The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature
and Science Vol. XV., No. 85. January, 1875., by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Vol. XV., No. 85. January, 1875.

Author: Various

Release Date: September 11, 2004 [EBook #13440]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents and the list of illustrations were added by the transcriber.




January, 1875.
Vol. XV. No. 85.










TWO PAPERS.--1. 30



























Books Received. 136






























[pg 9]





In leaving Cologne for Aix-la-Chapelle you turn your back to the river—a particular which suited my mood well enough. The railway bore us away from the Rhine-shore at an abrupt angle, and in my notion the noble Germanic goddess or image seemed at this point to recede with grand theatric strides, like a divinity of the stage backing away from her admirers over the billowy whirlpool of her own skirts. As I dreamed we penetrated the tunnel of Königsdorf, which is fifteen hundred yards long, and which seemed to me sufficiently protracted to contain the slumber of Barbarossa. The thought gave me a useful hint, and I fell into a light sleep, while Charles and Hohenfels pervaded the darkness merely by their perfumes—the former with whiffs at a concealed bottle of Farina, the latter with a pastille counterfeiting the incense of the cathedral. In a couple of hours from the Hôtel de Hollande we reached Aachen, as the fond natives call the burgh so dear to Charlemagne. Deprived of that [pg 10] magnificent mirror, the Rhine, the pretty towns throughout this part of Germany seem but like country belles. We should hardly have paused at Aix but for the sake of affording a rest to Charles, who grew worse whenever lunch-time competed with railway-time. As for the dull little city, for us it was a wilderness, with the blank cleanliness of the desert, except in so far as it was informed and populated by the memory of Charlemagne.


Here he died, and entered his tomb in the church himself had founded. Into this sepulchre the emperor Otho III. dared to penetrate in the year 997, impelled by a motive of vile and varlet-like curiosity. They say the dead monarch confronted his living visitor in the great marble chair in which he had been seated at his own command, haughty and inflexible as in life, the ivory sceptre in his ivory fingers, his white skull crowned with the diadem of gold. The peeping emperor looked upon him with awe, half afraid of the mysterious and penetrating shadows that reached forth out of his rayless eyes. Before he left, however, he peered about, touched the sceptre and the throne, fingered this and that, and having, as it were, trimmed the nails and combed the beard of the great spectre, retired with a valet's bow. Observing that Charlemagne had lost most of his nose, he caused it to be replaced in gold very delicately chiseled and enchased. The sacrilege was repeated by Frederick Barbarossa in 1165, who went farther and forced Charlemagne to get up from his chair before him. The corpse, in rising, fell in pieces, which have been dispersed through Europe as relics. We saw such of them as remain here at the Chapelle. I was allowed, for about the equivalent of an American dollar, to measure the Occidental emperor's leg—they call it his arm. And then, as a makeweight in the bargain, the venal sacristan placed in my hands the head of Charlemagne.

I thought Hohenfels would have sunk to the ground with disgust. He colored deeply and dragged me into the air. "I am ashamed of every drop of German blood in my veins," he cried. "What are we to think of the commerce of these wretches, for whom the very wounds of Cæsar are the lips of a money-box?"

I had given back the skull, as Hamlet returns the skull of Yorick to the grave-digger, and was dusting my fingers with a handkerchief, as hundreds of Hamlets have dusted theirs. I said, "'Thrift, thrift, Horatio.'"

"At Kreutzberg there are twenty monks on the counter! This morning, at St. Ursula's, it was the eleven thousand virgins, their skulls ranged like Dutch cheeses above our heads or in rows around the walls, with a battery-full of them in the neighboring apartment, like a cheesemonger's reserved magazine. [pg 11] Here, the very leader of modern ideas, the creator of our form of civilization, is shown for so many pennies to any grocer who wants to weigh the head of a king! Profanation! Barbarians! Philistines!"


I turned rather hastily, while my hands were yet clammy with the skull, thinking that this accusation of Philistinism was aimed at me. But Hohenfels thought of nothing less than of a personality, being in his cloudiest mood of generalization. So I only concealed the handkerchief, while I said, as easily as I might, "You need not accuse your German blood, for I have lived long enough in my American's Paradise to know that civilized Paris is considerably worse in this particular respect, with the addition of a certain goblin levity particularly French. How often have I seen babies frightened by the skulls in the dentists' windows, with their cynical chewing action! It is said that a child sat next a dentist's apprentice once in an omnibus, and was observed to turn rigid, fixed and white, but unable to speak: he had sat on one of these skulls, and it had bitten him. Silver-mounted skulls set as goblets, in imitation of Byron, are to be seen at any of the china-shops rubbing against the chaste cheeks of the old maid's teacup. Skeletons are sold, bleached and with gilded hinges, to the medical students, who buy the pale horrors as openly as meerschaum pipes. Have I not often found young Grandstone supping among his doctors' apprentices of the Ober restaurant after theatre-hours, a skeleton in the corner filled with umbrellas like a hall-rack, and crowned with the triple or quintuple tiara of the girls' best bonnets? Ay, Mimi Pinson's cap has known what it is to perch on the bony head of Death. The juxtaposition is but an emblem. The sewing-girl, like Hood's shirtmaker, scarcely fears the 'phantom of grisly bone.' Poor Francine! where have you taken your artisanne's cap to, I wonder? Are you left alone, all alone again, and thinking of the pretty solitude you have left behind you at Carlsruhe? Who uses those polished keys now?"

Hohenfels interrupted me, complaining that my monologue was uninteresting and diffuse, and was interfering with the railway time-table. But I finished it in the car: "And the railway! What has a person of fixed and independent habits to do with railways but to growl at them? Before I was tempted upon the railway by that impertinent engineer at Noisy, I got up and sat down when I liked, ate wholesome food at my own hours, and was contented at home. Confusion to him who made me the victim of his engineering calculations! [pg 12] Confusion to Grandstone and his nest of serpents at Épernay! Did they not introduce me to Fortnoye, who has doubly destroyed my peace? Where are the conspirators, that I may pulverize them with my maledictions?"


This question—which Hohenfels called peevish as he buried himself in his book—was not answered until we had passed Verviers, Chaudfontaine and Liège. I was aroused from a sulky slumber in the station at Brussels by Hohenfels, who said, in his musical scolding way, like the busy wheeze of a clicking music-box, "You may say what you like, with your left-handed flatteries, in regard to Fortnoye, and you may praise Ariadnes and widows to the end of the chapter. You are sorry at this moment not to be at Épernay to see the destroyer of your peace married: you had rather assist at the making of a wife than at the making of a widow."

I was just sending Fortnoye to the gloomiest shades of Acheron when a strong hand entered the carriage-door, helped me handsomely down the steps, and then began warmly to shake my own. Fortnoye!—Fortnoye in flesh and blood was before me. While my mouth was yet filled with maledictions he began to pour out a storm of thanks with all his own particular warmth, expressing the most effusive gratitude for the trouble I had taken in forsaking my route to be his wife's bridesmaid. That is what he called it. "She has but one other," said Fortnoye. At the same time I began to recognize other faces not unknown to me, crudely illuminated by the raw colors of the railway-lights. They all had black wedding-suits and enormous buttonhole nosegays of orange-flowers. I picked them out, with a particular recognition for each: 'twas the civil engineer of Noisy; the short gentleman named Somerard; James Athanasius Grandstone, with his saintly aureole upon him in the shape of a Yankee wide-awake; the nameless mutes, or rather chorus, of the champagne-crypt; in short, my nest of serpents in all its integrity. Still entangled with my slumbers, I hesitated to respond to the friendly hands that were everywhere thrust centripetally toward me.

I looked blackly at Hohenfels. He was chuckling.

At Heidelberg, making the acquaintance of M. Fortnoye contemporaneously with my departure, he had become more enthralled than he ever confessed to this radiant traveler—whom he called a [pg 13] packman, but regarded as a Mercury—and his pretty scheme of matrimony in motion. Even now, if I can believe my eyes, he goes up to the "vintner" and "peddler" of his objurgations, and meekly whispers into his ear with the air of a conspirator reporting a plot to his chief. Having engaged to produce me at the wedding of Fortnoye, and finding me unexpectedly recusant, he had adopted a little stratagem for bringing me to the scene while thinking to escape from it.

"Thou too, Brutus!" I said, and gave it up. It only remained for me to return all round, after five minutes of petrified stupidity, the hand-grasps that had been offered from every quarter of the compass-box.

Next morning, at an early hour, I was interrupted by a knock, just as Charles had buttoned my gaiters and the young man from the perruquier's (who had stolen in with that air of delicacy and of almost literary refinement which belongs to his gentle profession) had lathered me. A nick he gave my chin at the shock made my countenance all argent and gules, and the visitor entering saw me thus emblazoned, while the barber and Charles, "like two wild men supporters of a shield," could only stare at the untimely apparition.

"Do you know him, Charles?" I asked, not recognizing my guest, and putting over my painted face a mask of wet toweling.

"I know him intimately," replied my jester-in-ordinary: "I would thank Monsieur Paul just to tell me his name. Do you remember, monsieur, a sort of beggar, with a wagon and a stylish horse and a pretty wife, who limped a bit with his right hand, or perhaps his left hand? Does monsieur know what I mean? He used to come and see us at Passy; and monsieur even had some traffic with him in a little matter of two chickens."

"Father Joliet!" I cried.

"Present!" shouted the personage thus designated at my appeal to his name. I turned round, toweled, and he grasped my hands. The unusual hour, appropriate as I supposed only to some porter or other stipendiary visitor of my hotel, caused to shine out with startling refulgence the morning splendors in which Papa Joliet had arrayed himself. He wore a courtly dress, appropriate to the most formal possible ceremony; his black suit was glossy; his hat was glossy; his varnished pumps were more than glossy—they were phosphorescent. Gloves only were wanting to his honest hands.


Soaped, napkined and generally extinguished, I could only stammer, "You here in Brussels? What a droll meeting!"

"Wherefore droll?" asked Joliet, with a huge surprise, which lasted him all through his next sentence. "I come here to marry my daughter. Everything is ready; we count on your presence at the wedding; the lawyer has drawn up the contract; and the breakfast is now cooking at the best restaurant in the place."

"Francine's wedding, my dear Joliet!" I exclaimed. And, going back to my apprehensions at her furtive disappearance from Carlsruhe, and to my conjectures of some amorous mystery between her and her Yankee traducer, Kraaniff, I added gravely, "It is very creditable!"

[pg 14]

"How, creditable—and droll?" repeated the honest man, evidently much surprised at my own accumulating surprises. "Did not you hear?"


"Not the faintest word," I said, "but I am none the less gratified to find this affair ending, as it should, in the presence of a lawyer. As for your wedding-invitation, my good friend, you are a little tardy in delivering it, for it is exactly to-day that I am obliged to attend at the marriage of one of my friends, M. Fortnoye."

"Ah, that is a good joke!" cried Joliet, breaking into an explosion of laughter and clapping me pleasantly on the shoulder—an action which caused a slight frown on the part of Charles. "You always would have your jest, Monsieur the American! Tease me and scare me as much as you like: I like these hoaxes better before a wedding than after. Hold that," he added, extending his hand as if it were a piece of merchandise.

I "held" it, and he went on, dwelling slowly on his words: "If you are at Henri Fortnoye's wedding you will be at Francine Joliet's also, for both of these persons are to be married at one church."

"Impossible!" I exclaimed, dropping the hand and stepping back.

"What! again?" said Joliet, his manly face visibly darkening. "Droll! and creditable! and impossible! Why impossible?" Then he dropped his head and looked angrily at the floor. "Ah, yes, even you," he said, his eyes still fixed on the boards, "believed that a French girl, trained as French girls are trained, would flirt and expose herself to remark; and all on account of such a man as your compatriot, the other American! Well! well! you ought to know your countrymen best."

"I know of no harm," I interposed hastily. "I should always have thought Kraaniff hard to swallow as a mere matter of taste. I can but recollect, Father Joliet," I went on more seriously, "that the last time I met you you begged me not to talk of Francine if I would not break your heart. I have to add to this the news brought me from Heidelberg, that this Kraaniff was a serpent who had fascinated some young girl for an approaching meal.—How dare you, Charles," I cried suddenly, recalled to the consciousness of his presence by this souvenir of his oratory, "stand here staring? Show the young man out directly, and pay him."

I will not answer for Charles's having got much farther away than the door. Joliet continued: "But his aunt knows him now for what he is. Kraaniff, say you? I call him Kranich, though he had better change his baptismal record than disgrace one of the best names in Brussels."


"Frau Kranich, then, my old friend, is really his aunt?"

"Madame Kranich, whom I have [pg 15] known in your parlor, is really Francine's godmother. Did you never know of all her secret kindness? That rigid lady would commit a perjury to deny one of her own good actions. Young Kranich has written her a letter confessing his lies. Don't you know? The very same day when you were determined to fight him in a duel—"

"Certainly, certainly," I said, a little confused. "We will change the subject and leave my ferocity alone. Let us understand one another. In regard to Fortnoye's marriage, was there not some talk of a Madame Ashburleigh?"

"I believe you. Madame Ashburleigh is the very key of the manoeuvre. Madame Ashburleigh—don't you perceive?—lost a child."

"For that matter, she has lost four. I know the lady confidentially, and she told me their histories and present address. Lucia lies in Glasgow, Hannibal at Nice, and Waterloo sleeps somewhere hereabout, as well as another nameless little dear."

"She is a good woman. She has collected all her proofs, and has come hither with them voluntarily—has perhaps already arrived. Brussels, where two of her marmots rest, is one of her most frequent stations. That censorious Madame Kranich made a scene, but she had to yield to conviction."

"A censorious Madame Kranich! Is the young duelist married?"

"What? No, no! It is Francine's guardian I speak of. Of late years she has become a sort of Puritan abbess, seeking the Protestant society which abounds in Belgium, and lamenting her husband, whom they say she used to drug with opium."

"Then is she not Kranich's aunt?"

"Oh yes, an aunt by marriage; but he is not her nephew: I will die before I call him so."


"Listen," said I, "Father Joliet. You are as full of information as an oracle, but you are not coherent. This month past I have been hunting down a chimaera, a hydra with a dozen heads: each head shows me by turn the portrait of Fortnoye, or Francine, or yourself, or Kranich, or Mrs. Ashburleigh. Ever since Noisy I have been meandering through the folds of a mystery. My head is turning with it. If you want to save me from distraction, sit down in this chair and answer me a long catechism, without saying a word but in reply to my questions."

"I am sure I talk as plain as a professor. Look! You frightened me at first with your doubts and your impossibilities. You have only to make Kranich's aunt agree with Francine's guardian, and at the same time forgive Francine's husband for having assumed the undertaker's bill for Madame Ashburleigh's baby."

"Yes, yes, my dear Joliet, you are clearer than Euclid." And I administered a category of questions. Joliet, with his fatherly joy bursting out of him in the longest of parentheses, kept quiet in his refulgent shoes and answered as well as he could.


Francine, he protested, had never been [pg 16] a flirt (I have met no Frenchmen who were ignorant of that one English word, to which they give a new value by pronouncing it in a very orotund manner, as flort). When she came to be ten or twelve, Frau Kranich—until then a well-preserved lioness with an appetite for society—ceased to give her dolls and promised to give her an education. At the same time, the banker's widow left Paris, and repaired with her charge to Brussels, where the little girl received some good half-Jesuitical, half-English schooling, of the kind suggested in the Brontë novels. Her diploma attained, Francine begged to accompany her English teacher back to London: she wished to become a meess, she said, and be competent to teach like a new Hypatia. She had hardly bidden her kind protectress adieu when Frau Kranich's nephew arrived at Brussels, exceedingly dissatisfied with his American business in the bar-rooms of the grand duke of Mississippi. A sordid jealousy of Mademoiselle Joliet's claims upon his aunt took possession of this prudent spirit. He took up a watch-post at a university town on the Rhine. He began to whisper vague exaggerations of her coquetries and liveliness, which the Protestant circle that revolved about Madame Kranich did not fail to bear in to her. This lady admired her nephew, sure that his want of manners was the sign of a noble frankness. She wrote to Francine, bidding her come immediately from London. The girl not replying, the hopeful nephew was put upon her track. He went away. His letters from England reported that Francine was no longer in that country, but was probably come back to Belgium, "I know not in what suburb of Brussels our very independent miss may this instant be hiding," he wrote.

About the same time, in the circle of French exiles at Brussels, a young romantique named Fortnoye was reported as weeping and lavishing statues over the grave of an unknown infant in the churchyard at Laaken. It was a delicious mystery. Kind meddlers approached the sexton, who said that all he knew of the babe's mother was that she was a beautiful lady from London. Kranich carried the story dutifully to his aunt, adding his own ingenious surmise: "Can Francine have become sufficiently Anglicised to contract secret marriages with roving revolutionists, and scamper about the country with ardent young Frenchmen in the style of Gretna Green?" In fact, it was really from London that Mrs. Ashburleigh was proceeding, for the purpose of taking care, in the Rhenish city where he was dying, of her handsome, dissipated, worthless husband. Taken suddenly ill at Brussels, she left her infant to the unequaled chill of a strange, unknown cemetery, hastening thence with tears and despair to the bedside where duty called her.

Has my reader forgotten the dim, tear-swollen story which I heard—not at all improved in the telling—from my generous young friend Grandstone—how an impulsive Frenchman had laid to rest, in flowers and evergreens, the unnamed baby of a woman he had never seen? Jealous as I was of Fortnoye, I never could think without tenderness of this singular action. To make the tomb of this helpless Innocence the young man braved the curiosity of his comrades—despised the rumor, the obloquy, and, hardest of all, the jests. Well has the wise dramatist decided that Ophelia must needs be laid in Yorick's bed!

[pg 17]

Poor Francine, gay, frivolous, innocently vain of her little travesty of English behavior, found her accomplishments and graces received by her guardian's circle with incomprehensible coldness. Hurt and humiliated, she asked to pay a visit to her father. The honest rustic received her with a miserable confusion of doubt and severity, for her escapade to England had never pleased him, and her return from her godmother's home wore to him the air of a repudiation. At her father's house, however, she was discovered by Fortnoye, who had never heard the ingenious Kranich's theory of his own private wedding with Francine, and who thought to find in her the veiled unknown of the cemetery. He saw for the first time, in the flowery home at Noisy, that fresh ingenuous beauty, a little over-cast with disappointment. His generous nature was touched; and, with his talent for administration and planning, he conceived the idea of establishing Francine in the pretty bird's nest at Carlsruhe, distant alike from the strongholds of her calumniators, Belgium and France.


Fortnoye now had an object in life. "There is a very young person in the cemetery of Laaken who is much in need of a chaperone," he said. The frank proofs of his own relations with this churchyard would not only do credit to his own reputation, but would gratify the best friends of Mademoiselle Joliet and at least one other lady. To attain these proofs he had to step over the coiling, writhing bodies of a whole nest of rumors. When he seized by the throat the especial slander that he himself was the husband of the babe's mother, he found written on its crest the signature of John Kranich. He sought the aunt. This lady gave him several interviews, the Lutheran prayer-book for ever in her hand. "Why does the dear girl not come to me?" she would say, weeping, but she refused to hear a word against her precious nephew, the personification of bluff frankness. As if to make crushing him impossible, young Kranich had now withdrawn to America, leaving his reputation in that best possible protection, the chivalry that is extended toward the absent. Fortnoye was baffled. "I will ask the baby at its tomb for its mother's and father's name," he cried. In the pretty God's Acre he found a fresh harvest of flowers and a new statue over the well-known grave. It was a pretty miniature of Thorwaldsen's Psyche, on which the proud copyist had inscribed his name. A respectful correspondence with Mrs. Ashburleigh, to whom he was guided by the sculptor, and who was now taking the waters at Wildbad, soon put the whole tangled story to rights. Fortnoye had the happiness of conducting Francine, by this time his affianced wife, to the good Frau Kranich, who, convinced that she had wrongly judged her, threw her arms ardently around her recovered jewel, letting the eternal little book fly from her hand like a projectile.

"But the most singular part of the story," concluded Father Joliet, "is the [pg 18] letter which Fortnoye, after two or three quarrels, forced out of young Kranich when the latter had returned to Europe, full of triumph and debts, to take possession of his aunt for the rest of his life. Here it is," added the good man, opening a pocket-book. "The hand-writing is drunken, but the sense is clear as Seltzer-water. The scholars tell me in vino veritas est, but it appears to me that truth really comes out in the repentance and headache that follow."


"MY DEAR AUNT" (ran the letter which Charles had seen forced from the alligator after his unlucky game of dominoes): "You have known me as the soul of candor. It is this happy quality which compels me to state (for I am something of a Rousseau) that if I ever playfully accused your pretty pet Francine of being a flirt, I knew nothing about it. The best proof is that she absolutely refused to join her expectations with mine, though I am something of an Adonis. If you believed that she and the wine-peddler had made a match, I pity your credulity and ignorance of human nature. I am certain that neither the peddler nor myself would touch the enterprise until you had shown exactly what you would (pecuniarily) do. For my part, I have acted throughout on the most exact and advanced scientific principles. Intending to modify the spirit-trade in America, and especially to introduce the exclusive agency of the Farina essences, I found that the sinew particularly needed for this leap was capital. Desiring to absorb your bounties toward Francine, I at first proposed matrimony. This offer was made without any enmity toward the girl, as my next move was without affection, though it seems to be resulting to her benefit. I became her accuser as coolly as I had been her lover. Passion has nothing to do with the combinations of strategic genius: I am something of a Washington. My theory of her clandestine marriage was one of the most masterly fictions of the age—a plot worthy of Thackeray. If I could have succeeded in mutilating the statue in the graveyard, I might have carried it, while you would have admired my act of iconoclasm with all your Puritan nature. In the momentary abandonment of my plans, owing to the machinations of my enemies, you will conceive that I am not very rich. My college-debts and other expenses I am obliged to leave for your kind attention. The main point of this letter, which M. Fortnoye has persuaded me to set down as distinctly as in my present feeble state I can, is that Francine is a pretty little maid who has never passed by Gretna Green. There! that is my credo, and I will subscribe to it,

"Your loving nephew, JOHN.

"P. S. Address, with such an enclosure as your generosity will prompt, JEAN K. FFARINA, sole representative and cosmetical chemist in America on behalf of the Farinas of Cologne, at New Orleans [pg 19] where I am going to beat my adversaries like Old HIC—"

At this point the tipsy scrawl became illegible.

"This is not a very handsome apology. Did Fortnoye accept it?" I asked, turning over the clammy and malodorous epistle. At this inquiry the crack of the door widened and Charles appeared, on fire with enthusiasm, and so possessed with self-importance that he forgot the betrayal of his indiscretion.

"I can reply to that question," said Charles. "When M. Fortnoye received the paper from the duelist he read it over and said, 'You have meant to impose on me, monsieur, with an incomplete confession. But, in return for your imperfect restoration of Mademoiselle Joliet's portrait, you have unconsciously set down such a masterpiece of yourself that I am certain your aunt will see you as she never did before.'"

Charles, having thus added himself to our cabal without rebuke, took a lively interest in what followed. The proud father continued: "My son-in-law, after some business preliminaries, wrote me a handsome letter demanding what he had already effectively possessed himself of. I wrote to Francine, already returned to her duties, to be a good girl and make her husband obey her in all things."

"That may have been," said I, "what made Francine take to laughing all day and all night, as I heard she did some little time after my departure from her house. The next news of her," I pursued, "was that she had been spirited away by some sly old kidnapper. I almost suspected Kranich."

"The old kidnapper," said Joliet, laughing heartily at the compliment, "is the man now talking to you. I wanted to take Francine to her godmother. I turned the key in the door at Carlsruhe, set the geographers all upon their travels to explore new worlds, and we have been living ever since quite close to Madame Kranich, who treats me like an emperor."

It was easy now to understand why the young Kranich, as soon as he could identify me as a protector of Francine, had been thrown off his guard and tempted to attack me with his clumsy abuse. It was not very mysterious, even, why he had wished all handsome girls to be drowned in the Rhine. For him a pretty damsel was simply a rival in trade.


Had I stopped at Wildbad with the party of orpheonists, I should have encountered rather sooner the fatal beauties of Mary Ashburleigh. It was to meet her that Fortnoye had paused at that resort, considering her introduction to Frau Kranich almost indispensable to the success of his scheme. She had no hesitation in following the protecting angel of her lost child. "My object in this journey is a happy marriage," she had told me when to my unworthy care her guardianship had been transferred. If I timorously suspected the marriage to be her own, whose fault was it but mine? My heart leaped up at the successive stages of this recital, its hopes [pg 20] confirmed by every additional fact: the Dark Ladye's hand was certainly free. Fortnoye, I should surmise, was not too desirous to abandon this magnificent companion at Schwetzingen; but the serpent, he knew, was left behind, in company with two or three of his and my friends: it was necessary to take the youth by the ear, as it were, and dismiss him from the country, without loss of time, to his future of counter-jumping. His dueling experience may be of some use to him among the bowie-knives of Louisiana. If his subsequent path is not strewn with roses, let him rejoice that it is at least lubricated with cologne-water.


An hour had passed, and into my room from his own adjoining one now ambled amicably my friend the baron. He greeted Joliet as an old friend. Many a smoking-match had they had in my garden at Marly. But Hohenfels this morning was in robes of state, with shoes that shone even beside old Father Joliet's, and as a concession to elegance he had abandoned his cavernous pipes in favor of cigarettes. A scroll of this description, flavored with his Cologne pastille and very badly rolled, was trying to exhale itself between his lips.

"What a genius for conversation you have to-day, my Flemming! This hour I have rocked back and forth in bed, trying to understand your observations or to cover my ears and go to rest. Your tongue has been like the tongue of a monastery-bell summoning all hands to penance." But I had hardly spoken ten consecutive words. The ears of the baron were this morning quite muffled, I think, with the abundance of his hair, which he had evidently been dressing with an avalanche of soap and water, for the topknot was as harsh and tight as a felt. He had lemon-blossoms on his lappel and lemon kids on his fists.

It was then I remembered that my bags were all in the steamer, where I had left them when surprised by Charles's indisposition. My tin box would possibly yield me a button-nosegay, but otherwise I might beat my breast, like the wedding-guest in the Ancient Mariner, for I heard the summons and was unable to attend in right attire. "We two must take you out in the street and dress you," said Hohenfels.

Although I had never been dressed in the street, I yielded. It was a grand public holiday, and the sounds of festivity, which had floated into my chamber with the entrance of Hohenfels, were in full cadence outside. Everybody was pouring out to the city-gate, or returning from thence, where, in honor of some visit from the king of the Belgians and count and countess of Flanders, a festival was going on in imitation or rehearsal of the grand annual kermesse. These festivals, retained in Belgium with a delightful fidelity to the customs of antique Brabant, would fit the brush of Teniers better than the pen of a mere bewildered tourist. Still, I will try, copying principally from the reports of Charles (who contrives to peep at everything, with an interest whose amount is in ratio with the square of his distance from his master), to give a few features of the scene, which he spread in detail before the attentive Josephine during many an evening after.


The principal fair-ground—though the [pg 21] occasion crammed the whole city with revelers—was just outside the gate. It was a veritable town in miniature, with a pattern of checker-board streets—Columbine street, Polichinelle street, Avenue des Parades, Place des Parades, Street of the Chanson, and the like. There were more than five hundred booths, all numbered—shops and restaurants. There were the Salon Curtius, the Ménagerie Bidel, the Bal Mabille, the Café Bataclan, the American Tavern. From one of the little costumers' shops, Charles—with a higher evincement of antiquarian taste than I should have expected—managed to bear away a pattern of wall-paper, which I afterward conferred on Mary Ashburleigh with great applause: it was Parisian of 1824, the epoch of Charles Dix, and was entirely covered with giraffes in honor of that puissant and elegant monarch. The above establishments were near the entrance, to the right.

At the left were more attractions: another menagerie, a heap of ostensible gold representing the five milliards paid by France, a gallery of astonished wax soldiers representing the Franco-Prussian war, a cook-shop with "mythologic" confectionery. Farther on, in the Théâtre Casti, was exposed the "renowned buffoon Peppino," breveted by His Majesty the "king of Egypt;" then came the Chiarini Theatre; then the Théâtre Adrien Delille, an enchantingly pretty structure, where receptions were given by a little creature who should have sat under a microscope: she was "the Princess Felicia, aged thirteen, born at Clotat, near Marseilles, weighing three kilogrammes and measuring forty-six centimètres—a ravishing figure, admirably proportioned in her littleness and tout à fait sympathique!"

The announcements were heard, it was thought by Charles, to the very centre of the city. A low-browed animal with rasped hair was shouting, "Messieurs and ladies, come and see—come and see the theatre of the galleys! The only one in the world! This is the place to view the real instruments of torture used on the prisoners—-chains four yards long and balls of thirty-five pounds. All authentic, gentlemen and ladies. You will see the poisoners of Marseilles, Grosjon who killed his father, Madame Cottin who ate her baby. Come in, come in, gentlemen and ladies! Fifteen centimes! 'Tis given away! You enter and go out when you like. Come in! It is educational: you see vice and crime depicted on the faces of the criminals!"


