my thoughts were wandering, when three young men seated themselves near me. I do not know whether each one of them had come in three boats, like the monkey of La Fontaine, but the three certainly displayed themselves over the space of twelve chairs. I took pleasure in watching them, not because they had anything very extraordinary about them, but because I discerned in them that brave joyous manner which is natural to youth. They were from the schools. I was less assured of it by the books they were carrying than by the character of their physiognomy. For all who busy themselves with the things of the mind can be at once recognized by an indescribable something which is common to all of them. I am very fond of young people; and these pleased me, in spite of a certain provoking wild manner which recalled to me my own college days with marvelous vividness. But they did not wear velvet doublets and long hair, as we used to do; they did not walk about, as we used to do, with a death's-head; they did not cry out, as we used to do, "Hell and malediction!" They were quite properly dressed, and neither their costume nor their language had anything suggestive of the Middle Ages. I must also add that they paid considerable attention to the women passing on the terrace, and expressed their admiration of some of them in very animated language. But their reflections, even on this subject, were not of a character to [Pg 5913] oblige me to flee from my seat. Besides, so long as youth is studious, I think it has a right to its gayeties.

One of them having made some gallant pleasantry which I forget, the smallest and darkest of the three exclaimed, with a slight Gascon accent:—

"What a thing to say! Only physiologists like us have any right to occupy ourselves about living matter. As for you, Gélis, who only live in the past,—like all your fellow archivists and paleographers,—you will do better to confine yourself to those stone women over there, who are your contemporaries."

And he pointed to the statues of the Ladies of Ancient France which towered up, all white, in a half-circle under the trees of the terrace. This joke, though in itself trifling, enabled me to know that the young man called Gélis was a student at the École des Chartes. From the conversation which followed I was able to learn that his neighbor, blond and wan almost to diaphaneity, taciturn and sarcastic, was Boulmier, a fellow-student. Gélis and the future doctor (I hope he will become one some day) discoursed together with much fantasy and spirit. In the midst of the loftiest speculations they would play upon words, and make jokes after the peculiar fashion of really witty persons—that is to say, in a style of enormous absurdity. I need hardly say, I suppose, that they only deigned to maintain the most monstrous kind of paradoxes. They employed all their powers of imagination to make themselves as ludicrous as possible, and all their powers of reasoning to assert the contrary of common-sense. All the better for them! I do not like to see young folks too rational.

The student of medicine, after glancing at the title of the book that Boulmier held in his hand, exclaimed:—

"What!—you read Michelet—you?"

"Yes," replied Boulmier very gravely. "I like novels."

Gélis, who dominated both by his fine stature, imperious gestures, and ready wit, took the book, turned over a few pages rapidly, and said:—

"Michelet always had a great propensity to emotional tenderness. He wept sweet tears over Maillard, that nice little man who introduced la paperasserie into the September massacres. But as emotional tenderness leads to fury, he becomes all at once furious against the victims. There is no help for it. It is the sentimentality of the age. The assassin is pitied, but the victim[Pg 5914] is considered quite unpardonable. In his later manner Michelet is more Michelet than ever before. There is no common-sense in it; it is simply wonderful! Neither art nor science, neither criticism nor narrative; only furies and fainting spells and epileptic fits over matters which he never deigns to explain. Childish outcries—envies de femme grosse!—and a style, my friends!—not a single finished phrase! It is astounding!"

And he handed the book back to his comrade. "This is amusing madness," I thought to myself, "and not quite so devoid of common-sense as it appears. This young man, though only playing, has sharply touched the defect in the cuirass."

But the Provençal student declared that history was a thoroughly despicable exercise of rhetoric. According to him, the only true history was the natural history of man. Michelet was in the right path when he came in contact with the fistula of Louis XIV., but he fell back into the old rut almost immediately afterwards.

After this judicious expression of opinion, the young physiologist went to join a party of passing friends. The two archivists, less well acquainted in the neighborhood of a garden so far from the Rue Paradis-aux-Marais, remained together, and began to chat about their studies. Gélis, who had completed his third class-year, was preparing a thesis, on the subject of which he expatiated with youthful enthusiasm. Indeed, I thought the subject a very good one, particularly because I had recently thought myself called upon to treat a notable part of it. It was the 'Monasticum Gallicanum.' The young erudite (I give him the name as a presage) wants to describe all the engravings made about 1690 for the work which Dom Michel Germain would have had printed, but for the one irremediable hindrance which is rarely foreseen and never avoided. Dom Michel Germain left his manuscript complete, however, and in good order when he died. Shall I be able to do as much with mine?—but that is not the present question. So far as I am able to understand, M. Gélis intends to devote a brief archæological notice to each of the abbeys pictured by the humble engravers of Dom Michel Germain.

His friend asked him whether he was acquainted with all the manuscripts and printed documents relating to the subject. It was then that I pricked up my ears. They spoke at first of original sources; and I must confess they did so in a satisfactory[Pg 5915] manner, despite their innumerable and detestable puns. Then they began to speak about contemporary studies on the subject.

"Have you read," asked Boulmier, "the notice of Courajod?"

"Good!" I thought to myself.

"Yes," replied Gélis; "it is accurate."

"Have you read," said Boulmier, "the article by Tamisey de Larroque in the Revue des Questions Historiques?"

"Good!" I thought to myself, for the second time.

"Yes," replied Gélis, "it is full of things...."

"Have you read," said Boulmier, "the 'Tableau des Abbayes Bénédictines en 1600,' by Sylvestre Bonnard?"

"Good!" I said to myself, for the third time.

"Ma foi! no!" replied Gélis. "Bonnard is an idiot!"

Turning my head, I perceived that the shadow had reached the place where I was sitting. It was growing chilly, and I thought to myself what a fool I was to have remained sitting there, at the risk of getting the rheumatism, just to listen to the impertinence of those two young fellows!

"Well! well!" I said to myself as I got up. "Let this prattling fledgeling write his thesis, and sustain it! He will find my colleague Quicherat, or some other professor at the school, to show him what an ignoramus he is. I consider him neither more nor less than a rascal; and really, now that I come to think of it, what he said about Michelet awhile ago was quite insufferable, outrageous! To talk in that way about an old master replete with genius! It was simply abominable!"


From 'The Book of My Friend'

Everything in immortal nature is a miracle to the little child.

I was happy. A thousand things at once familiar and mysterious filled my imagination, a thousand things which were nothing in themselves, but which made my life. It was very small, that life of mine; but it was a life—which is to say, the centre of all things, the kernel of the world. Do not smile at what I say,—or smile only in sympathy, and reflect: whoever lives, be it only a dog, is at the centre of all things.

Deciding to be a hermit and a saint, and to resign the good things of this world, I threw my toys out of the window.[Pg 5916]

"The child is a fool!" cried my father, closing the window. I felt anger and shame at hearing myself thus judged. But immediately I considered that my father, not being so holy as I, could never share with me the glory of the blessed, and this thought was for me a great consolation.

Every Saturday we were taken to confession. If any one will tell me why, he will greatly oblige me. The practice inspired me with both respect and weariness. I hardly think it probable that M. le Curé took a lively interest in hearing my sins; but it was certainly disagreeable to me to cite them to him. The first difficulty was to find them. You can perhaps believe me, when I declare that at ten years of age I did not possess the psychic qualities and the methods of analysis which would have made it possible rationally to explore my inmost conscience. Nevertheless it was necessary to have sins: for—no sins, no confession. I had been given, it is true, a little book which contained them all: I had only to choose. But the choice itself was difficult. There was so much obscurely said of "larceny, simony, prevarication"! I read in the little book, "I accuse myself of having despaired; I accuse myself of having listened to evil conversations." Even this furnished little wherewith to burden my conscience. Therefore ordinarily I confined myself to "distractions." Distractions during mass, distractions during meals, distractions in "religious assemblies,"—I avowed all; yet the deplorable emptiness of my conscience filled me with deep shame. I was humiliated at having no sins....

I will tell you what, each year, the stormy skies of autumn, the first dinners by lamplight, the yellowing leaves on the shivering trees, bring to my mind; I will tell you what I see as I cross the Luxembourg garden in the early October days—those sad and beautiful days when the leaves fall, one by one, on the white shoulders of the statues there.

What I see then is a little fellow who with his hands in his pockets is going to school, hopping along like a sparrow. I see him in thought only, for he is but a shadow, a shadow of the "me" as I was twenty-five years ago. Really, he interests me,—this little fellow. When he was living I gave him but little thought, but now that he is no more, I love him well. He was worth altogether more than the rest of the "me's" that I have been since. He was a happy-hearted boy as he crossed the Luxembourg garden in the fresh air of the morning. All that he saw then I see[Pg 5917] to-day. It is the same sky, and the same earth; the same soul of things is here as before,—that soul that still makes me gay, or sad, or troubled: only he is no more! He was heedless enough, but he was not wicked; and in justice to him I must declare that he has not left me a single harsh memory. He was an innocent child that I have lost. It is natural that I should regret him; it is natural that I should see him in thought, and delight in recalling him to memory....

Nothing is of more value for giving a child a knowledge of the great social machine than the life of the streets. He should see in the morning the milkwomen, the water carriers, the charcoal men; he should look in the shop windows of the grocer, the pork vender, and the wine-seller; he should watch the regiments pass, with the music of the band. In short, he should suck in the air of the streets, that he may learn that the law of labor is Divine, and that each man has his work to do in the world....

Oh! ye sordid old Jews of the Rue Cherche-Midi, and you my masters, simple sellers of old books on the quays, what gratitude do I owe you! More and better than university professors, have you contributed to my intellectual life! You displayed before my ravished eyes the mysterious forms of the life of the past, and every sort of monument of precious human thought. In ferreting among your shelves, in contemplating your dusty display laden with the pathetic relics of our fathers and their noble thoughts, I have been penetrated with the most wholesome of philosophies. In studying the worm-eaten volumes, the rusty iron-work, the worn carvings of your stock, I experienced, child as I was, a profound realization of the fluent, changing nature of things and the nothingness of all, and I have been always since inclined to sadness, to gentleness, and pity.

The open-air school taught me, as you see, great lessons; but the home school was more profitable still. The family repast, so charming when the glasses are clear, the cloth white, and the faces tranquil,—the dinner of each day with its familiar talk,—gives to the child the taste for the humble and holy things of life, the love of loving. He eats day by day that blessed bread which the spiritual Father broke and gave to the pilgrims in the inn at Emmaus, and says, like them, "My heart is warmed within me." Ah! how good a school is the school of home!...

The little fellow of whom I spoke but just now to you, with a sympathy for which you pardon me, perhaps, reflecting that it is[Pg 5918] not egotistic but is addressed only to a shadow,—the little fellow who crossed the Luxembourg garden, hopping like a sparrow,—became later an enthusiastic humanist.

I studied Homer. I saw Thetis rise like a white mist over the sea, I saw Nausicaa and her companions, and the palm-tree of Delos, and the sky, and the earth, and the sea, and the tearful smile of Andromache. I comprehended, I felt. For six months I lived in the Odyssey. This was the cause of numerous punishments: but what to me were pensums? I was with Ulysses on his violet sea. Alcestis and Antigone gave me more noble dreams than ever child had before. With my head swallowed up in the dictionary on my ink-stained desk, I saw divine forms,—ivory arms falling on white tunics,—and heard voices sweeter than the sweetest music, lamenting harmoniously.

This again cost me fresh punishments. They were just; I was "busying" myself "with things foreign to the class." Alas! the habit remains with me still. In whatever class in life I am put for the rest of my days, I fear yet, old as I am, to encounter again the reproach of my old professor: "Monsieur Pierre Nozièrre, you busy yourself with things foreign to the class."

But the evening falls over the plane-trees of the Luxembourg, and the little phantom which I have evoked disappears in the shadow. Adieu! little "me" whom I have lost, whom I should forever regret, had I not found thee again, beautified, in my son!

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'


Irony and pity are two good counselors: the one, who smiles, makes life amiable; the other, who weeps, makes it sacred. The Irony that I invoke is not cruel. She mocks neither love nor beauty. She is gentle and benevolent. Her smile calms anger, and it is she who teaches us to laugh at fools and sinners whom, but for her, we might be weak enough to hate.

[Pg 5919]





rancis d'Assisi was at first called Francis Bernardone. His father Pietro was a merchant of Assisi, much given to the pomps and vanities of the world, a lover of France and of everything French. It was after a visit to France in 1182 that, rejoining his beloved wife Pica in the vale of Umbria, he found that God had given to him a little son. Pica called the boy John, in honor of the playmate of the little Christ; but Pietro commanded that he should be named Francis, because of the bright land from whence he drew the rich silks and thick velvets he liked to handle and to sell.

The vale of Umbria is the place for poets; it should be visited in the summer, when the roses bloom on the trellises which the early Italian painters put as backgrounds to their mothers and children. Florence is not far away; and near is the birthplace of one of the fathers of the sonnet, Fra Guittone, and of another poet, Propertius.

Francis's childhood, boyhood, and later youth were happy. His father denied him no luxury in his power to give; he was sent to the priests of the church of St. George. They taught him some Latin and much of the Provençal tongue,—for at that time there was no Italian language; there were only dialects, and the Provençal was used by the elegant, those who loved poetry. Francis Bernardone was one of these; he sang the popular Provençal songs of the day to the lute, for he had learned music. And so passionately did he long for "excess of it," that, the legend says, he stayed up all one night singing a duet with a nightingale. The bird conquered; and later, Francis made a poem glorifying the Creator who had given such a thrilling voice to it.

Up to the age of twenty-four Francis had been one of the lightest hearted and the lightest headed of the rich young men of Assisi. His father openly rejoiced in his extravagance, and admired the graceful manner with which he wore gay clothes cut in latest fashions of France. Madonna Pica, his mother, trembled for his future, while she adored him and in spite of herself believed in him. Her neighbors reproached her: "Your son throws money away; he is the son of a prince!" And Pica, troubled, answered, "He whom you call the child of a prince will one day be a child of God."[Pg 5920]

Pietro was delighted to see his son lead in all the sports of the corti of Assisi. The corti were associations of young men addicted to Provençal poetry and music and all sorts of gayety. Folgore da San Gemiano gives, in a series of sonnets, well translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, descriptions of their sports arranged according to the months. March was the season for

"—lamprey, salmon, eel, and trout,
Dental and dolphin, sturgeon, all the rout
Of fish in all the streams that fill the seas."

In April are dances:—

"And through hollow brass
A sound of German music on the air."

When summer came, Folgore says the corti had other things:—

"For July, in Siena by the willow-tree
I give you barrels of white Tuscan wine,
In ice far down your cellars stored supine;
And morn and eve to eat, in company,
Of those vast jellies dear to you and me;
Of partridges and youngling pheasants sweet,
Boiled capons, sovereign kids;—and let their treat
Be veal and garlic, with whom these agree."

Francis was permeated with the ideas of chivalry, and his language was its phraseology. So much was he in love with chivalry that he became the founder of a new order, whose patroness should be the Lady Poverty. Never had there been a time in Europe since the decay of the Roman empire, when poverty was more derided. Princes, merchants, even many prelates and priests, neglected and contemned the poor. The voices of the outcasts and the leper went up to God, and he sent their terrible echoes to awaken the heart of Francis.

In Sicily, Frederick II.—the Julian of the time—lived among fountains and orange blossoms and gorgeous pomegranate arches,—a type of the arrogant voluptuousness of the time, a voluptuousness which Dante symbolized later as the leopard. Against this luxury Francis put the lady of his love, Poverty. In the 'Poètes Franciscains,' Frederick Ozanam says:—

"He thus designated what had become for him the ideal of all perfection,—the type of all moral beauty. He loved to personify Poverty as the symbolic genius of his time: he imagined her as the daughter of Heaven; and he called her by turns the lady of his thoughts, his affianced, and his bride."

The towns of Italy were continually at war, in 1206 and thereabout. Francis was taken prisoner in a battle of his native townsmen with the Perugians. Restless and depressed, unsatisfied by the revelry of [Pg 5921] his comrades, he threw himself into the train of the Count de Brienne, who was making war on the German Emperor for the two Sicilies. About this time, he was moved to give his fine military clothes to a shivering soldier. At Spoleto, after this act of charity, he dreamed that the voice of God asked what he valued most in life. "Earthly fame," he said.—"But which of two is better for you,—the Master, or the servant? And why will you forsake the Master for the servant, the Lord for the slave?"—"O Lord, what shall I do?" asked Francis.—"Return unto the city," said the voice, "and there it will be told you what you shall do and how you may interpret this vision."

He obeyed; he left the army; his old companions were glad to see him, and again he joined the corti. But he was paler and more silent. "You are in love!" his companions said, laughingly.

"I am in truth thinking of a bride more noble, more richly dowered, and more beautiful than the world has ever seen."

Pietro was away from home, and his son made donations to the poor. He grew more tranquil, though the Voice had not explained its message. He knelt at the foot of the crucifix one day in the old chapel of St. Damian, and waited. Then the revelation came:—"Francis, go to rebuild my house, which is falling into ruin!"

Francis took this command, which seemed to have come from the lips of his crucified Redeemer, literally. It meant that he should repair the chapel of St. Damian. Later, he accepted it in a broader sense. More important things than the walls of St. Damian were falling into ruin.

Francis was a man of action, and one who took life literally. He went to his father's shop, chose some precious stuffs, and sold them with his horse at Foliquo, for much below their value. Pietro had brought Francis up in a princely fashion: why should he not behave as a prince? And surely the father who had not grudged the richest of his stuffs for the celebrations of the corti, would not object to their sacrifice at the command of the Voice for the repairing of St. Damian! Pietro, who had not heard the Voice, vowed vengeance on his son for his foolishness. The priest at St. Damian's had refused the money; but Francis threw it into the window, and Pietro, finding it, went away swearing that his son had kept some of it. Francis wandered about begging stones for the rebuilding of St. Damian's. Pietro, maddened by the foolishness of his son, appealed to a magistrate. Francis cast off all his garments, and gave them to his father. The Bishop of Assisi covered his nakedness with his own mantle until the gown of a poor laborer was brought to him. Dipping his right hand in a pile of mortar, Francis drew a rough cross upon his breast: "Pietro Bernardone," he said, "until now I have called you my father; henceforth I can truly say, 'Our Father who art in heaven,' for he is my wealth, and in him do I place all my hope."[Pg 5922]

Francis went away, to build his chapel and sing in the Provençal speech hymns in honor of God and of love for his greatness. In June 1208 he began to preach. He converted two men, one rich and of rank, the other a priest. They gave all to the poor, and took up their abode near a hospital for lepers. They had no home but the chapel of the Angels, near the Portiuncula. This was the beginning of the great order of the Friars Minors, the Franciscans.

Francis was the first poet to use the Italian speech—a poet who was inspired to change the fate of Europe. "He would never," the author of a recent monograph on St. Francis says, "destroy or tread on a written page. If it were Christian writing, it might contain the name of God; even if it were the work of a pagan, it contained the letters that make up the sacred name. When St. Francis, of the people and singing for the people, wrote in the vernacular, he asked Fra Pacifico, who had been a great poet in the world, to reduce his verses to the rules of metre."

St. Bonaventura, Jacomino di Verona, and Jacopone di Todi, the author of the 'Stabat Mater,' were Franciscans who followed in his footsteps. "The Crusades were," to quote again, "defensive as well as offensive. The Sultan, whom St. Francis visited and filled with respect, was not far from Christendom." Frederick of Sicily, with his Saracens, menaced Assisi itself. Hideous doctrines and practices were rife; and the thirty thousand friars who soon enrolled themselves in the band of Francis gained the love of the people, preached Christianity anew, symbolized it rudely for folk that could not read, and, as St. Francis had done, they appealed to the imagination. The legends of St. Francis—one can find them in the 'Little Flowers,' of which there are at least two good English translations—became the tenderest poems of the poor.

If St. Francis had been less of a poet, he would have been less of a saint. He died a poet, on October 4, 1226: he asked to be buried on the Infernal Hill of Assisi, where the crusaders were laid to rest; "and," he said, "sing my 'Canticle of the Sun,' so that I may add a song in praise of my sister Death. The lines," he added, "will be found at the end of the 'Cantico del Sole.'"

Paul Sabatier's 'Life of St. Francis,' and Mrs. Oliphant's, are best known to English-speaking readers. The most exhaustive 'Life' is by the Abbé Leon Le Monnier, in two volumes. It has lately been translated into English.

Maurice Francis Egan

[Pg 5923]


[Our Lord Speaks]

And though I fill thy heart with hottest love,
Yet in true order must thy heart love me,
For without order can no virtue be;
By thine own virtue, then, I from above
Stand in thy soul; and so, most earnestly,
Must love from turmoil be kept wholly free:
The life of fruitful trees, the seasons of
The circling year move gently as a dove:
I measured all the things upon the earth;
Love ordered them, and order kept them fair,
And love to order must be truly wed.
O soul, why all this heat of little worth?
Why cast out order with no thought of care?
For by love's heat must love be governed?

Translation of Maurice Francis Egan.


[The title is 'Incipiunt Laudes Creaturarum quas fecit Franciscus ad Laudem et Honorem Dei cum esset Infirmus ad Sanctum Damianum.' It is sometimes called the 'Canticle of the Creatures.' It is in Italian, and it opens with these words:—"Altissimi, omnipotente, bon Signore, tue so le laude la gloria e l'onore et omne benedictione."]

O Most High, Almighty, good Lord God, to thee belong praise, glory, honor, and all blessing.

Praised be my Lord God, with all his creatures, and specially our brother the sun, who brings us the day and who brings us the light; fair is he, and he shines with a very great splendor. O Lord, he signifies to us thee!

Praised be my Lord for our sister the moon, and for the stars, the which he has set clear and lovely in heaven.

Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and clouds, calms and all weather, by which thou upholdest life in all creatures.

Praised be my Lord for our sister water, who is very serviceable to us, and humble and precious and clean.[Pg 5924]

Praised be my Lord for our brother fire, through whom thou givest us light in the darkness; and he is bright and pleasant, and very mighty and strong.

Praised be my Lord for our mother the earth, the which doth sustain us and keep us, and bringest forth divers fruits, and flowers of many colors, and grass.

Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for love's sake, and who endure weakness and tribulation; blessed are they who peacefully shall endure, for thou, O Most High, wilt give them a crown.

Praised be my Lord for our sister the death of the body, from which no man escapeth. Woe to him who dieth in mortal sin. Blessed are those who die in thy most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm. Praise ye and bless the Lord, and give thanks to him and serve him with great humility.

[The last stanza, in praise of death, was added to the poem on the day St. Francis left the world, October 4th, 1225.]

Translation of Maurice Francis Egan.


[Pg 5925]





he youngest son of the seventeen children of a Boston tallow-chandler named Franklin was born a subject of Queen Anne of England, on the 6th of January, 1706; and on the same day received the baptismal name of Benjamin at the Old South Church in that city. He continued for more than seventy of the eighty-four years of his life a subject of four successive British monarchs. During that period, neither Anne nor either of the three Georges who succeeded her had a subject of whom they had more reason to be proud, nor one whom at his death their people generally supposed they had more reason to detest. No Englishman of his generation can now be said to have established a more enduring fame, in any way, than Franklin established in many ways. As a printer, as a journalist, as a diplomatist, as a statesman, as a philosopher, he was easily first among his peers.

On the other hand, it is no disparagement of the services of any of his contemporaries on either side of the Atlantic, to say that no one of his generation contributed more effectually to the dissolution of the bonds which united the principal British-American colonies to the mother country, and towards conferring upon them independence and a popular government.

As a practical printer Franklin was reported to have had no superiors; as a journalist he exerted an influence not only unrivaled in his day, but more potent, on this continent at least, than either of his sovereigns or their Parliaments. The organization of a police, and later of the militia, for Philadelphia; of companies for extinguishing fires; making the sweeping and paving of the streets a municipal function; the formation of the first public library for Philadelphia, and the establishment of an academy which has matured into the now famous University of Pennsylvania, were among the conspicuous reforms which he planted and watered in the columns of the Philadelphia Gazette. This journal he founded; upon the earnings of it he mainly subsisted during a long life, and any sheet of it to-day would bring a larger price in the open market probably than a single sheet of any other periodical ever published.[Pg 5926]

Franklin's Almanack, his crowning work in the sphere of journalism, published under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders,—better known since as Poor Richard,—is still one of the marvels of modern literature. Under one or another of many titles the contents of this publication, exclusive of its calendars, have been translated into every tongue having any pretensions to a literature; and have had more readers, probably, than any other publication in the English or indeed in any other language, with the single exception of the Bible. It was the first issue from an American press that found a popular welcome in foreign lands, and it still enjoys the special distinction of being the only almanac ever published that owed its extraordinary popularity entirely to its literary merit.

What adds to the surprise with which we contemplate the fame and fortunes of this unpretentious publication, is the fact that its reputation was established by its first number, and when its author was only twenty-six years of age. For a period of twenty-six years, and until Franklin ceased to edit it, this annual was looked forward to by a larger portion of the colonial population and with more impatience than now awaits a President's annual message to Congress.

Franklin graduated from journalism into diplomacy as naturally as winter glides into spring. This was simply because he was by common acclaim the fittest man for any kind of public service the colony possessed, and especially for any duty requiring talents for persuasion, in which he proved himself to be unquestionably past master among the diplomatists of his time.

The question of taxing the Penn proprietary estates in Pennsylvania, for the defense of the province from the French and Indians, had assumed such an acute stage in 1757 that the Assembly decided to petition the King upon the subject; and selected Franklin, then in the forty-first year of his age, to visit London and present their petition. The next forty-one years of his life were practically all spent in the diplomatic service. He was five years absent on this his first mission. Every interest in London was against him. He finally surmounted all obstacles by a compromise, which pledged the Assembly to pass an act exempting from taxation the unsurveyed lands of the Penn estate,—the surveyed waste lands, however, to be assessed at the usual rate. For his success the Penns and their partisans never forgave him, and his fellow colonists never forgot him.

Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1762, but not to remain. The question of taxing the colonies without representation was soon thrust upon them in the shape of a stamp duty, and Franklin was sent out again to urge its repeal. He reached London in November 1764, where he remained the next eleven years and until it became apparent that the surrender of the right to arbitrarily tax the [Pg 5927]colonies would never be made by England during the life of the reigning sovereign, George III. Satisfied that his usefulness in England was at an end, he sailed for Philadelphia on the 21st of March, 1775; and on the morning of his arrival was elected by the Assembly of Pennsylvania a delegate to the Continental Congress which consolidated the armies of the colonies, placed General George Washington in command of them, issued the first Continental currency, and assumed the responsibility of resisting the imperial government; his last hope of maintaining the integrity of the empire having been dissipated by recent collisions between the people and the royalist troops at Concord and Lexington. Franklin served on ten committees in this Congress. He was one of the five who drew up the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, and in September following was chosen unanimously as one of the three commissioners to be sent out to solicit for the infant republic the aid of France and the sympathies of continental Europe. In this mission, the importance of which to his country can hardly be exaggerated, he was greatly favored by the reputation which had preceded him as a man of science. While yet a journalist he had made some experiments in electricity, which established its identity with lightning. The publication by an English correspondent of the letters in which he gave an account of these experiments, secured his election as an honorary member of the Royal Society of London and undisputed rank among the most eminent natural philosophers of his time. When he arrived in Paris, therefore, he was already a member of every important learned society in Europe, one of the managers of the Royal Society of London, and one of the eight foreign members of the Royal Academy in Paris, where three editions of his scientific writings had already been printed. To these advantages must be added another of even greater weight: his errand there was to assist in dismembering the British Empire, than which nothing of a political nature was at this time much nearer every Frenchman's heart.

The history of this mission, and how Franklin succeeded in procuring from the French King financial aid to the amount of twenty-six millions of francs, at times when the very existence of the republic depended upon them, and finally a treaty of peace more favorable to his country than either England or France wished to concede, has been often told; and there is no chapter in the chronicles of this republic with which the world is more familiar.

Franklin's reputation grew with his success. "It was," wrote his colleague John Adams, "more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick the Great or Voltaire, and his character more beloved and esteemed than all of them.... If a collection could be made of all the gazettes of Europe for the latter half of the [Pg 5928]eighteenth century, a greater number of panegyrical paragraphs upon le grand Franklin would appear, it is believed, than upon any other man that ever lived."

A few weeks after signing the definitive treaty of peace in 1783, Franklin renewed an application which he had previously made just after signing the preliminary treaty, to be relieved of his mission; but it was not until the 7th of March, 1785, that Congress adopted a resolution permitting "the Honorable Benjamin Franklin to return to America as soon as convenient." Three days later, Thomas Jefferson was appointed to succeed him.

On the 13th of September, 1785, and after a sojourn of nearly nine years in the French capital, first in the capacity of commissioner and subsequently of minister plenipotentiary, Franklin once more landed in Philadelphia, on the same wharf on which, sixty-two years before, he had stepped, a friendless and practically penniless runaway apprentice of seventeen.

Though now in his seventy-ninth year, and a prey to infirmities not the necessary incidents of old age, he had scarcely unpacked his trunks after his return when he was chosen a member of the municipal council of Philadelphia, and its chairman. Shortly after, he was elected president of Pennsylvania, his own vote only lacking to make the vote unanimous. "I have not firmness," he wrote to a friend, "to resist the unanimous desire of my countryfolks; and I find myself harnessed again into their service another year. They engrossed the prime of my life; they have eaten my flesh, and seem resolved now to pick my bones."

He was unanimously re-elected to this dignity for the two succeeding years, and while holding that office was chosen a member of the convention which met in May 1787 to frame the Constitution under which the people of the United States are still living.

With the adoption of that instrument, to which he probably contributed as much as any other individual, he retired from official life; though not from the service of the public, to which for the remaining years of his stay on earth his genius and his talents were faithfully consecrated.

Among the fruits of that unfamiliar leisure, always to be remembered among the noblest achievements of his illustrious career, was the part he had in organizing the first anti-slavery society in the world; and as its president, writing and signing the first remonstrance against slavery ever addressed to the Congress of the United States.

In surveying the life of Dr. Franklin as a whole, the thing that most impresses one is his constant study and singleness of purpose to promote the welfare of human society. It was his daily theme as a journalist, and his yearly theme as an almanac-maker. It is that [Pg 5929]which first occurs to us when we recall his career as a member of the Colonial Assembly; as an agent of the provinces in England; as a diplomatist in France; and as a member of the conventions which crowned the consistent labors of his long life. Nor are there any now so bold as to affirm that there was any other person who could have been depended upon to accomplish for his country or the world, what Franklin did in any of the several stages of his versatile career.

Though holding office for more than half of his life, the office always sought Franklin, not Franklin the office. When sent to England as the agent of the colony, he withdrew from business with a modest competence judiciously invested mostly in real estate. He never seems to have given a thought to its increase. Frugal in his habits, simple in his tastes, wise in his indulgences, he died with a fortune neither too large nor too small for his fame as a citizen or a patriot. For teaching frugality and economy to the colonists, when frugality and economy were indispensable to the conservation of their independence and manhood, he has been sneered at as the teacher of a "candle-end-saving philosophy," and his 'Poor Richard' as a "collection of receipts for laying up treasures on earth rather than in heaven." Franklin never taught, either by precept or example, to lay up treasures on earth. He taught the virtues of industry, thrift, and economy, as the virtues supremely important in his time, to keep people out of debt and to provide the means of educating and dignifying society. He never countenanced the accumulation of wealth for its own sake, but for its uses,—its prompt convertibility into social comforts and refinements. It would be difficult to name another man of any age to whom an ambition to accumulate wealth as an end could be imputed with less propriety. Though probably the most inventive genius of his age, and thus indirectly the founder of many fortunes, he never asked a patent for any of his inventions or discoveries. Though one of the best writers of the English language that his country has yet produced, he never wrote a line for money after he withdrew from the calling by which he made a modest provision for his family.

For the remaining half of his life both at home and abroad, though constantly operating upon public opinion by his pen, he never availed himself of a copyright or received a penny from any publisher or patron for any of these labors. In none of the public positions which he held, even when minister plenipotentiary, did his pay equal his expenditures. He was three years president of Pennsylvania after his return from France, and for his services declined to appropriate to his own use anything beyond his necessary expenditures for stationery, postage, and transportation. It is not by such [Pg 5930]methods that men justly incur the implied reproach of "laying up treasures on earth," or of teaching a candle-end-saving philosophy.

Franklin courted fame no more than fortune. The best of his writings, after his retirement from journalism, he never gave to the press at all; not even his incomparable autobiography, which is still republished more frequently than any of the writings of Dickens or of Thackeray. He always wrote for a larger purpose than mere personal gratification of any kind. Even his bagatelles and jeux d'esprit read in the salons of Paris, though apparently intended for the eyes of a small circle, were inspired by a desire to make friends and create respect for the struggling people and the great cause he represented. Few if any of them got into print until many years after his decease.

Franklin was from his youth up a leader, a lion in whatever circle he entered, whether in the printing-house, the provincial Assemblies, as agent in England, or as a courtier in France. There was no one too eminent in science or literature, on either side of the Atlantic, not to esteem his acquaintance a privilege. He was an honorary member of every important scientific association in the world, and in friendly correspondence with most of those who conferred upon those bodies any distinction; and all this by force of a personal, not to say planetary, attraction that no one brought within his sphere could long resist.

Pretty much all of importance that we know of Franklin we gather from his private correspondence. His contemporaries wrote or at least printed very little about him; scarcely one of the multitude whose names he embalmed in his 'Autobiography' ever printed a line about him. All that we know of the later half of his life not covered by his autobiography, we owe almost exclusively to his private and official correspondence. Though reckoning among his warm friends and correspondents such men as David Hume, Dr. Joseph Priestley, Dr. Price, Lord Kames, Lord Chatham, Dr. Fothergill, Peter Collinson, Edmund Burke, the Bishop of St. Asaph and his gifted daughters, Voltaire, the habitués of the Helvétius salon, the Marquis de Ségur, the Count de Vergennes, his near neighbors De Chaumont and Le Veillard, the maire of Passy,—all that we learn of his achievements, of his conversation, of his daily life, from these or many other associates of only less prominence in the Old World, might be written on a single foolscap sheet. Nor are we under much greater obligations to his American friends. It is to his own letters (and except his 'Autobiography,' he can hardly be said to have written anything in any other than the epistolary form; and that was written in the form of a letter to his son William, and most of it only began to be published a quarter of a century after his [Pg 5931]death) that we must turn to learn how full of interest and importance to mankind was this last half-century of his life. Beyond keeping copies of his correspondence, which his official character made a duty as well as a necessity, he appears to have taken no precautions to insure the posthumous fame to which his correspondence during that period was destined to contribute so much. Hence, all the biographies—and they are numberless—owe almost their entire interest and value to his own pen. All, so far as they are biographies, are autobiographies; and for that reason it may be fairly said that all of them are interesting.

It is also quite remarkable that though Franklin's life was a continuous warfare, he had no personal enemies. His extraordinary and even intimate experience of every phase of human life, from the very lowest to the very highest, had made him so tolerant that he regarded differences of opinion and of habits much as he regarded the changes of the weather,—as good or bad for his purposes, but which, though he might sometimes deplore, he had no right to quarrel with or assume personal responsibility for. Hence he never said or did things personally offensive. The causes that he represented had enemies, for he was all his life a reformer. All men who are good for anything have such enemies. "I have, as you observe," wrote Franklin to John Jay the year that he retired from the French mission, "some enemies in England, but they are my enemies as an American; I have also two or three in America who are my enemies as a minister; but I thank God there are not in the whole world any who are my enemies as a man: for by his grace, through a long life, I have been enabled so to conduct myself that there does not exist a human being who can justly say, 'Ben Franklin has wronged me.' This, my friend, is in old age a comfortable reflection. You too have or may have your enemies; but let not that render you unhappy. If you make a right use of them, they will do you more good than harm. They point out to us our faults; they put us upon our guard and help us to live more correctly."

Franklin's place in literature as a writer has not been generally appreciated, probably because with him writing was only a means, never an end, and his ends always dwarfed his means, however effective. He wrote to persuade others, never to parade his literary skill. He never wrote a dull line, and was never nimious. The longest production of his pen was his autobiography, written during the closing years of his life. Nearly all that he wrote besides was in the form of letters, which would hardly average three octavo pages in length. And yet whatever the subject he touched upon, he never left the impression of incompleteness or of inconclusiveness. Of him may be said, perhaps with as much propriety as of any other man, [Pg 5932]that he never said a word too soon, nor a word too late, nor a word too much. Tons of paper have been devoted to dissuasives from dueling, but the argument was never put more effectively than Franklin put it in these dozen lines of a letter to a Mr. Percival, who had sent him a volume of literary and moral dissertations.

"A gentleman in a coffee-house desired another to sit further from him. 'Why so?'—'Because you stink.'—'That is an affront, and you must fight me.'—'I will fight you if you insist upon it, but I do not see how that will mend the matter. For if you kill me, I shall stink too; and if I kill you, you will stink, if possible, worse than at present.' How can such miserable sinners as we are, entertain so much pride as to conceit that every offense against our imagined honor merits death? These petty princes, in their opinion, would call that sovereign a tyrant who should put one of them to death for a little uncivil language, though pointed at his sacred person; yet every one of them makes himself judge in his own cause, condemns the offender without a jury, and undertakes himself to be the executioner."

Some one wrote him that the people in England were abusing the Americans and speaking all manner of evil against them. Franklin replied that this was natural enough:

"They impute to us the evil they wished us. They are angry with us, and speak all manner of evil of us; but we flourish notwithstanding. They put me in mind of a violent High Church factor, resident in Boston when I was a boy. He had bought upon speculation a Connecticut cargo of onions which he flattered himself he might sell again to great profit; but the price fell, and they lay upon his hands. He was heartily vexed with his bargain, especially when he observed they began to grow in his store he had filled with them. He showed them one day to a friend. 'Here they are,' said he, 'and they are growing too. I damn them every day, but I think they are like the Presbyterians; the more I curse them, the more they grow.'"

Mr. Jefferson tells us that Franklin was sitting by his side in the convention while the delegates were picking his famous declaration of Independence to pieces, and seeing how Jefferson was squirming under their mutilations, comforted him with the following stories, the rare excellence of which has given them a currency which has long since worn off their novelty:—

"'I have made it a rule,' said he, 'whenever in my power, to avoid becoming the draftsman of papers to be reviewed by a public body. I took my lesson from an incident which I will relate to you.

"'When I was a journeyman printer, one of my companions, an apprenticed hatter, having served out his time, was about to open shop for himself. His first concern was to have a handsome sign-board with the proper inscription. He composed it in these words: John Thompson, Hatter, makes and sells Hats for ready Money, with a figure of a hat subjoined. But he thought he would submit it to his friends for their amendments. The first he showed [Pg 5933]it to thought the word hatter tautologous, because followed by the words makes hats, which showed he was a hatter. It was struck out. The next observed that the word makes might as well be omitted, because his customers would not care who made the hats; if good and to their mind, they would buy, by whomsoever made. He struck it out. A third said he thought the words for ready money were useless, as it was not the custom of the place to sell on credit: every one who purchased expected to pay. They were parted with, and the inscription now stood, John Thompson sells hats. "Sells hats," says his next friend; "why, nobody will expect you to give them away. What then is the use of that word?" It was stricken out, and hats followed, the rather as there was one painted on the board. So his inscription was ultimately reduced to John Thompson, with the figure of a hat subjoined.'"

When the members were about to sign the document, Mr. Hancock is reported to have said, "We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together." "Yes," replied Franklin, "we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."

The Doric simplicity of his style; his incomparable facility of condensing a great principle into an apologue or an anecdote, many of which, as he applied them, have become the folk-lore of all nations; his habitual moderation of statement, his aversion to exaggeration, his inflexible logic, and his perfect truthfulness,—made him one of the most persuasive men of his time, and his writings a model which no one can study without profit. A judicious selection from Franklin's writings should constitute a part of the curriculum of every college and high school that aspires to cultivate in its pupils a pure style and correct literary taste.

There was one incident in Franklin's life, which, though more frequently referred to in terms of reproach than any other, will probably count for more in his favor in the Great Assize than any other of his whole life. While yet in his teens he became a father before he was a husband. He never did what men of the loftiest moral pretensions not unfrequently do,—shirk as far as possible any personal responsibility for this indiscretion. On the contrary, he took the fruit of it to his home; gave him the best education the schools of the country then afforded. When he went abroad, this son accompanied him, was presented as his son wherever he went, was presented in all the great houses in which he himself was received; he entered him at the Inns of Court, and in due time had him admitted to the English bar; made him his private secretary, and at an early age caused him to be appointed by the Crown, Governor of New Jersey. The father not only did everything to repair the wrong he had done his son, but at a time when he was at the zenith of his fame and official importance, publicly proclaimed it as one of the [Pg 5934]great errors of his life. The world has always abounded with bastards; but with the exception of crowned heads claiming to hold their sceptres by Divine right, and therefore beyond the reach of popular criticism or reproach, it would be difficult to name another parent of his generation of anything like corresponding eminence with Franklin, who had the courage and the magnanimity to expiate such a wrong to his offspring so fully and effectively.

Franklin was not a member of the visible Church, nor did he ever become the adherent of any sect. He was three years younger than Jonathan Edwards, and in his youth heard his share of the then prevailing theology of New England, of which Edwards was regarded, and perhaps justly, as the most eminent exponent. The extremes to which Edwards carried those doctrines at last so shocked the people of Massachusetts that he was rather ignominiously expelled from his pulpit at Northampton; and the people of Massachusetts, in very considerable proportions, gradually wandered over into the Unitarian communion. To Jonathan Edwards and the inflexible law of action and reaction, more than to Priestley or any one else of their generation, that sect owes to this day its numerical strength, its influence, and its dignity, in New England. With the creed of that sect Dr. Franklin had more in common than with any other, though he was much too wise a man to suppose that there was but one gate of admission to the Holy City. He believed in one God; that Jesus was the best man that ever lived, and his example the most profitable one ever given us to follow. He never succeeded in accepting the doctrine that Jehovah and Jesus were one person, or that miracles attributed to the latter in the Bible were ever worked. He thought the best service and sufficient worship of God was in doing all the good we can to his creatures. He therefore never occupied himself much with ecclesiastical ceremonies, sectarian differences, or theological subtleties. A reverend candidate for episcopal orders wrote to Franklin, complaining that the Archbishop of Canterbury had refused to ordain him unless he would take the oath of allegiance, which he was too patriotic a Yankee to do. Franklin, in reply, asked what necessity there was for his being connected with the Church of England; if it would not be as well were it the Church of Ireland. Perhaps were he to apply to the Bishop of Derry, who was a man of liberal sentiments, he might give him orders, as of that Church. Should both England and Ireland refuse, Franklin assumed that the Bishops of Sweden and Norway would refuse also, unless the candidates embraced Lutheranism. He then added:—

"Next to becoming Presbyterians, the Episcopalian clergy of America, in my humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to Christianity. [Pg 5935]When the King had built the cathedral of St. Andrew's, and requested the King of Northumberland to lend his bishops to ordain one for them, that their clergy might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was refused, they assembled in the cathedral, and the mitre, crosier, and robes of a bishop being laid upon the altar, they after earnest prayers for direction in their choice elected one of their own number; when the King said to him, "Arise, go to the altar, and receive your office at the hand of God." His brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crosier in his hand and the mitre on his head, and he became the first Bishop of Scotland.

"If the British islands were sunk in the sea (and the surface of this globe has suffered great changes), you would probably take some such method as this; and if they persist in denying your ordination, it is the same thing. A hundred years hence, when people are more enlightened, it will be wondered at that men in America, qualified by their learning and piety to pray for and instruct their neighbors, should not be permitted to do it till they had made a voyage of six thousand miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old gentleman at Canterbury."

Franklin, however, was in no sense an agnostic. What he could not understand he did not profess to understand or believe; neither was he guilty of the presumption of holding that what he could not understand, he might not have understood if he had been a wiser and better man. Though impatient of cant and hypocrisy, especially in the pulpit, he never spoke lightly of the Bible, or of the Church and its offices. When his daughter Sally was about to marry, he wrote to her:—

"My dear child, the natural prudence and goodness of heart God has blest you with, make it less necessary for me to be particular in giving you advice. I shall therefore only say, that the more attentively dutiful and tender you are towards your good mamma, the more you will recommend yourself to me. But why should I mention me, when you have so much higher a promise in the Commandments, that such conduct will recommend you to the favor of God? You know I have many enemies, all indeed on the public account (for I cannot recollect that I have in a private capacity given just cause of offense to any one whatever): yet they are enemies, and very bitter ones; and you must expect their enmity will extend in some degree to you, so that your slightest indiscretions will be magnified into crimes, in order the more sensibly to wound and afflict me. It is therefore the more necessary for you to be extremely circumspect in all your behavior, that no advantage may be given to their malevolence.

"Go constantly to church, whoever preaches. The act of devotion in the Common Prayer Book is your principal business there, and if properly attended to will do more towards amending the heart than sermons generally can do. For they were composed by men of much greater piety and wisdom than our common composers of sermons can pretend to be; and therefore I wish you would never miss the prayer days: yet I do not mean you should [Pg 5936]despise sermons, even of the preachers you dislike, for the discourse is often much better than the man, as sweet and clear waters come through very dirty earth. I am the more particular on this head, as you seemed to express a little before I came away some inclination to leave our church, which I would not have you do."

I cannot more fitly close this imperfect sketch of America's most illustrious citizen, than by quoting from a touching and most affectionate letter from Mrs. Hewson (Margaret Stevenson),—one of Franklin's worthiest, most faithful, and most valued friends,—addressed to one of Franklin's oldest friends in England.

"We have lost that valued, venerable, kind friend whose knowledge enlightened our minds and whose philanthropy warmed our hearts. But we have the consolation to think that if a life well spent in acts of universal benevolence to mankind, a grateful acknowledgment of Divine favor, a patient submission under severe chastisement, and an humble trust in Almighty mercy, can insure the happiness of a future state, our present loss is his gain. I was the faithful witness of the closing scene, which he sustained with that calm fortitude which characterized him through life. No repining, no peevish expression ever escaped him during a confinement of two years, in which, I believe, if every moment of ease could be added together, would not amount to two whole months. When the pain was not too violent to be amused, he employed himself with his books, his pen, or in conversation with his friends; and upon every occasion displayed the clearness of his intellect and the cheerfulness of his temper. Even when the intervals from pain were so short that his words were frequently interrupted, I have known him to hold a discourse in a sublime strain of piety. I say this to you because I know it will give you pleasure.

"I never shall forget one day that I passed with our friend last summer. I found him in bed in great agony; but when that agony abated a little I asked if I should read to him. He said yes; and the first book I met with was Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets.' I read the 'Life of Watts,' who was a favorite author with Dr. Franklin; and instead of lulling him to sleep, it roused him to a display of the powers of his memory and his reason. He repeated several of Watts's 'Lyric Poems,' and descanted upon their sublimity in a strain worthy of them and of their pious author. It is natural for us to wish that an attention to some ceremonies had accompanied that religion of the heart which I am convinced Dr. Franklin always possessed; but let us who feel the benefit of them continue to practice them, without thinking lightly of that piety which could support pain without a murmur, and meet death without terror."

Franklin made a somewhat more definite statement of his views on the subject of religion, in reply to an inquiry from President Styles of Yale College, who expressed a desire to know his opinion of Jesus of Nazareth. Franklin's reply was written the last year of his life, and in the eighty-fourth of his age:—

[Pg 5937]

"You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.

"I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness. My sentiments on this head you will see in the copy of an old letter inclosed, which I wrote in answer to one from an old religionist whom I had relieved in a paralytic case by electricity, and who, being afraid I should grow proud upon it, sent me his serious though rather impertinent caution."

John Bigelow


From the 'Autobiography,' in Bigelow's Edition of Franklin's Works

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three children into New England about 1682. The conventicles having been forbidden by law and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife he had four children more[Pg 5938] born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married. I was the youngest son and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton Mather in his church history of that country, entitled 'Magnalia Christi Americana,' as "a goodly, learned Englishman," if I remember the words rightly. I have heard that he wrote sundry small occasional pieces, but only one of them was printed, which I saw now many years since....

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church. My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My uncle Benjamin too approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short-hand volumes of sermons,—I suppose as a stock to set up with,—if I would learn his character. I continued, however, at the grammar school not quite one year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father in the mean time,—from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain,—reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing,—altered his first intention, took me from the grammar school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally, and that by mild, encouraging methods. Under him I acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler,—a business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England, and on finding his dyeing trade would not maintain his family, being in little request.[Pg 5939] Accordingly I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping-mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc.

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the sea, but my father declared against it: however, living near the water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim well and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe with other boys I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, though not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much trampling we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharf there, fit for us to stand upon; and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and which would very well suit our purpose. Accordingly, in the evening, when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my playfellows, and working with them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharf. The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones, which were found in our wharf. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by our fathers, and though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

I continued thus employed in my father's business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who was bred to that business, having left my father, married, and set up for himself at Rhode Island, there was all appearance that I was destined to supply his place and become a tallow-chandler. But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions that if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should break away and get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexation. He therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, etc., at their work, that he might observe my inclination, and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen[Pg 5940] handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my experiments, while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and warm in my mind. My father at last fixed upon the cutler's trade, and my uncle Benjamin's son Samuel, who was bred to that business in London, being about that time established in Boston, I was sent to be with him some time on liking. But his expectations of a fee with me displeasing my father, I was taken home again.

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the 'Pilgrim's Progress,' my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's 'Historical Collections'; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted that at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was, in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There was also a book of De Foe's, called 'An Essay on Projects,' and another of Dr. Mather's, called 'Essays To Do Good,' which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events of my life.

This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession. In 1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters, to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to have me bound to my brother. I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last year. In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small[Pg 5941] one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.


From the 'Autobiography,' in Bigelow's Edition of Franklin's Works

I proceeded on my journey on foot, having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was told I should find boats that would carry me the rest of the way to Philadelphia.

It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soaked, and by noon a good deal tired; so I stopt at a poor inn, where I stayed all night, beginning now to wish that I had never left home. I cut so miserable a figure too that I found, by the questions asked me, I was suspected to be some runaway servant, and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion. However, I proceeded the next day, and got in the evening to an inn within eight or ten miles of Burlington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment; and finding I had read a little, became very sociable and friendly. Our acquaintance continued as long as he lived. He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for there was no town in England or country in Europe of which he could not give a very particular account. He had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Virgil. By this means he set many of the facts in a very ridiculous light, and might have hurt weak minds if his work had been published, but it never was.

At his house I lay that night, and the next morning reached Burlington, but had the mortification to find that the regular boats were gone a little before my coming, and no other expected to go before Tuesday, this being Saturday; wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town, of whom I had bought ginger-bread to eat on the water, and asked her advice. She invited me to lodge at her house till a passage by water should offer; and being tired with my foot-traveling, I accepted the invitation. She, understanding I was a printer, would have had me stay at[Pg 5942] that town and follow my business, being ignorant of the stock necessary to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox-cheek with great good-will, accepting only of a pot of ale in return; and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday should come. However, walking in the evening by the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found was going towards Philadelphia, with several people in her. They took me in, and as there was no wind, we rowed all the way; and about midnight, not having yet seen the city, some of the company were confident we must have passed it, and would row no farther; the others knew not where we were; so we put toward the shore, got into a creek, landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made a fire,—the night being cold, in October,—and there we remained till daylight. Then one of the company knew the place to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the creek, and arrived there about eight or nine o'clock on the Sunday morning, and landed at the Market Street wharf.

I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind compare such unlike beginnings with the figure I have since made there. I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come round by sea. I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where to look for lodging. I was fatigued with traveling, rowing, and want of rest; I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave the people of the boat for my passage, who at first refused it, on account of my rowing, but I insisted on their taking it; a man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps through fear of being thought to have but little.

Then I walked up the street, gazing about, till near the market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, and inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me to, in Second Street, and asked for biscuit, intending such as we had in Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. Then I asked for a threepenny loaf, and was told they had none such. So, not considering or knowing the difference of money, and the greater cheapness nor[Pg 5943] the names of his bread, I bade him give me threepenny worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm and eating the other. Thus I went up Market Street as far as Fourth Street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut Street and part of Walnut Street, eating my roll all the way, and coming round found myself again at Market Street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and being filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther.

Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way. I joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down among them, and after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy through labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me. This was therefore the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.


From the 'Autobiography,' in Bigelow's Edition of Franklin's Works

I now began to think of getting a little money beforehand, and expecting better work, I left Palmer's to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater printing-house. Here I continued all the rest of my stay in London.

At my first admission into this printing-house I took to working at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily exercise I had been used to in America, where presswork is mixed with composing. I drank only water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of beer. On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of types in each hand, when others carried but one in both hands. They wondered to see, from this and several instances, that the Water American, as they called[Pg 5944] me, was stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer! We had an alehouse boy, who attended always in the house to supply the workmen. My companion at the press drank every day a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and another when he had done his day's work. I thought it a detestable custom; but it was necessary, he supposed, to drink strong beer that he might be strong to labor. I endeavored to convince him that the bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread; and therefore, if he would eat that with a pint of water, it would give him more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on, however, and had four or five shillings to pay out of his wages every Saturday night for that muddling liquor; an expense I was free from. And thus these poor devils keep themselves always under.

Watts after some weeks desiring to have me in the composing-room, I left the pressmen: a new bien venu or sum for drink, being five shillings, was demanded of me by the compositors. I thought it an imposition, as I had paid below: the master thought so too, and forbade my paying it. I stood out two or three weeks, was accordingly considered as an excommunicate, and had so many little pieces of private mischief done me, by mixing my sorts, transposing my pages, breaking my matter, etc., etc., if I were ever so little out of the room,—and all ascribed to the chappel ghost, which they said ever haunted those not regularly admitted,—that notwithstanding the master's protection I found myself obliged to comply and pay the money, convinced of the folly of being on ill terms with those one is to live with continually.

I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquired considerable influence. I proposed some reasonable alterations in their chappel laws, and carried them against all opposition. From my example, a great part of them left their muddling breakfast of beer and bread and cheese, finding they could with me be supplied from a neighboring house with a large porringer of hot water-gruel sprinkled with pepper, crumbed with bread, and a bit of butter in it, for the price of a pint of beer; viz., three half-pence. This was a more comfortable as well as cheaper[Pg 5945] breakfast, and kept their heads clearer. Those who continued sotting with beer all day were often, by not paying, out of credit at the alehouse, and used to make interest with me to get beer; their light, as they phrased it, being out. I watched the pay-table on Saturday night, and collected what I stood engaged for them, having to pay sometimes near thirty shillings a week on their account. This, and my being esteemed a pretty good rigile,—that is, a jocular verbal satirist,—supported my consequence in the society. My constant attendance (I never making a St. Monday) recommended me to the master; and my uncommon quickness at composing occasioned my being put upon all work of dispatch, which was generally better paid. So I went on now very agreeably.


From Poor Richard's Almanack: 1742

Eat and drink such an exact quantity as the constitution of thy body allows of, in reference to the services of the mind.

They that study much ought not to eat as much as those that work hard, their digestion being not so good.

The exact quantity and quality being found out, is to be kept to constantly.

Excess in all other things whatever, as well as in meat and drink, is also to be avoided.

Youth, age, and sick require a different quantity.

And so do those of contrary complexions; for that which is too much for a phlegmatic man, is not sufficient for a choleric.

The measure of food ought to be (as much as possibly may be) exactly proportionable to the quality and condition of the stomach, because the stomach digests it.

That quantity that is sufficient, the stomach can perfectly concoct and digest, and it sufficeth the due nourishment of the body.

A greater quantity of some things may be eaten than of others, some being of lighter digestion than others.

The difficulty lies in finding out an exact measure; but eat for necessity, not pleasure: for lust knows not where necessity ends.

Wouldst thou enjoy a long life, a healthy body, and a vigorous mind, and be acquainted also with the wonderful works of God, labor in the first place to bring thy appetite to reason.

[Pg 5946]


From Poor Richard's Almanack

Courteous reader, I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods. The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man with white locks: "Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up and replied, "If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; for 'A word to the wise is enough,' as Poor Richard says." They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:—

"Friends," said he, "the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us: 'God helps them that help themselves,' as Poor Richard says....

"Beware of little expenses: 'A small leak will sink a great ship,' as Poor Richard says; and again, 'Who dainties love, shall beggars prove;' and moreover, 'Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.'

"Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries and knick-knacks. You call them goods; but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may, for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says: 'Buy what thou hast no[Pg 5947] need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.' And again, 'At a great pennyworth pause a while.' He means that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another place he says, 'Many have been ruined by buying good pennyworths.' Again, 'It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance;' and yet this folly is practiced every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanack. Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly and half starved their families. 'Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire,' as Poor Richard says.

"These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences: and yet, only because they look pretty, how many want to have them! By these and other extravagances the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who through industry and frugality have maintained their standing; in which case it appears plainly that 'A plowman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees,' as poor Richard says. Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think, 'It is day, and will never be night;' that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding; but 'Always taking out of the meal-tub and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom,' as Poor Richard says; and then, 'When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.' But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice. 'If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some: for he that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing,' as Poor Richard says; and indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again. Poor Dick further advises and says:—

'Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse;
Ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.'

And again, 'Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy.' When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, 'It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.' And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell in order to equal the ox.[Pg 5948]

'Vessels large may venture more,
But little boats should keep near shore.'

It is however a folly soon punished; for, as Poor Richard says, 'Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt. Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with Infamy.' And after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person; it creates envy; it hastens misfortune.

"But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered by the terms of this sale six months' credit; and that perhaps has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But ah! think what you do when you run in debt: you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity and sink into base downright lying; for 'The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,' as Poor Richard says: and again to the same purpose, 'Lying rides upon Debt's back;' whereas a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue. 'It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.'

"What would you think of that prince or of that government who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or a gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please; and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical? And yet you are about to put yourself under such tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty by confining you in jail till you shall be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain, you may perhaps think little of payment; but as Poor Richard says, 'Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.' The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it; or if you bear your debt in[Pg 5949] mind, the term which at first seemed so long will, as it lessens, appear extremely short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders. 'Those have a short Lent who owe money to be paid at Easter.' At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury, but—

'For age and want save while you may;
No morning sun lasts a whole day.'

Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain; and 'It is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel,' as Poor Richard says; so, 'Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.'

'Get what you can, and what you get hold;
'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.'

And when you have got the Philosopher's Stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times or the difficulty of paying taxes.

"This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom: but after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry and frugality and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted, without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it; but comfort and help them. Remember, Job suffered and was afterwards prosperous.

"And now, to conclude, 'Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other,' as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, 'We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.' However, remember this: 'They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped;' and further, that 'If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles,' as Poor Richard says."

[Pg 5950]

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it and approved the doctrine; and immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened and they began to buy extravagantly. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacks, and digested all I had dropped on these topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he had ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,

Richard Saunders.


Mr. President:

The small progress we have made, after four or five weeks' close attendance and continual reasons with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many Noes as Ayes, is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running all about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those republics, which, having been originally formed with the seeds of their own dissolution, now no longer exist; and we have viewed modern States all round Europe, but find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

[Pg 5951]

In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move,—

That henceforth prayers, imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business; and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.


I agree with you perfectly in your disapprobation of war. Abstracted from the inhumanity of it, I think it wrong in point of human prudence; for whatever advantage one nation would obtain from another, whether it be part of their territory, the liberty of commerce with them, free passage on their rivers, etc., it would be much cheaper to purchase such advantage with ready money than to pay the expense of acquiring it by war. An army is a devouring monster; and when you have raised it, you have, in order to subsist it, not only the fair charges of pay, clothing, provisions, arms, and ammunition, with numberless other contingent and just charges to answer and satisfy, but you have all the additional knavish charges of the numerous tribe of contractors to defray, with those of every other dealer who furnishes the articles wanted for your army, and takes advantage of that want to demand exorbitant prices. It seems to me that if statesmen had a little more arithmetic, or were more accustomed to calculation, wars would be much less frequent. I am confident[Pg 5952] that Canada might have been purchased from France for a tenth part of the money England spent in the conquest of it. And if instead of fighting with us for the power of taxing us, she had kept us in good humor by allowing us to dispose of our own money, and now and then giving us a little of hers, by way of donation to colleges, or hospitals, or for cutting canals, or fortifying ports, she might have easily drawn from us much more by our occasional voluntary grants and contributions than ever she could by taxes. Sensible people will give a bucket or two of water to a dry pump, that they may afterwards get from it all they have occasion for. Her ministry were deficient in that little point of common-sense; and so they spent one hundred millions of her money and after all lost what they contended for.


Letter to Madame Helvétius

Mortified at the barbarous resolution pronounced by you so positively yesterday evening,—that you would remain single the rest of your life, as a compliment due to the memory of your husband,—I retired to my chamber. Throwing myself upon my bed, I dreamt that I was dead, and was transported to the Elysian Fields.

I was asked whether I wished to see any persons in particular; to which I replied that I wished to see the philosophers.—"There are two who live here at hand in this garden; they are good neighbors, and very friendly towards one another."—"Who are they?"—"Socrates and Helvétius."—"I esteem them both highly; but let me see Helvétius first, because I understand a little French, but not a word of Greek." I was conducted to him: he received me with much courtesy, having known me, he said, by character, some time past. He asked me a thousand questions relative to the war, the present state of religion, of liberty, of the government in France. "You do not inquire, then," said I, "after your dear friend, Madame Helvétius; yet she loves you exceedingly: I was in her company not more than an hour ago." "Ah," said he, "you make me recur to my past happiness, which ought to be forgotten in order to be happy here. For many years I could think of nothing but her, though at length I am consoled. I have taken another wife, the most like[Pg 5953] her that I could find; she is not indeed altogether so handsome, but she has a great fund of wit and good sense; and her whole study is to please me. She is at this moment gone to fetch the best nectar and ambrosia to regale me; stay here awhile and you will see her." "I perceive," said I, "that your former friend is more faithful to you than you are to her; she has had several good offers, but refused them all. I will confess to you that I loved her extremely; but she was cruel to me, and rejected me peremptorily for your sake." "I pity you sincerely," said he, "for she is an excellent woman, handsome and amiable. But do not the Abbé de la Roche and the Abbé Morellet visit her?"—"Certainly they do; not one of your friends has dropped her acquaintance."—"If you had gained the Abbé Morellet with a bribe of good coffee and cream, perhaps you would have succeeded: for he is as deep a reasoner as Duns Scotus or St. Thomas: he arranges and methodizes his arguments in such a manner that they are almost irresistible. Or if by a fine edition of some old classic you had gained the Abbé de la Roche to speak against you, that would have been still better; as I always observed that when he recommended anything to her, she had a great inclination to do directly the contrary." As he finished these words the new Madame Helvétius entered with the nectar, and I recognized her immediately as my former American friend Mrs. Franklin! I reclaimed her, but she answered me coldly:—"I was a good wife to you for forty-nine years and four months,—nearly half a century; let that content you. I have formed a new connection here, which will last to eternity."

Indignant at this refusal of my Eurydice, I immediately resolved to quit those ungrateful shades, and return to this good world again, to behold the sun and you! Here I am: let us avenge ourselves!


Letter to Madame Brillon of Passy, written in 1778

You may remember, my dear friend, that when we lately spent that happy day in the delightful garden and sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopped a little in one of our walks, and stayed some time behind the company. We had been shown numberless skeletons of a kind of little fly, called an ephemera,[Pg 5954] whose successive generations, we were told, were bred and expired within the day. I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know I understand all the inferior animal tongues. My too great application to the study of them is the best excuse I can give for the little progress I have made in your charming language. I listened through curiosity to the discourse of these little creatures; but as they in their natural vivacity spoke three, or four together, I could make but little of their conversation. I found however by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign musicians, one a cousin, the other a moscheto; in which dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of the shortness of life as if they had been sure of living a month. Happy people! thought I; you are certainly under a wise, just, and mild government, since you have no public grievances to complain of, nor any subject of contention but the perfections and imperfections of foreign music. I turned my head from them to an old gray-headed one, who was single on another leaf, and talking to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of all amusements, her delicious company and heavenly harmony.

"It was," said he, "the opinion of learned philosophers of our race who lived and flourished long before my time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not itself subsist more than eighteen hours; and I think there was some foundation for that opinion, since by the apparent motion of the great luminary that gives life to all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined considerably towards the ocean at the end of our earth, it must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters that surround us, and leave the world in cold and darkness, necessarily producing universal death and destruction. I have lived seven of those hours, a great age, being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of time. How very few of us continue so long! I have seen generations born, flourish, and expire. My present friends are the children and grandchildren of the friends of my youth, who are now, alas, no more! And I must soon follow them; for by the course of nature, though still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or eight minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and labor in amassing[Pg 5955] honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot live to enjoy? What the political struggles I have been engaged in for the good of my compatriot inhabitants of this bush, or my philosophical studies for the benefit of our race in general? for in politics, what can laws do without morals? Our present race of ephemeræ will in a course of minutes become corrupt, like those of other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched. And in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art is long and life is short! My friends would comfort me with the idea of a name they say I shall leave behind me; and they tell me I have lived long enough to nature and to glory. But what will fame be to an ephemera who no longer exists? and what will become of all history in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be buried in universal ruin?"

To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures now remain but the reflection of a long life spent in meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good lady ephemeræ, and now and then a kind smile and a tune from the ever amiable Brillante.


Letter to Lord Kames, January 3d, 1760

No one can more sincerely rejoice than I do, on the reduction of Canada; and this is not merely as I am a colonist, but as I am a Briton. I have long been of opinion that the foundations of the future grandeur and stability of the British empire lie in America; and though like other foundations they are low and little now, they are nevertheless broad and strong enough to support the greatest political structure that human wisdom ever yet erected. I am therefore by no means for restoring Canada. If we keep it, all the country from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi will in another century be filled with British people. Britain itself will become vastly more populous, by the immense increase of its commerce; the Atlantic sea will be covered with your trading ships; and your naval power, thence continually increasing, will extend your influence round the whole globe, and awe the world! If the French remain in Canada they will continually harass our colonies by the Indians, and impede if not prevent their growth; your progress to greatness will at[Pg 5956] best be slow, and give room for many accidents that may forever prevent it. But I refrain, for I see you begin to think my notions extravagant, and look upon them as the ravings of a mad prophet.


Letter to John Alleyne, dated Craven Street, August 9th, 1768

You desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections that have been made by numerous persons to your own. You may remember, when you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not become so stiff and uncomplying as when more advanced in life; they form more easily to each other, and hence many occasions of disgust are removed. And if youth has less of that prudence which is necessary to manage a family, yet the parents and elder friends of young married persons are generally at hand to afford their advice, which amply supplies that defect; and by early marriage, youth is sooner formed to regular and useful life; and possibly some of those accidents or connections that might have injured the constitution or reputation, or both, are thereby happily prevented.

Particular circumstances of particular persons may possibly sometimes make it prudent to delay entering into that state; but in general, when nature has rendered our bodies fit for it, the presumption is in nature's favor, that she has not judged amiss in making us desire it. Late marriages are often attended, too, with this further inconvenience: that there is not the same chance that the parents will live to see their offspring educated. "Late children," says the Spanish proverb, "are early orphans." A melancholy reflection to those whose case it may be! With us in America, marriages are generally in the morning of life; our children are therefore educated and settled in the world by noon: and thus, our business being done, we have an afternoon and evening of cheerful leisure to ourselves; such as our friend at present enjoys. By these early marriages we are blessed with[Pg 5957] more children; and from the mode among us, founded by nature, every mother suckling and nursing her own child, more of them are raised. Thence the swift progress of population among us, unparalleled in Europe.

In fine, I am glad you are married, and congratulate you most cordially upon it. You are now in the way of becoming a useful citizen; and you have escaped the unnatural state of celibacy for life, the fate of many here who never intended it, but who, having too long postponed the change of their condition, find at length that it is too late to think of it, and so live all their lives in a situation that greatly lessens a man's value. An odd volume of a set of books bears not the value of its proportion to the set. What think you of the odd half of a pair of scissors? It cannot well cut anything; it may possibly serve to scrape a trencher.

Pray make my compliments and best wishes acceptable to your bride. I am old and heavy, or I should ere this have presented them in person. I shall make but small use of the old man's privilege, that of giving advice to younger friends. Treat your wife always with respect: it will procure respect to you, not only from her, but from all that observe it. Never use a slighting expression to her, even in jest; for slights in jest, after frequent bandyings, are apt to end in angry earnest. Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich. Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy. Be in general virtuous, and you will be happy: at least, you will, by such conduct, stand the best chance for such consequences. I pray God to bless you both; being ever your affectionate friend.


From the 'Autobiography,' in Bigelow's Edition of Franklin's Works

We have an English proverb that says, "He that would thrive must ask his wife." It was lucky for me that I had one as much disposed to industry and frugality as myself. She assisted me cheerfully in my business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old linen rags for the paper-makers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants; our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest. For instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk (no tea), and I ate it[Pg 5958] out of a twopenny earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon. But mark how luxury will enter families, and make a progress, in spite of principle: being called one morning to breakfast, I found it in a china bowl, with a spoon of silver! They had been bought for me without my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous sum of three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other excuse or apology to make but that she thought her husband deserved a silver spoon and china bowl as well as any of his neighbors. This was the first appearance of plate and china in our house, which afterward, in a course of years, as our wealth increased, augmented gradually to several hundred pounds in value.

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and though some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect (Sunday being my studying day), I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that he made the world, and governed it by his Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I esteemed the essentials of every religion; and being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, though with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mixed with other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, served principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induced me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province increased in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary contribution, my mite for such purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.

Though I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He used to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his administrations; and I was now and then prevailed[Pg 5959] on to do so, once for five Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforced; their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.

At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue or any praise, think on these things." And I imagined, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality. But he confined himself to five points only, as meant by the Apostle, viz.:—1. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the public worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers.—These might be all good things; but as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before composed a little liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), entitled 'Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion.' I returned to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blamable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.

It was about this time I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wished to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other....

I made a little book in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I ruled each page with red ink so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I crossed these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter[Pg 5960] of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefixed to my tables of examination, for daily use:—

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favors to me."

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from Thomson's Poems, viz.:—

"Father of light and life, thou Good supreme!
O teach me what is good; teach me thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!"

I entered upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continued it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.