In another place a malicious Flemish Figaro explained the analogy betwen een spinnekop and eene meisie, the perspiration streaming over his face; and my ancient minnesinger's blood stirred within me at the report of the pleasantries which were improvised by this Rabelais of the people, and I remembered that I too was a Flemming.

The bands belonging to the different booths tried to play each other down, forming a stupefying charivari, with tributary processions that quite overflowed the city. The house of "confections" yielded me no broadcloth of a cut or dimension suitable to my figure. But my two friends chose me a hat, a light pale-tot (my second purchase in that sort on this eventful journey), a scented cambric handkerchief, a rosebud, and a snowy waistcoat, in which, as in a whited sepulchre, I concealed the decay of my toilet. These changes were judged to be sufficient for my accoutrement. They might have done very well, but on my way back I paused at a lace-shop window to inspect some present for Francine. A band, with many banners and figures in [pg 22] masquerade, swept past, followed by a shouting crowd. My friends lost me in a moment, and I lost my way. I turned into a street which I was sure led to the hotel, gave it up for another, lost that in a blind alley, and finally brought up in a steep, narrow cañon, where I was forced to ask a direction. The passer-by who obliged me was a man bearing a bag of charcoal. He answered with a ready intelligence that did honor to his heart and his sense of Progressive Geography. But he left on my white waistcoat, alas! a charcoal sketch, full of chiaroscuro and coloris, representing his index-finger surrounded with a sort of cloud-effect. My waistcoat had to be given over in favor of the elder garment buttoned up in the all-concealing overcoat.


The ceremonies of the day, I soon found, were to consist in an early and informal breakfast at the house of Frau Kranich; then the civil wedding at the mayor's office, followed by the usual church-service, from which the Protestant godmother of Francine begged to be excused; the day to wind up with a general dinner at a place of resort outside the city at four o'clock, the usual dining-hour in old Brabant.

The early breakfast gave a renewal of my friendship with good Frau Kranich and a glimpse of the bride, with her sweet, patient, dewy face shadowed like a honey-drop in the gauzy calyx of her artisanne cap; for she was in the simplest of morning dresses—something gray, with a clean white apron. The quaint, old-fashioned house where we met was decorated with exquisite trifles, the memorials of the mistress's old fashionable taste, but scattered over the tables also were lecture programmes, hospital reports and photographs of eminent philosophers. As I took up for a plaything a gold pen-case, well used, which rested on a magnificent old fan, the Kranich said, with just a reminiscence of her former vivacity, "You find me much changed, Mr. Flemming. I used to be the grasshopper in the fable—now I am the ant."

"I bless any change, ma'am," said I, "which increases your kindness toward this charming girl."

"Dear Mr. Flemming," said pretty Francine, "how nice and shabby you look! You will do admirably to stand by a poor girl—so poor that she has hardly a bridesmaid. I hope you are as indigent as you were at Carlsruhe." Upon this I felt very fatherly, and clasped her waist from behind as I kissed her forehead.

The lawyer, a professionally bland old man, with a porous bald head like an emu's egg, said as he was introduced, "Ah, I have heard of you before, monsieur. You are the man of the two chickens."

Joliet was so enchanted with this rare joke, laughing and clapping all his nearer neighbors on the back, that I could not but accept it graciously. For this exceptional day, at least, I must bear my eternal nickname. Was not the maid now present whose dower had been hatched by those well-omened fowls? and was not the dower now coming to use? Hohenfels paired off with the notary, and discussed with that parchment person the music of Mozart, and, what [pg 23] would have been absurd and incredible in any Anglo-Saxon country, the scribe understood it!

Our party had to wait but ten minutes for the groom and his men. Fortnoye, in a grand blue suit, with a wondrous dazzle of frilling on his broad chest, looked a noble husband, but was preoccupied and silent. His chorus supported him—Grandstone, Somerard, my engineer and the others—in dignified black clothes, official boutonnières and ceremonial cravats: they greeted Frau Kranich with awe, and bowed before the polished head of the lawyer with the parallelism of ninepins. My little group of fellow-travelers was almost complete. The young duelist, of course, was not expected or wanted. The Scotch doctor, Somerard told me, had been obliged to fly to London, where a mammoth meeting of the homoeopathic faith was in progress.

The great feature of the breakfast came on when every crumb of breakfast had been eaten. Charles and the maid cleared away the table, and the notary stood up to read the marriage contract. The reading, ordinarily a dull affair, was in this instance vivified by curious incidents. In the first place, Frau Kranich. amending the injustice her over-credulity had caused, gave her protègée a wedding-present of twenty thousand francs, accompanying the gift with some singularly tart remarks about her nephew: this sum was increased by the groom to sixty thousand. The second incident was when Joliet, amid the almost incredulous surprise of the whole table, raised the gift, by the addition of ten thousand, to seventy thousand francs: the money was the product of his former house and garden—that house of shreds and patches which had cost him ten francs. When it came to affixing the signatures, the notary appealed to Joliet for his name. He could not sign it, being gouty and half forgetful of pen-practice, but he responded to the question as bold as a lion: "John Thomas Joliet, baron de Rouvière," throwing to the lawyer a fine bunch of papers bearing witness to the validity of the title; after which he added, no less proudly, "wine-merchant, wholesale and retail, at the sign of the Golden Chickens, Noisy."


In truth, Joliet's father had rightfully borne the title of baron de Rouvière, but, ruined by '48, had abandoned the practice of signing it. Joliet resumed it for this special occasion, having every warrant for the act, but whispered to me that he should never so call himself in future, greatly preferring the enumeration of his qualities on his business-card.

Poor Francine meanwhile had looked so timid and blushed so that Frau Kranich nodded to her permission of absence. She gave one glance at Fortnoye, buried her face in her hands, laughed a sweet little gurgle, and fled. When her presence was again necessary, she reappeared, drowned in white. We went to the mayor's office, where she lost a pretty little surname that had always seemed to fit her like a glove; then to the church, an obscure one in the neighborhood of Frau Kranich's house. But at the door of the sacred edifice the elder lady said, with much conciliatory grace in her manner, "I claim exemption from [pg 24] witnessing this part of the ceremony; and you, Mr. Flemming, must resume or discover your Protestantism and enter the carriage with me. I must show you a little of the city while these young birds are pairing."

No objection was made to this rather strange proposal. The bride, between her father and husband, forgot that she had no friend of her own sex to stand near her. We arranged for a general meeting at the dinner.

In the carriage she said, "I brought you away because I am devoured with uneasiness. Mrs. Ashburleigh wrote me that she would certainly be here for at least the principal part of the ceremony. I do not know what to make of it. It may be of no use, but we will scour the city. These throngs, this noise, make me uneasy. I fear some accident, having," she added with a smile, "one lone woman's sympathy for another lone woman."


I peered through the crowds at this, right and left, with inexpressible emotion. Perhaps this accidental sort of quest was that which destiny had arranged for the solution of my life-problem. To light upon Mary Ashburleigh in these festal throngs, perhaps wanting assistance, perhaps calling upon my name even now through her velvet lips, was a chance the mere notion of which made my blood leap.

When Brussels gives herself over to holiday-making, she does it in a whole-souled and self-consistent way that has plenty of attractiveness. The houses seemed to have turned themselves inside out to replenish the streets. People in their best clothes, equipages, processions, bands, troops of children, filled the avenues. Some conjecture that there might have been a mistake about the church took us to the cathedral of St. Gudule. Here, amid the superb spectrums of the stained windows, we searched through the vari-colored throngs that covered the floor, but no familiar face looked upon us. Strange to us as the old, impassive monumental dukes of Brabant who occupy the niches, the people made way to let us pass from the doorway between the lofty brace of towers to the high altar, which is a juggler's apparatus, and has concealed machinery causing the sacred wafer to come down seemingly of its own accord at the moment when the priest is about to lift the Host. All was unfamiliar and splendid, and we came away, feeling as if our own little wedding-group would have been lost in so magnificent a tabernacle. The Grande Place, on which lay the wedge-like shadow of the high-towered Hôtel de Ville, was perhaps as thronged a honeycomb of buzzing populace as when Alva looked out upon it to see the execution of Egmont and Horn. Among all the good-natured Netherlandish countenances that paved the square there was none that responded to my own.

We drove vaguely through the principal streets, and then, baffled, made our way to the faubourg in which is situated the zoological garden, toward which a considerable portion of the inhabitants was going even as ourselves. At the entrance our carriage encountered that of the bride and groom, and soon the whole party of the breakfast-table assembled by the gate, for the great coffee-rooms at which our meal was laid were close by the garden, and a promenade in this famous living museum was a premeditated part of the day's enjoyment. We entered the grounds in character, frankly putting forward our claims as a wedding-procession. That is the delightful French custom among those who are brought up as Francine had been: her father would have been heartbroken to have been denied the proud exhibition of his joy, and Fortnoye was too great a traveler, too cosmopolitan, to object to a little family pageant that he had seen equaled or exceeded in publicity in most of the Catholic [pg 25] countries on the globe. Francine, her artisanne cap for ever lost, her gleaming dark hair set, like a Milky Way, with a half wreath of orange-blossoms, the silvery gauzes of her protecting veil floating back from her forehead, strayed on at the head of the little parade. She was wrapped in the delicious reverie of the wedding-day. She was not yellow nor meagre, nor uglier than herself, as so many brides contrive to be. Her air of delicacy and tenderness was a blossom of character, not a canker of ill-health. Her color was hardly raised, though her head was perpetually bent. Fortnoye, holding her on his firm arm, seemed like a man walking through enchantments. Just behind, protecting Madame Kranich with an action of effusive gallantry that must have been seen to be conceived, walked the baron de Rouvière, his brave knotted hands, for which he had not found any gloves, busily occupied in pointing out the animated rarities that to him seemed most worthy of selection. The hilarious hyenas, the seals, the polar bears plunging from their lofty rocks, all attracted his commendation; and we, who walked behind in such order as our friendships or familiarity taught us, were perpetually tripping upon his honest figure brought to a halt before some object more than usually interesting. Exclamations of delight at the bride's beauty, politely wrapped in whispers, arose on all sides as we penetrated the throng: it was a proud thing to be a part of a procession so distinguished. My good Joliet beamed with complacency, and drove his little herd up and down and across and about till the greater part of the garden was explored. The zoological garden of Brussels has the beauty of not showing too obviously the character of a prison. It is extensive, umbrageous, and the poor captives within its borders have enough air and space around their eyes to give them a semblance of liberty. For the special feast-day on which we visited it the place had been arranged with particular adaptation to the character of the time. There were elephant-races and rides upon the camels free to all ladies who would make the venture. In addition to the zebras, gnus and Shetlands, there was that species of race-horse which never wins and never spoils a course, being of wood and constructed to go round in a tent, and never [pg 26] to arrive anywhere or lose any prizes. The pelicans were in high excitement, for all along their beautiful little river, where it winds through bowery trees, a profusion of living fish had been emptied and confined here and there by grated dams, so that the awkward birds had opportunity to angle in perfect freedom and to their hearts' content. In the more wooded part of the garden a mimic hunt had been arranged, and sportsmen in correct suits of green, with curly brass horns and baying hounds, coursed through the grounds, following a stag which, though mangy and asthmatic, may yet have been a descendant of the fawn that fed Genevieve of Brabant. We had re-entered one of the grand alleys, and were receiving again the little tribute of encomiums which the greater privacy of the groves had pretermitted—we were parading happily along, conscious of nothing to be ashamed of, our orange-blossoms glistening, our veil flying, our broadcloth and wedding-favors gleaming—when we met another group, which, though more furtively, bore that matrimonial character which distinguished our own.


At the head walked Mr. Cookson & Jenkinson. He still wore that species of shooting-costume which he had made his uniform, but it was decked with roses, and his hands were encased in milk-white gloves: on his hands, besides the gloves, he had the two grammatical ladies from the Rhine steamboat in guise of bridesmaids. Behind him walked Mary Ashburleigh. And emerging from the skirts of Mary Ashburleigh's dress, with the embarrassed happiness of a middle-aged bridegroom, was—no? yes! no, no! but yes—was Sylvester Berkley. I will not expose what I suffered to the curiosity of imperfectly sympathetic strangers. I did not faint, and I believe men in genuine despair never do so. But I felt that weakness and unmanageableness of knee which comes with strong mental anguish, and I sank back impotent upon the baron, whose lingering legs repudiated the pressure, so that we both accumulated miserably upon Grandstone. My eyes closed, and I did not hear the Dark Ladye's salutations to Frau Kranich. But I awoke to see with anguish a sight that drew involuntary applause from all that careless crowd.

It was the salute of the two brides. Imagine, if you can, two great purple pansies, flushed with all the perfumed sap of an Eden spring-time, threaded with diamonds of myriad-faceted dew,—imagine them leaning forward on their elastic stems until both their soft velvet countenances cling together and exchange mutually their caparisons of honeyed gems; then let them sway gently back, and balance once more in their morning splendor. Such was the effect when these two imperial creatures approached each other and imprinted with lips and palms a sister's salute. Mary Ashburleigh, whom the throng recognized as a natural empress, was arrayed this morning as brides are seldom arrayed, but with a sense of artistic obedience to her own sumptuous nature and personality. The royal purple of her velvets was cut, on skirt and bodice, into one continuous fretwork of heavy scrolls and leafage, and through the crevices of this textile carving shone the robe she carried beneath: it was tawny yellow, for she wore under her outward dress a complete robe of ancient lace, whose cobweb softness was more than — only perceived as the slashes of her velvets made it evident. It was such dressing as queens alone should indulge in perhaps, but Mary Ashburleigh chose for once to do justice to her style and her magnificence.

I was leaning against a tree, stunned in the sick sunshine. I heard, while my eyes were closed, a sort of voluminous cloudy roll, and the Dark Ladye was beside me. She whispered quickly and volubly in my ear, "I tried to confide in you, but I could not get it spoken. Yet I managed to confess that my heart had been touched. It was only this summer—at the Molkencur over Heidelberg—he lectured about the ruins. 'Twas information—'twas rapture! I found at once he was the Magician. We were quietly united at the embassy this morning. And now he can leave that dreadful consulate and has got his promotion, [pg 27] for he is to be chargé here in Brussels. It is sudden, but we were positively afraid to do it in any other way, I am such a timid creature. When I saw the travelers' agent on the steamboat, I was at first struck with his manly British bearing and his resemblance to Sylvester. Then I found he had the matrimonial prospectus, and perceived he might be a link. He has managed everything beautifully. I had no idea—With his assistance you need no more mind being married than going into a shop for a plate of pudding. You must come up and be presented, to show you bear no malice."

I cannot tell how I did it, but I allowed Sylvester and the agent to grasp my hands, one on either side. Berkley, as to his collar, his cravat, his face and his white gloves, presented one general surface of mat silver. He clasped me with some affection, but his intellect had quite gone, and he said it was a fine day.

I did not rally in the least until after my fourth glass of champagne at the dinner. We made one party: indeed, Mrs. Ashburleigh had brought her husband hither in that expectation. Fortnoye vanished a minute to arrange the banquet-room; and as his wife rushed in to find him, followed by the rest of us, he snatched a great damask cloth from the table, and there was such a set-out of flowers and viands as has seldom been seen in Belgium or elsewhere. The table, instead of a cloth, was entirely laid with; young emerald vine-leaves: our places were marked, and at each plate was a gift for the bride, ostensibly coming from the person who sat there, but really provided by the forethought of Fortnoye. In front of my own cover two pretty downy chicks were pecking in a cottage made of crystal slats and heavily thatched with spun glass—the prettiest birdcage in the world. On the eaves was an inscription: "The Man of the Two Chickens." It happened that the little keepsake I had found for Francine consisted of wheat-ears in pearls and gold, adapted for brooch and eardrops; so I only had to drop them in beside the chickens and the present was appropriate and complete.

I cannot tell of the effect as Mary Ashburleigh swept into that splendid banqueting-room, one long pyramid of velvet pierced with webbed interstices of light. If the largest window of St. Ursula's church had come down and entered the room, the spectacle could not have been so superb. One item struck me: the younger bride, of course, wore orange buds; but for the Englishwoman, a beauty ripe with many summers, buds and blossoms were inappropriate; she wore fruits: in the grand coronal of plaits that massed itself upon her head were set, like gems, three or four small, delicious, amber-scented mandarin oranges. With this piece of exquisite apropos did the infallible Mary Ashburleigh crown the edifice of her good taste. The two brides sat opposite each other. A small watch, which I had happened to buy at Coblenz, I managed to detach and lay on the Dark Ladye's plate as my offering. On a card beside it I merely wrote, "ANOTHER TIME!"

Who knows? Perhaps Sylvester may fill and founder as the other has done. He looks miserably bilious and frightened.

I had rather partake of a rare dinner than describe one. The wines alone represented all the cellars of the Rhine and the whole champagne country. Fortnoye, who gave the feast, entertained both Sylvester's party and his own with regal good cheer. Think not that Henri Fortnoye was the ordinary obfuscated, superfluous, bewildered bridegroom. On the contrary, assuming immediately the head of his own table, he took the responsibility of the party's merriment, and made the good humor flow like the wine. I know not how it was, but ere the meal was over I found myself joining in one of his choruses; Frau Kranich forgot her asceticism and exhumed all her youthful air of gayety; James Athanasius Grandstone promised the host to set his wines running in every State of America. But the prettiest moment was when the two brides rose and touched glasses, mutually and to the health of the company, apropos of a little wedding-song which Fortnoye had [pg 28] composed and was trolling at the head our willing chorus.



I have arrived at Marly, and, with the ssistance of much sarcasm from Hohenfels, am getting on with considerable spirit at my Progressive Geography. When man's Hope ceases temporarily to take a merely Human aspect, may it not suffer a fresh avatar and begin in a new and Geographical form its beneficent career? The Dark Ladye has sunk beneath my horizon, but speculations over the Atlantean and Lunar Mountains are still succulent and vivifying.


I fled, lashed by a hundred despairs and by many symptoms of headache and dyspepsia, from the wedding-feast at Brussels. Charles and the baron of Hohenfels accompanied me. It was a night-train. The spectacle of so much wedded happiness was too much for me, too much for Hohenfels. The effect was, contrarily, rather stimulating to Charles, who has made a match with Josephine, and with her assistance is now listening, the tear of sensibility in his eye, to Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" as executed by the village organ!

We passed Valenciennes, Somain, Donai, Arras, Amiens, Clermont, Criel, Pontoise—the last points of merely bodily travel that I shall ever make: here-after my itineracy shall be entirely theoretical. We took a carriage at Pontoise, and traversed the woods of Saint-Germain. As I neared home I bowed right and left to amicable and smiling neighbors, who waved me good-day [pg 29] from their doors. So did my Newfoundland, who broke his chain and leaped upon my shoulders, flourishing his tail—overjoyed to salute the returning Ulysses.


In the British Museum, among the Elgin Marbles, Phidias has carved a pile of heaped-up marble waves, and out of them rise the arms of Hyperion—the most beautiful arms in the world. Homesick for heaven, those weary arms try to free themselves of the clinging foam. Another minute and surely the triumphant god will leap from his watery couch and guide with unerring hands the coursers of the Dawn! But that reluctant minute is eternal, and the divinity still remains incapable, clogged and wrapped in the embrace of marble waves. Yet the real sun every morning succeeds in equipping himself for his journey, and arrives, glad, at his welcome bath in the western sea.

The inference I draw is: If you want a career to be eternal instead of transitory, hand it over to Art.


The true moral of it all is, that we are all savage myths of the Course of the Sun. We disappear any number of times, but we rise and trail new clouds of glory, and our readers or our audiences perceive that it is the same old Hyperion back again. The youth who by the faithful hound, half buried in the snow, is found far up on the most inaccessible peaks of imagination, is perceived to grasp still in his hand of ice that Germanesque and strange device—Auf Wiedersehen.

[pg 30]




"Ecce Tiberum!" cried the Roman legions when they first beheld the Scottish Tay. What power of association could have made them see in the clear and shallow stream the likeless of their tawny Tiber, with his full-flowing waters sweeping down to the sea? Perhaps those soldiers under whose mailed and rugged breasts lay so tender a thought of home came from the northerly region among the Apennines, where a little bubbling mountain-brook is the first form in which the storied Tiber greets the light of day. One who has made a pilgrimage from its mouth to its source thus describes the spot: "An old man undertook to be our guide. By the side of the little stream, which here constitutes the first vein of the Tiber, we penetrated the wood. It was an immense beech-forest.... The trees were almost all great gnarled veterans who had borne the snows of many winters: now they stood basking above their blackened shadows in the blazing sunshine. The little stream tumbled from ledge to ledge of splintered rock, sometimes creeping into a hazel thicket, green with long ferns and soft moss, and then leaping once more merrily into the sunlight. Presently it split into numerous little rills. We followed the longest of these. It led us to a carpet of smooth green turf amidst an opening in the trees; and there, bubbling out of the green sod, embroidered with white strawberry-blossoms, the delicate blue of the crane's bill and dwarf willow-herb, a copious little stream arose. Here the old man paused, and resting upon his staff, raised his age-dimmed eyes, and pointing to the gushing water, said, 'E questo si chiama il Tevere a Roma!' ('And this is called the Tiber at Rome!') ... We followed the stream from the spot where it issued out of the beech-forest, over barren spurs [pg 31] of the mountains crested with fringes of dark pine, down to a lonely and desolate valley, shut in by dim and misty blue peaks. Then we entered the portals of a solemn wood, with gray trunks of trees everywhere around us and impenetrable foliage above our heads, the deep silence only broken by fitful songs of birds. To this succeeded a blank district of barren shale cleft into great gullies by many a wintry torrent. Presently we found ourselves at an enormous height above the river, on the ledge of a precipice which shot down almost perpendicularly on one side to the bed of the stream.... A little past this place we came upon a very singular and picturesque spot. It was an elevated rock shut within a deep dim gorge, about which the river twisted, almost running round it. Upon this rock were built a few gloomy-looking houses and a quaint, old-world mill. It was reached from the hither side by a widely-spanning one-arched bridge. It was called Val Savignone."1 Beyond this, at a small village called Balsciano, the hills begin to subside into gentler slopes, which gradually merge in the plain at the little town of Pieve San Stefano.


Thus far the infant stream has no history: its legends and chronicles do not begin so early. But a few miles farther, on a tiny branch called the Singerna, are the vestiges of what was once a place of some importance—Caprese, where Michael Angelo was born exactly four hundred years ago. His father was for a twelvemonth governor of this place and Chiusi, five miles off (not Lars Porsenna's Clusium, which is to the south, but Clusium Novum), and brought his wife with him to inhabit the palazzo communale. During his regency the painter of the "Last Judgment," the sculptor of "Night and Morning," the architect of St. Peter's cupola, first saw the light. Here the history of the Tiber begins—here men first mingled blood with its unsullied waves. On another little tributary is Anghiara, where in 1440 a terrible battle was fought between the Milanese troops, under command of the gallant free-lance Piccinino, and the Floren-tines, led by Giovanni Paolo (commonly called Giampaolo) Orsini; and a little [pg 32] farther, on the main stream, Città di Castello recalls the story of a long siege which it valiantly sustained against Braccio da Montone, surnamed Fortebraccio (Strongarm), another renowned soldier of fortune of the fifteenth century.


As the widening flood winds on through the beautiful plain, a broad sheet of water on the right spreads for miles to the foot of the mountains, whose jutting spurs form many a bay, cove and estuary. It was in the small hours of a night of misty moonlight that our eyes, stretched wide with the new wonder of beholding classic ground, first caught sight of this smooth expanse gleaming pallidly amid the dark, blurred outlines of the landscape and trees. The monotonous noise and motion of the train had put our fellow-travelers to sleep, and when it gradually ceased they did not stir. There was no bustle at the little station where we stopped; a few drowsy figures stole silently by in the dim light, like ghosts on the spectral shore of Acheron; the whole scene was strangely unreal, phantasmal. "What can it be?" we asked each other under our breaths. "There is but one thing that it can be—Lake Thrasimene." And so it was. Often since, both by starlight and daylight, we have seen that watery sheet of fatal memories, but it never wore the same shadowy yet impressive aspect as on our first night-journey from Florence to Rome.

Not far from here one leaves the train for Perugia, seated high on a bluff amid walls and towers. We had been told a good deal of the terrors of the way—how so steep was the approach that at a certain point horses give out and carriages must be dragged up by oxen. It was with some surprise, therefore, that we saw ordinary hotel omnibuses and carriages waiting at the station. But we did not allow ourselves to feel any false security: by and by we knew the tug must come. We set off by a wide, winding road, uphill undoubtedly, but smooth and easy: however, this was only the beginning; and as it grew steeper and steeper, we waited in trepidation for the moment when the heavy beasts should be hitched on to haul us up the acclivity. We crawled up safely and slowly between orchards of olive trees, which will grow wherever a goat can set its foot: beneath us the great fertile vale of Umbria spread like a lake, the encircling mountains, which had looked like a close chain from [pg 33] below, unlinking themselves to reveal gorges and glimpses of other valleys. Thus by successive zigzags we mounted the broad turnpike-road, now directly under the fortifications, now farther off, until we saw them close above us, with the old citadel and the new palace. And now surely the worst had come, but the carnage turned a sharp corner, showing two more zigzags, forming a long acute angle which carried us smoothly to the rocky plateau on which the city stands, and we bowled in through the old gate-way at a round trot, with the usual cracking of whips and rattling and jingling of harness which announces the arrival of travelers at minor places on the Continent.

We were not comfortable at Perugia—and let no one think to be so until there is a new hotel on a new principle—but it is a place where one can afford to forego creature comforts. Of all the towns on the Tiber, so rich in heirlooms of antiquity and art, none can boast such various wealth as this. The moment one leaves the centre of the town, which is built on a table of rock, the narrow streets plunge down on every side like dangerous broken flights of stairs: they disappear under deep cavernous arches, so that if you are below they seem to lead straight up through the darkness to the soft blue heaven, while from above they seem to go straight down into deep cellars, but cellars full of slanting sunshine. And whether you look up or down, there is always a picture in the dark frame against the bright background—a woman in a scarlet kerchief with a water-vessel of antique form, or a ragged brown boy leading a ragged brown donkey, or a soldier in gay uniform striking a light for his pipe. As soon as you leave the live part of the town, with the few little caffès and shops, and the esplanades whence the thrice-lovely landscape unfolds beneath your gaze, you wander among quiet little paved piazzas with a bit of daisied grass in their midst, surrounded by great silent buildings, whence through some opening you descry a street which is a ravine, and the opposite cliff rising high above you piled close with gray houses overhung with shrubs and creepers, and little gardens in their crevices like weeds between the stones of a wall; or you come out upon a secluded gallery with tall, deserted-looking mansions on one hand—except that at some sunny window there is always to be seen a girl's head beside a pot of carnations or nasturtiums—and on the other a parapet over which you lean to see the town scrambling up the hillside, while a great breadth of valley and hill and snow-covered mountain stretches away below.

Then what historical associations, straggling away across three thousand years to when Perugia was one of the thirty cities of Etruria, and kept her independence through every vicissitude until Augustus starved her out in 40 B.C.! Portions of the wall, huge smooth blocks of travertine stone, are the work of the vanished Etruscans, and fragments of several gateways, with Roman alterations. One is perfect, imbedded in the outer wall of the castle: it has a round-headed arch, with six pilasters, in the intervals of which are three half-length human figures and two horses' heads. On the southern slope of the hill, three miles beyond the walls, a number of Etruscan tombs were accidentally discovered by a peasant a few years ago. The outer entrance alone had suffered, buried under the rubbish of two millenniums: the burial-place of the Volumnii has been restored externally after ancient Etruscan models, but within it has been left untouched. Descending a long flight of stone steps, which led into the heart of the hill, we passed through a low door formerly closed by a single slab of travertine, too ponderous for modern hinges. At first we could distinguish nothing in the darkness, but by the uncertain flaring of two candles, which the guide waved about incessantly, we saw a chamber hewn in the rock, with a roof in imitation of beams and rafters, all of solid tufa stone. A low stone seat against the wall on each hand and a small hanging lamp were all the furniture of this apartment, awful in its emptiness and mystery. On every side there were dark openings into cells whence came gleams [pg 34] of white, indefinite forms: a great Gorgon's head gazed at us from the ceiling, and from the walls in every direction started the crested heads and necks of sculptured serpents. We entered one by one the nine small grotto-like compartments which surround the central cavern: the white shapes turned out to be cinerary urns, enclosing the ashes of the three thousand years dead Volumnii. Urns, as we understand the word, they are not, but large caskets, some of them alabaster, on whose lids recline male figures draped and garlanded as for a feast: the [pg 35] faces differ so much in feature and expression that one can hardly doubt their being likenesses: the figures, if erect, would be nearly two feet in height. The sides of these little sarcophagi are covered with bassi-rilievi, many of them finely executed: the subjects are combats and that favorite theme the boar-hunt of Kalydon; there was one which represented the sacrifice of a child. The Medusa's head, as it is thought to be, recurs constantly, treated with extraordinary power: we were divided among ourselves whether it was Medusa or an Erinnys with winged head. The sphinx appears several times: there are four on the corners of an alabaster urn in the shape of a temple, exquisite in form and features, and exceedingly delicate in workmanship. Bulls' heads, with garlands drooping between them, a well-known ornament of antique altars, are among the decorations. But far the most beautiful objects were the little hanging figures, which seemed to have been lamps of a green bronze color, though we were assured that they are terra-cotta: they are male figures of exquisite grace and beauty, with a lightness and airiness commonly given to Mercury; but these had large angel pinions on the shoulders, and none on the head or feet. There was not a scholar in the party, so we all returned unenlightened, but profoundly interested and impressed, and with that delightful sense of stimulated curiosity which is worth more than all Eurekas. With the exception of a few weapons and trinkets, which we saw at the museum, this is all that remains of the mighty Etruscans, save the shapes of the common red pottery which is spread out wholesale in the open space opposite the cathedral on market-days—the most graceful and useful which could be devised, and which have not changed their model since earlier days than the occupants of those tombs could remember.


The conquering Roman has left his sign-manual everywhere, but one is so used to him in Italy that the scantier records of later ages interest us more here. Like every other old Italian town, Perugia had its great family, the Baglioni, who lorded it over the place, sometimes harshly and cruelly enough, sometimes generously and splendidly—protectors of popular rights and patrons of art and letters. Their mediaeval history is full of picturesque incident and dramatic catastrophe: it would make a most romantic volume, but a thick one. At length the Perugians, master and men, grew too turbulent, and Pope Paul III. put them down, and sat upon them, so to speak, by building the citadel.

But time would fail us to tell of the Baglioni, or Pope Paul the Borghese, or Fortebraccio, the chivalric condottiere who led the Perugians to war against their neighbors of Todi, or even the still burning memories of the sack of Perugia by command of the present pope. We can no longer turn our thoughts from the treasures of art which make Perugia rich above all cities of the Tiber, save Rome alone. We cannot tarry before the cathedral, noble despite its incompleteness and the unsightly alterations of later times, and full of fine paintings and matchless wood-carving and wrought metal and precious sculptures; nor before the Palazzo Communale, another grand Gothic wreck, equally dignified and degraded; nor even beside the great fountain erected six hundred years ago by Nicolo and Giovanni da Pisa, the chiefs and founders of the Tuscan school of sculpture; nor beneath the statue of Pope Julius III., which Hawthorne has made known to all; for there are a score of churches and palaces, each with its priceless Perugino, and drawings and designs by his pupil Raphael in his lovely "first manner," which has so much of the Eden-like innocence of his master; and the Academy of Fine Arts, where one may study the Umbrian school at leisure; and last, but not least, the Sala del Cambio, or Hall of Exchange, where Perugino may be seen in his glory. It is not a hall of imposing size, so that nothing interferes with the impression of the frescoes which gaze upon you from every side as you enter. Or no; they do not gaze upon you nor return your glance, but look sweetly and serenely forth, as if with eyes never bent [pg 36] on earthly things. The right-hand wall is dedicated to the sibyls and prophets, the left to the greatest sages and heroes of antiquity. There is something capricious or else enigmatical in the mode of presenting many of them—the dress, attitude and general appearance often suggest a very different person from the one intended—but the grace and loveliness of some, the dignity and elevation of others, the expression of wisdom in this face, of celestial courage in that, the calm and purity and beauty of all, give them an indescribable charm and potency. At the end of the room facing the door are the "Nativity" and "Transfiguration," the latter, infinitely beautiful and religious, full of quiet concentrated feeling. We were none of us critics: none of us had got beyond the stage when the sentiment of a work of art is what most affects our enjoyment of it; and we all confessed how much more impressive to us was this Transfiguration, with its three quiet spectators, than the world-famous one at the Vatican. Although there are masterpieces of Perugino's in nearly every great European collection, I cannot but think one must go to Perugia to appreciate fully the limpid clearness, the pensive, tranquil suavity, which reigns throughout his pictures in the countenances, the landscape, the atmosphere.


We found it hard to rob Perugia even of a day for a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Francis at Assisi, yet could not leave the neighborhood without making it. We took the morning-train for the little excursion, meaning to drive back, and crossed the Tiber for the first time on the downward journey at Ponte San Giovanni. We got out at the station of Santa Maria degli Angeli, so named from the immense church built over the cell where Saint Francis lived and died and the little chapel where he prayed. The Porzionuncula it was called, or "little share," being all that he deemed needful for man's abode on earth, and more than needful. It was hither that he came in the heyday of youth, forsaking the house of his wealthy father, the love of his mother, a life of pleasure with his gay companions, and dedicated himself to poverty and preaching the word of God. One of our party had said that she considered Saint Francis the author of much evil, and as having done irreparable harm to the Italian people in sanctifying dirt and idleness. But apostles are not [pg 37] to be judged by the abuse of their doctrine; and although it cannot be denied that Saint Francis encouraged beggary by forbidding his followers to possess aught of their own, he enjoined that they should labor with their hands for several hours daily. And to me it seemed as if out of Palestine there could be no spot of greater significance and sacredness to any Christian than this, where in a sanguinary and licentious age a young man suddenly broke all the bonds of self, and taught in his own person humility, renunciation and brotherly love as they had hardly been taught since his Master's death. The sternness of his personal self-denial is only equaled by his sweetness toward all living things: not men alone, but animals, birds, fishes, the frogs, the crickets, shared his love, and were called brother and sister by him. The great and instantaneous movement which he produced in his own time was no short-lived blaze of fanaticism, for its results have lasted from the twelfth century to our own; and although we may well believe that the day is past for serving Christ by going barefoot and living on alms, the spirit of Saint Francis's doctrine, charity, purity, self-abnegation, might do as much for modern men as for those of six hundred years ago. Believing all this, we were not sorry that our uncompromising friend had stayed behind, and it was in a reverent mood that we left the little stone chamber—which shrinks to lowlier proportions by contrast with the enormous dome above it—and turned to climb the long hill which leads to the magnificent monument which enthusiasm raised over him who in life had coveted so humble a home.


The cliff on which Assisi stands rises abruptly on the side toward the Tiber: long lines of triple arches, which look as if hewn in the living stone, stretch along its face, one above another, like galleries, the great mass of the church and convent, with its towers and gables and spire-like cypress trees, crowning all. It is this marriage of the building to the rock, these lower arcades which rise halfway between the valley and the plateau seeking the help of the solid crag to sustain the upper ones and the vast superimposed structure, that makes the distant sight of Assisi so striking, and almost overwhelms you with a sense of its greatness as the winding road brings you close below on your way up to the town. It is a triple church. The uppermost one, begun two years after the saint's death, has a magnificent Gothic west front and high steps leading from the piazza, and a rich side-portal with a still higher flight leading from a court on a lower level. As we entered, the early afternoon sun was streaming in through the immense rose-window and flooding the vast nave, illumining the blue star-studded vault of the lofty roof and the grand, simple frescoes of Cimabue and Giotto on the walls. Thence we descended to the second church, in whose darkness our vision groped, half blind from the sudden change; but gradually through the dusk we began to discern low vaults stretching heavily across pillars which look like stunted giants, so short are they and so tremendously thick-set, the high altar enclosed by an elaborate grating, the little side-chapels like so many black cells, and through the gloom a twinkle and glimmer of gold and color and motes floating in furtive sunbeams that had strayed in through the superb stained glass of the infrequent windows. The [pg 38] frescoes of Giotto and his school enrich every spandril and interspace with their simple, serious forms—no other such place to study the art of that early day—but a Virgin enthroned among saints by Lo Spagna, a disciple of Perugino's, made a pure light in the obscurity: it had all the master's golden transparency, like clear shining after the rain. From this most solemn and venerable place we went down to the lowest church, the real sepulchre: it was darker than the one we had left, totally dark it seemed to me, and contracted, although—it is in the form of a Greek cross—each arm is sixty feet: in fact, it is only a crypt of unusual size; and although here were the saint's bones in an urn of bronze, we were conscious of a weakening of the impression made by the place we had just left. No doubt it is because the crypt is of this century, while the other two churches are of the thirteenth.

There are other things to be seen at Assisi; and after dining at the little Albergo del Leone, which, like every part of the town except the churches, is remarkably clean, my companion set out to climb up to the castle, and I wandered back to the great church. As I sat idly on the steps a monk accosted me, and finding that I had not seen the convent, carried me through labyrinthine corridors and galleries, down long flights of subterranean stone steps, one after another, until I thought we could not be far from the centre of the earth, when he suddenly turned aside into a vast cloister with high arched openings and led me to one of them. Oh, the beauty, the glory, the wonder of the sight! We were halfway down the mountain-side, hanging between the blue heaven and the billowy Umbrian plain, with its verdure and its azure fusing into tints of dreamy softness as they vanished in the deep violet shadows of thick-crowding mountains, on whose surfaces and gorges lay changing colors of the superbest intensity. Poplars and willows showed silvery among the tender green of other deciduous trees in their fresh spring foliage and the deep velvet of the immortal cypresses and the blossoming shrubs, which looked like little puffs of pink and white cloud resting on the bosom of the valley. A small, clear mountain-stream wound round the headland to join the Tiber, which divides the landscape with its bare, pebbly bed. It was almost the same view that one has from twenty places in Perugia, but coming out upon it as from the bowels of the earth, framed in its huge stone arch, it was like opening a window from this world into Paradise.

Slowly and lingeringly I left the cloister, and panted up the many steps back to the piazza to await my companion and the carriage which was to take us back to Perugia. The former was already there, and in a few minutes a small omnibus came clattering down the stony street, and stopping beside us the driver informed us that he had come for us. Our surprise and wrath broke forth. Hours before we had bespoken a little open carriage, and it was this heavy, jarring, jolting vehicle which they had sent to drive us ten miles across the hills. The driver declared, with truly Italian volubility and command of language and gesture, that there was no other means of conveyance to be had; that it was excellent, swift, admirable; that it was what the signori always went from Assisi to Perugia in; that, in fine, we had engaged it, and must take it. My companion hesitated, but I had the advantage here, being the one who could speak Italian; so I promptly replied that we would not go in the omnibus under any circumstances. The whole story was then repeated with more adjectives and superlatives, and gestures of a form and pathos to make the fortune of a tragic actor. I repeated my refusal. He began a third time: I sat down on the steps, rested my head on my hand and looked at the carvings of the portal. This drove him to frenzy: so long as you answer an Italian he gets the better of you; entrench yourself in silence and he is impotent. The driver's impotence first exploded in fury and threats: at least we should pay for the omnibus, for his time, for his trouble; yes, pay the whole way to Perugia and back, and his buon' mano besides. All the beggars who haunt the [pg 39] sanctuary of their patron had gathered about us, and from playing Greek chorus now began to give us advice: "Yes, we would do well to go: the only carriage in Assisi, and excellent, admirable!" The numbers of these vagrants, their officiousness, their fluency, were bewildering. "But what are we to do?" asked my anxious companion. "Why, if it comes to the worst, walk down to the station and take the night-train back." He walked away whistling, and I composed myself to a visage of stone and turned my eyes to the sculptures once more. Suddenly the driver stopped short: there was a minute's pause, and then I heard a voice in the softest accents asking for something to buy a drink. I turned round—beside me stood the driver hat in hand: "Yes, the signora is right, quite right: I go, but she will give me something to get a drink?" I nearly laughed, but, biting my lips, I said firmly, "A drink? Yes, if it be poison." The effect was astounding: the man uttered an ejaculation, crossed himself, mounted his box and drove off; the beggars shrank away, stood aloof and exchanged awestruck whispers; only a few liquid-eyed little ragamuffins continued to turn somersets and stand on their heads undismayed.

Half an hour elapsed: the sun was beginning to descend, when the sound of wheels was again heard, and a light wagon with four places and a brisk little horse came rattling down the street. A pleasant-looking fellow jumped down, took off his hat and said he had come to drive us to Perugia. We jumped up joyfully, but I asked the price. "Fifty francs"—a sum about equivalent to fifty dollars in those regions. I smiled and shook my head: he eagerly assured me that this included his buon mano and the cost of the oxen which we should be obliged to hire to drag us up some of the hills. I shook my head again: he shrugged and turned as if to go. My unhappy fellow-traveler started forward: "Give him whatever he asks and let us get away." I sat down again on the steps, saying in Italian, as if in soliloquy, that we should have to go by the train, after all. Then the new-comer cheerfully came back: "Well, signora, whatever you please to give." I named half his price—an exorbitant sum, as I well knew—and in a moment more we were skimming along over the hard, smooth mountain-roads: we heard no more of those mythical beasts the oxen, and in two hours were safe in Perugia.


I wish that the day were over,

The week, the month and the year;

Yet life is not such a burden

That I wish the end were near.

And my birthdays come so swiftly

That I meet them grudgingly:

Would it be so were I longing

For the life that is to be?

Nay: the soul, though ever reaching

For that which is out of sight,

Yet soars with reluctant motion,

Since there is no backward flight.


[pg 40]



Cockhoolet was the name of the place: it was a farm of which the Ormistons were and had been tenants for several generations. A father, mother and five olive-branches made up the family. A healthy, happy, united, thriving family they were, and as such much respected. There were two sons and three daughters, the eldest of whom was Bessie, the "Rose of Cockhoolet," as she was called; for that she had all the beauty and sweetness of the rose was generally allowed, although there were people who could not be made to see this—people who were probably idiopts; not idiots—although they might have a streak of idiocy in them, too, perhaps—but idiopts, or persons who were color-blind. None of the young men of the district were color-blind.

The clergyman of the parish in which Cockhoolet was situated, and at whose church the Ormistons attended, was an old man comparatively, whose sermons were old-fashioned, and not given forth with the fire of youth: he was not one you would have expected to be very popular, especially with the young; yet various young men from considerable distances were attracted to his church, and, generally speaking, they settled themselves in pews opposite the gallery in front of which sat Mr. Ormiston and his family. Any person who chanced to be in the vicinity, if of discerning powers, might have been conscious of the electricity in the air. Dull people neither saw nor felt it.

Bessie Ormiston was not dull, but, being a modest girl, she would rather not have been stared at; and, being a good girl, she thought people might be better employed in church: still, she was only a girl, and it would not be the truth to say she was mortally offended. Did the person ever exist who was offended at an honest compliment? If he ever did, he ought to have been fed on sarcasm for the rest of his days.

Not only was Bessie pretty—she was also rich. A grand-uncle had left her five thousand pounds, her brothers and sisters getting only one thousand each. There is no use in asking reasons for this: simply, the Rose was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Perhaps, indeed, the old man did not know he had so much money, for it was as residuary legatee that Bessie got the five thousand pounds, and it was not thought she would get anything like that: people remarked, in the language of the district, which was apt occasionally to be strong and graphic rather than elegant,—people remarked that "old Ormiston had cut up well." Five thousand charms added to those Bessie already possessed—not to mention that her father was a rich man—made her most miraculously charming: like Tibby Fowler of the Glen, whose perplexities of this kind have been embalmed in song, she had wealth of wooers, and wealth, it is well known, makes wit waver.

It is a saying that an Englishman's house is his castle, but the phrase is understood to be figurative: Mr. Ormiston's house was his castle without a figure. Cockhoolet Castle is very old, at least one part of it is, having been built probably about the year 1400. A more modern part was built in 1527, while the most modern part of all was added in 1726: this last division of it is used as the farm-house. The rooms have been painted and papered in the present style of house decoration, and in the sitting-rooms, in addition to the little old windows, the thick walls have been pierced and a large bow-window put in with fine effect. There are three narrow stone staircases leading up the three divisions of the castle; there are long passages; there are sudden short flights of steps taking you up or down into all manner [pg 41] of cornered rooms; there is a hall which might hold the population of the county. Keeping up one of the spiral staircases, you come out on the roof, round which there is a walk guarded by a low stone coping: should you want to fling yourself over, you have ample opportunity. There are stone sentry-boxes where you can sit hidden from the wind and everything else, and look far and wide over the country, and down into the garden if you can do so without growing giddy. There is also a dungeon tenanted by nothing more subject to suffering than potatoes and other roots, for which it is a most favorable receptable, the walls being so thick and the roof so low that cold cannot get in in winter nor heat in summer: there is only a single narrow slit in the wall for the admission of light, but it is comforting to know that the doomed wretches who inhabited it in past ages had at least a temperate climate.

There is the room Queen Mary Stuart slept in when she occasionally visited in the vicinity. The reader is perhaps not familiar with Queen Mary's name in connection with Cockhoolet Castle, but there may be other facts about her of which he is also ignorant. Does he know, for instance, that she had a daughter by her third marriage, whom, as an infant, she despatched to France to be reared in a nunnery, "that she may not," said the unhappy queen, "run the risk of having such a lot as I have"? Does he know that John Knox was possessed by a mad passion of love for Mary Stuart? It has always been thought otherwise—that in point of fact he held her in contempt; but as it is proverbial that "nippin' and scartin' (figurative of course) is Scotch folks' wooin'," there may be truth in the new discovery. But true or not true, it is enough to make the bold Reformer blush standing on the top of his pillar in the necropolis of Glasgow: perhaps he is blushing, if he were near enough to see.

Be that as it may, there is no manner of doubt that Mary Stuart honored Cockhoolet Castle by abiding under its roof when it suited her to do so. Have not I, the present writer, stood in the room she slept in—looked from the small windows set in the ten-foot thick wall from which she looked? Have I not gazed over the same country, up to the same skies, into the same moon at which she gazed? Could her face be more fair than that of the present Rose of Cockhoolet, her thoughts more innocent, her reveries more sweet, than those of Bessie Ormiston, who in the course of time had succeeded to the room which had been consecrated by royal slumbers?

It is a matter of certainty that Mary Stuart planted a tree fast by Cockhoolet Castle—she would not have been herself if she had not done that—and a magnificent tree it is, very old and quite big enough for its age. The queen must have been fond of planting trees, and, considering the number she planted, it is astonishing how she found time for so many less innocent employments: she must have improved each shining hour, and, poor woman! she had not too many of these.

There is a walk also, called the Lady's Walk, leading away from the castle up a bosky dell, where a burn amuses itself playing at hide-and-seek, but, like a little child, betrays its hiding-places by its voice, and comes out into the light again and laughs at its own joke. Did the queen ever wander here? did she ever "paidle in the burn when summer days were fine"? did its murmur ever soothe her ear? did she ever see her fair face in its pools, or drop bitter tears to mingle and; flow on with its waters?

The burn has kept trotting through the dell for six thousand years, singing its song all the time, and its speed is as good and its voice as clear and musical as when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Many a wild story it could tell if its murmur could be understood; but it is a murmur only—a murmur which crept into the ears of Cæsar's legions, of Queen Mary, of Bessie Ormiston, and will creep into yours, O reader! if you like to go and explore the Lady's Walk, when you can interpret the murmur for yourself, as all your predecessors no doubt did. In [pg 42] days of old it fed the moat, traces of which are to be seen round the castle still, although it has long since been filled up and covered, like the park of which it forms part, with rich natural pasture, soft, thick and velvety. In short, Cockhoolet had everything that a castle ought to have, and wanted nothing that a castle ought not to want, not even a ghost.

It was not the ghost of Mary Stuart: that would have been too shocking—a ghost without a head, or having a head and a broad vivid ray of red encircling its neck. Such a ghost would have made every one who saw it lose his senses. Cockhoolet Castle had a ghost: so much was certain, but hitherto no one had ever either seen or heard it. How, then, was it certain? Why ask a question like that? Is it reasonable to pin a human being down to prove a ghost? Will not presumptive evidence do? Strange things had happened, must have happened, at the castle: is it for a moment to be supposed that these things had happened and all gone scot free?—in other words, that not one of them had left a ghost? It is not to be supposed.


It was Christmas Day. Christmas Day is not solemnized and festivalized in Scotland as it is in England; still, the observance of it in some shape is creeping in more and more. It was Christmas, and Mr. and Mrs. Ormiston had gone to be present at a feast from which they were not expected to return till the following day. There were left at home the Rose, as head of the family for the time being; her sisters, Bell and Jessie, supposed to be little girls still, although the supposition made them very indignant; and her two brothers, John and William. A guest aad two servants made up the known inhabitants of the house.

The guest was a young man who had arrived before the heads of the house left, and had been laughingly charged by them to see that the children did not work mischief. He was an old friend of the family; at least as old a friend as he was a man, and she had been in the world a quarter of a century. We shall call him Edwin: that name will do as well as another; indeed, better, for he might not like his own made public. It need hardly be said that among the rest young Edwin loved, and, like his namesake in the ballad, he never talked of love. This might be stupid, but the stupidity which springs from true modesty is not to be classed with the stupidity which springs from want of brains, even when, as is quite likely, the consequences are to the full as disastrous. Now, how is a young lady to understand or bring things to a bearing in a case like this? The Rose could not go up to Edwin and tell him she was not a goddess; neither could she say, "Although I have five thousand pounds—and you know it, and I know that you know it, and you know that I know that you know it—I am quite ready to believe that you love me, and would love me if I hadn't a farthing:" she could not say this, but she thought it, she worried herself thinking over it, and, being a sensible girl with a humble opinion of herself, she came to the conclusion that she had been altogether mistaken—that Edwin did not care for her, at least not as she cared for him, otherwise why should he not say so? "If," she thought—"if I were in his place and he in mine, neither money nor pride, nor anything else, would keep me silent." And the roses in her face deepened in color as she thought of her own silly folly in allowing her feelings to be drawn in, and she determined her folly should cease from that hour; which determination had the effect of bringing sharp, short speeches about Edwin's ears tinged with sarcasm that were meant to convey to him the conviction that she did not care a pin about him; and they answered the purpose admirably.

Love is a fickle game, which they

Whose stakes are deepest worst can play,

Edwin was at Cockhoolet that Christmas Day by the same fatality that causes a moth to hover round a brilliant light; and when her sister told Bessie that Edwin had come and was putting his horse into the stable, she said, "Is Mr. Forrester [pg 43] here again? He must surely be dull at home." But of course she received him with friendly civility.

Edwin employed the forenoon out of doors with the boys and two other visitors. A Mr. and Mrs. Parker arriving unexpectedly, who were anxious to see the castle, the afternoon was spent in going through every part of it from dungeon to roof.

Bessie carried the keys: she was châtelaine, seneschal and cicerone, all rolled in one.

Going up the narrow stairs, the party had to climb Indian file: in the passages they could spread out a little, and in some of the rooms in the uninhabited portion they had to walk circumspectly, as if they were crossing water on stepping-stones, for the flooring was wanting in some places, leaving a stretch of bare rafters. Bessie tripped lightly over them, and then turned to wait for the others. "Don't be frightened," she said: "these rafters are as sound as the day they were laid down. The flooring has not rotted: it must have been taken up for some purpose. They did not know how to scamp work in those days."

"If we fall through, where shall we go?" inquired Mrs. Parker, looking down into what seemed deep mysterious darkness.

"Oh, not very far; but don't fall: it won't be pleasant," said Bessie: "you would alight on very hard stones."

Mr. Forrester got on the roof first, and handed up the ladies; and they all stood looking out over the country. It was not a cold, bleak, snowy day, as Christmas in northern latitudes has a right to be. The winter had been mild—one of a series of mild winters, overturning the old traditions of frosts and snow-storms that lasted for months, and to a great extent stopped traffic and labor, and made traveling difficult and wearisome. This Christmas was different. The year was dying with calmness and dignity, and with a smile on its face, as you might take the pale gleam of sunshine to be; and if you were a little sad in mood you could suppose there was a wistfulness in the smile that was spread over the still, soft face of Nature. Cockhoolet stood high, and the country immediately round it was flat, and much of it moorland.

If you climb to our castle's top,

I don't see where your eye can stop;

For when you've passed the corn-field country,

Where vineyards leave off flocks are packed,

And sheep-range leads to cattle-tract,

And cattle-tract to open chase,

And open chase to the very base

O' the mountain.

Strike out the vineyards and that description will apply very well to Cockhoolet; and in addition you ought to have seen from its roof Edinburgh and the sea; but on this day the sea wore a garment of mist, and had wrapped the metropolis in it also, as it not unfrequently does. You ought to have seen more than one range of hills too, yet except by eyes well acquainted with them their outlines could hardly be distinguished from the leaden gray clouds lying in bands along the horizon.

But as the party stood on the roof the clouds began to rise, tower upon tower, against the sky, and the sun, who retires early at this season, went behind them, when, instead of the pale, wistful gleam he had been keeping up all day, he suddenly threw a deep bright golden border on all the edges of the dark misty battlements which had piled themselves like castles of the Titans: a big rift appearing at their base, there poured through it, filling up the space, a great belt of crimson rays streaked with gray, as if from burning ashes falling into it, and like the dense glow from a furnace, giving the idea that the cloud-building was on fire, and that the flames from below, shooting up inside the dark walls, were the cause of the brilliant illumination that shone round every pinnacle and coign of vantage. It was a grand and a curious sight. You could fancy the sun looking across to the old Castle of Edinburgh standing on its rock, and saying, "Can you do anything like this with all the gas and paddelle you can lay your hands on?" Precisely this idea struck Mrs. Parker, for she said, "I think that is as good a sight as the castle the night the prince was married."

"That was a very good sight in its way," said Mr. Parker, "but we can [pg 44] hardly hope to compete with the sun, my dear: he has all his materials within himself, and we have to pay for them."

"Do you know, Miss Ormiston," said Mrs. Parker, "one of the buildings they said had such a fine effect put me in mind of a trunk studded with brass nails—the initials of the happy pair in gas-jets looked like the name of the owner of the trunk. All the time I was on the street I could not get that notion out of my head; and I was sorry, for I am sure it cost a great deal of money to light it up, and I really wished to think it grand."

"We were all in town that night," said John Ormiston—"papa and mamma, and the whole of us, and Mr. Forrester, who made eight."

"I thought it a beautiful sight," said Bessie.

"I never enjoyed anything more in my life," said Mr. Forrester, who on that occasion had been Miss Ormiston's escort through the streets, in which they lost their party, and had the supreme bliss of wandering together in the crowd, when Mr. Forrester almost forgot that Miss Ormiston was a goddess with five thousand earthly charms, and Miss Ormiston had compared his merits as a guide and protector with those of her brothers, and found he was much more considerate, and made her wish law, which they were often far from doing. In point of fact, a thaw had been very imminent, but, alas! since then a sharp frost had set in between them, as unaccountably as frosts frequently do set in.

"I think, now," said Mrs. Parker, "a fine old castle like this ought to have had a grander name: don't you think so, Miss Ormiston?"

"Yes, I do, and it had, originally. There was a monastery here at one time, over in that field with the trees in the corner of it: it was called the abbey of Cakeholy, and when the castle was built it got the name of Cakeholy Castle, after the abbey. The name Cakeholy, tradition says, arose from the fact that an extraordinary saint, whose wants had been relieved at the monastery, blessed all the bread that should ever be baked there, and the bread ever after had a great sustaining power in it; so that pilgrims from Edinburgh and the North, going to the southern shrines, all passed this way to get themselves supplied with the holy cakes. At the Reformation the abbey was destroyed, and became a ruin haunted by owls, so that, partly in derision and partly as suiting the altered circumstances, the common people corrupted the name into Cockhoolet; and in process of time it was given to the castle also, and stuck to it. That is the history of a name which is certainly neither romantic, nor high-sounding."

"How interesting!" said Mrs. Parker. "If I were you, I would go back to the old name: there is a reverence about it there is not about the other. Only think of bands of pilgrims coming across the moor there!"

"Yes, in their gowns and rope girdles, with wallets and scallop-shells," said Bessie. "It must have been a curious old world then: one could sit here and muse by the hour on all that has come and gone. I often bring up my work or my book here in summer and think of it."

"I do like old things," said Mrs. Parker, "and old families and old names. Our name, for instance, has no smack of age about it, and it is so short and perky: it must have been given to some one who had to do with parks."

"But parks may be a very old institution," said Bessie, "if we looked into the thing, though not so old as Forrester: that is an ancient name," glancing at Edwin, who was leaning against a sentry-box listening and watching the sun putting out the lights in his bed-chamber; "yet not nearly so ancient as Ormiston. I always feel it is fitting we should live in an old castle, we are so ancient ourselves."

"Are we?" said John: "I never knew that before."