My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that though it might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time,—that of a journeyman printer, for instance,—it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours. Order, too, with regard to places for things, papers, etc., I found extremely difficult to acquire. I had not been early accustomed to it; and having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method. This article, therefore, cost me so much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in that[Pg 5961] respect; like the man who in buying an axe of a smith, my neighbor, desired to have the whole of its surface as bright as the edge. The smith consented to grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel; he turned, while the smith pressed the broad face of the axe hard and heavily on the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing. The man came every now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on, and at length would take his axe as it was without farther grinding. "No," said the smith, "turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet, it is only speckled." "Yes," says the man, "but I think I like a speckled axe best." And I believe this may have been the case with many who, having for want of some such means as I employed, found the difficulty of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and virtue, have given up the struggle and concluded that "a speckled axe was best": for something that pretended to be reason was every now and then suggesting to me that such extreme nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which if it were known would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in countenance.

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But on the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, though they never reach the wished-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor owed the constant felicity of his life down to his 79th year, in which this is written. What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence; but if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoyed ought to help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances[Pg 5962] and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I hope therefore that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.

It will be remarked that though my scheme was not wholly without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets of any particular sect. I had purposely avoided them; for being fully persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or other to publish it, I would not have anything in it that should prejudice any one of any sect against it.

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine: that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was therefore every one's interest to be virtuous, who wished to be happy even in this world; and I should from this circumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility, States, and princes who have need of honest instruments for the management of their affairs, and such being so rare) have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those of probity and integrity.

My list of virtues contained at first but twelve: but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride showed itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing and rather insolent, of which he convinced me by mentioning several instances;—I determined endeavoring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of[Pg 5963] it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me at present. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I denied myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared or seemed to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engaged in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I proposed my opinions procured them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevailed with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right.

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural inclination, became at length so easy and so habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language: and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it perhaps often in this history; for even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

Photogravure from a Painting by Francois Lafon.

[Pg 5964]





ouis Honoré Fréchette, the best known of the French-Canadian poets, was born near the forties, at Lévis, a suburb of Quebec. He is patriotic; his genius is plainly that of New France, while the form of it is of that older France which produced the too exquisite sonnets of Voiture; and what counts greatly with the Canadians, he has received the approbation of the Academy; he is a personage in Paris, where he spends a great deal of time. From 'Nos Gens de Lettres' (Our Literary Workers: Montreal, 1873), we learn that the father of M. Fréchette was a man of business, and that he did not encourage his son's poetic tendencies to the detriment of the practical side of his character.

Lévis has traditions which are part of that stirring French-Canadian history now being made known to us by Mrs. Catherwood and Gilbert Parker. And the great St. Lawrence spoke to him in

"All those nameless voices, which are
Beating at the heart."

At the age of eight he began to write verses. He was told by his careful father that poets never become rich; but he still continued to make verses. He grew to be a philosopher as well as a poet, and a little later became firmly of Horace's opinion, that a poet to be happy does not need riches gained by work. His father, who no doubt felt that a philosopher of this cult was not fit for the world, sent him to the Seminary at Quebec. At the Seminary he continued to write verses. The teachers there found merit in the verses. The "nameless voices" still beat at his heart, though the desks of the preparatory college had replaced the elms of the St. Lawrence. But poets are so rare that even when one is caught young, his captors doubt his species. The captors in this case determined to see whether Pegasus could trot as well as gallop. "Transport yourself, little Fréchette," they said, "to the Council of Clermont and be a troubadour." What is time to the poet? He became a troubadour: but this was not enough; his preceptors were still in doubt; they locked him in a room and gave him as a subject the arrival of Mgr. de Laval in Canada. An hour passed; the first sufferings of the young poet having abated, he produced his verses. It was evident [Pg 5965]that Pegasus could acquire any pace. His talent was questioned no more.

As he became older, Fréchette had dreams of becoming a man of action, and began to learn telegraphy at Ogdensburg; but he found the art too long and life too brief. He went back to the seminary and contributed 'Mes Loisirs' (My Spare Hours) to the college paper. From the seminary—the Petit Seminaire, of course,—he went to the College of Ste. Anne, to Nicolet, and finally to Laval University, "singing, and picking up such crumbs of knowledge as suited his taste."

In 1864 M. Fréchette was admitted to practice at the bar of Quebec. He was a poet first and always; but just at this time he was second a journalist, third a politician, and perhaps fourth a barrister. He began to publish a paper, Le Journal de Lévis. It failed: disgusted, he bade farewell to Canada, and began in Chicago the publication of L'Observateur: it died in a day. He poured forth his complaints in 'Voix d'un Exilé' (The Voice of an Exile). "Never," cries M. Darveau in 'Nos Gens de Lettres' (Our Literary Workers), "did Juvenal scar the faces of the corrupt Romans as did Fréchette lash the shoulders of our wretched politicians." His L'Amérique, a journal started in Chicago, had some success, but it temporarily ruined Fréchette, as the Swiss whom he had placed in charge of it suddenly changed its policy, and made it sympathize with Germany in the Franco-Prussian war.

Fréchette's early prose is fiery and eloquent; his admirers compared it to that of Louis Veuillot and Junius, for the reason, probably, that he used it to denounce those whom he hated politically. Fréchette's verse has the lyrical ring. And although M. Camille Doucet insisted that the French Academy in crowning his poems honored a Frenchman, it must be remembered that Fréchette is both an American and a British subject; and these things, not likely to disarm Academical conservatism, made the action the more significant of the poet's value.

There is strong and noble passion in 'La Voix d'un Exilé' and in the 'Ode to the Mississippi.' His arraignment of the Canadian politicians may be forgotten without loss,—no doubt he has by this time forgiven them,—but the real feeling of the poet, who finds in the Mississippi the brother of his beloved St. Lawrence, is permanent:—

"Adieu, vallons ombreux, mes campagnes fleuries,
Mes montagnes d'azur et mes blondes prairies,
Mon fleuve harmonieux, mon beau del embaumé—
Dans les grandes cités, dans les bois, sur les grêves,
Ton image flottera dans mes rêves,
O mon Canada, bien aimé.
[Pg 5966]
Je n'écouterai plus, dans nos forêts profondes,
Dans nos près verdoyants, et sur nos grandes ondes,
Toutes ces voix sans nom qui font battre le coeur."

[Farewell, shaded valleys, my flowery meadows, my azure mountains and my pale prairies, my musical stream, my fair sky! In the great towns, in the wood, along the water-sides, thy scenes will float on in my dreams, O Canada, my beloved!

I shall hear no more, in our deep forests, in our verdant meads and upon our broad waters, all those nameless voices which make one's heart throb.]

In 1865 the first book of poems which appealed to the world from French Canada appeared. It was Fréchette's 'Mes Loisirs' (My Spare Hours). Later came 'Pêle-Mêle' (Pell-Mell), full of fine cameo-like poems,—but like cameos that are flushed by an inner and vital fire. Longfellow praised 'Pêle-Mêle': it shows the influence of Hugo and Lamartine; it has the beauty of De Musset, with more freshness and "bloom" than that poet of a glorious past possessed; but there are more traces of Lamartine in 'Pêle-Mêle' than of Hugo.

"Fréchette's imagination," says an admiring countryman of his, "is a chisel that attacks the soulless block; and with it he easily forms a column or a flower." His poems have grown stronger as he has become more mature. There is a great gain in dramatic force, so that it has surprised none of his readers that he should have attempted tragedy with success. He lost some of that quality of daintiness which distinguished 'Le Matin' (Morning), 'La Nuit' (Night), and 'Fleurs Fanées' (Faded Flowers). The 'Pensées d'Hiver' (Winter Reflections) had this quality, but 'La Dernière Iroquoise' (The Last Iroquois) rose above it, and like much of 'Les Fleurs Boréales' (Boreal Flowers) and his latest work, it is powerful in spirit, yet retains the greatest chastity of form.

M. Fréchette translated several of Shakespeare's plays for the Théâtre Français. After 'Les Fleurs Boréales' was crowned by the Academy, there appeared 'Les Oiseaux de Neige' (The Snow-Birds), 'Feuilles Volantes' (Leaves in the Wind), and 'La Forêt Vierge' (The Virgin Forest). The volume which shows the genius of Fréchette at its highest is undoubtedly 'La Légende d'un Peuple' (The Legend of a Race), which has an admirable preface by Jules Claretie.

Maurice Francis Egan

[Pg 5967]


Fragments from 'La Légende d'un Peuple': translated by Maurice Francis Egan

O history of my country,—set with pearls unknown,—
With love I kiss thy pages venerated.
O register immortal, poem of dazzling light
Written by France in purest of her blood!
Drama ever acting, records full of pictures
Of high facts heroic, stories of romance,
Annals of the giants, archives where we follow,
As each leaf we turn, a life resplendent,
And find a name respected or a name beloved,
Of men and women of the antique time!
Where the hero of the past and the hero of the future
Give the hand of friendship and the kiss of love;
Where the crucifix and sword, the plowshare and the volume,—
Everything that builds and everything that saves,—
Shine, united, living glories of past time
And of time that is to be.
The glories of past time, serene and pure before you,
O virtues of our day!
Hail first to thee, O Cartier, brave and hardy sailor,
Whose footstep sounded on the unexplored shores
Of our immense St. Lawrence. Hail, Champlain,
Maisonneuve, illustrious founders of two cities,
Who show above our waves their rival beauties.
There was at first only a group of Bretons
Brandishing the sword-blade and the woodman's axe,
Sea-wolves bronzed by sea-winds at the port of St. Malo;
Cradled since their childhood beneath the sky and water.
Men of iron and high of heart and stature,
They, under eye of God, set sail for what might come.
Seeking, in the secrets of the foggy ocean,
Not the famous El Dorados, but a soil where they might plant,
As symbols of their saving, beside the cross of Christ,
The flag of France.
After them came blond-haired Normans
And black-eyed Pontevins, robust colonists,
To make the path a road, and for this holy work
To offer their strong arms: the motive was the same;
The dangers that they fronted brought out prodigies of courage.
[Pg 5968]They seemed to know no dangers; or rather,
They seemed to seek the ruin that they did not meet.
Frightful perils vainly rose before them,
And each element against them vainly had conspired:
These children of the furrow founded an empire!
Then, conquering the waves of great and stormy lakes,
Crossing savannahs with marshes of mud,
Piercing the depths of the forests primeval,
Here see our founders and preachers of Faith!
Apostles of France, princes of our God,
Having said farewell to the noise of the world,
They came to the bounds of the New World immense
To sow the seed of the future,
And to bear, as the heralds of eternal law,
To the end of the world the torch of progress.
Leaning on his bow, ferociously calm,
The child of the forest, bitter at heart,
A hunted look mingling with his piercing glance,
Sees the strangers pass,—encamped on the plain or ambushed in the woods,—
And thinks of the giant spirits he has seen in his dreams.
For the first time he trembles and fears—
Then casting off his deceitful calm,
He will rush forth, uttering his war-cry,
To defend, foot by foot, his soil so lately virgin,
And ferocious, tomahawk in hand, bar this road to civilization!

A cowardly king, tool of a more cowardly court,
Satyr of the Parc aux cerfs, slave at the Trianon,
Plunged in the horrors of nameless debauches,
At the caprice of Pompadour dancing like an atom,—
The blood of his soldiers and the honor of his kingdom,
Of our dying heroes hearing he no voice.
Montcalm, alas! conquered for the first time,
Falling on the field of battle, wrapped in his banner.
Lévis, last fighter of the last fight,
Tears—avenging France and her pride!—
A supreme triumph from fate.

That was all. In front of our tottering towers
The stranger planted his insolent colors,
And an old flag, wet with bitter tears,
Closed its white wings and went across the sea!

[Pg 5969]


Paraphrased by Maurice Francis Egan

A world in agony breathes its last sigh!
Gaze on the remnants of an ancient race,—
Great kings of desert terrible to face,
Crushed by the new weights that upon them lie;
Stand near the Falls, and at this storied place
You see a humble hamlet;—by-and-by
You'll talk of ambuscades and treacherous chase.
Can history or sight a traitor be?
Where are the red men of the rolling plains?
Ferocious Iroquois,—ah, where is he?—
Without concealment (this for all our pains!)
The Chief sells groceries for paltry gains,
With English tang in speech of Normandy!


Paraphrased from 'Les Feuilles Volantes,' by Maurice Francis Egan

Land of the Sun! where Fancy free
Weaveth her woof beneath a sky of gold,
Another Andalusia, thee I see;
Thy charming memories my heart-strings hold,
As if the song of birds had o'er them rolled.
In thy fresh groves, where scented orange glows,
Circle vague loves about my longing heart;
Thy dark banana-trees, when soft wind flows,
In concert weird take up their sombre part,
As evening shadows, listening, float and dart.
'Neath thy green domes, where the lianas cling,
Show tropic flowers with wide-opened eyes,
With arteries afire till morn-birds sing;
More than old Werthier, in new love's surprise,
Stand on the threshold of thy Paradise.
Son of the North, I, of the realm of snows,—
Vision afar, but always still a power,—
In these soft nights and in the days of rose,
Dreaming I feel, e'en in the saddest hour,
Within my heart unclose a golden flower.

[Pg 5970]


To My Son

Paraphrased from 'Les Feuilles Volantes,' by Maurice Francis Egan

At twenty years, a poet lone,
I, when the rosy season came,
Walked in the woodland, to make moan
For some fair dame;
And when the breezes brought to me
The lilac spent in fragrant stream,
I wove her infidelity
In love's young dream.
A lover of illusions, I!
Soon other dreams quite filled my heart,
And other loves as suddenly
Took old love's part.
One Glory, a deceitful fay,
Who flies before a man can stir,
Surprised my poor heart many a day,—
I dreamed of her!
But now that I have grown so old,
At lying things I grasp no more.
My poor, deceived heart takes hold
Of other lore.
Another life before us glows,
Casts on all faithful souls its gleam:
Late, late, my heart its glory knows,—
Of it I dream!

[Pg 5971]




r. Frederic was born in Utica, New York, August 19th, 1856. He spent his boyhood in that neighborhood, and was educated in its schools. The rural Central New York of a half-century ago was a region of rich farms, of conservative ideas, and of strong indigenous types of character. These undoubtedly offered unconscious studies to the future novelist.

Harold Frederic Harold Frederic

Like many of his guild he began writing on a newspaper, rising by degrees from the position of reporter to that of editor. The drill and discipline taught him to make the most of time and opportunity, and he contrived leisure enough to write two or three long stories. Working at journalism in Utica, Albany, and New York, in 1884 he became chief foreign correspondent of the New York Times, making his headquarters in London, where he has since lived.

Mr. Frederic's reputation rests on journalistic correspondence of the higher class, and on his novels, of which he has published six. His stories are distinctively American. He has caught up contrasting elements of local life in the eastern part of the United States, and grouped them with ingenuity and power. His first important story was 'Seth's Brother's Wife,' originally appearing as a serial in Scribner's Magazine. Following this came 'The Lawton Girl,' a study of rustic life; 'In the Valley,' a semi-historical novel, turning on aspects of colonial times along the Mohawk River; 'The Copperhead,' a tale of the Civil War; 'Mukena and Other Stories,' graphic character sketches, displaying humor and insight; 'The Damnation of Theron Ware,' the most serious and carefully studied of his books; and 'March Hares,' a sketch of contemporary society.

A student of the life about him, possessing a dramatic sense and a saving grace of humor, Mr. Frederic in his fiction is often photographic and minute in detail, while he does not forget the importance of the mass which the detail is to explain or embellish. He likes to deal with types of that mixed population peculiar to the [Pg 5972]farming valleys of Central New York,—German, Irish, and American,—bringing out by contrast their marked social and individual traits. Not a disciple of realism, his books are emphatically "human documents."

There is always moreover a definite plot, often a dramatic development. But it is the attrition of character against character that really interests him. 'Seth's Brother's Wife' and 'The Lawton Girl' leave a definite ethical intention. In the 'Damnation of Theron Ware' is depicted the tragedy of a weak and crude character suddenly put in touch with a higher intellectual and emotional life, which it is too meagre and too untrained to adopt, and through which it suffers shipwreck. In 'In the Valley' the gayety and seriousness of homely life stand out against a savage and martial background.

Mr. Frederic profoundly respects his art, is never careless, and never unconscientious. Of his constructive instinct a distinguished English critic has said that it "ignores nothing that is significant; makes use of nothing that is not significant; and binds every element of character and every incident together in a consistent, coherent, dramatic whole."


From 'The Damnation of Theron Ware.' Copyright 1896, by Stone & Kimball

Walking homeward briskly now, with his eyes on the sidewalk, and his mind all aglow with crowding suggestions for the new work and impatience to be at it, Theron Ware came abruptly upon a group of men and boys who occupied the whole path, and were moving forward so noiselessly that he had not heard them coming. He almost ran into the leader of this little procession, and began a stammering apology, the final words of which were left unspoken, so solemnly heedless of him and his talk were all the faces he saw.

In the centre of the group were four workingmen, bearing between them an extemporized litter of two poles and a blanket hastily secured across them with spikes. Most of what this litter held was covered by another blanket, rounded in coarse folds over a shapeless bulk. From beneath its farther end protruded a big broom-like black beard, thrown upward at such an angle as to hide everything beyond those in front. The tall young minister, stepping aside and standing tiptoe, could see sloping[Pg 5973] downward, behind this hedge of beard, a pinched and chalk-like face, with wide-open, staring eyes. Its lips, of a dull lilac hue, were moving ceaselessly, and made a dry, clicking sound.

Theron instinctively joined himself to those who followed the litter, a motley dozen of street idlers, chiefly boys. One of these in whispers explained to him that the man was one of Jerry Madden's workmen in the wagonshops, who had been deployed to trim an elm-tree in front of his employer's house, and being unused to such work, had fallen from the top and broken all his bones. They would have cared for him at Madden's house, but he insisted upon being taken home. His name was MacEvoy, and he was Joey MacEvoy's father, and likewise Jim's and Hughey's and Martin's. After a pause, the lad, a bright-eyed, freckled, barefooted wee Irishman, volunteered the further information that his big brother had run to bring "Father Forbess," on the chance that he might be in time to administer "extry munction."

The way of the silent little procession led through back streets,—where women hanging up clothes in the yards hurried to the gates, their aprons full of clothes-pins, to stare open-mouthed at the passers-by,—and came to a halt at last in an irregular and muddy lane, before one of a half-dozen shanties reared among the ash-heaps and débris of the town's most bedraggled outskirts.

A stout, middle-aged, red-armed woman, already warned by some messenger of calamity, stood waiting on the roadside bank. There were whimpering children clinging to her skirts, and a surrounding cluster of women of the neighborhood; some of the more elderly of whom, shriveled little crones in tidy caps, and with their aprons to their eyes, were beginning in a low-murmured minor the wail which presently should rise into the keen of death. Mrs. MacEvoy herself made no moan, and her broad ruddy face was stern in expression rather than sorrowful. When the litter stopped beside her, she laid a hand for an instant on her husband's wet brow, and looked—one could have sworn impassively—into his staring eyes. Then, still without a word, she waved the bearers toward the door, and led the way herself.

Theron, somewhat wonderingly, found himself a minute later inside a dark and ill-smelling room, the air of which was humid with the steam from a boiler of clothes on the stove, and not in other ways improved by the presence of a jostling score of women, all straining their gaze upon the open door of the only[Pg 5974] other apartment, the bedchamber. Through this they could see the workmen laying MacEvoy on the bed, and standing awkwardly about thereafter, getting in the way of the wife and old Maggie Quirk as they strove to remove the garments from his crushed limbs. As the neighbors watched what could be seen of these proceedings, they whispered among themselves eulogies of the injured man's industry and good temper, his habit of bringing his money home to his wife, and the way he kept his Father Mathew pledge and attended to his religious duties. They admitted freely that by the light of his example, their own husbands and sons left much to be desired; and from this wandered easily off into domestic digressions of their own. But all the while their eyes were bent upon the bedroom door; and Theron made out, after he had grown accustomed to the gloom and the smell, that many of them were telling their beads even while they kept the muttered conversation alive. None of them paid any attention to him, or seemed to regard his presence there as unusual.

Presently he saw enter through the sunlit street doorway a person of a different class. The bright light shone for a passing instant upon a fashionable, flowered hat, and upon some remarkably brilliant shade of red hair beneath it. In another moment there had edged along through the throng, to almost within touch of him, a tall young woman, the owner of this hat and wonderful hair. She was clad in light and pleasing spring attire, and carried a parasol with a long oxidized silver handle of a quaint pattern. She looked at him, and he saw that her face was of a lengthened oval, with a luminous rose-tinted skin, full red lips, and big brown, frank eyes with heavy auburn lashes. She made a grave little inclination of her head toward him, and he bowed in response. Since her arrival, he noted, the chattering of the others had entirely ceased.

"I followed the others in, in the hope that I might be of some assistance," he ventured to explain to her in a low murmur, feeling that at last here was some one to whom an explanation of his presence in this Romish house was due. "I hope they won't feel that I have intruded."

She nodded her head as if she quite understood.

"They'll take the will for the deed," she whispered back. "Father Forbes will be here in a minute. Do you know, is it too late?"[Pg 5975]

Even as she spoke, the outer doorway was darkened by the commanding bulk of a new-comer's figure. The flash of a silk hat, and the deferential way in which the assembled neighbors fell back to clear a passage, made his identity clear. Theron felt his blood tingle in an unaccustomed way as this priest of a strange Church advanced across the room,—a broad-shouldered, portly man of more than middle height, with a shapely, strong-lined face of almost waxen pallor, and a firm, commanding tread. He carried in his hands, besides his hat, a small leather-bound case. To this and to him the women curtsied and bowed their heads as he passed.

"Come with me," whispered the tall girl with the parasol, to Theron; and he found himself pushing along in her wake until they intercepted the priest just outside the bedroom door. She touched Father Forbes on the arm.

"Just to tell you that I am here," she said. The priest nodded with a grave face, and passed into the other room. In a minute or two the workmen, Mrs. MacEvoy, and her helper came out, and the door was shut behind them.

"He is making his confession," explained the young lady. "Stay here for a minute."

She moved over to where the woman of the house stood, glum-faced and tearless, and whispered something to her. A confused movement among the crowd followed, and out of it presently resulted a small table, covered with a white cloth, and bearing on it two unlighted candles, a basin of water, and a spoon, which was brought forward and placed in readiness before the closed door. Some of those nearest this cleared space were kneeling now, and murmuring a low buzz of prayer to the click of beads on their rosaries.

The door opened, and Theron saw the priest standing in the doorway with an uplifted hand. He wore now a surplice, with a purple band over his shoulders, and on his pale face there shone a tranquil and tender light.

One of the workmen fetched from the stove a brand, lighted the two candles, and bore the table with its contents into the bedroom. The young woman plucked Theron's sleeve, and he dumbly followed her into the chamber of death, making one of the group of a dozen, headed by Mrs. MacEvoy and her children, which filled the little room, and overflowed now outward to the street door. He found himself bowing with the others to receive[Pg 5976] the sprinkled holy water from the priest's white fingers; kneeling with the others for the prayers; following in impressed silence with the others the strange ceremonial by which the priest traced crosses of holy oil with his thumb upon the eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, and feet of the dying man, wiping off the oil with a piece of cotton-batting each time after he had repeated the invocation to forgiveness for that particular sense. But most of all he was moved by the rich, novel sound of the Latin as the priest rolled it forth in the 'Asperges me, Domine,' and 'Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus,' with its soft Continental vowels and liquid r's. It seemed to him that he had never really heard Latin before. Then the astonishing young woman with the red hair declaimed the 'Confiteor' vigorously and with a resonant distinctness of enunciation. It was a different Latin, harsher and more sonorous; and while it still dominated the murmured undertone of the other's prayers the last moment came.

Theron had stood face to face with death at many other bed-sides; no other final scene had stirred him like this. It must have been the girl's Latin chant, with its clanging reiteration of the great names,—'beatum Michaelem Archangelum,' 'beatum Joannem Baptistam,' 'sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum,'—invoked with such proud confidence in this squalid little shanty, which so strangely affected him.

He came out with the others at last,—the candles and the folded hands over the crucifix left behind,—and walked as one in a dream. Even by the time that he had gained the outer doorway, and stood blinking at the bright light and filling his lungs with honest air once more, it had begun to seem incredible to him that he had seen and done all this.

[Pg 5977]





dward Augustus Freeman, one of the most prolific of recent English historians, was born at Harborne in Staffordshire, England, on August 2d, 1823. His early education was received at home and in private schools, from which at the age of eighteen he went up to Oxford, where he was elected a scholar of Trinity College. Four years later (1845) he took his degree and was elected a Fellow of Trinity, an honor which he held till his marriage in 1847 forced him to relinquish it.

Long before this event, Freeman was deep in historical study. His fortune was easy. The injunction that he should eat bread in the sweat of his face had not been laid on him. His time was his own, and was devoted with characteristic zeal and energy to labor in the field of history, which in the course of fifty years was made to yield him a goodly crop.

Edward A. Freeman Edward A. Freeman

Year after year he poured forth a steady stream of Essays, Thoughts, Remarks, Suggestions, Lectures, Short Histories on matters of current interest, little monographs on great events or great men,—all covering a range of subjects which bear evidence to most astonishing versatility and learning. Sometimes his topic was a cathedral church, as that of Wells or Leominster Priory; or a cathedral city, as Ely or Norwich. At others it was a grave historical theme, as the 'Unity of History'; or 'Comparative Politics'; or the 'Growth of the English Constitution from the Earliest Times'; or 'Old English History for Children.' His 'General Sketch of European History' is still a standard text book in our high schools and colleges. His 'William the Conqueror' in Macmillan's 'Twelve English Statesmen'; his 'Short History of the Norman Conquest of England' in the Clarendon Press Series; his studies of Godwin, Harold, and the Normans, in the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' are the best of their kind.[Pg 5978]

His contributions to the reviews and magazines make a small library, encyclopædic in character. Thirty-one essays were published in the Fortnightly Review; thirty in the Contemporary Review; twenty-seven in Macmillan's Magazine; twelve in the British Quarterly, and as many more in the National Review; while such as are scattered through the other periodicals of Great Britain and the United States swell the list to one hundred and fifty-seven titles. Every conceivable subject is treated,—politics, government, history, field sports, architecture, archaeology, books, linguistics, finance, great men living and dead, questions of the day. But even this list does not comprise all of Freeman's writings, for regularly every week, for more than twenty years, he contributed two long articles to the Saturday Review.

Taken as a whole, this array of publications represents an industry which was simply enormous, and a learning as varied as it was immense. If classified according to their subjects, they fall naturally into six groups. The antiquarian and architectural sketches and addresses are the least valuable and instructive. They are of interest because they exhibit a strong bent of mind which appears constantly in Freeman's works, and because it was by the aid of such remains that he studied the early history of nations. Then come the studies in politics and government, such as the essays on presidential government; on American institutional history; on the House of Lords; the growth of commonwealths, and such elaborate treatises as the six lectures on 'Comparative Politics,' and the 'History of Federal Government,'—all notable because of the liberal spirit and breadth of view that mark them, and because of a positiveness of statement and confidence in the correctness of the author's judgments. Then come the historical essays; then the lectures and addresses; then his occasional pieces, written at the request of publishers or editors to fill some long-felt want; and finally the series of histories on which, in the long run, the reputation of Freeman must rest. These, in the order of merit and value, are the 'Norman Conquest'; the 'Reign of William Rufus,' which is really a supplement to the 'Conquest'; the 'History of Sicily,' which the author did not live to finish.

The roll of his works is enough to show that the kind of history which appealed to Freeman was that of the distant past, and that which dealt with politics rather than with social life. Of ancient history he had a good mastery; English history from its dawn to the thirteenth century he knew minutely: European history of the same period he knew profoundly. After the thirteenth century his interest grew less and less as modern times were approached, and his knowledge smaller and smaller till it became that of a man very well read in history and no more.[Pg 5979]

Freeman was therefore essentially a historian of the far past; and as such had, it is safe to say, no living superior in England. But in his treatment of the past he presents a small part of the picture. He is concerned with great conquerors, with military leaders, with battles and sieges and systems of government. The mass of the people have no interest for him at all. His books abound in battle-pieces of the age of the long-bow and the javelin, of the battle-axe, the mace, and the spear; of the age when brain went for little and when brawn counted for much; and when the fate of nations depended less on the skill of individual commanders than on the personal prowess of those who met in hand-to-hand encounters. He delights in descriptions of historic buildings; he is never weary of drawing long analogies between one kind of government and another; but for the customs, the manner, the usages, the daily life of the people, he has never a word. "History," said he on one occasion, "is past politics; politics is present history," and to this epigram he is strictly faithful. The England of the serf and the villein, the curfew and the monastery, is brushed aside to leave room for the story of the way in which William of Normandy conquered the Saxons, and of the way in which William Rufus conducted his quarrels with Bishop Anselm.

With all of this no fault is to be found. It was his cast of mind, his point of view; and the questions which alone concern us in any estimate of his work are: Did he do it well? What is its value? Did he make a real contribution to historical knowledge? What are its merits and defects? Judged by the standard he himself set up, Freeman's chief merits, the qualities which mark him out as a great historian, are an intense love of truth and a determination to discover it at any cost; a sincere desire to mete out an even-handed justice to each and every man; unflagging industry, common-sense, broad views, and the power to reproduce the past most graphically.

From these merits comes Freeman's chief defect,—prolixity. His earnest desire to be accurate made him not only say the same thing over and over again, but say it with an unnecessary and useless fullness of detail, and back up his statement with a profusion of notes, which in many cases amount to more than half the text. Indeed, were they printed in the same type as the text, the space they occupy would often exceed it. Thus, in the first volume of the 'Norman Conquest' there are 528 pages of text, with foot-notes occupying from a third to a half of almost every page, and an appendix of notes of 244 pages; in the second volume, the text and foot-notes amount to 512, and the appendix 179; in the third, the text covers 562 and the appendix 206 pages. These notes are always interesting and always instructive. But the end of a volume is not the place for [Pg 5980]an exhibition of the doubts and fears that have tormented the historian, for a statement of the reasons which have led him to one conclusion rather than another, nor for the denunciation or reputation of the opinions of his predecessors. When the building is finished, we do not want to see the lumber used as the scaffolding piled in the back yard. Mr. Freeman's histories would be all the better for a condensation of the text and an elimination of the long appendices.

With these exceptions, the workmanship is excellent. He entered so thoroughly into the past that it became to him more real and understandable than the present. He was not merely the contemporary but the companion of the men he had to deal with. He knew every spot of ground, every Roman ruin, every mediæval castle, that came in any way to be connected with his story, as well as he knew the topography of the country that stretched beneath his study window, or the arrangement of the house in which he lived.

In his histories, therefore, we are presented at every turn with life-like portraits of the illustrious dead, bearing all the marks of having been taken from life; with descriptions of castles and towers, minsters and abbeys, and of the scenes that have made them memorable; with comparisons of one ruler with another, always sane and just; and with graphic pictures of coronations, of battles, sieges, burnings, and all the havoc and pomp of war.

The essays and studies in politics show Mr. Freeman in a yet more interesting light; many are elaborate reviews of historical works, and therefore cover a wide range of topics, both ancient and of the present time. Now his subject is Mr. Bryce's 'Holy Roman Empire'; now the Flavian Cæsars; now Mr. Gladstone's 'Homer and the Homeric Age'; now Kirk's 'Charles the Bold'; now presidential government; now Athenian democracy; now the Byzantine Empire; now the Eastern Church; now the growth of commonwealths; now the geographical aspects of the Eastern Question.

By so wide a range of topics, an opportunity is afforded for a variety of remarks, analogies, judgments of men and times, far greater than the histories could give. In the main, these judgments may be accepted; but so thoroughly was Freeman a historian of the past, that some of his estimates of contemporary men and things were singularly erroneous. While our Civil War was still raging he began a 'History of Federal Government,' which was to extend from the Achaean League "to the disruption of the United States." A prudent historian would not have taken up the role of prophet. He would have waited for the end of the struggle. But absolute self-confidence in his own good judgment was one of Freeman's most conspicuous traits. His estimate of Lincoln is another instance of inability to [Pg 5981]understand the times in which he lived. In the 'Essay on Presidential Government,' published in the National Review in 1864 and republished in the first series of 'Historical Essays' in 1871, the greatest President and the grandest public character the United States has yet produced is declared inferior to each and all the Presidents from Washington to John Quincy Adams. A comparison of Lincoln with Monroe or Madison or Jefferson by Freeman would have been entertaining.

Two views of history as set forth in the essays are especially deserving of notice. He is never weary of insisting on the unity and the continuity of history in general and that of England in particular, and he attaches unreasonable importance to the influence of the Teutonic element in English history. This latter was the inevitable result of his method of studying the past along the lines of philology and ethnology, and has carried him to extremes which taken by anybody else he would have been quick to see.

An examination of Freeman's minor contributions to the reviews—such essays, sketches, and discussions as he did not think important enough to republish in book form—is indicative of his interest in current affairs. They made little draft on his learning, yet the point of view is generally the result of his learning. He believed, for instance, that a sound judgment on the Franco-Prussian War could not be found save in the light of history. "The present war," he wrote to the Pall Mall Gazette, "has largely risen out of a misconception of history, out of the dream of a frontier of the Rhine which never existed. The war on the part of Germany is in truth a vigorous setting forth of the historical truth that the Rhine is, and always has been, a German river."

Freeman was still busy with his 'History of Sicily' from the earliest times, and had just finished the preface to the third volume, when he died at Alicante in Spain, March 16th, 1892. Since his death a fourth volume, prepared from his notes, has been published.

But one biography of Freeman has yet appeared, 'The Life and Letters of Edward A. Freeman,' by W. R. W. Stephens, 2 vols., 1895.

John Bach McMartin

[Pg 5982]


From 'Historical Essays of Edward A. Freeman,' Third Series. London, Macmillan & Co., 1879

The two great phenomena, then, of the general appearance of Rome, are the utter abandonment of so large a part of the ancient city and the general lack of buildings of the Middle Ages. Both of these facts are fully accounted for by the peculiar history of Rome. It may be that the sack and fire under Robert Wiscard—a sack and fire done in the cause of a pope in warfare against an emperor—was the immediate cause of the desolation of a large part of Rome; but if so, the destruction which was then wrought only gave a helping hand to causes which were at work both before and after. A city could not do otherwise than dwindle away, in which neither emperor nor pope nor commonwealth could keep up any lasting form of regular government; a city which had no resources of its own, and which lived, as a place of pilgrimage, on the shadow of its own greatness. Another idea which is sure to suggest itself at Rome is rather a delusion. The amazing extent of ancient ruins at Rome unavoidably fills us with the notion that an unusual amount of destruction has gone on there. When we cannot walk without seeing, besides the more perfect monuments, gigantic masses of ancient wall on every side,—when we stumble at every step on fragments of marble columns or on richly adorned tombs,—we are apt to think that they must have perished in some special havoc unknown in other places. The truth is really the other way. The abundance of ruins and fragments—again setting aside the more perfect monuments—proves that destruction has been much less thorough in Rome than in almost any other Roman city. Elsewhere the ancient buildings have been utterly swept away; at Rome they survive, though mainly in a state of ruin. But by surviving in a state of ruin they remind us of their former existence, which in other places we are inclined to forget. Certainly Rome is, even in proportion to its greatness above all other Roman cities, rich in ancient remains above all other Roman cities. Compare those cities of the West which at one time or another supplanted Rome as the dwelling-places of her own Cæsars,—Milan, Ravenna, York, Trier itself. York may be looked upon as lucky in having kept a tower and some pieces of wall[Pg 5983] through the havoc of the English conquest. Trier is rich above all the rest, and she has, in her Porta Nigra, one monument of Roman power which Rome herself cannot outdo. But rich as Trier—the second Rome—is, she is certainly not richer in proportion than Rome herself. The Roman remains at Milan hardly extend beyond a single range of columns, and it may be thought that that alone is something, when we remember the overthrow of the city under Frederick Barbarossa. But compare Rome and Ravenna: no city is richer than Ravenna in monuments of its own special class,—Christian Roman, Gothic, Byzantine, but of works of the days of heathen Rome there is no trace—no walls, no gates, no triumphal arch, no temple, no amphitheatre. The city of Placidia and Theodoric is there; but of the city which Augustus made one of the two great maritime stations of Italy there is hardly a trace. Verona, as never being an imperial residence, was not on our list; but rich as Verona is, Rome is—even proportionally—far richer. Provence is probably richer in Roman remains than Italy herself; but even the Provençal cities are hardly so full of Roman remains as Rome herself. The truth is, that there is nothing so destructive to the antiquities of a city as its continued prosperity. A city which has always gone on flourishing according to the standard of each age, which has been always building and rebuilding and spreading itself beyond its ancient bounds, works a gradual destruction of its ancient remains beyond anything that the havoc of any barbarians on earth can work. In such a city a few special monuments may be kept in a perfect or nearly perfect state; but it is impossible that large tracts of ground can be left covered with ruins as they are at Rome. Now, it is the ruins, rather than the perfect buildings, which form the most characteristic feature of Roman scenery and topography, and they have been preserved by the decay of the city; while in other cities they have been swept away by their prosperity. As Rome became Christian, several ancient buildings, temples and others, were turned into churches, and a greater number were destroyed to employ their materials, especially their marble columns, in the building of churches. But though this cause led to the loss of a great many ancient buildings, it had very little to do with the creation of the vast mass of the Roman ruins. The desolation of the Flavian amphitheatre and of the baths of Antoninus Caracalla comes from another cause. As the buildings became disused,—and if we rejoice at the disuse of the[Pg 5984] amphitheatre, we must both mourn and wonder at the disuse of the baths,—they were sometimes turned into fortresses, sometimes used as quarries for the building of fortresses. Every turbulent noble turned some fragment of the buildings of the ancient city into a stronghold from which he might make war upon his brother nobles, from which he might defy every power which had the slightest shadow of lawful authority, be it emperor, pope, or senator. Fresh havoc followed on every local struggle: destruction came whenever a lawful government was overthrown and whenever a lawful government was restored; for one form of revolution implied the building, the other implied the pulling down, of these nests of robbers. The damage which a lying prejudice attributes to Goths and Vandals was really done by the Romans themselves, and in the Middle Ages mainly by the Roman nobles. As for Goths and Vandals, Genseric undoubtedly did some mischief in the way of carrying off precious objects, but even he is not charged with the actual destruction of any buildings. And it would be hard to show that any Goth, from Alaric to Tovilas, ever did any mischief whatever to any of the monuments of Rome, beyond what might happen through the unavoidable necessities and accidents of warfare. Theodoric of course stands out among all the ages as the great preserver and repairer of the monuments of Ancient Rome. The few marble columns which Charles the Great carried away from Rome, as well as from Ravenna, can have gone but a very little way towards accounting for so vast a havoc. It was almost wholly by Roman hands that buildings which might have defied time and the barbarian were brought to the ruined state in which we now find them.

But the barons of mediæval Rome, great and sad as was the destruction which was wrought by them, were neither the most destructive nor the basest of the enemies at whose hands the buildings of ancient Rome have had to suffer. The mediæval barons simply did according to their kind. Their one notion of life was fighting, and they valued buildings or anything else simply as they might be made use of for that one purpose of life. There is something more revolting in the systematic destruction, disfigurement, and robbery of the ancient monuments of Rome, heathen and Christian, at the hands of her modern rulers and their belongings. Bad as contending barons or invading Normans may have been, both were outdone by the fouler brood of papal nephews. Who that looks on the ruined Coliseum,[Pg 5985] who that looks on the palace raised out of its ruins, can fail to think of the famous line—

"Quod non fecere barbari, fecere Barberini"?

And well-nigh every other obscure or infamous name in the roll-call of the mushroom nobility of modern Rome has tried its hand at the same evil work. Nothing can be so ancient, nothing so beautiful, nothing so sacred, as to be safe against their destroying hands. The boasted age of the Renaissance, the time when men turned away from all reverence for their own forefathers and professed to recall the forms and the feelings of ages which are forever gone, was the time of all times when the monuments of those very ages were most brutally destroyed. Barons and Normans and Saracens destroyed what they did not understand or care for; the artistic men of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries destroyed the very things which they professed to admire and imitate. And when they did not actually destroy, as in the case of statues, sarcophagi, and the like, they did all they could to efface their truest interest, their local and historical association.

A museum or collection of any kind is a dreary place. For some kinds of antiquities, for those which cannot be left in their own places, and which need special scientific classification, such collections are necessary. But surely a statue or a tomb should be left in the spot where it is found, or in the nearest possible place to it. How far nobler would be the associations of Pompey's statue, if the hero had been set up in the nearest open space to his own theatre; even if he had been set up with Marcus and the Great Twin Brethren on the Capitol, instead of being stowed away in an unmeaning corner of a private palace! It is sadder still to wind our way through the recesses of the great Cornelian sepulchre, and to find that sacrilegious hands have rifled the resting-place of the mighty dead; that the real tombs, the real inscriptions, have been stolen away, and that copies only are left in their places. Far more speaking, far more instructive, would it have been to grope out the antique letters of the first of Roman inscriptions, to spell out the name and deeds of "Cornelius Lucius Scipio Barbatus Gnaivod patre prognatus" by the light of a flickering torch in the spot where his kinsfolk and gentiles laid him, than to read it in the full light of the Vatican, numbered as if it stood in a shop to be sold, and bearing a[Pg 5986] fulsome inscription recording the "munificentia" of the triple-crowned robber who wrought the deed of selfish desecration. Scipio indeed was a heathen; but Christian holy places, places which are the very homes of ecclesiastical history or legend, are no safer than the monuments of heathendom against the desolating fury of ecclesiastical destroyers.

Saddest of all it is to visit the sepulchral church of St. Constantia—be her legend true or false, it makes no difference—to trace out the series of mosaics, where the old emblems of Bacchanalian worship, the vintage and the treading of the wine-press, are turned about to teach a double lesson of Christian mysteries; and then to see the place of the tomb empty, and to find that the tomb itself, the central point of the building, with the series of images which is begun in the pictures and continued in its sculpture, has been torn away from the place where it had meaning and almost life, to stand as number so-and-so among the curiosities of a dreary gallery. Such is the reverence of modern pontiffs for the most sacred antiquities, pagan and Christian, of the city where they have too long worked their destroying will.

In one part however of the city, destruction has been, as in other cities, the consequence of reviving prosperity on the part of the city itself. One of the first lessons to be got by heart on a visit to Rome is the way in which the city has shifted its site. The inhabited parts of ancient and of modern Rome have but a very small space of ground in common. While so large a space within the walls both of Aurelius and of Servius lies desolate, the modern city has spread itself beyond both. The Leonine city beyond the Tiber, the Sixtine city on the Field of Mars—both of them beyond the wall of Servius, the Leonine city largely beyond the wall of Aurelian—together make up the greater part of modern Rome. Here, in a thickly inhabited modern city, there is no space for the ruins which form the main features of the Palatine, Coelian, and Aventine Hills. Such ancient buildings as have been spared remain in a state far less pleasing than that of their ruined fellows. The Pantheon was happily saved by its consecration as a Christian church. But the degraded state in which we see the theatre of Marcellus and the beautiful remains of the portico of Octavia; above all, the still lower fate to which the mighty sepulchre of Augustus has been brought down,—if they enable the moralist to point a lesson, are far more offensive[Pg 5987] to the student of history than the utter desolation of the Coliseum and the imperial palace. The mole of Hadrian has undergone a somewhat different fate; its successive transformations and disfigurements are a direct part, and a most living and speaking part, of the history of Rome. Such a building, at such a point, could not fail to become a fortress, long before the days of contending Colonnas and Orsini; and if the statues which adorned it were hurled down on the heads of Gothic besiegers, that is a piece of destruction which can hardly be turned to the charge of the Goths. It is in these parts of Rome that the causes which have been at work have been more nearly the same as those which have been at work in other cities. At the same time, it must be remembered that it is only for a much shorter period that they have been fully at work. And wretched as with one great exception is their state, it must be allowed that the actual amount of ancient remains preserved in the Leonine and Sixtine cities is certainly above the average amount of such remains in Roman cities elsewhere.


From 'Historical Essays of Edward A. Freeman,' First Series. London, Macmillan & Co., 1871

A comparison between the histories of England, France, and Germany, as regards their political development, would be a subject well worth working out in detail. Each country started with much that was common to all three, while the separate course of each has been wholly different. The distinctive character of English history is its continuity. No broad gap separates the present from the past. If there is any point at which a line between the present and the past is to be drawn, it is at all events not to be drawn at the point where a superficial glance might perhaps induce us to draw it,—at the Norman invasion in 1066. At first sight, that event might seem to separate us from all before it in a way to which there is no analogy in the history either of our own or of kindred lands. Neither France nor Germany ever saw any event to be compared to the Norman Conquest. Neither of them has ever received a permanent dynasty of foreign kings; neither has seen its lands divided among the soldiers of a foreign army, and its native sons shut out from[Pg 5988] every position of wealth or dignity. England, alone of the three, has undergone a real and permanent foreign conquest. One might have expected that the greatest of all possible historical chasms would have divided the ages before and the ages after such an event. Yet in truth modern England has practically far more to do with the England of the West-Saxon kings than modern France or Germany has to do with the Gaul and Germany of Charles the Great, or even of much more recent times. The England of the age before the Norman Conquest is indeed, in all external respects, widely removed from us. But the England of the age immediately succeeding the Norman Conquest is something more widely removed still. The age when Englishmen dwelt in their own land as a conquered race, when their name and tongue were badges of contempt and slavery, when England was counted for little more than an accession of power to the Duke of Rouen in his struggle with the King of Paris, is an age than which we can conceive none more alien to every feeling and circumstance of our own.

When, then, did the England in which we still live and move have its beginning? Where are we to draw the broad line, if any line is to be drawn, between the present and the past? We answer, In the great creative and destructive age of Europe and of civilized Asia—the thirteenth century. The England of Richard Coeur de Lion is an England which is past forever; but the England of Edward the First is essentially the still living England in which we have our own being. Up to the thirteenth century our history is the domain of antiquaries; from that point it becomes the domain of lawyers. A law of King Ælfred's Witenagemót is a valuable link in the chain of our political progress, but it could not have been alleged as any legal authority by the accusers of Strafford or the defenders of the Seven Bishops. A statute of Edward the First is quite another matter. Unless it can be shown to have been repealed by some later statute, it is just as good to this day as a statute of Queen Victoria. In the earlier period we may indeed trace the rudiments of our laws, our language, our political institutions; but from the thirteenth century onwards we see the things themselves, in that very essence which we all agree in wishing to retain, though successive generations have wrought improvement in many points of detail and may have left many others capable of further improvement still.[Pg 5989]

Let us illustrate our meaning by the greatest of all examples. Since the first Teutonic settlers landed on her shores, England has never known full and complete submission to a single will. Some Assembly, Witenagemót, Great Council, or Parliament, there has always been, capable of checking the caprices of tyrants and of speaking, with more or less of right, in the name of the nation. From Hengest to Victoria, England has always had what we may fairly call a parliamentary constitution. Normans, Tudors, and Stewarts might suspend or weaken it, but they could not wholly sweep it away. Our Old-English Witenagemóts, our Norman Great Councils, are matters of antiquarian research, whose exact constitution it puzzles our best antiquaries fully to explain. But from the thirteenth century onwards we have a veritable Parliament, essentially as we see it before our own eyes. In the course of the fourteenth century every fundamental constitutional principle becomes fully recognized. The best worthies of the seventeenth century struggled, not for the establishment of anything new, but for the preservation of what even then was already old. It is on the Great Charter that we still rest the foundation of all our rights. And no later parliamentary reformer has ever wrought or proposed so vast a change as when Simon of Montfort, by a single writ, conferred their parliamentary being upon the cities and boroughs of England.

This continuity of English history from the very beginning is a point which cannot be too strongly insisted on, but it is its special continuity from the thirteenth century onwards which forms the most instructive part of the comparison between English history and the history of Germany and France. At the time of the Norman Conquest the many small Teutonic kingdoms in Britain had grown into the one Teutonic kingdom of England, rich in her barbaric greatness and barbaric freedom, with the germs, but as yet only the germs, of every institution which we most dearly prize. At the close of the thirteenth century we see the England with which we are still familiar, young indeed and tender, but still possessing more than the germs,—the very things themselves. She has already King, Lords, and Commons; she has a King, mighty indeed and honored, but who may neither ordain laws nor impose taxes against the will of his people. She has Lords with high hereditary powers, but Lords who are still only the foremost rank of the people, whose children sink into the general mass of Englishmen, and into whose[Pg 5990] order any Englishman may be raised. She has a Commons still diffident in the exercise of new-born rights; but a Commons whose constitution and whose powers we have altered only by gradual changes of detail; a Commons which, if it sometimes shrank from hard questions of State, was at least resolved that no man should take their money without their leave. The courts of justice, the great offices of State, the chief features of local administration, have assumed, or are rapidly assuming, the form whose essential character they still retain. The struggle with Papal Rome has already begun; doctrines and ceremonies indeed remain as yet unchallenged, but statute after statute is passed to restrain the abuses and exactions of the ever-hateful Roman court. The great middle class of England is rapidly forming; a middle class not, as elsewhere, confined to a few great cities, but spread, in the form of a minor gentry and a wealthy yeomanry, over the whole face of the land. Villanage still exists, but both law and custom are paving the way for that gradual and silent extinction of it, which without any formal abolition of the legal status left, three centuries later, not a legal villain among us.

With this exception, there was in theory equal law for all classes, and imperfectly as the theory may have been carried out, it was at least far less imperfectly so than in any other kingdom. Our language was fast taking its present shape; English, in the main intelligible at the present day, was the speech of the mass of the people, and it was soon to expel French from the halls of princes and nobles. England at the close of the century is, for the first time since the Conquest, ruled by a prince bearing a purely English name, and following a purely English policy. Edward the First was no doubt as despotic as he could be or dared to be; so was every prince of those days who could not practice the superhuman righteousness of St. Lewis. But he ruled over a people who knew how to keep even his despotism within bounds. The legislator of England, the conqueror of Wales and Scotland, seems truly like an old Bretwalda or West-Saxon Basileus, sitting once more on the throne of Cerdic and of Ælfred. The modern English nation is now fully formed; it stands ready for those struggles for French dominion in the two following centuries, which, utterly unjust and fruitless as they were, still proved indirectly the confirmation of our liberties at home, and which forever fixed the national character for good and for evil.[Pg 5991]

Let us here sketch out a comparison between the history and institutions of England and those of France and Germany. As we before said, our modern Parliament is traced up in an unbroken line to the early Great Council, and to the still earlier Witenagemót. The latter institution, widely different as it is from the earlier, has not been substituted for the earlier, but has grown out of it. It would be ludicrous to look for any such continuity between the Diet of ambassadors which meets at Frankfurt and the Assemblies which met to obey Henry the Third and to depose Henry the Fourth. And how stands the case in France? France has tried constitutional government in all its shapes; in its old Teutonic, in its mediæval, and in all its modern forms—Kings with one Chamber and Kings with two, Republics without Presidents and Republics with, Conventions, Directories, Consulates, and Empires. All of these have been separate experiments; all have failed; there is no historical continuity between any of them. Charles the Great gathered his Great Council around him year by year; his successors in the Eastern Francia, the Kings of the Teutonic Kingdom, went on doing so long afterwards. But in Gaul, in Western Francia, after it fell away from the common centre, no such assembly could be gathered together. The kingdom split into fragments; every province did what was right in its own eyes; Aquitaine and Toulouse had neither fear nor love enough for their nominal King to contribute any members to a Council of his summoning. Philip the Fair, for his own convenience, summoned the States-General. But the States-General were no historical continuation of the old Frankish Assemblies; they were a new institution of his own, devised, it maybe, in imitation of the English Parliament or of the Spanish Cortes. From that time the French States-General ran a brilliant and a fitful course. Very different indeed were they from the homely Parliaments of England. Our stout knights and citizens were altogether guiltless of political theories. They had no longing after great and comprehensive measures. But if they saw any practical abuses in the land, the King could get no money out of them till he set matters right again. If they saw a bad law, they demanded its alteration; if they saw a wicked minister, they demanded his dismissal. It is this sort of bit-by-bit reform, going on for six hundred years, which has saved us alike from magnificent theories and from massacres in the cause of humanity. Both were as familiar in France in the fourteenth and fifteenth[Pg 5992] centuries as ever they were at the close of the eighteenth. The demands of the States-General, and of what we may call the liberal party in France generally, throughout those two centuries, are as wide in their extent, and as neatly expressed, as any modern constitution from 1791 to 1848. But while the English Parliament, meeting year after year, made almost every year some small addition or other to the mass of our liberties, the States-General, meeting only now and then, effected nothing lasting, and gradually sank into as complete disuse as the old Frankish Assemblies. By the time of the revolution of 1789, their constitution and mode of proceeding had become matters of antiquarian curiosity. Of later attempts, National Assemblies, National Conventions, Chambers of Deputies, we need not speak. They have risen and they have fallen, while the House of Lords and the House of Commons have gone on undisturbed.


From 'Historical Essays of Edward A. Freeman,' First Series. London, Macmillan & Co., 1871

Having ruled that races and nations, though largely formed by the working of an artificial law, are still real and living things, groups in which the idea of kindred is the idea around which everything has grown,—how are we to define our races and our nations? How are we to mark them off one from the other? Bearing in mind the cautions and qualifications which have been already given, bearing in mind large classes of exceptions which will presently be spoken of, I say unhesitatingly that for practical purposes there is one test, and one only; and that that test is language.

It is hardly needful to show that races and nations cannot be defined by the merely political arrangements which group men under various governments. For some purposes of ordinary language, for some purposes of ordinary politics, we are tempted, sometimes driven, to take this standard. And in some parts of the world, in our own Western Europe for instance, nations and governments do in a rough way fairly answer to one another. And in any case, political divisions are not without their influence on the formation of national divisions, while national divisions ought to have the greatest influence on political divisions.[Pg 5993] That is to say, primâ facie a nation and a government should coincide. I say only primâ facie, for this is assuredly no inflexible rule; there are often good reasons why it should be otherwise; only, whenever it is otherwise, there should be some good reason forthcoming. It might even be true that in no case did a government and a nation exactly coincide, and yet it would none the less be the rule that a government and a nation should coincide. That is to say, so far as a nation and a government coincide, we accept it as the natural state of things, and ask no question as to the cause; so far as they do not coincide, we mark the case as exceptional by asking what is the cause. And by saying that a government and a nation should coincide, we mean that as far as possible the boundaries of governments should be so laid out as to agree with the boundaries of nations. That is, we assume the nation as something already existing, something primary, to which the secondary arrangements of government should as far as possible conform. How then do we define the nation which is, if there is no special reason to the contrary, to fix the limits of a government? Primarily, I say, as a rule,—but a rule subject to exceptions,—as a primâ facie standard, subject to special reasons to the contrary,—we define the nation by language. We may at least apply the test negatively. It would be unsafe to rule that all speakers of the same language must have a common nationality; but we may safely say that where there is not community of language, there is no common nationality in the highest sense. It is true that without community of language there may be an artificial nationality, a nationality which may be good for all political purposes, and which may engender a common national feeling. Still, this is not quite the same thing as that fuller national unity which is felt where there is community of language.

In fact, mankind instinctively takes language as the badge of nationality. We so far take it as the badge, that we instinctively assume community of language as a nation as the rule, and we set down anything that departs from that rule as an exception. The first idea suggested by the word Frenchman, or German, or any other national name, is that he is a man who speaks French or German as his mother tongue. We take for granted, in the absence of anything to make us think otherwise, that a Frenchman is a speaker of French and that a speaker of French is a Frenchman. Where in any case it is otherwise, we mark that case as an exception, and we ask the special cause. [Pg 5994] Again, the rule is none the less the rule nor the exceptions the exceptions, because the exceptions may easily outnumber the instances which conform to the rule. The rule is still the rule, because we take the instances which conform to it as a matter of course, while in every case which does not conform to it we ask for the explanation. All the larger countries of Europe provide us with exceptions; but we treat them all as exceptions. We do not ask why a native of France speaks French. But when a native of France speaks as his mother tongue some other tongue than French, when French, or something which popularly passes for French, is spoken as his mother tongue by some one who is not a native of France, we at once ask the reason. And the reason will be found in each case in some special historical cause, which withdraws that case from the operation of the general law. A very good reason can be given why French, or something which popularly passes for French, is spoken in parts of Belgium and Switzerland whose inhabitants are certainly not Frenchmen. But the reason has to be given, and it may fairly be asked.

In the like sort, if we turn to our own country, whenever within the bounds of Great Britain we find any tongue spoken other than English, we at once ask the reason and we learn the special historic cause. In a part of France and a part of Great Britain we find tongues spoken which differ alike from English and from French, but which are strongly akin to one another. We find that these are the survivals of a group of tongues once common to Gaul and Britain, but which the settlement of other nations, the introduction and the growth of other tongues, have brought down to the level of survivals. So again we find islands which both speech and geographical position seem to mark as French, but which are dependencies, and loyal dependencies, of the English crown. We soon learn the cause of the phenomenon which seems so strange. Those islands are the remains of a State and a people which adopted the French tongue, but which, while it remained one, did not become a part of the French State. That people brought England by force of arms under the rule of their own sovereigns. The greater part of that people were afterwards conquered by France, and gradually became French in feeling as well as in language. But a remnant clave to their connection with the land which their forefathers had conquered, and that remnant, while keeping the French tongue, never became French in feeling. This last case, that of the [Pg 5995] Norman Islands, is a specially instructive one. Normandy and England were politically connected, while language and geography pointed rather to a union between Normandy and France. In the case of Continental Normandy, where the geographical tie was strongest, language and geography together would carry the day, and the Continental Norman became a Frenchman. In the islands, where the geographical tie was less strong, political traditions and manifest interest carried the day against language and a weaker geographical tie. The insular Norman did not become a Frenchman. But neither did he become an Englishman. He alone remained Norman, keeping his own tongue and his own laws, but attached to the English crown by a tie at once of tradition and of advantage. Between States of the relative size of England and the Norman Islands, the relation naturally becomes a relation of dependence on the part of the smaller members of the union. But it is well to remember that our forefathers never conquered the forefathers of the men of the Norman Islands, but that their forefathers did once conquer ours.

These instances and countless others bear out the position, that while community of language is the most obvious sign of common nationality,—while it is the main element, or something more than an element, in the formation of nationality,—the rule is open to exceptions of all kinds; and that the influence of language is at all times liable to be overruled by other influences. But all the exceptions confirm the rule, because we specially remark those cases which contradict the rule, and we do not specially remark those cases which do conform to it.


From 'The History of the Norman Conquest of England'

The case of William had thus to be brought to bear on the minds of his own people, on the minds of the neighboring countries whence he invited and looked for volunteers, on the minds of the foreign princes whose help or at least whose neutrality he asked for, and above all, on the minds of the Roman Pontiff and his advisers. The order of these various negotiations is not very clear, and in all probability all were being carried on at once. But there is little doubt that William's first step, on receiving the refusal of Harold to surrender his[Pg 5996] crown,—or whatever else was the exact purport of the English King's answer,—was to lay the matter before a select body of his most trusted counselors. The names of most of the men whom William thus honored with his special confidence are already familiar to us. They were the men of his own blood, the friends of his youth, the faithful vassals who had fought at his side against French invaders and Norman rebels. There was his brother, Robert, Count of Mortain, the lord of the castle by the waterfalls, the spoil of the banished Warling. And there was one closer than a brother,—the proud William the son of Osborn, the son of the faithful guardian of his childhood. There, perhaps the only priest in that gathering of warriors, was his other brother, Odo of Bayeux, soon to prove himself a warrior as stout of heart and as strong of arm as any of his race. There too, not otherwise renowned, was Iwun-al-Chapel, the husband of the sister of William, Robert, and Odo. There was a kinsman, nearer in legitimate succession to the stock of Rolf than William himself,—Richard of Evreux, the son of Robert the Archbishop, the grandson of Richard the Fearless. There was the true kinsman and vassal who guarded the frontier fortress of Eu, the brother of the traitor Busac and of the holy prelate of Lisieux. There was Roger of Beaumont, who rid the world of Roger of Toesny, and Ralph, the worthier grandson of that old foe of Normandy and mankind. There was Ralph's companion in banishment, Hugh of Grantmesnil, and Roger of Montgomery, the loyal son-in-law of him who cursed the Bastard in his cradle. There too were the other worthies of the day of Mortemar, Walter Giffard and Hugh of Montfort, and William of Warren, the valiant youth who had received the chiefest guerdon of that memorable ambush. These men, chiefs of the great houses of Normandy, founders, some of them, of greater houses in England, were gathered together at their sovereign's bidding. They were to be the first to share his counsels in the enterprise which he was planning, an enterprise planned against the land which with so many in that assembly was to become a second home, a home perhaps all the more cherished that it was won by the might of their own right hands.

To this select Council the duke made his first appeal. He told them, what some of them at least knew well already, of the wrongs which he had suffered from Harold of England. It was his purpose to cross the sea, in order to assert his rights and to[Pg 5997] chastise the wrong-doer. With the help of God and with the loyal service of his faithful Normans, he doubted not his power to do what he purposed. He had gathered them together to know their minds upon the matter. Did they approve of his purpose? Did they deem the enterprise within his power? Were they ready themselves to help him to the uttermost to recover his right? The answer of the Norman leaders, the personal kinsmen and friends of their sovereign, was wise and constitutional. They approved his purpose; they deemed that the enterprise was not beyond the power of Normandy to accomplish. The valor of the Norman knighthood, the wealth of the Norman Church, was fully enough to put their duke in possession of all that he claimed. Their own personal service they pledged at once; they would follow him to the war; they would pledge, they would sell, their lands to cover the costs of the expedition. But they would not answer for others. Where all were to share in the work, all ought to share in the counsel. Those whom the duke had gathered together were not the whole baronage of Normandy. There were other wise and brave men in the duchy, whose arms were as strong, and whose counsel would be as sage, as those of the chosen party to whom he spoke. Let the duke call a larger meeting of all the barons of his duchy, and lay his designs before them.

The duke hearkened to this advice, and he at once sent forth a summons for the gathering of a larger Assembly. This is the only time when we come across any details of the proceedings of a Norman Parliament. And we at once see how widely the political condition of Normandy differed from that of England. We see how much further England had advanced, or more truly, how much further Normandy had gone back, in the path of political freedom. The Norman Assembly which assembled to discuss the war against England was a widely different body from the Great Cemór which had voted for the restoration of Godwine. Godwine had made his speech before the King and all the people of the land. That people had met under the canopy of heaven, beneath the walls of the greatest city of the realm. But in William's Assembly we hear of none but barons. The old Teutonic constitution had wholly died away from the memories of the descendants of the men who followed Rolf and Harold Blaatand. The immemorial democracy had passed away, and the later constitution of the mediæval States had not yet[Pg 5998] arisen. There was no Third Estate, because the personal right of every freeman to attend had altogether vanished, while the idea of the representation of particular privileged towns had not yet been heard of. And if the Third Order was wanting, the First Order was at least less prominent than it was in other lands. The wealth of the Church had been already pointed out as an important element in the duke's ways and means, and both the wealth and the personal prowess of the Norman clergy were, when the day came, freely placed at William's disposal. The peculiar tradition of Norman Assemblies, which shut out the clergy from all share in the national deliberations, seems now to have been relaxed. It is implied rather than asserted that the bishops of Normandy were present in the Assembly which now met; but it is clear that the main stress of the debates fell on the lay barons, and that the spirit of the Assembly was a spirit which was especially theirs.

Narrow as was the constitution of the Assembly, it showed, when it met, no lack either of political foresight or of parliamentary boldness. In a society so aristocratically constituted as that of Normandy was, the nobles are in truth, in a political sense, the people, and we must expect to find in any gathering of nobles both the virtues and the vices of a real Popular Assembly. William had already consulted his Senate; he had now to bring his resolution, fortified by their approval, before the body which came as near as any body in Normandy could come to the character of an Assembly of the Norman people. The valiant gentlemen of Normandy, as wary as they were valiant, proved good guardians of the public purse, trusty keepers of what one knows not whether to call the rights of the nation or the privileges of their order. The duke laid his case before them. He told once more the tale of his own rights and of the wrong which Harold had done him. He said that his own mind was to assert his rights by force of arms. He would fain enter England in the course of the year on which they had entered. But without their help he could do nothing. Of his own he had neither ships enough nor men enough for such an enterprise. He would not ask whether they would help him in such a cause. He took their zeal and loyalty for granted; he asked only how many ships, how many men, each of his hearers would bring as a free-will offering.

A Norman Assembly was not a body to be surprised into a hasty assent, even when the craft and the eloquence of William[Pg 5999] was brought to bear upon it. The barons asked for time to consider of their answer. They would debate among themselves, and they would let him know the conclusion to which they came. William was obliged to consent to this delay, and the Assembly broke up into knots, greater or smaller, each eagerly discussing the great question. Parties of fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, sixty, a hundred, gathered round this or that energetic speaker. Some professed their readiness to follow the duke; others were in debt, and were too poor to venture on such hazards. Other speakers set forth the dangers and difficulties of the enterprise. Normandy could not conquer England; their fair and flourishing land would be ruined by the attempt. The conquest of England was an undertaking beyond the power of a Roman emperor. Harold and his land were rich; they had wealth to take foreign kings and dukes into their service; their own forces were in mere numbers such as Normandy could not hope to strive against. They had abundance of tried soldiers, and above all, they had a mighty fleet, with crews skilled beyond other men in all that pertained to the warfare of the sea. How could a fleet be raised, how could the sailors be gathered together, how could they be taught, within a year's space, to cope with such an enemy? The feeling of the Assembly was distinctly against so desperate an enterprise as the invasion of England. It seemed as if the hopes and schemes of William were about to be shattered in their beginning through the opposition of his own subjects.

A daring though cunning attempt was now made by William Fitz-Osbern, the duke's nearest personal friend, to cajole the Assembly into an assent to his master's will. He appealed to their sense of feudal honor; they owed the duke service for their fiefs: let them come forward and do with a good heart all, and more than all, that their tenure of their fiefs bound them to. Let not their sovereign be driven to implore the services of his subjects. Let them rather forestall his will; let them win his favor by ready offerings even beyond their power to fulfill. He enlarged on the character of the lord with whom they had to deal. William's jealous temper would not brook disappointment at their hands. It would be the worse for them in the end, if the duke should ever have to say that he had failed in his enterprise because they had failed in readiness to support him.

The language of William Fitz-Osbern seems to have startled and perplexed even the stout hearts with whom he had to deal. [Pg 6000] The barons prayed him to be their spokesman with the duke. He knew their minds and could speak for them all, and they would be bound by what he said. But they gave him no direct commission to bind them to any consent to the duke's demand. Their words indeed tended ominously the other way; they feared the sea,—so changed was the race which had once manned the ships of Rolf and Harold Blaatand,—and they were not bound to serve beyond it.

A point seemed to have been gained, by the seeming license given by the Assembly to the duke's most intimate friend to speak as he would in the name of the whole baronage. William Fitz-Osbern now spoke to the duke. He began with an exordium of almost cringing loyalty, setting forth how great was the zeal and affection of the Normans for their prince, and how there was no danger which they would not willingly undergo in his service. But the orator soon overshot his mark. He promised, in the name of the whole Assembly, that every man would not only cross the sea with the duke, but would bring with him double the contingent to which his holding bound him. The lord of twenty knights' fees would serve with forty knights, and the lord of a hundred with two hundred. He himself, of his love and zeal, would furnish sixty ships, well equipped, and filled with fighting men.

The barons now felt themselves taken in a snare. They were in nearly the same case as the king against whom they were called on to march. They had indeed promised; they had commissioned William Fitz-Osbern to speak in their names. But their commission had been stretched beyond all reasonable construction; their spokesman had pledged them to engagements which had never entered into their minds. Loud shouts of dissent rose through the hall. The mention of serving with double the regular contingent awakened special indignation. With a true parliamentary instinct, the Norman barons feared lest a consent to this demand should be drawn into a precedent, and lest their fiefs should be forever burthened with this double service. The shouts grew louder; the whole hall was in confusion; no speaker could be heard; no man would hearken to reason or render a reason for himself.

The rash speech of William Fitz-Osbern had thus destroyed all hope of a regular parliamentary consent on the part of the Assembly. But it is possible that the duke gained in the end[Pg 6001] by the hazardous experiment of his seneschal. It is even possible that the manœuvre may have been concerted beforehand between him and his master. It was not likely that any persuasion could have brought the Assembly as a body to agree to the lavish offer of volunteer service which was put into its mouth by William Fitz-Osbern. There was no hope of carrying any such vote on a formal division. But the confusion which followed the speech of the seneschal hindered any formal division from being taken. The Assembly, in short, as an assembly, was broken up. The fagot was unloosed, and the sticks could now be broken one by one. The baronage of Normandy had lost all the strength of union; they were brought, one by one, within the reach of the personal fascinations of their sovereign. William conferred with each man apart; he employed all his arts on minds which, when no longer strengthened by the sympathy of a crowd, could not refuse anything that he asked. He pledged himself that the doubling of their services should not become a precedent; no man's fief should be burthened with any charge beyond what it had borne from time immemorial. Men thus personally appealed to, brought in this way within the magic sphere of princely influence, were no longer slack to promise; and having once promised, they were not slack to fulfill. William had more than gained his point. If he had not gained the formal sanction of the Norman baronage to his expedition, he had won over each individual Norman baron to serve him as a volunteer. And wary as ever, William took heed that no man who had promised should draw back from his promise. His scribes and clerks were at hand, and the number of ships and soldiers promised by each baron was at once set down in a book. A Domesday of the conquerors was in short drawn up in the ducal hall at Lillebonne, a forerunner of the greater Domesday of the conquered, which twenty years later was brought to King William of England in his royal palace at Winchester.

[Pg 6002]




n times of political degradation the poets of Germany, turning from their own surroundings, have sought poetical material either in the glories of a dim past or in the exotic splendors of remote lands. Goethe, disquieted by the French Revolution, took up Chinese and Persian studies; the romantic poets revivified the picturesqueness of the Middle Ages; and during the second quarter of this century the Orient began to exercise a potent charm. Platen wrote his beautiful 'Gaselen,' Rückert sang in Persian measure and translated the Indian 'Sakuntala,' and Bodenstedt fashioned the dainty songs of "Mirza-Schaffy." Freiligrath too, a child of his time, entered upon his literary career with poems which took their themes from distant climes. Among his earliest verses after 'Moosthee' (Iceland-Moss Tea), written at the age of sixteen, were 'Africa,' 'Der Scheik am Sinai' (The Sheik on Sinai), and 'Der Löwenritt' (The Lion's Ride). Even in these early poems, we find all that brilliancy of Oriental imagery to which he tells us he had been inspired by much poring over an illustrated Bible in his childhood.

Ferdinand Freiligrath Ferdinand Freiligrath

But Freiligrath, like Uhland and Herwegh, was a man of action and a patriot. The revolution of 1848 had brought fresh breezes into the stagnation of political life; and though they soon were stilled again, the men who had breathed that air ceased to be the dreamers of dreams that the romantic poets had been. They were conscious of a mission, and became the robust heralds of a larger and a freer time.