"Ormiston," she said, "is perhaps as pure a Saxon word as now exists. It was during the Roman invasion our ancestor led an army through a dense mist against the invaders: just as he came up with them the sun shone out and the mist. The legions were taken by surprise, for the advancing enemy had [pg 45] been hidden by the mist, and they were utterly routed. The Saxon king—"

"What was his name?" asked John.

"John," she said, "don't seek to be wise above what is revealed. The king called our ancestor to the front and made him earl of Ormiston on the spot—'Gold-Mist-on;' that is, 'Be ever in the van;' and a proud race were the earls of Ormiston, and well they answered to the name. But their fortunes waned when the modern upstart, the Norman William, laid his greedy hands on everything for himself and his mob of pirates, and at present we are only middle-class people, but our blood must be the bluest of the blue."

"Mine must be as blue," said Edwin, "for the Forresters came in with the trees, and the trees were early settlers."

"But the mists were first by a very long time," answered Bessie.

"I don't believe that story," said John. "I have read about the Cakeholy business somewhere, but you have made that Or-Mist-on affair out of your own head: isn't that true, Bessie?"

"I am not bound to answer unbelievers, John."

"Besides," said John, "Ormiston is far; liker French than Saxon."

"Mr. Parker," said Bessie, "there was an abbot John of Cakeholy who flourished in the thirteenth century: his ghost is said to revisit its old habitation, or rather the place where it stood. I should like to meet it and have a talk over things; it would be very interesting."

"Would you not be terrified?" asked Mrs. Parker.

"If I saw what I believed to be a ghost, I should die of terror," said Bessie; "especially if I was alone and it was the dead of night; but I have no faith whatever in ghosts."

"It is getting rather chilly," said Mrs. Parker.

"Perhaps we had better go down now, then," Miss Ormiston said. "Mr. Forrester, would you come out of your brown study and let us pass?"

"Certainly. I'll see you all safe off the battlements. I wasn't in a brown study: I was in a mist."

"Then take care: people in a mist always think they are going the right way when they are going directly wrong."

"If I only knew the right way!" he said.

"That's true, Mr. Forrester," said Mrs. Parker. "If we only knew the right way; and people tell you to be guided by Providence, but I say I never know when it is Providence and when it is myself;" and she threaded her way down the narrow stairs, followed by the rest of the party.


The dining-room, with its low roof, its crimson walls, dark furniture and handsome fire (the fires at Cockhoolet were always handsome: Bessie was the architect and superintended the building herself; they never looked harum-scarum nor meaningless nor thoughtless, nor as if they were not meant to burn; they combined taste, comfort, and, as a consequence, economy; everything tasteful and comfortable is in the long run economical), its table-cloth, glistening like the summit of the Alps and laden with good things, looked a place where people even not in love with each other might, unless naturally perverse, be very happy.

Mrs. Parker, being from town, was in raptures with every country eatable, especially the scones, which she found were manufactured by Miss Ormiston herself.

"And have they," asked Mr. Parker, "the sustaining power that the cakes made here of old had?"

"If you eat enough of them you may get to Edinburgh to-night before you are very hungry," said John.

"The abbey cakes were unleavened," Bessie explained, "which these are not, so that they are less substantial fare."

"What do you raise them with?" asked Mrs. Parker.

"Butter, milk and carbonate of soda," said Miss Ormiston.

"We call Bessie a doctor of the Carbon," said John: "she makes very good scones, although you would hardly go from here to Canterbury on the strength of one of them."

[pg 46]

"Mr. Forrester, are you dull?" asked Jessie: "you are not saying anything."

"I am too busy eating the holy cakes, Jessie," said Edwin: "your sister is a master in her art."

"I say," Jessie went on, "are you ever dull at home? When I told Bessie that you had come she was surprised, and said that you must surely be dull at home. I am sorry for you if you are: you should come here oftener—we are never dull here."

"Perhaps," said Edwin, "your sister thinks I come too often, as it is."

Bessie was so deeply engaged pressing Mr. Parker to eat strawberry jam, with cheeks the color of the fruit, that of course she could not have heard what her sister had been saying.

"Oh no, I don't think she thinks that at all," Jessie said: "we never think any one can come too often. Bessie, can Mr. Forrester come too often?"

But still Miss Ormiston was so occupied with Mr. Parker that she did not hear.

And Mrs. Parker said, "It is a most intensely interesting old place, this: do not people come to look at it?"

"Oh yes," replied Bessie, "especially in summer: we generally have several parties every week. One of the servants takes them over the castle—grand people often, with carriages and livery servants."

"Do you not keep a book for them to write their names in?"

"No, we have never done that."

"I would do it if I were you: it would be interesting to know who comes and how many. Why, very remarkable people may have been here without your knowing."

"I doubt we are not sufficiently alive to our privileges," Bessie said.

"It's fine moonlight," said the boys, who, seeing that they and every one had ceased eating, were impatient to be out again. "Come, Mr. Parker, we'll show you the echo: Mr. Forrester, come."

"I'll go too," said Mrs. Parker; and they all went but the Rose, who stayed behind for a little to direct about household matters.

The echo was a favorite with the boys, it gave such unlimited scope to their powers of shouting: it was the sight they most enjoyed exhibiting to strangers. And it was an echo that could repeat every word of a sentence with such perfection that it was difficult to believe that it was not a human being shouting back from the other side of the park, where stood some houses inhabited by the farm-servants and their families.

"Hallo, Abbot John! is that you?" shouted one of the boys, and the other cried, "Yes, I'm taking a walk," so quickly that the one sentence seemed the answer to the other, and both came back loud and distinct on the still night-air.

"Are the Ormistons ancient? It's all fudge," shouted John.

"Well," said Mr. Parker, "that's the most perfect echo I ever heard. I've no doubt the holy fathers of the Middle Ages knew of it, and used it in some shape to keep the superstitious people in awe."

"It is awesome," said his wife, "here in the moonlight, with the old castle so near: if I were alone, positively I should feel eerie."

"Are you dull at home, Mr. Forrester?" was sent out from the depths of Will's chest, and sent back again just as Bessie came out and joined the party.

"Boys! boys!" she said, "don't be foolish."

"Why, it was what you said yourself," her sister remarked.

"Are you ever dull?" the lad shouted again.

"Often," answered Edwin, and "Often" came back instantly.

"In that case, Mr. Forrester," said Mrs. Parker, "why don't you get a wife? There's no company for a young man like a good wife. Here's Miss Ormiston; I don't think you could do better."

Think of the delicate wound of these young people being thus openly probed in broad moonlight in the presence of so many people! What could Mrs. Parker be thinking of? Not of her own love-passages surely, or, if she was, they must have been of a blunter order than those of the Rose and her lover.

"Oh no," said Bessie in cool, indifferent [pg 47] tones: "Mr. Forrester knows better than that."

"There!" said Edwin, "you see, Mrs. Parker, I have been refused."

"'Faint heart never won fair lady,'" said Mrs. Parker.

The boys hallooed this sentiment to the echo, and the echo took it up and sent it back so vigorously that even a timid man might have been inspired. "Mary Stuart," "Henry Darnley," "James Bothwell," the lads went on calling to the echo alternately—names which are not mere echoes even after three hundred years, but live on by sheer force of tragic romance. And it was possible that here, on this very spot, that historical trio had stood and laughed and talked and amused themselves as the young Ormistons and their visitors were doing. What words had they used to rouse the echo? If only it could be made to give them back now, what a wonderful echo it would be! The world would come to listen to it. Would it tell of the passions of love and ambition, grief and hatred, all hurrying their victims to their doom? or was the place sacred only to gentler memories and softer moods—the scene of enjoyment and freedom from care for however short a time? Who can tell?

There was a woman in the village of Cockhoolet who was ninety-eight years old, having all her faculties not perhaps quite so fresh as when she was nineteen, but in wonderful preservation after having been in daily use for little short of a century. She was one of a long-lived race: her father had been eighty-nine when he died, and her grandfather ninety-nine. Now, it is perfectly possible—and, as the family had been on the spot for centuries, it is even probable—that her great-grandfather might have dug the hole in which Mary planted her tree, or he may have saddled the queen's horse when she went hunting, or stood by the roadside and lifted his bonnet as she and her gay train swept by. Or he may have been despatched upon royal errands through the subterranean passage which is said to exist all the way between Cockhoolet Castle and Edinburgh—the private telegraph of those days, when wires in the air or under the sea by which to send messages would have cost the inventors their lives as guilty of witchcraft. While shaking hands with this old woman and speaking to her, you lost sight of her and the present time and felt the air of the sixteenth century blow in your face. Mary came up before you in moving habit as she lived—the young Mary who caught all hearts, not heartless herself, and laid hold of mere straws to save herself as she drifted desperately with circumstances; not the woman who has been painted as an actor from first to last, as coming forth draped for effect at the very closing scene,—not that woman, but the girlish queen who laughed and called to the echo, and forgot the cares of a kingdom while she could.


"They are a nice family, those Ormistons," said Mr. Parker to his wife as they drove to the railway-station in the moonlight.

"Very," said Mrs. Parker; "and Mr. Forrester is a nice lad. I hope he and Miss Ormiston will make it out: I did my best for them."

"They'll be quite able to do the best for themselves: it is always better to let things of that kind alone."

"I don't know that," said Mrs. Parker: "if a little shove is all that is needed, it is a pity not to give it."

"But what if your shove sends people separate? That's not what you intended, I fancy?"

"No fear: people are not so easily separated as all that."

"Well, we have had an uncommonly pleasant visit: I only wish the heads of the house had been at home."

Either the attachment of this pair must have been pretty evident to ordinary capacities, or Mrs. Parker must have been of a matchmaking turn of mind; probably the latter, for Bessie at least was sure that no mortal guessed her secret; which was a great comfort to her, seeing that Edwin was so indifferent. Alas! there is no rose without a thorn, or if there is it is a scentless, useless thing, [pg 48] most likely incapable of giving either pleasure or pain.

The Parkers had left early. When the young people went in-doors again it was only seven o'clock: the girls proposed a game at hide-and-seek, and Bessie seconded the proposal; for you see it would have been rather a formidable business to sit down and entertain Mr. Forrester all the evening with conversation, rational or otherwise; and although at the moment she was in the dignified position of lady of the castle, she could not the less enjoy a game amazingly.

The theatre of operations was wisely restricted, because if they had gone all over the castle they might have hidden themselves so that the game would have been endless; therefore they kept to the under part of the inhabited region. At length, tiring of this, they changed their game to blindman's buff, and went to the kitchen to play it, there being more room and fewer obstacles there; besides that, it was empty of tenants at the time, the servants having gone to see some of the neighbors.

It was a curious old kitchen, with a very low roof, and having a fireplace in a big semicircular stone recess. Many a boar's head had revolved there, and many a venison pasty had sent forth its fragrance to greet the tired hunters returning from the chase. The fire glowed in its deep recess like the eye of an old-world monster in a cavern, till one of the boys seized the poker and made it flame up, throwing its blaze out as far as it could for its walls, and making the kitchen and the group standing in it like a picture by Rembrandt.

"Who's to be blind man first?" cried the girls.

"Edwin: that will be the best fun," the boys said.

"Very well, I sha'n't be long blind," said Edwin: "I shall soon catch some of you. Who'll tie the handkerchief?"

"Bessie: she always ties it. Go and kneel to her, and she'll tie it so that you won't see."

What must Mr. Forrester have felt while being blinded by the Rose? Only, he had long been accustomed to be if not blinded, at least dazed, by her. The boys led him into the middle of the floor and dispersed themselves into corners. While he stood in the attitude of listening intently, he was conscious of a very gentle movement near him, and instantly closed his arms round it, as he thought, and encountered empty air, while with a shout of laughter the children cried, "Bessie was too quick for you. There, quick! quick! Edwin!" He sprang to the corner the voices came from, and the boys rushed along the wall to avoid his arms spread out to catch them, when suddenly the doorbell rang.

At the sound Edwin put up his hand to take off the handkerchief, but the boys cried, "Don't take it off: if it's any one, Bessie can speak to them in the dining-room: we don't need to stop our game."

They were not aware that to Mr. Forrester the game without Bessie was like Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out.

"Yes," said Bessie, "just go on, and I'll see who is at the door." As she left the kitchen she honored Mr. Forrester with a good long look: people can feel so much at ease looking at a blind person.

The door was chained for greater security, and Bessie did not take off the chain: she merely opened the door as far as it would open, but seeing no one, she opened it fully and went out on the steps; still she saw no person, although she thought whoever rang the bell had not had time to get out of sight. Waiting a little without result, she went back to the kitchen.

"Who was it?" cried the children.

"No one," she said.

"But the bell rang," said John.

"Of course it did," Will corroborated.

"And somebody must have rung it," John said.

"Some one for a trick, I suppose," Bessie said, "although I don't know how he disappeared so fast."

Without further remark the game was resumed. Edwin had caught John, and John had caught Bessie, and when he was putting the handkerchief round her eyes Mr. Forrester said, "You are making [pg 49] it far too tight, John: you are hurting your sister."

"No fear," said John: "none of us have soft heads here. Is it too tight, Bessie?"

"Rather, but I can bear it: go on."

"I'll slacken it first," Edwin said.

"Thank you, that will do. Now move off or I'll catch you." She went very vigorously to work, and sent them all flying round the kitchen, when the bell rang, and rang loudly, again.

John darted to the door and flung it wide, sure that he would see the person who rang it, whether running away or not; but there was no one, and the whole party followed him out, and they surveyed round and round, but all was still and quiet and vacant, the moonlight making it impossible that any figure should be there without being seen.

Now, if you lived in an ordinary house in an ordinary street in an ordinary town, an incident like this would create no surprise. It happens often: true, it is not a very new or bright joke, still it is a joke that boys and girls enjoy, and will continue to enjoy. But away in the country, at an old castle, with no house within a quarter of a mile of it, the case is very different. How was it to be accounted for?

The Ormistons came in, the girls looking scared, and the boys laughing and saying that Mary Stuart or Darnley or Bothwell, whose names they had made so free with shouting to the echo, must have heard themselves called and were ringing the bell, although not allowed to show themselves; but even as they said it the boys would fain have whistled to keep their courage up.

"I wish papa and mamma had been at home," said Bell.

"Or if only the Parkers could have been persuaded to stay all night," suggested Jessie.

"Nonsense!" Bessie said. "Some one is playing us a trick, but we don't need to let it spoil our game;" and she put the handkerchief over her eyes. "Look here, Edwin: will you tie this? You do it better than John."

"He doesn't," said John. "I believe he leaves it so that you can see. I'll do it. No, I won't make it too tight."

"Don't you think, Jessie," Edwin asked, "that I could protect you, in case of danger, as well as the Parkers?"

"I don't know. Perhaps if you were like yourself, but you're not like yourself."

"He's as dull as ditch-water," said John.

"But," said Jessie, taking his hand with a feeling of security, "you're better than nothing—a great deal better than nothing."

"Thank you, Jessie, thank you! A man is the better for a little encouragement, you know;" and he looked at the Rose, but she was blind; which made her easier looked at, to be sure, but there was less chance of an answer, encouraging or otherwise.

They had got up the spirit of the game again, and were going on briskly, when they were all brought to a stand by the bell ringing for the third time.

"Don't stop," cried Bessie: "go on with the game and take no notice unless it rings again;" and as a leader who must show no fear she chased her sisters round the kitchen, making them flee to avoid being caught, when, as if in answer to her remark, the bell did ring again.

This was too much. They all ran to the door, but neither human being nor ghost was to be seen.

"I say," said John to his brother, "you and I will go out and watch. Edwin, you'll stay with the girls—they are frightened—and if the bell rings again we'll see who does it."

"You have more need of Edwin than we have, John," Bessie said: "it will take you all to catch a ghost."

"Come away, then," cried John; and he posted his sentinels at different angles, where each could have his eye on the door. The girls shut themselves in the house, and outside and in they awaited the result.

There was no result.

Ordinary sentinels can pace to and fro to make the moments go more quickly, but Edwin and John and William were compelled to stand without speech or [pg 50] motion, as to betray their presence would have been to defeat their purpose. At the end of half an hour their patience was worn out, and they came to the conclusion that whoever was playing the trick knew that they were watching; so they went in, and hardly were they in and the door shut when the bell rang again.

John rushed from the kitchen, whither he had gone for something, but the others, being in the dining-room and nearer the door, reached it before him; and again nothing was to be seen but the still calm night, in which hung the moon with all her accustomed unimpassioned serenity. What cared she for ghosts? Perhaps she is only a ghost herself, else why, with all her pale quiet ways, does she never turn round and show herself thoroughly? No doubt she has reasons of her own, whether they are good or not: her sex is apt to be both capricious and persistent—two qualities which she possesses in perfection.

The Ormistons and Edwin stood out on the broad walk before the door, none of them feeling very comfortable, if the truth must be told, but none of them showing their feelings except Bell and Jessie, who openly declared that they were very much frightened.

"Nonsense!" said Bessie. "Who is going to be frightened at a silly trick?"

"But it may be somebody wanting to get in to do us harm—kill us perhaps," suggested Bell.

"People who want to get into a house for bad ends don't ring the front doorbell, or any bell," said Bessie.

At this junction two figures appeared in the distance advancing along the road to the castle—soon made out to be the servants, so that they at least were guiltless in the affair.

"It has not been them, you see," cried John.

"No," Bessie said, "and you are not to say anything about it to them when they come: if they know anything of it, it will soon leak out; and if they don't tell, they will be quite frightened: they are as easily frightened as Bell or Jessie here."


All this time Mr. Forrester was feeling—not frightened certainly, but—perplexed; and while he could not but admire Miss Ormiston's coolness and courage, he could not help wishing that she had been just a little bit chicken-hearted: it would have been so delightful to have to act as protector and supporter. But there was no opening whatever for such a position: she took the mysterious affair into her own hands and pooh-poohed it entirely.

They were accustomed to early hours at Cockhoolet, but when the time came for going to bed the girls declared they were too frightened to go up stairs alone. "It would be far better," they both said, "for us to stay here all together in this room till morning: we could sit up quite well."

"Absurd!" said Bessie.

"Well, we could not sleep even if we were in bed," they protested.

"No fear," said the châtelaine. "If you were to sit up all night you would be like ghosts yourselves to-morrow morning. Come, I'll go with you and sit beside you till you sleep. But wait a minute till I come back."

When they were bidding Mr. Forrester good-night he said to the girls, "If anything happens let me know."

"Nothing will happen," said Bessie: "the bell is quiet now and the servants are sound asleep. I have just been looking at them, and the sooner we follow their example the better."

"What are we to do if we hear the bell ring again?" John asked.

"Nothing. Keep below the blankets, John," his sister said. "It will ring a loud peal indeed if you hear it: I think a cannon might be fired at your ear without disturbing you."

"That's a mistake," said John, "I am a remarkably light sleeper: a fly on my nose will make me turn round any time."

"I believe that, but it won't waken you. Good-night;" and she took a hand of each of her sisters and went off with all the dignity beseeming her position as head of the family and governor of the [pg 51] castle. Her presence being withdrawn, Edwin felt much as you do on a March day when the sun goes under a cloud, although he had not enjoyed the sun either, owing to the undercurrent of east wind that continually chilled him. He almost determined to give it up. Of what use was it? Evidently she did not care for him, and the words, "Mr. Forrester here again! he must surely be dull at home," sounded in his ears. Very east-windy they were; still, he loved her with a great love, and he could not give her up: he was in a mist, and could see neither to go back nor forward.

"I say, Edwin," said John confidentially, "what do you think about this bell business? Of course one couldn't speak of it before the girls, they are frightened enough already—Bessie too, although she pretends not. What's your own private opinion about it?"

"Oh, it must be a ghost," said Edwin: "they do things of that kind, you know—turn tables and rap and so on. I've been thinking I must be an unconscious medium."

"Well," said John, "I, for one, don't believe in that kind of thing: if the spirits ever told anything worth hearing, or did anything worth doing, it might be different; but would Darnley or Bothwell or the abbot, or even any of the smaller fry of monks, come back here to ring a bell? I know in their place it's what I wouldn't do myself."

"It would depend on where they are and how employed," said Edwin: "like some other people, they may be dull at home."

"Ah, that's what Bessie said that's sticking in your throat. Man, it's no use minding what girls say: I never do.

"The spirits must be deplorably dull if ringing a bell is a diversion to them."

"They may enjoy mystifying us," said Edwin. "Who knows but they are listening just now, and laughing in whatever they may have instead of sleeves?"

"I'm not frightened," said Will, "but I don't like subjects of this kind at bedtime, so I wish you wouldn't say any more about it."

"It seems, however, that the bell was rung by invisible agency," said John.

"Come, come, we'll stop talking and go to bed," Edwin said.

"But, Edwin," said Will with big eyes, out of which he could not keep a frightened look, "do you think a spirit did it?"

"No: it is a trick, and you'll find out who did it before long."

"Well," said John, "it was a stupid trick, but cleverly done—very cleverly done, or whoever did it would not have escaped me."

"I should not like to sleep alone to-night," Will said to his brother in confidence when they were in their own room, "and I don't believe you would either, although you don't say so. I wonder if Edwin likes it, away from every one too, in that room with the hole in its roof? I wonder papa does not get that hole mended?"

"He has often spoken about it," said John, "but if I slept in that room I should rather like the hole. It's uncommon: every room hasn't a hole in its roof. If you couldn't sleep, for instance, you'd have only to stare at the hole, and you would doze off before you knew."

"Staring at it would only keep me from sleeping," Will said: "I should always think something was looking at me through it."

"What could look at you but light—moonlight or daylight from the room above? In the dark you would the hole."

"Let's sleep," said Will; and, forgetting ghosts and bells and all influences, the two boys were soon asleep.

It is to be hoped the girls were asleep also; indeed, there is little doubt the younger ones were. But Bessie, with the cares of a castle on her head, the mysteries of the evening to perplex her, and an unfortunate love-affair going more and more awry, how was it with her?

And Edwin, in his remote room with its hole in the roof, how did he fare? He had gone up a stone staircase, through a long passage and down a short flight of steps, into a room large, somewhat low in ceiling, and, with the exception [pg 52] of the hole, most comfortably appointed. It felt warm, rather too warm, and he did not replenish the fire, preferring to let it go out. The room and the way to it were both very familiar to him, and, like John, he enjoyed the hole: staring at it made you sleep, and when not sleeping your fancy could play round it to any extent. On this night the light of the moon, shining in at the shutterless windows of the empty room above, fell across its floor, and gleamed down through the opening.

A superstitious person with a talent for being eerie would have had nice scope for being frightened out of his senses in a situation like this—alone in a distant room of an old castle where bells rang mysteriously, and with borrowed moonlight peering down from above like a ghost looking for ghosts. But Mr. Forrester was not superstitious—not in the least. He feared nothing material or immaterial except—and it was a curious exception—except Bessie Ormiston; yet it is true he loved her, perfectly as he thought, but there was a flaw somewhere: it was not the perfect love that casteth out fear. The turning of a straw, however, might make it that, but who was to turn the straw? He feared to do it, and she would not. Notwithstanding these perturbed and cantankerous circumstances, these two people, being young and naturally sleepy, slept.

How long he had been sleeping Edwin did not know, when he awoke suddenly, as if he had been startled by some noise. However, he might have been dreaming: he did not know. The fire was thoroughly out and black, there was no ray of light from the roof, and the window-curtains being closely drawn, if there was any light outside it was effectually shut out: the room was as dark as midnight.

He rose, and finding his way to the table groped for a box of matches that he had noticed lying there, and lighted his lamp, when, looking at his watch, he found the hour to be half-past three. Before going to bed again he thought he would see what night it was. Accordingly, he opened the curtains and shutters and gazed forth. The moon had disappeared—which was not remarkable, as it was past her hour for retiring—and the night was very dark and hazy. But a remarkable object met his eye. But from an angle of the house, and toward the corner of the field which had been the site of the ancient monastery, there stood a column five or six feet in height of what through the haze appeared luminous vapor. It seemed such an altogether unaccountable thing, standing there, that Edwin pushed the window open and rubbed his eyes to get a better sight of it. He expected it would disappear in some way almost immediately, but it did not: there it stood, perfectly still and perfectly distinct, at the corner of the field, where there was absolutely nothing to cause it. He watched it for a considerable time, and as his eye got accustomed to peering into the darkness, he could see there was nothing near it, and not a sound disturbed the stillness of the night.

"That's not a trick," he thought: "no one would think it worth while to play a trick, certain of being without an audience either to see or hear it. I question even if it is the abbot himself; or if he likes to air himself there in the middle of a winter night, he must be too hot at home, if not too dull."

A filmy mantle of pale white vapor is surely a more likely garment for a spirit to snatch up and wrap round him when about to indulge in an earthly tour than the conventional and traditionary white sheet: in point of fact, for the sheet he must wait till he arrives in our world, and when he does arrive he must of necessity help himself to it; which I, for one, should be sorry to think any well-conditioned ghost would do; but light, pale shadowy light, lying about everywhere for the picking up, what so suitable as raiment for a being who has nothing to wear?

It could not but occur to Edwin, Had the abbot come back to his old haunt on some errand? Had he a benevolent ghostly interest in its present inhabitants? Here was a work in which even a spirit of mark might engage without loss of [pg 53] dignity and with perfect propriety. He might turn tables on the perverse circumstances that kept two young people separate; and if marriages are made in heaven, an angel need not despise such a mission as making two lovers happy.

"Well" thought Edwin, "if you are Abbot John, how do you like to see the dear old stones of your monastery built into dykes? or would you have preferred seeing them applied to villa purposes?" If it were the abbot, Edwin felt he would like to have that familiar kind of intercourse with him which in our country is known as twa-handed crack; and if it were not the abbot, he had a wonderful curiosity to know what it was—to have it accounted for. There it stood, apparently as firm and sure as the first moment he had seen it; and a cause it must have.

Accordingly, he dressed himself with the intention of proceeding to the spot to interview the abbot and see what kind of stuff he was made of. Mr. Forrester took the lamp in his hand and opened the room-door softly: not that he thought any one would hear him, but soft sounds best become the stillness of the night. As he went down the stairs he became conscious of a cold air playing about, as if from an open door or window. He set his lamp on the stone sill of the passage-window, and had his hand on the key of the outer door to unlock it, when he heard a quick, sudden scream, apparently from the oldest part of the building. He listened intently for a second, but there was no repetition of it, and everything was perfectly quiet.

"That was human," he said to himself; and seizing his lamp he ran along till he came to the door of the ancient keep, which was standing open: he took the way he and the rest of the party had gone the previous afternoon, and found the doors that were usually kept locked all open. Going on very hurriedly, he came to the room where the bare rafters were the only flooring, and at the other end of it he saw something like a white heap gleaming. He strode across instantly, and stooping with the light in hand discovered Bessie Ormiston lying in a dead faint just at the edge of one of the rafters: the least movement would have sent her down on the hard pavement below. He did not stop to think how she came to be there: setting his lamp where it would light him across the dangerous flooring, he lifted her up and threaded the passages and stairs in the darkness till he laid her safe on the dining-room sofa, still unconscious.

Kneeling beside her in the darkness, he felt that her face and hands were very cold. He did not know what to do. If she had been any other person, he would have had his senses about him, but, being who she was, they had scattered themselves, and he felt dazed. The fire was not quite out, and he thought of smashing up a chair to make it burn, but searching in the coal-scuttle at the side, of the fireplace, he found both sticks and coals, and heaped them on: then he lighted the lamp that was still standing on the table. All this was the work of a minute or two. A fainting-fit was quite beyond the range of his experience, but he had some vague idea that in cases of the kind water should be dashed in the face or a smelling-bottle held to the nostrils or brandy poured down the throat; but none of these things were at hand, and as he looked at Bessie, hesitating what to do, he saw the color steal back to her face, and she opened her eyes and suddenly shut them. When she opened them again she took his presence as a matter of course, and said, "I sometimes walk in my sleep, I know, but I am not in the habit of fainting;" and she smiled, looking much more like the lily than the rose.

"I hope not," he said.

"It was the fright I got when I woke and saw where I was. I shouldn't have been frightened, for I knew the place as well as I know this room, and could have found my way back in the dark."

"What can I get for you?—you must have something." It is an awkward thing when a nurse has to seek directions from a patient.

"Nothing," she said: "I can take nothing, and I am quite well. I can't think how I was so foolish as to scream, and I am sorry for disturbing you."

[pg 54]

"You did not disturb me: if I had been asleep I should never have heard you."

"I wish you had been asleep."

"You might have fallen through the rafters and been hurt or perished of cold."

"I shouldn't have fallen through the rafters: I should have come to myself and have walked back quite well alone; but I am not the less obliged to you."

"I should say not," he said with a curl of sarcasm. "Then is there nothing I can do for you?"

"Nothing, unless, indeed, you could get hot water for me to wash my feet in. Sleeping as I was, I had the good sense to put on a thick shawl, but I made my excursion barefoot: they say walking barefoot improves one's carriage."

"Bessie, I never know what to make of you."

"If you know what to make of yourself it's a great matter: sometimes people don't know that," she said, rather wearily.

"I had better make myself scarce at present, probably?" he said.

"I think so."

"Then good-night. You won't faint again?"

"No: good-night."

He left the room and shut the door gently, but when a few paces away some impulse moved him to go back: she might faint again, and he would ask if he should send one of the servants to her.

When he opened the door she was sitting with her face hidden in her hands. At the sound of the door opening she glanced up, and Edwin saw tears.

She turned away instantly. He went up to her and said, "I did not mean to intrude. I forgot to ask if I should tell one of the servants to come."

"No, you needn't."

"Bessie," he said, "you are not well, and something is vexing you. Could you not tell me about it. I mean nothing but kindness."

"I know you don't," she said almost fiercely, "and I hate kindness: it's an insult."

He stood in blank astonishment, "An insult?" he said.

"Yes, an insult; and if you were not obtuse you would see it. But you don't see and you don't feel, or you would never have tried to make any one care for you for whom you did not care a bit. But I won't care for you, and I don't."

Off her guard, she had been stung into this. She was standing away from him, her head erect and her eyes gleaming through tears: Mary Stuart herself could not have been more effective.

"Care for you! not care for you!" he said in a voice he could hardly control. "I have cared for you as I never cared for a thing on earth: I have loved and shall love you as I have never loved a human being."

"How am I to believe it? Why did you not say it? Why did you not say it without making me ashamed of myself?"

"Ashamed! Oh, Bessie, I only feared to annoy you."


He gathered her to him and kissed her.

A castle all to themselves at four o'clock in the morning is a piece of fortune that rarely falls to lovers, and they need not expect it; but those great thick walls were no way taken by surprise: they had not been confidants of this kind of thing off and on for four or five hundred years to be taken by surprise now. Whether after such long familiarity with the old story they felt it any way stale, you will readily believe they did not say.


"I've forgotten the abbot entirely," said Edwin when he had time to come to himself after the first draught of miraculous champagne. "I was on my way to investigate his ghost when I heard an unaccountable scream."

"I never screamed before, and I don't think I shall ever scream again: I don't know how I have been so weak to-night."

"Weakness always draws out kindness," said Edwin.

"I would rather be weak than obtuse," said Bessie.

"But it is better to be only obtuse than [pg 55] both. I know someone who was both."

Well, what was I to think, and what could I do?"

"Nothing better than you did—make a declar—"

"What were you saying about the abbot's ghost?"

"I was on my way to have an interview with it when—"

"What was it like, and where did you find it?"

"It was like a column of light standing not far from the house near the corner of the abbey-field."

"And you did not think of any explanation of the phenomenon?"

"No, I did not: it seemed more mysterious even than the ringing of the bell."

"To obtuse people it does."

"I thought the abbot might be feeling without a home, and sympathized with him, I assure you, very heartily."

"I can tell you what it is: the servants had to rise at three this morning to work. It is the light shining out from the laundry-window: I've seen it often enough."

"Well, it was a providential ghost for you and Edwin."

"[illegible]" said John when they were assembled at breakfast next morning, looking no worse for the excitement of the previous evening, having all slept well: if the bell had rung it had disturbed no one at all. Mr. Forrester and Bessie had not made any one the wiser of the well-timed appearance of the abbot's ghost which had played such an effective part in their previous night's drama,—"I say," he said looking at Mr. Forrester and then at Bessie, "there is some understanding between you two; you are always looking at each other, and when you entered the room this morning you [illegible], and started off [illegible] been caught. But I have [illegible] this time."

Bessie realized that her secret had become common property, and blushed becomingly.

Mr. Forrester said, "What have you suspected, John?"

"That Bessie and you laid your heads together to make the bell ring last night to frighten us. Remember, I'm not stupid altogether."

"I assure you, John, I had nothing to do with the ringing of the bell," Bessie said.

"Nor had I," said Edwin.

"That's queer, then," said John; "but I'm sure there's something of some kind between you two: you're planning something, I know. What is it?"

"Wise people don't reveal their plans to every one till near the time for executing them, John," said Edwin.

"Oh, very well," John answered: "you can keep them to yourselves. I dare say it's nothing of consequence;" and having finished his breakfast, John was off to his out-door business. The shortest cut to his destination—and he always took short cuts—was through the kitchen, and as he hastily brushed along the wall toward the door he was brought up suddenly by a loud peal of the bell, and he looked at one of the servants, who was working at the table, as much as to say, "Do you hear that?"

She answered his look: "Yes, I ha'en, but there's naebody at the door. It was yu that rang the bell: ye cam against that bag of worsted clues for durning that I hung on the bell-wine yesterday. When onybody happens to touch it the weight o' 't gars the bell ring; I would hae to ta'en off."

With this simple and inglorious explanation John rushed to the dining-room where he found Mrs. Forrester and the châtelaine in deep Conspiracy again; and to this hour the ghost of Cockhoolet is a matter (if you can use that word in connection with a ghost at all) of faith and not of sight.

When Mrs. and Mrs. Ormiston returned they found that their eldest daughter was engaged to be married, which surprised them as little as it did the old woman but moved them a good deal more.

[pg 56]


A wondrous half-century was that which forms an isthmus rather than a bridge between the Middle Ages and the times termed Modern. Exit the Last of the Barons—enter the printing-press. Exit Boabdil el Chico—enter Columbus and Da Gama. The plot thickened as the cinquecenti hove in view. The last years were the most pregnant. While the last sigh of the Moor was dying into the murmurs of the Xenil, that solitary shout that will ring while earth lasts went up from the bows of the Pinta. Together came America and the sea-way to India and—the rifle. For in 1498, when Buonarotti was at his prime, Raphael, fifteen years old, had just taken his seat at the paternal easel, and the scenes of the Lusiad were in progress, "barrels were first grooved at Venice."

Who grooved them we are not told. The name of that artist has not survived, though we still remember his contemporary townsman, Titian. Strictly, he is not entitled to the immortality of an originator. That belongs to the unknown savage who, in the miocene era probably, first gave a twist to the feather of his arrow, thereby communicating to it a revolving motion at right angles to the line of flight, and making it an "arm of precision." But pre-historic artillery we may dismiss or leave to Milton. The blind bard omits to inform us whether the guns used in the great pounding-match between Lucifer and Michael were smooth-bores or rifles. The strong presumption is that they were exclusively the former, and that a well-served battery of Parrotts would have silenced them in fifteen minutes. By giving him a few pieces of the kind the poet would have further brightened the feather he sets in Satan's cap as the benefactor of mankind by inventing gunpowder and shortening wars. The bow he presents to us as an old and familiar weapon even at the date of that first and greatest of pitched battles. Its claim, as the parent of projectile implements, is recognized in the common etymology of arcus, arcualia—artillery. Arblast, arquebuse, blunderbuss, mark a humbler collateral descent in the same verbal family. The ballista, or fifty-man-power bow, constituted the heavy, and the individual article the light, artillery of twenty centuries ago. Slings and javelins, being for hand-to-hand fighting (David was near enough to hold an easy conversation with Goliath before bringing him down), can hardly be brought within the designation. The twang of either heavy or light was but a thin contribution to the orchestra of battle compared to "the diapason of the cannonade." How much we have lost in the absence of this element of tremendous noise from the conflicts of ancient days! What a tool it would have been in Homer's hands! How trivial, to the author of the book of Job, would have seemed the noise of the captains and the shouting! We cannot, indeed, quite suppress the fancy that some mightier counter-concussion must have filled the air at Thrasimene, when "an earthquake reeled unheededly away:" Nemo pugnantium senserit, avers Livy. But nothing is said of it. The old heroes died in silence, like the wolf "biting hard among the dying dogs."

A well-known essay of a modern poet beautifully uses this piece of the modern machinery of his craft. Dryden here makes distance mellow the thunder of a naval fight into a musical undertone. The great sea-fight between the duke of York and the Dutch, fought within hearing of London, left "the town almost empty" of its anxious citizens, whose "dreadful suspense would not allow them to rest at home," but drew them into the eastern fields and suburbs, "all seeking the noise in the depth of silence." Dryden and three friends took a barge and descended the river. Once clear of the crowded port above Greenwich, "they ordered the watermen to let fall their [pg 57] oars more gently; and then, every one favoring his own curiosity with a strict silence, it was not long ere they perceived the air to break about them like the noise of distant thunder or of swallows in a chimney; those little undulations of sound, though almost vanishing before they reached them, yet still seeming to retain somewhat of their first horror which they had between the fleets. After they had attentively listened till such time as the sound by little and little went from them, Eugenius, lifting up his head and taking notice of it, was the first who congratulated to the rest that happy omen of our nation's victory."

This, the eloquent eolian music of distant and unseen battle, was unheard by the ancient cities and their chroniclers and poets. It will grow again less familiar as rifled ordnance is introduced, with its thinner and sharper style of expression. Waterloo appears to have been heard farther than Sedan or Metz, although its pieces were but popguns compared with those that spoke the requiem of the Third Napoleon. And perhaps, if we allow for smallness in number and calibre, those employed by Robert the Bruce at the battle of Werewater in 1327—said to be the first recorded occasion in Europe—were more vociferous than their successors of to-day. Few and cumbrous they must indeed have been, since Edward III. could only bring four into the field at Crécy; and they did far less service than the twanging cloth-yard shaft in deciding the event of that conflict.

It was not till centuries later that the rifle perceptibly exerted its treble voice in the multitudinous debates of the ultima ratio. Shrill as John Randolph's, its pipe, once set up, was very attentively and respectfully listened to. Like his, it spoke from the woods of America. "Stand your ground, my brave fellows," shouted Colonel Washington under the sycamores of the Monongahela on the 9th of July, 1755, "and draw your sights for the honor of old Virginia!" The colonial rifle covered the retreat of the British queen's-arm, if retreat such a rout as Braddock's could be called.

It is about the same time that we find a British writer, who had witnessed the efficiency of the rifle as a companion implement to the axe in pushing European settlement on this continent, saying, "Whatever state shall thoroughly comprehend the nature and advantages of rifle-pieces, and, having facilitated and completed their construction, shall introduce into its armies their general use, with a dexterity in the management of them, will by this means acquire a superiority which will almost equal anything that has been done at any time by the particular excellence of any one kind of firearms, and will perhaps fall but little short of the wonderful effects which histories relate to have been formerly produced by the first inventors of firearms."

This was written in 1748, at which time the rifle was used only by the hunters of the Alps and the hunters of the American backwoods; the latter having doubtless derived it from the former through German immigration. Bull's conservatism, however, was in the way. The lessons of Fort Duquesne, of Saratoga and of New Orleans were successively wasted on him. He did arm one regiment, the Ninety-fifth, with this weapon toward the close of the last century, but for a long time it stood alone in the royal service. Austria had previously maintained some corps of Tyrolese Jägers. The French fought through all the wars of their Revolution without having recourse to the rifle, save in the campaign of 1793. It is singular that the keen eye of Napoleon failed to detect its value, especially when we note the use he made of light troops. The fate of Nelson justifies the idea that a large body of good riflemen might have changed the issue of Trafalgar.

Curiously enough, the French, who were the last to realize the merits of the rifle, were the first to institute those improvements which caused, within the present generation, its universal substitution for the musket. The Gallic pioneer was Delvigne, but his first improvements proved, as Pat might say, no improvement at all. The inconvenience of slow [pg 58] loading was the most obvious. Delvigne's remedy was to give the ball increased windage; in other words, to diminish its diameter comparatively with that of the bore. The ball thus went easily down to the shoulders of the chamber containing the charge. Arrived there, a smart rap with the ramrod moulded it to the grooves. But it also flattened the top, and forced the bottom partly into the chamber. Thus misshapen at birth, the bullet was cast upon the world to an erratic and fruitless career.

In 1828 a second Frenchman took the tube in hand. Colonel Thouvenin abandoned the chamber, and filled up much of the place it had occupied with a cylindrical steel pillar, or tige, which projected from the breech-plug longitudinally into the barrel. This formed a little anvil whereon the bullet was to be beaten into the grooves. But the bottom was flattened, and the powder acted only on the periphery of the ball instead of the centre, tending thus to give it an oblique direction.

Here Delvigne picked up the weapon for another trial. He accomplished far the most important advance yet seen—an advance relatively as great as Watt's separate condenser in the steam-engine. He retained the tige, but he changed the spherical ball into a cylinder with a conical point, as we now have it. In this he, in effect, reached the ultimatum of progress as regards the general form of the projectile. He assimilated it to Newton's solid of least resistance. That primeval missile, the arrow, had for unnumbered centuries presented to the eyes of men an illustration of a simple truth which scientific formula succeeded, scarce a couple of centuries since, in evolving. "The bridge was built," as the old sapper told his commander, "before them picters" (the engineer's designs) "came." The arrow-head describes, as it whirls through the air, a solid varying from a cone only so far as its edges vary from straight lines. This variation serves to blend the cone with the cylinder formed by the revolution of the arrow-head and the feather. The difference in length between the ball and the arrow is due to the necessities of the case. The least practicable length is best for both. The office of the spirally-wound feather in communicating a rotary motion, and thereby balancing, by an opposite force, the tendency of the missile to swerve in any given direction, is fulfilled by the spiral groove of the rifle. Of course, the ordinary smooth musket is unfitted to the conico-cylindrical ball. Discharged from such a barrel, there being nothing to keep the point in the direction of its flight, it soon tumbles over, like an arrow without a feather, and strikes wide of the mark.

Delvigne's new gun came into use in 1840. The long matchlocks of the Arabs had been very worrying to the French in Algiers. It was a common pastime of the Ishmaelites to pick off the Gauls at a distance which left Brown Bess helpless. Protruded over an almost inaccessible crag, the former primitive instrument would plump its ball into the ranks of the Giaour in the dell below with a precision and an effect hardly requited by victories in the open field or by the cave-smokings of His Grace of Malakoff. Delvigne's arm was accordingly supplied to the Chasseurs d'Orléans, and in their hands served the desired purpose. The matchlock met its match.

Under M. Delvigne's system, however, the ball was not always well forced into the grooves. The tige, too, made cleaning difficult: it often got crooked, and it sometimes broke off. A M. Tamisier did something toward removing the former difficulty by cutting very shallow grooves on the ball itself. The other called forth the ingenuity of the now famous Minié, who made his first appearance in 1847-1848, and whose name has attained the same kind of lethal immortality with the names of Shrapnell, Congreve and Rodman. M. Minié abandoned the tige entirely. He scooped out the base of the ball and inserted into it an iron cup. This cup was driven into the ball by the explosion, and forced the soft lead into the grooves. The leading objection to the Minié ball in this form was that the device did its work too thoroughly. The iron was often driven so deep into the lead as to tear off the solid point and [pg 59] scatter the whole projectile into two or three pieces. This mitrailleuse-like distribution of disrupted spheres or leaden asteroids was obviated by the abandonment of the iron cup, the powder being left to act on the lead itself. Two or three channels cut around the neck of the bullet helped to keep the point in line, and aided at the same time the fastening of the cartridge. Thus came its final metamorphosis to the buzzing little torment that has been at intervals for the last twenty years flying over all the continents and perplexing the nations.

It was not till 1852 that the Enfield rifle was settled on as the standard weapon of the British army. Machinery and machinists were imported for its fabrication from the United States, the appliances of our government armories being copied, and Colonel Bruton, of the Harper's Ferry Works, employed to set them going. Prior to that time all firearms of public or private manufacture, in England, had been made by hand, the interchangeability of all the parts of any given number of guns being an end accomplished in this country alone. The advantage of having every corresponding detail of each piece a fac simile of the same part in all the firelocks of an army must have been perceived from the time when such weapons were first invented; and nothing but the most inveterate conservatism, or the steadiest opposition of that stamp which mobbed threshing-machines and the spinning-jenny, could have so long staved off its practical adoption.

Once awakened, however, England became, as she usually does, active, innovating and experimental enough. Rifled cannon, breech-loaders and armored ships—all the legitimate offspring of the Venetian barrel and its American employment—have kept her ever since in a ferment of boards, commissions and target-firing. But these would carry us beyond our prescribed limit into a boundless field of inquiry and description. It would be like passing from a notice of the tubular boiler of Stephenson's Rocket to a discussion of the vast railway system it begot.

The Crimean war afforded the first test, on a large scale, in civilized warfare, of the issue between smooth and twist. How the conoidal bullet and rifled barrel, opposed at Inkermann to the antiquated Russian musket, tore through the dense columns which had forced their way to the brow of the plateau, driving the stolid Muscovites, "incapable of panic," back into the ravine pell-mell—how, at many periods of the siege of Sebastopol, the rifle-pits did more to cripple the defence than did the mortars and battering-guns—we need not recount. These pits, and the rope mantlets wherewith they obliged the Russians to cover their embrasures, were pronounced by Captain (since General) George B. McClellan, in his report of the United States Military Commission, about the only marked novelties of the siege. Of both, mutatis mutandis, he and his opponents made effective use in our civil war.

Nor shall we pick our perilous way among the Sniders, Chassepots, Zündnadelgewehre, and Zündnadelbüchsen whose various charms absorb the military mind at this day. The debate among them is but as to the best utilization of the old arrow-theory. The oblong projectile, that goes singing on its winding way, is common to them all. Slipped in at the back door or rammed home at the front, delicately stirred up by the insinuating needle and its titbit of fulminate or bluntly ordered off by the snappish percussion-cap, it is the same obedient and faithful messenger, and goes on its appointed errand in much the same style.

Under the ancient régime of the musket it required the soldier's weight in lead to kill him. Its point-blank range was about sixty yards, but precision even at that short distance it by no means possessed. At the battle of Fontenoy the English and French Guards, drawn up in opposite lines, conversed with each other prior to firing, like two groups of friends across the street. "Gentlemen of the French Guards, fire!" was the courteous invitation of the British commander. "The French Guards never fire first," was the reply. And not till then did punctilio come to an end. Such [pg 60] a colloquy in our day would need to be carried on with forty-horse power speaking-trumpets, or with the thunderous articulation of that between the bellowing Alps and echoing Jura. Even smooth-bore field-pieces, with point-blank of three hundred and twenty yards and service range of one thousand, have to keep their distance. It is a rare thing now for cannon to be captured by a charge of cavalry or the bayonet. The rifle destroys quantum suff. of their horses, and, their support overpowered, they remain a helpless prey.

For this default of the blustering cannon in the trying of conclusions with its quiet little cousin, the natural remedy is to improve its interior in the same manner. This has been done, and with marvelous effect in some respects. But the rifled cannon, though extensively used both on sea and land, throwing shot and shell five miles, and at close range through iron plates a foot thick, cannot be yet styled a perfected weapon. It may be in a very few years, thanks to the ardent anxiety, on the part of the several peoples composing "the parliament of man, the federation of the world," to excel each other in the "brain-spattering, windpipe-slitting art." At present it is maintained by very good American authority that for use under some conditions, at short or moderate range, the smooth gun of large calibre is more effective than a rifled gun throwing a missile of the same weight. Our monitors continue to be armed with the fifteen-inch Rodman, very recent experiments being cited to prove its penetrating effect on iron plates greater than that of the European rifled guns. This, of course, at very close range.

The rifle is, in its simplest form, a more complex instrument than the smooth-bored piece, and will always require superior intelligence to manage it. The army which naturally possesses this requisite in the highest degree will best handle this decisive weapon, and be, other things equal, the strongest army. This consideration operates in favor of our people, among whom the rifle has always been in so much more constant and familiar use than with those of other countries. Our broad forests will have to be cleared and our mountain-chains, east and west, more densely settled than Switzerland, before the distinction of a nation of marksmen can be lost to us. So far, there is little evidence of this change. The deer and the wild-turkey are nearly as abundant on the Atlantic slope of the Alleghanies as they ever were. Probably there are more of both in Virginia than at the time of the settlement of Jamestown. Like the quail and the bee, they are favored by a certain advance of population and cultivation.

Another species of aborigine does not similarly thrive in the path of the rifle. The Indian of the Plains is still troublesome occasionally, but far less so than when blue-coats and blunderbusses joined forces against him. The odds then were often on his side, for many of the red men were armed with the rifle, while the troops had but the musket and carbine. The appearance of the breech-loading rifle in the hands of the United States dragoons on the frontier just fifteen years ago let in new light upon the Camanche and Apache mind. Up to that period the badgering of a detachment of "heavies" was a favorite pastime with these gentry. They got up their "spring fights" with as much coolness and regularity as the early patriarchs of Texas are related to have done, and not merely, as in the case of the latter, in utter contempt, but directly at the expense, of the constituted authorities. Tying a bag of dried mule-meat and pounded corn to the peak of his saddle, fashioning a small supply of arrows, or balls if he boasted the spectre of a gun, coloring the inferior half of his frontispiece a rich vermilion and the upper a delicate green, with ramifications of lampblack coursing tastefully along the cheek-bones and the bridge of the nose, twisting a crane's feather into the tail of his horse, and giving his affectionate squaw a farewell kick, the cavalier of the prairie was ready for a raid on the Long-knives. Making a rapid night-march or two, he would carry the "latest intelligence from the Indian country" to the [pg 61] border ranches of Texas or New Mexico. Stampeding all the horses and mules that stood or ranged convenient, and under favorable circumstances some cattle and sheep, and "gobbling" on occasion some incautious Cyrion or Phyllis of the Western Arcadia, the marauder made for the mountains. By the time he had well passed the last outpost the hue-and-cry was at his heels, followed, after an easy-going delay, by the lumbering dragoon. The soldier, armed with ineffectual sabre and carbine, encumbered with a variety of traps about as useful as they, usually managed, if not forced to put back by stress of provisions, to come up with him in the gates of the hills. There an idle interchange of arrow and round ball between hollow and cliff wound up the eventful history of the chase. As a rule, no marked chastisement was inflicted on the Indian: he realized in peace the proceeds of his little speculation.

Now, Minié, like the Harpagon of his countryman, has "changed all that." The retreating heathen flies to his hills in vain. They do not cover him, but the rifle does. Cantering to the summit of a knoll, he waves his compliments to the distant dragoon with a gesture of derision, more expressive than elegant, he has acquired from the white. Turning calmly to depart, as he sinks below the crest of the hill a sagittiform bullet, fired at five hundred yards' distance with all the science and talent purchasable with thirteen dollars a month and rations, plumps into the rump of his unhappy pony, and the Stoic of the woods is unhorsed. Reared on horseback, and weak in the legs from long addiction to that mode of locomotion, this is a casus omissus in Lo's tactics. Scant time, however, has he for reflection. He gathers up himself and his drapery as well as circumstances will allow, and scuttles hurriedly off, a fluttering chaos of rags and feathers. It is too late. Heaven is on the side of the best artillery. A few minutes and the Philistines are upon him. Burnside's or Remington's last patent again lifts up its voice, and the triumph of civilization is complete.

The prairie Indian, unlike his congener of the woods, has as yet been but partially able to substitute gunpowder for the bow. The advantage he has in the protection afforded him by the desolation of his waterless mesas and sage-covered hills is thus in great measure neutralized. What, when he does possess the modern firearm, he is capable of doing with it, the achievements of the Modocs in their volcanic stronghold will attest. But these were few, and soon went down. The extinction of the tribes west and south of the Rio Grande and the Humboldt cannot be many years postponed. The red rover of that region will disappear as a combatant in the same way, and before the same weapon, as his brother nomad of Algeria, the earliest victim of the conoidal bullet. The spherical ball has done its appointed part in disposing of the aborigines east of the Mississippi, where forests covered the land and trees generally intercepted the sight at a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards. With the extension of Caucasian empire to the Plains came an extension of the range of vision, which necessitated an advance in the range of the rifle. The weapon of Sharpe figured for the first time in the van when the woods of Missouri were passed and the open plains of Kansas reached. There its office was, unfortunately, the strife of white against white. The largest possible range, the greatest possible number of shots in a given time, were demanded in a war wherein the opposing armies were seldom within five miles of each other, or more than one man hurt to five hundred charges of powder burned. How the Lenni Lenape must have opened their eyes at this reproduction of the drama of a century ago when the whites, English and French, were fighting each other for the possession of the Delawares' lands in Pennsylvania! The feeble remnant of the compatriots of Logan had "moved on," under pressure of a very urgent police, a thousand miles westward to a reservation not a great deal larger, when portioned out, than that last reservation allotted to all men; and the pale-faces who had hung upon his track he now saw fighting for that.

[pg 62]

From its warlike aspect it is pleasant to turn to the contributions of the rifle to peaceful amusement, if not peaceful industry. Contemptuously giving the go-by to its minutest phase in this field—the "parlor rifle," with a target against the chimney-piece or meandering, in feline form, along our neighbor's roof-tree—we go forth, with Snider and sunrise, to the forest fastness. Our companions throng, tall, bronzed, close-knit and sinewy, true children of the four-grooved, from frosty Caucasus, the Hartz, the Alps, the Dovrafjeld, the Grampians, the Himmalaya, the Adirondack, the Alleghany, the Nevada. The chamois, the ibex, the red deer, the Virginia deer, the wapiti, the gour, or the royal tiger may be the game in hand. The tiger we are accustomed to associate exclusively with the dank jungles of Lower India, but he climbs, each summer, the great passes of Central Asia, "the roof of the world," and makes his way to the frontier of Siberia, beyond 50° north.

The equipment of the mountain-rifleman is characterized by simplicity and a strict attention to business. The nature of the ground over which he works inexorably prescribes this. The superfluities of the fox-hunter or the partridge-shooter with his dog-cart cannot be his. Hatchet, pouch, knife and knapsack, with alpenstock on occasion, about comprise his kit. He may be attended by a hound or two, but not a pack. He wants no yelling. He hears but

the Spirit of the Mist,

And it speaks to the Spirit of the Fell.

For little hollows and little hills Scott's dogs, that

raved through the hollow pass amain,

Chiding the rocks that yelled again,

may have been highly effective when his mediæval sportsmen, who carried no guns, could keep within a furlong of them. But in the depths of the great mountains, with point-blank range of six hundred yards and long pops of nearly twice that, they would be preposterous. Fancy the Quorndon or the Pytchley on the flanks of the Matterhorn!

Chamois-hunting, the sporting specialty of the Swiss and the Tyrolese, appears to be dying out. The hunter of our day keeps it up rather as a tradition than as a practical pursuit. He rarely bags a "goat," for goats are very few to bag, and those few even more supernaturally fleet and sure of foot and keen of nose than their less-hunted ancestors. Still, somewhere in that upper world of lilac-white that melts into the clouds in vast but distance-softened chasms of viscid ice and rifts of gray gneiss, there is an object for him. In some nook or on some crag of the square leagues of desert that swell around him a troop of the desiderated ruminants is grazing, if grazing it can be called where grass is none. He is very sure of that. Even from the door of his chalet he scans the slopes in the half hope of detecting a flock or a single goat. His father and his grandfather before him had looked forth from the same door on the same scene, snuffed the same "caller air," mentally shaped the same pretext for yielding to the same spirit of adventure begotten of the peaks and by going forth to battle with the solitude, and hunted patiently, sometimes with success, oftener without, the progenitors of the same quarry. So he prepares himself anew for the wild and perilous tramp. A day—two or three days—may pass without the compassing of a shot, or even hearing the whistle of the sentinel goat as he shrills the alarm far out of range and leads his fellows in twenty minutes to crags the hunter cannot reach in as many hours. Death crouches in the treacherous snow-crust beneath or the poised avalanche above. A false step or an inch's miscalculation of leap may make him a waif for the lämmergeier or land him among the buried villages of the last century. He toils on until success or starvation sends him home. In the former case he out-generals his shy game after a series of manoeuvres to which the deepest stratagems of our Indians are straightforwardness personified. He gets a long shot at a distance that would make the musket or buckshot as useless as a sabre. The certainty may be apparent that the animal, if hit mortally, must fall some hundreds of feet, perhaps into an inaccessible [pg 63] chasm. There is no help for that. Now or never! The short rifle, assisted by a portable rest, is called on for its best. The concentrated energy of the whole chase is thrown into the long and carefully calculated aim. A thin spurt of white smoke jets forth; a sharp report echoes "from peak to peak the rattling crags among;" half a dozen chamois whisk around the next rock-buttress, and "one more unfortunate" tumbles from the verge into vacancy. The labor of days is rewarded. Securing the scanty venison if he can, the hunter is off for his hillside burrow, advertising his approach by an exultant jodel of extra nerve-splitting power.