Freiligrath was a schoolmaster's son; he was born at Detmold on June 17th, 1810, and much against his private inclinations, he was sent in his sixteenth year to an uncle in Soest to prepare himself for a mercantile career. The death of his father threw him upon his own resources, and he took a position in an Amsterdam bank. Here the inspiration of the sea widened the range of his poetic fancy. To Chamisso is due the credit of introducing the poet to the general [Pg 6003] public through the pages of the Musenalmanach. This was in 1835. In 1838 appeared the first volume of his poems, and it won instant and unusual favor; Gutzkow called him the German Hugo. With this encouragement Freiligrath definitely abandoned mercantile life. In 1841 he married. At the suggestion of Alexander von Humboldt, the King of Prussia granted him a royal pension; and as no conditions were attached, it was accepted. This was a bitter disappointment to the ardent revolutionary poets, who had counted Freiligrath as one of themselves; but the turbulent times which preceded the revolution soon forced him into an open declaration of principles, and although he had said in one of his poems that the poet was above all party, in 1844, influenced by Hoffmann von Fallersleben, he resigned his pension, announced his position, and in May published a volume of revolutionary poems entitled 'Mein Glaubensbekenntniss' (My Confession of Faith). This book created the wildest enthusiasm, and placed its author at once in the front rank of the people's partisans. He fled to Brussels, and in 1846 published under the title of 'Ça Ira' six new songs, which were a trumpet-call to revolution. The poet deemed it prudent to retire to London, and he was about to accept an invitation from Longfellow to cross the ocean when the revolution broke out, and he returned to Düsseldorf to put himself at the head of the democratic party on the Rhine. But he was a poet and not a leader, and he indiscreetly exposed himself to arrest by an inflammatory poem, 'Die Todten an die Lebenden' (The Dead to the Living). The jury however acquitted him, and he at once assumed the management of the New Rhenish Gazette at Cologne.

It is a curious fact that during this agitated time Freiligrath wrote some of his tenderest poetry. In the collection which appeared in 1849 with the title 'Zwischen den Garben' (Between the Sheaves), was included that exquisite hymn to love: 'Oh, Love So Long as Love Thou Canst,' perhaps the most perfect of all his lyrical productions, and certainly evidence that the poet could touch the strings to deep emotions. In the following year both volumes of his 'New Political and Social Poems' were ready. Once more he prudently retired to London; his fears were confirmed by the immediate confiscation of these new volumes, and by the publication of a letter of apprehension. By way of reprisal he wrote his poem 'The Revolution,' which was published in London.

In 1867 the Swiss bank with which Freiligrath was connected closed its London branch, and the poet again faced an uncertain future. His friends on the Rhine, hearing of his difficulties, raised a generous subscription, and taking advantage of a general amnesty, he returned to the fatherland and became associated with the Stuttgart Illustrated Magazine. In 1870 appeared a complete collection of his [Pg 6004] poems; in 1876, 'New Poems'; and in the latter year, on March 18th, he died at Cannstatt in Würtemburg.

The question which Freiligrath asks the emigrants in his early poem of that name,—'O say, why seek ye other lands?'—was destined to find frequent and bitter answer in his own checkered career; but he never swerved from the liberal principles which he had publicly announced. His political poems were among the most powerful influences of his time, and they have a permanent value as the expression of the spirit of freedom. His translations are marvels of fidelity and beauty. His 'Hiawatha' and 'The Ancient Mariner,' together with his versions of Victor Hugo, are perhaps the best examples of his surpassing skill. His own works have been for the most part excellently translated into English. His daughter published during her father's lifetime a volume of his poems, in which were collected all the best English translations then available. The exotic subjects of his early poems make them seem the most original, as for example 'Der Mohrenfürst' (The Moorish Prince) and 'Der Blumen Rache' (The Revenge of the Flowers); the unusual rhymes hold the attention, and the sonorous melody of the verse delights the ear: but it is in a few of his superb love lyrics that he touches the highest point of his genius, although his fame continues to rest upon his impassioned songs of freedom and his name to be associated with the rich imagery of the Orient.


I cannot take my eyes away
From you, ye busy, bustling band,
Your little all to see you lay
Each in the waiting boatman's hand.
Ye men, that from your necks set down
Your heavy baskets on the earth,
Of bread, from German corn baked brown
By German wives on German hearth,—
And you, with braided tresses neat,
Black-Forest maidens, slim and brown,
How careful on the sloop's green seat
You set your pails and pitchers down!
Ah! oft have home's cool shady tanks
Those pails and pitchers filled for you;
[Pg 6005]By far Missouri's silent banks
Shall these the scenes of home renew,—
The stone-rimmed fount in village street
Where oft ye stooped to chat and draw,—
The hearth, and each familiar seat,—
The pictured tiles your childhood saw.
Soon, in the far and wooded West
Shall log-house walls therewith be graced;
Soon many a tired tawny guest
Shall sweet refreshment from them taste.
From them shall drink the Cherokee,
Faint with the hot and dusty chase;
No more from German vintage, ye
Shall bear them home, in leaf-crowned grace.
O say, why seek ye other lands?
The Neckar's vale hath wine and corn;
Full of dark firs the Schwarzwald stands;
In Spessart rings the Alp-herd's horn.
Ah, in strange forests you will yearn
For the green mountains of your home,—
To Deutschland's yellow wheat-fields turn,—
In spirit o'er her vine-hills roam.
How will the form of days grown pale
In golden dreams float softly by,
Like some old legendary tale,
Before fond memory's moistened eye!
The boatman calls,—go hence in peace!
God bless you,—wife, and child, and sire!
Bless all your fields with rich increase,
And crown each faithful heart's desire!

Translation of C.T. Brooks.

[Pg 6006]


What! wilt thou bind him fast with a chain?
Wilt bind the king of the cloudy sands?
Idiot fool! he has burst from thy hands and bands,
And speeds like Storm through his far domain.
See! he crouches down in the sedge,
By the water's edge,
Making the startled sycamore boughs to quiver!
Gazelle and giraffe, I think, will shun that river.
Not so! The curtain of evening falls,
And the Caffre, mooring his light canoe
To the shore, glides down through the hushed karroo,
And the watch-fires burn in the Hottentot kraals,
And the antelope seeks a bed in the bush
Till dawn shall blush,
And the zebra stretches his limbs by the tinkling fountain,
And the changeful signals fade from the Table Mountain.
Now look through the dusk! What seest thou now?
Seest such a tall giraffe! She stalks,
All majesty, through the desert walks,—
In search of water to cool her tongue and brow.
From tract to tract of the limitless waste
Behold her haste!
Till, bowing her long neck down, she buries her face in
The reeds, and kneeling, drinks from the river's basin.
But look again! look! see once more
Those globe-eyes glare! The gigantic reeds
Lie cloven and trampled like puniest weeds,—
The lion leaps on the drinker's neck with a roar!
Oh, what a racer! Can any behold,
'Mid the housings of gold
In the stables of kings, dyes half so splendid
As those on the brindled hide of yon wild animal blended?
Greedily fleshes the lion his teeth
In the breast of his writhing prey; around
Her neck his loose brown mane is wound.
[Pg 6007]Hark, that hollow cry! She springs up from beneath
And in agony flies over plains and heights.
See, how she unites,
Even under such monstrous and torturing trammel,
With the grace of the leopard, the speed of the camel!
She reaches the central moon-lighted plain,
That spreadeth around all bare and wide;
Meanwhile, adown her spotted side
The dusky blood-gouts rush like rain—
And her woeful eyeballs, how they stare
On the void of air!
Yet on she flies—on, on; for her there is no retreating;
And the desert can hear the heart of the doomed one beating!
And lo! A stupendous column of sand,
A sand-spout out of that sandy ocean, upcurls
Behind the pair in eddies and whirls;
Most like some colossal brand,
Or wandering spirit of wrath
On his blasted path,
Or the dreadful pillar that lighted the warriors and women
Of Israel's land through the wilderness of Yemen.
And the vulture, scenting a coming carouse,
Sails, hoarsely screaming, down the sky;
The bloody hyena, be sure, is nigh,—
Fierce pillager, he, of the charnel-house!
The panther, too, who strangles the Cape-Town sheep
As they lie asleep,
Athirst for his share in the slaughter, follows;
While the gore of their victim spreads like a pool in the sandy hollows!
She reels,—but the king of the brutes bestrides
His tottering throne to the last: with might
He plunges his terrible claws in the bright
And delicate cushions of her sides.
Yet hold!—fair play!—she rallies again!
In vain, in vain!
Her struggles but help to drain her life-blood faster;
She staggers, gasps, and sinks at the feet of her slayer and master!
[Pg 6008]
She staggers, she falls; she shall struggle no more!
The death-rattle slightly convulses her throat;
Mayest look thy last on that mangled coat,
Besprent with sand, and foam, and gore!
Adieu! The orient glimmers afar,
And the morning-star
Anon will rise over Madagascar brightly.—
So rides the lion in Afric's deserts nightly.


(Ruhe in der Geliebten)

From 'Lyrics and Ballads of Heine and Other German Poets.' Copyright 1892, by Frances Hellman. Reprinted by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons, publishers, New York.

Oh, here forever let me stay, love!
Here let my resting-place e'er be;
And both thy tender palms then lay, love,
Upon my hot brow soothingly.
Here at thy feet, before thee kneeling,
In heavenly rapture let me rest,
And close my eyes, bliss o'er me stealing,
Within thine arms, upon thy breast.
I'll open them but to the glances
That from thine own in radiance fall;
The look that my whole soul entrances,
O thou who art my life, my all!
I'll open them but at the flowing
Of burning tears that upward swell,
And joyously, without my knowing,
From under drooping lashes well.
Thus am I meek, and kind, and lowly,
And good and gentle evermore;
I have thee—now I'm blessed wholly;
I have thee—now my yearning's o'er.
By thy sweet love intoxicated,
Within thine arms I'm lulled to rest,
And every breath of thine is freighted
With slumber songs that soothe my breast.
[Pg 6009]
A life renewed each seems bestowing;
Oh, thus to lie day after day,
And hearken with a blissful glowing
To what each other's heart-beats say!
Lost in our love, entranced, enraptured,
We disappear from time and space;
We rest and dream; our souls lie captured
Within oblivion's sweet embrace.


Oh, love so long as love thou canst!
Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!
And let thy heart forever glow
And throb with love, and hold love's heat,
So long on earth another heart
Shall echo to its yearning beat.
And who to thee his heart shall show,
Oh raise it up and make it glad!
Oh make his every moment blithe,
And not a moment make him sad!
Guard well thy tongue; a bitter word
Soon from the mouth of anger leaps.
O God! it was not meant to wound,—
But ah! the other goes and weeps.
Oh, love so long as love thou canst!
Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!
Thou kneelest down upon the grave,
And sink'st in agony thine eyes,—
They never more the dead shall see,—
The silent church-yard hears thy sighs.
Thou mourn'st:—"Oh, look upon this heart,
That here doth weep upon this mound!
Forgive me if I caused thee pain,—
O God, it was not meant to wound!"
[Pg 6010]
But he, he sees and hears thee not;
He comes not, he can never know:
The mouth that kissed thee once says not,
"Friend, I forgave thee long ago!"
He did forgive thee long ago,
Though many a hot tear bitter fell
For thee and for thy angry word;
But still he slumbers soft and well!
Oh, love so long as love thou canst!
Oh, love so long thy soul have need!
The hour will come, the hour will come,
When by the grave thy heart shall bleed!

Translation of Dr. Edward Breck.


[Pg 6011]




ustav Freytag, one of the foremost of German novelists, was born July 13th, 1816, in Kreuzburg, Silesia, where his father was a physician. He studied alternately at Breslau and Berlin, at which latter university he was given the degree of a doctor of philosophy in 1838. In 1839 he settled as a privatdocent at the University of Breslau, where he lectured on the German language and literature until 1844, when he resigned his position to devote himself to literature. He removed to Leipzig in 1846, and the following year to Dresden, where he married. In 1848 he returned to Leipzig to edit with Julian Schmidt the weekly journal Die Grenzboten, which he conducted until 1861, and again from 1869 to 1870. In 1867 he became Liberal member for Erfurt in the North German Reichstag. In 1870, on the breaking out of the Franco-Prussian war, he was attached to the staff of the Crown Prince, later the German Emperor Frederick III., and remained in service until after the battle of Sedan. Subsequently to 1870 his journalistic work was chiefly for the newly established weekly periodical Im Neuen Reich. In 1879 he retired from public life and afterward lived in Wiesbaden, except for the summer months, which he spent on his estate Siebleben near Gotha. He died at Wiesbaden, April 30th, 1895.

All of Freytag's earliest work, with the single exception of a volume of poems published in 1845 under the title 'In Breslau,' is dramatic. His first production was a comedy, 'Die Brautfahrt' (The Wedding Journey), published in 1844, which although it was awarded a prize offered by the Royal Theatre in Berlin, found but indifferent popular favor, as did its successor, the one-act tragedy 'Die Gelehrte' (The Scholar). With his next play, 'Die Valentine' (1846), Freytag however was signally successful. This was followed the year after by 'Graf Waldemar.' He attained his highest dramatic success with the comedy 'Die Journalisten' (The Journalists), which appeared in 1853, and since its first production in 1854 has maintained its place as one of the most popular plays on the German stage. But one other play followed, the tragedy 'Die Fabier' (The Fabii), which appeared in 1859.

He had begun in the mean time his career as a novelist with his most famous novel, 'Soll und Haben' (Debit and Credit), which was [Pg 6012] published in 1855 and met with an immediate and unbounded success. The appearance of this first novel, furthermore, was most significant, for it marked at the same time an era both in German literature and in its author's own career, in that it introduced into the one in its most recent phase one of the profoundest problems of modern life in Germany, and unmistakably pointed out, in the other, the direction which he was subsequently to follow. This latter statement has a twofold bearing. It is not only that as a writer of novels Freytag did his most important and lasting work, but that the whole of this work was in a manner the development of a similar tendency. Although as different as need be in environment, all of his subsequent novels embody inherently the characteristics of 'Debit and Credit,' for like it, they are all well-defined attempts to depict the typical social conditions of the period in which they move, and their characters are the carefully considered types of their time. Freytag, with a philosophic seriousness of purpose perhaps characteristically German, is writing not only novels but the history of civilization, in his early work. Later on, the didactic purpose to a certain extent overshadows the rest; and although he never loses his power of telling a story, it is the history in the end that is paramount.

'Debit and Credit' is a novel of the century, and it takes up the great problem of the century, the position of modern industrialism in the social life of the day. Its principal centre of action is the business house of the wholesale grocer T.O. Schröter, who is an admirable embodiment of the careful, industrious, and successful merchant. In sharp contradistinction to him is the Baron von Rothsattel, the representative of earlier conditions in the organization of the State, which made the nobleman pre-eminently a social force. Freytag's polemic is not only the dignity of labor under present conditions, but the absolute effeteness of the old order of things that despised it. The real hero of the story is Anton Wohlfahrt, who begins his commercial career as a youth in the house of T.O. Schröter, and ends, after some vicissitudes, as a member of the firm. Mercantile life has nowhere been better described in its monotony, its interests, and its aspirations, as the story is developed; and although at first sight no field could be more barren in literary interest, there is in reality no lack of incident and action, whose inevitable sequence makes the plot. Anton's career in the house of Schröter is interrupted by his connection with the Baron von Rothsattel, who has, through his want of a business training and his lack of a knowledge of men, fallen into the hands of a Jew money-lender; by whom he is persuaded to mortgage his land in order to embark in a business undertaking which it is presumed will increase his fortune. His mill fails, however, and he is involved in difficulties from which he is unable [Pg 6013] to extricate himself. Anton, the intimate friend of the family, is therefore persuaded by the Baroness to undertake the management of matters, and after vainly endeavoring to induce his principal to interest himself in the affair, sacrifices his position to accompany the family to their dilapidated estate in a distant province. The Baron will tolerate no interference, however, and Anton finally returns to the house of Schröter and is reinstated in the business. Lenore, the Baron's daughter, the first cause of Anton's interest, meantime becomes engaged to the young nobleman Fink; who has been an associate of Anton's in the office of T. O. Schröter, has but recently returned from the United States, and who first advances funds for the improvement of the estate and ultimately purchases it.

Fink acts his part in the author's philosophy as a contrast to the Baron von Rothsattel. Although a nobleman, he has adapted himself to the conditions of the century, and is free from any hallucinations of his hereditary rank, even while he is perfectly awake to its traditions. He has entered upon a commercial career not from choice, but from necessity; but he has accepted his fate and has made successful use of his opportunities. Anton marries the sister of T. O. Schröter, and becomes a partner in the business. Fink is however really the one who gains the princess in this modern tale, and is plainly to have the more important share as an actual social force in the future. The old feudal nobility has played its part on the stage of the world; and being so picturesque, and full of romantic opportunity, its loss is doubtless to be regretted. The tamer realities of the modern industrial state have succeeded it. As Freytag solves the problem in 'Soll und Haben,' it is the man who works, the man of the industrial classes alone, to whom the victory belongs in the modern social struggle, be his antecedents bourgeois or aristocratic.

Freytag's second great novel, 'Die Verlorene Handschrift' (The Lost Manuscript), which appeared in 1864, concerns itself with another phase of the same problem. This time, however, instead of the merchant and man of affairs, it is the scholar about whom the action centres. Felix Werner, professor of philology, has come upon unmistakable traces of the lost books of Tacitus, whose recovery is the object of his life. In his search for the manuscript in an old house in the country he finds his future wife Ilse, one of the finest types in all German literature of the true German woman, both while at home a maid in her father's house and subsequently as the professor's wife in the university town. Werner, in his scholarly absorption, unwittingly neglects his wife, whose beauty has attracted the attention of the prince; and there is a series of intrigues which threaten seriously to involve the innocent Ilse, until the prince's evil intentions become evident even to the unsuspecting Werner. The covers of the lost manuscript are actually discovered at last, but the book itself has [Pg 6014] vanished. In this second novel Freytag displays a most genial humor, unsuspected in the author of 'Debit and Credit,' but apparent enough in 'The Journalists.' The professorial life is admirably drawn with all its lights and shadows; and its motives and ambitions, its peculiar struggles and strivings, have never been more understandingly treated. The story, however, even more than 'Debit and Credit,' displays the author's weaknesses of construction. The plot is so confused by digressions that the main thread is sometimes lost sight of, and the tendency to philosophical generalization, which as a German is to some extent the author's birthright, reaches in these pages an appalling exemplification. What had been an extraordinary novel pruned of these defects, is still not an ordinary novel with them; and as a picture of German university life from the point of view of the professor, 'The Lost Manuscript' stands unrivaled in literature. Again the thesis in this second novel is the dignity of labor, and the nobleman fares no better at the author's hands than in the mercantile environment of the first.

These two novels, which outside of Germany are Freytag's best claim to attention, were followed by the four volumes of 'Bilder aus der Deutschen Vergangenheit' (Pictures from the German Past: 1859-62), a series of studies of German life from different epochs of its history, intended to illustrate the evolution of modern conditions through their successive stages from the remote past. Freytag's early work as a university docent had particularly fitted him for this sort of writing, and some of his best is contained in these books.

More important still, however, was his next great work, the long series of historical novels 'Die Ahnen' (The Ancestors: 1872-80), an ambitious plan, born of the stirring events of the Franco-Prussian War and the resultant awakening of the new spirit of nationality, to trace the development of the German people from the earliest time down to the present day. To carry out this purpose he accordingly selects a typical German family, which he describes under the characteristic conditions of each period, with the most conscientious attention to manners and customs and social environment. The same family thus appears from generation to generation under the changing conditions of the different epochs of German history, and the whole forms together the consecutive Culturgeschichte of the nation.

This whole long series of 'The Ancestors' stands as a monument of careful research into the most minute factors of German life in their time of action. Freytag's antiquarianism is not of the dilettante kind that is content to masquerade modern motives in ancient garb and setting. He was fully conscious of all the elements of his problem, and he sought to reproduce the intellectual point of view of his actors, and to account for their motives of action, as well as to picture accurately their material environment. It is in his [Pg 6015] super-conscientiousness in these directions that the inherent weakness of the novels of this series lies. They are too palpably reconstructions with a purpose. Their didacticism is wrapped around them like a garment; and much of the time, that is all that is visible upon the surface. As the series advances this fault grows upon them. They are in reality of very unequal interest. 'Ingo' and 'Ingraban' are the sprightliest in action, and have been as a consequence the most widely read of these later works, many of which are, in part at least, far too serious of purpose to play their part conspicuously well as novels.

The novels of 'The Ancestors' are a culmination of Freytag's literary evolution. As a playwright he will no doubt be forgotten except for 'The Journalists'; in which he has, however, left an imperishable play which German critics have not hesitated to call the best comedy of the century. The two novels of modern life from his middle period form together his greatest work, although here, and particularly in 'The Lost Manuscript,' he has overweighted his material with abstract discussion, in which his perspective has sometimes all but disappeared. Subsequently, both the 'Bilder' and 'Die Ahnen' show his decided predilection for historical studies. The struggle in his own case was between the scholar and the man of letters, in which the scholar eventually won possession of the field.

Freytag's other work includes—'Die Technik des Dramas' (The Technique of the Drama: 1863), a consideration of the principles of dramatic construction; the life of his friend Karl Malthy, 1870; and 'Der Kronprinz und die Deutsche Kaiserkrone' (The Crown Prince and the German Imperial Crown: 1889), written after the death of Frederick III., with whom Freytag had had personal relations. To accompany the collected edition of his works (1887-88), he wrote a short autobiography, 'Erinnerungen aus Meinem Leben' (Recollections from My Life).


From 'The Lost Manuscript'

Professors' wives also have trouble with their husbands. Sometimes when Ilse was seated in company with her intimate friends—with Madame Raschke, Madame Struvelius, or little Madame Günther—at one of those confidential coffee parties which they did not altogether despise, many things would come to light.

The conversation with these intellectual women was certainly very interesting. It is true the talk sometimes passed lightly[Pg 6016] over the heads of the servants, and sometimes housekeeping troubles ventured out of the pond of pleasant talk like croaking frogs. To Ilse's surprise, she found that even Flaminia Struvelius could discourse seriously about preserving little gherkins, and that she sought closely for the marks of youth in a plucked goose. The merry Madame Günther aroused horror and laughter in more experienced married women, when she asserted that she could not endure the crying of little children, and that from the very first she would force her child (which she had not yet got) to proper silence by chastisement. Thus conversation sometimes left greater subjects to stray into this domain. And when unimportant subjects were reviewed, it naturally came about that the men were honored by a quiet discussion. At such times it was evident that although the subject under consideration was men in general, each of the wives was thinking of her own husband, and that each silently carried about a secret bundle of cares, and justified the conclusion of her hearers that that husband too must be difficult to manage.

Madame Raschke's troubles could not be concealed; the whole town knew them. It was notorious that one market day her husband had gone to the university in his dressing-gown—in a brilliant dressing-gown, blue and orange, with a Turkish pattern. His students, who loved him dearly and were well aware of his habits, could not succeed in suppressing a loud laugh; and Raschke had calmly hung the dressing-gown over his pulpit, held his lecture in his shirt-sleeves, and returned home in one of the students' overcoats. Since that time Madame Raschke never let her husband go out without herself inspecting him. It also appeared that all these ten years he had not been able to learn his way about the town, and she dared not change her residence, because she was quite sure that her professor would never remember it, and always return to his old home. Struvelius also occasioned much anxiety. Ilse knew about the last and greatest cause; but it also came to light that he expected his wife to read Latin proof-sheets, as she knew something of that language. Besides, he was quite incapable of refusing commissions to amiable wine merchants. At her marriage Madame Struvelius had found a whole cellar full of large and small wine casks, none of which had been drawn off, while he complained bitterly that no wine was ever brought into his cellar. Even little Madame Günther related that her husband could not give up night work;[Pg 6017] and that once, when he wandered with a lamp among his books, he came too near the curtain, which caught fire. He tore it off, and in so doing burnt his hands, and burst into the bedroom with blackened fingers in great alarm, and resembling Othello more than a mineralogist....

Raschke was wandering about in the ante-room. Here too was confusion. Gabriel had not yet returned from his distant errand; the cook had left the remains of the meal standing on a side-table till his return; and Raschke had to find his greatcoat by himself. He rummaged among the clothes, and seized hold of a coat and a hat. As he was not so absent-minded as usual to-day, a glance at the despised supper reminded him just in time that he was to eat a fowl; so he seized hold of the newspaper which Gabriel had laid ready for his master, hastily took one of the chickens out of the dish, wrapped it in the journal, and thrust it in his pocket, agreeably surprised at the depth and capaciousness it revealed. Then he rushed past the astonished cook, and out of the house. When he opened the door of the étage he stumbled against something that was crouching on the threshold. He heard a horrible growling behind him, and stormed down the stairs and out of doors.

The words of the friend whom he had left now came into his mind. Werner's whole bearing was very characteristic; and there was something fine about it. It was strange that in a moment of anger Werner's face had acquired a sudden resemblance to a bull-dog's. Here the direct chain of the philosopher's contemplations was crossed by the remembrance of the conversation on animals' souls.

"It is really a pity that it is still so difficult to determine an animal's expression of soul. If we could succeed in that, science would gain. For if we could compare in all their minutiæ the expression and gestures of human beings and higher animals, we might make most interesting deductions from their common peculiarities and their particular differences. In this way the natural origin of their dramatic movements, and perhaps some new laws, would be discovered."

While the philosopher was pondering thus, he felt a continued pulling at his coat-tails. As his wife was in the habit of giving him a gentle pull when he was walking next her absorbed in thought and they met some acquaintance, he took no further notice of it, but took off his hat, and bowing politely towards the railing of the bridge, said "Good-evening."[Pg 6018]

"These common and original elements in the mimic expression of human beings and higher animals might, if rightly understood, even open out new vistas into the great mystery of life." Another pull. Raschke mechanically took off his hat. Another pull. "Thank you, dear Aurelia, I did bow." As he spoke, the thought crossed his mind that his wife would not pull at his coat so low down. It was not she, but his little daughter Bertha who was pulling; for she often walked gravely next him, and like her mother, pulled at the bell for bows. "That will do, my dear," said he, as Bertha continued to snatch and pull at his coat-tails. "Come here, you little rogue!" and he absently put his hand behind him to seize the little tease. He seized hold of something round and shaggy; he felt sharp teeth on his fingers, and turned with a start. There he saw in the lamplight a reddish monster with a big head, shaggy hair, and a little tassel that fell back into its hind legs in lieu of a tail. His wife and daughter were horribly transformed; and he gazed in surprise on this indistinct creature which seated itself before him, and glared at him in silence.

"A strange adventure!" exclaimed Raschke. "What are you, unknown creature? Presumably a dog. Away with you!" The animal retreated a few steps. Raschke continued his meditations: "If we trace back the expression and gestures of the affections to their original forms in this manner, one of the most active laws would certainly prove to be the endeavor to attract or repel the extraneous. It would be instructive to distinguish, by means of these involuntary movements of men and animals, what is essential and what conventional. Away, dog! Do me a favor and go home. What does he want with me? Evidently he belongs to Werner's domain. The poor creature will assuredly lose itself in the town under the dominion of an idée fixe."

Meantime Speihahn's attacks were becoming more violent; and now he was marching in a quite unnatural and purely conventional manner on his hind legs, while his fore paws were leaning against the professor's back, and his teeth were actually biting into the coat.

A belated shoemaker's boy stood still and beat his leathern apron. "Is not the master ashamed to let his poor apprentice push him along like that?" In truth, the dog behind the man looked like a dwarf pushing a giant along the ice.

Raschke's interest in the dog's thoughts increased. He stood still near a lantern, examined and felt his coat. This coat had[Pg 6019] developed a velvet collar and very long sleeves, advantages that the philosopher had never yet remarked in his greatcoat. Now the matter became clear to him: absorbed in thought, he had chosen a wrong coat, and the worthy dog insisted on saving his master's garment, and making the thief aware that there was something wrong. Raschke was so pleased with this sagacity that he turned round, addressed some kind words to Speihahn, and made an attempt to stroke his shaggy hair. The dog again snapped at his hand. "You are quite right to be angry with me," replied Raschke; "I will prove to you that I acknowledge my fault." He took off the coat and hung it over his arm. "Yes, it is much heavier than my own." He walked on cheerfully in his thin coat, and observed with satisfaction that the dog abandoned the attacks on his back. But instead, Speihahn sprang upon his side, and again bit at the coat and the hand, and growled unpleasantly.

The professor got angry with the dog, and when he came to a bench on the promenade he laid down the coat, intending to face the dog seriously and drive him home. In this manner he got rid of the dog, but also of the coat. For Speihahn sprang upon the bench with a mighty bound, placed himself astride the coat, and met the professor, who tried to drive him away, with hideous growling and snarling.

"It is Werner's coat," said the professor, "and it is Werner's dog: it would be wrong to beat the poor creature because it is becoming violent in its fidelity, and it would be wrong to leave the dog and the coat." So he remained standing before the dog and speaking kindly to him: but Speihahn no longer took any notice of the professor; he turned against the coat itself, which he scratched, rummaged, and bit. Raschke saw that the coat could not long endure such rage. "He is frantic or mad," said he suspiciously. "I shall have to use force against you after all, poor creature;" and he considered whether he should also jump upon the seat and push the mad creature by a violent kick into the water, or whether it would be better to open the inevitable attack from below. He resolved on the latter course, and looked round to see whether he could anywhere discover a stone or stick to throw at the raging beast. As he looked, he observed the trees and the dark sky above him, and the place seemed quite unfamiliar. "Has magic been at work here?" he exclaimed, with amusement. He turned politely to a solitary wanderer who was [Pg 6020] passing that way: "Would you kindly tell me in what part of the town we are? And could you perhaps lend me your stick for a moment?"

"Indeed," angrily replied the person addressed, "those are very suspicious questions. I want my stick myself at night. Who are you, sir?" The stranger approached the professor menacingly.

"I am peaceable," replied Raschke, "and by no means inclined to violent attacks. A quarrel has arisen between me and the animal on this seat for the possession of a coat, and I should be much obliged to you if you would drive the dog away from the coat. But I beg you not to hurt the animal any more than is absolutely necessary."

"Is that your coat there?" asked the man.

"Unfortunately I cannot give you an affirmative answer," replied Raschke conscientiously.

"There must be something wrong here," exclaimed the stranger, again eyeing the professor suspiciously.

"There is, indeed," replied Raschke. "The dog is out of his mind; the coat is exchanged, and I do not know where we are."

"Close to the valley gate, Professor Raschke," answered the voice of Gabriel, who hastily joined the group. "Excuse me, but what brings you here?"

"Capital!" exclaimed Raschke joyously. "Pray take charge of this coat and this dog."

Gabriel gazed in amazement at Speihahn, who was now lying on the coat and bending his head before his friend. Gabriel threw down the dog and seized the coat. "Why, that is our greatcoat!" exclaimed he.

"Yes, Gabriel," said the professor, "that was my mistake, and the dog has shown marvelous fidelity to the coat."

"Fidelity!" exclaimed Gabriel indignantly, as he drew a parcel out of the coat pocket. "It was greedy selfishness, sir; there must be some food in this pocket."

"Yes, true," exclaimed Raschke; "it is all the chicken's fault. Give me the parcel, Gabriel; I must eat the fowl myself; and we might bid each other good-night now with mutual satisfaction, if you would just show me my way a little among these trees."

"But you must not go home in the night air without an overcoat," said Gabriel considerately. "We are not far from our[Pg 6021] house; the best way would really be for you to come back with me, sir."

Raschke considered and laughed.

"You are right, Gabriel; my departure was awkward; and to-day an animal's soul has restored a man's soul to order."

"If you mean this dog," said Gabriel, "it would be the first time he ever did anything good. I see he must have followed you from our door; for I put little bones there for him of an evening."

"Just now he seemed not to be quite in his right mind," said the professor.

"He is cunning enough when he pleases," continued Gabriel mysteriously; "but if I were to speak of my experiences with this dog—"

"Do speak, Gabriel," eagerly exclaimed the philosopher. "There is nothing so valuable concerning animals as a truthful statement from those who have carefully observed them."

"I may say that I have done so," confirmed Gabriel, with satisfaction; "and if you want to know exactly what he is, I can assure you that he is possessed of the devil, he is a thief, he is embittered, and he hates all mankind."

"Ah, indeed!" replied the professor, somewhat disconcerted. "I see it is much more difficult to look into a dog's heart than into a professor's."

Speihahn crept along silent and suppressed, and listened to the praises that fell to his lot; while Professor Raschke, conducted by Gabriel, returned to the house by the park. Gabriel opened the sitting-room door, and announced:—

"Professor Raschke."

Ilse extended both her hands to him.

"Welcome, welcome, dear Professor Raschke!" and led him to her husband's study.

"Here I am again," said Raschke cheerfully, "after wandering as in a fairy tale. What has brought me back were two animals, who showed me the right way,—a roast fowl and an embittered dog."

Felix sprang up; the men greeted one another warmly, shaking hands, and after all misadventures, spent a happy evening.

When Raschke had gone home late, Gabriel said sadly to his mistress, "This was the new coat; the fowl and the dog have put it in a horrible plight."

[Pg 6022]





t was Froebel who said, "The clearer the thread that runs through our lives backward to our childhood, the clearer will be our onward glance to the goal;" and in the fragment of autobiography he has left us, he illustrates forcibly the truth of his own saying. The motherless baby who plays alone in the village pastor's quiet house, the dreamy child who wanders solitary in the high-walled garden; the thoughtful lad, neglected, misunderstood, who forgets the harsh realities of life in pondering the mysteries of the flowers, the contradictions of existence, and the dogmas of orthodox theology; who decides in early boyhood that the pleasures of the senses are without enduring influence and therefore on no account to be eagerly pursued;—these presentments of himself, which he summons up for us from the past, show the vividness of his early recollections and indicate the course which the stream of his life is to run.

Friedrich Froebel Friedrich Froebel

The coldness and injustice of the new mother who assumed control of the household when he was four years old, his isolation from other children, the merely casual notice he received from the busy father absorbed in his parish work, all tended to turn inward the tide of his mental and spiritual life. He studied himself, not only because it was the bent of his nature, but because he lacked outside objects of interest; and to this early habit of introspection we owe many of the valuable features of his educational philosophy. Whoever has learned thoroughly to understand one child, has conquered a spot of firm ground on which to rest while he studies the world of children; and because the great teacher realized this truth, because he longed to give to others the means of development denied to himself, he turns for us the heart-leaves of his boyhood.[Pg 6023]

It would appear that Froebel's characteristics were strongly marked and unusual from the beginning. Called by every one "a moon-struck child" in Oberweissbach, the village of his birth, he was just as unanimously considered "an old fool" when, crowned with the experience of seventy years, he played with the village children on the green hills of Thuringia. The intensity of his inward life, the white heat of his convictions, his absolute blindness to any selfish idea or aim, his enthusiasm, the exaltation of his spiritual nature, all furnish so many cogent reasons why the people of any day or of any community should have failed to understand him, and scorned what they could not comprehend. It is the old story of the seers and the prophets repeated as many times as they appear; for "these colossal souls," as Emerson said, "require a long focal distance to be seen."

At ten years old the sensitive boy was fortunately removed from the uncongenial atmosphere of the parental household; and in his uncle's home he spent five free and happy years, being apprenticed at the end of this time to a forester in his native Thuringian woods. Then followed a year's course in the University of Jena, and four years spent in the study of farming, in clerical work of various kinds, and in land-surveying. All these employments, however, Froebel himself felt to be merely provisional; for like the hazel wand in the diviner's hand, his instinct was blindly seeking through these restless years the well-spring of his life.

In Frankfort, where he had gone intending to study architecture, Destiny touched him on the shoulder, and he turned and knew her. Through a curious combination of circumstances he gained employment in Herr Gruner's Model School, and it was found at once that he was what the Germans love to call "a teacher by the grace of God." The first time he met his class of boys he tells us that he felt inexpressibly happy; the hazel wand had found the waters and was fixed at last. From this time on, all the events of his life were connected with his experience as a teacher. Impelled as soon as he had begun his work by a desire for more effective methods, he visited Yverdon, then the centre of educational thought, and studied with Pestalozzi. He went again in 1808, accompanied by three pupils, and spent two years there, alternately studying and teaching.

There was a year of lectures at Göttingen after this, and one at the University of Berlin, accompanied by unceasing study and research both in literary and scientific lines; but in the fateful year 1813 this quiet student life was broken in upon, for impelled by strong moral conviction, Froebel joined Baron von Lützow's famous volunteer corps, formed to harass the French by constant skirmishes and to encourage the smaller German States to rise against Napoleon.[Pg 6024]

No thirst for glory prompted this action, but a lofty conception of the office of the educator. How could any young man capable of bearing arms, Froebel says, become a teacher of children whose Fatherland he had refused to defend? how could he in after years incite his pupils to do something noble, something calling for sacrifice and unselfishness, without exposing himself to their derision and contempt? The reasoning was perfect, and he made practice follow upon the heels of theory as closely as he had always done since he became master of his fate.

After the Peace of Paris he settled down for a time to a quiet life in the mineralogical museum at the University of Berlin, his duties being the care, arrangement, and investigation of crystals. Surrounded thus by the exquisite formations whose development according to law is so perfect, whose obedience to the promptings of an inward ideal so complete, he could not but learn from their unconscious ethics to look into the depths of his own nature, and there recognize more clearly the purpose it was intended to work out.

In 1816 he quietly gave up his position, and taking as pupils five of his nephews, three of whom were fatherless, he entered upon his life work, the first step in which was the carrying out of his plan for a "Universal German Educational Institute." He was without money, of course, as he had always been and always would be,—his hands were made for giving, not for getting; he slept in a barn on a wisp of straw while arranging for his first school at Griesheim; but outward things were so little real to him in comparison with the life of the spirit, that bodily privations seemed scarcely worth considering. The school at Keilhau, to which he soon removed, the institutions later established in Wartensee and Willisau, the orphanage in Burgdorf, all were most successful educationally, but, it is hardly necessary to say, were never a source of profit to their head and founder.

Through the twenty succeeding years, busy as he was in teaching, in lecturing, in writing, he was constantly shadowed by dissatisfaction with the foundation upon which he was building. A nebulous idea for the betterment of things was floating before him; but it was not until 1836 that it appeared to his eyes as a "definite truth." This definite truth, the discovery of his old age, was of course the kindergarten; and from this time until the end, all other work was laid aside, and his entire strength given to the consummate flower of his educational thought.

The first kindergarten was opened in 1837 at Blankenburg (where a memorial school is now conducted), and in 1850 the institution at Marienthal for the training of kindergartners was founded, Froebel remaining at its head until his death two years after.[Pg 6025]

With the exception of that remarkable book 'The Education of Man' (1826), his most important literary work was done after 1836; 'Pedagogics of the Kindergarten,' the first great European contribution to the subject of child-study, appearing from 1837 to 1840 in the form of separate essays, and the 'Mutter-und-Kose Lieder' (Mother-Play) in 1843. Many of his educational aphorisms and occasional speeches were preserved by his great disciple the Baroness von Marenholtz-Bülow in her 'Reminiscences of Froebel'; and though two most interesting volumes of his correspondence have been published, there remain a number of letters, as well as essays and educational sketches, not yet rendered into English.

Froebel's literary style is often stiff and involved, its phrases somewhat labored, and its substance exceedingly difficult to translate with spirit and fidelity; yet after all, his mannerisms are of a kind to which one easily becomes accustomed, and the kernel of his thought when reached is found well worth the trouble of removing a layer of husk. He had always an infinitude of things to say, and they were all things of purpose and of meaning; but in writing, as well as in formal speaking, the language to clothe the thought came to him slowly and with difficulty. Yet it appears that in friendly private intercourse he spoke fluently, and one of his students reports that in his classes he was often "overpowering and sublime, the stream of his words pouring forth like fiery rain."

It is probable that in daily life Froebel was not always an agreeable house-mate; for he was a genius, a reformer, and an unworldly enthusiast, believing in himself and in his mission with all the ardor of a heart centred in one fixed purpose. He was quite intolerant of those who doubted or disbelieved in his theories, as well as of those who, believing, did not carry their faith into works. The people who stood nearest him and devoted themselves to the furthering of his ideas slept on no bed of roses, certainly; but although he sometimes sacrificed their private interests to his cause, it must not be forgotten that he first laid himself and all that he had upon the same altar. His nature was one that naturally inspired reverence and loyalty, and drew from his associates the most extraordinary devotion and self-sacrifice. Then, as now, women were peculiarly attracted by his burning enthusiasm, his prophetic utterances, and his lofty views of their sex and its mission; and then, as now, the almost fanatical zeal of his followers is perhaps to be explained by the fact that he gives a new world-view to his students,—one that produces much the same effect upon the character as the spiritual exaltation called "experiencing religion."

He was twice married, in each case to a superior woman of great gifts of mind and character, and both helpmates joyfully took up a [Pg 6026]life of privation and care that they might be associated with him and with his work. Those memorable words spoken of our Washington,—"Heaven left him childless that a nation might call him father," are even more applicable to Froebel, for his wise and tender fatherhood extends to all the children of the world. When he passed through the village streets of his own country, little ones came running from every doorstep; the babies clinging to his knees and the older ones hanging about his neck and refusing to leave the dear play-master, as they called him. So the kindergartners love to think of him to-day,—the tall spare figure, the long hair, the wise, plain, strong-featured face, the shining eyes, and the little ones clustering about him as they clustered about another Teacher in Galilee, centuries ago.

Froebel's educational creed cannot here be cited at length, but some of its fundamental articles are:—

The education of the child should begin with its birth, and should be threefold, addressing the mental, spiritual, and physical natures.

It should be continued as it has begun, by appealing to the heart and the emotions as the starting-point of the human soul.

There should be sequence, orderly progression, and one continuous purpose throughout the entire scheme of education, from kindergarten to university.

Education should be conducted according to nature, and should be a free, spontaneous growth,—a development from within, never a prescription from without.

The training of the child should be conducted by means of the activities, needs, desires, and delights, which are the common heritage of childhood.

The child should be led from the beginning to feel that one life thrills through every manifestation of the universe, and that he is a part of all that is.

The object of education is the development of the human being in the totality of his powers as a child of nature, a child of man, and a child of God.

These principles of Froebel's, many of them the products of his own mind, others the pure gold of educational currency upon which he has but stamped his own image, are so true and so far-reaching that they have already begun to modify all education and are destined to work greater magic in the future. The great teacher's place in history may be determined, by-and-by, more by the wonderful uplift and impetus he gave to the whole educational world, than by the particular system of child-culture in connection with which he is best known to-day.

Judged by ordinary worldly standards, his life was an unsuccessful one, full of trials and privations, and empty of reward. His [Pg 6027]death-blow was doubtless struck by the prohibition of kindergartens in Prussia in 1851, an edict which remained nine years in force. His strength had been too sorely tried to resist this final crushing misfortune, and he passed away the following year. His body was borne to the grave through a heavy storm of wind and rain that seemed to symbolize the vicissitudes of his earthly days, while as a forecast of the future the sun shone out at the last moment, and the train of mourners looked back to see the low mound irradiated with glory.

In Thuringia, where the great child-lover was born, the kindergartens, his best memorials, cluster thickly now; and on the face of the cliffs that overhang the bridle-path across the Glockner mountain may be seen in great letters the single word Froebel, hewn deep into the solid rock.

Nora Archibald Smith


From 'Reminiscences of Friedrich Froebel,' by Baroness B. von Marenholtz-Bülow. Copyright 1877, by Mary Mann. Reprinted by permission of Lee & Shepard, publishers, Boston.

All that does not grow out of one's inner being, all that is not one's own original feeling and thought, or that at least does not awaken that, oppresses and defaces the individuality of man instead of calling it forth, and nature becomes thereby a caricature. Shall we never cease to stamp human nature, even in childhood, like coins? to overlay it with foreign images and foreign superscriptions, instead of letting it develop itself and grow into form according to the law of life planted in it by God the Father, so that it may be able to bear the stamp of the Divine, and become an image of God?...

This theory of love is to serve as the highest goal and polestar of human education, and must be attended to in the germ of humanity, the child, and truly in his very first impulses. The conquest of self-seeking egoism is the most important task of education; for selfishness isolates the individual from all communion, and kills the life-giving principle of love. Therefore the first object of education is to teach to love, to break up the egoism[Pg 6028] of the individual, and to lead him from the first stage of communion in the family through all the following stages of social life to the love of humanity, or to the highest self-conquest by which man rises to Divine unity....

Women are to recognize that childhood and womanliness (the care of childhood and the life of women) are inseparably connected; that they form a unit; and that God and nature have placed the protection of the human plant in their hands. Hitherto the female sex could take only a more or less passive part in human history, because great battles and the political organization of nations were not suited to their powers. But at the present stage of culture, nothing is more pressingly required than the cultivation of every human power for the arts of peace and the work of higher civilization. The culture of individuals, and therefore of the whole nation, depends in great part upon the earliest care of childhood. On that account women, as one half of mankind, have to undertake the most important part of the problems of the time, problems that men are not able to solve. If but one half of the work be accomplished, then our epoch, like all others, will fail to reach the appointed goal. As educators of mankind, the women of the present time have the highest duty to perform, while hitherto they have been scarcely more than the beloved mothers of human beings....

But I will protect childhood, that it may not as in earlier generations be pinioned, as in a strait-jacket, in garments of custom and ancient prescription that have become too narrow for the new time. I shall show the way and shape the means, that every human soul may grow of itself, out of its own individuality. But where shall I find allies and helpers if not in women, who as mothers and teachers may put my idea in execution? Only intellectually active women can and will do it. But if these are to be loaded with the ballast of dead knowledge that can take no root in the unprepared ground, if the fountains of their own original life are to be choked up with it, they will not follow my direction nor understand the call of the time for the new task of their sex, but will seek satisfaction in empty superficiality.

To learn to comprehend nature in the child,—is not that to comprehend one's own nature and the nature of mankind? And in this comprehension is there not involved a certain degree of comprehension of all things else? Women cannot learn and take into themselves anything higher and more comprehensive.[Pg 6029] It should therefore at least be the beginning, and the love of childhood should be awakened in the mind (and in a wider sense, this is the love of humanity), so that a new, free generation of men can grow up by right care.


From 'The Mottoes and Commentaries of Mother-Play.' Copyright 1895, by D. Appleton & Co.

What shall we learn from our yearning look into the heart of the flower and the eye of the child? This truth: Whatever develops, be it into flower or tree or man, is from the beginning implicitly that which it has the power to become. The possibility of perfect manhood is what you read in your child's eye, just as the perfect flower is prophesied in the bud, or the giant oak in the tiny acorn. A presentiment that the ideal or generic human being slumbers, dreams, stirs in your unconscious infant—this it is, O mother, which transfigures you as you gaze upon him. Strive to define to yourself what is that generic ideal which is wrapped up in your child. Surely, as your child—or in other words, as child of man—he is destined to live in the past and future as well as in the present. His earthly being implies a past heaven; his birth makes a present heaven; in his soul he holds a future heaven. This threefold heaven, which you also bear within you, shines out on you through your child's eyes.

The beast lives only in the present. Of past and future he knows naught. But to man belong not only the present, but also the future and the past. His thought pierces the heaven of the future, and hope is born. He learns that all human life is one life; that all human joys and sorrows are his joys and sorrows, and through participation enters the present heaven—the heaven of love. He turns his mind towards the past, and out of retrospection wrests a vigorous faith. What soul could fail to conquer an invincible trust in the pure, the good, the holy, the ideally human, the truly Divine, if it would look with single eye into its own past, into the past of history? Could there be a man in whose soul such a contemplation of the past would fail to blossom into devout insight, into self-conscious and self-comprehending faith? Must not such a retrospect unveil the truth? Must not[Pg 6030] the beauty of the unveiled truth allure him to Divine doing, Divine living? All that is high and holy in human life meets in that faith which is born of the unveiling of a heaven that has always been; in that hope born of a vision of the heaven that shall be; in that love which creates a heaven in the eternal Now. These three heavens shine out upon you through your child's eye. The presentiment that he carries these three heavens within him transfigures your countenance as you gaze upon him. Cherish this premonition, for thereby you will help him to make his life a musical chord wherein are blended the three notes of faith, hope, and love. These celestial virtues will link his life with the Divine life through which all life is one—with the God who is the supernal fountain of life, light, and love....

Higher and more important than the cultivation of man's outer ear, is the culture of that inner sense of harmony whereby the soul learns to perceive sweet accord in soundless things, and to discern within itself harmonies and discords. The importance of wakening the inner ear to this music of the soul can scarcely be exaggerated. Learning to hear it within, the child will strive to give it outer form and expression; and even if in such effort he is only partially successful, he will gain thereby the power to appreciate the more successful effort of others. Thus enriching his own life by the life of others, he solves the problem of development. How else were it possible within the quickly fleeting hours of mortal life to develop our being in all directions, to fathom its depths, scale its heights, measure its boundaries? What we are, what we would be, we must learn to recognize in the mirror of all other lives. By the effort of each, and the recognition of all, the Divine man is revealed in humanity....

Against the bright light which shines on the smooth white wall is thrust a dark object, and straightway appears the form which so delights the child. This is the outward fact; what is the truth which through this fact is dimly hinted to the prophetic mind? Is it not the creative and transforming power of light, that power which brings form and color out of chaos, and makes the beauty which gladdens our hearts? Is it not more than this,—a foreshadowing, perhaps, of the spiritual fact that our darkest experiences may project themselves in forms that will delight and bless, if in our hearts shines the light of God? The sternest crags, the most forbidding chasms, are beautiful in the mellow sunshine; while the fairest landscape loses all charm, and indeed[Pg 6031] ceases to be, when the light which created it is withdrawn. Is it not thus also with our lives? Yesterday, touched by the light of enthusiastic emotion, all our relationships seemed beautiful and blessed; to-day, when the glow of enthusiasm has faded, they oppress and repulse us. Only the conviction that it is the darkness within us which makes the darkness without, can restore the lost peace of our souls. Be it therefore, O mother, your sacred duty to make your darling early feel the working both of the outer and inner light. Let him see in one the symbol of the other, and tracing light and color to their source in the sun, may he learn to trace the beauty and meaning of his life to their source in God.

Translation of Susan E. Blow.


From 'The Letters of Froebel'

I am firmly convinced that all the phenomena of the child-world, those which delight us as well as those which grieve us, depend upon fixed laws as definite as those of the cosmos, the planetary system, and the operations of nature; and it is therefore possible to discover them and examine them. When once we know and have assimilated these laws, we shall be able powerfully to counteract any retrograde and faulty tendencies in the children, and to encourage, at the same time, all that is good and virtuous.


From 'The Letters of Froebel'

I wish you could have been here this evening, and seen the many beautiful and varied forms and lovely patterns which freely and spontaneously developed themselves from some systematic variations of a simple ground form, in stick-playing. No one would believe, without seeing it, how the child soul, the child life, develops when treated as a whole, and in the sense of forming a part of the great connected life of the world, by some skilled kindergarten teacher—nay, even by one who is only simple-hearted, thoughtful, and attentive; nor how it blooms into[Pg 6032] delicious harmonies like a beautifully tinted flower. Oh, if I could only shout aloud with ten thousand lung-power the truth that I now tell you in silence! Then would I make the ears of a hundred thousand men ring with it! What keenness of sensation, what a soul, what a mind, what force of will and active energy, what dexterity and skill of muscular movement and of perception, and what calm and patience, will not all these things call out in the children!

How is it that parents are so blind and deaf, when they profess to be so eager to work for the welfare, the health, and peace of their children? No! I cannot understand it; and yet a whole generation has passed since this system first delivered its message, first called for educational amendment, first pointed out where the need for it lay, and showed how it could be satisfied.

If I were not afraid of being taken for an idiot or an escaped lunatic, I would run barefoot from one end of Germany to the other and cry aloud to all men:—"Set to work at once for your children's sake on some universally developing plan, aiming at unity of life purpose, and through that at joy and peace." But what good would it do? A Curtman and a Ramsauer, in their stupidity or maliciousness, make it their duty to stigmatize my work as sinful, when I am but quietly corresponding with just my own friends and sympathizers; for they say I am destroying all pleasure in life for the parents: "Who could be so silly as I,—amongst sane men who acknowledge that parents have a right to enjoy life,—I who perpetually call to these parents in tones of imperative demand, 'Come, let us live for our children!'" (Kommt, laszt uns unseren Kindern leben!)


From 'The Education of Man.' By permission of Josephine Jarvis, the translator, and A. Lovell & Co., publishers

Only in the measure that we are thoroughly penetrated by the pure, spiritual, inward, human relations, and are faithful to them even in the smallest detail in life, do we attain to the complete knowledge and perception of the Divine-human relation; only in that measure do we anticipate them so deeply, vividly, and truly, that every yearning of our whole being is thereby satisfied,—at least receives its whole meaning, and is[Pg 6033] changed from a constantly unfulfilled yearning to an immediately rewarded effort....

How we degrade and lower the human nature which we should raise, how we weaken those whom we should strengthen, when we hold up to them an inducement to act virtuously, even though we place this inducement in another world! If we employ an outward incentive, though it be the most spiritual, to call forth better life, and leave undeveloped the inner, spontaneous, and independent power of representing pure humanity which rests in each man, we degrade our human nature.

But how wholly different every thing is, if man, especially in boyhood, is made to observe the reflex action of his conduct, not on his outward more or less agreeable position, but on his inner, spontaneous or fettered, clear or clouded, satisfied or dissatisfied condition of spirit and mind! The experiences which proceed from this observation will necessarily more and more awaken the inner sense of man: and then true sense, the greatest treasure of boy and man, comes into his life.


I see in every child the possibility of a perfect man.

The child-soul is an ever-bubbling fountain in the world of humanity.

The plays of childhood are the heart-leaves of the whole future life.

Childish unconsciousness is rest in God.

From each object of nature and of life, there goes a path toward God.

Perfect human joy is also worship, for it is ordered by God.

The first groundwork of religious life is love—love to God and man—in the bosom of the family.

Childhood is the most important stage of the total development of man and of humanity.

Women must make of their educational calling a priestly office.

Isolation and exclusion destroy life; union and participation create life.

Without religious preparation in childhood, no true religion and no union with God is possible for men.[Pg 6034]

The tree germ bears within itself the nature of the whole tree; the human being bears in himself the nature of all humanity; and is not therefore humanity born anew in each child?

In the children lies the seed-corn of the future.

The lovingly cared for, and thereby steadily and strongly developed human life, also the cloudless child life, is of itself a Christ-like one.

In all things works one creative life, because the life of all things proceeds from one God.

Let us live with our children: so shall their lives bring peace and joy to us; so shall we begin to be and to become wise.

What boys and girls play in earliest childhood will become by-and-by a beautiful reality of serious life; for they expand into stronger and lovelier youthfulness by seeking on every side appropriate objects to verify the thoughts of their inmost souls.

This earliest age is the most important one for education, because the beginning decides the manner of progress and the end. If national order is to be recognized in later years as a benefit, childhood must first be accustomed to law and order, and therein find the means of freedom. Lawlessness and caprice must rule in no period of life, not even in that of the nursling.

The kindergarten is the free republic of childhood.

A deep feeling of the universal brotherhood of man,—what is it but a true sense of our close filial union with God?

Man must be able to fail, in order to be good and virtuous; and he must be able to become a slave in order to be truly free.

My teachers are the children themselves, with all their purity, their innocence, their unconsciousness, and their irresistible claims; and I follow them like a faithful, trustful scholar.

A story told at the right time is like a looking-glass for the mind.

I wish to cultivate men who stand rooted in nature, with their feet in God's earth, whose heads reach toward and look into the heavens; whose hearts unite the richly formed life of earth and nature, with the purity and peace of heaven,—God's earth and God's heaven.

Photogravure from a Painting by T. R. Sunderland.

"What boys and girls play in earliest childhood will become by-and-by a beautiful reality of serious life; for they expand into stronger and lovelier youthfulness by seeking on every side appropriate objects to verify the thoughts of their inmost souls."—Froebel.


[Pg 6035]





roissart is the artist of chivalry. On his pages are painted, with immortal brilliancy, the splendid shows, the coronations, weddings, tourneys, marches, feasts, and battles of the English and French knighthood just before the close of the Middle Ages. "I intend," he says in the Prologue of his chronicle, "to treat and record history and matter of great praise, to the end that the honorable emprises and noble adventures and deeds of arms, which have come about from the wars of France and England, may be notably enregistered and placed in perpetual memory, whereby chevaliers may take example to encourage them in well-doing."

Froissart Froissart

Chivalry, in the popular understanding, is the fine flower of feudalism, its bloom of poetic and heroic life. But in reality it was artificial, having grown from an exaggerated respect for certain human qualities, at the expense of others fully as essential and indeed no less beautiful. Courage is good; but it is not rare, and the love of fighting for fighting's sake is made possible only by disregarding large areas of life to which war brings no harvest of happiness, and over which it does not even cast the glamor of romance. The works of civilized communities—agriculture, industry, commerce, art, learning, religion—were nearly at a standstill in the middle of the fourteenth century, when Europe was turned into a playground for steel-clad barbarians.

This perversion of nature could not last. The wretched Hundred Years' War had run but half its course when the misery and disgust among the real people, who thought and wrought, drove them to such despairing efforts as the Jacquerie in France and Wat Tyler's Rebellion in England. It was the English archers, as Froissart reluctantly [Pg 6036]admits, and not the knights, who won the battle of Poitiers. Gunpowder and cannon, a few years later, doomed the man-at-arms, and the rise of strong monarchies crowded out the feudal system. The thunder of artillery which echoes faintly in the last pages of Froissart is like a parting salvo to all the pageantry the volume holds. From cannon-ball and musket-shot the glittering procession has found refuge there. Into the safe retreat of these illuminated parchments, all the banners and pennons, lances, crests, and tapestries, knights and horses under clanking mail, had time—and but just time—to withdraw. We find them there, fresh as when they hurried in, the colors bright, the trumpets blowing.

Jean Froissart was born at Valenciennes in Hainault, in 1337, the year of his birth almost coinciding with Chaucer's. He tells us in his long autobiographical poem, 'L'Espinette Amoureuse,' that he was fond of play when a boy, and delighted in dances, carols, and poems, and had a liking for all those who loved dogs and birds. In the school where he was sent, he says, there were little girls whom he tried to please by giving them rings of glass, and pins, and apples, and pears. It seemed to him a most worthy thing to acquire their favor, and he wondered when it would be his turn to fall really in love. Much of this poem, which narrates tediously the love affair that was not long in coming, is probably fictitious; but there is no doubt of the accuracy of his description of himself in the opening lines, as fond of pleasure, prone to gallantry, and susceptible to all the bright faces of romance. From love and arms, he says, we are often told that all joy and every honor flow. He informs us elsewhere that he was no sooner out of school than he began to write, putting into verse the wars of his time.

In 1361 he went to England, where Edward III was reigning with Philippa his queen, a daughter of the Count of Hainault. His passport to the favor of his great countrywoman was a book, the result of these rhymings, covering the period from the battle of Poitiers, 1356, to the time of his voyage. This volume is not known to exist, nor any copy of it. The Queen made him a clerk of her chamber. He had abundant opportunity in England to gratify his curiosity and fill his note-book, for the court was full of French noblemen, lately come over as hostages for King Jean of France, who was captured at the battle of Poitiers.

In 1365 he took letters of recommendation from the Queen to David Bruce, King of Scotland, whom he followed for three months in his progress through that realm; spending a fortnight at the castle of William Douglas and making everywhere diligent inquiry about the recent war of 1345. In his delightful little poem 'The Debate between the Horse and the Greyhound,' beginning, "Froissart from [Pg 6037]Scotland was returning," we have a lifelike figure of the inquisitive young chronicler, pushing unweariedly from inn to inn on a tired horse and leading a footsore dog.

Between his thirtieth and his thirty-fourth year he was sometimes in England and sometimes in various parts of the Continent. In August 1369, while he was abroad, his patroness Queen Philippa died. She had encouraged him to continue his researches and writings, and he had presented her with a second volume, in prose, which has come down to us as a part of the chronicle. He admits that his work was an expansion of the chronicle of Jean le Bel, Canon of Saint Lambert at Liège, for he says:—"As all great rivers are made by the gathering together of many streams and springs, so the sciences also are extracted and compiled by many clerks: what one knows, the other does not."

On hearing of the Queen's death, Froissart settled in his own country of Hainault. There he won favor from princes, as was his custom, by giving them manuscripts of his chronicle, which was growing apace. By the middle of 1373 we find him become a churchman and provided with a living, in which he remained ten years, compiling fresh history and correcting what he had already written and put in circulation. A little later, 1376 to 1383, he made a more thorough revision of his chronicle, going so far as to modify its spirit, which had been favorable to English character and policy, and make it more agreeable to partisans of France. Although Froissart was not a Frenchman, his writings are all in the French language, which was of course his native tongue.

About the beginning of 1384 he was made a canon of the Church, at Chimay, a small town near the French frontier, and in this region he observed the military movements then going on there, and recorded them immediately in Book ii. of his chronicle. Four years of quiet were however too much for his mobile and energetic spirit; and in 1388, hearing that the Count Gaston de Foix, in the Pyrenees, was a man likely to know many details of the English wars in Gascony and Guyenne, he set out to visit him, taking among other presents a book of his poetry and two couples of hounds. When he still had ten days to travel he met a gentleman of Foix, with whom he journeyed the rest of the way, beguiling the time with talk about the sieges the various towns upon their route had suffered.

"At the words which he spoke I was delighted, for they pleased me much, and right well did I retain them all; and as soon as I had dismounted at the hostelries along the road which we traveled together, I wrote them down, at evening as in the morning, to have a better record of them in times to come; for there is nothing so retentive as writing."

[Pg 6038]

Count Gaston received him hospitably, and filled his three months' sojourn with stories of great events. Then Froissart visited many towns of Provence and Languedoc. These peregrinations furnished much of the material for Book iii. Little more is known of his life, except with respect to a visit to England which he made in 1394, and which enabled him to collect material for a large part of Book iv., the last in the chronicle. He is supposed to have died at Chimay, later than 1400, and perhaps, as tradition asserts, in 1410.

It is an engaging picture, this, of a genial, sharp-eyed, somewhat worldly churchman, riding his gray horse over hill and dale in quest of knowledge. We can fancy him arriving at his inn of an evening, and at once asking the obsequious host what knight or other great person dwells in the neighborhood. He loses no time before calling at the castle, and is gladly admitted when he tells his well-known name. He is ready to pay for any historical information with a story from his own collection. He is welcome everywhere, and for his part does not regret the time thus spent, nor the money,—several fortunes, by his own count,—for he has the light heart of the true traveler. It is always sunshine where he goes. The clangor of arms and the blare of trumpets hover ever above the horizon. Around the corner of every hill sits a fair castle by a shining river. From town to town, from province to province, his love of listening draws him on. To realize the charm of journeying in those days, we must remember that the local customs and qualities were almost undisturbed by communication; two French cities only a score of miles apart would often differ from each other as much as Nuremberg does from Venice.

"And I tell you for a truth," we read, "that to make these chronicles I have gone in my time much through the world, both to fulfill my pleasure by seeing the wonders of the earth, and to inquire about the arms and adventures that are written in this book."

So to horse, good Canon of Chimay! Throw aside books; there is news of fighting in the South; after the battle, soldiers will talk. There have been deeds of courage and romance. Hasten thither, while the tale of them is new!

If he were not so celebrated as a chronicler, Froissart would be known as one of the last of the wandering minstrels. He had the roving foot; he lived by charming the rich into generosity with his recitals. And he wrote much poetry, which is little read, except where it has some autobiographical interest. We possess the long poems, 'L'Espinette Amoureuse,' 'Le Buisson de Jeunesse,' 'Le Dit du Florin,' and several shorter pieces, with fragments of his once famous versified romance 'Méliador.'[Pg 6039]

His great prose work, while professing to be a history, in distinction from the chronicles of previous writers, is however not an orderly narration, nor is it a philosophical treatment of political causes and effects. It is a collection of pictures and stories, without much unity except the constant purpose of exhibiting the prowess of knighthood. There is not much indication even of partisanship or patriotic feeling. Froissart generally gives due meed of praise to the best knight in every bout, the best battalion in every encounter, regardless of sides.

The subjects treated are so numerous and disparate that no general idea of them can be given. They cover the time from 1326 to 1394, and lead us through England, Scotland, Flanders, Hainault, France, Italy, Spain, and Northern Africa. Among the most interesting passages are the story of King Edward's campaign against the Scots; his march through France; the battle of Crécy; the siege of Calais; Wat Tyler's Rebellion, which Froissart the well-fed parasite treats with an odd and inconsistent mingling of horror and contempt; the Jacquerie, which he says was the work of peasant dogs, the scum of the earth; the battle of Poitiers, with a fine description of the Black Prince waiting at table on poor captured King Jean; and the rise and fall of Philip van Artevelde.

Froissart's chronicle used to be regarded as authoritative history. But as might have been expected from his mode of inquiry, it is full of geographical, chronological, and other errors. Getting his information by ear, he wrote proper names phonetically, or turned them into something resembling French. Thus Worcester becomes "Vaucestre," Seymour "Simon," Sutherland "Surlant," Walter Tyler "Vautre Tuilier," Edinburgh "Hedaimbourch," Stirling "Eturmelin." The persons from whom he got his material were generally partisans either of France or of England, and often told him their stories years after the events; so that although he tried to be impartial himself, and to offset one witness by another, he seldom heard a judicial account of a battle or a quarrel. He seems to have consulted few written records, though he might easily have seen the State papers of England and Hainault.

It is useless to blame him, however; for the writing of mere history was not his purpose. With all his fine devotion to his life work,—a devotion which is the more admirable when we consider his pleasure-loving nature,—with all his attention to fairness, his great concern was not so much to instruct as to delight, first himself, secondly the great people of his age, and lastly posterity, on whom he ever and anon cast a shrewd and longing glance. To please his contemporaries, he several times revised his work. Posterity has nearly always preferred what might be called the first edition, which is the most unconscious and entertaining, though the least precise.[Pg 6040]

But if we must deny him much of the value as a political historian which was once attributed to him, we may still regard him as a great authority for the general aspect of life in the fourteenth century. Manners, customs, morals, as well as armor and dress, are no doubt correctly portrayed in his book. We learn from it what was deemed virtue and what vice; we learn that although religion was sincerely professed by the upper classes, it was not very successfully practiced, and had amazingly little effect upon morals. We are struck, for instance, with the absence of imagination or sympathy which permitted people to witness the horrible tortures inflicted on prisoners and criminals, although their minds were frequently filled with visions of supernatural beings. Froissart unconsciously makes himself, too, a medium for studying human character in his time, by his negative morality, his complacent recording of crimes, his unconcerned mention of horrors. Yet from his bringing up as a poet, and his scholarly associations, and his connection with the Church, it is likely he was a gentler man than nine-tenths of the knights and squires and men-at-arms about him.

There is an indifference colder even than cynicism in his failure to remark on the sufferings of the poor, which were so awful in his age. It is the result of class prejudice, and seems deliberate. The burned village, the trampled grain-field, the cowering women, the starved children, the rotting corpses, the mangled forms of living and agonizing foot-soldiers,—all these consequences of war he sees and occasionally mentions, yet they hardly touch him. But he is forever mourning the death of stricken knights as if it were a woeful loss. Yet for all his association with the governing class, we never find ourselves thinking of him as anything but a commoner raised to fortune by genius and favor. He has not the distinction of Joinville, who was a nobleman in the conventional sense and also in the truest sense.

Froissart's merit, then, is not that he is a great political historian, nor even a great historian of the culture of his time. He did not see accurately enough to be the first, nor broadly and deeply and independently enough to be the second. But kindly Nature made him something else, and enabled him to win that name "which honoreth most and most endureth." She gave him the painter's eye, the poet's fancy, and it is as the artist of chivalry he lives to-day. His chronicle may be often false to historical fact, it may not display a broad and sympathetic intelligence or a generous impatience of conventionality, but it does please, it does enthrall. It is one of those books without moral intent, like the Arabian Nights, which the boys of all ages will persist in reading, and which men delight in if they love good pictures and good story-telling. No more lasting colors have come down to us from Venetian painters than those which rush [Pg 6041]out from the words on his pages. His scenes do not take shape in our minds as etchings or engravings, but smile themselves into being, like oil-paintings. Sunlight, the glint of steel, red and yellow banners waving, white horses galloping over the sand, flashing armor, glittering spurs, the shining faces of eager men, fill with glory this great pictorial wonder-book of the Middle Ages.

Geo McLean Harper


From the 'Chronicles': Translation of John Bourchier, Lord Berners

How the King of England Rode Through Normandy

When the King of England arrived in the Hogue Saint-Vaast, the King issued out of his ship, and the first foot that he set on the ground he fell so rudely that the blood brast out of his nose. The knights that were about him took him up and said, "Sir, for God's sake enter again into your ship, and come not aland this day, for this is but an evil sign for us." Then the King answered quickly and said, "Wherefore? This is a good token for me, for the land desireth to have me." Of the which answer all his men were right joyful. So that day and night the King lodged on the sands, and in the mean time discharged the ships of their horses and other baggages; there the King made two marshals of his host, the one the Lord Godfrey of Harcourt and the other the Earl of Warwick, and the Earl of Arundel constable. And he ordained that the Earl of Huntingdon should keep the fleet of ships with a hundred men of arms and four hundred archers; and also he ordained three battles, one to go on his right hand, closing to the seaside, and the other on his left hand, and the King himself in the midst, and every night to lodge all in one field.

Thus they set forth as they were ordained, and they that went by the sea took all the ships that they found in their ways; and so long they went forth, what by sea and what by land, that they came to a good port and to a good town called Barfleur, the[Pg 6042] which incontinent was won, for they within gave up for fear of death. Howbeit, for all that, the town was robbed, and much gold and silver there found, and rich jewels; there was found so much riches, that the boys and villains of the host set nothing by good furred gowns; they made all the men of the town to issue out and to go into the ships, because they would not suffer them to be behind them for fear of rebelling again. After the town of Barfleur was thus taken and robbed without brenning, then they spread abroad in the country and did what they list, for there was not to resist them. At last they came to a great and a rich town called Cherbourg; the town they won and robbed it, and brent part thereof, but into the castle they could not come, it was so strong and well furnished with men of war.