In Great Britain the rifle, ancient or modern, like, indeed, any other firearm, has yet to establish itself as a democratic "institution." Her forests are not forests in our sense, and her mountain-dwellers know little of the rifle. In the duke of Athol's seventy-mile forest, with scarce a tree save planted larches, the stag roams by thousands, but of course the game-laws interpose, as they did eight hundred years ago, between him and the (biped) hind. He is still the reserved luxury of the Norman. So with the leagues of upland where His Grace of Sutherland has made the Highlander give place to the hart, the "lassie wi' the lint-white locks" to the Cheviot ewe—where, in short, the white Celt has been improved out of existence as remorselessly as the red man in America, and that in favor not of a superior race of men, but of feræ naturæ. Into these and similar districts, at stated seasons, sundry squads of gentlemen are turned loose. They either "pay their shot," as Punch has it, in the shape of rent, or are the guests of the noble proprietors. Their devices for circumventing the antlered monarch of the waste are amply detailed by Scrope, Hawker, Herbert and also by the late Edwin Landseer doing the pictorial department with a success attributable chiefly to his management of landscape effect, for his dogs, deer and other animals from his Æsop's fable-like groups to his four duplicated lions in Trafalgar Square, belong—heretic that we are to say it!—properly to still life, their want of action and verve placing them beneath comparison with the works of either one of a score of Flemish and French painters, from Rubens and Snyders down to Bonheur and Vernet. That his unsold pictures have brought, since his death, something like half a million proves nothing. Time was when the worthless canvases of West and Morland were equally transmutable into gold.

Like other forms of British field-sports, deer-stalking is sufficiently intricate and artificial. It is obviously the occupation of men whose primary object is more to kill time than to kill deer. According to print, from type and plate, the stag, a reduced edition of the American wapiti, is, in the heart of a little kingdom of some hundreds of souls to the square mile, as little accustomed to the sight of man and as hard to approach as he would be on the head-waters of the Yellowstone. If five or six hours' worming, ventre à terre, up the bed of a mountain-torrent, with not even a rowan-bush to aid concealment, succeed in bringing the sports-man within two hundred yards of his unconscious game, it is a good day's performance. How, the dun deer's hide once perforated, the "tail" of game-keepers, beaters and volunteer hangers-on is gathered up, the comforting toothfu' of usquebaugh absorbed by the toilers of the brae, the victim "gralloched" and suspended across the inevitable gray Highland pony that makes such a capital "first light" for the foreground, and the line of triumphant march taken up for hunting-box, clachan or castle, have we not been told to repletion? The tool used on these occasions is up to the latest requirements of modern science. Whitworth and Lancaster, thanks to their projectile's being wedged in so tight as to cause an occasional misunderstanding it and the breech-plug as to which was expected to move, have grown unpopular. The style and the patentee vary every year or two or oftener, breech-loading and the elongated bullet being the only persistent features.

Among the commonalty of Britain, [pg 64] within a very few years past, rifle-clubs and matches have been brought greatly into vogue under government encouragement. Austria, tu infelix this time, having served unwillingly as an experimental target, with the most distinguished and gratifying success to the experimenters, at Solferino and Sadowa, gave a new impetus to the rifle movement in England, as France, a trifle later, did to the Battle-of-Dorking school of prophetic literature. Thus it happens that the rifle is taking its place gradually by the side of fat Durhams, gooseberries, lop eared rabbits and the Derby as a popular sensation. Johnny sends over a "team," evidently in his judgment a whole one, to "shoot the American continent." His next deputation ought to be sent, after vanquishing the "blarsted" Gothamites, to the recesses of the Alleghany, and pitted there against the woodsman with his ancient weapon carrying a round ball of seventy-five to the pound, five feet long and decorated with tin sights, double trigger and mayhap flint-lock. The adventurers would beat in the long run, but they would go home not wholly unlearned. Should they stay to a turkey-shoot, they would see in it the Occidental analogue of their own public matches—more picturesque, if not quite so prim and scientific. Strictly, it presupposes conditions non-existent in England—a community, for instance, first of hunters, and second of hunters with the rifle.

This recreation, primarily belonging to localities where large game, such as deer and wild-turkeys, is found, has spread down to the cities, where it breaks out in a sporadic form about Christmas. But the hills are its home—the foot-hills, notably, of the Appalachian range, the domestic turkey not being very common higher up, nor its wild original ("original," we insist, pace the Agricultural Report ornithologist, who finds an ineffaceable distinction in the fact that the tail-ring of the one is sometimes, and that of the other never, white!) lower down.

We mind us of an ancient town in the Valley of Virginia, settled nearly a century and a half ago by riflemen, sheltered by them through a stormy infancy, and still steeped in the traditions of the implement in question. Spitted by the railway, the hub of many turnpikes, and surrounded by a thickly-peopled country, it is yet near enough to the mountains to receive from them each winter quite a delegation of their inhabitants. Last year wild-turkeys were shot within the corporate limits, a deer was chased within half a mile of them, and a fine specimen of Felis Canadensis was killed in an orchard still nearer.

Four miles west of the town the fertile limestone carse swells into the shady hills, clad largely with pine, that form the long glacis of the Alleghanies. These hills are peopled principally by a hardy race not unlike the German woodsmen, whose blood, indeed, a great many of them share, as their surnames, though sadly thinned down into English spelling and pronunciation, denote. They inherit, likewise, their fancy for the rifle. Allied with the axe, which, like Talleyrand's supposititious frontiersman, they have not forgotten, it supplies them materially with sport and subsistence. Their land, where arable at all, being unproductive as a rule, wood-chopping is their most profitable branch of farming. A score or two of them drive into town daily, each with his four-, three- or two-horse cargo of wood. The pile is frequently topped off with a brace or two of ruffed grouse, there called pheasant, or a wild-turkey, less often a deer, and more often hares; which last multiply along the narrow intervales in extraordinary numbers. We have seen three sledge-loads of hares—say two thousand in all—on the street of a winter's day.

This sappy and sapid contribution to its comfort and luxury the town often repays with a jug of whisky as an addendum to the cash receipts; although it must not be inferred from this that the hillmen are noted for a weakness in that direction. Generally, they are as sober as they are hard-working, independent and honest. The few who do take kindly to strong waters are so hardened by a life of toil and exposure that the enemy is a lifetime in bringing them down.. One little old hook-nosed fellow was an [pg 65] every-day feature of the road for fifteen or twenty years. In that entire period he was rarely, if once, seen to go out sober. He drove but two horses, which were apparently coeval with himself. Long practice had taught them perfectly how to accommodate themselves to their master's failing. The saddle-horse adapted his movements with vigilant dexterity to the rolling and pitching aloft. On more than one occasion the woodman was found lying in the road by the side or under the feet of his faithful and motionless team. Poor old Jack! thou hast "gone under," deeper than that, at last, leaving behind thee the savor of an honest name, slightly modified by that of corn whisky.

The Hayfield Inn, a little hostelrie on the Northern "pike," is the scene of many a turkey-shoot. Between the hill and the road, at the foot of a ravine that runs down at right angles, room enough has been scooped out, partly by the rains and partly by the pick, for the house, offices and microscopic yard decorated with hollyhocks and larkspurs. Across the highway stands a capacious barn, with open space for wagons, and between it and the brook beyond stretches a narrow meadow, whence a vivid imagination has extracted the name of the caravanserai. The open space flanking the house and road is the rifle-course, so to speak. When occupied of a mellow October afternoon by a party of the autochthones, in their pea-jackets of blue or hickory homespun, it presents a gay and cheery spectacle. Festooning fence and tree around them, the Virginia creeper, or Ampelopsis, shames vermilion against the mass of pines that glooms skyward beyond. Other tints of vegetable decay fringe the brook where it winds from side to side of the long strip of grass, green from the autumnal rain. Little reck the assembled marksmen of Nature's stage-decorations. One group will be mentally weighing the turkeys, another discussing the distance—too long or too short for the peculiar powers of this or the other individual or his weapon. Around the rude target kneel two or three, scoring on it each man his "centre," above or below, to the right or left, of the true centre, to counteract the ascertained obliquity of his eye or his gun. Here a six-foot Stoic, the Nestor of the glen, is very formally going through the ceremony of loading. Another is slowly, and with the precision of an astronomer, adjusting the tin slides which protect his barrel from the glitter of the sun. The chatter of a bevy of country maidens ripples from over the way. The horses whinny under their square-skirted saddles, or stand "hard by their chariots champing golden corn," like the horses of Nestor, Agamemnon, Homer and Gladstone before Dr. Schliemann's Troy; the yearlings in the meadow alternately gaze and graze; the guinea-fowl now and then honors the shout over a good shot with its harsh but well-meant rattle; the rifle speaks at measured intervals; the prizes thin off to the remainder gobbler; and so, with the quiet characteristic of rifle-matches, the evening draws toward the dew. The smoke-whitened guns are carefully swabbed with tow and prepared for their rest as tenderly as infants. Dobbin is rescued from the (fence) stake to hie hill-ward with his master, cantering exultant or jogging grumly according to the result of the "event;" and the metropolis of Petticoat Gap—for such, in the vernacular and on the maps, is its unfortunate designation—relapses into virtuous repose.

The implement employed at these rural reunions is rarely the breech-loader, or even the short gun. It promises to hold its ground for years yet, gradually yielding to the little modern tool. The essential characteristics of this we have described as they exist and will probably remain. Variations in the rifling and—where muzzle-loading is abandoned—in the appliances of the chamber will continue to be made, as they have heretofore been made without number numberless. The patterns now fashionable will give place to others, in their turn to be dropped like a last year's coat. Remington, Winchester and the rest will retire in favor of new contrivers, devoted, like them, to the simple task of facilitating the flight of the leaden arrow with its grooved feather in steel or iron. With [pg 66] them will rise and fall a parallel series of names on a broader and more sonorous field—the field of heavy artillery, the ponderous Wiard being full brother to the liliputian Sharpe. Rifled cannon certainly present problems far more complicated than the small-arm. They can by no means be considered, as yet, so near perfection. It is boldly maintained by many experts, both here and in England, that the "smashing" power at point-blank range of such smooth-bores as the Rodman 12-inch and 15-inch is greater than that of the rifle of the same weight. The question is so closely involved with that of armor-plates for ships and ports, and that with buoyancy and other naval requirements, and economy and stability on land, that a long period must elapse ere the reaching of fixed conclusions. Within the present generation wooden line-of-battle ships, with sails alone, have ruled the wave. These have given place to the steam-liners that began and closed their brief career at Sebastopol and Bomarsund; and the prize-belt is now borne, among the bruisers of the main, by the mob of iron-clads, infinitely diverse of aspect and some of them shapeless, like the geologic monsters that weltered in the primal deep. Which of these is to triumph ultimately and devour its misshapen kindred, or whether they are not all to go down before the torpedo, that carries no gun and fires no shot, is a "survival-of-the-fittest" question to be solved by Darwins yet to come. But it is tolerably safe to say that where the best shooting is to be done it will continue to be done with the conico-cylindrical missile, spirally revolving around the line of flight; that is, with the arrow-rifle.



My love but breathed upon the glass,

And, lo! upon the crystal sheen

A tender mist did straightway pass,

And raised its jealous veil between.

But quick, as when Aurora's face

Is hid behind some transient shroud,

The sun strikes through with golden grace,

And she emerges from the cloud;

So from her eyes celestial light

Shines on the mirror's cloudy plain,

And swift the envious mist takes flight,

And shows her lovely face again.

When o'er the mirror of my heart,

Wherein her image true endures,

Some misty doubt doth sudden start,

And all the sweet reflex obscures,

There beams such glow from her clear eyes

That swift the rising mists are laid;

And, fixed again, her image lies,

All lovelier for the passing shade.


[pg 67]





When Malcolm and Joseph set out from Duff Harbor to find the laird, they could hardly be said to have gone in search of him: all in their power was to seek the parts where he was occasionally seen, in the hope of chancing upon him; and they wandered in vain about the woods of Fife House all that week, returning disconsolate every evening to the little inn on the banks of the Wan Water. Sunday came and went without yielding a trace of him; and, almost in despair, they resolved, if unsuccessful the next day, to get assistance and organize a search for him. Monday passed like the days that had preceded it, and they were returning dejectedly down the left bank of the Wan Water in the gloaming, and nearing a part where it is hemmed in by precipitous rocks and is very narrow and deep, crawling slow and black under the lofty arch of an ancient bridge that spans it at one leap, when suddenly they caught sight of a head peering at them over the parapet. They dared not run for fear of terrifying him if it should be the laird, and hurried quietly to the spot. But when they reached the end of the bridge its round back was bare from end to end. On the other side of the river the trees came close up, and pursuit was hopeless in the gathering darkness.

"Laird, laird! they've ta'en awa' Phemy, an' we dinna ken whaur to luik for her," cried the poor father aloud.

Almost the same instant, and as if he had issued from the ground, the laird stood before them. The men started back with astonishment—soon changed into pity, for there was light enough to see how miserable the poor fellow looked. Neither exposure nor privation had thus weighed upon him: he was simply dying of fear. Having greeted Joseph with embarrassment, he kept glancing doubtfully at Malcolm, as if ready to run on his least movement. In few words Joseph explained their quest—with trembling voice and tears that would not be denied enforcing the tale. Ere he had done the laird's jaw had fallen and further speech was impossible to him. But by gestures sad and plain enough he indicated that he knew nothing of her, and had supposed her safe at home with her parents. In vain they tried to persuade him to go back with them, promising every protection: for sole answer he shook his head mournfully.

There came a sudden gust of wind among the branches. Joseph, little used to trees and their ways with the wind, turned toward the sound, and Malcolm unconsciously followed his movement. When they turned again the laird had vanished, and they took their way homeward in sadness.

What passed next with the laird can be but conjectured. It came to be well enough known afterward where he had been hiding; and had it not been dusk as they came down the river-bank the two men might, looking up to the bridge from below, have had it suggested to them. For in the half-spandrel wall between the first arch and the bank they might have spied a small window looking down on the sullen, silent gloom, foam-flecked with past commotion, that crept languidly away from beneath. It belonged to a little vaulted chamber in the bridge, devised by some vanished lord as a kind of summer-house—long neglected, but having in it yet a mouldering table, a broken chair or two and a rough bench. A little path led steep from the end of the parapet down to its hidden door. It was now used only by the game-keepers for traps and fishing-gear and odds and ends of things, and was generally [pg 68] supposed to be locked up. The laird had, however, found it open, and his refuge in it had been connived at by one of the men, who, as they heard afterward, had given him the key and assisted him in carrying out a plan he had devised for barricading the door. It was from this place he had so suddenly risen at the call of Blue Peter, and to it he had as suddenly withdrawn again—to pass in silence and loneliness through his last purgatorial pain.2

Mrs. Stewart was sitting in her drawing-room alone: she seldom had visitors at Kirkbyres—not that she liked being alone, or indeed being there at all, for she would have lived on the Continent, but that her son's trustees, partly to indulge their own aversion to her, taking upon them a larger discretionary power than rightly belonged to them, kept her too straitened, which no doubt in the recoil had its share in poor Stephen's misery. It was only after scraping for a whole year that she could escape to Paris or Homburg, where she was at home. There her sojourn was determined by her good or ill fortune at faro.

What she meditated over her knitting by the firelight—she had put out her candles—it would be hard to say, perhaps unwholesome to think: there are souls to look into which is, to our dim eyes, like gazing down from the verge of one of the Swedenborgian pits.

But much of the evil done by human beings is as the evil of evil beasts: they know not what they do—an excuse which, except in regard to the past, no man can make for himself, seeing the very making of it must testify its falsehood.

She looked up, gave a cry and started to her feet: Stephen stood before her, halfway between her and the door. Revealed in a flicker of flame from the fire, he vanished in the following shade, and for a moment she stood in doubt of her seeing sense. But when the coal flashed again there was her son, regarding her out of great eyes that looked as if they had seen death. A ghastly air hung about him, as if he had just come back from Hades, but in his silent bearing there was a sanity, even dignity, which strangely impressed her. He came forward a pace or two, stopped, and said, "Dinna be frichtit, mem. I'm come. Sen' the lassie hame an' du wi' me as ye like. I canna haud aff o' me. But I think I'm deein', an' ye needna misguide me."

His voice, although it trembled a little, was clear and unimpeded, and, though weak in its modulation, manly.

Something in the woman's heart responded. Was it motherhood or the deeper godhead? Was it pity for the dignity housed in the crumbling clay, or repentance for the son of her womb? Or was it that sickness gave hope, and she could afford to be kind?

"I don't know what you mean, Stephen," she said, more gently than he had ever heard her speak.

Was it an agony of mind or of body, or was it but a flickering of the shadows upon his face? A moment, and he gave a half-choked shriek and fell on the floor. His mother turned from him with disgust and rang the bell. "Send Tom here," she said.

An elderly, hard-featured man came.

"Stephen is in one of his fits," she said.

The man looked about him: he could see no one in the room but his mistress.

"There he is," she continued, pointing to the floor. "Take him away. Get him up to the loft and lay him in the hay."

The man lifted his master like an unwieldy log and carried him, convulsed, from the room.

Stephen's mother sat down again by the fire and resumed her knitting.



Malcolm had just seen his master set out for his solitary ride when one of the maids informed him that a man from Kirkbyres wanted him. Hiding his [pg 69] reluctance, he went with her and found Tom, who was Mrs. Stewart's grieve and had been about the place all his days.

"Mr. Stephen's come hame, sir," he said, touching his bonnet, a civility for which Malcolm was not grateful.

"It's no possible," returned Malcolm. "I saw him last nicht."

"He cam aboot ten o'clock, sir, an' hed a turn o' the fa'in' sickness o' the spot. He's verra ill the noo, an' the mistress sent me ower to speir gien ye wad obleege her by gaein' to see him."

"Has he ta'en till's bed?" asked Malcolm.

"We pat him infill 't, sir. He's ravin' mad, an' I'm thinkin' he's no far frae his hin'er en'."

"I'll gang wi' ye direckly," said Malcolm.

In a few minutes they were riding fast along the road to Kirkbyres, neither with much to say to the other, for Malcolm distrusted every one about the place, and Tom was by nature taciturn.

"What garred them sen' for me, div ye ken?" asked Malcolm at length when they had gone about halfway.

"He cried oot upo' ye i' the nicht," answered Tom.

When they arrived Malcolm was shown into the drawing-room, where Mrs. Stewart met him with red eyes. "Will you come and see my poor boy?" she said.

"I wull du that, mem. Is he verra ill?"

"Very. I'm afraid he is in a bad way."

She led him to a dark, old-fashioned chamber, rich and gloomy. There, sunk in the down of a huge bed with carved ebony posts, lay the laird, far too ill to be incommoded by the luxury to which he was unaccustomed. His head kept tossing from side to side and his eyes seemed searching in vacancy.

"Has the doctor been to see 'im, mem?" asked Malcolm.

"Yes, but he says he can't do anything for him."

"Wha waits upon 'im, mem?"

"One of the maids and myself."

"I'll jist bide wi' 'im."

"That will be very kind of you."

"I s' bide wi' 'im till I see 'im oot o' this, ae w'y or ither,", added Malcolm, and sat down by the bedside of his poor distrustful friend. There Mrs. Stewart left him.

The laird was wandering in the thorny thickets and slimy marshes which, haunted by the thousand misshapen horrors of delirium, beset the gates of life. That one so near the light and slowly drifting into it should lie tossing in hopeless darkness! Is it that the delirium falls, a veil of love, to hide other and more real terrors?

His eyes would now and then meet those of Malcolm as they gazed tenderly upon him, but the living thing that looked out of the windows was darkened and saw him not. Occasionally a word would fall from him, or a murmur of half-articulation float up like the sound of a river of souls; but whether Malcolm heard, or only seemed to hear, something like this, he could not tell, for he could not be certain that he had not himself shaped the words by receiving the babble into the moulds of the laird's customary thought and speech: "I dinna ken whaur I cam frae—I kenna whaur I'm gaein' till.—Eh, gien He wad but come oot an' shaw Himsel'!—O Lord! tak the deevil aff o' my puir back.—O Father o' lichts! gar him tak the hump wi' him. I hae no fawvor for't, though it's been my constant compainion this mony a lang."

But in general he only moaned, and after the words thus heard or fashioned by Malcolm lay silent and nearly still for an hour.

All the waning afternoon Malcolm sat by his side, and neither mother, maid nor doctor came near them.

"Dark wa's an' no a breath!" he murmured or seemed to murmur again. "Nae gerse nor flooers nor bees! I hae na room for my hump, an' I canna lie upo' 't, for that wad kill me. Wull I ever ken whaur I cam frae? The wine's unco guid. Gie me a drap mair, gien ye please, Lady Horn.—I thought the grave was a better place. I hae lain safter afore I dee'd.—Phemy! Phemy! Rin, Phemy, rin! I s' bide wi' them this time. Ye rin, Phemy!"

[pg 70]

As it grew dark the air turned very chill, and snow began to fall thick and fast. Malcolm laid a few sticks on the smouldering peat-fire, but they were damp and did not catch. All at once the laird gave a shriek, and crying out, "Mither! mither!" fell into a fit so violent that the heavy bed shook with his convulsions. Malcolm held his wrists and called aloud. No one came, and, bethinking himself that none could help, he waited in silence for what would soon follow.

The fit passed quickly, and he lay quiet. The sticks had meantime dried, and suddenly they caught fire and blazed up. The laird turned his face toward the flame; a smile came over it; his eyes opened wide, and with such an expression of seeing gazed beyond Malcolm that he turned his in the same direction.

"Eh, the bonny man! The bonny man!" murmured the laird.

But Malcolm saw nothing, and turned again to the laird: his jaw had fallen, and the light was fading out of his face like the last of a sunset. He was dead.

Malcolm rang the bell, told the woman who answered it what had taken place, and hurried from the house, glad at heart that his friend was at rest.

He had ridden but a short distance when he was overtaken by a boy on a fast pony, who pulled up as he neared him.

"Whaur are ye for?" asked Malcolm. "I'm gaein' for Mistress Cat'nach," answered the boy.

"Gang yer w'ys than, an' dinna haud the deid waitin'," said Malcolm with a shudder.

The boy cast a look of dismay behind him and galloped off.

The snow still fell and the night was dark. Malcolm spent nearly two hours on the way, and met the boy returning, who told him that Mrs. Catanach was not to be found.

His road lay down the glen, past Duncan's cottage, at whose door he dismounted, but he did not find him. Taking the bridle on his arm, he walked by his horse the rest of the way. It was about nine o'clock, and the night very dark. As he neared the house, he heard Duncan's voice. "Malcolm, my son! Will it pe your ownself?" it said.

"It wull that, daddy," answered Malcolm.

The piper was sitting on a fallen tree, with the snow settling softly upon him.

"But it's ower cauld for ye to be sittin' there i' the snaw, an' the mirk tu," added Malcolm.

"Ta tarkness will not be ketting to ta inside of her," returned the seer. "Ah, my poy! where ta light kets in, ta tarkness will pe ketting in too. This now, your whole pody will pe full of tarkness, as ta Piple will say, and Tuncan's pody tat will pe full of ta light." Then with suddenly changed tone he said, "Listen, Malcolm, my son! Shell pe ferry uneasy till you'll wass pe come home."

"What's the maitter noo, daddy?" returned Malcolm. "Onything wrang aboot the hoose?"

"Something will pe wrong, yes, put she'll not can tell where. No, her pody will not pe full of light! For town here, in ta curset Lowlands, ta sight has peen almost cone from her, my son. It will now pe no more as a co creeping troo' her, and shell nefer see plain no more till she'll pe come pack to her own mountains."

"The puir laird's gane back to his," said Malcolm. "I won'er gien he kens yet, or gien he gangs speirin' at ilk ane he meets gien he can tell him whaur he cam frae. He's mad nae mair, ony gait."

"How? Will he pe not tead? Ta poor lairt! Ta poor maad lairt!"

"Ay, he's deid: maybe that's what'll be troublin' yer sicht, daddy."

"No, my son. Ta maad lairt was not ferry maad, and if he was maad he was not paad, and it was not ta plame of him: he was coot always, howefer."

"He wass that, daddy."

"But it will pe something ferry paad, and it will pe efer troubling her speerit. When she'll pe take ta pipes to pe amusing herself, and will plow 'Till an crodh a' Dhonnaehaidh' ('Turn the Cows, Duncan'), out will pe come' Cumhadh an fhir [pg 71] mhoir' ('The Lament of the Big Man'). Aal is not well, my son."

"Weel, dinna distress yersel', daddy. Lat come what wull come. Foreseein' 's no forefen'in'. Ye ken yersel' at mony 's the time the seer has broucht the thing on by tryin' to haud it aff."

"It will be true, my son. Put it would aalways haf come."

"Nae doubt. Sae ye jist come in wi' me, daddy, an' sit doon by the ha' fire, an' I'll come to ye as sune's I've been to see 'at the maister disna want me. But ye'll better come up wi' me to my room first," he went on, "for the maister disna like to see me in onything but the kilt."

"And why will he not pe in ta kilts aal as now?"

"I hae been ridin', ye ken, daddy, an' the trews fits the saiddle better nor the kilts."

"She'll not pe knowing tat. Old Allister, your creat—her own crandfather, was ta pest horseman ta worlt efer saw, and he'll nefer pe hafing ta trews to his own lecks nor ta saddle to his horse's pack. He'll chust make his men pe strap on an old plaid, and he'll be kive a chump, and away they wass, horse and man, one peast, aal two of tem poth together."

Thus chatting, they went to the stable, and from the stable to the house, where they met no one, and went straight up to Malcolm's room, the old man making as little of the long ascent as Malcolm himself.



Brooding—if a man of his temperament may ever be said to brood—over the sad history of his young wife and the prospects of his daughter, the marquis rode over fields and through gates—he never had been one to jump a fence in cold blood—till the darkness began to fall; and the bearings of his perplexed position came plainly before him.

First of all, Malcolm acknowledged and the date of his mother's death known, what would Florimel be in the eyes of the world? Supposing the world deceived by the statement that his mother died when he was born, where yet was the future he had marked out for her? He had no money to leave her, and she must be helplessly dependent on her brother.

Malcolm, on the other hand, might make a good match, or, with the advantages he could secure him in the army, still better in the navy, well enough push his way in the world.

Miss Horn could produce no testimony, and Mrs. Catanach had asserted him to be the son of Mrs. Stewart. He had seen enough, however, to make him dread certain possible results if Malcolm were acknowledged as the laird of Kirkbyres. No: there was but one hopeful measure, one which he had even already approached in a tentative way—an appeal, namely, to Malcolm himself, in which, while acknowledging his probable rights, but representing in the strongest manner the difficulty of proving them, he would set forth in their full dismay the consequences to Florimel of their public recognition, and offer, upon the pledge of his word to a certain line of conduct, to start him in any path he chose to follow.

Having thought the thing out pretty thoroughly, as he fancied, and resolved at the same time to feel his way toward negotiations with Mistress Catanach, he turned and rode home.

After a tolerable dinner he was sitting over a bottle of the port which he prized beyond anything else his succession had brought him, when the door of the dining-room opened suddenly and the butler appeared, pale with terror. "My lord! my lord!" he stammered as he closed the door behind him.

"Well? What the devil's the matter now? Whose cow's dead?"

"Your lordship didn't hear it, then?" faltered the butler.

"You've been drinking, Bings," said the marquis, lifting his seventh glass of port.

"I didn't say I heard it, my lord."

"Heard what, in the name of Beelzebub?"

[pg 72]

"The ghost, my lord."

"The what?" shouted the marquis.

"That's what they call it, my lord. It's all along of having that wizard's chamber in the house, my lord."

"You're a set of fools," said the marquis—"the whole kit of you!"

"That's what I say, my lord. I don't know what to do with them, stericking and screaming. Mrs. Courthope is trying her best with them, but it's my belief she's about as bad herself."

The marquis finished his glass of wine, poured out and drank another, then walked to the door. When the butler opened it a strange sight met his eyes. All the servants in the house, men and women, Duncan and Malcolm alone excepted, had crowded after the butler, every one afraid of being left behind; and there gleamed the crowd of ghastly faces in the light of the great hall-fire. Demon stood in front, his mane bristling and his eyes flaming. Such was the silence that the marquis heard the low howl of the waking wind, and the snow like the patting of soft hands against the windows. He stood for a moment, more than half enjoying their terror, when from somewhere in the building a far-off shriek, shrill and piercing, rang in every ear. Some of the men drew in their breath with a gasping sob, but most of the women screamed outright; and that set the marquis cursing.

Duncan and Malcolm had but just entered the bed-room of the latter when the shriek rent the air close beside, and for a moment deafened them. So agonized, so shrill, so full of dismal terror was it, that Malcolm stood aghast, and Duncan started to his feet with responsive outcry. But Malcolm at once recovered himself. "Bide here till I come back," he whispered, and hurried noiselessly out.

In a few minutes he returned, during which all had been still. "Noo, daddy," he said, "I'm gaein' to drive in the door o' the neist room. There's some deevilry at wark there. Stan' ye i' the door, an' ghaist or deevil 'at wad win by ye, grip it, an' haud on like Demon the dog."

"She will so, she will so," muttered Duncan in a strange tone. "Ochone! that she'll not pe hafing her turk with her! Ochone! ochone!"