Of the Great Assembly that the French King Made to Resist the King of England

Thus by the Englishmen was brent, exiled, robbed, wasted, and pilled the good plentiful country of Normandy. Then the French King sent for the Lord John of Hainault, who came to him with a great number; also the King sent for other men of arms, dukes, earls, barons, knights, and squires, and assembled together the greatest number of people that had been seen in France a hundred year before. He sent for men into so far countries, that it was long or they came together, wherefore the King of England did what him list in the mean season. The French King heard well what he did, and sware and said how they should never return again unfought withal, and that such hurts and damages as they had done should be dearly revenged; wherefore he had sent letters to his friends in the Empire, to such as were farthest off, and also to the gentle King of Bohemia and to the Lord Charles his son, who from thenceforth was called King of Almaine; he was made King by the aid of his father and the French King, and had taken on him the arms of the Empire: the French King desired them to come to him with all their powers, to the intent to fight with the King of England, who brent and wasted his country. These Princes and Lords made them ready with great number of men of arms, of Almains, Bohemians, and Luxemburgers, and so came to the French King. Also King Philip sent to the Duke of Lorraine, who came to serve him with three hundred spears; also there came the Earl[Pg 6043] [of] Salm in Saumois, the Earl of Sarrebruck, the Earl of Flanders, the Earl William of Namur, every man with a fair company.

Ye have heard herebefore of the order of the Englishmen; how they went in three battles, the marshals on the right hand and on the left, the King and the Prince of Wales his son in the midst. They rode but small journeys, and every day took their lodgings between noon and three of the clock, and found the country so fruitful that they needed not to make no provision for their host, but all only for wine; and yet they found reasonably sufficient thereof. It was no marvel, though, they of the country were afraid; for before that time they had never seen men of war, nor they wist not what war or battle meant. They fled away as far as they might hear speaking of the Englishmen, and left their houses well stuffed, and granges full of corn; they wist not how to save and keep it. The King of England and the Prince had in their battle a three thousand men of arms and six thousand archers, and a ten thousand men afoot, beside them that rode with the marshals....

Then the King went toward Caen, the which was a greater town and full of drapery and other merchandise, and rich burgesses, noble ladies and damosels, and fair churches, and specially two great and rich abbeys, one of the Trinity, another of Saint Stephen; and on the one side of the town one of the fairest castles of all Normandy, and captain therein was Robert of Wargny, with three hundred Genoways, and in the town was the Earl of Eu and of Guines, Constable of France, and the Earl of Tancarville, with a good number of men of war. The King of England rode that day in good order and lodged all his battles together that night, a two leagues from Caen, in a town with a little haven called Austrehem, and thither came also all his navy of ships with the Earl of Huntingdon, who was governour of them.

The constable and other lords of France that night watched well the town of Caen, and in the morning armed them with all them of the town: then the constable ordained that none should issue out, but keep their defenses on the walls, gate, bridge, and river; and left the suburbs void, because they were not closed; for they thought they should have enough to do to defend the town, because it was not closed but with the river. They of the town said how they would issue out, for they were strong enough to fight with the King of England. When the constable saw their[Pg 6044] good wills, he said, "In the name of God be it, ye shall not fight without me." Then they issued out in good order, and made good face to fight and to defend them and to put their lives in adventure.

Of the Battle of Caen, and How the Englishmen Took the Town

The same day the Englishmen rose early and appareled them ready to go to Caen.[A] The King heard mass before the sun-rising, and then took his horse, and the Prince his son, with Sir Godfrey of Harcourt, marshal and leader of the host, whose counsel the King much followed. Then they drew toward Caen with their battles in good array, and so approached the good town of Caen. When they of the town, who were ready in the field, saw these three battles coming in good order, with their banners and standards waving in the wind, and the archers, the which they had not been accustomed to see, they were sore afraid and fled away toward the town without any order or good array, for all that the constable could do; then the Englishmen pursued them eagerly. When the constable and the Earl Tancarville saw that, they took a gate at the entry and saved themselves and certain with them, for the Englishmen were entered into the town. Some of the knights and squires of France, such as knew the way to the castle, went thither, and the captain there received them all, for the castle was large. The Englishmen in the chase slew many, for they took none to mercy.

Then the constable and the Earl of Tancarville, being in the little tower at the bridge foot, looked along the street and saw their men slain without mercy; they doubted to fall in their hands. At last they saw an English knight with one eye, called Sir Thomas Holland, and a five or six other knights with him; they knew them, for they had seen them before in Pruce, in Granade, and in other viages. Then they called to Sir Thomas and said how they would yield themselves prisoners. Then Sir Thomas came thither with his company and mounted up into the gate, and there found the said lords with twenty-five knights with them, who yielded them to Sir Thomas; and he [Pg 6045]took them for his prisoners and left company to keep them, and then mounted again on his horse and rode into the streets, and saved many lives of ladies, damosels, and cloisterers from defoiling,—for the soldiers were without mercy. It fell so well the same season for the Englishmen, that the river, which was able to bear ships, at that time was so low that men went in and out beside the bridge. They of the town were entered into their houses, and cast down into the street stones, timber, and iron, and slew and hurt more than five hundred Englishmen; wherewith the King was sore displeased. At night when he heard thereof, he commanded that the next day all should be put to the sword and the town brent; but then Sir Godfrey of Harcourt said:—"Dear sir, for God's sake assuage somewhat your courage, and let it suffice you that ye have done. Ye have yet a great voyage to do or ye come before Calais, whither ye purpose to go: and sir, in this town there is much people who will defend their houses, and it will cost many of your men their lives, or ye have all at your will; whereby peradventure ye shall not keep your purpose to Calais, the which should redound to your rack. Sir, save your people, for ye shall have need of them or this month pass; for I think verily your adversary King Philip will meet with you to fight, and ye shall find many strait passages and rencounters; wherefore your men, an ye had more, shall stand you in good stead: and sir, without any further slaying ye shall be lord of this town; men and women will put all that they have to your pleasure." Then the King said, "Sir Godfrey, you are our marshal; ordain everything as ye will." Then Sir Godfrey with his banner rode from street to street, and commanded in the King's name none to be so hardy to put fire in any house, to slay any person, nor to violate any woman. When they of the town heard that cry, they received the Englishmen into their houses and made them good cheer, and some opened their coffers and bade them take what them list, so they might be assured of their lives; howbeit there were done in the town many evil deeds, murders, and robberies. Thus the Englishmen were lords of the town three days and won great riches, the which they sent by barks and barges to Saint-Saviour by the river of Austrehem, a two leagues thence, whereas all their navy lay. Then the King sent the Earl of Huntingdon with two hundred men of arms and four hundred archers, with his navy and prisoners and riches that they had got, back again into England. And the King bought of Sir Thomas Holland the[Pg 6046] Constable of France and the Earl of Tancarville, and paid for them twenty thousand nobles....

The next day the King departed, brenning and wasting all before him, and at night lodged in a good village called Grandvilliers. The next day the King passed by Dargies; there was none to defend the castle, wherefore it was soon taken and brent. Then they went forth destroying the country all about, and so came to the castle of Poix, where there was a good town and two castles. There was nobody in them but two fair damosels, daughters to the Lord of Poix; they were soon taken, and had been violated, an two English knights had not been, Sir John Chandos and Sir Basset; they defended them and brought them to the King, who for his honor made them good cheer and demanded of them whither they would fainest go. They said, "To Corbie," and the King caused them to be brought thither without peril. That night the King lodged in the town of Poix. They of the town and of the castles spake that night with the marshals of the host, to save them and their town from brenning, and they to pay a certain sum of florins the next day as soon as the host was departed. This was granted them, and in the morning the King departed with all his host, except a certain that were left there to receive the money that they of the town had promised to pay. When they of the town saw the host depart and but a few left behind, then they said they would pay never a penny, and so ran out and set on the Englishmen, who defended themselves as well as they might and sent after the host for succor. When Sir Raynold Cobham and Sir Thomas Holland, who had the rule of the rear guard, heard thereof, they returned and cried, "Treason, treason!" and so came again to Poix-ward and found their companions still fighting with them of the town. Then anon they of the town were nigh all slain, and the town brent, and the two castles beaten down. Then they returned to the King's host, who was as then at Airaines and there lodged, and had commanded all manner of men on pain of death to do no hurt to no town of Arsyn,[B] for there the King was minded to lie a day or two to take advice how he might pass the river of Somme; for it was necessary for him to pass the river, as ye shall hear after.

[Pg 6047]

How the French King Followed the King of England in Beauvoisinois

Now let us speak of King Philip, who was at Saint-Denis and his people about him, and daily increased. Then on a day he departed and rode so long that he came to Coppegueule, a three leagues from Amiens, and there he tarried. The King of England, being at Airaines, wist not where for to pass the river of Somme, the which was large and deep, and all bridges were broken and the passages well kept. Then at the King's commandment his two marshals with a thousand men of arms and two thousand archers went along the river to find some passage, and passed by Longpré, and came to the bridge of Remy, the which was well kept with a great number of knights and squires and men of the country. The Englishmen alighted afoot and assailed the Frenchmen from the morning till it was noon; but the bridge was so well fortified and defended that the Englishmen departed without winning of anything. Then they went to a great town called Fountains, on the river of Somme, the which was clean robbed and brent, for it was not closed. Then they went to another town called Long-en-Ponthieu; they could not win the bridge, it was so well kept and defended. Then they departed and went to Picquigny, and found the town, the bridge, and the castle so well fortified that it was not likely to pass there; the French King had so well defended the passages, to the intent that the King of England should not pass the river of Somme, to fight with him at his advantage or else to famish him there.

When these two marshals had assayed in all places to find passage and could find none, they returned again to the King, and shewed how they could find no passage in no place. The same night the French King came to Amiens with more than a hundred thousand men. The King of England was right pensive, and the next morning heard mass before the sun-rising and then dislodged; and every man followed the marshals' banners, and so rode in the country of Vimeu approaching to the good town of Abbeville, and found a town thereby, whereunto was come much people of the country in trust of a little defense that was there; but the Englishmen anon won it, and all they that were within slain, and many taken of the town and of the country. The King took his lodging in a great hospital[C] that was there. The [Pg 6048]same day the French King departed from Amiens and came to Airaines about noon; and the Englishmen were departed thence in the morning. The Frenchmen found there great provision that the Englishmen had left behind them, because they departed in haste. There they found flesh ready on the broaches, bread and pasties in the ovens, wine in tuns and barrels, and the tables ready laid. There the French King lodged and tarried for his lords.

That night the King of England was lodged at Oisemont. At night when the two marshals were returned, who had that day overrun the country to the gates of Abbeville and to Saint-Valery and made a great skirmish there, then the King assembled together his council and made to be brought before him certain prisoners of the country of Ponthieu and of Vimeu. The King right courteously demanded of them if there were any among them that knew any passage beneath Abbeville, that he and his host might pass over the river of Somme: if he would shew him thereof, he should be quit of his ransom, and twenty of his company for his love. There was a varlet called Gobin Agace, who stepped forth and said to the King:—"Sir, I promise you on the jeopardy of my head I shall bring you to such a place, whereas ye and all your host shall pass the river of Somme without peril. There be certain places in the passage that ye shall pass twelve men afront two times between day and night; ye shall not go in the water to the knees. But when the flood cometh, the river then waxeth so great that no man can pass; but when the flood is gone, the which is two times between day and night, then the river is so low that it may be passed without danger both a-horseback and afoot. The passage is hard in the bottom, with white stones, so that all your carriage may go surely; therefore the passage is called Blanche-Taque. An ye make ready to depart betimes, ye may be there by the sun-rising." The King said, "If this be true that ye say, I quit thee thy ransom and all thy company, and moreover shall give thee a hundred nobles." Then the King commanded every man to be ready at the sound of the trumpet to depart.[Pg 6049]

Of the Battle of Blanche-Taque

The King of England slept not much that night, for at midnight he arose and sowned his trumpet; then incontinent they made ready carriages and all things, and at the breaking of the day they departed from the town of Oisemont and rode after the guiding of Gobin Agace, so that they came by the sun-rising to Blanche-Taque: but as then the flood was up, so that they might not pass, so the King tarried there till it was prime; then the ebb came.

The French King had his currours in the country, who brought him word of the demeanor of the Englishmen. Then he thought to close the King of England between Abbeville and the river of Somme, and so to fight with him at his pleasure. And when he was at Amiens he had ordained a great baron of Normandy, called Sir Godemar du Fay, to go and keep the passage of Blanche-Taque, where the Englishmen must pass or else in none other place. He had with him a thousand men of arms and six thousand afoot, with the Genoways; so they went by Saint-Riquier in Ponthieu and from thence to Crotoy, whereas the passage lay: and also he had with him a great number of men of the country, and also a great number of them of Montreuil, so that they were a twelve thousand men one and other.

When the English host was come thither, Sir Godemar du Fay arranged all his company to defend the passage. The King of England let not for all that; but when the flood was gone, he commanded his marshals to enter into the water in the name of God and St. George. Then they that were hardy and courageous entered on both parties, and many a man reversed. There were some of the Frenchmen of Artois and Picardy that were as glad to joust in the water as on the dry land.

The Frenchmen defended so well the passage at the issuing out of the water, that they had much to do. The Genoways did them great trouble with their cross-bows; on the other side the archers of England shot so wholly together, that the Frenchmen were fain to give place to the Englishmen. There was a sore battle, and many a noble feat of arms done on both sides. Finally the Englishmen passed over and assembled together in the field. The King and the Prince passed, and all the lords; then the Frenchmen kept none array, but departed, he that might[Pg 6050] best. When Sir Godemar saw that discomfiture, he fled and saved himself; some fled to Abbeville and some to Saint-Riquiers. They that were there afoot could not flee, so that there were slain a great number of them of Abbeville, Montreuil, Rue, and of Saint-Riquiers; the chase endured more than a great league. And as yet all the Englishmen were not passed the river, and certain currours of the King of Bohemia and of Sir John of Hainault came on them that were behind, and took certain horses and carriages and slew divers, or they could take the passage.

The French King the same morning was departed from Airaines, trusting to have found the Englishmen between him and the river of Somme; but when he heard how that Sir Godemar du Fay and his company were discomfited, he tarried in the field and demanded of his marshals what was best to do. They said, "Sir, ye cannot pass the river but at the bridge of Abbeville, for the flood is come in at Blanche-Taque;" then he returned and lodged at Abbeville.

The King of England, when he was past the river, he thanked God, and so rode forth in like manner as he did before. Then he called Gobin Agace and did quit him his ransom and all his company, and gave him a hundred nobles and a good horse. And so the King rode forth fair and easily, and thought to have lodged in a great town called Noyelles; but when he knew that the town pertained to the Countess d'Aumale, sister to the Lord Robert of Artois,[D] the King assured the town and country as much as pertained to her, and so went forth: and his marshals rode to Crotoy on the seaside and brent the town, and found in the haven many ships and barks charged with wines of Poitou, pertaining to the merchants of Saintonge and of Rochelle; they brought the best thereof to the King's host. Then one of the marshals rode to the gates of Abbeville and from thence to Saint-Riquiers, and after to the town of Rue-Saint-Esprit. This was on a Friday, and both battles of the marshals returned to the King's host about noon and so lodged all together near to Cressy in Ponthieu.

The King of England was well informed how the French King followed after him to fight. Then he said to his company, "Let us take here some plot of ground, for we will go no farther till we have seen our enemies. I have good cause here to abide [Pg 6051]them, for I am on the right heritage of the Queen my mother, the which land was given at her marriage: I will challenge it of mine adversary Philip of Valois." And because that he had not the eighth part in number of men as the French King had, therefore he commanded his marshals to chose a plot of ground somewhat for his advantage; and so they did, and thither the King and his host went. Then he sent his currours to Abbeville, to see if the French King drew that day into the field or not. They went forth and returned again, and said how they could see none appearance of his coming; then every man took their lodging for that day, and to be ready in the morning at the sound of the trumpet in the same place. This Friday the French King tarried still in Abbeville abiding for his company, and sent his two marshals to ride out to see the dealing of the Englishmen; and at night they returned, and said how the Englishmen were lodged in the fields. That night the French King made a supper to all the chief lords that were there with him, and after supper the King desired them to be friends each to other. The King looked for the Earl of Savoy, who should come to him with a thousand spears, for he had received wages for a three months of them at Troyes in Champagne.

Of the Order of the Englishmen at Cressy

On the Friday, as I said before, the King of England lay in the fields, for the country was plentiful of wines and other victual, and if need had been, they had provision following in carts and other carriages. That night the King made a supper to all his chief lords of his host and made them good cheer; and when they were all departed to take their rest, then the King entered into his oratory and kneeled down before the altar, praying God devoutly that if he fought the next day, that he might achieve the journey to His honor; then about midnight he laid him down to rest, and in the morning he rose betimes and heard mass, and the Prince his son with him, and the most part of his company, were confessed and houseled; and after the mass said, he commanded every man to be armed and to draw to the field to the same place before appointed. Then the King caused a park to be made by the wood-side behind his host, and there was set all carts and carriages, and within the park were all their[Pg 6052] horses, for every man was afoot; and into this park there was but one entry. Then he ordained three battles: In the first was the young Prince of Wales, with him the Earl of Warwick and Oxford, the Lord Godfrey of Harcourt, Sir Raynold Cobham, Sir Thomas Holland, the Lord Stafford, the Lord of Mohun, the Lord Delaware, Sir John Chandos, Sir Bartholomew de Burghersh, Sir Robert Nevill, the Lord Thomas Clifford, the Lord Bourchier, the Lord de Latimer, and divers other knights and squires that I cannot name; they were an eight hundred men of arms and two thousand archers, and a thousand of other with the Welshmen; every lord drew to the field appointed under his own banner and pennon. In the second battle was the Earl of Northampton, the Earl of Arundel, the Lord Ros, the Lord Lucy, the Lord Willoughby, the Lord Basset, the Lord of Saint-Aubin, Sir Louis Tufton, the Lord of Multon, the Lord Lascelles and divers other, about an eight hundred men of arms and twelve hundred archers. The third battle had the King; he had seven hundred men of arms and two thousand archers. Then the King leapt on a hobby, with a white rod in his hand, one of his marshals on the one hand and the other on the other hand: he rode from rank to rank desiring every man to take heed that day to his right and honor. He spake it so sweetly and with so good countenance and merry cheer, that all such as were discomfited took courage in the seeing and hearing of him. And when he had thus visited all his battles, it was then nine of the day; then he caused every man to eat and drink a little, and so they did at their leisure. And afterward they ordered again their battles; then every man lay down on the earth and by him his salet and bow, to be the more fresher when their enemies should come.

The Order of the Frenchmen at Cressy, and How they Beheld the Demeanor of the Englishmen

This Saturday the French King rose betimes and heard mass in Abbeville in his lodging in the abbey of St. Peter, and he departed after the sun-rising. When he was out of the town two leagues, approaching towards his enemies, some of his lords said to him, "Sir, it were good that ye ordered your battles, and let all your footmen pass somewhat on before, that they be not troubled with the horsemen." Then the King sent four[Pg 6053] knights, the Moine [of] Bazeilles, the Lord of Noyers, the Lord of Beaujeu, and the Lord d'Aubigny, to ride to aview the English host; and so they rode so near that they might well see part of their dealing. The Englishmen saw them well and knew well how they were come thither to aview them; they let them alone and made no countenance toward them, and let them return as they came. And when the French King saw these four knights return again, he tarried till they came to him and said, "Sirs, what tidings?" These four knights each of them looked on other, for there was none would speak before his companion; finally the King said to [the] Moine, who pertained to the King of Bohemia and had done in his days so much that he was reputed for one of the valiantest knights of the world, "Sir, speak you." Then he said:—"Sir, I shall speak, sith it pleaseth you, under the correction of my fellows. Sir, we have ridden and seen the behaving of your enemies: know ye for truth they are rested in three battles abiding for you. Sir, I will counsel you as for my part, saving your displeasure, that you and all your company rest here and lodge for this night; for or they that be behind of your company be come hither, and or your battles be set in good order, it will be very late, and your people be weary and out of array, and ye shall find your enemies fresh and ready to receive you. Early in the morning ye may order your battles at more leisure and advise your enemies at more deliberation, and to regard well what way ye will assail them; for, sir, surely they will abide you."

Then the King commanded that it should be so done. Then his two marshals one rode before, another behind, saying to every banner, "Tarry and abide here in the name of God and St. Denis." They that were foremost tarried, but they that were behind would not tarry, but rode forth, and said how they would in no wise abide till they were as far forward as the foremost; and when they before saw them come on behind, then they rode forward again, so that the King nor his marshals could not rule them. So they rode without order or good array, till they came in sight of their enemies; and as soon as the foremost saw them they reculed then aback without good array, whereof they behind had marvel and were abashed, and thought that the foremost company had been fighting. Then they might have had leisure and room to have gone forward, if they had list; some went forth, and some abode still. The commons, of[Pg 6054] whom all the ways between Abbeville and Cressy were full, when they saw that they were near to their enemies, they took their swords and cried, "Down with them! let us slay them all." There is no man, though he were present at the journey, that could imagine or shew the truth of the evil order that was among the French party, and yet they were a marvelous great number. That I write in this book I learned it specially of the Englishmen, who well beheld their dealing; and also certain knights of Sir John of Hainault's, who was always about King Philip, shewed me as they knew.

Of the Battle of Cressy, August 26th, 1346

The Englishmen, who were in three battles lying on the ground to rest them, as soon as they saw the Frenchmen approach, they rose upon their feet fair and easily without any haste, and arranged their battles. The first, which was the Prince's battle, the archers there stood in manner of a herse and the men of arms in the bottom of the battle. The Earl of Northampton and the Earl of Arundel with the second battle were on a wing in good order, ready to comfort the Prince's battle, if need were.

The lords and knights of France came not to the assembly together in good order, for some came before and some came after, in such haste and evil order that one of them did trouble another. When the French King saw the Englishmen his blood changed, and said to his marshals, "Make the Genoways go on before, and begin the battle, in the name of God and St. Denis." There were of the Genoways' cross-bows about a fifteen thousand, but they were so weary of going afoot that day a six leagues armed with their cross-bows, that they said to their constables, "We be not well ordered to fight this day, for we be not in the case to do any great deed of arms: we have more need of rest." These words came to the Earl of Alençon, who said, "A man is well at ease to be charged with such a sort of rascals, to be faint and fail now at most need." Also the same season there fell a great rain and a clipse with a terrible thunder, and before the rain there came flying over both battles a great number of crows for fear of the tempest coming. Then anon the air began to wax clear, and the sun to shine fair and[Pg 6055] bright, the which was right in the Frenchmen's eyen and on the Englishmen's backs. When the Genoways were assembled together and began to approach, they made a great leap and cry to abash the Englishmen, but they stood still and stirred not for all that; then the Genoways again the second time made another leap and a fell cry, and stept forward a little, and the Englishmen removed not one foot; thirdly, again they leapt and cried, and went forth till they came within shot; then they shot fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so wholly [together] and so thick, that it seemed snow. When the Genoways felt the arrows piercing through heads, arms, and breasts, many of them cast down their cross-bows, and did cut their strings and returned discomfited. When the French King saw them fly away, he said, "Slay these rascals, for they shall let and trouble us without reason." Then ye should have seen the men of arms dash in among them and killed a great number of them; and ever still the Englishmen shot whereas they saw thickest press: the sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and into their horses, and many fell, horse and men, among the Genoways, and when they were down, they could not relieve again; the press was so thick that one overthrew another. And also among the Englishmen there were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they went in among the men of arms and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights, and squires; whereof the King of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken prisoners.

The valiant King of Bohemia called Charles of Luxembourg, son to the noble Emperor Henry of Luxembourg, for all that he was nigh blind, when he understood the order of the battle, he said to them about him, "Where is the Lord Charles my son?" His men said, "Sir, we cannot tell; we think he be fighting." Then he said, "Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far forward that I may strike one stroke with my sword." They said they would do his commandment, and to the intent that they should not lose him in the press, they tied all their reins of their bridles each to other and set the King before to accomplish his desire, and so they went on their enemies. The Lord Charles of Bohemia his son, who wrote himself King of Almaine and bare the arms, he came in good order to the battle; but when he saw[Pg 6056] that the matter went awry on their party, he departed, I cannot tell you which way. The King his father was so far forward that he strake a stroke with his sword, yea, and more than four, and fought valiantly, and so did his company; and they adventured themselves so forward that they were there all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the King, and all their horses tied each to other.

The Earl of Alençon came to the battle right ordinately and fought with the Englishmen, and the Earl of Flanders also on his part. These two lords with their companies coasted the English archers and came to the Prince's battle, and there fought valiantly long. The French King would fain have come thither, when he saw their banners, but there was a great hedge of archers before him. The same day the French King had given a great black courser to Sir John of Hainault, and he made the Lord Thierry of Senzeille to ride on him and to bear his banner. The same horse took the bridle in the teeth and brought him through all the currours of the Englishmen, and as he would have returned again, he fell in a great dike and was sore hurt, and had been there dead, an his page had not been, who followed him through all the battles and saw where his master lay in the dike, and had none other let but for his horse; for the Englishmen would not issue out of their battle for taking of any prisoner. Then the page alighted and relieved his master: then he went not back again the same way that they came; there was too many in his way.

This battle between Broye and Cressy this Saturday was right cruel and fell, and many a feat of arms done that came not to my knowledge. In the night divers knights and squires lost their masters, and sometime came on the Englishmen, who received them in such wise that they were ever nigh slain; for there was none taken to mercy nor to ransom, for so the Englishmen were determined.

In the morning the day of the battle certain Frenchmen and Almains perforce opened the archers of the Prince's battle, and came and fought with the men of arms hand to hand. Then the second battle of the Englishmen came to succor the Prince's battle, the which was time, for they had as then much ado; and they with the Prince sent a messenger to the King, who was on a little windmill hill. Then the knight said to the King, "Sir, the Earl of Warwick and the Earl of Oxford, Sir Raynold[Pg 6057] Cobham and other, such as be about the Prince your son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore handled; wherefore they desire you that you and your battle will come and aid them; for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they shall have much ado." Then the King said, "Is my son dead, or hurt, or on the earth felled?" "No, sir," quoth the knight, "but he is hardly matched; wherefore he hath need of your aid." "Well," said the King, "return to him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them that they send no more to me for any adventure that falleth, as long as my son is alive: and also say to them that they suffer him this day to win his spurs; for if God be pleased, I will this journey be his and the honor thereof, and to them that be about him." Then the knight returned again to them and shewed the King's words, the which greatly encouraged them, and repoined in that they had sent to the King as they did.

Sir Godfrey of Harcourt would gladly that the Earl of Harcourt, his brother, might have been saved; for he heard say by them that saw his banner how that he was there in the field on the French party: but Sir Godfrey could not come to him betimes, for he was slain or he could come at him, and so was also the Earl of Aumale his nephew. In another place the Earl of Alençon and the Earl of Flanders fought valiantly, every lord under his own banner; but finally they could not resist against the puissance of the Englishmen, and so there they were also slain, and divers other knights and squires. Also the Earl Louis of Blois, nephew to the French King, and the Duke of Lorraine, fought under their banners; but at last they were closed in among a company of Englishmen and Welshmen, and there were slain for all their prowess. Also there was slain the Earl of Auxerre, the Earl of Saint-Pol, and many other.

In the evening the French King, who had left about him no more than a threescore persons, one and other, whereof Sir John of Hainault was one, who had remounted once the King, for his horse was slain with an arrow, then he said to the King, "Sir, depart hence, for it is time; lose not yourself willfully: if ye have loss at this time, ye shall recover it again another season." And so he took the King's horse by the bridle and led him away in a manner perforce. Then the King rode till he came to the castle of Broye. The gate was closed, because it was by that time dark: then the King called the captain, who came to the[Pg 6058] walls and said, "Who is that calleth there this time of night?" Then the King said, "Open your gate quickly, for this is the fortune of France." The captain knew then it was the King, and opened the gate and let down the bridge. Then the King entered, and he had with him but five barons, Sir John of Hainault, Sir Charles of Montmorency, the Lord of Beaujeu, the Lord d'Aubigny, and the Lord of Montsault. The King would not tarry there, but drank and departed thence about midnight, and so rode by such guides as knew the country till he came in the morning to Amiens, and there he rested.

This Saturday the Englishmen never departed from their battles for chasing of any man, but kept still their field, and ever defended themselves against all such as came to assail them. This battle ended about evensong time.

[A] This was 26th July, 1346. Edward arrived at Poissy on 12th August; Philip of Valois left Paris on the 14th; the English crossed the Seine at Poissy on the 16th, and the Somme at Blanche-taque on the 24th.

[B] Probably a misunderstanding by Froissart of the English word "arson": the king's command being not to burn the towns on the Somme, as he wanted them for shelter.

[C] That is, a house of the Knights of St. John.

[D] She was in fact his daughter.

[Pg 6059]





ames Anthony Froude, English historian and essayist, was born April 23d, 1818, and died October 20th, 1894. His father was a clergyman, and the son was sent to Westminster School and to Oriel College, Oxford. In 1842 he became a fellow of Exeter, and two years later he was ordained a deacon; an office which he did not formally lay down until many years later, although his earliest publications, 'Shadows of the Clouds' and 'Nemesis of Faith,' showed that he had come to hold—and what perhaps is more to the point, dared to express,—views hardly compatible with the character of a docile and unreasoning neophyte.

J. A. Froude J. A. Froude

These books were severely censured by the authorities, and cost him—to the great benefit of the world—an appointment he had received of teacher in Tasmania. He resigned his fellowship and took up the profession of letters, writing much for Fraser and the Westminster, and becoming for a short period the editor of the former. His magnum opus is his 'History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada,' in twelve volumes, from 1856 to 1870. His other principal publications are—'The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century' (1874); 'Cæsar' (1879); 'Bunyan' (1880); 'Thomas Carlyle (first forty years of his life)' (1882); 'Life in London' (1884); 'Short Studies on Great Subjects' (1882, four series); 'The Two Chiefs of Dunboy' (1889); 'The English in the West Indies' (1889); 'The Divorce of Catharine of Aragon' (1892); 'The Life and Letters of Erasmus' (1892); 'English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century' (1892); and 'The Council of Trent.' 'Shadows of the Clouds,' 'The Nemesis of Faith,' and 'The Two Chiefs of Dunboy' are in the form of fiction; and though they—especially the last—contain some charming descriptive passages, and evince some of Froude's power of character sketching, they serve on the whole to prove that he was not a novelist. The fortunes of his [Pg 6060]group of people are of less absorbing interest to him than questions of social and racial ethics. There is nothing more annoying than to have an essayist stand behind a story-teller and interrupt him from time to time with acute philosophical comments on ultimate causes. The characters of Morty and Sylvester Sullivan are admirably contrasted Celtic types, but both they and the English Colonel Goring are a trifle stagy and stiff in their joints. The murders of the two chiefs, Morty Sullivan and Colonel Goring, are dramatically told; but Froude's deficient sense of humor, at least of that quality of humor which gives a subtle sense of congruity, results in an attempt to combine the elements of the tale and the didactic society in impossible proportions. He is an essayist and historian, not a novel-writer.

Froude stands before the English-reading public prominent in three characteristics: First, as a technical prose artist, in which regard he is entitled to be classed with Ruskin, Newman, and Pater; less enthusiastic and elaborately ornamental than the first, less musically and delicately fallacious than the second, and less self-conscious and phrase-caressing than the third, but carrying a solider burden of thought than all three. Second, as a historian of the modern school, which aims by reading the original records to produce an independent view of historical periods. Third, as the most clear-sighted and broad-minded of those whose position near the centre of the Oxford movement and intimacy with the principal actors gave them an insight into its inner nature.

There can be but one opinion of Froude as a master of English. In some of his early work there are traces of the manner of Macaulay in the succession of short assertive sentences, most of which an ordinary writer would group as limiting clauses about the main assertion. This method gives a false appearance of vigor and definiteness; it makes easy reading by relieving the mind from the necessity of weighing the modifying propositions: but it is entirely unadapted to nice modulations of thought. Froude very soon avoided the vices of Macaulayism, and attained a narrative style which must be regarded as the best in an age which has paid more attention than any other to the art of telling a story. In descriptive historical narrative he is unrivaled, because he is profoundly impressed not only with the dramatic qualities but with the real significance of a scene; unlike Macaulay, to whom the superficial theatrical elements appeal. A reading of Macaulay's description of the trial of Warren Hastings, and Froude's narrative of the killing of Thomas Becket or of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, will bring out at once Froude's radical superiority in both conception and execution.

This is not the place to debate the question of Froude's historical accuracy, further than to remark that he was an industrious reader [Pg 6061]of historical documents, and by nature a seeker after the truth. If a profound conviction of the harmfulness of ecclesiasticism colored the light with which he illuminated the records of the past, we must remember that history is at best largely the impressions of historians; and that if it be true that Froude does present one side, it is the side on which the warnings to posterity are most distinctly inscribed. A reading of the controversy between Froude and Freeman in the calmer light of the present leads to the conclusion that the suppressio veri with which Froude was charged is not a suggestio falsi, but an artistic selection of the characteristic. He felt a certain contempt for the minute and meaningless fidelity to the record, which is not writing history but editing documents. He possessed, too, among his other literary powers, the rare one of being able to individualize the man whose life he studies and of presenting the character so as to be consistent and human. This power fills his history and sketch with rare personalities. Thomas Becket, Henry III., Henry VIII., Queen Catharine, Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth, are more than historical portraits in the ordinary sense: they are conceptions of individuals, vivified by the artistic sense. Whether or not they are true to the originals as reflected in the contemporary documents, they are at least human possibilities, and therefore truer than the distorted automata that lie in state on the pages of some historians. A human character is so exceedingly complex and so delicately balanced with contradictory elements, that it is probable that no two persons ever estimate it exactly alike. Besides, prominent historical personages become in the popular imagination invested with exaggerated attributes, and it is not likely that men will ever agree even as to which of them was the hero and which the villain of the drama. It was to be expected that Froude should be violently assailed by those who accepted a traditional view of Henry VIII. and of Mary. It was inevitable that he should differ from them, because he had more than a view: he had a conception. His historical personages are certainly possibilities, because they are human, and the traditional figures are either monsters or saints; and humanity—at least Teutonic humanity—does not produce unadulterated saints nor unrelieved monsters.

While Froude's historical work has been criticized for lack of minute accuracy in details, his books on Carlyle have been criticized for the opposite fault of quoting too fully and literally; from letters and journals, matter never intended for the public, and of a nature not only to wound living persons but to create an erroneous impression of the writer. The habit of expressing himself in pithy and pungent personalities seems to have been with Carlyle a sort of intellectual exercise, and should not necessarily be taken as an index of morose ill-temper. A very delicate literary tact was necessary to his [Pg 6062]literary executor, in selecting from the matter put in his hands that which would combine to make a true picture of a crude and powerful genius without making him appear to the ordinary reader a selfish, willful man. Froude's idea of the duty of an editor of contemporary biography seems to have been that it was limited to careful publication of all the available material as mémoires pour servir. Such miscellaneous printing may in the end serve truth, but at the time it arouses resentment. It resulted, however, in the production of a book far preferable to the non-committal, evasive, destructively laudatory biography of a public man, of which every year brings a new specimen. It is at least honest, if not tactful.

Froude's early connection with the Oxford movement and his work on the Lives of the Saints first called his attention to the study of historical documents, and to the large amount of fiction with which truth is diluted in them. His further researches among the authorities recently made accessible, for the history of the destruction of the monasteries, impressed on him the fact that an assumption of spiritual authority is as dangerous to those who assume it as to those over whom it is assumed, exactly as physical slavery is in the end as harmful to the masters as it is to the slaves. He saw that ecclesiasticism had been profoundly hostile to morals, and he judged the present by the past till he really believed that the precious fruits of the Reformation would be lost if the ritualists obtained control of the Church. He persuaded himself that under such influence—

"Civilization would ebb, the great moral lights be extinguished,
Over the world would creep an unintelligent darkness
Under which men would be portioned anew 'twixt the priest and the soldier."

It is perhaps too much to expect of a man of the imaginative temperament of Froude, to whom the abominations of the Church from the twelfth to the sixteenth century were as real as if he had witnessed them, to retain judicial calmness under the vituperation with which he was assailed; but his profound distrust of the mediæval Church certainly does give an air of partisanship to his strictures on its modern ineffectual revival. He forgot that great principles of justice and toleration are now so embodied in law and fixed in the hearts of the English-speaking people that society is protected, and the evils of spiritual tyranny are restricted to the few who are willing to abase their intellects to it; that the corroding evil of conventual life is minimized by healthy outside influences; and that the most advanced modern ritualist would prove too good a Christian to light an auto da fé. It was but natural that he should forget this, for he was a strong man in the centre of the conflict, and independence was the core of his being.[Pg 6063]

This strength of independence is shown by the fact that though young, and profoundly sensitive to the attraction of a character like Newman's, he was from the first able to resist the fascination which that remarkable man exerted over all with whom he came in contact. The pure spiritual nature possesses a mysterious power over young men, so great that they often yield to its counterfeit. Newman was the true priest, and Froude recognized his genius and that his soul was "an adumbration of the Divine." But he felt instinctively the radical unsoundness of Newman's thought, and "would not follow, though an angel led." Others fell off for prudential reasons; but Froude was indifferent to these, and obedient to a conviction the strength of which must be estimated by the depth of his feeling for character.

Froude was sometimes criticized for writing history under the influence of personal feeling. It is difficult to see how a readable history can be written except by one who at least takes an interest in the story; but whether capacity for feeling makes a man a less trustworthy historian, depends upon how far this emotional susceptibility is controlled by intellectual insight and just views of the laws under which society develops. That Froude was an absolutely perfect historian, no one would claim: he was too intensely human to be perfect. It is safe to say that the perfect historian will not exist until Shakespeare and Bacon reappear combined in one man. For the great historian must be both scholar and artist. As scholar he must possess, too, both the acquisitive and the organizing intellect. He must both gather facts and interpret them. He must have the artistic sense which selects from the vast mass of fact that which is significant. This power of artistic selection is of course influenced by his unconscious ideals, by his conception of the relative importance of the forces which move mankind, and of the ultimate goal of progress. His philosophy directs his art, and his art interprets in the light of his philosophy.

It may be admitted that Froude possesses a larger share of the artistic than of the philosophic qualities necessary to the great historian. At times his hatred of ecclesiasticism becomes almost a prejudice. In his writings on Irish and colonial questions he evinces the Englishman's love of the right, but sometimes, unfortunately, the Englishman's inability to do justice to other races in points which distinguish them from his own. In some expressions he seems to distrust democracy in much the same unreasoning way in which Mr. Ruskin distrusts machinery. He had imbibed something of Mr. Carlyle's belief in the "strong man"; though he, no more than Carlyle, can show how the strong, just ruler can be produced or selected. But a more serious deficiency in Froude's philosophy arises from his [Pg 6064]imperfect conception of the method of evolution which governs all organizations, civil and religious, so that they continually throw off short-lived varieties and history becomes a continual giving way of the old order to the new. To fear, as Froude seems to, lest a survival may become a governing type, is as unreasonable as to fear that old men will live forever. Certainly he would have taken a juster, saner view of the English Reformation, had he been convinced that all the collisions between the moral laws and the rebellious wills of men, which are the burden of the years, are in the end obliterated in the slow onward movement of the race; but then perhaps his history would have lost in interest what it might have gained in philosophic breadth and balance. For it cannot be denied that feeling has given his narrative that most valuable quality—life.

The general recognition of Froude's power, and the growing conviction that he was far nearer right than the theological school he so cordially detested, was vindicated by his appointment as Professor of History at Oxford to succeed Freeman, one of the severest critics of his historical fairness. He lived to deliver but three courses of lectures, one of which has been published in that delightful volume 'The Life and Letters of Erasmus.' The others, 'English Seamen of the XVIth Century,' 'Lectures on the Council of Trent,' and the very able paper on Job in 'Short Studies on Great Subjects,' even if taken by themselves, would cause us to form a high opinion of the scope and range of Froude's powers. Those to whom brilliancy is synonymous with unsoundness may perhaps continue to call him merely a "brilliant writer"; but the general verdict will be that his brilliancy is the structural adornment of a well-fitted framework of thought.

Charles F. Johnson


From 'English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century'

Jean Paul the German poet said that God had given to France the empire of the land, to England the empire of the sea, and to his own country the empire of the air. The world has changed since Jean Paul's days. The wings of France have been clipped: the German Empire has become a solid thing: but England still holds her watery dominion; Britannia does still rule the waves, and in this proud position she has spread the English [Pg 6065]race over the globe; she is peopling new Englands at the Antipodes; she has made her Queen Empress of India; and is in fact the very considerable phenomenon in the social and political world which all acknowledge her to be. And all this she has achieved in the course of three centuries, entirely in consequence of her predominance as an ocean power. Take away her merchant fleets, take away the navy that guards them,—her empire will come to an end, her colonies will fall off like leaves from a withered tree, and Britain will become once more an insignificant island in the North Sea, for the future students in Australian and New Zealand universities to discuss the fate of in their debating societies.

How the English navy came to hold so extraordinary a position is worth reflecting on. Much has been written on it, but little, as it seems to me, which touches the heart of the matter. We are shown the power of our country growing and expanding. But how it grew; why, after a sleep of so many hundred years, the genius of our Scandinavian forefathers suddenly sprang again into life,—of this we are left without explanation.

The beginning was undoubtedly the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Down to that time the sea sovereignty belonged to the Spaniards, and had been fairly won by them. The conquest of Granada had stimulated and elevated the Spanish character. The subjects of Ferdinand and Isabella, of Charles V., and Philip II., were extraordinary men and accomplished extraordinary things. They stretched the limits of the known world; they conquered Mexico and Peru; they planted their colonies over the South-American continent; they took possession of the great West-Indian islands, and with so firm a grasp that Cuba at least will never lose the mark of the hand which seized it. They built their cities as if for eternity. They spread to the Indian Ocean, and gave their monarch's name to the Philippines. All this they accomplished in half a century, and as it were, they did it with a single hand; with the other they were fighting Moors and Turks, and protecting the coasts of the Mediterranean from the corsairs of Tunis and Constantinople.

They had risen on the crest of the wave, and with their proud Non Sufficit Orbis were looking for new worlds to conquer, at a time when the bark of the English water-dogs had scarcely been heard beyond their own fishing grounds, and the largest merchant vessel sailing from the port of London was scarce bigger[Pg 6066] than a modern coasting collier. And yet within the space of a single ordinary life these insignificant islanders had struck the sceptre from the Spaniards' grasp and placed the ocean crown on the brow of their own sovereign. How did it come about? What Cadmus had sown dragons' teeth in the furrows of the sea, for the race to spring from who manned the ships of Queen Elizabeth, who carried the flag of their own country round the globe, and challenged and fought the Spaniards on their own coasts and in their own harbors?

The English sea power was the legitimate child of the Reformation. It grew, as I shall show you, directly out of the new despised Protestantism. Matthew Parker and Bishop Jewell, the judicious Hooker himself, excellent men as they were, would have written and preached to small purpose without Sir Francis Drake's cannon to play an accompaniment to their teaching. And again, Drake's cannon would not have roared so loudly and so widely, without seamen already trained in heart and hand to work his ships and level his artillery. It was to the superior seamanship, the superior quality of English ships and crews, that the Spaniards attributed their defeat. Where did these ships come from? Where and how did these mariners learn their trade? Historians talk enthusiastically of the national spirit of a people rising with a united heart to repel the invader, and so on. But national spirit could not extemporize a fleet, or produce trained officers and sailors to match the conquerors of Lepanto. One slight observation I must make here at starting, and certainly with no invidious purpose. It has been said confidently,—it has been repeated, I believe, by all modern writers,—that the Spanish invasion suspended in England the quarrels of creed, and united Protestants and Roman Catholics in defense of their Queen and country. They remind us especially that Lord Howard of Effingham, who was Elizabeth's admiral, was himself a Roman Catholic. But was it so? The Earl of Arundel, the head of the House of Howard, was a Roman Catholic, and he was in the Tower praying for the success of Medina Sidonia. Lord Howard of Effingham was no more a Roman Catholic than—I hope I am not taking away their character—than the present Archbishop of Canterbury or the Bishop of London. He was a Catholic, but an English Catholic, as those reverend prelates are. Roman Catholic he could not possibly have been, nor any one who on that great occasion was found on the side of[Pg 6067] Elizabeth. A Roman Catholic is one who acknowledges the Roman Bishop's authority. The Pope had excommunicated Elizabeth, had pronounced her deposed, had absolved her subjects from their allegiance and forbidden them to fight for her. No Englishman who fought on that great occasion for English liberty was, or could have been, in communion with Rome. Loose statements of this kind, lightly made, fall in with the modern humor. They are caught up, applauded, repeated, and pass unquestioned into history. It is time to correct them a little.


From 'Two Chiefs of Dunboy'

Fatally mistaking what was intended for a friendly warning, the colonel conceived that there was some one in the forge whom the smith wanted to conceal.

"I may return or not," he said; "but I must first have a word with these strangers of yours. We can meet as friends for once, with nothing to dispute over."

Minahan made no further attempt to prevent him from going in. If gentlemen chose to have their quarrels, he muttered between his teeth, it was no business of his.

Goring pushed open the door and entered. By the dim light—for the shutter that had been thrown back had been closed again, and the only light came from a window in the roof—he made out three figures standing together at the further end of the forge, in one of whom, though he tried to conceal himself, he instantly recognized his visitor of the previous evening.

"You here, my man?" he said. "You left my house two hours ago. Why are you not on your way home?"

Sylvester, seeing he was discovered, turned his face full round, and in a voice quietly insolent, replied, "I fell in with some friends of mine on the road. We had a little business together, and it is good luck that has brought your honor to us while we are talking, for the jintlemen here have a word or two they would like to be saying to ye, colonel, before ye leave them."

"To me!" said Goring, turning from Sylvester to the two figures, whose faces were still covered by their cloaks. "If these gentlemen are what I suppose them to be, I am glad to meet them, and will hear willingly what they may have to say."[Pg 6068]

"Perhaps less willingly than you think, Colonel Goring," said the taller of the two, who rose and stepped behind him to the door, which he closed and barred. Goring, looking at him with some surprise, saw that he was the person whom he had met on the mountains, and had afterwards seen at the funeral at Derreen. The third man rose from a bench on which he had been leaning, lifted his cap, and said:—

"There is an old proverb, sir, that short accounts make long friends. There can be no friendship between you and me, but the account between us is of very old standing. I have returned to Ireland, only for a short stay; I am about to leave it, never to come back. A gentleman and a soldier, like yourself, cannot wish that I should go while that account is still unsettled. Our fortunate meeting here this morning provides us with an opportunity."

It was Morty's voice that he heard, and Morty's face that he saw as he became accustomed to the gloom. He looked again at the pretended messenger from the carded curate, and he then remembered the old Sylvester who had brought the note from Lord Fitzmaurice to the agent from Kenmare. In an instant the meaning of the whole situation flashed across him. It was no casual re-encounter. He had been enticed into the place where he found himself, with some sinister and perhaps deadly purpose. A strange fatality had forced him again and again into collision with the man of whose ancestral lands he had come into possession. Once more, by a deliberate and treacherous contrivance, he and the chief of the O'Sullivans had been brought face to face together, and he was alone, without a friend within call of him; unless his tenant, who as he could now see had intended to give him warning, would interfere further in his defense. And of this he knew Ireland well enough to be aware that there was little hope.

He supposed that they intended to murder him. The door, at which he involuntarily glanced, was fastened by this time with iron bolts. He was a man of great personal strength and activity, but in such a situation neither would be likely to avail him. Long inured to danger, and ready at all moments to meet whatever peril might threaten him, he calmly faced his adversary and said:—

"This meeting is not accidental, as you would have me believe. You have contrived it. Explain yourself further."[Pg 6069]

"Colonel Goring," said Morty Sullivan, "you will recall the circumstances under which we last parted. Enemy as you are and always have been to me and mine, I will do you the justice to say that on that occasion you behaved like a gentleman and a man of courage. But our quarrel was not fought out. Persons present interfered between us. We are now alone, and can complete what was then left unfinished."

"Whether I did well or ill, sir," the colonel answered, "in giving you the satisfaction which you demanded of me at the time you speak of, I will not now say. But I tell you that the only relations which can exist between us at present are those between a magistrate and a criminal who has forfeited his life. If you mean to murder me, you can do it; you have me at advantage. You can thus add one more to the list of villainies with which you have stained an honorable name. If you mean that I owe you a reparation for personal injuries, such as the customs of Ireland allow one gentleman to require from another, this, as you well know, is not the way to ask for it. But I acknowledge no such right. When I last encountered you I but partly knew you. I now know you altogether. You have been a pirate on the high seas. Your letters of marque do not cover you, for you are a subject of the King, and have broken your allegiance. Such as you are, you stand outside the pale of honorable men, and I should degrade the uniform I wear if I were to stoop to measure arms with you."

The sallow olive of Morty's cheek turned livid. He clutched the bench before him, till the muscles of his hands stood out like knots of rope.

"You are in my power, colonel," he said: "do not tempt me too far. If my sins have been many, my wrongs are more. It must be this or worse. One word from me, and you are a dead man."

He laid four pistols on the smith's tool-chest. "Take a pair of them," he said. "They are loaded alike. Take which you please. Let us stand on the opposite sides of this hovel, and so make an end. If I fall, I swear on my soul you shall have no hurt from any of my people. My friend Connell is an officer of mine, but he holds a commission besides in the Irish Brigade. There is no better-born gentleman in Kerry. His presence here is your sufficient security. You shall return to Dunboy as safe from harm as if you had the Viceroy's body-guard about you, or[Pg 6070] your own boat's crew that shot down my poor fellows at Glengariff. To this I pledge you my honor."

"Your honor!" said Goring; "your honor! And you tempted me here by a lying tale, sent by the lips of yonder skulking rascal. That alone, sir, were there nothing else, would have sufficed to show what you are."

A significant click caught the ear of both the speakers. Looking round, they saw Sylvester had cocked a pistol.

"Drop that," said Morty, "or by God! kinsman of mine though you be, I will drive a bullet through the brain of you. Enough of this, sir," he said, turning to Goring. "Time passes, and this scene must end. I would have arranged it otherwise, but you yourself know that by this way alone I could have brought you to the meeting. Take the pistols, I say, or by the bones of my ancestors that lie buried under Dunboy Castle yonder, I will call in my men from outside, and they shall strip you bare, and score such marks on you as the quartermaster leaves on the slaves that you hire to fight your battles. Prince Charles will laugh when I tell him in Paris how I served one at least of the hounds that chased him at Culloden."

The forge in which this scene was going on was perfectly familiar to Goring, for he had himself designed it and built it. There was the ordinary broad open front to the road, constructed of timber, which was completely shut. The rest of the building was of stone, and in the wall at the back there was a small door leading into a field, and thence into the country. Could this door be opened, there was a chance, though but a faint one, of escape. A bar lay across, but of no great thickness. The staple into which it ran was slight. A vigorous blow might shatter both.

Sylvester caught the direction of Goring's eye, caught its meaning, and threw himself in the way. The colonel snatched a heavy hammer which stood against the wall. With the suddenness of an electric flash he struck Sylvester on the shoulder, broke his collar-bone, and hurled him back senseless, doubled over the anvil. A second stroke, catching the bar in the middle, shattered it in two, and the door hung upon the latch. Morty and Connell, neither of whom had intended foul play, hesitated, and in another moment Goring would have been free and away. Connell, recovering himself, sprang forward and closed with him. The colonel, who had been the most accomplished wrestler of[Pg 6071] his regiment, whirled him round, flung him with a heavy fall on the floor, and had his hand on the latch when, half stunned as he was, Connell recovered his feet, drew a skene, and rushed at Colonel Goring again. So sudden it all was, so swift the struggle, and so dim the light, that from the other end it was hard to see what was happening. Wrenching the skene out of Connell's hands, and with the hot spirit of battle in him, Colonel Goring was on the point of driving it into his assailant's side.

"Shoot, Morty! shoot, or I am a dead man!" Connell cried.

Morty, startled and uncertain what to do, had mechanically snatched up a pistol when Sylvester was struck down. He raised his hand at Connell's cry. It shook from excitement, and locked together as the two figures were, he was as likely to hit friend as foe. Again Connell called, and Morty fired and missed; and the mark of the bullet is still shown in the wall of the smithy as a sacred reminiscence of a fight for Irish liberty. The second shot went true to its mark. Connell had been beaten down, though unwounded, and Goring's tall form stood out above him in clear view. This time Morty's hand did not fail him. A shiver passed through Goring's limbs. His arms dropped. He staggered back against the door, and the door yielded, and he fell upon the ground outside. But it was not to rise and fly. The ball had struck him clean above the ear, and buried itself in the brain. He was dead.


From 'Short Studies on Great Subjects'

Historical facts can only be verified by the skeptical and the inquiring, and skepticism and inquiry nip like a black frost the eager credulity in which legendary biographies took their rise. You can watch such stories as they grew in the congenial soil of belief. The great saints of the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, who converted Europe to Christianity, were as modest and unpretending as true, genuine men always are. They claimed no miraculous powers for themselves. Miracles might have been worked in the days of their fathers. They for their own parts relied on nothing but the natural powers of persuasion and example. Their companions, who knew them personally in life, were only a little more extravagant. Miracles and portents[Pg 6072] vary in an inverse ratio with the distance of time. St. Patrick is absolutely silent about his own conjuring performances. He told his followers, perhaps, that he had been moved by his good angel to devote himself to the conversion of Ireland. The angel of metaphor becomes in the next generation an actual seraph. On a rock in the county of Down there is, or was, a singular mark, representing rudely the outline of a foot. From that rock, where the young Patrick was feeding his master's sheep, a writer of the sixth century tells us that the angel Victor sprang back to heaven after delivering his message, and left behind him the imprinted witness of his august visit. Another hundred years pass, and legends from Hegesippus are imported into the life of the Irish apostle. St. Patrick and the Druid enchanter contend before King Leogaire on Tara Hill, as Simon Magus and St. Peter contended before the Emperor Nero. Again a century, and we are in a world of wonders where every human lineament is lost. St. Patrick, when a boy of twelve, lights a fire with icicles; when he comes to Ireland he floats thither upon an altar-stone which Pope Celestine had blessed for him. He conjures a Welsh marauder into a wolf, makes a goat cry out in the stomach of a thief who had stolen him, and restores dead men to life, not once or twice but twenty times. The wonders with which the atmosphere is charged gravitate towards the largest concrete figure which is moving in the middle of them, till at last, as Gibbon says, the sixty-six lives of St. Patrick which were extant in the twelfth century must have contained at least as many thousand lies. And yet of conscious lying there was very little; perhaps nothing at all. The biographers wrote in good faith and were industrious collectors of material, only their notions of probability were radically different from ours. The more marvelous a story, the less credit we give to it; warned by experience of carelessness, credulity, and fraud, we disbelieve everything for which we cannot find contemporary evidence, and from the value of that evidence we subtract whatever may be due to prevalent opinion or superstition. To the mediæval writer, the more stupendous the miracle the more likely it was to be true; he believed everything which he could not prove to be false, and proof was not external testimony, but inherent fitness.

So much for the second period of what is called human history. In the first or mythological there is no historical groundwork at all. In the next or heroic we have accounts of real[Pg 6073] persons, but handed down to us by writers to whom the past was a world of marvels, whose delight was to dwell upon the mighty works which had been done in the old times, whose object was to elevate into superhuman proportions the figures of the illustrious men who had distinguished themselves as apostles or warriors. They thus appear to us like their portraits in stained-glass windows, represented rather in a transcendental condition of beatitude than in the modest and checkered colors of real life. We see them not as they were, but as they appeared to an adoring imagination, and in a costume of which we can only affirm with certainty that it was never worn by any child of Adam on this plain, prosaic earth. For facts as facts there is as yet no appreciation; they are shifted to and fro, dropped out of sight, or magnified, or transferred from owner to owner,—manipulated to suit or decorate a preconceived and brilliant idea. We are still in the domain of poetry, where the canons of the art require fidelity to general principles, and allow free play to fancy in details. The Virgins of Raphael are no less beautiful as paintings, no less masterpieces of workmanship, though in no single feature either of face or form or costume they resemble the historical mother of Christ, or even resemble one another.

At the next stage we pass with the chroniclers into history proper. The chronicler is not a poet like his predecessor. He does not shape out consistent pictures with a beginning, a middle, and an end. He is a narrator of events, and he connects them together on a chronological string. He professes to be relating facts. He is not idealizing, he is not singing the praises of the heroes of the sword or the crosier; he means to be true in the literal and commonplace sense of that ambiguous word. And yet in his earlier phases, take him in what part of the world we please,—take him in ancient Egypt or Assyria, in Greece or in Rome, or in modern Europe,—he is but a step in advance of his predecessor. He is excellent company. He never moralizes, never bores you with philosophy of history or political economy. He never speculates about causes. But on the other hand, he is uncritical. He takes unsuspectingly the materials which he finds ready to his hand,—the national ballads, the romances, and the biographies. He transfers to his pages whatever catches his fancy. The more picturesque an anecdote, the more unhesitatingly he writes it down, though in the same proportion it is the less likely to be authentic. Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf;[Pg 6074] Curtius jumping into the gulf; our English Alfred spoiling the cakes; or Bruce watching the leap of the spider,—stories of this kind he relates with the same simplicity with which he records the birth in his own day, in some outlandish village, of a child with two heads, or the appearance of the sea-serpent or the flying dragon. Thus the chronicle, however charming, is often nothing but poetry taken literally and translated into prose. It grows, however, and improves insensibly with the growth of the nation. Like the drama, it develops from poor beginnings into the loftiest art, and becomes at last perhaps the very best kind of historical writing which has yet been produced. Herodotus and Livy, Froissart and Hall and Holinshed, are as great in their own departments as Sophocles or Terence or Shakespeare. We are not yet entirely clear of portents and prodigies. Superstition clings to us as our shadow, and is to be found in the wisest as well as the weakest. The Romans, the most practical people that ever lived,—a people so pre-eminently effective that they have printed their character indelibly into the constitution of Europe,—these Romans, at the very time they were making themselves the world's masters, allowed themselves to be influenced in the most important affairs of State by a want of appetite in the sacred chickens, or the color of the entrails of a calf. Take him at his best, man is a great fool. It is likely enough that we ourselves habitually say and practice things which a thousand years hence will seem not a jot less absurd. Cato tells us that the Roman augurs could not look one another in the face without laughing; and I have heard that bishops in some parts of the world betray sometimes analogous misgivings.

In able and candid minds, however, stuff of this kind is tolerably harmless, and was never more innocent than in the case of the first great historian of Greece. Herodotus was a man of vast natural powers. Inspired by a splendid subject, and born at the most favorable time, he grew to manhood surrounded by the heroes of Marathon and Salamis and Platæa. The wonders of Egypt and Assyria were for the first time thrown open to the inspection of strangers. The gloss of novelty was not yet worn off, and the impressions falling fresh on an eager, cultivated, but essentially simple and healthy mind, there were qualities and conditions combined which produced one of the most delightful books which was ever written. He was an intense patriot; and he was unvexed with theories, political or moral. His philosophy[Pg 6075] was like Shakespeare's,—a calm, intelligent insight into human things. He had no views of his own, which the fortunes of Greece or other countries were to be manipulated to illustrate. The world as he saw it was a well-made, altogether promising and interesting world; and his object was to relate what he had seen and what he had heard and learnt, faithfully and accurately. His temperament was rather believing than skeptical; but he was not idly credulous. He can be critical when occasion requires. He distinguishes always between what he had seen with his own eyes and what others told him. He uses his judgment freely, and sets his readers on their guard against uncertain evidence. And there is not a book existing which contains in the same space so much important truth,—truth which survives the sharpest test that modern discoveries can apply to it.

The same may be said in a slightly less degree of Livy and of the best of the late European chroniclers: you have the same freshness, the same vivid perception of external life, the same absence of what philosophers call subjectivity,—the projection into the narrative of the writer's own personality, his opinions, thoughts, and theories. Still, in all of them, however vivid, however vigorous the representation, there is a vein of fiction largely and perhaps consciously intermingled. In a modern work of history, when a statesman is introduced as making a speech, the writer at any rate supposes that such a speech was actually made. He has found an account of it somewhere either in detail or at least in outline or epitome. The boldest fabricator would not venture to introduce an entire and complete invention. This was not the case with the older authors. Thucydides tells us frankly that the speeches which he interweaves with his narrative were his own composition. They were intended as dramatic representations of the opinions of the factions and parties with which Greece was divided, and they were assigned to this person or to that, as he supposed them to be internally suitable. Herodotus had set Thucydides the example, and it was universally followed. No speech given by any old historian can be accepted as literally true unless there is a specific intimation to that effect. Deception was neither practiced nor pretended. It was a convenient method of exhibiting characters and situations, and it was therefore adopted without hesitation or reserve.

[Pg 6076]


From 'Short Studies on Great Subjects'

The knights were introduced. They advanced. The archbishop neither spoke nor looked at them, but continued talking to a monk who was next him. He himself was sitting on a bed. The rest of the party present were on the floor. The knights seated themselves in the same manner, and for a few moments there was silence. Then Becket's black, restless eye glanced from one to the other. He slightly noticed Tracy; and Fitzurse said a few unrecorded sentences to him, which ended with "God help you!" To Becket's friends the words sounded like insolence. They may have meant no more than pity for the deliberate fool who was forcing destruction upon himself.

Becket's face flushed. Fitzurse went on, "We bring you the commands of the King beyond the sea; will you hear us in public or in private?" Becket said he cared not. "In private, then," said Fitzurse. The monks thought afterwards that Fitzurse had meant to kill the archbishop where he sat. If the knights had entered the palace, thronged as it was with men, with any such intention, they would scarcely have left their swords behind them. The room was cleared, and a short altercation followed, of which nothing is known save that it ended speedily in high words on both sides. Becket called in his clergy again, his lay servants being excluded, and bade Fitzurse go on. "Be it so," Sir Reginald said. "Listen, then, to what the King says. When the peace was made, he put aside all his complaints against you. He allowed you to return, as you desired, free to your see. You have now added contempt to your other offenses. You have broken the treaty. You have allowed your pride to tempt you to defy your lord and master to your own sorrow. You have censured the bishops by whose administration the Prince was crowned. You have pronounced an anathema against the King's ministers, by whose advice he is guided in the management of the empire. You have made it plain that if you could you would take the Prince's crown from him. Your plots and contrivances to attain your ends are notorious to all men. Say, then, will you attend us to the King's presence, and there answer for yourself? For this we are sent."

The archbishop declared that he had never wished any hurt to the Prince. The King had no occasion to be displeased if[Pg 6077] crowds came about him in the towns and cities, after having been so long deprived of his presence. If he had done any wrong he would make satisfaction, but he protested against being suspected of intentions which had never entered his mind.

Fitzurse did not enter into an altercation with him, but continued:—"The King commands further that you and your clerks repair without delay to the young King's presence, and swear allegiance, and promise to amend your faults."

The archbishop's temper was fast rising. "I will do whatever may be reasonable," he said, "but I tell you plainly, the King shall have no oaths from me, nor from any one of my clergy. There has been too much perjury already. I have absolved many, with God's help, who had perjured themselves. I will absolve the rest when he permits."

"I understand you to say that you will not obey," said Fitzurse, and went on in the same tone:—"The King commands you to absolve the bishops whom you have excommunicated without his permission" (absque licentiâ suâ).

"The Pope sentenced the bishops," the archbishop said. "If you are not pleased, you must go to him. The affair is none of mine."

Fitzurse said it had been done at his instigation, which he did not deny; but he proceeded to reassert that the King had given his permission. He had complained at the time of the peace of the injury which he had suffered in the coronation, and the King had told him that he might obtain from the Pope any satisfaction for which he liked to ask.

If this was all the consent which the King had given, the pretense of his authority was inexcusable. Fitzurse could scarce hear the archbishop out with patience. "Ay, ay!" said he; "will you make the King out to be a traitor, then? The King gave you leave to excommunicate the bishops when they were acting by his own order! It is more than we can bear to listen to such monstrous accusations."

John of Salisbury tried to check the archbishop's imprudent tongue, and whispered to him to speak to the knights in private; but when the passion was on him, no mule was more ungovernable than Becket. Drawing to a conclusion, Fitzurse said to him:—"Since you refuse to do any one of those things which the King requires of you, his final commands are that you and your clergy shall forthwith depart out of this realm and out of[Pg 6078] his dominions, never more to return. You have broken the peace, and the King cannot trust you again."

Becket answered wildly that he would not go—never again would he leave England. Nothing but death should now part him from his church. Stung by the reproach of ill-faith, he poured out the catalogue of his own injuries. He had been promised restoration, and instead of restoration he had been robbed and insulted. Ranulf de Broc had laid an embargo on his wine. Robert de Broc had cut off his mule's tail; and now the knights had come to menace him.

De Morville said that if he had suffered any wrong he had only to appeal to the Council, and justice would be done.

Becket did not wish for the Council's justice. "I have complained enough," he said; "so many wrongs are daily heaped upon me that I could not find messengers to carry the tale of them. I am refused access to the court. Neither one king nor the other will do me right. I will endure it no more. I will use my own powers as archbishop, and no child of man shall prevent me."

"You will lay the realm under interdict, then, and excommunicate the whole of us?" said Fitzurse.

"So God help me," said one of the others, "he shall not do that. He has excommunicated over-many already. We have borne too long with him."

The knights sprang to their feet, twisting their gloves and swinging their arms. The archbishop rose. In the general noise words could no longer be accurately heard. At length the knights moved to leave the room, and addressing the archbishop's attendants, said, "In the King's name we command you to see that this man does not escape."

"Do you think I shall fly, then?" cried the archbishop. "Neither for the King nor for any living man will I fly. You cannot be more ready to kill me than I am to die.... Here you will find me," he shouted, following them to the door as they went out, and calling after them. Some of his friends thought that he had asked De Morville to come back and speak quietly with him, but it was not so. He returned to his seat, still excited and complaining.

"My lord," said John of Salisbury to him, "it is strange that you will never be advised. What occasion was there for you to go after these men and exasperate them with your bitter speeches?[Pg 6079] You would have done better, surely, by being quiet and giving them a milder answer. They mean no good, and you only commit yourself."

The archbishop sighed, and said, "I have done with advice. I know what I have before me."

It was four o'clock when the knights entered. It was now nearly five; and unless there were lights the room must have been almost dark. Beyond the archbishop's chamber was an ante-room, beyond the ante-room the hall. The knights, passing through the hall into the quadrangle, and thence to the lodge, called their men to arms. The great gate was closed. A mounted guard was stationed outside, with orders to allow no one to go out or in. The knights threw off their cloaks and buckled on their swords. This was the work of a few minutes. From the cathedral tower the vesper bell was beginning to sound. The archbishop had seated himself to recover from the agitation of the preceding scene, when a breathless monk rushed in to say that the knights were arming. "Who cares? Let them arm," was all that the archbishop said. His clergy was less indifferent. If the archbishop was ready for death, they were not. The door from the hall into the court was closed and barred, and a short respite was thus secured. The intention of the knights, it may be presumed, was to seize the archbishop and carry him off to Saltwood or to De Morville's castle at Knaresborough, or perhaps to Normandy. Coming back to execute their purpose, they found themselves stopped by the hall door. To burst it open would require time; the ante-room between the hall and the archbishop's apartments opened by an oriel window and an outside stair into a garden. Robert de Broc, who knew the house well, led the way to it in the dark. The steps were broken, but a ladder was standing against the window, by which the knights mounted, and the crash of the falling casement told the fluttered group about the archbishop that their enemies were upon them. There was still a moment. The party who entered by the window, instead of turning into the archbishop's room, first went into the hall to open the door and admit their comrades. From the archbishop's room a second passage, little used, opened into the northwest corner of the cloister, and from the cloister there was a way into the north transept of the cathedral. The cry was "To the church! To the church!" There at least there would be immediate safety.[Pg 6080]

The archbishop had told the knights that they would find him where they left him. He did not choose to show fear; or he was afraid, as some thought, of losing his martyrdom. He would not move. The bell had ceased. They reminded him that vespers had begun, and that he ought to be in the cathedral. Half yielding, half resisting, his friends swept him down the passage into the cloister. His cross had been forgotten in the haste. He refused to stir till it was fetched and carried before him as usual. Then only, himself incapable of fear, and rebuking the terror of the rest, he advanced deliberately to the door into the south transept. His train was scattered behind him, all along the cloister from the passage leading out of the palace. As he entered the church, cries were heard, from which it became plain that the knights had broken into the archbishop's room, had found the passage, and were following him. Almost immediately Fitzurse, Tracy, De Morville, and Le Breton were discerned in the dim light, coming through the cloister in their armor, with drawn swords, and axes in their left hands. A company of men-at-arms was behind them. In front they were driving before them a frightened flock of monks.

From the middle of the transept in which the archbishop was standing, a single pillar rose into the roof. On the eastern side of it opened a chapel of St. Benedict, in which were the tombs of several of the old primates. On the west, running of course parallel to the nave, was a Lady chapel. Behind the pillar, steps led up into the choir, where voices were already singing vespers. A faint light may have been reflected into the transept from the choir tapers, and candles may perhaps have been burning before the altars in the two chapels; of light from without through the windows at that hour there could have been none. Seeing the knights coming on, the clergy who had entered with the archbishop closed the door and barred it. "What do you fear?" he cried in a clear, loud voice. "Out of the way, you coward! the Church of God must not be made a fortress." He stepped back and reopened the door with his own hands, to let in the trembling wretches who had been shut out among the wolves. They rushed past him, and scattered in the hiding-places of the vast sanctuary, in the crypt, in the galleries, or behind the tombs. All, or almost all, even of his closest friends,—William of Canterbury, Benedict, John of Salisbury himself,—forsook him to shift for themselves, admitting frankly that they were unworthy[Pg 6081] of martyrdom. The archbishop was left alone with his chaplain Fitzstephen, Robert of Merton his old master, and Edward Grim, the stranger from Cambridge,—or perhaps with Grim only, who says that he was the only one who stayed, and was the only one certainly who showed any sign of courage. A cry had been raised in the choir that armed men were breaking into the cathedral. The vespers ceased; the few monks assembled left their seats and rushed to the edge of the transept, looking wildly into the darkness.

The archbishop was on the fourth step beyond the central pillar ascending into the choir, when the knights came in. The outline of his figure may have been just visible to them, if light fell upon it from candles in the Lady chapel. Fitzurse passed to the right of the pillar, De Morville, Tracy, and Le Breton to the left. Robert de Broc, and Hugh Mauclerc, another apostate priest, remained at the door by which they entered. A voice cried, "Where is the traitor? Where is Thomas Becket?" There was silence; such a name could not be acknowledged. "Where is the archbishop?" Fitzurse shouted. "I am here," the archbishop replied, descending the steps, and meeting the knights full in the face. "What do you want with me? I am not afraid of your swords. I will not do what is unjust." The knights closed round him. "Absolve the persons whom you have excommunicated," they said, "and take off the suspensions." "They have made no satisfaction," he answered; "I will not." "Then you shall die as you have deserved," they said.

They had not meant to kill him—certainly not at that time and in that place. One of them touched him on the shoulder with the flat of his sword, and hissed in his ears, "Fly, or you are a dead man." There was still time; with a few steps he would have been lost in the gloom of the cathedral, and could have concealed him in any one of a hundred hiding-places. But he was careless of life, and he felt that his time was come. "I am ready to die," he said. "May the Church through my blood obtain peace and liberty! I charge you in the name of God that you hurt no one here but me."

The people from the town were now pouring into the cathedral; De Morville was keeping them back with difficulty at the head of the steps from the choir, and there was danger of a rescue. Fitzurse seized him, meaning to drag him off as a prisoner. He had been calm so far; his pride rose at the indignity of an[Pg 6082] arrest. "Touch me not, thou abominable wretch!" he said, wrenching his cloak out of Fitzurse's grasp. "Off, thou pander, thou!" Le Breton and Fitzurse grasped him again, and tried to force him upon Tracy's back. He grappled with Tracy and flung him to the ground, and then stood with his back against the pillar, Edward Grim supporting him. Fitzurse, stung by the foul epithet which Becket had thrown at him, swept his sword over him and dashed off his cap. Tracy, rising from the pavement, struck direct at his head. Grim raised his arm and caught the blow. The arm fell broken, and the one friend found faithful sank back disabled against the wall. The sword with its remaining force wounded the archbishop above the forehead, and the blood trickled down his face. Standing firmly, with his hands clasped, he bent his neck for the death-stroke, saying in a low voice, "I am prepared to die for Christ and for his Church." These were his last words. Tracy again struck him. He fell forward upon his knees and hands. In that position Le Breton dealt him a blow which severed the scalp from the head and broke the sword against the stone, saying, "Take that for my Lord William." De Broc or Mauclerc—the needless ferocity was attributed to both of them—strode forward from the cloister door, set his foot on the neck of the dead lion, and spread the brains upon the pavement with his sword's point. "We may go," he said; "the traitor is dead, and will trouble us no more."

Such was the murder of Becket, the echoes of which are still heard across seven centuries of time, and which, be the final judgment upon it what it may, has its place among the most enduring incidents of English history. Was Becket a martyr, or was he justly executed as a traitor to his sovereign? Even in that supreme moment of terror and wonder, opinions were divided among his own monks. That very night Grim heard one of them say, "He is no martyr, he is justly served." Another said—scarcely feeling, perhaps, the meaning of the words,—"He wished to be king and more than king. Let him be king, let him be king." Whether the cause for which he died was to prevail, or whether the sacrifice had been in vain, hung on the answer which would be given to this momentous question. In a few days or weeks an answer came in a form to which in that age no rejoinder was possible; and the only uncertainty which remained at Canterbury was whether it was lawful to use the ordinary prayers for the repose of the dead man's soul, or whether, [Pg 6083]in consequence of the astounding miracles which were instantly worked by his remains, the Pope's judgment ought not to be anticipated, and the archbishop ought not to be at once adored as a saint in heaven.


From the 'History of England'

Protestants and Catholics united to condemn a government under which both had suffered; and a point on which enemies were agreed was assumed to be proved. When I commenced the examination of the records, I brought with me the inherited impression, from which I had neither any thought nor any expectation that I should be disabused. I found that it melted between my hands, and with it disappeared that other fact, so difficult to credit, yet as it had appeared so impossible to deny, that English Parliaments, English judges, English clergy, statesmen whose beneficent legislature survives among the most valued of our institutions, prelates who were the founders and martyrs of the English Church, were the cowardly accomplices of abominable atrocities, and had disgraced themselves with a sycophancy which the Roman Senate imperfectly approached when it fawned on Nero.

Henry had many faults. They have been exhibited in the progress of the narrative: I need not return to them. But his position was one of unexampled difficulty; and by the work which he accomplished, and the conditions, internal and external, under which his task was allotted to him, he, like every other man, ought to be judged. He was inconsistent: he can bear the reproach of it. He ended by accepting and approving what he had commenced with persecuting; yet it was with the honest inconsistency which distinguishes the conduct of most men of practical ability in times of change, and even by virtue of which they obtain their success. If at the commencement of the movement he had regarded the eucharist as a "remembrance," he must either have concealed his convictions or he would have forfeited his throne; if he had been a stationary bigot, the Reformation might have waited for a century, and would have been conquered only by an internecine war.

But as the nation moved the King moved, leading it, but not outrunning it; checking those who went too fast, dragging[Pg 6084] forward those who lagged behind. The conservatives, all that was sound and good among them, trusted him because he so long continued to share their conservatism; when he threw it aside he was not reproached with breach of confidence, because his own advance had accompanied theirs.

Protestants have exclaimed against the Six Articles Bill; Romanists against the Act of Supremacy. Philosophers complain that the prejudices of the people were needlessly violated, that opinions should have been allowed to be free, and the reform of religion have been left to be accomplished by reason. Yet, however cruel was the Six Articles Bill, the governing classes even among the laity were unanimous in its favor. The King was not converted by a sudden miracle; he believed the traditions in which he had been trained; his eyes, like the eyes of others, opened but slowly; and unquestionably, had he conquered for himself in their fullness the modern principles of toleration, he could not have governed by them a nation which was itself intolerant. Perhaps, of all living Englishmen who shared Henry's faith, there was not one so little desirous in himself of enforcing it by violence. His personal exertions were ever to mitigate the action of the law, while its letter was sustained; and England at its worst was a harbor of refuge to the Protestants, compared to the Netherlands, to France, to Spain, or even to Scotland.

That the Romanists should have regarded him as a tyrant is natural; and were it true that English subjects owed fealty to the Pope, their feeling was just. But however desirable it may be to leave religious opinion unfettered, it is certain that if England was legitimately free, she could tolerate no difference of opinion on a question of allegiance, so long as Europe was conspiring to bring her back into slavery. So long as the English Romanists refused to admit without mental reservation that, if foreign enemies invaded this country in the Pope's name, their place must be at the side of their own sovereign, "religion" might palliate the moral guilt of their treason, but it could not exempt them from its punishment.

But these matters have been discussed in the details of this history, where alone they can be understood.

Beyond and besides the Reformation, the constitution of these islands now rests in large measure on foundations laid in this reign. Henry brought Ireland within the reach of English civilization. He absorbed Wales and the Palatinates into the general English system. He it was who raised the House of Commons[Pg 6085] from the narrow duty of voting supplies, and of passing without discussion the measures of the Privy Council, and converted them into the first power in the State under the Crown. When he ascended the throne, so little did the Commons care for their privileges that their attendance at the sessions of Parliament was enforced by a law. They woke into life in 1529, and they became the right hand of the King to subdue the resistance of the House of Lords, and to force upon them a course of legislation which from their hearts they detested. Other kings in times of difficulty summoned their "great councils," composed of peers, or prelates, or municipal officials, or any persons whom they pleased to nominate. Henry VIII. broke through the ancient practice, and ever threw himself on the representatives of the people. By the Reformation and by the power which he forced upon them, he had so interwoven the House of Commons with the highest business of the State that the peers thenceforward sunk to be their shadow.

Something, too, ought to be said of his individual exertions in the details of State administration. In his earlier life, though active and assiduous, he found leisure for elegant accomplishments, for splendid amusements, for relaxations careless, extravagant, sometimes questionable. As his life drew onwards, his lighter tastes disappeared, and the whole energy of his intellect was pressed into the business of the commonwealth. Those who have examined the printed State papers may form some impression of his industry from the documents which are his own composition, and the letters which he wrote and received: but only persons who have seen the original manuscripts, who have observed the traces of his pen in side-notes and corrections, and the handwritings of his secretaries in diplomatic commissions, in drafts of Acts of Parliament, in expositions and formularies, in articles of faith, in proclamations, in the countless multitude of documents of all sorts, secular or ecclesiastical, which contain the real history of this extraordinary reign,—only they can realize the extent of labor to which he sacrificed himself, and which brought his life to a premature close. His personal faults were great, and he shared, besides them, in the errors of his age; but far deeper blemishes would be but as scars upon the features of a sovereign who in trying times sustained nobly the honor of the English name, and carried the commonwealth securely through the hardest crisis in its history.

[Pg 6086]


From 'Short Studies on Great Subjects'

Some years ago I was traveling by railway, no matter whence or whither. I was in a second-class carriage. We had been long on the road, and had still some distance before us, when one evening our journey was brought unexpectedly to an end by the train running into a siding. The guards opened the doors, we were told that we could proceed no further, and were required to alight. The passengers were numerous, and of all ranks and sorts. There were third class, second, first, with saloon carriages for several great persons of high distinction. We had ministers of State, judges on circuit, directors, leading men of business, idle young men of family who were out amusing themselves, an archbishop, several ladies, and a duke and duchess with their suite. These favored travelers had Pullman cars to themselves, and occupied as much room as was allotted to scores of plebeians. I had amused myself for several days in observing the luxurious appurtenances by which they were protected against discomfort,—the piles of cushions and cloaks, the baskets of dainties, the novels and magazines to pass away the time, and the profound attention which they met with from the conductors and station-masters on the line. The rest of us were a miscellaneous crowd,—commercial people, lawyers, artists, men of letters, tourists moving about for pleasure or because they had nothing to do; and in third-class carriages, artisans and laborers in search of work, women looking for husbands or for service, or beggars flying from starvation in one part of the world to find it follow them like their shadows, let them go where they pleased. All these were huddled together, feeding hardly on such poor provisions as they carried with them or could pick up at the stopping-places. No more consideration was shown them than if they had been so many cattle. But they were merry enough: songs and sounds of laughter came from their windows, and notwithstanding all their conveniences, the languid-looking fine people in the large compartments seemed to me to get through their journey with less enjoyment after all than their poor fellow travelers. These last appeared to be of tougher texture, to care less for being jolted and shaken, to be better humored and kinder to one another. They had found life go hard with them wherever[Pg 6087] they had been, and not being accustomed to have everything which they wished for, they were less selfish and more considerate.

The intimation that our journey was for the present at an end came on most of us as an unpleasant surprise. The grandees got out in a high state of indignation. They called for their servants, but their servants did not hear them, or laughed and passed on. The conductors had forgotten to be obsequious. All classes on the platform were suddenly on a level. A beggar woman hustled the duchess, as she was standing astonished because her maid had left her to carry her own bag. The patricians were pushed about among the crowd with no more concern than if they had been common mortals. They demanded loudly to see the station-master. The minister complained angrily of the delay; an important negotiation would be imperiled by his detention, and he threatened the company with the displeasure of his department. A consequential youth who had just heard of the death of his elder brother was flying home to take his inheritance. A great lady had secured, as she had hoped, a brilliant match for her daughter; her work over, she had been at the baths to recover from the dissipation of the season; difficulty had arisen unlooked for, and unless she was at hand to remove it the worst consequences might be feared. A banker declared that the credit of a leading commercial house might fail, unless he could be at home on the day fixed for his return; he alone could save it. A solicitor had the evidence in his portmanteau which would determine the succession to the lands and title of an ancient family. An elderly gentleman was in despair about his young wife, whom he had left at home; he had made a will by which she was to lose his fortune if she married again after his death, but the will was lying in his desk unsigned. The archbishop was on his way to a synod, where the great question was to be discussed whether gas might be used at the altar instead of candles. The altar candles were blessed before they were used, and the doubt was whether gas could be blessed. The right reverend prelate conceived that if the gas tubes were made in the shape of candles the difficulty could be got over, but he feared that without his moderating influence the majority might come to a rash decision.

All these persons were clamoring over their various anxieties with the most naïve frankness, the truth coming freely out,[Pg 6088] whatever it might be. One distinguished-looking lady in deep mourning, with a sad, gentle face, alone was resigned and hopeful. It seemed that her husband had been stopped not long before at the same station. She thought it possible that she might meet him again.

The station-master listened to the complaints with composed indifference. He told the loudest that they need not alarm themselves. The State would survive the absence of the minister. The minister, in fact, was not thinking of the State at all, but of the party triumph which he expected; and the peerage which was to be his reward, the station-master said, would now be of no use to him. The youth had a second brother who would succeed instead of him, and the tenants would not be inconvenienced by the change. The fine lady's daughter would marry to her own liking instead of her mother's, and would be all the happier for it. The commercial house was already insolvent, and the longer it lasted the more innocent people would be ruined by it. The boy whom the lawyer intended to make into a rich baronet was now working industriously at school, and would grow up a useful man. If a great estate fell in to him he would be idle and dissolute. The old man might congratulate himself that he had escaped so soon from the scrape into which he had fallen. His wife would marry an adventurer, and would suffer worse from inheriting his fortune. The archbishop was commended for his anxiety. His solution of the candle problem was no doubt an excellent one; but his clergy were now provided with a harmless subject to quarrel over, and if it was adopted they might fall out over something else which might be seriously mischievous.

"Do you mean, then, that you are not going to send us forward at all?" the minister inquired sternly.

"You will see," the station-master answered with a curious short laugh. I observed that he looked more gently at the lady in mourning. She had said nothing, but he knew what was in her mind, and though he held out no hope in words that her wish would be gratified, he smiled sadly, and the irony passed out of his face.

The crowd meanwhile were standing about the platform, whistling tunes or amusing themselves, not ill-naturedly at the distress of their grand companions. Something considerable was happening. But they had so long experienced the ups and downs of things that they were prepared for what fortune might send.[Pg 6089] They had not expected to find a Paradise where they were going, and one place might be as good as another. They had nothing belonging to them except the clothes they stood in and their bits of skill in their different trades. Wherever men were, there would be need of cobblers, and tailors, and smiths, and carpenters. If not, they might fall on their feet somehow, if there was work to be done of any sort.

Presently a bell rang, a door was flung open, and we were ordered into a waiting-room, where we were told that our luggage was to be examined. It was a large, barely furnished apartment, like the salle d'attente at the Northern Railway Station at Paris. A rail ran across, behind which we were all penned; opposite to us was the usual long table, on which were piled boxes, bags, and portmanteaus, and behind them stood a row of officials, in a plain uniform with gold bands round their caps, and the dry peremptory manner which passengers accustomed to deference so particularly dislike. At their backs was a screen extending across the room, reaching half-way to the ceiling; in the rear of it there was apparently an office.

We each looked to see that our particular belongings were safe, but we were surprised to find that we could recognize none of them. Packages there were in plenty, alleged to be the property of the passengers who had come in by the train. They were arranged in the three classes,—first, second, and third,—but the proportions were inverted: most of it was labeled as the luggage of the travelers in fustian, who had brought nothing with them but what they carried in their hands; a moderate heap stood where the second-class luggage should have been, and some of superior quality; but none of us could make out the shapes of our own trunks. As to the grand ladies and gentlemen, the innumerable articles which I had seen put as theirs into the van were nowhere to be found. A few shawls and cloaks lay upon the planks, and that was all. There was a loud outcry; but the officials were accustomed to it, and took no notice. The station-master, who was still in charge of us, said briefly that the saloon luggage would be sent forward in the next train. The late owners would have no more use for it, and it would be delivered to their friends.

The late owners! Were we no longer actual owners, then? My individual loss was not great, and besides, it might be made up to me; for I saw my name on a strange box on the table,[Pg 6090] and being of curious disposition, the singularity of the adventure made it interesting to me. The consternation of the rest was indescribable. The minister supposed that he had fallen among communists, who disbelieved in property, and was beginning a speech on the elementary conditions of society; when silence was called, and the third-class passengers were ordered to advance, that their boxes might be opened. Each man had his own carefully docketed. The lids flew off, and within, instead of clothes, and shoes, and dressing apparatus, and money, and jewels, and such-like, were simply samples of the work which he had done in his life. There was an account-book also, in which were entered the number of days which he had worked, the number and size of the fields, etc., which he had drained and inclosed and plowed, the crops which he had reaped, the walls which he had built, the metal which he had dug out and smelted and fashioned into articles of use to mankind, the leather which he had tanned, the clothes which he had woven,—all entered with punctual exactness; and on the opposite page, the wages which he had received, and the share which had been allotted to him of the good things which he had helped to create.

Besides his work, so specifically called, there were his actions,—his affection for his parents or his wife and children, his self-denials, his charities, his purity, his truth, his honesty; or it might be ugly catalogues of sins and oaths and drunkenness and brutality. But inquiry into action was reserved for a second investigation before a higher commissioner. The first examination was confined to the literal work done by each man for the general good,—how much he had contributed, and how much society had done for him in return; and no one, it seemed, could be allowed to go any further without a certificate of having passed this test satisfactorily. With the workmen, the balance in most instances was found enormously in their favor. The state of the case was so clear that the scrutiny was rapidly got over, and they and their luggage were passed in to the higher court. A few were found whose boxes were empty, who had done nothing useful all their lives, and had subsisted by begging and stealing. These were ordered to stand aside till the rest of us had been disposed of.

The saloon passengers were taken next. Most of them, who had nothing at all to show, were called up together and were asked what they had to say for themselves. A well-dressed[Pg 6091] gentleman, who spoke for the rest, said that the whole investigation was a mystery to him. He and his friends had been born to good fortunes, and had found themselves, on entering upon life, amply provided for. They had never been told that work was required of them, either work with their hands or work with their heads,—in fact, work of any kind. It was right of course for the poor to work, because they could not honestly live otherwise. For themselves, they had spent their time in amusements, generally innocent. They had paid for everything which they had consumed. They had stolen nothing, taken nothing from any man by violence or fraud. They had kept the Commandments, all ten of them, from the time when they were old enough to understand them. The speaker, at least, declared that he had no breach of any Commandment on his own conscience, and he believed that he might say as much of his companions. They were superior people, who had been always looked up to and well spoken of; and to call upon them to show what they had done was against reason and equity.

"Gentlemen," said the chief official, "we have heard this many times; yet as often as it is repeated we feel fresh astonishment. You have been in a world where work is the condition of life. Not a meal can be had by any man that some one has not worked to produce. Those who work deserve to eat; those who do not work deserve to starve. There are but three ways of living: by working, by stealing, or by begging. Those who have not lived by the first have lived by one of the other two. And no matter how superior you think yourselves, you will not pass here till you have something of your own to produce. You have had your wages beforehand—ample wages, as you acknowledge yourselves. What have you to show?"

"Wages!" the speaker said: "we are not hired servants; we received no wages. What we spent was our own. All the orders we received were that we were not to do wrong. We have done no wrong. I appeal to the higher court."

But the appeal could not be received. To all who presented themselves with empty boxes, no matter who they were, or how excellent their characters appeared to one another, there was the irrevocable answer—"No admittance, till you come better furnished." All who were in this condition, the duke and duchess among them, were ordered to stand aside with the thieves. The duchess declared that she had given the finest parties in the[Pg 6092] season, and as it was universally agreed that they had been the most tedious, and that no one had found any pleasure there, a momentary doubt rose whether they might not have answered some useful purpose in disgusting people with such modes of entertainment; but no evidence of this was forthcoming: the world had attended them because the world had nothing else to do, and she and her guests had been alike unprofitable. Thus the large majority of the saloon passengers was disposed of. The minister, the archbishop, the lawyer, the banker, and others who although they had no material work credited to them had yet been active and laborious in their different callings, were passed to the superior judges.

Our turn came next,—ours of the second class,—and a motley gathering we were. Busy we must all have been, from the multitude of articles which we found assigned to us: manufacturers with their wares, solicitors with their law-suits, doctors and clergymen with the bodies and souls which they had saved or lost, authors with their books, painters and sculptors with their pictures and statues. But the hard test was applied to all that we had produced,—the wages which we had received on one side, and the value of our exertions to mankind on the other,—and imposing as our performances looked when laid out to be examined, we had been paid, most of us, out of all proportion to what we were found to have deserved. I was reminded of a large compartment in the Paris Exhibition, where an active gentleman, wishing to show the state of English literature, had collected copies of every book, review, pamphlet, or newspaper which had been published in a single year. The bulk was overwhelming, but the figures were only decimal points, and the worth of the whole was a fraction above zero. A few of us were turned back summarily among the thieves and the fine gentlemen and ladies: speculators who had done nothing but handle money which had clung to their fingers in passing through them, divines who had preached a morality which they did not practice, and fluent orators who had made speeches which they knew to be nonsense; philosophers who had spun out of moonshine systems of the universe, distinguished pleaders who had defeated justice while they established points of law, writers of books upon subjects of which they knew enough to mislead their readers, purveyors of luxuries which had added nothing to human health or strength, physicians and apothecaries who had [Pg 6093] pretended to knowledge which they knew that they did not possess,—these all, as the contents of their boxes bore witness against them, were thrust back into the rejected herd.

There were some whose account stood better, as having at least produced something of real merit, but they were cast on the point of wages: modest excellence had come badly off; the plausible and unscrupulous had thriven and grown rich. It was tragical, and evidently a surprise to most of us, to see how mendacious we had been: how we had sanded our sugar, watered our milk, scamped our carpentering and mason's work, literally and metaphorically; how in all things we had been thinking less of producing good work than of the profit which we could make out of it; how we had sold ourselves to tell lies and act them, because the public found lies pleasant and truth expensive and troublesome. Some of us were manifest rogues, who had bought cheap and sold dear, had used false measures and weights, had made cotton pass for wool, and hemp for silk, and tin for silver. The American peddler happened to be in the party, who had put a rind upon a grindstone and had sold it as a cheese. These were promptly sifted out and placed with their fellows; only persons whose services were on the whole greater than the pay which they had received were allowed their certificates. When my own box was opened, I perceived that though the wages had been small, the work done seemed smaller still; and I was surprised to find myself among those who had passed.

The whistle of a train was heard at this moment, coming in upon the main line. It was to go in half an hour, and those who had been turned back were told that they were to proceed by it to the place where they had been originally going. They looked infinitely relieved at the news; but before they started, a few questions had to be put to them, and a few alterations made which were to affect their future. They were asked to explain how they had come to be such worthless creatures. They gave many answers, which came mainly to the same thing. Circumstances had been against them. It was all owing to circumstances. They had been badly brought up. They had been placed in situations where it had been impossible for them to do better. The rich people repeated that they had never been informed that any work was expected of them. Their wants had all been provided for, and it was unfair to expect that they should have exerted themselves of their own accord when they had no motive[Pg 6094] for working. If they had only been born poor, all would have gone well with them. The cheating tradesman declared that the first duty of a shopkeeper, according to all received principles, was to make money and better his condition. It was the buyer's business to see to the quality of the articles which he purchased; the shopkeeper was entitled to sell his wares at the highest price which he could get for them. So, at least, it was believed and taught by the recognized authorities on the subject. The orators, preachers, newspaper writers, novel-writers, etc., etc., of whom there were a great many, appealed to the crowds who came to listen to them, or bought and read their productions. Tout le monde, it was said, was wiser than the wisest single sage. They had given the world what the world wished for and approved; they had worked at supplying it with all their might, and it was extremely hard to blame them for guiding themselves by the world's judgment. The thieves and vagabonds argued that they had been brought into existence without their consent being asked: they had not wished for it; although they had not been without their pleasures, they regarded existence on the whole as a nuisance which they would gladly have been spared. Being alive, however, they had to keep alive; and for all that they could see, they had as full a right to the good things which the world contained as anybody else, provided they could get them. They were called thieves. Law and language were made by the property-owners, who were their natural enemies. If society had given them the means of living honestly they would have found it easy to be honest. Society had done nothing for them—why should they do anything for society?

So, in their various ways, those who had been "plucked" defended themselves. They were all delighted to hear that they were to have another chance; and I was amused to observe that though some of them had pretended that they had not wished to be born, and had rather not have been born, not one of them protested against being sent back. All they asked was that they should be put in a new position, and that the adverse influences should be taken off. I expected that among these adverse influences they would have mentioned the faults of their own dispositions. My own opinion had been that half the misdoings of men came from congenital defects of character which they had brought with them into the world, and that constitutional courage, right-mindedness, and practical ability were as much gifts[Pg 6095] of nature or circumstance as the accidents of fortune. A change in this respect was of more consequence than in any other. But with themselves they were all apparently satisfied, and they required only an improvement in their surroundings. The alterations were rapidly made. The duchess was sent to begin her life again in a laborer's cottage. She was to attend the village school and rise thence into a housemaid. The fine gentleman was made a plowboy. The authors and preachers were to become mechanics, and bound apprentices to carpenters and blacksmiths. A philosopher who, having had a good fortune and unbroken health, had insisted that the world was as good as it could be made, was to be born blind and paralytic, and to find his way through life under the new conditions. The thieves and cheats, who pretended that their misdemeanors were due to poverty, were to find themselves, when they arrived in the world again, in palaces surrounded with luxury. The cup of Lethe was sent round. The past became a blank. They were hurried into the train; the engine screamed and flew away with them.

"They will be all here again in a few years," the station-master said, "and it will be the same story over again. I have had these very people in my hands a dozen times. They have been tried in all positions, and there is still nothing to show, and nothing but complaints of circumstances. For my part, I would put them out altogether." "How long is it to last?" I asked. "Well," he said, "it does not depend on me. No one passes here who cannot prove that he has lived to some purpose. Some of the worst I have known made at last into pigs and geese, to be fatted up and eaten, and made of use that way. Others have become asses, condemned to carry burdens, to be beaten with sticks, and to breed asses like themselves for a hundred generations. All animated creatures tend to take the shape at last which suits their character."

The train was scarcely out of sight when again the bell rang. The scene changed as at a theatre. The screen was rolled back, and we who were left found ourselves in the presence of four grave-looking persons, like the board of examiners whom we remembered at college. We were called up one by one. The work which had passed the first ordeal was again looked into, and the quality of it compared with the talent or faculty of the producer, to see how far he had done his best,—whether anywhere he had done worse than he might have done and knew [Pg 6096] how to have done; while besides, in a separate collection, were the vices, the sins, the selfishnesses and ill-humors, with—in the other scale—the acts of personal duty, of love and kindness and charity, which had increased the happiness or lightened the sorrows of those connected with him. These last, I observed, had generally been forgotten by the owner, who saw them appear with surprise, and even repudiated them with protest. In the work, of course, both material and moral, there was every gradation both of kind and merit. But while nothing was absolutely worthless, everything, even the highest achievements of the greatest artist or the greatest saint, fell short of absolute perfection. Each of us saw our own performances, from our first ignorant beginnings to what we regarded as our greatest triumph; and it was easy to trace how much of our faults were due to natural deficiencies and the necessary failures of inexperience, and how much to self-will or vanity or idleness. Some taint of mean motives, too,—some desire of reward, desire of praise or honor or wealth, some foolish self-satisfaction, when satisfaction ought not to have been felt,—was to be seen infecting everything, even the very best which was presented for scrutiny.

So plain was this that one of us, an earnest, impressive-looking person, whose own work bore inspection better than that of most of us, exclaimed passionately that so far as he was concerned the examiners might spare their labor. From his earliest years he had known what he ought to do, and in no instance had he ever completely done it. He had struggled; he had conquered his grosser faults: but the farther he had gone, and the better he had been able to do, his knowledge had still grown faster than his power of acting upon it; and every additional day that he had lived, his shortcomings had become more miserably plain to him. Even if he could have reached perfection at last, he could not undo the past, and the faults of his youth would bear witness against him and call for his condemnation. Therefore, he said, he abhorred himself. He had no merit which could entitle him to look for favor. He had labored on to the end, but he had labored with a full knowledge that the best which he could offer would be unworthy of acceptance. He had been told, and he believed, that a high Spirit not subject to infirmity had done his work for him, and done it perfectly, and that if he abandoned all claim on his own account, he might be accepted [Pg 6097] for the sake of what another had done. This, he trusted, was true, and it was his sole dependence. In the so-called good actions with which he seemed to be credited, there was nothing that was really good; there was not one which was altogether what it ought to have been.

He was evidently sincere, and what he said was undoubtedly true—true of him and true of every one. Even in the vehemence of his self-abandonment a trace lingered of the taint which he was confessing, for he was a polemical divine; he had spent his life and gained a reputation in maintaining this particular doctrine. He believed it, but he had not forgotten that he had been himself its champion.

The examiner looked kindly at him, but answered:—

"We do not expect impossibilities; and we do not blame you when you have not accomplished what is beyond your strength. Only those who are themselves perfect can do anything perfectly. Human beings are born ignorant and helpless. They bring into the world with them a disposition to seek what is pleasant to themselves, and what is pleasant is not always right. They learn to live as they learn everything else. At first they cannot do rightly at all. They improve under teaching and practice. The best only arrive at excellence. We do not find fault with the painter on account of his first bad copies, if they were as good as could be looked for at his age. Every craftsman acquires his art by degrees. He begins badly; he cannot help it; and it is the same with life. You learn to walk by falling down. You learn to live by going wrong and experiencing the consequences of it. We do not record against a man 'the sins of his youth' if he has been honestly trying to improve himself. We do not require the same self-control in a child as in a man. We do not require the same attainments from all. Some are well taught, some are ill taught, some are not taught at all. Some have naturally good dispositions, some have naturally bad dispositions. Not one has had power 'to fulfill the law,' as you call it, completely. Therefore it is no crime in him if he fails. We reckon as faults those only which arise from idleness, willfulness, selfishness, and deliberate preference of evil to good. Each is judged according to what he has received."

I was amused to observe how pleased the archbishop looked while the examiner was speaking. He had himself been engaged in controversy with this gentleman on the share of "good works"[Pg 6098] in justifying a man; and if the examiner had not taken his side in the discussion, he had at least demolished his adversary. The archbishop had been the more disinterested in the line which he had taken, as his own "works," though in several large folios, weighed extremely little; and indeed, had it not been for passages in his early life,—he had starved himself at college that he might not be a burden upon his widowed mother,—I do not know but that he might have been sent back into the world to serve as a parish clerk.

For myself, there were questions which I was longing to ask, and I was trying to collect my courage to speak. I wanted chiefly to know what the examiner meant by "natural disposition." Was it that a man might be born with a natural capacity for becoming a saint, as another man with a capacity to become a great artist or musician, and that each of us could only grow to the limits of his natural powers? And again, were idleness, willfulness, selfishness, etc., etc., natural dispositions? for in that case—

But at the moment the bell rang again, and my own name was called. There was no occasion to ask who I was. In every instance the identity of the person, his history, small or large, and all that he had said or done, was placed before the court so clearly that there was no need for extorting a confession. There stood the catalogue inexorably impartial, the bad actions in a schedule painfully large, the few good actions veined with personal motives which spoilt the best of them. In the way of work there was nothing to be shown but certain books and other writings, and these were spread out to be tested. A fluid was poured on the pages, the effect of which was to obliterate entirely every untrue proposition, and to make every partially true proposition grow faint in proportion to the false element which entered into it. Alas! chapter after chapter vanished away, leaving the paper clean, as if no compositor had ever labored in setting type for it. Pale and illegible became the fine-sounding paragraphs on which I had secretly prided myself. A few passages, however, survived here and there at long intervals. They were those on which I had labored least, and had almost forgotten; or those, as I observed in one or two instances, which had been selected for special reprobation in the weekly journals. Something stood to my credit, and the worst charge, of willfully and intentionally setting down what I did not believe to be true, was not alleged against me. Ignorance, prejudice, carelessness; sins of infirmity,—culpable[Pg 6099] indeed, but not culpable in the last degree; the water in the ink, the commonplaces, the ineffectual sentiments—these, to my unspeakable comfort, I perceived were my heaviest crimes. Had I been accused of absolute worthlessness, I should have pleaded guilty in the state of humiliation to which I was reduced; but things were better than they might have been. I was flattering myself that when it came to the wages question, the balance would be in my favor: so many years of labor—such and such cheques received from my publisher. Here at least I held myself safe, and I was in good hope that I might scrape through.

The examiner was good-natured in his manner. A reviewer who had been listening for my condemnation was beginning to look disgusted, when suddenly one of the walls of the court became transparent, and there appeared an interminable vista of creatures—creatures of all kinds from land and water, reaching away into the extreme distance. They were those which in the course of my life I had devoured, either in part or whole, to sustain my unconscionable carcass. There they stood in lines with solemn and reproachful faces,—oxen and calves, sheep and lambs, deer, hares, rabbits, turkeys, ducks, chickens, pheasants, grouse, and partridges, down to the larks and sparrows and blackbirds which I had shot when a boy and made into puddings. Every one of them had come up to bear witness against their murderer; out of sea and river had come the trout and salmon, the soles and turbots, the ling and cod, the whiting and mackerel, the smelts and whitebait, the oysters, the crabs, the lobsters, the shrimps. They seemed literally to be in millions, and I had eaten them all. I talked of wages. These had been my wages. At this enormous cost had my existence been maintained. A stag spoke for the rest: "We all," he said, "were sacrificed to keep this cormorant in being, and to enable him to produce the miserable bits of printed paper which are all that he has to show for himself. Our lives were dear to us. In meadow and wood, in air and water, we wandered harmless and innocent, enjoying the pleasant sunlight, the light of heaven and the sparkling waves. We were not worth much; we have no pretensions to high qualities. If the person who stands here to answer for himself can affirm that his value in the universe was equivalent to the value of all of us who were sacrificed to feed him, we have no more to say. Let it be so pronounced. We shall look at our numbers, and we shall wonder at the judgment, though we shall[Pg 6100] withdraw our complaint. But for ourselves we say freely that we have long watched him,—him and his fellows,—and we have failed to see in what the superiority of the human creature lies. We know him only as the most cunning, the most destructive, and unhappily the longest lived of all carnivorous beasts. His delight is in killing. Even when his hunger is satisfied, he kills us for his mere amusement."

The oxen lowed approval, the sheep bleated, the birds screamed, the fishes flapped their tails. I, for myself, stood mute and self-condemned. What answer but one was possible? Had I been myself on the bench I could not have hesitated. The fatal sentence of condemnation was evidently about to be uttered, when the scene became indistinct, there was a confused noise, a change of condition, a sound of running feet and of many voices. I awoke. I was again in the railway carriage; the door was thrown open; porters entered to take our things. We stepped out upon the platform. We were at the terminus for which we had been originally destined. Carriages and cabs were waiting; tall powdered footmen flew to the assistance of the duke and duchess. The station-master was standing hat in hand, and obsequiously bowing; the minister's private secretary had come to meet his right honorable chief with the red dispatch box, knowing the impatience with which it was waited for. The duke shook hands with the archbishop before he drove away. "Dine with us to-morrow?" he said. "I have had a very singular dream. You shall be my Daniel and interpret it for me." The archbishop regretted infinitely that he must deny himself the honor; his presence was required at the Conference. "I too have dreamt," he said; "but with your Grace and me the realities of this world are too serious to leave us leisure for the freaks of imagination."

[Pg 6101]




ew England blood reveals itself in certain characteristics of Mr. Henry B. Fuller's fiction, though his grandfather took root in Chicago even after its incorporation in 1840. Born in the "windy city," of prosperous merchant stock, he is of the intellectual race of Margaret Fuller; and the saying of one of his characters, "Get the right kind of New England face, and you can't do much better," shows his liking for the transplanted qualities which began the good fortunes of the Great West.

Family councils decreed that he should fill an important inherited place in the business world; but temperament was too strong for predestination. He might have been an architect, he might have been a musician, had he not turned out a novelist. But a creative artist he was constrained by nature to become. His first story, unacknowledged at first, and entitled 'The Chevalier of Pensieri-Vani,' attracted little notice until it fell by chance under the eye of Professor Norton of Cambridge, who sent it with a kindly word to Lowell. This fine critic wrote a cordial letter of praise to the author, and the book was republished by the Century Company of New York in 1892 and widely read. 'The Chatelaine of La Trinité,' his next venture, appeared as a serial in the Century Magazine during the same year. Both of these stories have a European background; in both a certain remoteness and romantic quality predominates, and both have little in common with this workaday world.

To the amazement of his public, Mr. Fuller's next book—published as a serial in Harper's Weekly, during the summer of the World's Fair, and called 'The Cliff-Dwellers'—pictured Chicago in its most sordid and utilitarian aspect. King Money sat on the throne, and the whole community paid tribute. The intensity of the struggle for existence, the push of competition, the relentlessness of the realism of the book, left the reader almost breathless at the end, uncertain whether to admire the force of the story-teller or to lament his mercilessness.

In 1895 appeared 'With the Procession,' another picture of Chicago social life, but painted with a more kindly touch. The artist still delineates what he sees, but he sees more truly, because more sympathetically. The theme of the story is admirable, and it is carried out with a half humorous and wholly serious thoroughness. This [Pg 6102]theme is the total reconstruction of the social concepts of an old-fashioned, rich, stolid, commercial Chicago family, in obedience to the decree of the modernized younger son and daughters. The process is more or less tragic, though it is set forth with an artistic lightness of touch. 'With the Procession' is such a story as might happen round the corner in any year. Herr Sienkiewicz's Polanyetskis are not more genuinely "children of the soil" than Mr. Fuller's Marshalls and Bateses. In these later stories he seems to be asking himself, in most serious words, what is to be the social outcome of the great industrial civilization of the time, and to demand of his readers that they too shall fall to thinking.


From 'With the Procession.' Copyright 1894 by Henry B. Fuller, and reprinted by permission of Harper & Brothers, publishers, New York

"Well, here goes!" said Jane half aloud, with her foot on the lowest of the glistening granite steps. The steps led up to the ponderous pillared arches of a grandiose and massive porch; above the porch a sturdy and rugged balustrade half intercepted the rough-faced glitter of a vast and variegated façade; and higher still, the morning sun shattered its beams over a tumult of angular roofs and towering chimneys.

"It is swell, I declare!" said Jane, with her eye on the wrought-iron work of the outer doors, and the jewels and bevels of the inner ones.

"Where is the thingamajig, anyway?" she inquired of herself. She was searching for the door-bell, and she fell back on her own rustic lingo in order to ward off the incipient panic caused by this overwhelming splendor. "Oh, here it is! There!" She gave a push. "And now I'm in for it." She had decided to take the richest and best known and most fashionable woman on her list to start with; the worst over at the beginning, she thought, the rest would follow easily enough.

"I suppose the 'maid' will wear a cap and a silver tray," she observed further. "Or will it be a gold one, with diamonds around the edge?"

The door-knob turned from within. "Is Mrs. Bates—" she began.

The door opened half-way. A grave, smooth-shaven man appeared; his chin and upper lip had the mottled smudge that[Pg 6103] shows in so many of those conscientious portraits of the olden time.

"Gracious me!" said the startled Jane to herself.

She dropped her disconcerted vision to the door-mat. Then she saw that the man wore knee-breeches and black-silk stockings.

"Heaven be merciful!" was her inward cry. "It's a footman, as I live. I've been reading about them all my life, and now I've met one. But I never suspected that there was really anything of the kind in this town!"

She left the contemplation of the servant's pumps and stockings, and began to grapple fiercely with the catch of her hand-bag.

The man in the meanwhile studied her with a searching gravity, and as it seemed, with some disapproval. The splendor of the front that his master presented to the world had indeed intimidated poor Jane; but there were many others upon whom it had no deterring effect at all. Some of these brought art-books in monthly parts; others brought polish for the piano legs. Many of them were quite as prepossessing in appearance as Jane was; some of them were much less plain and dowdy; few of them were so recklessly indiscreet as to betray themselves at the threshold by exhibiting a black leather bag.

"There!" remarked Jane to the footman, "I knew I should get at it eventually." She smiled at him with a friendly good-will: she acknowledged him as a human being, and she hoped to propitiate him into the concession that she herself was nothing less.

The man took her card, which was fortunately as correct as the most discreet and contemporaneous stationer could fashion. He decided that he was running no risk with his mistress, and "Miss Jane Marshall" was permitted to pass the gate.

She was ushered into a small reception-room. The hard-wood floor was partly covered by a meagre Persian rug. There was a plain sofa of forbidding angles, and a scantily upholstered chair which insisted upon nobody's remaining longer than necessary. But through the narrow door Jane caught branching vistas of room after room heaped up with the pillage of a sacked and ravaged globe, and a stairway which led with a wide sweep to regions of unimaginable glories above.

"Did you ever!" exclaimed Jane. It was of the footman that she was speaking; he in fact loomed up, to the practical eclipse[Pg 6104] of all this luxury and display. "Only eighty years from the Massacre, and hardly eight hundred feet from the Monument!"

Presently she heard a tapping and a rustling without. She thought that she might lean a few inches to one side with no risk of being detected in an impropriety, and she was rewarded by seeing the splendid vacuity of the grand stairway finally filled—filled more completely, more amply, than she could have imagined possible through the passage of one person merely. A woman of fifty or more was descending with a slow and somewhat ponderous stateliness. She wore an elaborate morning-gown with a broad plait down the back, and an immensity of superfluous material in the sleeves. Her person was broad, her bosom ample, and her voluminous gray hair was tossed and fretted about the temples after the fashion of a marquise of the old régime. Jane set her jaw and clamped her knotty fingers to the two edges of her inhospitable chair.

"I don't care if she is so rich," she muttered, "and so famous, and so fashionable, and so terribly handsome; she can't bear me down."

The woman reached the bottom step, and took a turn that for a moment carried her out of sight. At the same time the sound of her footsteps was silenced by one of the big rugs that covered the floor of the wide and roomy hall. But Jane had had a glimpse, and she knew with whom she was to deal: with one of the big, the broad, the great, the triumphant; with one of a Roman amplitude and vigor, an Indian keenness and sagacity, an American ambition and determination; with one who baffles circumstance and almost masters fate—with one of the conquerors, in short.

"I don't hear her," thought the expectant girl, in some trepidation; "but all the same, she's got to cross that bare space just outside the door before—yes, there's her step! And here she is herself!"

Mrs. Bates appeared in the doorway. She had a strong nose of the lofty Roman type; her bosom heaved with breaths deep, but quiet and regular. She had a pair of large, full blue eyes, and these she now fixed on Jane with an expression of rather cold questioning.

"Miss Marshall?" Her voice was firm, smooth, even, rich, deep. She advanced a foot or two within the room and remained standing there....[Pg 6105]

"My father," Jane began again, in the same tone, "is David Marshall. He is very well known, I believe, in Chicago. We have lived here a great many years. It seems to me that there ought to—"

"David Marshall?" repeated Mrs. Bates, gently. "Ah, I do know David Marshall—yes," she said; "or did—a good many years ago." She looked up into Jane's face now with a completely altered expression. Her glance was curious and searching, but it was very kindly. "And you are David Marshall's daughter?" She smiled indulgently at Jane's outburst of spunk. "Really—David Marshall's daughter?"

"Yes," answered Jane, with a gruff brevity. She was far from ready to be placated yet.

"David Marshall's daughter! Then, my dear child, why not have said so in the first place, without lugging in everybody and everything else you could think of? Hasn't your father ever spoken of me? And how is he, anyway? I haven't seen him—to really speak to him—for fifteen years. It may be even more."

She seemed to have laid hands on a heavy bar, to have wrenched it from its holds, to have flung it aside from the footpath, and to be inviting Jane to advance without let or hindrance.

But Jane stood there with pique in her breast, and her long thin arms laid rigid against her sides. "Let her 'dear child' me, if she wants to; she sha'n't bring me around in any such way as that."

All this, however, availed little against Mrs. Bates's new manner. The citadel so closely sealed to charity was throwing itself wide open to memory. The portcullis was dropped, and the late enemy was invited to advance as a friend.

Nay, urged. Mrs. Bates presently seized Jane's unwilling hands. She gathered those poor, stiff, knotted fingers into two crackling bundles within her own plump and warm palms, squeezed them forcibly, and looked into Jane's face with all imaginable kindness. "I had just that temper once myself," she said.

The sluice gates of caution and reserve were opening wide; the streams of tenderness and sympathy were bubbling and fretting to take their course.

"And your father is well? And you are living in the same old place? Oh, this terrible town! You can't keep your old[Pg 6106] friends; you can hardly know your new ones. We are only a mile or two apart, and yet it is the same as if it were a hundred."

Jane yielded up her hands half unwillingly. She could not, in spite of herself, remain completely unrelenting, but she was determined not to permit herself to be patronized. "Yes, we live in the same old place. And in the same old way," she added—in the spirit of concession.

Mrs. Bates studied her face intently. "Do you look like him—like your father?"

"No," answered Jane. "Not so very much. Nor like any of the rest of the family." The statue was beginning to melt. "I'm unique." And another drop fell.

"Don't slander yourself." She tapped Jane lightly on the shoulder.

Jane looked at her with a protesting, or at least a questioning, seriousness. It had the usual effect of a wild stare. "I wasn't meaning to," she said, shortly, and began to congeal again. She also shrugged her shoulder; she was not quite ready yet to be tapped and patted.

"But don't remain standing, child," Mrs. Bates proceeded, genially. She motioned Jane back to her chair, and herself advanced to the roomier sofa. "Or no; this little pen is like a refrigerator to-day; it's so hard, every fall, to get the steam heat running as it should. Come, it ought to be warmer in the music-room."

"The fact is," she proceeded, as they passed through the hall, "that I have a spare hour on my hands this morning—the first in a month. My music teacher has just sent word that she is down with a cold. You shall have as much of that hour as you wish. So tell me all about your plans; I dare say I can scrape together a few pennies for Jane Marshall."

"Her music teacher!" thought Jane. She was not yet so far appeased nor so far forgetful of her own initial awkwardness as to refrain from searching out the joints in the other's armor. "What does a woman of fifty-five want to be taking music lessons for?"

The music-room was a lofty and spacious apartment done completely in hard-woods; its paneled walls and ceilings rang with a magnificent sonority as the two pairs of feet moved across the mirror-like marquetry of the floor.[Pg 6107]

To one side stood a concert-grand; its case was so unique and so luxurious that even Jane was conscious of its having been made by special order and from a special design. Close at hand stood a tall music-stand in style to correspond. It was laden with handsomely bound scores of all the German classics and the usual operas of the French and Italian schools. These were all ranged in precise order; nothing there seemed to have been disturbed for a year past. "My! isn't it grand!" sighed Jane. She already felt herself succumbing beneath these accumulated splendors.

Mrs. Bates carelessly seated herself on the piano stool, with her back to the instrument. "I don't suppose," she observed, casually, "that I have sat down here for a month."

"What!" cried Jane, with a stare. "If I had such a lovely room as this I should play in it every day."

"Dear me," rejoined Mrs. Bates, "what pleasure could I get from practicing in this great barn of a place, that isn't half full until you've got seventy or eighty people in it? Or on this big sprawling thing?"—thrusting out her elbow backward towards the shimmering cover of the keyboard.

"So then," said Jane to herself, "it's all for show. I knew it was. I don't believe she can play a single note."

"What do you suppose happened to me last winter?" Mrs. Bates went on. "I had the greatest set-back of my life. I asked to join the Amateur Musical Club. They wouldn't let me in."

"Why not?"

"Well, I played before their committee, and then the secretary wrote me a note. It was a nice enough note, of course, but I knew what it meant. I see now well enough that my fingers were rather stiffer than I realized, and that my 'Twinkling Sprays' and 'Fluttering Zephyrs' were not quite up to date. They wanted Grieg and Lassen and Chopin. 'Very well,' said I, 'just wait.' Now, I never knuckle under. I never give up. So I sent right out for a teacher. I practiced scales an hour a day for weeks and months. Granger thought I was crazy. I tackled Grieg and Lassen and Chopin,—yes, and Tschaikowsky, too. I'm going to play for that committee next month. Let me see if they'll dare to vote me out again!"

"Oh, that's it!" thought Jane. She was beginning to feel desirous of meting out exact and even-handed justice. She found it impossible to withhold respect from so much grit and determination.[Pg 6108]

"But your father liked those old-time things, and so did all the other young men." Mrs. Bates creased and folded the end of one of her long sleeves, and seemed lapsing into a retrospective mood. "Why, some evenings they used to sit two deep around the room to hear me do the 'Battle of Prague.' Do you know the 'Java March'?" she asked suddenly.

"I'm afraid not," Jane was obliged to confess.

"Your father always had a great fondness for that. I don't know," she went on, after a short pause, "whether you understand that your father was one of my old beaux—at least, I always counted him with the rest. I was a gay girl in my day, and I wanted to make the list as long as I could; so I counted in the quiet ones as well as the noisy ones. Your father was one of the quiet ones."

"So I should have imagined," said Jane. Her maiden delicacy was just a shade affrighted at the turn the talk was taking.

"When I was playing he would sit there by the hour and never say a word. My banner piece was really a fantasia on 'Sonnambula'—a new thing here; I was the first one in town to have it. There were thirteen pages, and there was always a rush to see who should turn them. Your father didn't often enter the rush, but I really liked his way of turning the best of any. He never turned too soon or too late; he never bothered me by shifting his feet every second or two, nor by talking to me at the hard places. In fact, he was the only one who could do it right."

"Yes," said Jane, with an appreciative sigh; "that's pa—all over."

Mrs. Bates was twisting her long sleeves around her wrists. Presently she shivered slightly. "Well, really," she said, "I don't see that this place is much warmer than the other; let's try the library."

In this room our antique and Spartan Jane was made to feel the need of yet stronger props to hold her up against the overbearing weight of latter-day magnificence. She found herself surrounded now by a sombre and solid splendor. Stamped hangings of Cordova leather lined the walls, around whose bases ran a low range of ornate bookcases, constructed with the utmost taste and skill of the cabinet-maker's art. In the centre of the room a wide and substantial table was set with all the paraphernalia of correspondence, and the leathery abysses of three or[Pg 6109] four vast easy-chairs invited the reader to bookish self-abandonment.

"How glorious!" cried Jane, as her eyes ranged over the ranks and rows of formal and costly bindings. It all seemed doubly glorious after that poor sole book-case of theirs at home—a huge black-walnut thing like a wardrobe, and with a couple of drawers at the bottom, receptacles that seemed less adapted to pamphlets than to goloshes. "How grand!" Jane was not exigent as regarded music, but her whole being went forth towards books. "Dickens and Thackeray and Bulwer and Hume and Gibbon, and Johnson's 'Lives of the Poets', and—"

"And twenty or thirty yards of Scott," Mrs. Bates broke in genially; "and enough Encyclopædia Britannica to reach around the corner and back again. Sets—sets—sets."

"What a lovely chair to sit and study in!" cried Jane, not at all abashed by her hostess's comments. "What a grand table to sit and write papers at!" Writing papers was one of Jane's chief interests.

"Oh, yes," said Mrs. Bates with a quiet toleration, as she glanced towards the shining inkstand and the immaculate blotting-pad. "But really, I don't suppose I've written two lines at that table since it was put there. And as for all these books, Heaven only knows where the keys are to get at them with. I can't do anything with them; why, some of them weigh five or six pounds!"

Jane shriveled and shivered under this. She regretted doubly that she had been betrayed into such an unstinted expression of her honest interest. "All for show and display," she muttered, as she bowed her head to search out new titles; "bought by the pound and stacked by the cord; doing nobody any good—their owners least of all." She resolved to admire openly nothing more whatever.

Mrs. Bates sank into one of the big chairs and motioned Jane towards another. "Your father was a great reader," she said, with a resumption of her retrospective expression. "He was very fond of books—especially poetry. He often read aloud to me; when he thought I was likely to be alone, he would bring his Shakespeare over. I believe I could give you even now, if I was put to it, Antony's address to the Romans. Yes; and almost all of Hamlet's soliloquies, too."

Jane was preparing to make a stand against this woman; and here apparently was the opportunity. "Do you mean to tell[Pg 6110] me," she inquired, with something approaching sternness, "that my father—my father—was ever fond of poetry and—and music, and—and all that sort of thing?"

"Certainly. Why not? I remember your father as a high-minded young man, with a great deal of good taste; I always thought him much above the average. And that Shakespeare of his—I recall it perfectly. It was a chubby little book bound in brown leather, with an embossed stamp, and print a great deal too fine for my eyes. He always had to do the reading; and he read very pleasantly." She scanned Jane closely. "Perhaps you have never done your father justice."

Jane felt herself driven to defense—even to apology. "The fact is," she said, "pa is so quiet; he never says much of anything. I'm about the only one of the family who knows him very well, and I guess I don't know him any too well." She felt, though, that Mrs. Bates had no right to defend her father against his own daughter; no, nor any need.

"I suppose so," said Mrs. Bates slowly. She crossed over to the radiator and began working at the valve. "I told Granger I knew he'd be sorry if he didn't put in furnace flues too. I really can't ask you to take your things off down here; let's go up-stairs—that's the only warm place I can think of."

She paused in the hall. "Wouldn't you like to see the rest of the rooms before you go up?"

"Yes—I don't mind," responded Jane. She was determined to encourage no ostentatious pride; so she made her acceptance as indifferent as she felt good manners would allow.

Mrs. Bates crossed over the hall and paused in a wide doorway. "This," she indicated, in a tone slightly suggestive of the cicerone, "is the—well, the Grand Salon; at least, that's what the newspapers have decided to call it. Do you care anything for Louis Quinze?"

Jane found herself on the threshold of a long and glittering apartment; it was full of the ornate and complicated embellishments of the eighteenth century—an exhibition of decorative whip-cracking. Grilles, panels, mirror frames, all glimmered in green and gold, and a row of lustres, each multitudinously candled, hung from the lofty ceiling.

Jane felt herself on firmer ground here than in the library, whose general air of distinction, with no definite detail by way of guide-post, had rather baffled her.[Pg 6111]

"Hem!" she observed critically, as her eyes roamed over the spacious splendor of the place; "quite an epitome of the whole rococo period; done, too, with a French grace and a German thoroughness. Almost a real jardin d'hiver, in fact. Very handsome indeed."

Mrs. Bates pricked up her ears; she had not expected quite such a response as this. "You are posted on these things, then?"

"Well," said Jane, "I belong to an art class. We study the different periods in architecture and decoration."

"Do you? I belong to just such a class myself—and to three or four others. I'm studying and learning right along; I never want to stand still. You were surprised, I saw, about my music lessons. It is a little singular, I admit—my beginning as a teacher and ending as a pupil. You know, of course, that I was a school-teacher? Yes, I had a little class down on Wabash Avenue near Hubbard Court, in a church basement. I began to be useful as early as I could. We lived in a little bit of a house a couple of blocks north of there; you know those old-fashioned frame cottages—one of them. In the early days pa was a carpenter—a boss carpenter, to do him full justice; the town was growing, and after a while he began to do first-rate. But at the beginning ma did her own work, and I helped her. I swept and dusted, and wiped the dishes. She taught me to sew, too; I trimmed all my own hats till long after I was married."

Mrs. Bates leaned carelessly against the tortured framework of a tapestried causeuse. The light from the lofty windows shattered on the prisms of her glittering chandeliers, and diffused itself over the paneled Loves and Graces around her.

"When I got to be eighteen I thought I was old enough to branch out and do something for myself—I've always tried to hold up my own end. My little school went first-rate. There was only one drawback—another school next door, full of great rowdy boys. They would climb the fence and make faces at my scholars; yes, and sometimes they would throw stones. But that wasn't the worst: the other school taught book-keeping. Now, I never was one of the kind to lag behind, and I used to lie awake nights wondering how I could catch up with the rival institution. Well, I hustled around, and finally I got hold of two or three children who were old enough for accounts, and I set them to work on single entry. I don't know whether they learned[Pg 6112] anything, but I did—enough to keep Granger's books for the first year after we started out."

Jane smiled broadly; it was useless to set a stoic face against such confidences as these.

"We were married at the most fashionable church in town—right there in Court-house Square; and ma gave us a reception, or something like it, in her little front room. We weren't so very stylish ourselves, but we had some awfully stylish neighbors—all those Terrace Row people, just around the corner. 'We'll get there too, sometime,' I said to Granger. 'This is going to be a big town, and we have a good show to be big people in it. Don't let's start in life like beggars going to the back door for cold victuals; let's march right up the front steps and ring the bell like somebody.' So, as I say, we were married at the best church in town; we thought it safe enough to discount the future."

"Good for you," said Jane, who was finding her true self in the thick of these intimate revelations; "you guessed right."

"Well, we worked along fairly for a year or two, and finally I said to Granger:—'Now, what's the use of inventing things and taking them to those companies and making everybody rich but yourself? You pick out some one road, and get on the inside of that, and stick there, and—' The fact is," she broke off suddenly, "you can't judge at all of this room in the daytime. You must see it lighted and filled with people. You ought to have been here at the bal poudré I gave last season—lots of pretty girls in laces and brocades, and powder on their hair. It was a lovely sight.... Come; we've had enough of this." Mrs. Bates turned a careless back upon all her Louis Quinze splendor. "The next thing will be something else."

Jane's guide passed swiftly into another large and imposing apartment. "This I call the Sala de los Embajadores; here is where I receive my distinguished guests."

"Good!" cried Jane, who knew Irving's 'Alhambra' by heart. "Only it isn't Moorish; it's Baroque—and a very good example."

The room had a heavy paneled ceiling of dark wood, with a cartouche in each panel; stacks of seventeenth-century armor stood in the corners, half a dozen large Aubusson tapestries hung on the walls, and a vast fireplace, flanked by huge Atlantes and crowned by a heavy pediment, broken and curled, almost filled one whole side. "That fireplace is Baroque all over."[Pg 6113]

"See here," said Mrs. Bates, suddenly, "are you the woman who read about the 'Decadence of the Renaissance Forms' at the last Fortnightly?"

"I'm the woman," responded Jane modestly.

"I don't know why I didn't recognize you before. But you sat in an awfully bad light, for one thing. Besides, I had so much on my mind that day. Our dear little Reginald was coming down with something—or so we thought. And the bonnet I was forced to wear—well, it just made me blue. You didn't notice it?"

"I was too flustered to notice anything. It was my first time there."

"Well, it was a good paper, although I couldn't half pay attention to it; it gave me several new notions. All my decorations, then—you think them corrupt and degraded?"

"Well," returned Jane, at once soothing and judicial, "all these later forms are interesting from a historical and sociological point of view. And lots of people find them beautiful, too, for that matter." Jane slid over these big words with a practiced ease.

"They impressed my notables, any way," retorted Mrs. Bates. "We entertained a good deal during the Fair—it was expected, of course, from people of our position. We had princes and counts and honorables without end. I remember how delighted I was with my first prince—a Russian. H'm! later in the season Russian princes were as plentiful as blackberries: you stepped on one at every turn. We had some of the English too. One of their young men visited us at Geneva during the summer. I never quite made out who invited him; I have half an idea that he invited himself. He was a great trial. Queer about the English, isn't it? How can people who are so clever and capable in practical things ever be such insolent tom-fools in social things? Well, we might just stick our noses in the picture gallery for a minute.

"We're almost beginners in this branch of industry," she expounded, as she stood beside Jane in the centre of the room under the coldly diffused glare of the skylight. "In my young days it was all Bierstadt and De Haas; there wasn't supposed to be anything beyond. But as soon as I began to hear about the Millet and the Barbizon crowd, I saw there was. Well, I set to work, as usual. I studied and learned. I want to learn. I[Pg 6114] want to move; I want to keep right up with the times and the people. I got books and photographs, and I went to all the galleries. I read the artists' biographies and took in all the loan collections. Now I'm loaning, too. Some of these things are going to the Art Institute next week—that Daubigny, for one. It's little, but it's good: there couldn't be anything more like him, could there?

"We haven't got any Millet yet, but that morning thing over there is a Corot—at least we think so. I was going to ask one of the French commissioners about it last summer, but my nerve gave out at the last minute. Mr. Bates bought it on his own responsibility. I let him go ahead; for after all, people of our position would naturally be expected to have a Corot. I don't care to tell you what he paid for it."...

"There's some more high art," said Mrs. Bates, with a wave of her hand towards the opposite wall. "Carolus Duran; fifty thousand francs; and he wouldn't let me pick out my own costume either....

"And now," she said, "let's go up-stairs." Jane followed her, too dazed to speak or even to smile.

Mrs. Bates hastened forward light-footedly. "Conservatory—that's Moorish," she indicated casually; "nothing in it but orchids and things. Come along." Jane followed—dumbly, humbly.

Mrs. Bates paused on the lower step of her great stairway. A huge vase of Japanese bronze flanked either newel, and a Turkish lantern depended above her head. The bright green of a dwarf palm peeped over the balustrade, and a tempered light strained down through the painted window on the landing-stage.

"There!" she said, "you've seen it all." She stood there in a kind of impassioned splendor, her jeweled fingers shut tightly, and her fists thrown out and apart so as to show the veins and cords of her wrists. "We did it, we two—just Granger and I. Nothing but our own hands and hearts and hopes, and each other. We have fought the fight—a fair field and no favor—and we have come out ahead. And we shall stay there too; keep up with the procession is my motto, and head it if you can. I do head it, and I feel that I'm where I belong. When I can't foot it with the rest, let me drop by the wayside and the crows have me. But they'll never get me—never! There's ten more good years in me yet; and if we were to slip to the bottom to-morrow we should work back to the top again before we[Pg 6115] finish. When I led the grand march at the Charity Ball I was accused of taking a vainglorious part in a vainglorious show. Well, who would look better in such a role than I, or who has earned a better right to play it? There, child! ain't that success? ain't that glory? ain't that poetry?—h'm," she broke off suddenly, "I'm glad Jimmy wasn't by to hear that! He's always taking up his poor mother."

"Jimmy? Is he humble-minded, do you mean?"

"Humble-minded? one of my boys humble-minded? No indeed; he's grammatical, that's all: he prefers 'isn't.' Come up."

Mrs. Bates hurried her guest over the stairway and through several halls and passages, and introduced her finally into a large and spacious room done in white and gold. In the glittering electrolier wires mingled with pipes, and bulbs with globes. To one side stood a massive brass bedstead full-panoplied in coverlet and pillow-cases, and the mirror of the dressing-case reflected a formal row of silver-backed brushes and combs.

"My bedroom," said Mrs. Bates. "How does it strike you?"

"Why," stammered Jane, "it's all very fine, but—"

"Oh, yes; I know what they say about it—I've heard them a dozen times: 'It's very big and handsome and all, but not a bit home-like. I shouldn't want to sleep here.' Is that the idea?"

"About," said Jane.

"Sleep here!" echoed Mrs. Bates. "I don't sleep here. I'd as soon think of sleeping out on the prairie. That bed isn't to sleep in; it's for the women to lay their hats and cloaks on. Lay yours there now."

Jane obeyed. She worked herself out of her old blue sack, and disposed it, neatly folded, on the brocaded coverlet. Then she took off her mussy little turban and placed it on the sack. "What a strange woman," she murmured to herself. "She doesn't get any music out of her piano; she doesn't get any reading out of her books; she doesn't even get any sleep out of her bed." Jane smoothed down her hair and awaited the next stage of her adventure.

"This is the way." Mrs. Bates led her through a narrow side door.... "This is my office." She traversed the "office," passed into a room beyond, pushed Jane ahead of her, and shut the door....[Pg 6116]

The door closed with a light click, and Jane looked about her with a great and sudden surprise. Poor stupid, stumbling child!—she understood at last in what spirit she had been received and on what footing she had been placed.

She found herself in a small, cramped, low-ceiled room which was filled with worn and antiquated furniture. There was a ponderous old mahogany bureau, with the veneering cracked and peeled, and a bed to correspond. There was a shabby little writing-desk, whose let-down lid was lined with faded and blotted green baize. On the floor there was an old Brussels carpet, antique as to pattern, and wholly threadbare as to surface. The walls were covered with an old-time paper whose plaintive primitiveness ran in slender pink stripes alternating with narrow green vines. In one corner stood a small upright piano whose top was littered with loose sheets of old music, and on one wall hung a set of thin black-walnut shelves strung together with cords and loaded with a variety of well-worn volumes. In the grate was a coal fire.

Mrs. Bates sat down on the foot of the bed, and motioned Jane to a small rocker that had been re-seated with a bit of old rugging.

"And now," she said, cheerily, "let's get to business. Sue Bates, at your service."

"Oh, no," gasped Jane, who felt, however dumbly and mistily, that this was an epoch in her life. "Not here; not to-day."

"Why not? Go ahead; tell me all about the charity that isn't a charity. You'd better; this is the last room—there's nothing beyond." Her eyes were twinkling, but immensely kind.

"I know it," stammered Jane. "I knew it in a second." She felt too that not a dozen persons had ever penetrated to this little chamber. "How good you are to me!"

Presently, under some compulsion, she was making an exposition of her small plan. Mrs. Bates was made to understand how some of the old Dearborn Seminary girls were trying to start a sort of club-room in some convenient down-town building for typewriters and saleswomen and others employed in business. There was to be a room where they could get lunch, or bring their own to eat, if they preferred; also a parlor where they could fill up their noon hour with talk or reading or music; it was the expectation to have a piano and a few books and magazines.[Pg 6117]

"I remembered Lottie as one of the girls who went with us there, down on old Dearborn Place, and I thought perhaps I could interest Lottie's mother," concluded Jane.

"And so you can," said Lottie's mother, promptly. "I'll have Miss Peters—but don't you find it a little warm here? Just pass me that hair-brush."

Mrs. Bates had stepped to her single little window. "Isn't it a gem?" she asked, "I had it made to order; one of the old-fashioned sort, you see—two sash, with six little panes in each. No weights and cords, but simple catches at the side. It opens to just two widths; if I want anything different, I have to contrive it for myself. Sometimes I use a hair-brush and sometimes a paper-cutter."...

She dropped her voice.

"Did you ever have a private secretary?"

"Me?" called Jane. "I'm my own."

"Keep it that way," said Mrs. Bates, impressively. "Don't ever change—no matter how many engagements and appointments and letters and dates you come to have. You'll never spend a happy day afterwards. Tutors are bad enough—but thank goodness, my boys are past that age. And men-servants are bad enough—every time I want to stir in my own house I seem to have a footman on each toe and a butler standing on my train; however, people in our position—well, Granger insists, you know."...

"And now business is over," she continued. "Do you like my posies?" She nodded towards the window where, thanks to the hair-brush, a row of flowers in a long narrow box blew about in the draft.


"No, no, no! But I hoped you'd guess asters. They're chrysanthemums—you see, fashion will penetrate even here. But they're the smallest and simplest I could find. What do I care for orchids and American beauties, and all those other expensive things under glass? How much does it please me to have two great big formal beds of gladiolus and foliage in the front yard, one on each side of the steps? Still, in our position, I suppose it can't be helped. No; what I want is a bed of portulaca, and some cypress vines running up strings to the top of a pole. As soon as I get poor enough to afford it I'm going to have a lot of phlox and London-pride and bachelor's-buttons out[Pg 6118] there in the back yard, and the girls can run their clothes-lines somewhere else."

"It's hard to keep flowers in the city," said Jane.

"I know it is. At our old house we had such a nice little rose-bush in the front yard. I hated so to leave it behind—one of those little yellow brier roses. No, it wasn't yellow; it was just—'yaller.' And it always scratched my nose when I tried to smell it. But oh, child"—wistfully—"if I could only smell it now!"

"Couldn't you have transplanted it?" asked Jane, sympathetically.

"I went back the very next day after we moved out, with a peach basket and fire shovel. But my poor bush was buried under seven feet of yellow sand. To-day there's seven stories of brick and mortar. So all I've got from the old place is just this furniture of ma's and the wall-paper."

"The wall-paper?"

"Not the identical same, of course. It's like what I had in my bedroom when I was a girl. I remembered the pattern, and tried everywhere to match it. At first I just tried on Twenty-second street. Then I went down-town. Then I tried all the little places away out on the West Side. Then I had the pattern put down on paper and I made a tour of the country. I went to Belvidere, and to Beloit, and to Janesville, and to lots of other places between here and Geneva. And finally—"

"Well, what—finally?"

"Finally, I sent down East and had eight or ten rolls made to order. I chased harder than anybody ever chased for a Raphael, and I spent more than if I had hung the room with Gobelins; but—"

She stroked the narrow strips of pink and green with a fond hand, and cast on Jane a look which pleaded indulgence. "Isn't it just too quaintly ugly for anything?"

"It isn't any such thing," cried Jane. "It's just as sweet as it can be! I only wish mine was like it."

[Pg 6119]





argaret was one of the few persons who looked upon life as an art, and every person not merely as an artist, but as a work of art," wrote Emerson. "She looked upon herself as a living statue, which should always stand on a polished pedestal, with right accessories, and under the most fitting lights. She would have been glad to have everybody so live and act. She was annoyed when they did not, and when they did not regard her from the point of view which alone did justice to her.... It is certain that her friends excused in her, because she had a right to it, a tone which they would have reckoned intolerable in any other." In the coolest way she said to her friends:—

Margaret Fuller Margaret Fuller

"I take my natural position always: and the more I see, the more I feel that it is regal. Without throne, sceptre, or guards, still a queen....In near eight years' experience I have learned as much as others would in eighty, from my great talent at explanation.... But in truth I have not much to say; for since I have had leisure to look at myself, I find that so far from being an original genius, I have not yet learned to think to any depth; and that the utmost I have done in life has been to form my character to a certain consistency, cultivate my tastes, and learn to tell the truth with a little better grace than I did at first. When I look at my papers I feel as if I had never had a thought that was worthy the attention of any but myself; and 'tis only when on talking with people I find I tell them what they did not know, that my confidence at all returns.... A woman of tact and brilliancy, like me, has an undue advantage in conversation with men. They are astonished at our instincts. They do not see where we got our knowledge; and while they tramp on in their clumsy way, we wheel and fly, and dart hither and thither, and seize with ready eye all the weak points, like Saladin in the desert. It is quite another thing when we come to write, and without suggestion from another mind, to declare the positive amount of thought that is in us.... Then gentlemen are surprised that I write [Pg 6120]no better, because I talk so well. I have served a long apprenticeship to the one, none to the other. I shall write better, but never, I think, so well as I talk; for then I feel inspired.... For all the tides of life that flow within me, I am dumb and ineffectual when it comes to casting my thought into a form. No old one suits me. If I could invent one, it seems to me the pleasure of creation would make it possible for me to write. What shall I do, dear friend? I want force to be either a genius or a character. One should be either private or public. I love best to be a woman; but womanhood is at present too straitly bounded to give me scope. At hours, I live truly as a woman; at others, I should stifle."

All these naïve confessions were made, it must be remembered, either in her journal, or in letters to her nearest friends, and without fear of misinterpretation.

This complex, self-conscious, but able woman was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, in 1810, in the house of her father, Timothy Fuller, a lawyer. Her mother, it is reported, was a mild, self-effacing lover of flower-bulbs and gardens, of a character to supplement, and never combat, a husband who exercised all the domestic dictation which Puritan habits and the marital law encouraged.