Malcolm took the key of the wizard's chamber from his chest and his candle from the table, which he set down in the passage. In a moment he had unlocked the door, put his shoulder to it and burst it open. A light was extinguished, and a shapeless figure went gliding away through the gloom. It was no shadow, however, for, dashing itself against a door at the other side of the chamber, it staggered back with an imprecation of fury and fear, pressed two hands to its head, and, turning at bay, revealed the face of Mrs. Catanach.

In the door stood the blind piper with outstretched arms and hands ready to clutch, the fingers curved like claws, his knees and haunches bent, leaning forward like a rampant beast prepared to spring. In his face was wrath, hatred, vengeance, disgust—an enmity of all mingled kinds.

Malcolm was busied with something in the bed, and when she turned Mrs, Catanach saw only Duncan's white face of hatred gleaming through the darkness. "Ye auld donnert deevil!" she cried, with an addition too coarse to be set down, and threw herself upon him.

The old man said never a word, but with indrawn breath hissing through his clenched teeth clutched her, and down they went together in the passage, the piper undermost. He had her by the throat, it is true, but she had her fingers in his eyes, and, kneeling on his chest, kept him down with a vigor of hostile effort that drew the very picture of murder. It lasted but a moment, however, for the old man, spurred by torture as well as hate, gathered what survived of a most sinewy strength into one huge heave, threw her back into the room, and rose with the blood streaming from his eyes, just as the marquis came round the near end of the passage, followed by Mrs. Courthope, the butler, Stoat and two of the footmen. Heartily enjoying a row, he stopped instantly, and, signing a halt to his followers, stood listening to the [pg 73] mud-geyser that now burst from Mrs. Catanach's throat.

"Ye blin' abortion o' Sawtan's soo!" she cried, "didna I tak ye to du wi' ye as I likit? An' that deil's tripe ye ca' yer oye (grandson)—He! he! him yer gran'son! He's naething but ane o' yer hatit Cawm'ells!"

"A teanga a' diabhuil mhoir, tha thu ag dènamh breug (O tongue of the great devil! thou art making a lie)," screamed Duncan, speaking for the first time.

"God lay me deid i' my sins gien he be onything but a bastard Cawm'ell!" she asseverated with a laugh of demoniacal scorn. "Yer dautit (petted) Ma'colm's naething but the dyke-side brat o' the late Grizel Cawm'ell, 'at the fowk tuik for a sant 'cause she grat an' said naething. I laid the Cawm'ell pup i' yer boody (scarecrow) airms wi' my ain han's, upo' the tap o' yer curst scraighin' bagpipes 'at sae aften drave the sleep frae my een. Na, ye wad nane o' me! But I ga'e ye a Cawm'ell bairn to yer hert for a' that, ye auld, hungert, weyver (spider)-leggit, worm-aten idiot!"

A torrent of Gaelic broke from Duncan, into the midst of which rushed another from Mrs. Catanach, similar, but coarse in vowel and harsh in consonant sounds. The marquis stepped into the room. "What is the meaning of all this?" he said with dignity.

The tumult of Celtic altercation ceased. The old piper drew himself up to his full height and stood silent. Mrs. Catanach, red as fire with exertion and wrath, turned ashy pale. The marquis cast on her a searching and significant look.

"See here, my lord," said Malcolm.

Candle in hand, his lordship approached the bed. At the same moment Mrs. Catanach glided out with her usual downy step, gave a wink as of mutual intelligence to the group at the door, and vanished.

On Malcolm's arm lay the head of a young girl. Her thin, worn countenance was stained with tears and livid with suffocation. She was recovering, but her eyes rolled stupid and visionless.

"It's Phemy, my lord—Blue Peter's lassie, 'at was tint," said Malcolm.

"It begins to look serious," said the marquis.—"Mrs. Catanach! Mrs. Courthope!"

He turned toward the door. Mrs. Courthope entered, and a head or two peeped in after her. Duncan stood as before, drawn up and stately, his visage working, but his body motionless as the statue of a sentinel.

"Where is the Catanach woman gone?" cried the marquis.

"Cone!" shouted the piper. "Cone! and her huspant will be waiting to pe killing her! Och nan ochan!"

"Her husband!" echoed the marquis.

"Ach! she'll not can pe helping it, my lort—no more till one will pe tead; and tat should pe ta woman, for she'll pe a paad woman—ta worstest woman efer was married, my lort."

"That's saying a good deal," returned the marquis.

"Not one wort more as enough, my lort," said Duncan. "She was only pe her next wife, put, ochone! ochone! why did she'll pe marry her? You would haf stapt her long aco, my lort, if she'll was your wife and you was knowing ta tamned fox and padger she was pe. Ochone! and she tidn't pe have her turk at her hench nor her sgian in her hose."

He shook his hands like a despairing child, then stamped and wept in the agony of frustrated rage.

Mrs. Courthope took Phemy in her arms and carried her to her own room, where she opened the window and let the snowy wind blow full upon her. As soon as she came quite to herself, Malcolm set out to bear the good tidings to her father and mother.

Only a few nights before had Phemy been taken to the room where they found her. She had been carried from place to place, and had been some time, she believed, in Mrs. Catanach's own house. They had always kept her in the dark, and removed her at night blindfolded. When asked if she had never cried out before, she said she had been too frightened; and when questioned as to what had made her do so then, she knew nothing of it: she remembered only that a horrible creature appeared by the bedside, [pg 74] after which all was blank. On the floor they found a hideous death-mask, doubtless the cause of the screams which Mrs. Catanach had sought to stifle with the pillows and bed-clothes.

When Malcolm returned he went at once to the piper's cottage, where he found him in bed, utterly exhausted and as utterly restless. "Weel, daddy," he said, "I doobt I daurna come near ye noo."

"Come to her arms, my poor poy," faltered Duncan. "She'll pe sorry in her sore heart for her poy. Nefer you pe minding, my son: you couldn't help ta Cam'ell mother, and you'll pe her own poy however. Ochone! it will pe a plot upon you aal your tays, my son, and she'll not can help you, and it'll pe preaking her old heart."

"Gien God thoucht the Cam'ells worth makin', daddy, I dinna see 'at I hae ony richt to compleen 'at I cam' o' them."

"She hopes you'll pe forgifing ta plind old man, however. She couldn't see, or she would haf known at once petter."

"I dinna ken what ye're efter noo, daddy," said Malcolm.

"That she'll do you a creat wrong, and she'll be ferry sorry for it, my son."

"What wrang did ye ever du me, daddy?"

"That she was let you crow up a Cam'ell, my poy. If she tid put know ta paad blood was pe in you, she wouldn't pe tone you ta wrong as pring you up."

"That's a wrang no ill to forgi'e, daddy. But it's a pity ye didna lat me lie, for maybe syne Mistress Catanach wad hae broucht me up hersel', an' I micht hae come to something."

"Ta duvil mhor (great) would pe in your heart and prain and poosom, my son."

"Weel, ye see what ye hae saved me frae."

"Yes; put ta duvil will be to pay, for she couldn't safe you from ta Cam'ell plood, my son. Malcolm, my poy," he added after a pause, and with the solemnity of a mighty hate, "ta efil woman herself will pe a Cam'ell—ta woman Catanach will pe a Cam'ell, and her nainsel' she'll not know it pefore she'll be in ta ped with ta worstest Cam'ell tat ever God made; and she pecks his pardon, for she'll not pelieve He wass making ta Cam'ells."

"Divna ye think God made me, daddy?" asked Malcolm.

The old man thought for a little. "Tat will tepend on who was pe your father, my son," he replied. "If he too will be a Cam'ell—ochone! ochone! Put tere may pe some coot plood co into you—more as enough to say God will pe make you, my son. Put don't pe asking, Malcolm—ton't you'll pe asking."

"What am I no to ask, daddy?"

"Ton't pe asking who made you, who was ta father to you, my poy. She would rather not pe knowing, for ta man might pe a Cam'ell poth. And if she couldn't pe lofing you no more, my son, she would pe tie before her time, and her tays would pe long in ta land under ta crass, my son."

But the remembrance of the sweet face whose cold loveliness he had once kissed was enough to outweigh with Malcolm all the prejudices of Duncan's instillation, and he was proud to take up even her shame. To pass from Mrs. Stewart to her was to escape from the clutches of a vampire demon to the arms of a sweet mother-angel.

Deeply concerned for the newly-discovered misfortunes of the old man to whom he was indebted for this world's life at least, he anxiously sought to soothe him; but he had far more and far worse to torment him than Malcolm even yet knew, and with burning cheeks and bloodshot eyes he lay tossing from side to side, now uttering terrible curses in Gaelic and now weeping bitterly. Malcolm took his loved pipes, and with the gentlest notes he could draw from them tried to charm to rest the ruffled waters of his spirit; but his efforts were all in vain, and believing at length that he would be quieter without him, he went to the House and to his own room.

The door of the adjoining chamber stood open, and the long-forbidden room lay exposed to any eye. Little did Malcolm think as he gazed around it that it was the room in which he had first breathed [pg 75] the air of the world; in which his mother had wept over her own false position and his reported death; and from which he had been carried, by Duncan's wicked wife, down the ruinous stair and away to the lip of the sea, to find a home in the arms of the man whom he had just left on his lonely couch torn between the conflicting emotions of a gracious love for him and the frightful hate of her.



The next day, Miss Horn, punctual as Fate, presented herself at Lossie House, and was shown at once into the marquis's study, as it was called. When his lordship entered she took the lead the moment the door was shut. "By this time, my lord, ye'll doobtless hae made up yer min' to du what's richt?" she said.

"That's what I have always wanted to do," returned the marquis.

"Hm!" remarked Miss Horn as plainly as inarticulately.

"In this affair," he supplemented; adding, "It's not always so easy to tell what is right."

"It's no aye easy to luik for 't wi' baith yer een," said Miss Horn.

"This woman Catanach—we must get her to give credible testimony. Whatever the fact may be, we must have strong evidence. And there comes the difficulty, that she has already made an altogether different statement."

"It gangs for naething, my lord. It was never made afore a justice o' the peace."

"I wish you would go to her and see how she is inclined."

"Me gang to Bawbie Catanach!" exclaimed Miss Horn. "I wad as sune gang an' kittle Sawtan's nose wi' the p'int o' 's tail. Na, na, my lord. Gien onybody gang till her wi' my wull, it s' be a limb o' the law. I s' hae nae cognostin' wi' her."

"You would have no objection, however; to my seeing her, I presume—just to let her know that we have an inkling of the truth?" said the marquis.

Now, all this was the merest talk, for of course Miss Horn could not long remain in ignorance of the declaration her fury had, the night previous, forced from Mrs. Catanach; but he must, he thought, put her off and keep her quiet, if possible, until he had come to an understanding with Malcolm, after which he would no doubt have his trouble with her.

"Ye can du as yer lordship likes," answered Miss Horn, "but I wadna hae 't said o' me 'at I had ony dealin's wi' her. Wha kens but she micht say ye tried to bribe her? There's naething she wad bogle at gien she thoucht it worth her while. No 'at I 'm feart at her. Lat her lee! I'm no sae blate but—Only dinna lippen till a word she says, my lord."

The marquis hesitated. "I wonder whether the real source of my perplexity occurs to you, Miss Horn," he said at length. "You know I have a daughter?"

"Weel eneuch that, my lord."

"By my second marriage."

"Nae merridge ava', my lord."

"True, if I confess to the first."

"A' the same whether or no, my lord."

"Then you see," the marquis went on, refusing offence, "what the admission of your story would make of my daughter?"

"That's plain eneuch, my lord."

"Now, if I have read Malcolm right he has too much regard for his—mistress—to put her in such a false position."

"That is, my lord, ye wad hae yer lawfu' son beir the lawless name."

"No, no: it need never come out what he is. I will provide for him—as a gentleman, of course."

"It canna be, my lord. Ye can du naething for him, wi' that face o' his, but oot comes the trouth as to the father o' 'im; an' it wadna be lang afore the tale was ekit oot wi' the name o' his mither—Mistress Catanach wad see to that, gien 'twas only to spite me—an' I wunna hae my Grizel ca'd what she is not for ony lord's dauchter i' the three kynriks."

"What does it matter, now she's dead and gone?" said the marquis, false to the dead in his love for the living.

[pg 76]

"Deid an' gane, my lord? What ca' ye deid an' gane? Maybe the great anes o' the yerth get sic a forlethie (surfeit) o' grand'ur 'at they're for nae mair, an' wad perish like the brute beast. For onything I ken, they may hae their wuss, but for mysel', I wad warstle to haud my sowl waukin' (awake) i' the verra article o' deith, for the bare chance o' seein' my bonny Grizel again. It's a mercy I hae nae feelin's," she added, arresting her handkerchief on its way to her eyes, and refusing to acknowledge the single tear that ran down her cheek.

Plainly she was not like any of the women whose characters the marquis had accepted as typical of womankind.

"Then you won't leave the matter to her husband and son?" he said reproachfully.

"I tellt ye, my lord, I wad du naething but what I saw to be richt. Lat this affair oot o' my han's I daurna. That laad ye micht work to onything 'at made agane himsel'. He's jist like his puir mither there."

"If Miss Campbell was his mother," said the marquis.

"Miss Cam'ell!" cried Miss Horn. "I'll thank yer lordship to ca' her by her ain, an' that's Lady Lossie."

What of the something ruinous heart of the marquis was habitable was occupied by his daughter, and had no accommodation at present either for his dead wife or his living son. Once more he sat thinking in silence for a while. "I'll make Malcolm a post-captain in the navy and give you a thousand pounds," he said at length, hardly knowing that he spoke.

Miss Horn rose to her full height and stood like an angel of rebuke before him. Not a word did she speak, only looked at him for a moment and turned to leave the room. The marquis saw his danger, and striding to the door stood with his back against it.

"Think ye to scare me, my lord?" she asked with a scornful laugh. "Gang an' scare the stane lion-beast at yer ha'-door. Haud oot o' the gait an' lat me gang."

"Not until I know what you are going to do," said the marquis very seriously.

"I hae naething mair to transac' wi' yer lordship. You an' me 's strangers, my lord."

"Tut! tut! I was but trying you."

"An' gien I had ta'en the disgrace ye offert me, ye wad hae drawn back?"

"No, certainly."

"Ye wasna tryin' me, then: ye was duin' yer best to corrup' me."

"I'm no splitter of hairs."

"My lord, it's nane but the corrup'ible wad seek to corrup'."

The marquis gnawed a nail or two in silence. Miss Horn dragged an easy-chair within a couple of yards of him.

"We'll see wha tires o' this ghem first, my lord," she said as she sank into its hospitable embrace.

The marquis turned to lock the door, but there was no key in it. Neither was there any chair within reach, and he was not fond of standing. Clearly, his enemy had the advantage.

"Hae ye h'ard o' puir Sandy Graham—hoo they're misguidin' him, my lord?" she asked with composure.

The marquis was first astounded, and then tickled by her assurance. "No," he answered.

"They hae turnt him oot o' hoose an' ha'—schuil, at least, an' hame," she rejoined. "I may say they hae turnt him oot o' Scotlan', for what presbytery wad hae him efter he had been fun' guilty o' no thinkin' like ither fowk? Ye maun stan' his guid freen', my lord."

"He shall be Malcolm's tutor," answered the marquis, not to be outdone in coolness, "and go with him to Edinburgh—or Oxford, if he prefers it."

"Never yerl o' Colonsay had a better," said Miss Horn.

"Softly, softly, ma'am," returned the marquis. "I did not say he should go in that style."

"He s' gang as my lord o' Colonsay or he s' no gang at your expense, my lord," said his antagonist.

"Really, ma'am, one would think you were my grandmother, to hear you order my affairs for me."

"I wuss I war, my lord: I sud gar ye hear risson upo' baith sides o' yer heid, I s' warran'."

The marquis laughed. "Well, I can't [pg 77] stand here all day," he said, impatiently swinging one leg.

"I'm weel awaur o' that, my lord," answered Miss Horn, rearranging her scanty skirt.

"How long are you going to keep me, then?"

"I wadna hae ye bide a meenute langer nor's agreeable to yersel'. But I'm in nae hurry sae lang's ye're afore me. Ye're nae ill to luik at, though ye maun hae been bonnier the day ye wan the hert o' my Grizel."

The marquis uttered an oath and left the door. Miss Horn sprang to it, but there was the marquis again. "Miss Horn," he said, "I beg you will give me another day to think of this."

"Whaur's the use? A' the thinkin' i' the warl' canna alter a single fac'. Ye maun do richt by my laddie o' yer ainsel', or I maun gar ye."

"You would find a lawsuit heavy, Miss Horn."

"An' ye wad fin' the scandal o' 't ill to bide, my lord. It wad come sair upo' Miss—I kenna what name she has a richt till, my lord."

The marquis uttered a frightful imprecation, left the door, and, sitting down, hid his face in his hands.

Miss Horn rose, but instead of securing her retreat, approached him gently and stood by his side. "My lord," she said, "I canna thole to see a man in tribble. Women's born till 't, an' they tak it an' are thankfu'; but a man never gies in till 't, an' sae it comes harder upo' him nor upo' them. Hear me, my lord: gien there be a man upo' this earth wha wad shield a woman, that man's Ma'colm Colonsay."

"If only she weren't his sister!" murmured the marquis.

"An' jist bethink ye, my lord: wad it be onything less nor an imposition to lat a man merry her ohn tellt him what she was?"

"You insolent old woman!" cried the marquis, losing his temper, discretion and manners all together. "Go and do your worst, and be damned to you!"

So saying, he left the room, and Miss Horn found her way out of the house in a temper quite as fierce as his—in character, however, entirely different, inasmuch as it was righteous.

At that very moment Malcolm was in search of his master, and seeing the back of him disappear in the library, to which he had gone in a half-blind rage, he followed him. "My lord!" he said.

"What do you want?" returned his master in a rage. For some time he had been hauling on the curb-rein, which had fretted his temper the more, and when he let go the devil ran away with him.

"I thoucht yer lordship wad like to see an auld stair I cam upo' the ither day, 'at gangs frae the wizard's chaumer—"

"Go to hell with your damned tomfoolery!" said the marquis. "If ever you mention that cursed hole again I'll kick you out of the house."

Malcolm's eyes flashed and a fierce answer rose to his lips, but he had seen that his master was in trouble, and sympathy supplanted rage. He turned and left the room in silence.

Lord Lossie paced up and down the library for a whole hour—a long time for him to be in one mood. The mood changed color pretty frequently during the hour, however, and by degrees his wrath assuaged. But at the end of it he knew no more what he was going to do than when he left Miss Horn in the study. Then came the gnawing of his usual ennui and restlessness: he must find something to do.

The thing he always thought of first was a ride, but the only animal of horse-kind about the place which he liked was the bay mare, and her he had lamed. He would go and see what the rascal had come bothering about—alone, though, for he could not endure the sight of the fisher-fellow, damn him!

In a few minutes he stood in the wizard's chamber, and glanced around it with a feeling of discomfort rather than sorrow—of annoyance at the trouble of which it had been for him both fountain and storehouse, rather than regret for the agony and contempt which his selfishness had brought upon the woman he loved: then spying the door in the farthest corner, he made for it, and in a [pg 78] moment more, his curiosity now thoroughly roused, was slowly gyrating down the steps of the old screw-stair.

But Malcolm had gone to his own room, and, hearing some one in the next, half suspected who it was, and went in. Seeing the closet-door open, he hurried to the stair, and shouted, "My lord! my lord! or whaever ye are! tak care hoo ye gang or ye'll get a terrible fa'."

Down a single yard the stair was quite dark, and he dared not follow fast for fear of himself falling and occasioning the accident he feared. As he descended he kept repeating his warnings, but either his master did not hear or heeded too little, for presently Malcolm heard a rush, a dull fall and a groan. Hurrying as fast as he dared with the risk of falling upon him, he found the marquis lying amongst the stones in the ground entrance, apparently unable to move, and white with pain. Presently, however, he got up, swore a good deal and limped swearing into the house.

The doctor, who was sent for instantly, pronounced the knee-cap injured, and applied leeches. Inflammation set in, and another doctor and surgeon were sent for from Aberdeen. They came, applied poultices, and again leeches, and enjoined the strictest repose. The pain was severe, but to one of the marquis's temperament the enforced quiet was worse.



The marquis was loved by his domestics, and his accident, with its consequences, although none more serious were anticipated, cast a gloom over Lossie House. Far apart as was his chamber from all the centres of domestic life, the pulses of his suffering beat as it were through the house, and the servants moved with hushed voice and gentle footfall.

Outside, the course of events waited upon his recovery, for Miss Horn, was too generous not to delay proceedings while her adversary was ill. Besides, what she most of all desired was the marquis's free acknowledgment of his son; and after such a time of suffering and constrained reflection as he was now passing through he could hardly fail, she thought, to be more inclined to what was just and fair.

Malcolm had of course hastened to the schoolmaster with the joy of his deliverance from Mrs. Stewart, but Mr. Graham had not acquainted him with the discovery Miss Horn had made, or her belief concerning his large interest therein, to which Malcolm's report of the wrath-born declaration of Mrs. Catanach had now supplied the only testimony wanting, for the right of disclosure was Miss Horn's. To her he had carried Malcolm's narrative of late events, tenfold strengthening her position; but she was anxious in her turn that the revelation concerning his birth should come to him from his father. Hence, Malcolm continued in ignorance of the strange dawn that had begun to break on the darkness of his origin.

Miss Horn had told Mr. Graham what the marquis had said about the tutorship, but the schoolmaster only shook his head with a smile, and went on with his preparations for departure.

The hours went by, the days lengthened into weeks, and the marquis's condition did not improve. He had never known sickness and pain before, and like most of the children of this world counted them the greatest of evils; nor was there any sign of their having as yet begun to open his eyes to what those who have seen them call truths—those who have never even boded their presence count absurdities.

More and more, however, he desired the attendance of Malcolm, who was consequently a great deal about him, serving with a love to account for which those who knew his nature would not have found it necessary to fall back on the instinct of the relation between them. The marquis had soon satisfied himself that that relation was as yet unknown to him, and was all the better pleased with his devotion and tenderness.

[pg 79]

The inflammation continued, increased, spread, and at length the doctors determined to amputate. But the marquis was absolutely horrified at the idea—shrank from it with invincible repugnance. The moment the first dawn of comprehension vaguely illuminated their periphrastic approaches he blazed out in a fury, cursed them frightfully, called them all the contemptuous names in his rather limited vocabulary, and swore he would see them—uncomfortable first.

"We fear mortification, my lord," said the physician calmly.

"So do I. Keep it off," returned the marquis.

"We fear we cannot, my lord." It had, in fact, already commenced.

"Let it mortify, then, and be damned," said his lordship.

"I trust, my lord, you will reconsider it," said the surgeon. "We should not have dreamed of suggesting a measure of such severity had we not had reason to dread that the further prosecution of gentler means would but lessen your lordship's chance of recovery."

"You mean, then, that my life is in danger?"

"We fear," said the physician, "that the amputation proposed is the only thing that can save it."

"What a brace of blasted bunglers you are!" cried the marquis, and, turning away his face, lay silent.

The two men looked at each other and said nothing.

Malcolm was by, and a pang shot to his heart at the verdict. The men retired to consult. Malcolm approached the bed. "My lord!" he said gently.

No reply came.

"Dinna lea 's oor lanes, my lord—no yet," Malcolm persisted. "What's to come o' my leddy?"

The marquis gave a gasp. Still he made no reply.

"She has naebody, ye ken, my lord, 'at ye wad like to lippen her wi'."

"You must take care of her when I am gone, Malcolm," murmured the marquis; and his voice was now gentle with sadness and broken with misery.

"Me, my lord!" returned Malcolm. "Wha wad min' me? An' what cud I du wi' her? I cudna even hand her ohn wat her feet. Her leddy's maid cud du mair wi' her, though I wad lay doon my life for her, as I tauld ye, my lord; an' she kens 't weel eneuch."

Silence followed. Both men were thinking.

"Gie me a richt, my lord, an' I'll du my best," said Malcolm, at length breaking the silence.

"What do you mean?" growled the marquis, whose mood had altered.

"Gie me a legal richt, my lord, an' see gien I dinna."

"See what?"

"See gien I dinna luik weel efter my leddy."

"How am I to see? I shall be dead and damned."

"Please God, my lord, ye'll be alive an' weel—in a better place, if no here to luik efter my leddy yersel'."

"Oh, I dare say," muttered the marquis.

"But ye'll hearken to the doctors, my lord," Malcolm went on, "an' no dee wantin' time to consider o' 't."

"Yes, yes: to-morrow I'll have another talk with them. We'll see about it. There's time enough yet. They're all coxcombs, every one of them. They never give a patient the least credit for common sense."

"I dinna ken, my lord," said Malcolm doubtfully.

After a few minutes' silence, during which Malcolm thought he had fallen asleep, the marquis resumed abruptly. "What do you mean by giving you a legal right?" he said.

"There's some w'y o' makin' ae body guairdian till anither, sae 'at the law 'll uphaud him—isna there, my lord?"

"Yes, surely. Well! Rather odd—wouldn't it be?—a young fisher-lad guardian to a marchioness! Eh? They say there's nothing new under the sun, but that sounds rather like it, I think."

Malcolm was overjoyed to hear him speak with something like his old manner. He felt he could stand any amount of chaff from him now, and so the proposition he had made in seriousness he [pg 80] went on to defend in the hope of giving amusement, yet with a secret wild delight in the dream of such full devotion to the service of Lady Florimel.

"It wad soon' queer eneuch, my lord, nae doobt, but fowk maunna min' the soon' o' a thing gien 't be a' straucht an' fair, an' strong eneuch to stan'. They cudna lauch me oot o' my richts, be they 'at they likit—Lady Bellair or ony o' them—na, nor jaw me oot o' them aither."

"They might do a good deal to render those rights of little use," said the marquis.

"That wad come till a trial o' brains, my lord," returned Malcolm: "an' ye dinna think I wadna hae the wit to speir advice; an', what's mair, to ken whan it was guid, an' tak it. There's lawyers, my lord."

"And their expenses?"

"Ye cud lea' sae muckle to be waured (spent) upo' the cairryin' oot o' yer lordship's wull."

"Who would see that you applied it properly?"

"My ain conscience, my lord, or Mr. Graham gien ye likit."

"And how would you live yourself?"

"Ow! lea' ye that to me, my lord. Only dinna imagine I wad be behauden to yer lordship. I houp I hae mair pride nor that. Ilka poun'-not', shillin' an' bawbee sud be laid oot for her, an' what was left hainet (saved) for her."

"By Jove! it's a daring proposal!" said the marquis; and, which seemed strange to Malcolm, not a single thread of ridicule ran through the tone in which he made the remark.

The next day came, but brought neither strength of body nor of mind with it. Again his professional attendants besought him, and he heard them more quietly, but rejected their proposition as positively as before. In a day or two he ceased to oppose it, but would not hear of preparation. Hour glided into hour, and days had gathered to a week, when they assailed him with a solemn and last appeal.

"Nonsense!" answered the marquis. "My leg is getting better. I feel no pain—in fact, nothing but a little faintness. Your damned medicines, I haven't a doubt."

"You are in the greatest danger, my lord. It is all but too late even now."

"To-morrow, then, if it must be. To-day I could not endure to have my hair cut, positively; and as to having my leg off—pooh! the thing's preposterous."

He turned white and shuddered, for all the nonchalance of his speech.

When to-morrow came there was not a surgeon in the land who would have taken his leg off. He looked in their faces, and seemed for the first time convinced of the necessity of the measure.

"You may do as you please," he said: "I am ready."

"Not to-day, my lord," replied the doctor—"your lordship is not equal to it to-day."

"I understand," said the marquis, and paled frightfully and turned his head aside.

When Mrs. Courthope suggested that Lady Florimel should be sent for, he flew into a frightful rage, and spoke as it is to be hoped he had never spoken to a woman before. She took it with perfect gentleness, but could not repress a tear. The marquis saw it, and his heart was touched. "You mustn't mind a dying man's temper," he said.

"It's not for myself, my lord," she answered.

"I know: you think I'm not fit to die; and, damn it! you are right. Never one was less fit for heaven or less willing to go to hell."

"Wouldn't you like to see a clergyman, my lord?" she suggested, sobbing.

He was on the point of breaking out into a still worse passion, but controlled himself. "A clergyman!" he cried: "I would as soon see the undertaker. What could he do but tell me I was going to be damned—a fact I know better than he can? That is, if it's not all an invention of the cloth, as, in my soul, I believe it is. I've said so any time these forty years."

"Oh, my lord! my lord! do not fling away your last hope."

"You imagine me to have a chance, then? Good soul! you don't know any better."

[pg 81]

"The Lord is merciful."

The marquis laughed—that is, he tried, failed, and grinned.

"Mr. Cairns is in the dining-room, my lord."