"He thought to gain time by bringing forward the intellect as early as possible," wrote Margaret in her autobiographical sketch. "Thus I had tasks given me, as many and as various as the hours would allow, and on subjects beyond my age; with the additional disadvantage of reciting to him in the evening after he returned from his office. As he was subject to many interruptions, I was often kept up till very late, and as he was a severe teacher, both from his habits of mind and his ambition for me, my feelings were kept on the stretch till the recitations were over. Thus, frequently, I was sent to bed several hours too late, with nerves unnaturally stimulated. The consequence was a premature development of the brain that made me a 'youthful prodigy' by day, and by night a victim of spectral illusions, nightmare, and somnambulism, which at the time prevented the harmonious development of my bodily powers and checked my growth, while later they induced continual headache, weakness, and nervous affections of all kinds.... I was taught Latin and English grammar at the same time, and began to read Latin at six years old, after which, for some years, I read it daily.... Of the Greek language I knew only enough to feel that the sounds told the same story as the mythology; that the law of life in that land was beauty, as in Rome it was stern composure.... With these books I passed my days. The great amount of study exacted of me soon ceased to be a burden, and reading became a habit and a passion. The force of feeling which under other circumstances might have ripened thought, was turned to learn the thoughts of others."

By the time she entered mature womanhood, Margaret had made herself acquainted with the masterpieces of German, French, and Italian literatures. It was later that she became familiar with the[Pg 6121] great literature of her own tongue. Her father died in 1835, and in 1836 she went to Boston to teach languages.

"I still," wrote Emerson (1851), "remember the first half-hour of Margaret's conversation. She was then twenty-six years old. She had a face and a frame that would indicate fullness and tenacity of life. She was rather under the middle height; her complexion was fair, with strong, fair hair. She was then, as always, carefully and becomingly dressed, and of ladylike self-possession. For the rest, her appearance had nothing prepossessing. Her extreme plainness,—a trick of incessantly opening and shutting her eyelids,—the nasal tone of her voice,—all repelled; and I said to myself, 'We shall never get far.' It is to be said that Margaret made a disagreeable first impression on most persons, including those who became afterwards her best friends, to such an extreme that they did not wish to be in the same room with her. This was partly the effect of her manners, which expressed an overweening sense of power, and slight esteem of others, and partly the prejudice of her fame. She had a dangerous reputation for satire, in addition to her great scholarship. The men thought she carried too many guns, and the women did not like one who despised them."

In 1839 Margaret began her famous "Conversations" in Boston, continuing these for five winters. "Their theory was not high-flown but eminently sensible," writes Mr. Higginson, "being based expressly on the ground stated in her circular; that the chief disadvantage of women in regard to study was in not being called upon, like men, to reproduce in some way what they had learned. As a substitute for this she proposed to try the uses of conversation, to be conducted in a somewhat systematic way under efficient leadership." In 1839 she published her translation of Eckermann's 'Conversations with Goethe,' and in 1842 of the 'Correspondence of Fräulein Günerode and Bettine von Arnim.' The year 1839 had seen the full growth of New England transcendentalism, which was a reaction against Puritanism and a declaration in vague phrases of God in man and of the indwelling of the spirit in each soul,—an admixture of Platonism, Oriental pantheism, and the latest German idealism, with a reminiscence of the stoicism of Seneca and Epictetus. In 1840 The Dial was founded to be the expression of these ideas, with Margaret as editor and Emerson and George Ripley as aids. To this quarterly she gave two years of hard work and self-sacrifice.

Another outcome of the transcendental movement, the community of Brook Farm, was to her, says Mr. Higginson, "simply an experiment which had enlisted some of her dearest friends; and later, she found [there] a sort of cloister for occasional withdrawal from her classes and her conversations. This was all: she was not a stockholder, nor a member, nor an advocate of the enterprise; and even 'Miss Fuller's cow,' which Hawthorne tried so hard to milk, was a being as wholly imaginary as [Hawthorne's] Zenobia."[Pg 6122]

Her 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century' (1844)led Horace Greeley to offer her a place in the literary department of the New York Tribune. It is her praise that she was able to impart a purely literary interest to a daily journal, and to make its critical judgment authoritative. The best of her contributions to that journal were published, with articles from the Dial and other periodicals, under the title of 'Papers on Art and Literature' (1846).

In that year she paid the visit to Europe of which she had dreamed and written; and her letters to her friends at home are now, perhaps, the most readable of her remains. Taking up her residence in Italy in 1847, and sympathizing passionately with Mazzini and his republican ideas, she met and married the Marquis Giovanni Angelo Ossoli. Her husband was seven years her junior, but his letters written while he was serving as a soldier at Rome, and she was absent with their baby in the country, reveal the ardor of his love for her. During the siege of Rome by the French, Mazzini put in her charge the hospital of the Trinity of the Pilgrims. "At the very moment when Lowell was satirizing her in his 'Fables for Critics,'" says Mr. Higginson, "she was leading such a life as no American woman had led in this century before." Her Southern nature and her longing for action and love had found expression. In May 1850 she sailed with her husband and son from Leghorn for America. But the vessel was wrecked off Fire Island within a day's sail of home and friends, and, save the body of her child and a trunk of water-soaked papers, the sea swallowed up all remnants of the happiness of her later life.

The position which Margaret Fuller held in the small world of letters about her is not explained by her writings. She seems to have possessed great personal magnetism. She was strong, she had intellectual grasp and poise, possibly at times she had the tact she so much admired, she had unusual knowledge, and above all a keen self-consciousness. Her nature was too Southern in its passions, just as it was too large in intellectual vigor, for the environment in which she was born. She was in fact stifled until she escaped from her egotism and self-consciousness, and from the pale New England life and movement, to find a larger existence in her Italian lover and husband, and their child. And then she died.

The affectionate admiration which she aroused in her friends has found expression in three notable biographies: 'Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli,' by her brother; 'Margaret Fuller Ossoli,' by Thomas Wentworth Higginson ('American Men of Letters Series'); and 'Margaret Fuller (Marchesa Ossoli)' by Julia Ward Howe ('Eminent Women Series').

[Pg 6123]


To Elizabeth Hoar

From 'Memoirs': Paris, ——, 1847

You wished to hear of George Sand, or as they say in Paris, "Madame Sand." I find that all we had heard of her was true in the outline; I had supposed it might be exaggerated....

It is the custom to go and call on those to whom you bring letters, and push yourself upon their notice; thus you must go quite ignorant whether they are disposed to be cordial. My name is always murdered by the foreign servants who announce me. I speak very bad French; only lately have I had sufficient command of it to infuse some of my natural spirit in my discourse. This has been a great trial to me, who am eloquent and free in my own tongue, to be forced to feel my thoughts struggling in vain for utterance.

The servant who admitted me was in the picturesque costume of a peasant, and as Madame Sand afterwards told me, her goddaughter, whom she had brought from her province. She announced me as "Madame Salère," and returned into the ante-room to tell me, "Madame says she does not know you." I began to think I was doomed to rebuff among the crowd who deserve it. However, to make assurance sure, I said, "Ask if she has received a letter from me." As I spoke Madame Sand opened the door, and stood looking at me an instant. Our eyes met. I never shall forget her look at that moment. The doorway made a frame for her figure; she is large but well formed. She was dressed in a robe of dark-violet silk, with a black mantle on her shoulders, her beautiful hair dressed with the greatest taste; her whole appearance and attitude, in its simple and ladylike dignity, presented an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar caricature idea of George Sand. Her face is a very little like the portraits, but much finer; the upper part of the forehead and eyes are beautiful, the lower strong and masculine, expressive of a hardy temperament and strong passions, but not in the least coarse; the complexion olive, and the air of the whole head Spanish (as indeed she was born at Madrid, and is only on one side of French blood). All these I saw at a glance; but what fixed my attention was the expression of goodness, nobleness, and[Pg 6124] power that pervaded the whole,—the truly human heart and nature that shone in the eyes. As our eyes met, she said, "C'est vous," and held out her hand. I took it, and went into her little study; we sat down a moment; then I said, "Il me fait de bien de vous voir," and I am sure I said it with my whole heart, for it made me very happy to see such a woman, so large and so developed in character, and everything that is good in it so really good. I loved, shall always love her.

She looked away, and said, "Ah! vous m'avez écrit une lettre charmante." This was all the preliminary of our talk, which then went on as if we had always known one another.... Her way of talking is just like her writing,—lively, picturesque, with an undertone of deep feeling, and the same happiness in striking the nail on the head every now and then with a blow.... I heartily enjoyed the sense of so rich, so prolific, so ardent a genius. I liked the woman in her, too, very much; I never liked a woman better.... For the rest, she holds her place in the literary and social world of France like a man, and seems full of energy and courage in it. I suppose she has suffered much, but she has also enjoyed and done much.


From 'At Home and Abroad'

The American in Europe, if a thinking mind, can only become more American. In some respects it is a great pleasure to be here. Although we have an independent political existence, our position toward Europe as to literature and the arts is still that of a colony, and one feels the same joy here that is experienced by the colonist in returning to the parent home. What was but picture to us becomes reality; remote allusions and derivations trouble no more; we see the pattern of the stuff, and understand the whole tapestry. There is a gradual clearing up on many points, and many baseless notions and crude fancies are dropped. Even the post-haste passage of the business American through the great cities, escorted by cheating couriers and ignorant valets de place, unable to hold intercourse with the natives of the country, and passing all his leisure hours with his countrymen, who know no more than himself, clears his mind of some mistakes,—lifts some mists from his horizon.[Pg 6125]

There are three species: First, the servile American,—a being utterly shallow, thoughtless, worthless. He comes abroad to spend his money and indulge his tastes. His object in Europe is to have fashionable clothes, good foreign cookery, to know some titled persons, and furnish himself with coffee-house gossip, by retailing which among those less traveled and as uninformed as himself he can win importance at home. I look with unspeakable contempt on this class,—a class which has all the thoughtlessness and partiality of the exclusive classes in Europe, without any of their refinement, or the chivalric feeling which still sparkles among them here and there. However, though these willing serfs in a free age do some little hurt, and cause some annoyance at present, they cannot continue long; our country is fated to a grand independent existence, and as its laws develop, these parasites of a bygone period must wither and drop away.

Then there is the conceited American, instinctively bristling and proud of—he knows not what. He does not see, not he! that the history of humanity, for many centuries, is likely to have produced results it requires some training, some devotion, to appreciate and profit by. With his great clumsy hands, only fitted to work on a steam-engine, he seizes the old Cremona violin, makes it shriek with anguish in his grasp, and then declares he thought it was all humbug before he came, and now he knows it; that there is not really any music in these old things; that the frogs in one of our swamps make much finer, for they are young and alive. To him the etiquettes of courts and camps, the ritual of the Church, seem simply silly,—and no wonder, profoundly ignorant as he is of their origin and meaning. Just so the legends which are the subjects of pictures, the profound myths which are represented in the antique marbles, amaze and revolt him; as, indeed, such things need to be judged of by another standard than that of the Connecticut Blue Laws. He criticizes severely pictures, feeling quite sure that his natural senses are better means of judgment than the rules of connoisseurs,—not feeling that to see such objects mental vision as well as fleshly eyes are needed, and that something is aimed at in art beyond the imitation of the commonest forms of nature. This is Jonathan in the sprawling state, the booby truant, not yet aspiring enough to be a good schoolboy. Yet in his folly there is a meaning; add thought and culture to his independence, and he will be a man of might: he is not a creature without hope, like the thick-skinned dandy of the class first specified.[Pg 6126]

The artists form a class by themselves. Yet among them, though seeking special aims by special means, may also be found the lineaments of these two classes, as well as of the third, of which I am now to speak.

This is that of the thinking American,—a man who, recognizing the immense advantage of being born to a new world and on a virgin soil, yet does not wish one seed from the past to be lost. He is anxious to gather and carry back with him every plant that will bear a new climate and new culture. Some will dwindle; others will attain a bloom and stature unknown before. He wishes to gather them clean, free from noxious insects, and to give them a fair trial in his new world. And that he may know the conditions under which he may best place them in that new world, he does not neglect to study their history in this.

The history of our planet in some moments seems so painfully mean and little,—such terrible bafflings and failures to compensate some brilliant successes; such a crushing of the mass of men beneath the feet of a few, and these too often the least worthy; such a small drop of honey to each cup of gall, and in many cases so mingled that it is never one moment in life purely tasted; above all, so little achieved for humanity as a whole, such tides of war and pestilence intervening to blot out the traces of each triumph,—that no wonder if the strongest soul sometimes pauses aghast; no wonder if the many indolently console themselves with gross joys and frivolous prizes. Yes! those men are worthy of admiration, who can carry this cross faithfully through fifty years; it is a great while for all the agonies that beset a lover of good, a lover of men; it makes a soul worthy of a speedier ascent, a more productive ministry in the next sphere. Blessed are they who ever keep that portion of pure, generous love with which they began life! How blessed those who have deepened the fountains, and have enough to spare for the thirst of others! Some such there are; and feeling that, with all the excuses for failure, still only the sight of those who triumph gives a meaning to life or makes its pangs endurable, we must arise and follow.

[Pg 6127]


Letter to R. W. Emerson

From 'Memoirs': Paris, ——, 1846

I enjoyed the time extremely [in London]. I find myself much in my element in European society. It does not indeed come up to my ideal, but so many of the incumbrances are cleared away that used to weary me in America, that I can enjoy a freer play of faculty, and feel, if not like a bird in the air, at least as easy as a fish in water....

Of the people I saw in London, you will wish me to speak first of the Carlyles. Mr. Carlyle came to see me at once, and appointed an evening to be passed at their house. That first time I was delighted with him. He was in a very sweet humor,—full of wit and pathos, without being overbearing or oppressive. I was quite carried away with the rich flow of his discourse; and the hearty, noble earnestness of his personal being brought back the charm which once was upon his writing, before I wearied of it. I admired his Scotch, his way of singing his great full sentences, so that each one was like the stanza of a narrative ballad. He let me talk, now and then, enough to free my lungs and change my position, so that I did not get tired. That evening he talked of the present state of things in England, giving light, witty sketches of the men of the day, fanatics and others, and some sweet, homely stories he told of things he had known of the Scotch peasantry. Of you he spoke with hearty kindness; and he told with beautiful feeling a story of some poor farmer or artisan in the country, who on Sunday lays aside the cark and care of that dirty English world, and sits reading the 'Essays' and looking upon the sea....

The second time, Mr. Carlyle had a dinner party, at which was a witty, French, flippant sort of a man, named Lewes, author of a 'History of Philosophy,' and now writing a life of Goethe, a task for which he must be as unfit as irreligion and sparkling shallowness can make him. But he told stories admirably, and was allowed sometimes to interrupt Carlyle a little,—of which one was glad, for that night he was in his acrid mood; and though much more brilliant than on the former evening, grew wearisome to me, who disclaimed and rejected almost everything he said....[Pg 6128]

Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings, his talk is still an amazement and a splendor scarcely to be faced with steady eyes. He does not converse, only harangues. It is the usual misfortune of such marked men,—happily not one invariable or inevitable,—that they cannot allow other minds room to breathe and show themselves in their atmosphere, and thus miss the refreshment and instruction which the greatest never cease to need from the experience of the humblest. Carlyle allows no one a chance, but bears down all opposition, not only by his wit and onset of words, resistless in their sharpness as so many bayonets, but by actual physical superiority, raising his voice and rushing on his opponent with a torrent of sound. This is not in the least from unwillingness to allow freedom to others. On the contrary, no man would more enjoy a manly resistance in his thoughts. But it is the impulse of a mind accustomed to follow out its own impulse, as the hawk its prey, and which knows not how to stop in the chase.

Carlyle indeed is arrogant and overbearing; but in his arrogance there is no littleness, no self-love. It is the heroic arrogance of some old Scandinavian conqueror; it is his nature, and the untamable impulse that has given him power to crush the dragons. He sings rather than talks. He pours upon you a kind of satirical, heroical, critical poem, with regular cadences, and generally catching up, near the beginning, some singular epithet which serves as a refrain when his song is full, or with which, as with a knitting-needle, he catches up the stitches, if he has chanced now and then to let fall a row. For the higher kinds of poetry he has no sense, and his talk on that subject is delightfully and gorgeously absurd. He sometimes stops a minute to laugh at it himself, then begins anew with fresh vigor; for all the spirits he is driving before him as Fata Morgana, ugly masks, in fact, if he can but make them turn about; but he laughs that they seem to others such dainty Ariels. His talk, like his books, is full of pictures; his critical strokes masterly. Allow for his point of view, and his survey is admirable. He is a large subject. I cannot speak more or wiselier of him now, nor needs it; his works are true, to blame and praise him,—the Siegfried of England, great and powerful, if not quite invulnerable, and of a might rather to destroy evil than legislate for good.

[Pg 6129]




he fragrance which surrounds the writings of Thomas Fuller seems blended of his wit, his quaint worldliness, his sweet and happy spirit. The after-glow of the dazzling day of Shakespeare and his brotherhood rests upon the pages of this divine. In Fuller the world-spirit of the Elizabethan dramatists becomes urbanity, the mellow humor of the dweller in the town. Too well satisfied with the kindly comforts of life to agonize over humanity and the eternal problems of existence, Fuller, although a Church of England clergyman, was no less a cavalier at heart than the most jaunty follower of King Charles. He had not the intensity of nature which characterizes the theologian by the grace of God. His 'Holy and Profane State,' his 'Good Thoughts in Bad Times,' and 'Good Thoughts in Worse Times,' evidence a comfortable and reasonable reliance on the Unseen; but they will not be read for their spiritual insight so much as for their well-seasoned and delightful English. That quaint and fragrant style of his lends charm even to those passages in which his thought is commonplace.

Thomas Fuller Thomas Fuller

It is in Thomas Fuller the historian and biographer, that posterity recognizes a man of marked intellectual power. His scholarship is exhibited in such a work as the 'Church History of Britain'; his peculiar faculty for happy description in the 'Worthies of England.' Fuller was fitted by temperament and training to be a recorder of his own country and countrymen. His life was spent upon his island; his love was fastened upon its places and its people. Born the same year as Milton, 1608, the son of a clergyman of the same name as his own, he was from boyhood both a scholar and an observer of men and things. His education at Cambridge fostered his love of books.

His subsequent incumbency of various comfortable livings afforded him opportunities for close acquaintance with the English world of his day, and especially with its "gentry." By birth, education, and inclination, Fuller was an aristocrat. During the civil war he took the side of King Charles, to whose stately life and mournful death he has devoted the last volume of his great work, the 'History of[Pg 6130] the Church of Britain.' Under the Protectorate, the genial priest and man of the world found himself in an alien atmosphere. Like many others in Anglican orders, he was "silenced" by the sour Puritan authorities, but was permitted to preach again in London by the grace of Cromwell. He was subsequently appointed chaplain to Charles II., but did not live long after the Restoration, dying of a fever in 1661.

An early instance of modern scholarship is found in the histories written by Thomas Fuller. Being by nature an antiquarian, he was not inclined to find his material at second hand. He went back always to the earliest sources for his historical data. It is this fact which gives their permanent value to the 'History of the Church of Britain' and to the 'History of the Holy War.' These works bear witness to wide and patient research, to a thorough sifting of material. The antiquarian spirit displayed in them loses some of its scholarly dignity, and takes on the social humor of the gossip, in the 'Worthies of England.' Fuller's other writings may be of more intrinsic value, but it is through the 'Worthies' that he is remembered and loved. The book is rich in charm. It is as quaint as an ancient flower garden, where blooms of every sort grow in lavish tangle. He considers the counties of England, one by one, telling of their physical characteristics, of their legends, of their proverbs, of the princely children born in them, of the other "Worthies"—scholars, soldiers, and saints—who have shed lustre upon them. Fuller gathered his material for this variegated record from every quarter of his beloved little island. As a chaplain in the Cavalier army, he had many opportunities of visiting places and studying their people. As an incumbent of country parishes, he would listen to the ramblings of the old women of the hamlets, for the sake of discovering in their talk some tradition of the country-side, or some quaint bit of folk-lore. He writes of the strange, gay, sad lives of princely families as familiarly as he writes of the villagers and townsfolk. Sometimes an exquisite tenderness lies like light upon his record, as in this, of the little Princess Anne, daughter to Charles I.:—

She was a very pregnant lady above her years, and died in her infancy, when not fully four years old. Being minded by those about her to call upon God even when the pangs of death were upon her, "I am not able," saith she, "to say my long prayer" (meaning the Lord's Prayer), "but I will say my short one, 'Lighten mine eyes, O Lord, lest I sleep the sleep of death.'" This done, the little lamb gave up the ghost.

Because of passages like these, Thomas Fuller will always be numbered among those writers who, irrespective of their rank in the world of letters, awaken a deep and lasting affection in the hearts of their readers.

[Pg 6131]


From 'The Worthies of England'

Katherine, fourth daughter to Charles the First and Queen Mary, was born at Whitehall (the Queen mother then being at St. James), and survived not above half an hour after her baptizing; so that it is charity to mention her, whose memory is likely to be lost, so short her continuance in this life,—the rather because her name is not entered, as it ought, into the register of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields; as indeed none of the King's children, save Prince Charles, though they were born in that parish. And hereupon a story depends.

I am credibly informed that at the birth of every child of kings born at Whitehall or St. James's, full five pounds were ever faithfully paid to some unfaithful receivers thereof, to record the names of such children in the register of St. Martin's. But the money being embezzled (we know by some, God knows by whom), no memorial is entered of them. Sad that bounty should betray any to baseness, and that which was intended to make them the more solemnly remembered should occasion that they should be more silently forgotten! Say not, "Let the children of mean persons be written down in registers: kings' children are registers to themselves;" or, "All England is a register to them;" for sure I am, this common confidence hath been the cause that we have been so often at a loss about the nativities and other properties of those of royal extraction.


From 'The Worthies of England'

Margaret More.—Excuse me, reader, for placing a lady among men and learned statesmen. The reason is because of her unfeigned affection to her father, from whom she would not willingly be parted (and from me shall not be), either living or dead.

She was born in Bucklersburie in London at her father's house therein, and attained to that skill in all learning and languages that she became the miracle of her age. Foreigners[Pg 6132] took such notice thereof that Erasmus hath dedicated some epistles unto her. No woman that could speak so well did speak so little; whose secrecy was such, that her father intrusted her with his most important affairs.

Such was her skill in the Fathers that she corrected a depraved place in Cyprian; for where it was corruptly written "Nisi vos sinceritas" she amended it "Nervos sinceritas." Yea, she translated Eusebius out of Greek; but it was never printed, because J. Christopherson had done it so exactly before.

She was married to William Roper of Eltham in Kent, Esquire, one of a bountiful heart and plentiful estate. When her father's head was set up on London Bridge, it being suspected it would be cast into the Thames to make room for divers others (then suffering for denying the King's supremacy), she bought the head and kept it for a relic (which some called affection, others religion, others superstition in her), for which she was questioned before the Council, and for some short time imprisoned until she had buried it; and how long she herself survived afterwards is to me unknown.


From 'The Worthies of England'

It happened in the reign of this King, there was a fierce battle fought in Flintshire in Coleshall, between the English and Welsh, wherein this Henry de Essex, animum et signum simul abjecit,—betwixt traitor and coward,—cast away both his courage and banner together, occasioning a great overthrow of English. But he that had the baseness to do, had the boldness to deny, the doing of so foul a fact, until he was challenged in combat by Robert de Momford, a knight, eye-witness thereof, and by him overcome in a duel. Whereupon his large inheritance was confiscated to the King, and he himself, partly thrust, partly going, into a convent, hid his head in a cowl, under which, between shame and sanctity, he blushed out the remainder of his life.

[Pg 6133]


From 'The Holy and Profane State'

There is scarcely any profession in the commonwealth more necessary, which is so slightly performed. The reasons whereof I conceive to be these: First, young scholars make this calling their refuge; yea, perchance before they have taken any degree in the university, commence schoolmasters in the country, as if nothing else were required to set up this profession but only a rod and a ferula. Secondly, others who are able use it only as a passage to better preferment, to patch the rents in their present fortune, till they can provide a new one and betake themselves to some more gainful calling. Thirdly, they are disheartened from doing their best with the miserable reward which in some places they receive, being masters to their children and slaves to their parents. Fourthly, being grown rich, they grow negligent, and scorn to touch the school but by the proxy of the usher. But see how well our schoolmaster behaves himself....

He studieth his scholars' natures as carefully as they were books, and ranks their dispositions into several forms. And though it may seem difficult for him in a great school to descend to all particulars, yet experienced schoolmasters may quickly make a grammar of boys' natures, and reduce them all—saving some few exceptions—to these general rules:—

1. Those that are ingenious and industrious. The conjunction of two such planets in a youth presages much good unto him. To such a lad a frown may be a whipping, and a whipping a death; yea, where their master whips them once, shame whips them all the week after. Such natures he useth with all gentleness.

2. Those that are ingenious and idle. These think, with the hare in the fable, that running with snails—so they count the rest of their schoolfellows—they shall come soon enough to the post, though sleeping a good while before their starting. Oh! a good rod would finely take them napping!

3. Those that are dull and diligent. Wines, the stronger they be, the more lees they have when they are new. Many boys are muddy-headed till they be clarified with age, and such[Pg 6134] afterwards prove the best. Bristol diamonds are both bright, and squared, and pointed by nature, and yet are soft and worthless; whereas Orient ones in India are rough and rugged naturally. Hard, rugged, and dull natures of youth acquit themselves afterwards the jewels of the country, and therefore their dullness at first is to be borne with if they be diligent. The schoolmaster deserves to be beaten himself, who beats Nature in a boy for a fault. And I question whether all the whipping in the world can make their parts, which are naturally sluggish, rise one minute before the hour Nature hath appointed.

4. Those that are invincibly dull, and negligent also. Correction may reform the latter, not amend the former. All the whetting in the world can never set a razor's edge on that which hath no steel in it. Such boys he consigneth over to other professions. Shipwrights and boat-makers will choose those crooked pieces of timber which other carpenters refuse. Those may make excellent merchants and mechanics who will not serve for scholars.

He is able, diligent, and methodical in his teaching; not leading them rather in a circle than forwards. He minces his precepts for children to swallow, hanging clogs on the nimbleness of his own soul, that his scholars may go along with him.


From 'The Holy and Profane State'

It is a vanity to persuade the world one hath much learning by getting a great library. As soon shall I believe every one is valiant that hath a well-furnished armory. I guess good housekeeping by the smoking, not the number of the tunnels, as knowing that many of them—built merely for uniformity—are without chimneys, and more without fires.

Some books are only cursorily to be tasted of: namely, first, voluminous books, the task of a man's life to read them over; secondly, auxiliary books, only to be repaired to on occasions; thirdly, such as are mere pieces of formality, so that if you look on them you look through them, and he that peeps through the casement of the index sees as much as if he were in the house. But the laziness of those cannot be excused who perfunctorily pass over authors of consequence, and only trade in their tables[Pg 6135] and contents. These, like city cheaters, having gotten the names of all country gentlemen, make silly people believe they have long lived in those places where they never were, and flourish with skill in those authors they never seriously studied.


From 'The Worthies of England'

It is the second city in Christendom for greatness, and the first for good government. There is no civilized part of the world but it has heard thereof, though many with this mistake: that they conceive London to be the country and England but the city therein.

Some have suspected the declining of the lustre thereof, because of late it vergeth so much westward, increasing in buildings, Covent Garden, etc. But by their favor (to disprove their fear) it will be found to burnish round about with new structures daily added thereunto.

It oweth its greatness under God's divine providence to the well-conditioned river of Thames, which doth not (as some tyrant rivers of Europe) abuse its strength in a destructive way, but employeth its greatness in goodness, to be beneficial to commerce, by the reciprocation of the tide therein. Hence it was that when King James, offended with the city, threatened to remove his court to another place, the Lord Mayor (boldly enough) returned that "he might remove his court at his pleasure, but could not remove the river Thames."

Erasmus will have London so called from Lindus, a city of Rhodes; averring a great resemblance betwixt the languages and customs of the Britons and Grecians. But Mr. Camden (who no doubt knew of it) honoreth not this his etymology with the least mention thereof. As improbable in my apprehension is the deduction from Lud's-Town,—town being a Saxon, not British termination; and that it was so termed from Lan Dian, a temple of Diana (standing where now St. Paul's doth), is most likely in my opinion.

[Pg 6136]


It is dangerous to gather flowers that grow on the banks of the pit of hell, for fear of falling in; yea, they which play with the Devil's rattles will be brought by degrees to wield his sword; and from making of sport they come to doing of mischief.

A public office is a guest which receives the best usage from them who never invited it.

Scoff not at the natural defects of any, which are not in their power to amend. Oh! 'tis cruel to beat a cripple with his own crutches.

Learning has gained most by those books by which the printers have lost.

Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.

To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the body; no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul.

The lion is not so fierce as painted.

... Their heads sometimes so little that there is no room for wit; sometimes so long that there is no wit for so much room.

Often the cock-loft is empty in those whom nature hath built many stories high.

The Pyramids themselves, doting with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.

... One that will not plead that cause wherein his tongue must be confuted by his conscience.

But our captain counts the image of God—nevertheless his image—cut in ebony as if done in ivory; and in the blackest Moors he sees the representation of the King of Heaven.

[Pg 6137]




o speak of the detective novel is to speak of Gaboriau. He cannot be called the father of it; but the French novelist made his field so peculiarly his own, developed its type of human nature so painstakingly, created so distinctive a reputation associated with it, that it is doubtful whether any one can be said to have outrivaled him.

Born at Saujon, in the Department of the Charente-Inférieure, in 1835, Gaboriau drifted from school into the cavalry service; then into three or four less picturesque methods of keeping body and soul together; and finally, by a kind of literary accident, he became the private secretary of the Parisian novelist Paul Féval. His first successful story ran as a continued one in a journal called Le Pays. It was 'The Lerouge Affair,' but it did not even under newspaper circumstances find any considerable favor until it caught the eye of the astute Millaud, the founder of the Petit Journal. Millaud recognized in the fiction a new note in detective-novel making. He transferred it to another journal, Le Soleil. There it made an instant and tremendous success.

From that moment Gaboriau's career was determined and fortunate. In rapid succession followed 'The Crime of Oreival' (1867); 'File No. 113' (1867); the elaborate 'Slaves of Paris' (1869); 'M. Lecoq' (1869),—in which title appears the name of the moving spirit of almost all the other stories; 'The Infernal Life' (1870); and four or five others. All these stories have been translated into almost every modern language that has a reading public. They brought Gaboriau a large income during his lifetime, and they are still valuable literary properties. Their author died in Paris, his health broken in consequence of incessant overwork, in September 1873.

Gaboriau elevated the detective story to something like a superior plane in popular fiction. It is a question whether he did not say in a large measure the strongest word in it, and to all intents and purposes the last word. His books all have a certain resemblance, in that we start into a complex drama with a riddle of crime. The unfolding always brings us sooner or later to a dramatic family secret, of which the original crime has only been an outside detail. The[Pg 6138] secret is the mainspring of the book, and about the middle of it the reader finds himself chiefly absorbed by it. Indeed, Gaboriau's novels have often been spoken of as "told backward." Most of the novels too gain their movement from one source—the wonderful shrewdness and audacity of a certain M. Lecoq of the Paris detective service. M. Lecoq was really an exaggeration of the well-known and wonderfully able Paris detective, M. Vidocq; and there are dozens of episodes in the course of Vidocq's brilliant professional career which Gaboriau did not dress up so very much in introducing them into his stories. There is an individuality to each novel, in spite of the family likeness. Occasionally, like Dickens, the author attacked abuses with effect; as in 'The Infernal Life' and 'The Slaves of Paris' and other books where he has set forth the merciless system of private blackmailing in Paris with little exaggeration.

As to literary manner, Gaboriau was not a writer of the first order, even as a French popular novelist. But he knew how to write; and there is a correctness of diction and a nervous vivacity that is much to his credit, considering the rapidity with which he produced his work, and the fact that he had no sufficient early training for his profession. He is seldom slipshod, and he is never really negligent. He has been criticized for making his denouements too simple, if one regards them as a whole process; but his details are full of variety, and the reader of Gaboriau never is troubled to keep his attention on the author's pages, even in the case of those stories that are not of the first class among his works. Perhaps the best of all the novels is one of the shorter ones, 'File No. 113.'


From 'File No. 113'

Raoul Spencer, supposed to be Raoul de Clameran, began to triumph over his instincts of revolt. He ran to the door and rang the bell. It opened.

"Is my aunt at home?" he asked the footman.

"Madame is alone in the boudoir next her room," replied the servant.

Raoul ascended.

Clameran had said to Raoul, "Above all, be careful about your entrance; your appearance must express everything, and thus you will avoid impossible explanations."

The suggestion was useless.[Pg 6139]

When Raoul entered the little reception-room, his pale face and wild eyes frightened Madame Fauvel, who cried:—

"Raoul! What has happened to you?"

The sound of her gentle voice produced upon the young vagrant the effect of an electric shock. He trembled from head to foot: yet his mind was clear; Louis had not been mistaken in him. Raoul continued his role as if on the stage, and as assurance came to him his knavery crushed his better nature.

"Mother, the misfortune which has come to me," he replied, "is the last one."

Madame Fauvel had never seen him like this. Trembling with emotion, she rose and stood before him, with her tender face near his. She fixed in a steady gaze the power of her will, as if she meant to read the depths of his soul.

"What is it?" she insisted. "Raoul, my son, tell me."

He pushed her gently away.

"What has happened," he replied in a choked voice which pierced the heart of Madame Fauvel, "proves that I am unworthy of you, unworthy of my noble and generous father."

She moved her head in protestation.

"Ah!" he continued, "I know and judge myself. No one could reproach my own infamous conduct so cruelly as my own conscience. I was not born wicked, but I am a miserable fool. I have hours when, as if in a vertigo, I do not know what I am doing. Ah! I should not have been like this, mother, if you had been with me in my childhood. But brought up among strangers, and left to myself without any guides but my own instincts, I am at the mercy of my own passions. Possessing nothing, not even my stolen name, I am vain and devoured by ambition. Poor and without resources but your help, I have the tastes and vices of a millionaire's son. Alas! when I recovered you, the harm was done. Your affection, your maternal tenderness which have given me my only days of happiness, could not save me. I who have suffered so much, who have endured so many privations, who have known hunger, have been spoiled by this new luxury with which you have surrounded me. I threw myself into pleasure as a drunkard rushes for the strong drink of which he has been deprived."

Raoul expressed himself with such intense conviction and assurance that Madame Fauvel did not interrupt.

Mute and terrified, she dared not question him, fearful of learning some horrible news.[Pg 6140]

He however continued:—"Yes, I have been a fool. Happiness has passed by me, and I did not know enough to stretch out my hand to take it. I have rejected an exquisite reality for the pursuit of a phantom. I, who should have spent my life by your side and sought constantly for new proofs of my love and gratitude, I, a dark shadow, give you a cruel stab, cause you sorrow, and render you the most unfortunate of beings. Ah! what a brute I have been! For the sake of a creature whom I should despise, I have thrown to the wind a fortune whose every piece of gold has cost you a tear! With you lies happiness. I know it too late."

He stopped, overcome by the thought of his evil conduct, ready to burst into tears.

"It is never too late to repent, my son," murmured Madame Fauvel, "and redeem your wrong."

"Ah, if I could!" cried Raoul; "but no, it is too late. Who knows how long my good resolutions will last? It is not only to-day that I have condemned myself without pity. Seized by remorse at each new failure, I have sworn to regain my self-respect. Alas! to what has my periodical repentance amounted? At the first new temptation I forget my remorse and my oaths. You consider me a man: I am only an unstable child. I am weak and cowardly, and you are not strong enough to dominate my weakness and control my vacillating character. I have the best intentions in the world, yet my actions are those of a scoundrel. The gap between my position and my nature is too wide for me to reconcile them. Who knows where my deplorable character may lead me?"

He gave a gesture expressing recklessness, and added, "I myself will bring justice upon myself."

Madame Fauvel was too deeply agitated to follow Raoul's sudden moods.

"Speak!" she cried; "explain yourself. Am I not your mother? You must tell me the truth; I must hear all."

He appeared to hesitate, as if he feared to give so terrible a shock to his mother. Finally, in a hollow voice he said, "I am ruined!"


"Yes, and I have nothing more to wait for nor to hope for. I am dishonored, and through my own fault, my own grievous fault!"

"Raoul!"[Pg 6141]

"It is true. But fear not, mother; I will not drag the name that you bestowed upon me in the dirt. I have the vulgar courage not to survive my dishonor. Go, waste no sympathy on me. I am one of those creatures of destiny who have no refuge save death. I am the victim of fate. Have you not been forced to deny my birth? Did not the memory of me haunt you and deprive your nights of sleep? And now, having found you, in exchange for your devotion I bring into your life a bitter curse."

"Ungrateful child! Have I ever reproached you?"

"Never. And therefore with your blessing, and with your loved name on his lips, your Raoul will—die!"

"Die? You?"

"Yes, mother: honor bids it. I am condemned by inexorable judges—my will and my conscience."

An hour earlier Madame Fauvel would have sworn that Raoul had made her suffer all that a woman could endure; and now he had brought her a new grief so acute that the former ones seemed naught in comparison.

"What have you done?" she stammered.

"Money was intrusted to me. I played, and lost it."

"Was it a large amount?"

"No, but neither you nor I can replace it. Poor mother, have I not taken everything from you? Haven't you given me your last jewel?"

"But M. De Clameran is rich; he has put his fortune at my disposal. I will order the carriage and go to him."

"M. De Clameran, mother, is absent for eight days; and I must have the money to-night, or I am lost. Go! I have thought of everything before deciding. But one loves life at twenty!"

He drew a pistol half out of his pocket, saying with a grim smile, "This will arrange everything."

Madame Fauvel was too unnerved in reflecting upon the horror of the conduct of the supposed Raoul de Clameran to fancy that this last wild menace was but a means for obtaining money.

Forgetting the past, ignoring the future, and concentrating her thought on the present situation, she saw but one thing—that her son was about to kill himself, and that she was powerless to arrest his suicide.

"Wait, wait," she said; "André will soon return, and I will tell him that I have need of—How much did you lose?"[Pg 6142]

"Thirty thousand francs."

"You shall have them to-morrow."

"I must have them to-night."

She seemed to be going mad; she wrung her hands in despair.

"To-night!" she said: "why didn't you come sooner? Do you lack confidence in me? To-night there is no one to open the safe—without that—"

The expectant Raoul caught the word. He gave an exclamation of joy, as if a light had broken upon his dark despair.

"The safe!" he cried; "do you know where the key is?"

"Yes, it is here."

"Thank heaven!"

He looked at Madame Fauvel with such a demoniacal glance that she dropped her eyes.

"Give it to me, mother," he entreated.

"Miserable boy!"

"It is life that I ask of you."

This prayer decided her. Taking a candle, she stepped quickly into her room, opened the writing-desk, and there found M. Fauvel's own key.

But as she was handing it to Raoul, reason returned.

"No," she murmured; "no, it is impossible."

He did not insist, and indeed seemed willing to retire.

"Ah, well!" he said. "Then, my mother, one last kiss."

She stopped him:—"What will you do with the key, Raoul? Have you also the secret word?"

"No, but I can try."

"You know there is never money in the safe."

"Let us try. If I open it by a miracle, and if there is money in the box, then I shall believe that God has taken pity upon us."

"And if you do not succeed? Then will you swear that you will wait until to-morrow?"

"Upon the memory of my father, I swear it."

"Then here is the key! Come." ...

They had now reached Prosper's office, and Raoul had placed the lamp on a high shelf, from which point it lighted the entire room. He had recovered all of his self-possession, or rather that peculiar mechanical precision of action which seems to be independent of the will, and which men accustomed to peril always[Pg 6143] find at their service in times of pressing need. Rapidly, and with the dexterity of experience, he placed the five buttons of the iron box upon the letters forming the name g,y,p,s,y. His expression during this short performance was one of intense anxiety. He began to fear that the excited energy which he had summoned might fail him, and also that if he did open the box he might not find the hoped-for sum. Prosper might have changed the letters, and he might have been sent to the bank that day.

Madame Fauvel watched Raoul with pathetic distress. She read in his wild eyes that despair of the unfortunate, who so passionately desire a result that they fancy their unassisted will can overcome all obstacles.

Being intimate with Prosper, and having frequently watched him close the office, Raoul knew perfectly well—indeed, he had made it a study and attempted it himself, for he was a far-seeing youth—how to manipulate the key in the lock.

He inserted it gently, turned it, pushed it in deeper, and turned it again, then he pushed it in with a violent shock and turned it once more. His heart beat so loudly that Madame Fauvel could hear it.

The word had not been changed: the box opened.

Raoul and his mother uttered cries—hers of terror, his of triumph.

"Shut it!" screamed Madame Fauvel, frightened at this inexplicable and incomprehensible result; "leave it—come!"

And half mad, she threw herself upon Raoul, clinging to his arm in desperation and drawing him to her with such violence that the key was dragged from the lock and along the door of the coffer, leaving a long and deep mark.

But Raoul had had time to notice upon the upper shelf of the box three bundles of bank-notes. These he quickly snatched with his left hand, slipped them under his coat and placed them between his waistcoat and shirt.

Exhausted by her efforts, and yielding to the violence of her emotions, Madame Fauvel dropped Raoul's arm, and to avoid falling, supported herself on the back of Prosper's arm-chair.

"I implore you, Raoul," she said, "I beseech you to put those bank-notes back in the box. I shall have money to-morrow, I swear it to you a hundred times over, and I will give it to you, my son. I beg you to take pity on your mother!"[Pg 6144]

He paid no attention to her. He was examining the long scratch on the door. This mark of the theft was very convincing and disturbing.

"At least," implored Madame Fauvel, "don't take all. Keep what you need to save yourself, and leave the rest."

"What for? Would a balance make discovery less easy?"

"Yes, because I—you see I can manage it. Let me arrange it! I can find an explanation! I will tell André that I needed money—"

With precaution, Raoul closed the safe.

"Come," he said to his mother, "let us leave, so that we may not be suspected. One of the servants might go to the drawing-room and be surprised not to find us there."

His cruel indifference and cold calculation at such a moment filled Madame Fauvel with indignation. Yet she still hoped that she might influence her son. She still believed in the power of her entreaties and tears.

"Ah me!" she said, "it might be as well! If they discover us, I care little or nothing. We are lost! André will drive me from the house, a miserable creature. But at least, I will not sacrifice the innocent. To-morrow Prosper will be accused. Clameran has taken from him the woman he loves, and you, now you will rob him of his honor. I will not."

She spoke so loud and with such a penetrating voice that Raoul was alarmed. He knew that the office clerk slept in an adjoining room. Although it was not late, he might have gone to bed; and if so, he could hear every word.

"Let us go," he said, seizing Madame Fauvel by the arm.

But she resisted, and clung to a table, the better to resist.

"I have been a coward to sacrifice Madeleine," she said quietly. "I will not sacrifice Prosper!"

Raoul knew of a victorious argument which would break Madame Fauvel's resolution.

"Ah!" he cried with a cynical laugh; "you do not know, then, that Prosper and I are in league, and that he shares my fate."

"That is impossible."

"What do you think? Do you imagine that it was chance which gave me the secret word and opened the box?"

"Prosper is honest."

"Of course, and so am I. But—we need the money."

"You speak falsely!"[Pg 6145]

"No, dear mother. Madeleine left Prosper, and—well, bless me! he has tried to console himself, the poor fellow; and such consolations are expensive."

He had lifted the lamp; and gently but with much force pushed Madame Fauvel towards the staircase.

She seemed to be more dumbfounded than when she saw the open safe.

"What," she said, "Prosper a thief?"

She asked herself if she were not the victim of a terrible nightmare; if an awakening would not rid her of this unspeakable torture. She could not control her thoughts, and mechanically, supported by Raoul, she placed her foot on the narrow stairs.

"The key must be returned to the writing-desk," said Raoul, when they reached the bedroom.

She appeared not to hear, and it was Raoul who replaced the key in the box from which he had seen her take it.

He then led or rather carried Madame Fauvel to the little drawing-room where he had found her upon his arrival, and placed her in an easy-chair. The utter prostration of this unhappy woman, her fixed eyes, and her loss of expression, revealed only too well the agony of her mind. Raoul, frightened, asked if she had gone mad?

"Come, mother dear," he said, as he tried to warm her icy hands, "come to yourself. You have saved my life, and we have both rendered a great service to Prosper. Fear nothing: all will come straight. Prosper will be accused, perhaps arrested. He expects that; but he will deny it, and as his guilt cannot be proved, he will be released."

But his lies and his efforts were lost upon Madame Fauvel, who was too distracted to hear them.

"Raoul," she murmured, "my son, you have killed me!"

Her voice was so impressive in its sorrow, her tone was so tender in its despair, that Raoul was affected, and even decided to restore the stolen money. But the thought of Clameran returned.

Then, noticing that Madame Fauvel remained in her chair, bewildered and as still as death, trembling at the thought that M. Fauvel or Madeleine might enter at any moment, he pressed a kiss upon his mother's forehead—and fled.

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'

[Pg 6146]


From 'File No. 113'

In the centre of a large and curiously furnished room, half library and half actor's study, was seated at a desk the same person wearing gold spectacles who had said at the police station to the accused cashier Prosper Bertomy, "Take courage!" This was M. Lecoq in his official character.

Upon the entrance of Fanferlot, who advanced respectfully, curving his backbone as he bowed, M. Lecoq slightly lifted his head and laid down his pen, saying, "Ah! you have come at last, my boy! Well, you don't seem to be progressing with the Bertomy case."

"Why, really," stammered Fanferlot, "you know—"

"I know that you have muddled everything, until you are so blinded that you are ready to give over."

"But master, it was not I—"

M. Lecoq had arisen and was pacing the floor. Suddenly he stopped before Fanferlot, nicknamed "the Squirrel."

"What do you think, Master Squirrel," he asked in a hard and ironical tone, "of a man who abuses the confidence of those who employ him, who reveals enough of what he has discovered to make the evidence misleading, and who betrays for the benefit of his foolish vanity the cause of justice—and an unhappy prisoner?"

The frightened Fanferlot recoiled a step.

"I should say," he began, "I should say—"

"You think this man should be punished and dismissed; and you are right. The less a profession is honored, the more honorable should be those who follow it. You however are treacherous. Ah! Master Squirrel, we are ambitious, and we try to play the police in our own way! We let Justice wander where she will, while we search for other things. It takes a more cunning bloodhound than you, my boy, to hunt without a hunter and at his own risk."

"But master, I swear—"

"Be silent. Do you wish me to prove that you have told everything to the examining magistrate, as was your duty? Go to! While others were charging the cashier, you informed against the banker! You watched him; you became intimate with his valet de chambre!"[Pg 6147]

Was M. Lecoq really in anger? Fanferlot, who knew him well, doubted it a little; but with this devil of a man one never quite knew how to take him.

"If you were only clever," he continued, "but no! You wish to be a master, and you are not even a good workman."

"You are right, master," said Fanferlot piteously, who could deny no longer. "But how could I work upon a business like this, when there was no trace, no mark, no sign, no conviction,—nothing, nothing?"

M. Lecoq raised his shoulders.

"Poor boy!" he said. "Know, then, that the day when you were summoned with the commissary to verify the robbery, you had—I will not say certainly but very probably—between your two large and stupid hands the means of knowing which key, the banker's or the cashier's, had been used in committing the theft."

"What an idea!"

"You want proof? Very well. Do you remember that mark which you observed on the side of the copper? It struck you, for you did not repress an exclamation when you saw it. You examined it carefully with a glass; and you were convinced that it was quite fresh, and therefore made recently. You said, and with reason, that this mark dated from the moment of the theft. But with what had it been made? With a key, evidently. That being the case, you should have demanded the keys of the banker and the cashier, and examined them attentively. One of these would have shown some atoms of the green paint with which a strong-box is usually coated."

Fanferlot listened with open mouth to this explanation. At the last words, he slapped his forehead violently, and cried—of himself—"Imbecile!"

"You are right," replied M. Lecoq—"imbecile. What! With such a guide before your eyes, you neglected it and drew no conclusion! This is the one clue to the affair. If I find the guilty one, it will be by means of this mark, and I will find him; I am determined to do it."

When away from Lecoq, Fanferlot, nicknamed the Squirrel, often slandered and defied him; but in his presence he yielded to the magnetic influence which this extraordinary man exercised upon all who came near him.

Such exact information and such minute details perplexed his mind. Where and how could M. Lecoq have gathered them?[Pg 6148]

"You have been studying the case, master?"

"Probably. But as I am not infallible, I may have let some valuable point escape me. Sit down, and tell me all that you know."

One could not prevaricate with M. Lecoq. Therefore Fanferlot told the exact truth,—which was not his custom. However, before the end of his recital, his vanity prevented him from telling how he had been tricked by Mademoiselle Nina Gypsy and the stout gentleman.

Unfortunately, M. Lecoq was never informed by halves.

"It seems to me, Master Squirrel," he said, "that you have forgotten something. How far did you follow the empty cab?"

Fanferlot, despite his assurance, blushed to his ears, and dropped his eyes like a schoolboy caught in a guilty act.

"O patron," he stammered, "you know that too? How could you have—"

Suddenly a thought flashed through his brain: he stopped, and bounding from his chair, cried, "Oh, I am sure—that stout gentleman with the red whiskers was you!"

Fanferlot's surprise gave such a ridiculous expression to his face that M. Lecoq could not help smiling.

"Then it was you," continued the amazed detective, "it was you, that fat man at whom I stared. I did not recognize you! Ah, patron, what an actor you would make if you pleased! And I was disguised also!"

"But very poorly, my poor boy, I tell you for your own good. Do you think a heavy beard and a blouse sufficient to evade detection? But the eye, stupid fellow, the eye! It is the eye that must be changed. There is the secret."

This theory of disguise explains why the official, lynx-like Lecoq never appeared at the police office without his gold spectacles.

"But then, patron," continued Fanferlot, working out the idea, "you have made the little girl confess, although Madame Alexandre failed? You know then why she left 'The Grand-Archange'; why she did not wait for M. Louis de Clameran; and why she bought calico dresses for herself?"

"She never acts without my instructions."

"In this case," said the detective, greatly discouraged, "there is nothing more for me to do except acknowledge myself a fool."[Pg 6149]

"No, Squirrel," replied M. Lecoq with kindness; "no, you are not a fool; you are simply wrong in undertaking a task beyond your powers. Have you made one progressive step since you began this case? No. This only proves that you are incomparable as a lieutenant, but that you have not the sang-froid of a general. I will give you an aphorism; keep it, and make it a rule of conduct—'Some men may shine in the second who are eclipsed in the first rank.'"...

Egotist, like all great artists, M. Lecoq had never had, nor did he wish to have, a pupil. He worked alone. He despised assistants; for he did not wish to share the pleasures of triumph nor the bitterness of defeat.

Therefore Fanferlot, who knew his patron so well, was astonished to hear him, who had heretofore given nothing but orders, helping him with counsel.

He was so mystified that he could not help showing his surprise.

"It seems to me, patron," he risked saying, "that you take a strong personal interest in this case, that you study it so closely."

M. Lecoq started nervously,—which motion escaped his detective,—and then, frowning, he said in a hard voice:—

"It is your nature to be curious, Master Squirrel; but take care that you do not go too far. Do you understand?"

Fanferlot began to offer excuses.

"Enough! Enough!" interrupted M. Lecoq. "If I lend you a helping hand, it is because I wish to. I wish to be the head while you are the arm. Alone, with your preconceived ideas, you never would find the guilty one. If we two do not find him together, then I am not M. Lecoq."

"We shall succeed, if you make it your business."

"Yes, I am entangled in it, and during four days I have learned many things. However, keep this quiet. I have reasons for not being known in this case. Whatever happens, I forbid you to mention my name. If we succeed, the success must be given to you. And above all, do not seek explanations. Be satisfied with what I tell you."

These charges seemed to fill Fanferlot with confidence.

"I will be discreet, patron," he promised.

"I depend upon you, my boy. To begin: Carry this photograph of the strong box to the examining magistrate. M. Patrigent, I know, is as perplexed as possible upon the subject of[Pg 6150] the prisoner. You must explain, as if it were your own discovery, what I have just shown you. When you repeat all this to him with these indications, I am sure he will release the cashier. Prosper Bertomy, the accused cashier, must be free before I begin my work."

"I understand, patron. But shall I let M. Patrigent see that I suspect another than the banker or the cashier?"

"Certainly. Justice demands that you follow up the case. M. Patrigent will charge you to watch Prosper; reply that you will not lose sight of him. I assure you that he will be in good hands."

"And if he asks news of—Mademoiselle Gypsy?"

M. Lecoq hesitated for a moment.

"You will say to him," he said finally, "that you have decided, in the interest of Prosper, to place her in a house where she can watch some one whom you suspect."

The joyous Fanferlot rolled the photograph, took his hat, and prepared to leave. M. Lecoq detained him by a gesture:—"I have not finished," he said. "Do you know how to drive a carriage and take care of a horse?"

"Why, patron, you ask me that—an old rider of the Bouthor Circus?"

"Very well. As soon as the judge has dismissed you, return home, and prepare a wig and livery of a valet de chambre of the first class; and having dressed, go with this letter to the Agency on the Rue Delorme."

"But, patron—"

"There are no 'buts,' my boy; for this agent will send you to M. Louis de Clameran, who needs a new valet de chambre, his own having left yesterday evening."

"Excuse me if I dare say that you are deceived. Clameran will not agree to the conditions: he is no friend of the cashier."

"How you always interrupt me," said M. Lecoq, in his most imperative tones. "Do only what I tell you, and let everything else alone. M. Clameran is not a friend to Prosper. I know that. But he is the friend and protector of Raoul de Lagors. Why? Who can explain the intimacy of these two men of such different ages? We must know this. We must also know who is M. Louis de Clameran—this forge-master who lives in Paris and never goes to his own factories! A jolly dog who has taken it into his head to live at the Hôtel du Louvre and who mingles[Pg 6151] in the whirling crowd, is difficult to watch. Through you, I shall have my eye on him. He has a carriage; you will drive it; and in the easiest way you will know his acquaintances, and be able to give me an account of his slightest proceedings."

"You shall be obeyed, patron."

"Still another word. M. De Clameran is very irritable and suspicious. You will be introduced to him as Joseph Dubois. He will ask for your recommendations. Here are three, showing that you have served the Marquis de Sairmeuse, the Count de Commarin, and your last place—the house of the Baron de Wortschen, who has just gone to Germany. Keep your eyes open, be correct, and watch his movements. Serve well, but without excess of manner. But don't be too cringing, for that would arouse suspicion."

"Make yourself easy, patron: now, where shall I report?"

"I will come to see you every day. Until you have an order, don't step inside of this house: you might be followed. If anything unforeseen occurs, send a dispatch to your wife, and she will advise me. Now go; and be prudent."

The door shut behind Fanferlot, and M. Lecoq passed quickly into his bedroom.

In the twinkling of an eye he stripped off all traces of the official detective chief,—the starched cravat, the gold spectacles, and the wig, which when removed released the thick black hair.

The official Lecoq disappeared; the true Lecoq remained, a person that no one knew,—a handsome young man with brilliant eyes and a resolute manner.

Only a moment was he visible. Seated before a dressing-table, on which were spread a greater array of paints, essences, rouge, cosmetics, and false hair than is required for a modern belle, he began to substitute a new face for the one accorded him by nature.

He worked slowly, handling his little brushes with extreme care, and in about an hour had achieved one of his periodical masterpieces. When he had finished, he was no longer Lecoq: he was the stout gentleman with the red whiskers, not recognized by Fanferlot.

"There," he exclaimed, giving a last glance in the mirror, "I have forgotten nothing; I have left nothing to chance. All my threads are tied, and I can progress. I hope the Squirrel will not lose time."[Pg 6152]

But Fanferlot was too joyous to squander a moment. He did not run,—he flew along the way toward the Palais de Justice and M. Patrigent the judge.

At last he had the opportunity of demonstrating his own superior perspicacity.

It never occurred to him that he was striving to triumph through the ideas of another man. The greater part of the world is content to strut, like the jackdaw, in peacock's feathers.

The result did not blight his hopes. If M. Patrigent was not altogether convinced, he at least admired the ingenuity of the proceeding.

"This is what I will do," he said in dismissing Fanferlot: "I will present a favorable report to the council chamber, and to-morrow, most likely, the cashier will be released."

Immediately he began to write one of those terrible decisions of "Not Proven," which restores liberty to the accused man, but not honor; which says that he is not guilty, but which does not declare him innocent:—

"Whereas, against the prisoner Prosper Bertomy sufficient charges do not exist, in accordance with Article 128 of the Criminal Code, we declare there are no grounds at present for prosecution against the aforesaid prisoner: we therefore order that he be released from the prison where he is now detained, and set at liberty by the jailer," etc.

When this was finished, M. Patrigent remarked to his registrar Sigault:—"Here is one of those mysterious crimes which baffle justice! This is another file to be added to the archives of the record office." And with his own hand he wrote upon the outside the official number, "File No. 113."

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature.'

[Pg 6153]





he contemporary school of Spanish fiction dates from about the revolution of 1868, which drove out Isabel II. and brought in a more liberal form of government. Without this revolution, it would scarcely have found opportunity for the free expression of opinion and the bold critical tone towards ancient institutions which are among its leading characteristics. It is a fresh stirring of the human intellect, a distinctly new product, and a valuable contribution to the world's literature. It has affiliation with the Russian, the English, and other vital modern movements in fiction, and yet it can by no means be confused with that of any other country. Its method is realistic; but one of its leading figures, De Pereda, a strong delineator of rural life, protests, as to him and his works, against the use of the word,—"if," he says vigorously, "it means to rank me under the triumphal French banner of foul-smelling realism." That is to say, they consider the best material for fiction to be the better and sweeter part of life and its higher aspirations, and not that coarse part of it to which the French would seem to have devoted an undue amount of attention. The reader of Anglo-Saxon origin approaches this fiction with ease and sympathy; he has not to acquire any new point of view in order to understand it, nor to unlearn any wonted standards of taste or morals.

An informing Spanish critic, Emilia Pardo Bazan, herself a novelist of talent, points out that the present Spanish school cannot be said to have a "yesterday," but only "a day before yesterday." She means that it has skipped a certain interval, and connects itself with remoter, and not with recent, tradition. It really comes down from a time antedating even the great "Golden Age." It takes its rise in the wonderful naturalness of the 'Celestina,' a quaint "tragi-comedy" of the year 1499. It bears a close relationship, next, to Don Quixote and to the "Novelas Picarescas," the stories of amusing knaves in very low life, of which 'Lazarillo de Tormes' and 'Guzman de Alfarache' are the best examples, and that French imitation, 'Gil [Pg 6154]Blas,' better than the originals. A period of very stiff Classicism in the eighteenth century, and of extravagant Romanticism in the beginning of the nineteenth, followed, constituting the omitted "yesterday"; and then arrived the vigorous literature of the present time, here in question. The qualities of truth to nature, practical good sense, genuine humor, and play of imagination, have nearly always characterized Spanish fiction, and these qualities seem possessed by the contemporary novelists in a higher degree than ever before. The Picaresque or Rogue stories seem to be—their naturalness admitted—a mere string of disconnected adventures, written to the taste of a period that had not the habit of keeping its attention fixed upon anything long; and we scarcely know any leading character more intimately at the end than at the beginning. As against this, we have now complete and lengthy novels, in which situations and characters are all worked out upon a symmetrical plan, and in which the conclusions generally follow like those of fate; that is to say, they are not arbitrary, but inevitably result from the conditions and circumstances given.

So far as there is English influence in this literature, it may be said to be more in the form of example than as a direct component. It has given the Spanish movement courage and persistence, to see the same ideals elsewhere affording profit and pleasure to millions of men. Otherwise it is a mere coloring, a superficial trace. In particular, Pérez Galdós is fond of introducing English characters. Some of them have the Dickens-like trait of a beaming, exuberant benevolence, and the athletic parson in 'Gloria' who risks his life pulling out to the rescue of a wrecked steamer is like Barrie's Little Minister. Many of his leading characters are of that mixed blood, at Cadiz and elsewhere in the South, where one parent is English and the other Spanish, and the offspring have had the advantage of an education in England. He admires English types and ways, and yet with a reluctance too; which brings it about that they are generally introduced subject to considerable satire and mockery. English steadiness and thrift,—yes, very well; but he has a lingering tenderness still for Spanish levity and improvidence. In 'Halma,' all the Marquis de Feramor's children have English names, as "Sandy" (Alexandrito), "Frank" (Paquito), and "Kitty" (Catalanita). The Marquis has been a student at Cambridge, and he imports into his career in Spanish politics the thorough study of the question at issue, the conservative temper and abhorrence of extremes, and the correct "good form" of some finished English statesman. These ideas of English policy and conservatism are talked over again, in the tertulias of the amusing family in 'El Amigo Manso,' who have come back wealthy from Cuba, the head of the household with the purpose of going into Parliament [Pg 6155]and securing a title. The English and the Spanish literary movements may be said to accompany each other amicably, much as Wellington's red-coats and the Spanish troops marched side by side in the War of Independence, which has left a feeling of friendship between the two nations ever since.

At the head of the school of fiction in question are four writers, namely, José María de Pereda, Armando Palacio Valdés, Benito Pérez Galdós, and Juan Valera. They may be considered, in their various ways, as of well-nigh equal merit; each one has some very distinguished and distinguishing quality, in virtue of which he cannot justly be rated below the others. De Pereda occupies a position apart in devoting himself wholly to the lives of humble people, the mountaineers and fishermen of the Biscayan Provinces. He never willingly departs from these scenes either in his literary or personal excursions; he has his home among them, near Santander. Valera stands apart in a different way, and would occupy himself by preference with the opposite class of society. He is the most learned and scholarly of the quartette, and his writing is the most carefully polished in style. He is a scholarly critic and essayist as well as a novelist. He is a realist like the rest, yet eschews, for instance, the imitation of dialect: he is not a realist in quite the same energetic and conscientious way; his atmosphere, while no doubt equally true, is rather dreamy and poetic. Valdés and Galdós are much more vividly modern, and they treat many of the same kind of subjects, the events of real life such as we see it all around us. Of the four, Valdés has perhaps, in certain passages, the truest tenderness and most delicate pathos, and the most genuine humor, of that sunny kind which allows us to laugh without bitterness. He can sometimes be bitter too, and such a severe social satire as 'Froth' and such books as 'The Grandee' and 'The Origin of Thought' leave, like many of those of Galdós, an impression of gloom; yet even in these we are charmed on the way by his light touch and easy grace of treatment. Galdós is he who takes the gravest attitude; many great problems of life and destiny occupy him seriously; he not only is very earnest, but seems so,—which does not however preclude a plentiful use of humor, as will be seen in the examples given. Furthermore, he is much the most prolific of the distinguished group, and to that extent he may be said to have the widest range.

These writers are a highly beneficent influence in Spain at the present time, spreading over it as they do a multitude of stimulating pictures and liberalizing ideas, cast into charming literary form. They cannot fail to have a considerable effect upon conduct. In its manner, its aversion to obscurity, and fondness for floods of daylight that almost abolish shadow, this fiction is like the Spanish-Roman school [Pg 6156]of art, the painting of Fortuny, the two Madrazos, and others: the two seem but manifestations of a common impulse. On another side it is to be recommended to foreigners, as affording a body of information about Spain such as the mere traveler could never attain, and which it is useless to look for in fiction depending for its interest upon clever devices of plot and fantastic adventure. It lets an illumination into the heart of what has been the most reserved and mysterious country of Europe. It shows the true Spain, and not merely the conventional one of strumming guitars and jingling mule bells. With all its strangeness, we see it full of that genuine human nature that makes the world akin; and we see, with pleasure and hope, the breaking up of the forces of mediævalism, the working of a mental and moral turmoil that is preparing the way for a general betterment.

It would not be reasonable to suppose that Spanish literature remained wholly unaffected by the vigorous French movement just across the border. On the contrary, it clearly shows the trace of the robust modern style that has prevailed in France from Balzac to Zola. This trace, however, is in the style and not in the matter. It may possibly have aided the plainness of speech in the Spanish work, which is greater than in English books; and yet this plainness of speech is probably not greater than all books should be allowed, in the interest of their own usefulness, and in order not to be narrow instead of broad pictures of life. The tone towards sexual problems is never flippant; immorality is never put in an attractive light; there is hardly anywhere a more severe homily on the text that "the wages of sin is death" than is found in the wretched career of the transgressors in such books as Galdós's 'Lo Prohibido,' 'Tormento,' and 'La Desheredada.'

Just as in English books, the young girl, her aspirations and her innocent love affairs before marriage, figure largely in these novels. It is not necessary for her to wait until she is married in order to become a suitable heroine for fiction. Religious revolt or dissent, again, is one of the features most often used. There is still a very close union of Church and State in Spain, and life has a very ecclesiastical coloring. Nearly every family has ties of relationship or intimacy with some ecclesiastical person of either sex. This brings it about that such figures are as frequent in books as, correspondingly, in real life. In Valera's 'Pepita Ximenez' we find an earnest young student, a candidate for the priesthood, son of a noble house, turned aside from his holy career—through his father's connivance—by the fascinations of a most charming woman, their neighbor. In Valdés's 'Sister San Sulpicio' it is a young novice, a delightfully gay and bright creature, whom love and matrimony withdraw from her convent. In the same author's 'Marta y Maria' a fair young girl is seen [Pg 6157]endeavoring to conform in the midst of modern life to the ascetic ideals of the mediæval saints, even to the point of wearing hair-cloth and beating her tender shoulders with a scourge. Galdós's 'Doña Perfecta' and 'The Family of Leon Roch' combat the undue influence of the confessor, or religious adviser, in the family, and 'Gloria' combats the immemorial bitter prejudice against the Jews. As may be seen, many of these subjects, if approached in a flippant way, might easily lend themselves to grossness and scandal; but such is not the Spanish spirit. The tone towards the Church is severely critical, but not destructive. It is the true secular tone of this century, which holds that a conventional attention to the things of the next world is only due when all demands for benevolence towards living men are satisfied. Howells points out that Galdós attacks only the same intolerant eccelesiastical spirit that elsewhere would be known by another name. These critics would "reform the party from within"; and as they handle with so much skill and consideration the sensibilities of their countrymen who still adhere to the fold, their efforts are the more likely to have a potent effect. It seems a curious anomaly that Pereda, the one of them who is the most modern and stirring in the intellectual way, professes himself the champion of monarchy in its most absolute form.

The beginnings of the present fiction are somewhat feebly found in Antonio de Trueba, and Madame Böhl de Faber, who signed herself "Fernan Caballero,"—one of the first of those who took a man's name, after the fashion of George Sand. These first wrote of other things than the romantic knights and castles, Moors and odalisques, of Scott and Victor Hugo. Fernan Caballero (1797 to 1877), a genial optimist who wrote idealized descriptions of nature, still has a certain vogue. Perez Escrich produced a large number of novels of a humanitarian cast; Fernandez y Gonzalez poured them out, of a cheap order, in a torrent, and became the very type of hasty production. Pedro de Alarcon figures as a kind of link uniting the earlier period to the present, and such a book as his 'El Sombrero de Tres Picos' (The Three-Cornered Hat) is said to be read by some of the present generation with admiration. But it seems to others a trifle, of no great merit, marred by an excessive straining after effect; nothing in it is simply or naturally said. Students of the more realistic side of the movement should read Madame Pardo Bazan's valuable critical study, 'La Cuestion Palpitante' (The Vital Question). Various books by the leading authors named have been well translated into English by Clara Bell, Mrs. Mary J. Serrano, Mary Springer, Rollo Ogden, Nathan Haskell Dole, and others.[Pg 6158]


Benito Pérez Galdós was born May 10th, 1845, in the Canary Islands. Las Palmas, his birthplace, capital of the Grand Canary, is a well-built little town of about eighteen thousand people, and the island is the most fertile of the group. In climate and situation the islands belong rather to Africa than Europe. The people are considered descendants of the Gothic inhabitants of Spain, who sought refuge there from the Saracen invasion. Their existence was all but lost to sight for some centuries, and they were only brought under European sway about the time of the discovery of America. These Fortunate Islands, the somewhat unusual scene where Galdós was born and passed his youth, would seem to offer a fresh literary field, yet no word of description or reminiscence concerning them appears in any of his books. This is perhaps part of the policy of reserve that induces him to deny, even by implication, any biographical details concerning himself,—a reserve so marked as to have been generally noted as an eccentricity. Leopoldo Alas, his biographer, in the 'Celebridades Españiolas Contemporanéas,' assures us that it was only with the greatest difficulty he drew from him the bare admission that he was born in the Canary Islands. He made his studies there in the State college, and came to Madrid at the age of eighteen to study law. He had no great liking for it, and did not follow it further, unless as it became a step for entrance into political life, for he has been a deputy in the National Cortes, for Porto Rico. He did not acquire skill in forensic eloquence; his biographer, above, states that he cannot put four words together in public, nor in private either. A reticent man, he is forced to write in order to find expression.

He wrote his first book in 1867 and '68, but it was not published till 1871. In the mean time the revolution of 1868 took place, which enlarged the boundaries of freedom in literature as in many other directions; and Galdós at Barcelona had some small part in it. The book was 'La Fontana de Oro' (The Fount of Gold). It treats of the aspirations of the "ardent youth" of 1820, who rebelled against the reactionary policy brought in by Ferdinand VII. after the expulsion of the French from the country; and in the student hero Lázaro he perhaps displays his own ideas at the period. Violent political clubs were formed, on the model of the Jacobin Clubs of the French Revolution, and it is from the name of a café that was the meeting-place of the most famous of these clubs that the name of the story is derived. His next book was 'El Audaz' (The Fearless: 1872). The period is the same. The hero is an utterly fearless young radical, who has been driven to revolt through wrongs done [Pg 6159]his family by the Count de Cerezuelo. By a peculiar hazard, though far below her in social station, he meets the daughter of the count, a very proud and disdainful beauty. It is her caprice to fall in love with him, and she remains true to him to the end, when he dies in a street tumult, having first gone mad with his superheated enthusiasm. These early books are conceived upon conventional romantic lines, and hardly gave promise of their author's future fame. They contain however passages of strong character-drawing, like that of the Porreños, three ancient spinster sisters of a fallen patrician house in 'El Audaz,' which are equal to his later work.

He next entered upon an extensive enterprise which soon began to give him both reputation and profit. This was the writing of a score of historical romances, after the model of those of Erckmann-Chatrian, called 'Episódios Nacionales' (National Episodes). They are divided into two series, the first beginning with 'Trafalgar' (1873), the second with 'El Equipaje del Rey José' (King Joseph's Baggage: 1875). They deal with the two modern periods comprising the deliverance of the country from the usurpation of the French, and the more obscure struggles against Ferdinand VII., who sought to reduce the country under the same absolutist rule that had prevailed before the ideas of the French Revolution liberalized the whole of Europe. The history in these romances is intermingled with personal interests and adventures, to give it an air of informality; and though each is complete in itself, some knowledge of Spanish history is desirable as an aid to understanding them. They are considerably interlinked among themselves, the same characters appearing more or less in successive volumes. The hero of the first series is one Gabriel, who narrates them all in the first person. He is a poor boy who becomes servant to a family near Cadiz. He accompanies his master on board the huge Santissima Trinidad, the largest ship of her age, and is able to describe in detail the action of Trafalgar, the description being the more interesting for us as coming from the Spanish point of view. In 'La Corte de Carlos IV.' (The Court of Charles IV.: 1873), we find him page to a leading actress, and an eye-witness to the degeneracy of that monarch and his favorite Godoy, which resulted in the seizure of the country by Napoleon for his brother Joseph. In 'La Batalla de los Arapiles' (translated by Rollo Ogden as 'The Battle of Salamanca': 1875), the last of the series, the same Gabriel is a major, and performs an important commission for Wellington. He has risen to this level step by step, and on the way has had as many adventures as one of Dumas's guardsmen, and has carried them off as gallantly. In the second series of 'Episódios,' Salvador Monsalud is the principal character. He is a young fellow who is led by dire want—and also by [Pg 6160]sharing the liberalized French view of the decadence and worthlessness of the Spanish form of rule—to take service in the body-guard of Joseph Bonaparte. A chapter full of strength and pathos, in 'King Joseph's Baggage,' shows him disowned by his mother and cast off by his village sweetheart on account of such service, both of them frantic with a spirit of independence like that which animated the Maid of Saragossa. A feature of this book that gives it originality is that the action turns not upon the usual principal features of battle, but upon the fate of the rich baggage train of booty with which Joseph Bonaparte had hoped to escape to France after his brief, disastrous reign.

The 'Episódios' have had an extensive influence, and have been imitated, under a like title, in the Spanish Americas. The author's tone toward the past is generally severe and disdainful. "Had Spain, perchance, a 'constitution' when she was the foremost nation in the world?" he puts into the mouth of one of his characters, with sardonic intent. He has been called unappreciative, and his attitude towards Spanish antiquity has been protested against by other leading writers, of more conservative feeling, as unwarranted. These romances contain some passages showing aversion to the barbarities of war, but in general they are less humanitarian than those of Erckmann-Chatrian: they are principally devoted to glorifying Spanish fortitude and courage. These books are a great advance upon the two earlier novels; from the first they showed literary workmanship of a high order: they possess ingenuity of plot, sufficient probability, and graphic power of description, movement, and conversation. In the latter respects, indeed, they surpass some of the author's later works that make more serious pretensions.

The wider and more definitely literary reputation of Pérez Galdós rests upon more than a score of other works, in addition to the above. These are distinctly novels, as contrasted with romances; and they treat of contemporary life, in a method that aims to be conscientiously observant and impartial. It is often said, without much reflection, that we see enough of the things close about us, and need our literary recreation in the remote and strange. But it must be recalled that we see those things without the eyes of genius, and he is a true benefactor who poetizes and dignifies life in making evident that all of life is vivid with interest, even that part of it nearest to us, which without such illumination we may have thought devoid of it. The words in which the ostensible narrator of 'Lo Prohibido' (Forbidden Fruit: 1885), explains the purpose of his journal may well enough be taken to exhibit the method of Galdós. It was to set down "my prosaic adventures, events that in no way differ from those that fill and make up the lives of other men. I aspire to no [Pg 6161]further effects than such as the sincere and unaffected presentation of the truth may produce; and I have no design upon the reader's emotions by means of calculated surprises, frights, or conjurer's tricks, through which things look one way for a time and then turn out in a manner diametrically opposite."

The titles of a number of his principal books, not hitherto given, with dates, are as follows. The dates are those when they were written, and they were generally published shortly after: 'Doña Perfecta,' 1876; 'Gloria,' 1876; 'Torquemada en la Hoguera' (Torquemada at the Stake: 1876); 'Marianela,' 1878; 'La Familia de Leon Roch' (Leon Roch's Family: 1878); 'Los Cien Mil Hijos de San Luis' (The Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis: 1877) of the Episódios; 'Un Faccioso Más' (A Rebel the More: 1879) the completion of the Episódios; 'La Desheredada' (The Disowned: 1881); 'El Amigo Manso' (Friend Mildman: 1882); 'El Doctor Centeno,' 1883; 'Tormento,' 1884; 'La de Bringas' (That Mrs. de Bringas: 1884); 'Fortunata y Jacinta,' 1886; 'Miau,' 1888; 'La Incógnita' (The Unknown: 1889); 'Realidad' (Reality: 1890); 'Angel Guerra,' 1891; 'Torquemada en la Cruz' (Torquemada on the Cross: 1894); 'Torquemada en el Purgatorio' (Torquemada in Purgatory: 1894); 'Torquemada y San Pedro,' 1895; 'Nazarin,' 1895; 'Halma,' 1896.

Even in his new departure, Galdós did not at once enter upon his final manner. 'Doña Perfecta,' 'The Family of Leon Roch,' and 'Gloria' are quite distinctly didactic, or "novels with a purpose"; while 'Marianela' is somewhat cloyingly sentimental, a prose poem after the manner of Ouida. In spite of all this, however, 'Doña Perfecta' has been pronounced by many his best work. It is the one that has obtained greatest celebrity abroad, and it is the one, all things considered, likely to be the most satisfactory example of his work to the English reader. 'La Desheredada' marks the transition to his final period, and he has put it upon record that with this book the real difficulties of his vocation began. It is a poignantly affecting story of a poor girl who was brought up, by a parent half knave and half insane, to believe that she was not his daughter but that of a noble house. After his death she undertakes in all good faith to prosecute her claim, and is thrown into prison as an impostor. Her heart is broken by the disillusionment; she cannot adjust herself to life again without the sweetness of that beguiling belief, and so, in the end, not having the boldness to die, she throws herself upon the street, a social outcast. Both in the person of Isidora and others, the book is a moving treatise on false education. Other leading figures are her brother, a young "hoodlum" and thief, the burden of whose career she has also to bear upon her slender shoulders, and the pampered son of the poor Sastres, who have denied themselves bread that [Pg 6162]he might have an education and luxuries. He has a hundred fine schemes for getting a living, but never a one of them includes turning his hand to a stroke of honest labor.

'El Amigo Manso' is an extended piece of character-drawing, self-told, in a gently humorous vein. It gives an account of a college instructor, very benevolent, very methodical and prudent, and a trifle conceited and patronizing, who is in love with a pretty governess. By the time he has settled all his judicious pros and cons, the pretty governess, who really cared nothing about him, is engaged to a suitor of a more dashing sort. The scenes of 'Tormento,' 'La de Bringas,' and 'Miau' are laid chiefly among the class of minor office-holders, with whose manners the author shows an exhaustive familiarity, and each has its peculiar tragic situation in itself. 'Realidad,' written once in the form of a novel, and again as a drama, treats of the subject of a wife's infidelity, as it might pass in real life, instead of in the conventional and hackneyed way. Its title seems to propose to adhere even closer to the exact truth than do the others. There come to mind, in its suppressed passion and its calm, intellectual, and bitter philosophy, suggestions both of Ibsen and Suderman. The banker Orozco, a noble and reserved nature, does not slay his wife, does not banish her from him, nor even make her reproaches. Augusta, on her side, wonders if his mind is not giving way. This bitter commentary on life is as near as her smaller mind can approach to a comprehension of his magnanimous conduct. The same Augusta, earlier, has said in conversation, "Real life is the greatest of all inventors; the only one who is ever ready, fresh, and inexhaustible in resource." In these books, however serious, the purpose does not obtrude to the detriment of art; the reader is left free to draw his own conclusions, as from events in actual life; the author ostensibly is neither for nor against, and yet he leaves us in no doubt as to his decision, always a moral and stimulating one.

The favorite scenes of Galdós's books are in Madrid and the small suburban resorts round about it, or at the numerous mineral springs which are so important a feature of Spanish summer life. He himself lives at Madrid, but goes for the season to a summer place he owns on the bold cliffs of the Bay of Biscay, at Santander. There, too he is near to Pereda, between whom and himself a remarkable friendship exists. A friendship so strong, warm, and long continued has been recognized as a notable feature in the careers of both. It is the more remarkable because except in literature, which both set above everything else, he is violently opposed to most of the views of Pereda—a conservative of the conservatives, even to the point of preferring the absolutist pretender Don Carlos for king. Even at Madrid and at Santander, however, Galdós's scenery is mere stage [Pg 6163]setting; he does not describe nature sympathetically nor aim to render local color in an accurate way. As the action must pass somewhere, he gives it just as much of a setting as will suffice, and seems satisfied with that. The impression of his books, on the whole, is a gloomy one. He who sees life clearly must perchance see it darkly, and few see it more clearly than Galdós. Yet his admirers will not have it that he is pessimistic, because Nature herself is not pessimistic. Even the sadness of nightfall ought not to be considered gloomy, they say, with much show of reason, since it is only the preparation for another day.

William Henry Bishop


From 'The Court of Charles IV.' Copyright 1888, by W.S. Gottsberger. Reprinted by permission of George G. Peck, publisher, New York

[Gabriel, a boy of sixteen, has taken service as page with a very charming actress of the Principe Theatre. Between this theatre and La Cruz exists the same sort of hostility as between the rival theatres at Venice when Goldoni inaugurated his reform. La Cruz represents the new and "natural" spirit in the drama, as against the absurd artificial tradition that had prevailed up to that time. A part of Gabriel's duties is to go and hiss the plays at that theatre. The principal occasion of this kind is when he accompanies a band, led by a rival playwright, to the first performance of 'El Sí de las Niñas' (The Maidens' Yes), by the famous Moratin, the leading piece of the new school.]

"What an opening!" he [the rival poet and playwright] exclaimed, as he listened to the first dialogue between Don Diego and Simon. "A pretty way to begin a comedy! The scene a village inn! What can happen of any interest in a village inn? In all my plays, and they are many,—though never a one has been represented,—the action opens in a Corinthian garden, with monumental fountains to the right and left, and a temple of Juno in the background; or in a wide square with three regiments drawn up, and in the background the city of Warsaw, with a bridge, and so forth. And just listen to the twaddle this old man is made to talk! He is about to marry a young girl who has been brought up by the nuns of Guadalajara. Well, is that very remarkable? Is not that a matter of every-day occurrence?"[Pg 6164]

Pouring out these remarks, that confounded poet did not allow me to hear a word of the piece, and though I answered all his comments with humbly acquiescent monosyllables, I only wished that he would hold his tongue, deuce take him!...

"What a vulgar subject! what low ideas!" he exclaimed, loud enough for every one to hear. "And this is how comedies are written!"...

"But let us listen to it," said I, finding my chief's comments quite intolerable. "We can laugh at Moratin afterwards."

"But I cannot bear such a medley of absurdities," he went on. "We do not come to the theatre to see just what is to be seen any day in the streets, or in every house you go into. If instead of enlarging on her matrimonial experiences, the lady were to come in invoking curses on an enemy because he had killed one-and-twenty of her sons in battle, and left her with only the twenty-second, still an infant at the breast, and if she had to carry that one off to save him from being eaten by the besieged, all dying of famine—then there would be some interest in the plot, and the public would clap their hands till they were sore. Gabriel, my boy, we must protest, protest vehemently. We must thump the floor with our feet and sticks to show that we are bored and out of patience. Yawn; open your mouth till your jaws are dislocated; look about you; let all the neighbors see that we are people of taste, and utterly weary of this tiresome and monstrous piece."

No sooner said than done: we began thumping on the floor, and yawning in chorus, exclaiming, "What a bore!" "What a dreary piece!" "What waste of money!" and other phrases to the same effect; all of which soon bore fruit. The party in the pit imitated our patriotic example with great exactness. A general murmur of dissatisfaction was presently audible from every part of the theatre; for though the author had enemies, he had no lack of friends too, scattered throughout the pit, boxes, and upper tiers, and they were not slow to protest against our demonstration, sometimes by applauding, and then again by roaring at us with threats and oaths, to be silent; till a stentorian voice from the very back of the pit bellowed, "Turn the blackguards out!" raising a noisy storm of applause that reduced us to silence.

Our poetaster was almost jumping out of his skin with indignation, and persisted in making his remarks as the piece went on....[Pg 6165]

"A pretty plot indeed! It seems hardly credible that a civilized nation should applaud it. I would sentence Moratin to the galleys, and forbid his writing such coarse stuff as long as he lives. So you call this a play, Gabrielito? There is no intrigue, no plot, no surprise, no catastrophe, no illusion, no quid pro quo; no attempt at disguising a character to make it seem another—not even the little complication that comes of two men provoking each other as enemies, and then discovering that they are father and son. If Don Diego now, were to catch his nephew and kill him out of hand in the cellar, and prepare a banquet and have a dish of the victim's flesh served up to his bride, well disguised with spice and bay leaves, there would be some spirit in the thing."...

I could not, in fact, conceal my enjoyment of the scene, which seemed to me a masterpiece of nature, grace, and interesting comedy. The poet however called me to order, abusing me for deserting to the hostile camp.

"I beg your pardon," said I. "It was a mistake. And yet—does it not strike you, too, that this scene is not altogether bad?"

"How should you be able to judge?—a mere novice who never wrote a line in your life! Pray what is there in this scene in the least remarkable, or pathetic, or historical?"

"But it is nature itself. I feel that I have seen in the real world just what the author has set on the stage."

"Gaby! simpleton! that is exactly what makes it so bad. Have you not observed that in 'Frederick the Second,' in 'Catharine of Russia,' in 'The Slave of Negroponte,' and other fine works, nothing ever takes place that has the smallest resemblance to real life? Is not everything in those plays strange, startling, exceptional, wonderful, and surprising? That is why they are so good. The poets of to-day do not choose to imitate those of my time, and hence art has fallen to the lowest depths."

"And yet, begging your pardon," I said, "I cannot help thinking—The play is wretched, I quite agree, and when you say so there must be a good reason for it. But the idea here seems to me a good one, since I fancy the author has intended to censure the vicious system of education which young girls get nowadays."...

"And who asks the author to introduce all this philosophy?" said the pedant. "What has the theatre to do with moralizing?[Pg 6166] In the 'Magician of Astrakhan,' in 'Leon and the Asturias Gave Heraldry to Spain,' and in the 'Triumphs of Don Pelayo'—plays that all the world admires—did you ever find a passage that describes how girls are to be brought up?"

"I have certainly read or heard somewhere that the theatre was to serve the purposes of entertainment and instruction."

"Stuff and nonsense!"

Translation of Clara Bell.

Photogravure from a Painting by Worms.


From 'Doña Perfecta.' Copyright 1895, by Harper & Brothers

[Pepe Rey, a young engineer, arrives at Orbajosa to marry his cousin Rosario, the match having been made up between his father and Doña Perfecta, the girl's mother, who is warmly attached to the father of Pepe, her brother, and furthermore under heavy obligations to him for his excellent management of her large property interests. The landscape is the arid and poverty-stricken country of central Spain, though the town itself—"seated on the slope of a hill from the midst of whose closely clustered houses arose many dark towers, and on the height above it the ruins of a dilapidated castle"—such a town would probably be more appreciated by a traveler from abroad and a lover of the picturesque, than by a Spaniard, too familiar with its type. Orbajosa is a little place, full of narrow prejudices and vanities. Pepe Rey, with his modern ways, soon finds that he is wounding these prejudices at every turn. We look on with pained surprise at the difficulties that grow up around the young man, an excellent and kind-hearted fellow. Lawsuits are multiplied against him; he is turned out of the cathedral by order of the bishop for strolling about during service-time to look at some architectural features; and he is refused the hand of his cousin. Doña Perfecta herself joins in this hostility, which finally develops into a venomous bitterness that menaces his life. Such a feeling was not the outgrowth of mere provincial narrowness: we see in the end that it was the result of the plot of Maria Remedios, a woman of a humble sort, who aspired to secure the heiress Rosario for her own chubby-faced home-bred son. She influenced the village priest, and he influenced Doña Perfecta. Early in the day the young engineer would have abandoned the sinister place but for Rosario, who really loved him. She conveyed to him, on a scrap from the margin of a newspaper, the message:

"They say you are going away. If you do, I shall die."

She is a charming picture of girlhood,—lovely, true-hearted, affectionate, aspiring to be heroic, and yet crippled at last by a filial conscience and the long habit of clinging dependence. She has agreed to flee at night with her lover, and he is already in the garden. Her mother, the stern Doña Perfecta, ranging uneasily through the house, enters her room about the appointed time for the escape.]

[Pg 6167] "Why don't you sleep?" her mother asked her.

"What time is it?" asked the girl.

"It will soon be midnight."...

Rosario was trembling, and everything about her denoted the keenest anxiety. She lifted her eyes to heaven supplicatingly, and then turned them on her mother with a look of the utmost terror.

"Why, what is the matter with you?"

"Did you not say it was midnight?"


"Then—but is it already midnight?"...

"Something is the matter with you; you have something on your mind," said her mother, fixing on her daughter her penetrating eyes.

"Yes—I wanted to tell you," stammered the girl, "I wanted to say—Nothing, nothing; I will go to sleep."

"Rosario, Rosario! your mother can read your heart like an open book," exclaimed Doña Perfecta with severity. "You are agitated. I have already told you that I am willing to pardon you if you will repent, if you are a good and sensible girl."

"Why, am I not good? Ah, mamma, mamma! I am dying." Rosario burst into a flood of bitter and disconsolate tears.

"What are these tears about?" said her mother, embracing her. "If they are tears of repentance, blessed be they."

"I don't repent! I can't repent!" cried the girl, in a burst of sublime despair. She lifted her head, and in her face was depicted a sudden inspired strength. Her hair fell in disorder over her shoulders. Never was there seen a more beautiful image of a rebellious angel.

"What is this? Have you lost your senses?" said Doña Perfecta, laying both hands on her daughter's shoulders.

"I am going away! I am going away!" said the girl with the exaltation of delirium. And she sprang out of bed.

"Rosario, Rosario—my daughter! For God's sake, what is this?"

"Ah mamma, señora!" exclaimed the girl, embracing her mother; "bind me fast!"

"In truth, you would deserve it. What madness is this?"

"Bind me fast! I am going away—I am going away with him!"...[Pg 6168]

"Has he told you to do so? has he counseled you to do that? has he commanded you to do that?" asked the mother, launching these words like thunderbolts against her daughter.

"He has counseled me to do it. We have agreed to be married. We must be married, mamma, dear mamma. I will love you—I know that I ought to love you—I shall be forever lost if I do not love you."

"Rosario, Rosario!" cried Doña Perfecta in a terrible voice, "rise!"

There was a short pause.

"This man—has he written to you?"


"Have you seen him again since that night?"


"And you have written to him?"

"I have written to him also. O señora! why do you look at me in that way? You are not my mother."

"Would to God that I were not! Rejoice in the harm you are doing me. You are killing me; you have given me my death-blow!" cried Doña Perfecta, with indescribable agitation. "You say that that man—"

"Is my husband—I will be his wife, protected by the law. You are not a woman! Why do you look at me in that way? You make me tremble. Mother, mother, do not condemn me!"

"You have already condemned yourself—that is enough. Obey me, and I will forgive you. Answer me—when did you receive letters from that man?"


"What treachery! what infamy!" cried her mother, roaring rather than speaking. "Had you appointed a meeting?"





"Here, here! I will confess everything, everything! I know it is a crime. I am a wretch; but you, my mother, will take me out of this hell. Give your consent. Say one word to me, only one word!"

"That man here in my house!" cried Doña Perfecta, springing back several paces from her daughter.

Rosario followed her on her knees.[Pg 6169]

At the same instant three blows were heard, three crashes, three explosions. [Maria Remedios had spied upon Pepe Rey, the lover; shown Caballuco, a brutal servant and ally, how to follow him stealthily into the garden; and had then come to arouse the house.] It was the heart of Maria Remedios knocking at the door through the knocker. The house trembled with an awful dread. Mother and daughter stood as motionless as statues.

A servant went down-stairs to open the door, and shortly afterward Maria Remedios, who was not now a woman but a basilisk enveloped in a mantle, entered Doña Perfecta's room. Her face, flushed with anxiety, exhaled fire.

"He is there, he is there," she said, as she entered. "He got into the garden through the condemned door." She paused for breath at every syllable.

"I know already," returned Doña Perfecta, with a sort of bellow.

Rosario fell senseless to the floor.

"Let us go down-stairs," said Doña Perfecta, without paying any attention to her daughter's swoon.

The two women glided down-stairs like two snakes. The maids and the man-servant were in the hall, not knowing what to do. Doña Perfecta passed through the dining-room into the garden, followed by Maria Remedios.

"Fortunately we have Ca-Ca-Ca-balluco there," said the canon's niece.


"In the garden, also. He cli-cli-climbed over the wall."

Doña Perfecta explored the darkness with her wrathful eyes. Rage gave them the singular power of seeing in the dark that is peculiar to the feline race.

"I see a figure there," she said. "It is going towards the oleanders."

"It is he," cried Remedios. "But there comes Ramos—Ramos!" [Cristóbal Ramos, or "Cabulluco."]

The colossal figure of the Centaur was plainly distinguishable.

"Towards the oleanders, Ramos! Towards the oleanders!"

Doña Perfecta took a few steps forward. Her hoarse voice, vibrating with a terrible accent, hissed forth these words:—

"Cristobal, Cristobal,—kill him!"

A shot was heard. Then another.

Translation of Mary J. Serrano.

[Pg 6170]


Don Francisco de Bringas y Caballero had a second-class clerkship in one of the most ancient of the royal bureaus. He belonged to a family which had held just such offices for time out of mind. "Government employees were his parents and his grandparents, and it is believed that his great-grandparents, and even the ancestors of these, served in one way and another in the administration of the two worlds." His wife Doña Rosalia Pipaon was equally connected with the official class, and particularly with that which had to do with the domestic service of the royal abodes. Thus, "on producing her family tree, this was found to show not so much glorious deeds of war and statesmanship as those humbler doings belonging to a long and intimate association with the royal person. Her mother had been lady of the queen's wardrobe, her uncle a halberdier of the royal guard, her grandfather keeper of the buttery, other uncles at various removes, equerries, pages, dispatch-bearers, huntsmen, and managers of the royal farm at Aranjuez, and so forth and so on.... For this dame there existed two things wholly Divine; namely, heaven and that almost equally desirable dwelling-place for the elect which we indicate by the mere laconic word 'the Palace.' In the Palace were her family history and her ideal; her aspiration was that Bringas might obtain a superior post in the royal exchequer, and that then they should go and take up their abode in one of the apartments of the second story of the great mansion which were conceded to such tenants." The above is from 'Tormento.' In the next succeeding novel, 'La de Bringas,' this aspiration is gratified; the Bringas family are installed in the Palace, in the quarters assigned to the employees of the royal household. The efforts of two of their acquaintances to find them, in the puzzling intricacies of the place, are thus amusingly described.


From 'La de Bringas'

Well, this is about the way it was. We threw ourselves bravely into the interminable corridor, a veritable street, or alley at least, paved with red tiles, feebly lighted with gas jets, and full of doublings and twistings. Now and then it spread out into broad openings like little plazas, inundated with sunlight which entered through large openings from the main court-yard. This illumination penetrated lengthwise along the white walls of the narrow passageways, alleys, or tunnels, or whatever they may be called, growing ever feebler and more uncertain as it went, till finally it fainted away entirely at sight of the fan-shaped yellow gas flames, smoking little circlets upon their protecting metal disks. There were uncounted paneled doors with numbers on them, some newly painted and others[Pg 6171] moldering and weather-stained, but not one displaying the figure we were seeking. At this one you would see a rich silken bell cord, some happy find in the royal upholstery shop, while the next had nothing more than a poor frayed rope's-end; and these were an indication of what was likely to be found within, as to order and neatness or disarray and squalor. So, too, the mats or bits of carpet laid before the doors threw a useful light upon the character of the lodgings. We came upon vacant apartments with cobwebs spun across the openings, and the door gratings thick with dust, and through broken transoms, drew chill drafts that conveyed the breath of silence and desolation. Even whole precincts were abandoned, and the vaultings, of unequal height, returned the sound of our footsteps hollowly to our ears. We passed up one stairway, then down another, and then, as likely as not, we would ascend again.... The labyrinthine maze led us on and ever onward....

"It is useless to come here," at length said Pez, decidedly losing patience, "without charts and a mariner's compass. I suppose we are now in the south wing of the palace. The roofs down there must be those of the Hall of Columns and the outer stairway, are they not? What a huge mass of a place!" The roofs of which he spoke were great pyramidal shapes protected with lead, and they covered in the ceilings on which Bayeu's frescoed cherubs cut their lively pigeon-wings and pirouettes.

Still going on and on and onward without pause, we found ourselves shut up in a place without exit, a considerable inclosure lighted from the top, and we had to turn round and beat a retreat by the way we had entered. Any one who knows the palace and its symmetrical grandeur only from without could never divine all these irregularities that constitute a veritable small town in its upper regions. In truth, for an entire century there has been but one continual modifying of the original plan, a stopping up here and an opening there, a condemning of staircases, a widening of some rooms at the expense of others, a changing of corridors into living-rooms and of living-rooms into corridors, and a cutting through of partitions and a shutting up of windows. You fall in with stairways that begin but never arrive anywhere, and with balconies that are but the made-over roof coverings of dwelling-places below. These dove-cotes were once stately drawing-rooms, and on the other hand, these fine salons have been made out of the inclosing space of a grand[Pg 6172] staircase. Then again winding stairs are frequent; but if you should take them, Heaven knows what would become of you; and frequent, too, are glazed doors permanently closed, with naught behind them but silence, dust, and darkness....

"We are looking for the apartment of Don Francisco Bringas."

"Bringas? yes, yes," said an old woman; "you're close to it. All you have got to do is, go down the first circular stairway you come to, and then make a half-turn. Bringas? yes to be sure; he's sacristan of the chapel."

"Sacristan,—he? What is the matter with you? He is head clerk of the Administrative Department."

"Oh, then he must be lower down, just off the terrace. I suppose you know your way to the fountain?"

"No, not we."

"You know the stairs called the Cáceres Staircase?"

"No, not that either."

"At any rate, you know where the Oratory is?"

"We know nothing about it."

"But the choir of the Oratory? but the dove-cotes?"—

Sum total, we had not the slightest acquaintance with any of that congeries of winding turns, sudden tricks, and baffling surprises. The architectural arrangement was a mad caprice, a mocking jest at all plan and symmetry. Nevertheless, despite our notable lack of experience we stuck to our quest, and even carried our infatuation so far as to reject the services of a boy who offered himself as our guide.

"We are now in the wing facing on the Plaza de Oriente," said Pez; "that is to say, at exactly the opposite extreme from the wing in which our friend resides." His geographical notions were delivered with the gravity and conviction of some character in Jules Verne. "Hence, the problem now demanding our attention is by what route to get from here to the western wing. In the first place, the cupola of the chapel and the grand stairway roof-covering furnish us with a certain basis; we should take our bearings from them. I assume that, having once arrived in the western wing, we shall be numskulls indeed if we do not strike Bringas's abode. All the same, I for one will never return to these outlandish regions without a pocket compass, and what is more, without a good supply of provender too, against such emergencies as this."

Before striking out on the new stage of our explorations, as thus projected, we paused to look down from the window. The[Pg 6173] Plaza de Oriente lay below us in a beautiful panorama, and beyond it a portion of Madrid crested with at least fifty cupolas, steeples, and bell towers. The equestrian Philip IV. appeared a mere toy, and the Royal Theatre a paltry shed.... The doves had their nests far below where we stood, and we saw them, by pairs or larger groups, plunge headlong downward into the dizzy abyss, and then presently come whirling upward again, with swift and graceful motion, and settle on the carved capitals and moldings. It is credibly stated that all the political revolutions do not matter a jot to these doves, and there is nothing either in the ancient pile they inhabit or in the free realms of air around it, to limit their sway. They remain undisputed masters of the place.

Away we go once more. Pez begins to put the geographical notions he has acquired from the books of Jules Verne yet further into practice. At every step he stops to say to me, "Now we are making our way northward.—We shall undoubtedly soon find a road or trail on our right, leading to the west.—There is no cause to be alarmed in descending this winding stairway to the second story.—Good, it is done! Well, bless me! where are we now? I don't see the main dome any longer, not so much as a lightning-rod of it.—We are in the realms of the feebly flickering gas once more.—Suppose we ascend again by this other stairway luckily just at hand. What now? Well, here we are back again in the eastward wing and nothing else, just where we were before. Are we? no, yes; see, down there in the court the big dome is still on our right. There's a regular grove of chimney stacks. You may believe it or not, but this sort of thing begins to make my head swim; it seems as if the whole place gave a lurch now and then, like a ship at sea.—The fountain must be over that way, do you see? for the maids are coming and going from there with their pitchers.—Oh well, I for one give the whole thing up. We want a guide, and an expert, or we'll never get out of this. I can't take another step; we've walked miles and I can't stand on my legs.—Hey, there, halloo! send us a guide!—Oh for a guide! Get me out of this infernal tangle quickly!"...

We came at last to Bringas's apartment. When we got there, we understood how we must have passed it, earlier, without knowing it, for its number was quite rubbed out and invisible.

Translation of William Henry Bishop.

[Pg 6174]




he modern doctrine of heredity regards man less as an individual than as a link in a series, involuntarily inheriting and transmitting a number of peculiarities, physical and mental. The general acceptance of this doctrine would necessitate a modification of popular ethical conceptions, and consequently of social conditions. Except Darwin, probably no one has done so much to place the doctrine on a scientific basis as Francis Galton, whose brilliant researches have sought to establish the hereditary nature of psychical as well as physical qualities.

Mr. Galton first took up the subject of the transmissibility of intellectual gifts in his 'Hereditary Genius' (1869). An examination of the relationships of the judges of England for a period of two hundred years, of the statesmen of the time of George III., of the premiers of the last one hundred years, and of a certain selection of divines and modern scholars, together with the kindred of the most illustrious commanders, men of letters and science, poets, painters, and musicians of all times and nations, resulted in his conclusion that man's mental abilities are derived by inheritance under exactly the same limitations as are the forms and features of the whole organic world. Mr. Galton argued that, as it is practicable to produce a highly gifted race of men by judicious marriages during several consecutive generations, the State ought to encourage by dowries and other artificial means such marriages as make for the elevation of the race.

Having set forth the hereditary nature of general intellectual ability, he attempts to discover what particular qualities commonly combine to form genius, and whether they also are transmissible. 'English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture' (1874) was a summary of the results obtained from inquiries addressed to the most eminent scientific men of England, respecting the circumstances of heredity and environment which might have been influential in directing them toward their careers. One hundred and eighty persons were questioned. From the replies it appeared that in the order of their prevalence, the chief qualities that commonly unite to form scientific genius are energy both of body and mind; good health; great independence of character; tenacity of purpose; practical business habits; and strong innate tastes for science generally, or for some branch of [Pg 6175]it. The replies indicated the hereditary character of the qualities in question, showing incidentally that in the matter of heredity the influence of the father is greater than that of the mother. It would have been interesting to have had the results of similar inquiries in the case of other classes of eminent persons,—statesmen, lawyers, poets, divines, etc. However, it is problematical whether other classes would have entered so heartily into the spirit of the inquiry, and given such full and frank replies.

Large variation in individuals from their parents is, he argues, not only not incompatible with the strict doctrine of heredity, but is a consequence of it wherever the breed is impure. Likewise, abnormal attributes of individual parents are less transmissible than the general characteristics of the family. Both these influences operate to deprive the science of heredity of the certainty of prediction in individual cases. The latter influence—i. e., the law of reversion—is made the subject of a separate inquiry in the volume entitled 'Natural Inheritance' (1889).

In 'Inquiries into the Human Faculty and its Development' (1883), he described a method of accurately measuring mental processes, such as sensation, volition, the formation of elementary judgments, and the estimation of numbers; suggested composite photography as a means of studying the physiognomy of criminal and other classes; treated the subject of heredity in crime; and discussed the mental process of visualizing.

'Finger Prints' (1892) is a study from the point of view of heredity of the patterns observed in the skin of finger-tips. These patterns are not only hereditary, but also furnish a certain means of identification—an idea improved in Mark Twain's story of 'Pudd'nhead Wilson.'

Mr. Galton is himself an example of the heredity of genius, being a grandson of Erasmus Darwin, the author of 'Zoönomia,' and a cousin of Charles Darwin. Born near Birmingham in 1822, he studied some time at Birmingham Hospital and at King's College, London, with the intention of entering the medical profession; but abandoned this design, and was graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1844. He soon after made two journeys of exploration in Africa, the latter of which is described in his 'Narrative of an Explorer in South Africa' (1853). An indirect result of these journeys was 'The Art of Travel; or Shifts and Contrivances in Wild Countries' (1855).

'Meteorographica' (1863) is noteworthy as the first attempt ever made to represent in charts on a large scale the progress of the weather, and on account of the theory of anti-cyclones which Mr. Galton advances in it.

Although strictly scientific in aim and method, Mr. Galton's writings, particularly those on heredity, appeal to all classes of readers [Pg 6176]and possess a distinct literary value. One may admire in them simplicity and purity of diction, animation of style, fertility in the construction of theory, resourcefulness in the search for proof, and a fine enthusiasm for the subject under consideration.


From 'Hereditary Genius'

Every long-established race has necessarily its peculiar fitness for the conditions under which it has lived, owing to the sure operation of Darwin's law of natural selection. However, I am not much concerned for the present with the greater part of those aptitudes, but only with such as are available in some form or other of high civilization. We may reckon upon the advent of a time when civilization, which is now sparse and feeble and far more superficial than it is vaunted to be, shall overspread the globe. Ultimately it is sure to do so, because civilization is the necessary fruit of high intelligence when found in a social animal, and there is no plainer lesson to be read off the face of Nature than that the result of the operation of her laws is to evoke intelligence in connection with sociability. Intelligence is as much an advantage to an animal as physical strength or any other natural gift; and therefore, out of two varieties of any race of animal who are equally endowed in other respects, the most intelligent variety is sure to prevail in the battle of life. Similarly, among animals as intelligent as man, the most social race is sure to prevail, other qualities being equal.

Under even a very moderate form of material civilization, a vast number of aptitudes acquired through the "survivorship of the fittest" and the unsparing destruction of the unfit, for hundreds of generations, have become as obsolete as the old mail-coach habits and customs since the establishment of railroads, and there is not the slightest use in attempting to preserve them; they are hindrances, and not gains, to civilization. I shall refer to some of these a little further on, but I will first speak of the qualities needed in civilized society. They are, speaking generally, such as will enable a race to supply a large contingent to the various groups of eminent men of whom I have treated in my several chapters. Without going so far as to say that this very convenient test is perfectly fair, we are at all events justified in making considerable use of it, as I will do in the estimates I am about to give.[Pg 6177]

In comparing the worth of different races, I shall make frequent use of the law of deviation from an average, to which I have already been much beholden; and to save the reader's time and patience, I propose to act upon an assumption that would require a good deal of discussion to limit, and to which the reader may at first demur, but which cannot lead to any error of importance in a rough provisional inquiry. I shall assume that the intervals between the grades of ability are the same in all the races.... I know this cannot be strictly true, for it would be in defiance of analogy if the variability of all races were precisely the same; but on the other hand, there is good reason to expect that the error introduced by the assumption cannot sensibly affect the off-hand results for which alone I propose to employ it; moreover, the rough data I shall adduce will go far to show the justice of this expectation.

Let us then compare the negro race with the Anglo-Saxon, with respect to those qualities alone which are capable of producing judges, statesmen, commanders, men of literature and science, poets, artists, and divines. If the negro race in America had been affected by no social disabilities, a comparison of their achievements with those of the whites in their several branches of intellectual effort, having regard to the total number of their respective populations, would give the necessary information. As matters stand, we must be content with much rougher data.

First, the negro race has occasionally, but very rarely, produced such men as Toussaint L'Ouverture....

Secondly, the negro race is by no means wholly deficient in men capable of becoming good factors, thriving merchants, and otherwise considerably raised above the average of whites....

Thirdly, we may compare, but with much caution, the relative position of negroes in their native country with that of the travelers who visit them. The latter no doubt bring with them the knowledge current in civilized lands, but that is an advantage of less importance than we are apt to suppose. The native chief has as good an education in the art of ruling men as can be desired; he is continually exercised in personal government, and usually maintains his place by the ascendency of his character, shown every day over his subjects and rivals. A traveler in wild countries also fills to a certain degree the position of a commander, and has to confront native chiefs at every inhabited place. The result is familiar enough—the white traveler almost[Pg 6178] invariably holds his own in their presence. It is seldom that we hear of a white traveler meeting with a black chief whom he feels to be the better man. I have often discussed this subject with competent persons, and can only recall a few cases of the inferiority of the white man,—certainly not more than might be ascribed to an average actual difference of three grades, of which one may be due to the relative demerits of native education, and the remaining two to a difference in natural gifts.

Fourthly, the number among the negroes of those whom we should call half-witted men is very large. Every book alluding to negro servants in America is full of instances. I was myself much impressed by this fact during my travels in Africa. The mistakes the negroes made in their own matters were so childish, stupid, and simpleton-like as frequently to make me ashamed of my own species. I do not think it any exaggeration to say that their c is as low as our e, which would be a difference of two grades, as before. I have no information as to actual idiocy among the negroes—I mean, of course, of that class of idiocy which is not due to disease.

The Australian type is at least one grade below the African negro. I possess a few serviceable data about the natural capacity of the Australian, but not sufficient to induce me to invite the reader to consider them.

The average standard of the Lowland Scotch and the English North Country men is decidedly a fraction of a grade superior to that of the ordinary English, because the number of the former who attain to eminence is far greater than the proportionate number of their race would have led us to expect. The same superiority is distinctly shown by a comparison of the well-being of the masses of the population; for the Scotch laborer is much less of a drudge than the Englishman of the Midland counties—he does his work better, and "lives his life" besides. The peasant women of Northumberland work all day in the fields, and are not broken down by the work; on the contrary, they take a pride in their effective labor as girls, and when married they attend well to the comfort of their homes. It is perfectly distressing to me to witness the draggled, drudged, mean look of the mass of individuals, especially of the women, that one meets in the streets of London and other purely English towns. The conditions of their life seem too hard for their constitutions, and to be crushing them into degeneracy.[Pg 6179]

The ablest race of whom history bears record is unquestionably the ancient Greek, partly because their masterpieces in the principal departments of intellectual activity are still unsurpassed and in many respects unequaled, and partly because the population that gave birth to the creators of those masterpieces was very small. Of the various Greek sub-races, that of Attica was the ablest, and she was no doubt largely indebted to the following cause for her superiority: Athens opened her arms to immigrants, but not indiscriminately, for her social life was such that none but very able men could take any pleasure in it; on the other hand, she offered attractions such as men of the highest ability and culture could find in no other city. Thus by a system of partly unconscious selection she built up a magnificent breed of human animals, which in the space of one century—viz., between 530 and 430 B. C.—produced the following illustrious persons, fourteen in number:—

Statesmen and Commanders.—Themistocles (mother an alien), Miltiades, Aristides, Cimon (son of Miltiades), Pericles (son of Xanthippus, the victor at Mycale).

Literary and Scientific Men.—Thucydides, Socrates, Xenophon, Plato.

Poets.—Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes.


We are able to make a closely approximate estimate of the population that produced these men, because the number of the inhabitants of Attica has been a matter of frequent inquiry, and critics appear at length to be quite agreed in the general results.... The average ability of the Athenian race is, on the lowest possible estimate, very nearly two grades higher than our own—that is, about as much as our race is above that of the African negro. This estimate, which may seem prodigious to some, is confirmed by the quick intelligence and high culture of the Athenian commonalty, before whom literary works were recited, and works of art exhibited, of a far more severe character than could possibly be appreciated by the average of our race, the calibre of whose intellect is easily gauged by a glance at the contents of a railway book-stall.

We know, and may guess something more, of the reason why this marvelously gifted race declined. Social morality grew exceedingly lax; marriage became unfashionable, and was avoided; many of the more ambitious and accomplished women were[Pg 6180] avowed courtesans and consequently infertile, and the mothers of the incoming population were of a heterogeneous class. In a small sea-bordered country, where emigration and immigration are constantly going on, and where the manners are as dissolute as were those of Greece in the period of which I speak, the purity of a race would necessarily fail. It can be therefore no surprise to us, though it has been a severe misfortune to humanity, that the high Athenian breed decayed and disappeared; for if it had maintained its excellence, and had multiplied and spread over large countries, displacing inferior populations (which it well might have done, for it was exceedingly prolific), it would assuredly have accomplished results advantageous to human civilization, to a degree that transcends our powers of imagination.

If we could raise the average standard of our race only one grade, what vast changes would be produced! The number of men of natural gifts equal to those of the eminent men of the present day would be necessarily increased more than tenfold;... but far more important to the progress of civilization would be the increase in the yet higher orders of intellect. We know how intimately the course of events is dependent on the thoughts of a few illustrious men. If the first-rate men in the different groups had never been born, even if those among them who have a place in my appendices on account of their hereditary gifts had never existed, the world would be very different to what it is....

It seems to me most essential to the well-being of future generations, that the average standard of ability of the present time should be raised. Civilization is a new condition imposed upon man by the course of events, just as in the history of geological changes new conditions have continually been imposed on different races of animals. They have had the effect either of modifying the nature of the races through the process of natural selection, whenever the changes were sufficiently slow and the race sufficiently pliant, or of destroying them altogether, when the changes were too abrupt or the race unyielding. The number of the races of mankind that have been entirely destroyed under the pressure of the requirements of an incoming civilization, reads us a terrible lesson. Probably in no former period of the world has the destruction of the races of any animal whatever been effected over such wide areas, and with such startling rapidity, as in the case of savage man. In the North-American continent, in the West-Indian islands, in the Cape of Good Hope,[Pg 6181] in Australia, New Zealand, and Van Diemen's Land, the human denizens of vast regions have been entirely swept away in the short space of three centuries, less by the pressure of a stronger race than through the influence of a civilization they were incapable of supporting. And we too, the foremost laborers in creating this civilization, are beginning to show ourselves incapable of keeping pace with our own work. The needs of centralization, communication, and culture, call for more brains and mental stamina than the average of our race possess. We are in crying want for a greater fund of ability in all stations of life; for neither the classes of statesmen, philosophers, artisans, nor laborers are up to the modern complexity of their several professions. An extended civilization like ours comprises more interests than the ordinary statesmen or philosophers of our present race are capable of dealing with, and it exacts more intelligent work than our ordinary artisans and laborers are capable of performing. Our race is overweighted, and appears likely to be drudged into degeneracy by demands that exceed its powers....

When the severity of the struggle for existence is not too great for the powers of the race, its action is healthy and conservative; otherwise it is deadly, just as we may see exemplified in the scanty, wretched vegetation that leads a precarious existence near the summer snow line of the Alps, and disappears altogether a little higher up. We want as much backbone as we can get, to bear the racket to which we are henceforth to be exposed, and as good brains as possible to contrive machinery, for modern life to work more smoothly than at present. We can in some degree raise the nature of man to a level with the new conditions imposed upon his existence; and we can also in some degree modify the conditions to suit his nature. It is clearly right that both these powers should be exerted, with the view of bringing his nature and the conditions of his existence into as close harmony as possible.

In proportion as the world becomes filled with mankind, the relations of society necessarily increase in complexity, and the nomadic disposition found in most barbarians becomes unsuitable to the novel conditions. There is a most unusual unanimity in respect to the causes of incapacity of savages for civilization, among writers on those hunting and migratory nations who are brought into contact with advancing colonization, and perish, as they invariably do, by the contact. They tell us that the labor[Pg 6182] of such men is neither constant nor steady; that the love of a wandering, independent life prevents their settling anywhere to work, except for a short time, when urged by want and encouraged by kind treatment. Meadows says that the Chinese call the barbarous races on their borders by a phrase which means "hither and thither," "not fixed." And any amount of evidence might be adduced, to show how deeply Bohemian habits of one kind or another were ingrained in the nature of the men who inhabited most parts of the earth, now overspread by the Anglo-Saxon and other civilized races. Luckily there is still room for adventure, and a man who feels the cravings of a roving, adventurous spirit to be too strong for resistance, may yet find a legitimate outlet for it in the colonies, in the army, or on board ship. But such a spirit is, on the whole, an heirloom that brings more impatient restlessness and beating of the wings against cage bars, than persons of more civilized characters can readily comprehend, and it is directly at war with the more modern portion of our moral natures. If a man be purely a nomad, he has only to be nomadic and his instinct is satisfied; but no Englishmen of the nineteenth century are purely nomadic. The most so among them have also inherited many civilized cravings that are necessarily starved when they become wanderers, in the same way as the wandering instincts are starved when they are settled at home. Consequently their nature has opposite wants, which can never be satisfied except by chance, through some very exceptional turn of circumstances. This is a serious calamity; and as the Bohemianism in the nature of our race is destined to perish, the sooner it goes the happier for mankind. The social requirements of English life are steadily destroying it. No man who only works by fits and starts is able to obtain his living nowadays, for he has not a chance of thriving in competition with steady workmen. If his nature revolts against the monotony of daily labor, he is tempted to the public-house, to intemperance, and it may be to poaching, and to much more serious crime; otherwise he banishes himself from our shores. In the first case, he is unlikely to leave as many children as men of more domestic and marrying habits; and in the second case, his breed is wholly lost to England. By this steady riddance of the Bohemian spirit of our race, the artisan part of our population is slowly becoming bred to its duties, and the primary qualities of the typical modern British workman are already the very opposite of those of the nomad.[Pg 6183] What they are now was well described by Mr. Chadwick as consisting of "great bodily strength, applied under the command of a steady, persevering will; mental self-contentedness; impassibility to external irrelevant impressions, which carries them through the continued repetition of toilsome labor, 'steady as time.'"

It is curious to remark how unimportant to modern civilization has become the once famous and thoroughbred-looking Norman. The type of his features, which is probably in some degree correlated with his peculiar form of adventurous disposition, is no longer characteristic of our rulers, and is rarely found among celebrities of the present day; it is more often met with among the undistinguished members of highly born families, and especially among the less conspicuous officers of the army. Modern leading men in all paths of eminence, as may easily be seen in a collection of photographs, are of a coarser and more robust breed: less excitable and dashing, but endowed with far more ruggedness and real vigor. Such also is the case as regards the German portion of the Austrian nation....

Much more alien to the genius of an enlightened civilization than the nomadic habit is the impulsive and uncontrolled nature of the savage. A civilized man must bear and forbear; he must keep before his mind the claims of the morrow as clearly as those of the passing minute; of the absent as well as of the present. This is the most trying of the new conditions imposed on man by civilization, and the one that makes it hopeless for any but exceptional natures among savages to live under them. The instinct of a savage is admirably consonant with the needs of savage life; every day he is in danger through transient causes; he lives from hand to mouth, in the hour and for the hour, without care for the past or forethought for the future: but such an instinct is utterly at fault in civilized life. The half-reclaimed savage, being unable to deal with more subjects of consideration than are directly before him, is continually doing acts through mere maladroitness and incapacity, at which he is afterwards deeply grieved and annoyed. The nearer inducements always seem to him, through his uncorrected sense of moral perspective, to be incomparably larger than others of the same actual size but more remote; consequently, when the temptation of the moment has been yielded to and passed away, and its bitter result comes in its turn before the man, he is amazed and remorseful at his past weakness. It seems incredible that he should have[Pg 6184] done that yesterday which to-day seems so silly, so unjust, and so unkindly. The newly reclaimed barbarian, with the impulsive, unstable nature of the savage, when he also chances to be gifted with a peculiarly generous and affectionate disposition, is of all others the man most oppressed with the sense of sin.

Now, it is a just assertion, and a common theme of moralists of many creeds, that man, such as we find him, is born with an imperfect nature. He has lofty aspirations, but there is a weakness in his disposition which incapacitates him from carrying his nobler purposes into effect. He sees that some particular course of action is his duty, and should be his delight; but his inclinations are fickle and base, and do not conform to his better judgment. The whole moral nature of man is tainted with sin, which prevents him from doing the things he knows to be right.

The explanation I offer to this apparent anomaly seems perfectly satisfactory from a scientific point of view. It is neither more nor less than that the development of our nature, whether under Darwin's law of natural selection or through the effects of changed ancestral habits, has not yet overtaken the development of our moral civilization. Man was barbarous but yesterday, and therefore it is not to be expected that the natural aptitudes of his race should already have become molded into accordance with his very recent advance. We, men of the present centuries, are like animals suddenly transplanted among new conditions of climate and of food: our instincts fail us under the altered circumstances.

My theory is confirmed by the fact that the members of old civilizations are far less sensible than recent converts from barbarism, of their nature being inadequate to their moral needs. The conscience of a negro is aghast at his own wild, impulsive nature, and is easily stirred by a preacher; but it is scarcely possible to ruffle the self-complacency of a steady-going Chinaman.

The sense of original sin would show, according to my theory, not that man was fallen from high estate, but that he was rising in moral culture with more rapidity than the nature of his race could follow. My view is corroborated by the conclusion reached at the end of each of the many independent lines of ethnological research—that the human race were utter savages in the beginning; and that after myriads of years of barbarism, man has but very recently found his way into the paths of morality and civilization.

[Pg 6185]




rne Garborg is one of the most potent forces in the new school of Norwegian literature. The contemporary of Alexander Kielland, who is more widely known abroad, he is however the representative of a vastly different phase. Kielland's works, except for their setting, are the result of general European culture; whereas Garborg has laid the foundations of a literature essentially Norse.

The new literature of young Norway is a true exponent of its social conditions. The ferment of its strivings and its discontent permeates the whole people. Much of Garborg's work is the chronicle of this social unrest, particularly among the peasant classes, where he himself by birth belongs. In the reaction against the sentimental idealism of the older school, he is the pioneer who has blazed the paths. Where Björnson gives rose-colored pictures of what peasant life might be, Garborg with heavy strokes of terrible meaning draws the outline of what it is. His daring and directness of speech aroused a storm of opposition, and he has also been made to suffer in a material way for the courage of his opinions, in that the position which he had held in the government service since 1879 was taken from him as a consequence of his books.

Arne Garborg was born at Jæderen, in the southwestern part of Norway, January 1851. The circumstances of his life were humble, and all of his surroundings were meagre in the extreme. His father, a village schoolmaster, was a man of nervous, fanatical temperament, with whom religion was a mania. In the obscure little village where he lived, Garborg's boyhood was outwardly uneventful but inwardly filled with conflict. Brought up in an atmosphere of pietism, the natural reaction led him into a kind of romantic atheistic unbelief. In the turmoil of his mind, the battles were fought again and again, until at length he reached the middle ground of modern thought. His education was extremely desultory; but from the age of nine, when from the only models within his reach he wrote hymns and sermons, he showed a strong tendency for literature. He passed the required examinations for a school-teacher in 1870, and alternately taught and studied, until in 1875 he entered the University of Christiania. His life as a student was by no means smooth, but he persisted, in spite of poverty and indeed sometimes actual want.[Pg 6186]

He had previously, in Risör, published a Teacher's Journal (1871), a small paper dealing principally though not exclusively with school affairs; and a year later, in Tvedestrand, he established the Tvedestrand Post. This experience as county editor and printer had qualified him for newspaper work, and in 1877 he became connected with the Aftenbladet of Christiania. The same year he founded the Fedraheimen, "a weekly paper for the Norse people." This was really the beginning of his literary career, although besides his early enterprises in journalism he had as a student contributed occasional articles to the newspapers, and had already published his first book, a critical essay on Ibsen's 'Emperor and Galilean.'

The attempt made by Ivar Aasen to establish in Norway a national language through a normalization of the peasant dialects, found in Garborg one of its warmest supporters. Discarding Danish as a literary medium, he advocated the use of the strong Norse, and the Fedraheimen appeared as the organ of the new movement. Garborg wrote a book upon the subject in the year after the establishment of his journal, and ever since, by precept and practice, he has been the chief propagandist of the new speech.

His first novel, 'En Fritenkjar' (A Freethinker), appeared anonymously in the Fedraheimen in 1878. The subject of the story was one of the vital questions of the day, the conflict between iron-bound dogmatism and rational thought; a theme now threadbare with much handling, but then startlingly new. The author's early training and his own environment of intolerant theology supplied material for the story. The hero of the tale, the man who dared to think for himself, was looked upon as a criminal, to be ranked with house-breakers and thieves. The ostracism which he brought upon himself was but the just punishment for his crimes. The Freethinker, treated as a moral leper, is driven from his home and goes abroad to expiate his sin of unorthodoxy. In later years he returns to his native land, to find most of his acquaintances dead. Of his family only one still lives, and that is his son, who has become a clergyman!

Garborg's second romance, 'Bondestudentar' (Peasant Students) (1883), deals with a problem no less real. In Norway, although there is no rank of nobility, class distinctions are nevertheless strongly marked; and in this novel his pen is directed against the evils which result from the inordinate striving of the lower orders for a position to which they are unfitted both by nature and circumstances. This book, again, is to a degree autobiographical; for Garborg, as has been said, is himself peasant, and he has fought the fight and suffered the anguish of the new culture attained with incalculable sacrifice. 'Peasant Students' is undoubtedly his greatest work. Nowhere else has he indicated more clearly his seriousness of purpose, or worked [Pg 6187] out his theme with more effectiveness. The hero, Daniel Braut, is the representative of the ideal student, a son of the people who shall strive for "poetry and the soul" and introduce the elements of culture among his class. Manual labor is his aversion; and at last, forced by the weakness of his nature and the necessity of his poverty, he goes over to the ranks of philistinism, marries a woman of property, and studies theology. Both books are stories of high ideals and humiliating compromises. The author's pessimism is in the ascendant, and in the end the lower nature conquers.

In 'Mannfolk' (1886) he takes up a different theme, the relation of the sexes, a question which he treats with startling frankness. Garborg is a realist in so far that he prefers to depict life as it is, well knowing that fiction cannot approach truth in point of interest. He bears true testimony of what he sees and knows, but his realism is very far removed from the naturalism of the French school.

Following 'Peasant Students' appeared in 1884 'Forteljinger og Sogar' (Narratives and Tales), a volume of stories dealing sometimes with subjects generally proscribed. Of his other works the most important are the narrative 'Hjaa ho Mor' (With Mama), 'Kolbotnbrev og andre Skildringar' (Kolbotn Letters and Other Sketches: 1890), the novels 'Trætte Mænd' (Weary Souls: 1891), 'Fred' (Peace: 1893), and the drama 'Uforsonlige' (The Irreconcilables: 1888).

After being deprived of his government position upon the publication of 'Mannfolk,' Arne Garborg retired with his wife and child into the solitude of the mountains, where for two years he lived and wrote in his sæter hut; but at last, overcome by the loneliness of this isolated life, he left Norway and settled in Germany.


From 'A Freethinker'

The noise of carriage wheels increased. The carriage drove up before the door, and all the people of the parsonage sprang up in joy. Ragna however reddened somewhat. A minute after, both Hans Vangen and Eystein Hauk stood in the room. Hans embraced his parents and his sister, and on the surface was happy; Hauk greeted them kindly and warmly like an acquaintance of the family, and bowed deep before Ragna.

"A good evening to you, and a merry Christmas-time!" called out Hans. "Here is the great foreign traveler and wise man Eystein Hauk, and here"—he pointed to the chaplain—"is the strict man of God, Balle; chaplain now, pastor later on, finally[Pg 6188] bishop; a well-founded theologian and a true support to the Church in these distracted times. It will be well with you if you do not fall into a quarrel about belief."

There was talking and laughing; the pastor's wife poured out wine; the new-comers sat down; the table was quickly set, and then they went into the dining-room, where Christmas grits and Christmas fish stood smoking in a great dish and "awaited the help of the people." The pastor read a blessing, which was not listened to with any further devoutness. Ragna and Balle sat for the most part and looked at Hauk, but Hauk looked at Ragna, and the pastor's wife said of Hans how he had grown during the past year, and how his good looks and his affability had improved.

The one who talked most at the table was Hans. Hauk was rather silent. The pastor asked him in a few words about his travels abroad; he answered promptly but shortly, and often in such a cleverly turned way of speaking that it was difficult to find out his real meaning.

The chaplain, too, would have liked to hear about foreign lands. What was the state of the Christian religion in France?—Well, it was various. It was there as here: there were people of all sorts.—But was not the great majority unchristian?—Well, of enlightened and learned people it was, to be sure, the smallest part who strictly could be called Christians.—But with morals? Was there not a great deal of social viciousness and impropriety?—Well, if it were only considered under certain conditions, in certain cities, it was probably there as in other places.—Indeed!—Balle, rebuffed, looked away from Hauk, and did not talk with him afterward.

When they left the table there was set out dessert, with wine, and pipes were also brought. The conversation went on as before, but it was none the less Hans who talked most. He was a fresh, happy fellow. His mother sat and found pleasure in looking at him. The pastor and Balle sat and smoked; glanced now and then at Hauk, who was a little way off at a smaller table, talking small-talk with Ragna. The pastor had become more silent, and Balle looked as if he little liked the state of things, although he tried to control himself. Hans understood this, and laughed.

"Do not bother yourself about Hauk," said he. "He has been in Paris and has learned French manners, and consequently[Pg 6189] he likes women's society best; but even if he is a little grand, he will quickly become Norse again, keep to his pipe and his glass, and let the women take care of themselves."

Balle bit his lips; the pastor smiled a little. "Young people are more bashful here in Norway," said he. "That is true," he continued. "You have read the new novel 'Virginia,' that the people have waited so long for?"

"'Virginia'?—pfh! that is a vile book," answered Hans, and smiled.

"Vile?" said the chaplain questioningly.

"It is a scandalous book! says Christiania. It has set the whole town on end. It works destruction upon marriage, they say; upon morals, upon society. I have never seen Christiania so moral as in these days."

"H'm!" said Balle; "Christiania is on the whole a moral town."

"It is at this time! The young poets are happy for all the days of their life. The men forbid the women to read the book, and the women forbid their daughters—"

"And so they all read it together?" said the pastor.

"Certainly! The women read it and say, 'Paugh! the poets do not know life.' The daughters, the poor dear angels, they read it and say, 'Dear me, is that anything? Have we not read worse books than that?'"

"But tell us, then, what the book is about?" said the pastor.

"It is about—that married people shall love each other," said Hans stoutly.

"Oho! free love!" called out the chaplain.

"Certainly! Free love! 'All true love is free,' says the fool-hardy fellow of a poet."

"Do you hear that, pastor?" said Balle.

"If our own poets also take it up, let us have a care! Then he recognizes 'free thought'; and what then?" asked the chaplain.

"That is true," replied Hans. "'All thoughts are free,' he says, 'and not merely duty free.'"

"Of course he does not believe in God?"

"I doubt it; but even that is not the worst."

"Not the—"

"No, for there are many people in Christiania who do not believe in God. But these poets do not even believe in the[Pg 6190] Devil!" Hans laughed like a child at the face that the chaplain made; the pastor looked severely at Hans, who cast down his eyes and was silent.

"Worthless fruit," sighed the chaplain. "Our poets have hitherto kept themselves free from these godless thoughts, even if they have not always had the right opinion of Christianity, and particularly have taken up with the confusions of Grundtvigianism; but now, now it has taken another path. Do you see the spirit of revolt, pastor? Do you hear how they rise and tear asunder all its bonds; how opposition arises against all that is high and holy, and they storm even against the foundations of society?"

"May God help us!" sighed the pastor. "It does not look right. Is there anything new in the newspapers?" he asked, as if to get away from a conversation that plainly oppressed him.

Hans ran out, and came quickly in again with the newspapers. Such of these as were French he took for himself, the rest he gave to Balle.

"Do you see, father?" said Hans with the mien of a schoolmaster. "If you will have politics, you must turn to France. All other politics are merely an echo of theirs. France is Europe. France is the world!"

"Do you hear, pastor?" said Balle. "Do you hear how the French spirit spreads and increases in power? the French spirit, which has always been one and the same with rationalism and revolution?"

"Here is an article that will do Balle good!" called out Hans. "It does not assume the good tone or prattle tediously like our Norse newspaper articles. There is fire and burning in it; you recognize something like a clenched fist back of the words, prepared for everything upon which it may hit. That is what I call politics!"

"Oh, you are a foolish fellow," said the pastor. "Come, out with it!"

Hans read an article against the priestly party or clericals, and the piece was severely radical. It was particularly to the effect that the clergy and Christianity must be ousted from the public schools, if thinkers were to be really for a genuine and sound popular education. Christianity had already done what it could do; hereafter it lay merely in the way. "Freedom and[Pg 6191] self-government" was the war-cry now, for this generation. They might be fair enough, many of the dreams which the new time compelled us to abandon; but light and life and truth were ten times fairer than all dreams.

The chaplain sat and sulked, and looked into one of the Norse papers. "Here stands the same," said he. "No, but—? Yes, the same, and yet not the same. The Norse paper has cut out or changed all that treats directly of Christianity; the rest is the same."

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed Hans.

"Yes, they are as wise as serpents," sighed the chaplain. "Here may plainly be seen how the matter stands. It is hidden away in politics, but the spirit they cannot conceal; it is precisely the same French spirit of hell, the spirit of revolt, the spirit of the Devil, which lifts itself against even the living God. Do you see that, pastor? Do you see how wholly these 'freedom politics,' as they are called, are held up and impregnated with this godless spirit of revolt? In truth, it becomes more and more clear that it is the part of us, the watchmen of Zion,—more now than ever before,—to watch and pray."

The pastor sat and meditated. He looked oppressed and sorrowful. It was too quiet for Hans: he moved away to Hauk and Ragna. The chaplain appeared to like this, and became more calm.

"Dear pastor," said he after a while, "just as surely as there is truth in our work,—yes, this question presses itself more and more in upon me,—as surely as there is truth in our work: that we shall watch over God's house and people,—we cannot remain silent and be calm when we see a spirit like this coming bearing in upon us—a spirit which is directly founded upon heathenism, and so plainly shows its Satanic origin. Shall it be? Can we answer for that before our Lord and God?"

The pastor was silent. He was in great doubt and uncertainty of mind. "I do not believe that it is right to bring politics into the house of God," said he at last.

"Politics, no! But this is not politics; this is a spirit of the times, a view of life which takes the outward garb of politics, but at the bottom is merely a new outbreak of the same old heathenism that the Church at all times has had to contend with. I, for my part, do not believe that I can keep silent with a quiet conscience."[Pg 6192]

The pastor held his peace and thought. "This is a hard question," he said finally. "May our Lord give us wisdom!"

"Amen," said the chaplain....

That night the old pastor did not sleep well. He walked up and down his chamber and thought. "When it comes to the point," said he to himself, "Balle is right; there is something bad and evil in the spirit of the time; there is something devilish. Merely look, now, at this Eystein Hauk, this clever fine fellow: he is not to be got at. He is frozen to ice and hardened to steel, slippery and smooth as a serpent. There came such an uncanny spirit from him that he made me downright sick: no respect, no veneration even for his own father; God knows how he can hold fast to his Christian faith. They call it freedom, humanity; but it is not that. It is hate, venom, bad blood. They will tear from them all bonds, as Balle says, raise a revolt—revolt against all that is beautiful and good, against God, against belief. H'm! Build the State, this whole earthly life, upon a heathen foundation! Sever connection with Christianity, cast the Church away from them like old trash. That is terrible! And free love, free thought—the Christian religion out of the schools—no! that is Satan himself who rages. Free thoughts in my time were not so: they were warm and beautiful; there was heart in them; they made us good and happy." He shook himself, as if to throw off a chill. Should one be silent at such things? Should one look quietly on while this evil spirit eats itself in among the people? or should one, like a disciple of God, lift up the sword of the Word and the Spirit against this poisonous basilisk?

He read in the Bible and in Luther. Then he got up again and walked. The clock struck hour after hour, but the old man did not hear it. He thought only of the heavy responsibility. Was it not to profane the house of God and the holy office, to drag the struggle and strife of the day into it? Was he not set to watch over word and teaching, but not to be a judge in the world's disputes? But of his flock, the people of the Church, the Bride of Christ, whom he should watch, but who stood in the midst of a wicked world, and whose souls were harmed when such evil gusts blew? Would not every soul at the Judgment Day be demanded at his hands? And was he a good shepherd, who indeed kept watch against the wolf when the wolf came having on his right garb, but looked on and was silent when he came[Pg 6193] clothed in sheep's garments and pretended to belong among the good? He read anew in Luther. At last he knelt down and prayed for a long time, and ended with a fervent and heartfelt "Our Father."

Then he arose as if freed from doubt, looked meekly up to heaven, and said, "As thou wilt, O Lord!" He seated himself in his arm-chair, weary but happy, and fell asleep for a while. Presently, however, the day grew gray in the east and he awoke. He read the morning prayers to himself, chose his text, and thought about the sermon. When the bell began to ring he went to church. He was pale, but calm and kindly. The farmers looked at him and greeted him more warmly than usual. The pastor's wife and Ragna came shortly after; Hans and Eystein did not arrive at the church until the pastor stood in the pulpit.

The Christmas sermon was fervid and good. He spoke about the angels' song, "Peace on earth." They had seldom heard the old man preach so well. But at the end came a turn in the thought that caused some astonishment. It was about politics.

"Dear Christians," he said, "how is it in our days with 'peace on earth'? Ah, my brothers, we know that all too well. Peace has gone from us. It has vanished like a beautiful evening cloud. Evil powers rise up in these hours. The Devil is abroad, and tempts anew mankind to eat of the tree of knowledge and to tear themselves loose from God. Take heed, take heed, dear brothers! Take heed of the false prophets, who proclaim a new gospel and promise you 'freedom' and 'enlightenment,' and all that is good,—yes, promise you righteousness and power, if you will eat of the forbidden tree. They give themselves out for sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. They promise you freedom, but they give you thraldom, the thraldom of sin, which is the worst of all. They promise you blessings and joy, but they steal you away from Him who alone has blessings and freedom for our poor race. They promise you security and defense against all tyranny and oppression, but they give you gladly into his power who is the father of all tyranny and of all evil; he who is the destroyer of man from the beginning. Dear Christians, let us watch and pray! Let us prove the spirit, whether it is from God! Let us harden our ears and our hearts against false voices and magic songs that deceive, which come to us out of the dark chasms and abysses in this wicked world![Pg 6194] Let us be fearful of this wild and sinful thought of freedom, that from Adam down has been the deep and true source of all our woe! Let us pray for 'peace on earth,' for only then can our Lord God have consideration for mankind." With this he ended his sermon.

Translated for 'A Library of the World's Best Literature,' by William H. Carpenter

[Pg 6195]




amlin Garland is a favorable example of a class of young writers which is coming to the fore in the Middle West of the United States,—fresh, original, full of faith and energy, with a robust and somewhat aggressive Americanism. In native endowment he is a strong man, and his personal character is manly, clean, and high. At times, carelessness of technique and lack of taste can be detected in his writings, but his strength and spirit make amends for these defects.

Hamlin Garland Hamlin Garland

Mr. Garland was born September 16th, 1860, in the La Crosse Valley, Wisconsin. His family is of Scotch descent,—sturdy farmer folk, remarkable for their physical powers. His maternal grandfather was an Adventist, with the touch of mysticism that word implies. Garland was reared in the picturesque coulé country (French coulée, a dry gulch); living in various Western towns, one of them being the Quaker community of Hesper, Iowa. His early education was received from the local schools; the unconscious assimilation of the Western ways came while he rode horses, herded cattle, and led the wholesome, simple open-air life of the middle-class people. Some years were spent in a small seminary at Osage, Wisconsin, whence he was graduated at twenty-one years of age. His kin moved to Dakota, but Hamlin faced Eastward, eager to see the world. Two years of travel and teaching in Illinois found him in 1883 "holding down" a Dakota claim—the only result of the land boom being a rich field of literary ore. Then in 1884 he went to Boston, made his headquarters at the Public Library, read diligently, taught literature and elocution in the School of Oratory, and became one of the literary workers there, remaining until 1891. Since then he has lectured much throughout the country, and has settled in Chicago, his summer home being at West Salem, Wisconsin, in the beautiful coulé region of his boyhood.

Mr. Garland's main work is in fiction, but he has also tried his hand at verse and the essay. His volume 'Crumbling Idols,' published in 1894, a series of audacious papers in which the doctrine of realism is cried up and the appeal to past literary canons made a [Pg 6196]mock of, called out critical abuse and ridicule, and no doubt shows a lack of perspective. Yet the book is racy and stimulating in the extreme. The volume of poetry, 'Prairie Songs' (1893), has the merit of dealing picturesquely and at first hand with Western scenery and life, and contains many a stroke of imaginative beauty. Of the half-dozen books of tales and longer stories, 'Main-Traveled Roads,' Mr. Garland's first collection of short stories, including work as striking as anything he has done, gives vivid pastoral pictures of the Mississippi Valley life. 'A Little Norsk' (1893), along with its realism in sketching frontier scenes, possesses a fine romantic flavor. And 'Rose of Dutcher's Coolly' (1895), decidedly his strongest full-length fiction, is a delineation of Wisconsin rustic and urban life, including a study of Chicago, daringly unconventional, but strong, earnest, evidently drawn from the author's deepest experiences and convictions. Other books of fiction are 'Jason Edwards,' 'A Member of the Third House,' 'A Spoil of Office,' and 'Prairie Folks.'

Mr. Garland's work in its increasing command of art, its understanding of and sincere sympathy with the life of the great toiling population of the Middle West, and its unmistakable qualities of independence, vigor, and ideality, is worthy of warm praise. A rich, large nature is felt beneath his fiction. His literary creed is "truth for truth's sake," and his conception of his art is broad enough to include love of country and belief in his fellow-man.


From 'Prairie Songs.' Copyright 1893 by Hamlin Garland, and published by Stone & Kimball

Oh, to be lost in the wind and the sun,
To be one with the wind and the stream!
With never a care while the waters run,
With never a thought in my dream.
To be part of the robin's lilting call
And part of the bobolink's rhyme.
Lying close to the shy thrush singing alone,
And lapped in the cricket's chime!
Oh, to live with these beautiful ones!
With the lust and the glory of man
Lost in the circuit of springtime suns—
Submissive as earth and part of her plan;
To lie as the snake lies, content in the grass!
To drift as the clouds drift, effortless, free,
Glad of the power that drives them on,
With never a question of wind or sea.

[Pg 6197]


From 'Rose of Dutcher's Coolly.' Copyright 1895 by Hamlin Garland, and published by Stone & Kimball

As the winter deepened, Rose narrowed the circle of conquest. She no longer thought of conquering the world; it came to be the question of winning the approbation of one human soul. That is, she wished to win the approbation of the world in order that Warren Mason might smile and say "Well done!"

She did not reach this state of mind smoothly and easily. On the contrary, she had moments when she rebelled at the thought of any man's opinion being the greatest good in the world to her. She rebelled at the implied inferiority of her position in relation to him, and also at the physical bondage implied. In the morning, when she was strong, in the midst of some social success, when people swarmed about her and men bent deferentially, then she held herself like a soldier on a tower, defying capture.

But at night, when the lights were all out, when she felt her essential loneliness and weakness and need, when the world seemed cold and cruel and selfish,—then it seemed as if the sweetest thing in the universe would be to have him open his arms and say "Come!"

There would be rest there, and repose. His judgment, his keen wit, his penetrating, powerful influence, made him seem a giant to her; a giant who disdained effort and gave out an appearance of indifference and lassitude. She had known physical giants in her neighborhood, who spoke in soft drawl and slouched lazily in action, but who were invincible when aroused.

She imagined she perceived in Mason a mental giant, who assumed irresolution and weakness for reasons of his own. He was always off duty when she saw him, and bent more upon rest than a display of power. Once or twice she saw him roused, and it thrilled her; that measured lazy roll of voice changed to a quick, stern snarl, the brows lowered, and the big plump face took on battle lines. It was like a seemingly shallow pool, suddenly disclosed to be of soundless depths by a wind of passion.

The lake had been the refuge of the distracted and restless girl. She went to it often in the autumn days, for it rested her from the noise of grinding wheels, and screams, and yells.[Pg 6198] Its smooth rise and fall, its sparkle of white-caps, its sailing gulls, filled her with delicious pleasure. It soothed her and it roused her also. It gave her time to think.

The street disturbed her, left her purposeless and powerless; but out there where the ships floated like shadows, and shadows shifted like flame, and the wind was keen and sweet,—there she could get her mental breath again. She watched it change to wintry desolation, till it grew empty of vessels and was lonely as the Arctic Sea; and always it was grand and thought-inspiring.

She went out one day in March, when the home longing was upon her and when it seemed that the city would be her death. She was tired of her food, tired of Mary, tired of her room. Her forehead was knotted tensely with pain of life and love—

She cried out with sudden joy, for she had never seen the lake more beautiful. Near the shore a great mass of churned and heaving ice and snow lay like a robe of shaggy fur. Beyond this the deep water spread, a vivid pea-green broken by wide irregular strips of dark purple. In the open water by the wall a spatter of steel blue lay like the petals of some strange flower, scattered upon the green.

Great splendid clouds developed, marvelously like the clouds of June, making the girl's heart swell with memories of summer. They were white as wool, these mountainous clouds, and bottomed in violet, and as they passed the snow-fields they sent down pink-purple misty shadows, which trailed away in splendor toward the green which flamed in bewildering beauty beyond. The girl sat like one in a dream, while the wind blew the green and purple of the outer sea into fantastic, flitting forms which dazzled her eyes like the stream of mingled banners.

Each form seemed more beautiful than the preceding one; each combination had such unearthly radiance, her heart ached with exquisite sorrow to see it vanish. The girl felt that spring was coming on the wing of the southern wind, and the desire to utter her passion grew almost into pain.

It had other moods, this mighty spread of water. It could be angry, dangerous. Sometimes it rolled sullenly, and convoluted in oily surges beneath its coverlid of snow, like a bed of monstrous serpents. Sometimes the leaden sky shut down over it, and from the desolate northeast a snow-storm rushed, hissing and howling. Sometimes it slumbered for days, quiet as a sleeping[Pg 6199] boa, then awoke and was a presence and a voice in the night, fit to make the hardiest tremble.

Rose saw it when it was roused, but she had yet to see it in a frenzy. The knowledge of its worst came to her early in May, just before her return to the Coulé.

The day broke with the wind in the northeast. Rose, lying in her bed, could hear the roar of the lake; never before had its voice penetrated so far. She sprang up and dressed, eager to see it in such a mood. Mary responded sleepily to her call, saying the lake would be there after breakfast.

Rose did not regret her eagerness, though it was piercingly cold and raw. The sea was already terrific. Its spread of tawny yellow showed how it had reached down and laid hold on the sand of its bed. There were oily splotches of plum color scattered over it where the wind blew it smooth, and it reached to the wild east sky, cold, desolate, destructive.

It had a fierce, breathing snarl like a monster at meat. It leaped against the sea-wall like a rabid tiger, its sleek and spotted hide rolling. Every surge sent a triangular sheet of foam twenty-five feet above the wall, yellow and white and shadowed with dull blue; and the wind caught it as it rose, and its crest burst into great clouds of spray, which sailed across the streets and dashed along the walk like rain, making the roadway like a river; while the main body of each upleaping wave, falling back astride the wall, crashed like the fall of glass, and the next wave met it with a growl of thunderous rage, striking it with concave palm with a sound like a cannon's exploding roar.

Out of the appalling obscurity to the north, frightened ships scudded at intervals, with bare masts bending like fire-trimmed pines. They hastened like the homing pigeons, which do not look behind. The helmsmen stood grimly at their wheels, with eyes on the harbor ahead.

The girl felt it all as no one native to the sea can possibly do. It seemed as if the bounds of the flood had been overcome, and that it was about to hurl itself upon the land. The slender trees, standing deep in the swash of water, bowed like women in pain; the wall was half hidden, and the flood and the land seemed mingled in battle.

Rose walked along the shore, too much excited to go back to her breakfast. At noon she ate lunch hurriedly and returned to the shore. There were hundreds of people coming and going[Pg 6200] along the drive; young girls shrieking with glee, as the sailing clouds of spray fell upon them. Rose felt angry to think they could be so silly in face of such dreadful power.

She came upon Mason, dressed in a thick mackintosh coat, taking notes rapidly in a little book. He did not look up, and she passed him, wishing to speak, yet afraid to speak. Near him a young man was sketching.

Mason stood like a rock in his long, close-fitting rain coat, while she was blown nearly off her feet by the blast. She came back against the wind, feeling her soul's internal storm rising. It seemed quite like a proposal of marriage to go up and speak to him—yet she could not forego the pleasure.

He did not see her until she came into his lee; then he smiled, extending his hand. She spoke first:—

"May I take shelter here?"

His eyes lightened with a sudden tender humor.

"Free anchorage," he said, and drew her by the hand closer to his shoulder. It was a beautiful moment to her, and a dangerous one to him. He took refuge in outside matters.

"How does that strike your inland eyes?" He pointed to the north.

"It's awful. It's like the anger of God." She spoke into his bowed ear.

"Please don't think I'm reporting it," he explained. "I'm only making a few notes about it for an editorial on the need of harbors."

Each moment the fury increased, the waves deepened. The commotion sank down amid the sands of the deeper inshore water, and it boiled like milk. Splendid colors grew into it near at hand; the winds tore at the tops of the waves, and wove them into tawny banners, which blurred the air like blown sand. On the horizon the waves leaped in savage ranks, clutching at the sky like insane sea monsters,—frantic, futile.

"I've seen the Atlantic twice during a gale," shouted the artist to a companion, "but I never saw anything more awful than this. These waves are quicker and higher. I don't see how a vessel could live in it if caught broadside."

"It's the worst I ever saw here."

"I'm going down to the south side: would you like to go?" Mason asked of Rose.

"I would indeed," she replied.[Pg 6201]

Back from the lake shore the wind was less powerful but more uncertain. It came in gusts which nearly upturned the street cars. Men and women scudded from shelter to shelter, like beleaguered citizens avoiding cannon shots.

"What makes our lake so terrible," said Mason in the car, "is the fact that it has a smooth shore—no indentations, no harbors. There is only one harbor here at Chicago, behind the breakwater, and every vessel in mid-lake must come here. Those flying ships are seeking safety here like birds. The harbor will be full of disabled vessels."

As they left the car, a roaring gust swept around a twenty-story building with such power [that] Rose would have been taken off her feet had not Mason put his arms about her shoulders.

"You're at a disadvantage," he said, "with skirts." He knew she prided herself on her strength, and he took no credit to himself for standing where she fell.

It was precisely as if they were alone together; the storm seemed to wall them in, and his manner was more intimate than ever before. It was in very truth the first time they had been out together, and also it was the only time he had assumed any physical care of her. He had never asserted his greater muscular power and mastery of material things, and she was amazed to see that his lethargy was only a mood. He could be alert and agile at need. It made his cynicism appear to be a mood also; at least, it made her heart wondrously light to think so.

They came upon the lake shore again, near the Auditorium. The refuge behind the breakwater was full of boats, straining at anchor, rolling, pitching, crashing together. Close about the edge of the breakwater, ships were rounding hurriedly, and two broken vessels lay against the shore, threshing up and down in the awful grasp of the breakers. Far down toward the south the water dashed against the spiles, shooting fifty feet above the wall, sailing like smoke, deluging the street, and lashing against the row of buildings across the way.

Mason's keen eye took in the situation:—

"Every vessel that breaks anchor is doomed! Nothing can keep them from going on shore. Doubtless those two schooners lost anchor—that one there is dragging anchor." He said suddenly, "She is shifting position, and see that hulk—"

Rose for a moment could not see it. She lay flat on her side, a two-master, her sails flapping and floating on the waves. Her[Pg 6202] anchor still held, but she had listed her cargo, careened, and so lay helpless.

"There are men on it!" cried some one. "Three men—don't you see them? The water goes over them every time!"

"Sure enough! I wonder if they are going to let them drown, here in the harbor!"

Rose grew numb with horror. On the rounded side of the floating hulk three men were clinging, looking like pegs of tops. They could only be seen at intervals, for the water broke clear over their heads. It was only when one of them began to move to and fro that the mighty crowd became certainly aware of life still clinging to the hull. It was an awful thing to stand helplessly by and see those brave men battle, but no life-boat or tug could live out there. In the station, men wept and imprecated in their despair; twice they tried to go to the rescue of the beleaguered men, but could not reach them.

Suddenly a flare of yellow spread out on the wave. A cry arose:—

"She's breaking up!"

Rose seized Mason's arm in a frenzy of horror.

"O God! can't somebody help them?"

"They're out of reach!" said Mason solemnly. And then the throng was silent.

"They are building a raft!" shouted a man with a glass, speaking at intervals for the information of all. "One man is tying a rope to planks; ... he is helping the other men; ... he has his little raft nearly ready; ... they are crawling toward him—"

"Oh, see them!" exclaimed Rose. "Oh, the brave men! There! they are gone—the vessel has broken up."

On the wave nothing now lived but a yellow spread of lumber; the glass revealed no living thing.

Mason turned to Rose with a grave and tender look.

"You have seen human beings engulfed like flies—"

"No! no! There they are!" shouted a hundred voices, as if in answer to Mason's thought.

Thereafter the whole great city seemed to be watching those specks of human life, drifting toward almost certain death upon the breakwater of the south shore. For miles the beach was clustered black with people. They stood there, it seemed for hours, watching the slow approach of that tiny raft. Again and again[Pg 6203] the waves swept over it, and each time that indomitable man rose from the flood and was seen to pull his companions aboard.

Other vessels drifted upon the rocks. Other steamers rolled heavily around the long breakwater, but nothing now distracted the gaze of the multitude from this appalling and amazing struggle against death. Nothing? No; once and only once did the onlookers shift their intent gaze, and that was when a vessel passed the breakwater and went sailing toward the south through the fleet of anchored, straining, agonized ships. At first no one paid much attention to this late-comer till Mason lifted his voice.

"By Heaven, the man is sailing!"

It was true; steady, swift, undeviating, the vessel headed through the fleet. She did not drift nor wander nor hesitate. She sailed as if the helmsman, with set teeth, were saying:—

"By God! If I must die on the rocks, I'll go to my death the captain of my vessel!"

And so with wheel in his hand and epic oaths in his mouth, he sailed directly into the long row of spiles, over which the waves ran like hell-hounds; where half a score of wrecks lay already churning into fragments in the awful tumult.

The sailing vessel seemed not to waver, nor seek nor dodge—seemed rather to choose the most deadly battle-place of waves and wall.

"God! but that's magnificent of him!" Mason said to himself.

Rose held her breath, her face white and set with horror.

"Oh, must he die?"

"There is no hope for him. She will strike in a moment—she strikes!—she is gone!"

The vessel entered the gray confusion of the breakers and struck the piles like a battering-ram; the waves buried her from sight; then the recoil flung her back; for the first time she swung broadside to the storm. The work of the helmsman was over. She reeled—resisted an instant, then submitted to her fate, crumbled against the pitiless wall like paper, and thereafter was lost to sight.

This dramatic and terrible scene had held the attention of the onlookers—once more they searched for the tiny raft. It was nearing the lake wall at another furious point of contact. An innumerable crowd spread like a black robe over the shore, waiting to see the tiny float strike.[Pg 6204]

A hush fell over every voice. Each soul was solemn as if facing the Maker of the world. Out on the point, just where the doomed sailors seemed like to strike, there was a little commotion. A tiny figure was seen perched on one of the spiles. Each wave, as it towered above him, seemed ready to sweep him away, but each time he bowed his head and seemed to sweep through the gray wall. He was a negro, and he held a rope in his hands.

As they comprehended his danger the crowd cheered him, but in the thunder of the surf no human voice could avail. The bold negro could not cry out, he could only motion; but the brave man on the raft saw his purpose—he was alone with the shipwrecked ones.

In they came, lifted and hurled by a prodigious swell. They struck the wall just beneath the negro and disappeared beneath the waves.

All seemed over, and some of the spectators fell weeping; others turned away.

Suddenly the indomitable commander of the raft rose, then his companions, and then it was perceived that he had bound them all to the raft.

The negro flung his rope and one man caught at it, but it was swept out of reach on a backward-leaping billow. Again they came in, their white, strained, set faces and wild eyes turned to the intrepid rescuer. Again they struck, and this time the negro caught and held one of the sailors, held him while the foam fell away, and the succeeding wave swept him over the spiles to safety. Again the resolute man flung his noose and caught the second sailor, whose rope was cut by the leader, the captain, who was last to be saved.

As the negro came back, dragging his third man over the wall, a mighty cry went up, a strange, faint, multitudinous cry, and the negro was swallowed up in the multitude.

Mason turned to Rose and spoke: "Sometimes men seem to be worth while!"

[Pg 6205]




ritics agree in placing the novels of Mrs. Gaskell on a level with the works of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronté. It is more than probable that future generations will turn to her stories for correct pictures of simple every-day life that must fade in the swift succession of years. She has been compared to a naturalist who knows intimately the flora and fauna of his native heath.

Elizabeth S. Gaskell Elizabeth S. Gaskell

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born in Chelsea, England, September 29th, 1810, the daughter of William Stevenson, a literary man, who was keeper of the records of the Treasury. She lived with her aunt at Knutsford in Cheshire, was sent to a private school in Stratford-on-Avon, and visited London and Edinburgh, where her beauty was much admired. In 1832 she was married to the Rev. William Gaskell, minister of a Unitarian chapel in Manchester. Mrs. Gaskell did not begin to write until she had reached middle age, and then chiefly to distract her thoughts after the death of their only son in 1844. Her first book, 'Mary Barton,' published anonymously in 1848, achieved extraordinary success. This was a "novel with a purpose," for Mrs. Gaskell believed that the hostility between employers and employed, which constantly disturbed the manufacturing beehive of Manchester, was caused by mutual ignorance. She therefore set herself the task of depicting faithfully the lives of the people around her. It must be remembered, too, that the social types chosen by her were at that moment peculiarly interesting to a public weary of the novel of fashionable high life. The story provoked much public discussion; and among other critics, the social economist Mr. W. R. Greg, in his 'Essay on Mary Barton,' published in 1849, took the part of the manufacturer. 'Mary Barton' has been translated into French, German, and other languages, including Hungarian and Finnish. The story has for its central theme the gradual degeneration of John Barton, a workman who has a passionate hatred of the classes above him, and who, embittered by poverty and the death of his son and wife, joins the [Pg 6206] law-breakers of the town, and finally murders Henry Corson, a master manufacturer. 'North and South,' published in 1855, was written from the point of view of the masters, an admirable contrast to Barton being found in Thornton, the hero of this novel.

In 1850, when Dickens was about to establish Household Words, he invited Mrs. Gaskell to contribute. This magazine contained her story 'Lizzie Leigh' and those immortal pictures of village life known as 'Cranford.' Mrs. Gaskell's other novels are: 'Ruth,' the tragical story of a pretty young milliner's apprentice; 'Sylvia's Lovers,' whose scene is Monkhaven (Whitby), at the end of the last century; 'Cousin Phillis,' a simple story of a farmer's daughter, which appeared first in the Cornhill Magazine in 1863-64; and 'Wives and Daughters,' also contributed to the Cornhill, and left unfinished by her death in Manchester, November 12th, 1865. By many persons the last novel is considered her best work, owing to its strength of characterization. Molly Gibson, the heroine; Cynthia, a heartless coquette; Squire Hamley and his sons Roger and Osborne, of Hamley Hall; and the Earl of Cumnor and his family at the Towers,—all are treated with impartial skill. Her famous 'Life of Charlotte Bronté' appeared in 1857. She became acquainted with Miss Bronté in 1850, and they were friends at once.

A collected edition of Mrs. Gaskell's works, published in seven volumes in 1873, includes the short stories 'The Grey Woman,' 'Morton Hall,' 'Mr. Harrison's Confessions,' 'A Dark Night's Work,' 'The Moorland Cottage,' 'Round the Sofa,' 'The Old Nurse's Story,' 'The Well of Pen-Morfa,' 'The Sexton's Hero,' 'Lois the Witch,' and others. Cranford is identified as the town of Knutsford. Its population consists of widows and maiden ladies, in bonds to their ancient gentility. With deft touch Mrs. Gaskell brings out the humor and pathos of these quaint characters, her finest creation being Miss Matty Jenkyns.


From 'Cranford'

In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women. If a married couple come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman disappears; he is either fairly frightened to death by being the only man in the Cranford evening parties, or he is accounted for by being with his regiment, his ship, or closely engaged in business all the week in the great neighboring commercial town of Drumble, distant only twenty miles on a railroad.[Pg 6207] In short, whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford. What could they do if they were there? The surgeon has his round of thirty miles, and sleeps at Cranford; but every man cannot be a surgeon. For keeping the trim gardens full of choice flowers without a weed to speck them; for frightening away little boys who look wistfully at the said flowers through the railings; for rushing out at the geese that occasionally venture into the gardens if the gates are left open; for deciding all questions of literature and politics without troubling themselves with unnecessary reasons or arguments; for obtaining clear and correct knowledge of everybody's affairs in the parish; for keeping their neat maid-servants in admirable order; for kindness (somewhat dictatorial) to the poor, and real tender good offices to each other whenever they are in distress,—the ladies of Cranford are quite sufficient. "A man," as one of them observed to me once, "is so in the way in the house!" Although the ladies of Cranford know all each other's proceedings, they are exceedingly indifferent to each other's opinions. Indeed, as each has her own individuality, not to say eccentricity, pretty strongly developed, nothing is so easy as verbal retaliation; but somehow, good-will reigns among them to a considerable degree.

The Cranford ladies have only an occasional little quarrel, spurted out in a few peppery words and angry jerks of the heads; just enough to prevent the even tenor of their lives from becoming too flat. Their dress is very independent of fashion: as they observe, "What does it signify how we dress here at Cranford, where everybody knows us?" And if they go from home, their reason is equally cogent: "What does it signify how we dress here, where nobody knows us?" The materials of their clothes are in general good and plain, and most of them are nearly as scrupulous as Miss Tyler of cleanly memory; but I will answer for it, the last gigot, the last tight and scanty petticoat in wear in England, was seen in Cranford—and seen without a smile.

I can testify to a magnificent family red-silk umbrella, under which a gentle little spinster, left alone of many brothers and sisters, used to patter to church on rainy days. Have you any red-silk umbrellas in London? We had a tradition of the first that had ever been seen in Cranford; and the little boys mobbed it, and called it "a stick in petticoats." It might have been the very red-silk one I have described, held by a strong father over[Pg 6208] a troop of little ones; the poor little lady—the survivor of all—could scarcely carry it.

Then there were rules and regulations for visiting and calls; and they were announced to any young people who might be staying in the town, with all the solemnity with which the old Manx laws were read once a year on the Tinwald Mount.

"Our friends have sent to inquire how you are after your journey to-night, my dear" (fifteen miles in a gentleman's carriage); "they will give you some rest to-morrow, but the next day, I have no doubt, they will call; so be at liberty after twelve—from twelve to three are our calling hours."

Then, after they had called:—

"It is the third day: I daresay your mamma has told you, my dear, never to let more than three days elapse between receiving a call and returning it; and also, that you are never to stay longer than a quarter of an hour."

"But am I to look at my watch? How am I to find out when a quarter of an hour has passed?"

"You must keep thinking about the time, my dear, and not allow yourself to forget it in conversation."

As everybody had this rule in their minds, whether they received or paid a call, of course no absorbing subject was ever spoken about. We kept ourselves to short sentences of small-talk, and were punctual to our time.

I imagine that a few of the gentlefolks of Cranford were poor, and had some difficulty in making both ends meet; but they were like the Spartans, and concealed their smart under a smiling face. We none of us spoke of money, because that subject savored of commerce and trade, and though some might be poor, we were all aristocratic. The Cranfordians had that kindly esprit de corps which made them overlook all deficiencies in success when some among them tried to conceal their poverty. When Mrs. Forrester, for instance, gave a party in her baby-house of a dwelling, and the little maiden disturbed the ladies on the sofa by a request that she might get the tea-tray out from underneath, every one took this novel proceeding as the most natural thing in the world, and talked on about household forms and ceremonies as if we all believed that our hostess had a regular servants' hall, second table, with housekeeper and steward, instead of the one little charity-school maiden, whose short ruddy arms could never have been strong enough to carry the tray up-stairs if she had not been[Pg 6209] assisted in private by her mistress, who now sat in state, pretending not to know what cakes were sent up, though she knew, and we knew, and she knew that we knew, and we knew that she knew that we knew, she had been busy all the morning making tea-bread and sponge-cakes.

There were one or two consequences arising from this general but unacknowledged poverty and this very much acknowledged gentility, which were not amiss, and which might be introduced into many circles of society to their great improvement. For instance, the inhabitants of Cranford kept early hours, and clattered home in their pattens under the guidance of a lantern-bearer about nine o'clock at night; and the whole town was abed and asleep by half-past ten. Moreover, it was considered "vulgar" (a tremendous word in Cranford) to give anything expensive in the way of eatable or drinkable, at the evening entertainments. Wafer bread and butter and sponge-biscuits were all that the Honorable Mrs. Jamieson gave; and she was sister-in-law to the late Earl of Glenmire, although she did practice such "elegant economy."

"Elegant economy!" How naturally one falls back into the phraseology of Cranford! There, economy was always "elegant," and money-spending always "vulgar and ostentatious"; a sort of sour-grapeism which made us very peaceful and satisfied. I never shall forget the dismay felt when a certain Captain Brown came to live at Cranford, and openly spoke about his being poor—not in a whisper to an intimate friend, the doors and windows being previously closed, but in the public street! in a loud military voice! alleging his poverty as a reason for not taking a particular house. The ladies of Cranford were already rather moaning over the invasion of their territories by a man and a gentleman. He was a half-pay captain, and had obtained some situation on a neighboring railroad, which had been vehemently petitioned against by the little town; and if in addition to his masculine gender and his connection with the obnoxious railroad, he was so brazen as to talk of being poor—why then indeed he must be sent to Coventry. Death was as true and as common as poverty; yet people never spoke about that, loud out in the streets. It was a word not to be mentioned to ears polite. We had tacitly agreed to ignore that any with whom we associated on terms of visiting equality could ever be prevented by poverty from doing anything that they wished. If we walked to or from a party, it was[Pg 6210] because the night was so fine, or the air so refreshing; not because sedan-chairs were expensive. If we wore prints instead of summer silks, it was because we preferred a washing material; and so on, till we blinded ourselves to the vulgar fact that we were all of us people of very moderate means. Of course, then, we did not know what to make of a man who could speak of poverty as if it was not a disgrace. Yet somehow Captain Brown made himself respected in Cranford, and was called upon, in spite of all resolutions to the contrary. I was surprised to hear his opinions quoted as authority at a visit which I paid to Cranford about a year after he had settled in the town. My own friends had been among the bitterest opponents of any proposal to visit the captain and his daughters only twelve months before; and now he was even admitted in the tabooed hours before twelve. True, it was to discover the cause of a smoking chimney, before the fire was lighted; but still Captain Brown walked up-stairs, nothing daunted, spoke in a voice too large for the room, and joked quite in the way of a tame man about the house. He had been blind to all the small slights, and omissions of trivial ceremonies, with which he had been received. He had been friendly, though the Cranford ladies had been cool; he had answered small sarcastic compliments in good faith; and with his manly frankness had overpowered all the shrinking which met him as a man who was not ashamed to be poor. And at last his excellent masculine common-sense, and his facility in devising expedients to overcome domestic dilemmas, had gained him an extraordinary place as authority among the Cranford ladies. He himself went on in his course, as unaware of his popularity as he had been of the reverse....

I wondered what the Cranford ladies did with Captain Brown at their parties. We had often rejoiced, in former days, that there was no gentleman to be attended to and to find conversation for, at the card parties. We had congratulated ourselves upon the snugness of the evenings, and in our love for gentility and distaste of mankind we had almost persuaded ourselves that to be a man was to be "vulgar"; so that when I found my friend and hostess Miss Jenkyns was going to have a party in my honor, and that Captain and the Miss Browns were invited, I wondered much what would be the course of the evening. Card tables, with green-baize tops, were set out by daylight, just as usual: it was the third week in November, so the evenings closed[Pg 6211] in about four. Candles and clean packs of cards were arranged on each table. The fire was made up; the neat maid-servant had received her last directions: and there we stood, dressed in our best, each with a candle-lighter in our hands, ready to dart at the candles as soon as the first knock came. Parties in Cranford were solemn festivities, making the ladies feel gravely elated as they sat together in their best dresses. As soon as three had arrived, we sat down to Preference, I being the unlucky fourth. The next four comers were put down immediately to another table; and presently the tea-trays, which I had seen set out in the store-room as I passed in the morning, were placed each on the middle of a card table. The china was delicate egg-shell; the old-fashioned silver glittered with polishing; but the eatables were of the slightest description.

While the trays were yet on the tables, Captain and the Miss Browns came in; and I could see that, somehow or other, the captain was a favorite with all the ladies present. Ruffled brows were smoothed, sharp voices lowered at his approach. Miss Brown looked ill, and depressed almost to gloom. Miss Jessie smiled as usual, and seemed nearly as popular as her father. He immediately and quietly assumed the man's place in the room; attended to every one's wants, lessened the pretty maid-servant's labor by waiting on empty cups and bread-and-butterless ladies; and yet did it all in so easy and dignified a manner, and so much as if it were a matter of course for the strong to attend to the weak, that he was a true man throughout. He played for threepenny points with as grave an interest as if they had been pounds; and yet in all his attention to strangers he had an eye on his suffering daughter—for suffering I was sure she was, though to many eyes she might only appear to be irritable. Miss Jessie could not play cards, but she talked to the sitters-out, who before her coming had been rather inclined to be cross. She sang, too, to an old cracked piano which I think had been a spinet in its youth. Miss Jessie sang 'Jock o' Hazeldean' a little out of tune; but we were none of us musical, though Miss Jenkyns beat time, out of time, by way of appearing to be so.

It was very good of Miss Jenkyns to do this; for I had seen that, a little before, she had been a good deal annoyed by Miss Jessie Brown's unguarded admission (àpropos of Shetland wool) that she had an uncle, her mother's brother, who was a shop[Pg 6212]keeper in Edinburgh. Miss Jenkyns tried to drown this confession by a terrible cough—for the Honorable Mrs. Jamieson was sitting at the card table nearest Miss Jessie, and what would she say or think if she found out that she was in the same room with a shopkeeper's niece! But Miss Jessie Brown (who had no tact, as we all agreed the next morning) would repeat the information, and assure Miss Pole she could easily get her the identical Shetland wool required "through my uncle, who has the best assortment of Shetland goods of any one in Edinbro'." It was to take the taste of this out of our mouths, and the sound of this out of our ears, that Miss Jenkyns proposed music: so I say again, it was very good of her to beat time to the song.

When the trays reappeared with biscuits and wine, punctually at a quarter to nine, there was conversation, comparing of cards, and talking over tricks; but by-and-by Captain Brown sported a bit of literature.

"Have you seen any numbers of 'The Pickwick Papers'?" said he. (They were then publishing in parts.) "Capital thing!"

Now, Miss Jenkyns was daughter of a deceased rector of Cranford, and on the strength of a number of manuscript sermons and a pretty good library of divinity considered herself literary, and looked upon any conversation about books as a challenge to her. So she answered and said, "Yes, she had seen them; indeed, she might say she had read them."

"And what do you think of them?" exclaimed Captain Brown. "Aren't they famously good?"

So urged, Miss Jenkyns could not but speak.

"I must say, I don't think they are by any means equal to Dr. Johnson. Still, perhaps, the author is young. Let him persevere, and who knows what he may become if he will take the great Doctor for his model."

This was evidently too much for Captain Brown to take placidly; and I saw the words on the tip of his tongue before Miss Jenkyns had finished her sentence.

"It is quite a different sort of thing, my dear madam," he began.

"I am quite aware of that," returned she; "and I make allowances, Captain Brown."

"Just allow me to read you a scene out of this month's number," pleaded he. "I had it only this morning, and I don't think the company can have read it yet."[Pg 6213]

"As you please," said she, settling herself with an air of resignation. He read the account of the "swarry" which Sam Weller gave at Bath. Some of us laughed heartily. I did not dare, because I was staying in the house. Miss Jenkyns sat in patient gravity. When it was ended, she turned to me, and said, with mild dignity:—

"Fetch me 'Rasselas,' my dear, out of the book-room."

When I brought it to her, she turned to Captain Brown:—

"Now allow me to read you a scene, and then the present company can judge between your favorite Mr. Boz and Dr. Johnson."

She read one of the conversations between Rasselas and Imlac, in a high-pitched, majestic voice; and when she had ended she said, "I imagine I am now justified in my preference of Dr. Johnson as a writer of fiction." The captain screwed his lips up, and drummed on the table, but he did not speak. She thought she would give a finishing blow or two.

"I consider it vulgar, and below the dignity of literature, to publish in numbers."

"How was The Rambler published, ma'am?" asked Captain Brown, in a low voice, which I think Miss Jenkyns could not have heard.

"Dr. Johnson's style is a model for young beginners. My father recommended it to me when I began to write letters—I have formed my own style upon it; I recommend it to your favorite."

"I should be very sorry for him to exchange his style for any such pompous writing," said Captain Brown.

Miss Jenkyns felt this as a personal affront, in a way of which the captain had not dreamed. Epistolary writing she and her friends considered as her forte. Many a copy of many a letter have I seen written and corrected on the slate, before she "seized the half-hour just previous to post-time to assure her friends" of this or that; and Dr. Johnson was, as she said, her model in these compositions. She drew herself up with dignity, and only replied to Captain Brown's last remark by saying, with marked emphasis on every syllable, "I prefer Dr. Johnson to Mr. Boz."

It is said—I won't vouch for the fact—that Captain Brown was heard to say, sotto voce, "D——n Dr. Johnson!" If he did, he was penitent afterwards, as he showed by going to stand near Miss Jenkyns's arm-chair, and endeavoring to beguile her into conversation on some more pleasing subject. But she was inexorable.

[Pg 6214]


From 'Cranford'

One morning, as Miss Matty and I sat at our work—it was before twelve o'clock, and Miss Matty had not changed the cap with yellow ribbons that had been Miss Jenkyns's best, and which Miss Matty was now wearing out in private, putting on the one made in imitation of Mrs. Jamieson's at all times when she expected to be seen—Martha came up, and asked if Miss Betty Barker might speak to her mistress. Miss Matty assented, and quickly disappeared to change the yellow ribbons while Miss Barker came up-stairs; but as she had forgotten her spectacles, and was rather flurried by the unusual time of the visit, I was not surprised to see her return with one cap on the top of the other. She was quite unconscious of it herself, and looked at us with bland satisfaction. Nor do I think Miss Barker perceived it; for putting aside the little circumstance that she was not so young as she had been, she was very much absorbed in her errand, which she delivered herself of with an oppressive modesty that found vent in endless apologies.

Miss Betty Barker was the daughter of the old clerk at Cranford who had officiated in Mr. Jenkyns's time. She and her sister had had pretty good situations as ladies'-maids, and had saved money enough to set up a milliner's shop, which had been patronized by the ladies in the neighborhood. Lady Arley, for instance, would occasionally give Miss Barkers the pattern of an old cap of hers, which they immediately copied and circulated among the élite of Cranford. I say the élite, for Miss Barkers had caught the trick of the place, and piqued themselves upon their "aristocratic connection." They would not sell their caps and ribbons to any one without a pedigree. Many a farmer's wife or daughter turned away huffed from Miss Barkers' select millinery, and went rather to the universal shop, where the profits of brown soap and moist sugar enabled the proprietor to go straight to (Paris, he said, until he found his customers too patriotic and John-Bullish to wear what the Mounseers wore) London, where, as he often told his customers, Queen Adelaide had appeared only the very week before in a cap exactly like the one he showed them, trimmed with yellow and blue ribbons, and had been complimented by King William on the becoming nature of her head-dress.[Pg 6215]

Miss Barkers, who confined themselves to truth and did not approve of miscellaneous customers, throve notwithstanding. They were self-denying, good people. Many a time have I seen the eldest of them (she that had been maid to Mrs. Jamieson) carrying out some delicate mess to a poor person. They only aped their betters in having "nothing to do" with the class immediately below theirs. And when Miss Barker died, their profits and income were found to be such that Miss Betty was justified in shutting up shop and retiring from business. She also (as I think I have before said) set up her cow,—a mark of respectability in Cranford almost as decided as setting up a gig is among some people. She dressed finer than any lady in Cranford, and we did not wonder at it; for it was understood that she was wearing out all the bonnets and caps and outrageous ribbons which had once formed her stock in trade. It was five or six years since she had given up shop, so in any other place than Cranford her dress might have been considered passé.

And now Miss Betty Barker had called to invite Miss Matty to tea at her house on the following Tuesday. She gave me also an impromptu invitation, as I happened to be a visitor—though I could see she had a little fear lest, since my father had gone to live in Drumble, he might have engaged in that "horrid cotton trade," and so dragged his family down out of "aristocratic society." She prefaced this invitation with so many apologies that she quite excited my curiosity. "Her presumption" was to be excused. What had she been doing? She seemed so overpowered by it, I could only think that she had been writing to Queen Adelaide to ask for a receipt for washing lace; but the act which she so characterized was only an invitation she had carried to her sister's former mistress, Mrs. Jamieson. "Her former occupation considered, could Miss Matty excuse the liberty?" Ah! thought I, she has found out that double cap, and is going to rectify Miss Matty's head-dress. No; it was simply to extend her invitation to Miss Matty and to me. Miss Matty bowed acceptance; and I wondered that in the graceful action she did not feel the unusual weight and extraordinary height of her head-dress. But I do not think she did, for she recovered her balance, and went on talking to Miss Betty in a kind, condescending manner, very different from the fidgety way she would have had if she had suspected how singular her appearance was.[Pg 6216]

"Mrs. Jamieson is coming, I think you said?" asked Miss Matty.

"Yes. Mrs. Jamieson most kindly and condescendingly said she would be happy to come. One little stipulation she made, that she should bring Carlo. I told her that if I had a weakness, it was for dogs."

"And Miss Pole?" questioned Miss Matty, who was thinking of her pool at Preference, in which Carlo would not be available as a partner.

"I am going to ask Miss Pole. Of course, I could not think of asking her until I had asked you, madam—the rector's daughter, madam. Believe me, I do not forget the situation my father held under yours."

"And Mrs. Forrester, of course?"

"And Mrs. Forrester. I thought, in fact, of going to her before I went to Miss Pole. Although her circumstances are changed, madam, she was born a Tyrrell, and we can never forget her alliance to the Bigges of Bigelow Hall."

Miss Matty cared much more for the little circumstance of her being a very good card-player. Miss Barker looked at me with sidelong dignity, as much as to say, although a retired milliner, she was no democrat, and understood the difference of ranks.

"May I beg you to come as near half-past six to my little dwelling as possible, Miss Matilda? Mrs. Jamieson dines at five, but has kindly promised not to delay her visit beyond that time—half-past six." And with a swimming curtsy Miss Betty Barker took her leave....

The spring evenings were getting bright and long, when three or four ladies in calashes met at Miss Barker's door. Do you know what a calash is? It is a covering worn over caps, not unlike the heads fastened on old-fashioned gigs; but sometimes it is not quite so large. This kind of head-gear always made an awful impression on the children in Cranford; and now two or three left off their play in the quiet sunny little street, and gathered in wondering silence round Miss Pole, Miss Matty, and myself. We were silent too, so that we could hear loud suppressed whispers inside Miss Barker's house: "Wait, Peggy! wait till I've run up-stairs and washed my hands. When I cough, open the door; I'll not be a minute."

And true enough, it was not a minute before we heard a noise, between a sneeze and a crow; on which the door flew[Pg 6217] open. Behind it stood a round-eyed maiden, all aghast at the honorable company of calashes, who marched in without a word. She recovered presence of mind enough to usher us into a small room, which had been a shop, but was now converted into a temporary dressing-room. There we unpinned and shook ourselves, and arranged our features before the glass into a sweet and gracious company face; and then, bowing backwards with "After you, ma'am," we allowed Mrs. Forrester to take precedence up the narrow staircase that led to Miss Barker's drawing-room. There she sat, as stately and composed as though we had never heard that odd-sounding cough, from which her throat must have been even then sore and rough. Kind, gentle, shabbily dressed Mrs. Forrester was immediately conducted to the second place of honor—a seat arranged something like Prince Albert's near the Queen's—good, but not so good. The place of pre-eminence was of course reserved for the Honorable Mrs. Jamieson, who presently came panting up the stairs—Carlo rushing round her on her progress, as if he meant to trip her up.

And now Miss Betty Barker was a proud and happy woman! She stirred the fire, and shut the door, and sat as near to it as she could, quite on the edge of her chair. When Peggy came in, tottering under the weight of the tea-tray, I noticed that Miss Barker was sadly afraid lest Peggy should not keep her distance sufficiently. She and her mistress were on very familiar terms in their every-day intercourse, and Peggy wanted now to make several little confidences to her, which Miss Barker was on thorns to hear, but which she thought it her duty as a lady to repress. So she turned away from all Peggy's asides and signs; but she made one or two very malapropos answers to what was said; and at last, seized with a bright idea, she exclaimed, "Poor sweet Carlo! I'm forgetting him. Come down-stairs with me, poor little doggie, and it shall have its tea, it shall!"

In a few minutes she returned, bland and benignant as before; but I thought she had forgotten to give the "poor little doggie" anything to eat, judging by the avidity with which he swallowed down chance pieces of cake. The tea tray was abundantly laden—I was pleased to see it, I was so hungry; but I was afraid the ladies present might think it vulgarly heaped up. I know they would have done at their own houses; but somehow the heaps disappeared here. I saw Mrs. Jamieson eating seed-cake slowly and considerately, as she did everything; and[Pg 6218] I was rather surprised, for I knew she had told us on the occasion of her last party that she never had it in her house, it reminded her so much of scented soap. She always gave us Savoy biscuits. However, Mrs. Jamieson, kindly indulgent to Miss Barker's want of knowledge of the customs of high life, and to spare her feelings, ate three large pieces of seed-cake, with a placid, ruminating expression of countenance, not unlike a cow's.

After tea there was some little demur and difficulty. We were six in number; four could play at Preference, and for the other two there was Cribbage. But all except myself (I was rather afraid of the Cranford ladies at cards, for it was the most earnest and serious business they ever engaged in) were anxious to be of the "pool." Even Miss Barker, while declaring she did not know Spadille from Manille, was evidently hankering to take a hand. The dilemma was soon put an end to by a singular kind of noise. If a baron's daughter-in-law could ever be supposed to snore, I should have said Mrs. Jamieson did so then; for overcome by the heat of the room, and inclined to doze by nature, the temptation of that very comfortable arm-chair had been too much for her, and Mrs. Jamieson was nodding. Once or twice she opened her eyes with an effort, and calmly but unconsciously smiled upon us; but by-and-by even her benevolence was not equal to this exertion, and she was sound asleep.

"It is very gratifying to me," whispered Miss Barker at the card table to her three opponents, whom notwithstanding her ignorance of the game she was "basting" most unmercifully—"very gratifying indeed, to see how completely Mrs. Jamieson feels at home in my poor little dwelling; she could not have paid me a greater compliment."

Miss Barker provided me with some literature, in the shape of three or four handsomely bound fashion-books ten or twelve years old; observing, as she put a little table and a candle for my special benefit, that she knew young people liked to look at pictures. Carlo lay and snorted and started at his mistress's feet. He too was quite at home.

The card table was an animated scene to watch: four ladies' heads, with niddle-noddling caps, all nearly meeting over the middle of the table in their eagerness to whisper quick enough and loud enough; and every now and then came Miss Barker's "Hush, ladies! if you please, hush! Mrs. Jamieson is asleep."[Pg 6219]

It was very difficult to steer clear between Mrs. Forrester's deafness and Mrs. Jamieson's sleepiness. But Miss Barker managed her arduous task well. She repeated the whisper to Mrs. Forrester, distorting her face considerably in order to show by the motions of her lips what was said; and then she smiled kindly all round at us, and murmured to herself, "Very gratifying indeed; I wish my poor sister had been alive to see this day."

Presently the door was thrown wide open; Carlo started to his feet with a loud snapping bark, and Mrs. Jamieson awoke; or perhaps she had not been asleep—as she said almost directly, the room had been so light she had been glad to keep her eyes shut, but had been listening with great interest to all our amusing and agreeable conversation. Peggy came in once more, red with importance. Another tray! "O gentility!" thought I, "can you endure this last shock?" For Miss Barker had ordered (nay, I doubt not prepared, although she did say, "Why! Peggy, what have you brought us?" and looked pleasantly surprised at the unexpected pleasure) all sorts of good things for supper—scalloped oysters, potted lobsters, jelly, a dish called "little Cupids" (which was in great favor with the Cranford ladies, although too expensive to be given except on solemn and state occasions—macaroons sopped in brandy, I should have called it, if I had not known its more refined and classical name). In short, we were evidently to be feasted with all that was sweetest and best; and we thought it better to submit graciously, even at the cost of our gentility—which never ate suppers in general, but which, like most non-supper-eaters, was particularly hungry on all special occasions.

Miss Barker in her former sphere had, I daresay, been made acquainted with the beverage they call cherry brandy. We none of us had ever seen such a thing, and rather shrank back when she proffered it us—"just a little, leetle glass, ladies; after the oysters and lobsters, you know. Shell-fish are sometimes thought not very wholesome." We all shook our heads like female mandarins; but at last Mrs. Jamieson suffered herself to be persuaded, and we followed her lead. It was not exactly unpalatable, though so hot and so strong that we thought ourselves bound to give evidence that we were not accustomed to such things by coughing terribly—almost as strangely as Miss Barker had done, before we were admitted by Peggy.[Pg 6220]

"It's very strong," said Miss Pole, as she put down her empty glass; "I do believe there's spirit in it."

"Only a little drop—just necessary to make it keep," said Miss Barker. "You know we put brandy paper over preserves to make them keep. I often feel tipsy myself from eating damson tart."

I question whether damson tart would have opened Mrs. Jamieson's heart as the cherry brandy did; but she told us of a coming event, respecting which she had been quite silent till that moment.

"My sister-in-law, Lady Glenmire, is coming to stay with me." There was a chorus of "Indeed!" and then a pause. Each one rapidly reviewed her wardrobe, as to its fitness to appear in the presence of a baron's widow; for of course a series of small festivals were always held in Cranford on the arrival of a visitor at any of our friends' houses. We felt very pleasantly excited on the present occasion.

Not long after this, the maids and the lanterns were announced. Mrs. Jamieson had the sedan-chair, which squeezed itself into Miss Barker's narrow lobby with some difficulty, and most literally "stopped the way." It required some skillful manœuvring on the part of the old chairmen (shoemakers by day, but when summoned to carry the sedan, dressed up in a strange old livery—long greatcoats with small capes, coeval with the sedan and similar to the dress of the class in Hogarth's pictures) to edge, and back, and try at it again, and finally to succeed in carrying their burden out of Miss Barker's front door. Then we heard their pit-a-pat along the quiet little street, as we put on our calashes and pinned up our gowns; Miss Barker hovering about us with offers of help, which if she had not remembered her former occupation, and wished us to forget it, would have been much more pressing.

[Pg 6221]





héophile Gautier was born in Tarbes (Department of the Hautes-Pyrénées) in Southern France, August 31st, 1811. Like all French boys, he was sent to the lycée (academy), where he promised to be a brilliant scholar; but his father was really his tutor, and to him Gautier attributed his instruction. Young Théophile showed marked preference for the so-called authors of the Decadence—Claudianus, Martial, Petronius, and others; also for the old French writers, especially Villon and Rabelais, whom he says he knew by heart. This is significant, in view of the young man's strong tendencies, later on, towards the new romantic school. The artistic temperament was very strong in him; and while still carrying on his studies at college he entered the painter Rioult's studio. His introduction to Victor Hugo in 1830 may be considered the decisive point in Gautier's career: from that day he gave up painting and became a fanatic admirer of the romantic leader.

Gautier Théophile Gautier

A short time afterwards, the first representation of 'Hernani' took place (February 25th, 1830), an important date in the life of Gautier. It was on this occasion that he put on for the only time that famous red waistcoat, which, with his long black mane streaming down his back, so horrified the staid Parisian bourgeois. This red waistcoat turns out, after all, not to have been a waistcoat at all, but a doublet; nor was it red, but pink. No truer is the legend, according to Gautier, that on this memorable occasion, armed with his two formidable fists, he felled right and left the terrified bourgeois. He says that he was at that time rather delicate, and had not yet developed that prodigious strength which later on enabled him to strike a 520-pound blow on a Turk's-head. In appearance Gautier was a large corpulent man with a leonine countenance, swarthy complexion, long black hair falling over his shoulders, black beard, and brilliant black eyes; an Oriental in looks as well as[Pg 6222] in some of his tastes. He had a passion for cats. His house was overrun by them, and he seldom wrote without having one on his lap. The privations he underwent during the siege of Paris, doubly hard to a man of Gautier's Gargantuesque appetite, no doubt hastened his death. He died on October 23d, 1872, of hypertrophy of the heart.

Gautier is one of those writers of whom one may say a vast deal of good and a vast deal of harm. His admirers think that justice has not been done him, that his fame will go on rising and his name will live as one of the great writers of France; others think that his name may perhaps not entirely disappear, but that if he is remembered at all it will be solely as the author of 'Émaux et Camées' (Enamels and Cameos). He wrote in his youth a book that did him great harm in the eyes of the public; but he has written something else besides 'Mademoiselle de Maupin,' and both in prose and poetry we shall find a good deal to admire in him. One thing is certain: he is a marvelous stylist. In his earliest poems Gautier already possesses that admirable artistic skill that prompts him to choose his words as a painter his colors, or a jeweler his gems and stones, so as to produce the most brilliant effects: these first compositions also have a grace, a charm, that we shall find lacking later on, for as he proceeds with his work he pays more and more attention to form and finish.

'Albertus, or Soul and Sin,' the closing poem of Gautier's first collection, is a "semi-diabolic, semi-fashionable" legend. An old witch, Veronica, a second Meg Merrilies, transforms herself into a beautiful maiden and makes love to Albertus, a young artist—otherwise Gautier himself. He cares for nothing but his art, but falls a victim to the spell cast over him by the siren. At the stroke of midnight, Veronica, to the young man's horror, from a beautiful woman changes back to the old hag she was, and carries him off to a place where witches, sorcerers, hobgoblins, harpies, ghouls, and other frightful creatures are holding a monstrous saturnalia; at the end of which, Albertus is left for dead in a ditch of the Appian Way with broken back and twisted neck. What does it all mean? the reader may ask. That "the wages of sin is death" seems to be the moral contained in this poem, if indeed any moral is intended at all. Be that as it may, 'Albertus' is a literary gem in its way; a work in which the poet has given free scope to his brilliant imagination, and showered by the handful the gems and jewels in his literary casket. Gautier may be said to have possessed the poetry of Death—some would say its horrors. This sentiment of horror at the repulsive manner of man's total destruction finds most vivid expression in 'The Comedy of Death,' a fantastic poem divided into two parts, 'Death in Life' and[Pg 6223] 'Life in Death.' The dialogue between the bride and the earth-worm is of a flesh-creeping nature.

It is however as the poet of 'Émaux et Camées' (Enamels and Cameos) that Théophile Gautier will be chiefly remembered. Every poem but one in this collection is written in short octosyllabic verse, and every one is what the title implies,—a precious stone, a chiseled gem. Gautier's wonderful and admirable talent for grouping together certain words that produce on one's eye and mind the effect of a beautiful picture, his intense love of art, of the outline, the plastic, appear throughout this work. You realize on reading 'Émaux et Camées,' more perhaps than in any other work by this writer, that the poet is fully conscious of his powers and knows just how to use them. Any poem may be selected at random, and will be found a work of art.

The same qualities that distinguish Gautier as a poet are to be found in his novels, narratives of travels, criticisms,—in short, in everything he wrote; intense love for the beautiful,—physically beautiful,—wonderful talent for describing it. Of his novels, properly speaking, there are four that stand out prominently, each very different in its subject,—a proof of Gautier's great versatility,—all perfect in their execution. The first is 'Mademoiselle de Maupin'; it is an immoral book, but it is a beautiful book, not only because written with a rare elegance of style, but also because it makes you love beauty. Briefly, 'Mademoiselle de Maupin' may be called a pæan to beauty, sung by its high priest Théophile Gautier.

The other remarkable novels by this writer are 'Le Capitaine Fracasse' (Captain Smash-All), 'Le Roman de la Momie' (The Romance of the Mummy), and 'Spirite.' 'Captain Fracasse,' although not published until 1863, had been announced long beforehand; and Gautier had worked at it, off and on, for twenty years. It belongs to that class of novel known as picaresque—romances of adventures and battles. 'Captain Fracasse' is certainly the most popular of Gautier's works.

'The Romance of the Mummy' is a very remarkable book, in which science and fiction have been blended in the most artistic and clever manner; picturesque, like all of Gautier's writings, but the work of a savant as well as of a novelist. Here more than in any other book by this author,—with the exception perhaps of 'Arria Marcella,'—Gautier has revived in a most lifelike way an entire civilization, so long extinct. 'The Romance of the Mummy' abounds in beautiful descriptions. The description of the finding of the mummy, that of the royal tombs, of Thebes with its hundred gates, the triumphal entrance of Pharaoh into that city, the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites, are all marvelous pictures, that not only fill the[Pg 6224] reader with the same admiration he would evince at the sight of a painting by one of the great masters, but give him the illusion of witnessing in the body the scenes so admirably described.

'Spirite,' a fantastic story, is a source of surprise to readers familiar with Gautier's other works: they find it hard to conceive that so thorough a materialist as Gautier could ever have produced a work so spiritualistic in its nature. The clever handling of a mystic subject, the richness and coloring of the descriptions, together with a certain ideal and poetical vein that runs through the book, make of 'Spirite' one of Gautier's most remarkable works.

Théophile Gautier has also written a number of nouvelles or short novels, and tales, some of which are striking compositions. 'Arria Marcella' is one of these; a brilliant, masterly composition, in which Gautier gives us such a perfect illusion of the past. Under his magic pen we find ourselves walking the streets of Pompeii and living over the life of the Romans in the first century of our era; and 'Une Nuit de Cléopâtre' (A Night with Cleopatra) is a vivid resurrection of the brilliant Egyptian court.

Of his various journeys to Spain, Italy, and the Orient, Gautier has given us the most captivating relations. To many this is not the least interesting portion of Gautier's work. The same qualities that are so striking in his poems and novels—vividness of description, love of the picturesque, wonderful power of expression—are likewise apparent in his relations of travels.

As a literary and especially as an art critic, Gautier ranks high. Bringing to this branch of literature the same qualities that distinguish him in others, he created a descriptive and picturesque method of criticism peculiarly his own. Of his innumerable articles on art and literature, some have been collected under the names of 'Les Grotesques,' a series of essays on a number of poets of the end of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries, ridiculed by Boileau, but in whom Gautier finds some wheat among the chaff. The 'History of Dramatic Art in France for the Last Twenty-five Years,' beginning with the year 1837, will be consulted with great profit by those who are curious to follow the dramatic movement in that country. Of his essays on art, one is as excellent as the other; all the great masters are treated with a loving and admiring hand.

Among the miscellaneous works of this prolific writer should be mentioned 'Ménagerie Intime' (Home Menagerie), in which the author makes us acquainted in a most charming and familiar way with his home life, and the various pets, cats, dogs, white rats, parrots, etc., that in turn shared his house with him; la Nature chez elle (Nature at home), that none but a close observer of nature could have written.[Pg 6225]

The last book written by Gautier before his death was 'Tableaux de Siège' (Siege Pictures, 1871). The subjects are treated just in the way we might expect from such a writer, from a purely artistic point of view.

Gautier has written for the stage only short plays and ballets; but if all he ever wrote were published, his works would fill nearly three hundred volumes. In spite of the quantity and quality of his books, the French Academy did not open her doors to him; but no more did it to Molière, Beaumarchais, Balzac, and many others. Opinions still vary greatly as to Théophile Gautier's literary merits; but his brilliant descriptive powers, his eminent qualities as a stylist, together with the influence he exercised over contemporary letters as the introducer of the plastic in literature, would seem sufficient to rank him among the great writers of France.

Robert Sanderson


From 'The Romance of a Mummy'

At length their chariot reached the manœuvring-ground, an immense inclosure, carefully leveled, used for splendid military displays. Terraces, one above the other, which must have employed for years the thirty nations led away into slavery, formed a frame en relief for the gigantic parallelogram; sloping walls built of crude bricks lined these terraces; their tops were covered, several rows deep, by hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, whose white or brightly colored costumes blazed in the sun with that perpetually restless movement which characterizes a multitude, even when it appears motionless; behind this line of spectators the cars, chariots, and litters, with their drivers, grooms, and slaves, looked like the encampment of an emigrating nation, such was their immense number; for Thebes, the marvel of the ancient world, counted more inhabitants than did some kingdoms.

The fine, even sand of the vast arena, bordered with a million heads, gleamed like mica dust beneath the light, falling from a sky as blue as the enamel on the statuettes of Osiris. On the south side of the field the terraces were broken, making way for[Pg 6226] a road which stretched towards Upper Ethiopia, the whole length of the Libyan chain. In the corresponding corner, the opening in the massive brick walls prolonged the roads to the Rhamses-Maïamoun palace....

A frightful uproar, rumbling, deep, and mighty as that of an approaching sea, arose in the distance and drowned the thousand murmurs of the crowd, like the roar of the lion which hushes the barking of the jackals. Soon the noise of instruments of music could be distinguished amidst this terrestrial thunder, produced by the chariot wheels and the rhythmic pace of the foot-soldiers. A sort of reddish cloud, like that raised by the desert blasts, filled the sky in that direction, yet the wind had gone down; there was not a breath of air, and the smallest branches of the palm-trees hung motionless, as if they had been carved on a granite capital; not a hair moved on the women's moist foreheads, and the fluted streamers of their head-dresses hung loosely down their backs. This powdery fog was caused by the marching army, and hung over it like a fallow cloud.

The tumult increases; the whirlwinds of dust opened, and the first files of musicians entered the immense arena, to the great satisfaction of the multitude, who in spite of its respect for his Majesty were beginning to tire of waiting beneath a sun which would have melted any other skulls than those of the Egyptians.

The advance guard of musicians halted for several instants; colleges of priests, deputations of the principal inhabitants of Thebes, crossed the manœuvring-ground to meet the Pharaoh, and arranged themselves in a row in postures of the most profound respect, in such manner as to give free passage to the procession.

The band, which alone was a small army, consisted of drums, tabors, trumpets, and sistras.

The first squad passed, blowing a deafening blast upon their short clarions of polished brass, which shone like gold. Each of these trumpeters carried a second horn under his arm, as if the instrument might grow weary sooner than the man. The costume of these men consisted of a short tunic, fastened by a sash with ends falling in front; a small band, in which were stuck two ostrich feathers hanging over on either side, bound their thick hair. These plumes, so worn, recalled to mind the antennae of scarabæi, and gave the wearers an odd look of being insects.[Pg 6227]

The drummers, clothed in a simple gathered skirt, and naked to the waist, beat the onagra-skin heads of their rounded drums with sycamore-wood drumsticks, their instruments suspended by leathern shoulder-belts, and observed the time which a drum-major marked for them by repeatedly turning towards them and clapping his hands.

After the drummers came the sistra-players, who shook their instruments by a quick, abrupt motion, and made at measured intervals the metal links ring on the four bronze bars.

The tabor-players carried their oblong instruments crosswise, held up by a scarf passed around the neck, and struck the lightly stretched parchment with both hands.

Each company of musicians numbered at least two hundred men; but the hurricane of noise produced by trumpets, drums, tabors, and sistras, and which would have drawn blood from the ears inside a palace, was none too loud or too unbearable beneath the vast cupola of heaven, in the midst of this immense open space, amongst this buzzing crowd, at the head of this army which would baffle nomenclators, and which was now advancing with a roar as of great waters.

And was it too much to have eight hundred musicians preceding a Pharaoh who was the best loved of Ammon-Ra, represented by colossal statues of basalt and granite sixty cubits high, whose name was written in cartouches on imperishable monuments, and his history painted and sculptured and painted on the walls of the hypostyle chambers, on the sides of pylons, in interminable bas-reliefs, in frescoes without end? Was it indeed too much for a king who could raise a hundred conquered races by the hair of their heads, and from his high throne corrected the nations with his whip; for a living sun burning their dazzled eyes; for a god, almost eternal?

After the musicians came the barbarian captives, strangely formed, with brutish faces, black skins, woolly hair, resembling apes as much as men, and dressed in the costume of their country, a short skirt above the hips, held by a single brace, embroidered in different colors.

An ingenious and whimsical cruelty had suggested the way in which the prisoners were chained. Some were bound with their elbows drawn behind their backs; others with their hands lifted above their heads, in a still more painful position; one had his wrists fastened in wooden cangs (instruments of torture, still used[Pg 6228] in China); another was half strangled in a sort of pillory; or a chain of them were linked together by the same rope, each victim having a knot round his neck. It seemed as if those who had bound these unfortunates had found a pleasure in forcing them into unnatural positions; and they advanced before their conqueror with awkward and tottering gait, rolling their large eyes and contorted with pain.

Guards walked beside them, regulating their step by beating them with staves.

Tawny women, with long flowing hair, carrying their children in ragged strips of cloth bound about their foreheads, came behind them; bent, covered with shame, exhibiting their naked squalor and deformity: a wretched company, devoted to the most degrading uses.

Others, young and beautiful, with lighter skin, their arms encircled by broad ivory bracelets, their ears pulled down by large metal discs, were enveloped in long tunics with wide sleeves, an embroidered hem around the neck, and falling in small flat folds to their ankles, upon which anklets rattled. Poor girls, torn from country, family, perhaps lovers, smiling through their tears! For the power of beauty is boundless; strangeness gives rise to caprice; and perhaps the royal favor awaited one of these barbarian captives in the depths of the gynæceum.

They were accompanied by soldiers who kept away the crowd.

The standard-bearers came next, lifting high the gilded staves of their flags, representing mystic baris, sacred hawks, heads of Hathor crowned with ostrich plumes, winged ibexes, inscriptions embellished with the King's name, crocodiles, and other religious or warlike emblems. Long white streamers, spotted with black, were tied to these standards, and floated gracefully with every motion. At sight of the standards announcing the appearance of Pharaoh, the deputations of priests and notables raised towards him their supplicating hands, or let them hang, palm outwards, against their knees. Some even prostrated themselves, with elbows pressed to their sides, their faces in the dust, in attitudes of absolute submission and profound adoration. The spectators waved their large palm-leaves in every direction.

A herald, or reader, holding in one hand a roll covered with hieroglyphics, came forward quite alone between the standard-bearers and the incense-bearers who preceded the King's litter.[Pg 6229]

He proclaimed in a loud voice, resounding as a brass trumpet, the victories of the Pharaoh; he recounted the results of the different battles, the number of captives and war chariots taken from the enemy, the amount of plunder, the measures of gold dust, and the elephant's tusks, the ostrich feathers, the masses of fragrant gum, the giraffes, lions, panthers, and other rare animals; he mentioned the names of the barbarian chiefs killed by the javelins or the arrows of his Majesty, Aroëris, the all-powerful, the loved of the gods.

At each announcement the people sent up an immense cry, and from the top of the slopes strewed the conqueror's path with long green palm-branches they held in their hands.

At last the Pharaoh appeared!

Priests, turning towards him at regular intervals, stretched out their amschiras to him, first throwing incense on the coals blazing in the little bronze cup, holding them by a handle formed like a sceptre, with the head of some sacred animal at the other end; they walked backwards respectfully, while the fragrant blue smoke ascended to the nostrils of the triumpher, apparently as indifferent to these honors as a divinity of bronze or basalt.

Twelve oëris, or military chiefs, their heads covered by a light helmet surrounded by ostrich feathers, naked to the waist, their loins enveloped in a narrow skirt with stiff folds, their targes suspended from the front of their belts, supported a sort of huge shield, on which rested the Pharaoh's throne. It was a chair, with arms and legs in the form of a lion, high-backed, with large full cushion, adorned on the sides with a kind of trellis-work of pink and blue flowers; the arms, legs, moldings of the seat were gilded, and the parts which were not, flamed with bright colors.

On either side of the litter, four fan-bearers waved enormous semicircular fans, fixed to gilded staves; two priests held aloft a large richly decorated horn of plenty, from which fell bunches of enormous lotus blooms. The Pharaoh wore a mitre-like helmet, cut out to make room for the ear, and brought down over the back of the neck to protect it. On the blue ground of the helmet scintillated a quantity of dots like the eyes of birds, made of three circles, black, white, and red; a scarlet and yellow border ran along the edge, and the symbolic viper, twisting its golden coils at the back, stood erect above the royal forehead; two long curled feathers, purple in color, floated over his shoulders, and completed his majestically elegant head-dress.[Pg 6230]

A wide gorget, with seven rows of enamels, precious stones, and golden beads, fell over the Pharaoh's chest and gleamed brightly in the sunlight. His upper garment was a sort of loose shirt, with pink and black squares; the ends, lengthening into narrow slips, were wound several times about his bust and bound it closely; the sleeves, cut short near the shoulder, and bordered with intersecting lines of gold, red, and blue, exposed his round, strong arms, the left furnished with a large metal wristband, meant to lessen the vibration of the string when he discharged an arrow from his triangular bow; and the right, ornamented by a bracelet in the form of a serpent in several coils, held a long gold sceptre with a lotus bud at the end. The rest of his body was wrapped in drapery of the finest linen, minutely plaited, bound about the waist by a belt inlaid with small enamel and gold plates. Between the band and the belt his torso appeared, shining and polished like pink granite shaped by a cunning workman. Sandals with returned toes, like skates, shod his long narrow feet, placed together like those of the gods on the temple walls.

His smooth beardless face, with large clearly cut features, which it seemed beyond any human power to disturb, and which the blood of common life did not color, with its death-like pallor, sealed lips, enormous eyes enlarged with black lines, the lids no more lowered than those of the sacred hawk, inspired by its very immobility a feeling of respectful fear. One might have thought that these fixed eyes were searching for eternity and the Infinite; they never seemed to rest on surrounding objects. The satiety of pleasures, the surfeit of wishes satisfied as soon as expressed, the isolation of a demigod who has no equal among mortals, the disgust for perpetual adoration, and as it were the weariness of continual triumph, had forever frozen this face, implacably gentle and of granite serenity. Osiris judging the souls could not have had a more majestic and calm expression.

A large tame lion, lying by his side, stretched out its enormous paws like a sphinx on its pedestal, and blinked its yellow eyes.

A rope, attached to the litter, bound the war chariots of the vanquished chiefs to the Pharaoh. He dragged them behind him like animals in leash. These men, with fierce despairing faces, their elbows drawn together by a strap and forming an ungraceful angle, tottered awkwardly at every motion of the chariots, driven by Egyptians.[Pg 6231]

Next came the chariots of the young princes royal, drawn by thoroughbred horses, elegantly and nobly formed, with slender legs, sinewy houghs, their manes cut short like a brush, harnessed by twos, tossing their red-plumed heads, with metal-bossed headstalls and frontlets. A curved pole, upheld on their withers, covered with scarlet panels, two collars surmounted by balls of polished brass, bound together by a light yoke bent like a bow with upturned ends; a bellyband and breastband elaborately stitched and embroidered, and rich housings with red or blue stripes and fringed with tassels, completed this strong, graceful, and light harness.

The body of the chariot, painted red and white, ornamented with bronze plaques and half-spheres, something like the umbo of the shields, was flanked with two large quivers placed diagonally opposite each other, one filled with arrows and the other with javelins. On the front of each, a carved, gilded lion, with set paws, and muzzle wrinkled into a frightful grin, seemed ready to spring with a roar upon the enemy.

The young princes had their hair bound with a narrow band, in which the royal viper was twisted; their only garment was a tunic gaudily embroidered at the neck and sleeves, and held in at the waist by a belt of black leather, clasped with a metal plate engraved with hieroglyphics. In this belt was a long dagger, with triangular brass blade, the handle channeled crosswise, terminated by a hawk's head.

In the chariot, by the side of each prince, stood the charioteer, who drove it in battle, and the groom, whose business it was to ward off with the shield the blows aimed at the combatant, while the latter discharged the arrows or threw the javelins which he took from the quivers on either side of the car.

In the wake of the princes followed the chariots, the Egyptian cavalry, twenty thousand in number, each drawn by two horses and holding three men. They advanced ten in a line, the axletrees perilously near together, but never coming in contact with each other, so great was the address of the drivers.

Several lighter chariots, used for skirmishing and reconnoitring, marched at the head and carried one warrior only, who in order to leave his hands free for fighting wound the reins around his body: by bending to the right or the left, or backwards, he guided or stopped his horses; and it was really wonderful to see the noble animals, apparently left to themselves, but governed[Pg 6232] by imperceptible movements, keep up an undisturbedly regular pace....

The stamping of the horses, held in with difficulty, the thundering of the bronze-covered wheels, the metallic clash of weapons, gave to this line something formidable and imposing enough to raise terror in the most intrepid bosoms. The helmets, plumes, and breastplates dotted with red, green, and yellow, the gilded bows and brass swords, glittered and blazed terribly in the light of the sun, open in the sky, above the Libyan chain, like a great Osirian eye; and it was felt that the onslaught of such an army must sweep away the nations like a whirlwind which drives a light straw before it.

Beneath these innumerable wheels the earth resounded and trembled, as if it had been moved by some convulsion of nature.

To the chariots succeeded the battalions of infantry, marching in order, their shields on the left arm; in the right hand the lance, curved club, bow, sling, or axe, according as they were armed; the heads of these soldiers were covered with helmets, adorned with two horsehair tails, their bodies girded with a cuirass belt of crocodile skin. Their impassible look, the perfect regularity of their movements, their reddish copper complexions, deepened by a recent expedition to the burning regions of Upper Ethiopia, their clothing powdered with the desert sand, they awoke admiration by their discipline and courage. With soldiers like these, Egypt could conquer the world. After them came the allied troops, recognizable from the outlandish form of their head-pieces, which looked like truncated mitres, or were surmounted by crescents spitted on sharp points. Their wide-bladed swords and jagged axes must have produced wounds which could not be healed.

Slaves carried on their shoulders or on barrows the spoils enumerated by the herald, and wild-beast tamers dragged behind them leashed panthers, cheetahs, crouching down as if trying to hide themselves, ostriches fluttering their wings, giraffes which overtopped the crowd by the entire length of their necks, and even brown bears,—taken, they said, in the Mountains of the Moon.

The procession was still passing, long after the King had entered his palace.

[Pg 6233]


It is a pond, whose sleepy water
Lies stagnant, covered with a mantle
Of lily pads and rushes. . . .
Under the creeping duck-weed
The wild ducks dip
Their sapphire necks glazed with gold;
At dawn the teal is seen bathing,
And when twilight reigns,
It settles between two rushes and sleeps.


Upon the heather sprinkled
With morning dew;
Upon the wild-rose bush;
Upon the shady trees;
Upon the hedges
Growing along the path;
Upon the modest and dainty
That droops its dreamy brow;
Upon the rye, like a green billow
By the winged caprice of the wind,
The dragon-fly gently rocks.


On the hill-side, yonder where are the graves,
A fine palm-tree, like a green plume,
Stands with head erect; in the evening the doves
Come to nestle under its cover.
But in the morning they leave the branches;
Like a spreading necklace, they may be seen
Scattering in the blue air, perfectly white,
And settling farther upon some roof.
My soul is the tree where every eve, as they,
White swarms of mad visions
Fall from heaven, with fluttering wings,
To fly away with the first rays.

[Pg 6234]


Sometimes a child finds a small seed,
And at once, delighted with its bright colors,
To plant it he takes a porcelain jar
Adorned with blue dragons and strange flowers.
He goes away. The root, snake-like, stretches,
Breaks through the earth, blooms, becomes a shrub;
Each day, farther down, it sinks its fibrous foot,
Until it bursts the sides of the vessel.
The child returns: surprised, he sees the rich plant
Over the vase's débris brandishing its green spikes;
He wants to pull it out, but the stem is stubborn.
The child persists, and tears his fingers with the pointed arrows.
Thus grew love in my simple heart;
I believed I sowed but a spring flower;
'Tis a large aloe, whose root breaks
The porcelain vase with the brilliant figures.


As a guardian angel, take me under your wing;
Deign to stoop and put out, smiling,
Your maternal hand to my little hand
To support my steps and keep me from falling!
For Jesus the sweet Master, with celestial love,
Suffered little children to come to him;
As an indulgent parent, he submitted to their caresses
And played with them without showing weariness.
O you who resemble those church pictures
Where one sees, on a gold background, august Charity
Preserving from hunger, preserving from cold,
A fair and smiling group sheltered in her folds;
Like the nursling of the Divine mother,
For pity's sake, lift me to