"Bah! A low pettifogger, with the soul of a bullock. Don't let me hear the fellow's name. I've been bad enough, God knows, but I haven't sunk to the level of his help yet. If he's God Almighty's factor, and the saw holds, 'Like master, like man,' well, I would rather have nothing to do with either."

"That is, if you had the choice, my lord," said Mrs. Courthope, her temper yielding somewhat, though in truth his speech was not half so irreverent as it seemed to her.

"Tell him to go to hell. No, don't: set him down to a bottle of port and a great sponge-cake, and you needn't tell him to go to heaven, for he'll be there already. Why, Mrs. Courthope, the fellow isn't a gentleman. And yet all he cares for the cloth is that he thinks it makes a gentleman of him—as if anything in heaven, earth or hell could work that miracle!"

In the middle of the night, as Malcolm sat by his bed, thinking him asleep, the marquis spoke suddenly. "You must go to Aberdeen to-morrow, Malcolm," he said.

"Verra weel, my lord."

"And bring Mr. Glennie, the lawyer, back with you."

"Yes, my lord."

"Go to bed, then."

"I wad raither bide, my lord. I cudna sleep a wink for wantin' to be back aside ye."

The marquis yielded, and Malcolm sat by him all the night through. He tossed about, would doze off and murmur strangely, then wake up and ask for brandy and water, yet be content with the lemonade Malcolm gave him.

Next day he quarreled with every word that Mrs. Courthope uttered, kept forgetting he had sent Malcolm away, and was continually wanting him. His fits of pain were more severe, alternated with drowsiness, which deepened at times to stupor.

It was late before Malcolm returned. He went instantly to his bedside.

"Is Mr. Glennie with you?" asked his master feebly.

"Yes, my lord."

"Tell him to come here at once."

When Malcolm returned with the lawyer the marquis directed him to place a table and chair by the bedside, light four candles, provide everything necessary for writing and go to bed.



Before Malcolm was awake his lordship had sent for him. When he re-entered the sick chamber Mr. Glennie had vanished, the table had been removed, and, instead of the radiance of the wax-lights, the cold gleam of a vapor-dimmed sun, with its sickly blue-white reflex from the widespread snow, filled the room. The marquis looked ghastly, but was sipping chocolate with a spoon.

"What w'y are ye the day, my lord?" asked Malcolm.

"Nearly well," he answered; "but those cursed carrion-crows are set upon killing me—damn their souls!"

"We'll hae Leddy Florimel sweirin' awfu' gien ye gang on that gait, my lord," said Malcolm.

The marquis laughed feebly.

"An' what's mair," Malcolm continued, "I doobt they're some partic'lar aboot the turn o' their phrases up yonner, my lord."

The marquis looked at him keenly. "You don't anticipate that inconvenience for me?" he said. "I'm pretty sure to have my billet where they're not so precise."

"Dinna brak my hert, my lord," cried Malcolm, the tears rushing to his eyes.

"I should be sorry to hurt you, Malcalm," rejoined the marquis gently, almost tenderly. "I won't go there if I can help it—I shouldn't like to break any more hearts—but how the devil am I to keep out of it? Besides, there are people up there I don't want to meet: I have no fancy for being made ashamed [pg 82] of myself. The fact is, I'm not fit for such company, and I don't believe there is any such place. But if there be, I trust in God there isn't any other, or it will go badly with your poor master, Malcolm. It doesn't look like true—now does it? Only such a multitude of things I thought I had done with for ever keep coming up and grinning at me. It nearly drives me mad, Malcolm; and I would fain die like a gentleman, with a cool bow and a sharp face-about."

"Wadna ye hae a word wi' somebody 'at kens, my lord?" said Malcolm, scarcely able to reply.

"No," answered the marquis fiercely. "That Cairns is a fool."

"He's a' that, an' mair, my lord. I didna mean him."

"They're all fools together."

"Ow, na, my lord. There's a heap o' them no muckle better, it may be; but there's guid men an' true amang them, or the Kirk wad hae been wi' Sodom and Gomorrah by this time. But it's no a minister I wad hae yer lordship confar wi'."

"Who, then? Mrs. Courthope, eh?"

"Ow na, my lord—no Mistress Courthoup. She's a guid body, but she wadna believe her ain een gien onybody ca'd a minister said contrar' to them."

"Who the devil do you mean, then?"

"Nae deevil, but an honest man 'at's been his warst enemy sae lang 's I hae kent him—Maister Graham, the schuil-maister."

"Pooh!" said the marquis with a puff. "I'm too old to go to school."

"I dinna ken the man 'at isna a bairn till him, my lord."

"In Greek and Latin?"

"I' richteousness an' trouth, my lord—in what's been an' what is to be."

"What! has he the second sight, like the piper?"

"He has the second sicht, my lord, but ane 'at gangs a sicht farther nor my auld daddy's."

"He could tell me, then, what's going to become of me?"

"As weel 's ony man, my lord."

"That's not saying much, I fear."

"Maybe mair nor ye think, my lord."

"Well, take him my compliments and tell him I should like to see him," said the marquis after a minute's silence.

"He'll come direckly, my lord."

"Of course he will," said the marquis.

"Jist as readily, my lord, as he wad gang to ony tramp 'at sent for 'im at sic a time," returned Malcolm, who did not relish either the remark or its tone.

"What do you mean by that? You don't think it such a serious affair, do you?"

"My lord, ye haena a chance."

The marquis was dumb. He had actually begun once more to buoy himself up with earthly hopes.

Dreading a recall of his commission, Malcolm slipped from the room, sent Mrs. Courthope to take his place, and sped to the schoolmaster. The moment Mr. Graham heard the marquis's message he rose without a word and led the way from the cottage. Hardly a sentence passed between them as they went, for they were on a solemn errand.

"Mr. Graham's here, my lord," said Malcolm.

"Where? Not in the room?" returned the marquis.

"Waitin' at the door, my lord."

"Bah! You needn't have been so ready. Have you told the sexton to get a new spade? But you may let him in; and leave him alone with me."

Mr. Graham walked gently up to the bedside.

"Sit down, sir," said the marquis courteously, pleased with the calm, self-possessed, unobtrusive bearing of the man. "They tell me I'm dying, Mr. Graham."

"I'm sorry it seems to trouble you, my lord."

"What! wouldn't it trouble you, then?"

"I don't think so, my lord."

"Ah! you're one of the elect, no doubt?"

"That's a thing I never did think about, my lord."

"What do you think about, then?"

"About God."

"And when you die you'll go straight to heaven, of course?"

"I don't know, my lord. That's [pg 83] another thing I never trouble my head about."

"Ah! you're like me, then. I don't care much about going to heaven. What do you care about?"

"The will of God. I hope your lordship will say the same."

"No I won't: I want my own will."

"Well, that is to be had, my lord."


"By taking his for yours as the better of the two, which it must be every way."

"That's all moonshine."

"It is light, my lord."

"Well, I don't mind confessing, if I am to die, I should prefer heaven to the other place, but I trust I have no chance of either. Do you now honestly believe there are two such places?"

"I don't know, my lord."

"You don't know? And you come here to comfort a dying man!"

"Your lordship must first tell me what you mean by 'two such places.' And as to comfort, going by my notions, I cannot tell which you would be more or less comfortable in; and that, I presume, would be the main point with your lordship."

"And what, pray, sir, would be the main point with you?"

"To get nearer to God."

"Well, I can't say I want to get nearer to God. It's little he's ever done for me."

"It's a good deal he has tried to do for you, my lord."

"Well, who interfered? Who stood in his way, then?"

"Yourself, my lord."

"I wasn't aware of it. When did he ever try to do anything for me and I stood in his way?"

"When he gave you one of the loveliest of women, my lord," said Mr. Graham with solemn, faltering voice, "and you left her to die in neglect and her child to be brought up by strangers."

The marquis gave a cry. The unexpected answer had roused the slowly-gnawing death and made it bite deeper.

"What have you to do," he almost screamed, "with my affairs? It was for me to introduce what I chose of them. You presume."

"Pardon me, my lord: you led me to what I was bound to say. Shall I leave you, my lord?"

The marquis made no answer. "God knows I loved her," he said after a while with a sigh.

"You loved her, my lord?"

"I did, by God!"

"Love a woman like that and come to this?"

"Come to this? We must all come to this, I fancy, sooner or later. Come to what, in the name of Beelzebub?"

"That, having loved a woman like her, you are content to lose her. In the name of God, have you no desire to see her again?"

"It would be an awkward meeting," said the marquis.

His was an old love, alas! He had not been capable of the sort that defies change. It had faded from him until it seemed one of the things that are not. Although his being had once glowed in its light, he could now speak of a meeting as awkward.

"Because you wronged her?" suggested the schoolmaster.

"Because they lied to me, by God!"

"Which they dared not have done had you not lied to them first."

"Sir!" shouted the marquis, with all the voice he had left.—"O God, have mercy! I cannot punish the scoundrel."

"The scoundrel is the man who lies, my lord."

"Were I anywhere else—"

"There would be no good in telling you the truth, my lord. You showed her to the world as a woman over whom you had prevailed, and not as the honest wife she was. What kind of a lie was that, my lord? Not a white one, surely?"

"You are a damned coward to speak so to a man who cannot even turn on his side to curse you for a base hound. You would not dare it but that you know I cannot defend myself."

"You are right, my lord: your conduct is indefensible."

"By Heaven! if I could but get this cursed leg under me, I would throw you out of the window."

"I shall go by the door, my lord. [pg 84] While you hold by your sins, your sins will hold by you. If you should want me again I shall be at your lordship's command."

He rose and left the room, but had not reached his cottage before Malcolm overtook him with a second message from his master. He turned at once, saying only, "I expected it."

"Mr. Graham," said the marquis, looking ghastly, "you must have patience with a dying man. I was very rude to you, but I was in horrible pain."

"Don't mention it, my lord. It would be a poor friendship that gave way for a rough word."

"How can you call yourself my friend?"

"I should be your friend, my lord, if it were only for your wife's sake. She died loving you. I want to send you to her, my lord. You will allow that, as a gentleman, you at least owe her an apology."

"By Jove, you are right, sir! Then you really and positively believe in the place they call heaven?"

"My lord, I believe that those who open their hearts to the truth shall see the light on their friends' faces again, and be able to set right what was wrong between them."

"It's a week too late to talk of setting right."

"Go and tell her you are sorry, my lord—that will be enough for her."

"Ah! but there's more than her concerned."

"You are right, my lord. There is another—One who cannot be satisfied that the fairest works of his hands, or rather the loveliest children of his heart, should be treated as you have treated women."

"But the Deity you talk of—"

"I beg your pardon, my lord: I talked of no deity. I talked of a living Love that gave us birth and calls us his children. Your deity I know nothing of."

"Call Him what you please: He won't be put off so easily."

"He won't be put off, one jot or one tittle. He will forgive anything, but He will pass nothing. Will your wife forgive you?"

"She will, when I explain."

"Then why should you think the forgiveness of God, which created her forgiveness, should be less?"

Whether the marquis could grasp the reasoning may be doubtful.

"Do you really suppose God cares whether a man comes to good or ill?"

"If He did not, He could not be good Himself."

"Then you don't think a good God would care to punish poor wretches like us?"

"Your lordship has not been in the habit of regarding himself as a poor wretch. And, remember, you can't call a child a poor wretch without insulting the father of it."

"That's quite another thing."

"But on the wrong side for your argument, seeing the relation between God and the poorest creature is infinitely closer than that between any father and his child."

"Then He can't be so hard on him as the parsons say."

"He will give him absolute justice, which is the only good thing. He will spare nothing to bring his children back to Himself, their sole well-being. What would you do, my lord, if you saw your son strike a woman?"

"Knock him down and horsewhip him."

It was Mr. Graham who broke the silence that followed: "Are you satisfied with yourself, my lord?"

"No, by God!"

"You would like to be better?"

"I would."

"Then you are of the same mind with God."

"Yes, but I'm not a fool. It won't do to say I should like to be. I must be it, and that's not so easy. It's damned hard to be good. I would have a fight for it, but there's no time. How is a poor devil to get out of such an infernal scrape?"

"Keep the commandments."

"That's it, of course; but there's no time, I tell you—no time; at least, so those cursed doctors will keep telling me."

"If there were but time to draw [pg 85] another breath, there would be time to begin."

"How am I to begin? Which am I to begin with?"

"There is one commandment which includes all the rest."

"Which is that?"

"To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ."

"That's cant."

"After thirty years' trial of it, it is to me the essence of wisdom. It has given me a peace which makes life or death all but indifferent to me, though I would choose the latter."

"What am I to believe about Him, then?"

"You are to believe in Him, not about Him."

"I don't understand."

"He is our Lord and Master, Elder Brother, King, Saviour, the divine Man, the human God: to believe in Him is to give ourselves up to Him in obedience—to search out his will and do it."

"But there's no time, I tell you again," the marquis almost shrieked.

"And I tell you there is all eternity to do it in. Take Him for your master, and He will demand nothing of you which you are not able to perform. This is the open door to bliss. With your last breath you can cry to Him, and He will hear you as He heard the thief on the cross, who cried to Him dying beside him: 'Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.'—'To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.' It makes my heart swell to think of it, my lord. No cross-questioning of the poor fellow, no preaching to him. He just took him with Him where He was going, to make a man of him."

"Well, you know something of my history: what would you have me do now?—at once, I mean. What would the Person you are speaking of have me do?"

"That is not for me to say, my lord."

"You could give me a hint."

"No. God is telling you Himself. For me to presume to tell you would be to interfere with Him. What He would have a man do He lets him know in his mind."

"But what if I had not made up my mind before the last came?"

"Then I fear He would say to you, 'Depart from me, thou worker of iniquity.'"

"That would be hard when another minute might have done it."

"If another minute would have done it, you would have had it."

A paroxysm of pain followed, during which Mr. Graham silently left him.



When the fit was over and he found Mr. Graham was gone, he asked Malcolm, who had resumed his watch, how long it would take Lady Florimel to come from Edinburgh.

"Mr. Crathie left wi' fower horses frae the Lossie Airms last nicht, my lord," said Malcolm; "but the ro'ds are ill, an' she winna be here afore some time the morn."

The marquis stared aghast: they had sent for her without his orders. "What shall I do?" he murmured. "If once I look in her eyes, I shall be damned.—Malcolm!"

"Yes, my lord."

"Is there a lawyer in Portlossie?"

"Yes, my lord: there's auld Maister Carmichael."

"He won't do: he was my brother's rascal. Is there no one besides?"

"No in Portlossie, my lord. There can be nane nearer than Duff Harbor, I doobt."

"Take the chariot and bring him here directly. Tell them to put four horses to: Stokes can ride one."

"I'll ride the ither, my lord."

"You'll do nothing of the kind: you're not used to the pole."

"I can tak the leader, my lord."

"I tell you you're to do nothing of the kind," cried the marquis angrily. "You're to ride inside, and bring Mr.—what's his name?—back with you."

"Soutar, my lord, gien ye please."

"Be off, then. Don't wait to feed. The brutes have been eating all day, and [pg 86] they can eat all night. You must have him here in an hour."

In an hour and a quarter Miss Horn's friend stood by the marquis's bedside, Malcolm was dismissed, but was presently summoned again to receive more orders.

Fresh horses were put to the chariot, and he had to set out once more—this time to fetch a justice of the peace, a neighbor laird. The distance was greater than to Duff Harbor; the roads were worse; the north wind, rising as they went, blew against them as they returned, increasing to a violent gale; and it was late before they reached Lossie House.

When Malcolm entered he found the marquis alone.

"Is Morrison here at last?" he cried, in a feeble, irritated voice.

"Yes, my lord."

"What the devil kept you so long? The bay mare would have carried me there and back in an hour and a half."

"The roads war verra heavy, my lord. An' jist hear till the win'."

The marquis listened a moment, and a frightened expression grew over his thin, pale, anxious face. "You don't know what depends on it," he said, "or you would have driven better. Where is Mr. Soutar?"

"I dinna ken, my lord. I'm only jist come, an' I've seen naebody."

"Go and tell Mrs. Courthope I want Soutar. You'll find her crying somewhere—the old chicken!—because I swore at her. What harm could that do the old goose?"

"It'll be mair for love o' yer lordship than fricht at the sweirin', my lord."

"You think so? Why should she care? Go and tell her I'm sorry. But really she ought to be used to me by this time. Tell her to send Soutar directly."

Mr. Soutar was not to be found, the fact being that he had gone to see Miss Horn. The marquis flew into an awful rage, and began to curse and swear frightfully.

"My lord! my lord!" said Malcolm, "for God's sake, dinna gang on that gait. He canna like to hear that kin' o' speech; an' frae ane o' his ain' tu!"

The marquis stopped, aghast at his presumption and choking with rage, but Malcolm's eyes filled with tears, and, instead of breaking out again, his master turned his head away and was silent.

Mr. Soutar came.

"Fetch Morrison," said the marquis, "and go to bed."

The wind howled terribly as Malcolm ascended the stairs and half felt his way, for he had no candle, through the long passages leading to his room. As he entered the last a huge vague form came down upon him like a deeper darkness through the dark. Instinctively he stepped aside. It passed noiselessly, with a long stride, and not even a rustle of its garments—at least Malcolm heard nothing but the roar of the wind. He turned and followed it. On and on it went, down the stair, through a corridor, down the great stone turnpike stair, and through passage after passage. When it came into the more frequented and half-lighted thoroughfares of the house it showed as a large figure in a long cloak, indistinct in outline.

It turned a corner close by the marquis's room. But when Malcolm, close at its heels, turned also, he saw nothing but a vacant lobby, the doors around which were all shut. One after another he quickly opened them, all except the marquis's, but nothing was to be seen. The conclusion was that it had entered the marquis's room. He must not disturb the conclave in the sick chamber with what might be but "a false creation proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain," and turned back to his own room, where he threw himself on his bed and fell asleep.

About twelve Mrs. Courthope called him: his master was worse, and wanted to see him.

The midnight was dark and still, for the wind had ceased. But a hush and a cloud seemed gathering in the stillness and darkness, and with them came the sense of a solemn celebration, as if the gloom were canopy as well as pall—black, but bordered and hearted with purple and gold; and the terrible stillness seemed to tremble as with the [pg 87] inaudible tones of a great organ at the close or commencement of some mighty symphony.

With beating heart he walked softly toward the room where, as on an altar, lay the vanishing form of his master, like the fuel in whose dying flame was offered the late and ill-nurtured sacrifice of his spirit.

As he went through the last corridor leading thither, Mrs. Catanach, type and embodiment of the horrors that haunt the dignity of death, came walking toward him like one at home, her great round body lighty upborne on her soft foot. It was no time to challenge her presence, and yielding her the half of the narrow way he passed without a greeting. She dropped him a courtesy with an up-look and again a veiling of her wicked eyes.

The marquis would not have the doctors come near him, and when Malcolm entered there was no one in the room but Mrs. Courthope. The shadow had crept far along the dial. His face had grown ghastly, the skin had sunk to the bones, and his eyes stood out as if from much staring into the dark. They rested very mournfully on Malcolm for a few moments, and then closed softly.

"Is she come yet?" he murmured, opening them wide with sudden stare.

"No, my lord."

The lids fell again, softly, slowly.

"Be good to her, Malcolm," he murmured.

"I wull, my lord," said Malcolm solemnly.

Then the eyes opened and looked at him: something grew in them, a light as of love, and drew up after it a tear; but the lips said nothing. The eyelids fell again, and in a minute more Malcolm knew by his breathing that he slept.

The slow night waned. He woke sometimes, but soon dozed off again. The two watched by him till the dawn. It brought a still gray morning, without a breath of wind and warm for the season. The marquis appeared a little revived, but was hardly able to speak. Mostly by signs he made Malcolm understand that he wanted Mr. Graham, but that some one else must go for him. Mrs. Courthope went.

As soon as she was out of the room he lifted his hand with effort, laid feeble hold on Malcolm's jacket, and, drawing him down, kissed him on the forehead. Malcolm burst into tears and sank weeping by the bedside.

Mr. Graham, entering a little after, and seeing Malcolm on his knees, knelt also and broke into a prayer.

"O blessed Father!" he said, "who knowest this thing, so strange to us, which we call death, breathe more life into the heart of Thy dying son, that in the power of life he may front death. O Lord Christ! who diedst Thyself, and in Thyself knowest it all, heal this man in his sore need—heal him with strength to die."

A faint Amen came from the marquis.

"Thou didst send him into the world: help him out of it. O God! we belong to Thee utterly. We dying men are Thy children, O living Father! Thou art such a father that Thou takest our sins from us and throwest them behind Thy back. Thou cleansest our souls as Thy Son did wash our feet. We hold our hearts up to Thee: make them what they must be, O Love! O Life of men! O Heart of hearts! Give Thy dying child courage and hope and peace—the peace of Him who overcame all the terrors of humanity, even death itself, and liveth for evermore, sitting at Thy right hand, our God-brother, blessed to all ages. Amen."

"Amen!" murmured the marquis, and, slowly lifting his hand from the coverlid, he laid it on the head of Malcolm, who did not know it was the hand of his father blessing him ere he died.

"Be good to her," said the marquis once more.

But Malcolm could not answer for weeping, and the marquis was not satisfied. Gathering all his force, he said again, "Be good to her."

"I wull, I wull," burst from Malcolm in sobs; and he wailed aloud.

The day wore on, and the afternoon came. Still Lady Florimel had not arrived, and still the marquis lingered.

[pg 88]

As the gloom of the twilight was deepening into the early darkness of the winter night he opened wide his eyes, and was evidently listening. Malcolm could hear nothing, but the light in his master's face grew and the strain of his listening diminished. At length Malcolm became aware of the sound of wheels, which came rapidly nearer, till at last the carriage swung up to the hall-door. A moment, and Lady Florimel was flitting across the room.

"Papa! papa!" she cried, and, throwing her arm over him, laid her cheek to his.

The marquis could not return her embrace: he could only receive her into the depths of his shining, tearful eyes.

"Flory!" he murmured, "I'm going away. I'm going—I've got—to make an—apology. Malcolm, be good—"

The sentence remained unfinished. The light paled from his countenance: he had to carry it with him. He was dead.

Lady Florimel gave a loud cry. Mrs. Courthope ran to her assistance. "My lady's in a dead faint," she whispered, and left the room to get help.

Malcolm lifted Lady Florimel in his great arms and bore her tenderly to her own apartment. There he left her to the care of her women and returned to the chamber of death.

Meantime, Mr. Graham and Mr. Soutar had come. When Malcolm re-entered the schoolmaster took him kindly by the arm and said, "Malcolm, there can be neither place nor moment fitter for the solemn communication I am commissioned to make to you: I have, as in the presence of your dead father, to inform you that you are now marquis of Lossie; and God forbid you should be less worthy as marquis than you have been as fisherman!"

Malcolm stood stupefied. For a while he seemed to himself to be turning over in his mind something he had heard read from a book, with a nebulous notion of being somehow concerned in it. The thought of his father cleared his brain. He ran to the dead body, kissed its lips as he had once kissed the forehead of another, and falling on his knees wept, he knew not for what. Presently, however, he recovered himself, rose, and, rejoining the two men, said, "Gentlemen, hoo mony kens this turn o' things?"

"None but Mr. Morrison, Mrs. Catanach and ourselves—so far as I know," answered Mr. Soutar.

"And Miss Horn," added Mr. Graham, "She first brought out the truth of it, and ought to be the first to know of your recognition by your father."

"I s' tell her mysel'," returned Malcolm. "But, gentlemen, I beg o' ye, till I ken what I'm aboot an' gie ye leave, dinna open yer moo' to leevin' cratur' aboot this. There's time eneuch for the warl' to ken 't."

"Your lordship commands me," said Mr. Soutar.

"Yes, Malcolm, until you give me leave," said Mr. Graham.

"Whaur's Mr. Morrison?" asked Malcolm.

"He is still in the house," said Mr. Soutar.

"Gang till him, sir, an' gar him promise, on the word o' a gentleman, to haud his tongue. I canna bide to hae't blaret a' gait an' a' at ance. For Mistress Catanach, I s' deal wi' her mysel'."

The door opened, and, in all the conscious dignity conferred by the immunities and prerogatives of her calling, Mrs. Catanach walked into the room.

"A word wi' ye, Mistress Catanach," said Malcolm.

"Certainly, my lord," answered the howdy with mingled presumption and respect, and followed him to the dining-room. "Weel, my lord—" she began, before he had turned from shutting the door behind them, in the tone and with the air—or rather airs—of having conferred a great benefit, and expecting its recognition.

"Mistress Catanach," interrupted Malcolm, turning and facing her, "gien I be un'er ony obligation to you, it's frae anither tongue I maun hear't. But I hae an offer to mak ye: Sae lang as it disna coom oot 'at I'm onything better nor a fisherman born, ye s' hae yer twinty poun' i' the year, peyed ye quarterly. [pg 89] But the moment fowk says wha I am ye touch na a poun'-not' mair, an' I coont mysel' free to pursue onything I can pruv agane ye."

Mrs. Catanach attempted a laugh of scorn, but her face was gray as putty and its muscles declined response.

"Ay or no?" said Malcolm. "I winna gar ye sweir, for I wad lippen to yer aith no a hair."

"Ay, my lord," said the howdy, reassuming at least outward composure, and with it her natural brass, for as she spoke she held out her open palm.

"Na, na," said Malcolm, "nae forhan' payments. Three months o' tongue-haudin', an' there's yer five poun'; an' Maister Soutar o' Duff Harbor 'ill pay 't intill yer ain han'. But brack troth wi' me, an' ye s' hear o' 't; for gien ye war hangt the warl' wad be a' the cleaner. Noo quit the hoose, an' never lat me see ye aboot the place again. But afore ye gang I gie ye fair warnin' 'at I mean to win at a' yer byganes."

The blood of red wrath was seething in Mrs. Catanach's face: she drew herself up and stood flaming before him, on the verge of explosion.

"Gang frae the hoose," said Malcolm, "or I'll set the muckle hun' to shaw ye the gait."

Her face turned the color of ashes, and with hanging cheeks and scared but not the less wicked eyes she hurried from the room. Malcolm watched her out of the house, then, following her into the town, brought Miss Horn back with him to aid in the last earthly services, and hastened to Duncan's cottage.

But, to his amazement and distress, it was forsaken and the hearth cold. In his attendance on his father he had not seen the piper—he could not remember for how many days; and on inquiry he found that, although he had not been missed, no one could recall having seen him later than three or four days agone. The last he could hear of him was that about a week before a boy had spied him sitting on a rock in the Baillies' Barn with his pipes in his lap. Searching the cottage, he found that his broadsword and dirk, with all his poor finery, were gone.

That same night Mrs. Catanach also disappeared.

A week after, what was left of Lord Lossie was buried. Malcolm followed the hearse with the household. Miss Horn walked immediately behind him, on the arm of the schoolmaster. It was a great funeral, with a short road, for the body was laid in the church—close to the wall, just under the crusader with the Norman canopy.

Lady Florimel wept incessantly for three days; on the fourth she looked out on the sea and thought it very dreary; on the fifth she found a certain gratification in hearing herself called the marchioness; on the sixth she tried on her mourning and was pleased; on the seventh she went with the funeral and wept again; on the eighth came Lady Bellair, who on the ninth carried her away.

To Malcolm she had not spoken once.

Mr. Graham left Portlossie.

Miss Horn took to her bed for a week.

Mr. Crathie removed his office to the House itself, took upon him the function of steward as well as factor, had the state-rooms dismantled, and was master of the place.

Malcolm helped Stoat with the horses and did odd jobs for Mr. Crathie. From his likeness to the old marquis, as he was still called, the factor had a favor for him, firmly believing the said marquis to be his father and Mrs. Stewart his mother; and hence it came that he allowed him a key to the library.

The story of Malcom's plans and what came of them requires another book.

[pg 90]


The Italians are undoubtedly the most theatre-loving people in the world. With them the play-house takes the place to a great extent of drawing-room and evening lounge. Almost every Italian family of any social position possesses a box at one of the principal theatres, where visits are received and many a scene from the School for Scandal is enacted whilst the fair gossip-mongers flirt and sip ices. In winter the opera is the standard amusement of the fashionable world, while the favorite resort in summer is the diurno or open air theatre, which is in the form of an amphitheatre, the stage with its accessories facing an unroofed enclosure, with the seats arranged in tiers one above another, and fenced off by an iron balustrade from a terrace which serves the purpose of a gallery. A vast covered corridor is nearly always to be found adjacent to the diurno, beneath which the audience can take refuge in case of a shower, walk between the acts and indulge in bebite—cooling drinks, such as sherbets and beer. The abbonamento (or subscription) to a diurno costs from three to ten dollars for the season of thirty or forty representations. When a dramatic company is about to visit a city the manager first secures his abbonati, for according to their number he is able to regulate his expenses, as he counts little on chance spectators, and is sure to have almost always to play before the same audience.

The lyric stage in Italy takes precedence of the dramatic, and in the large cities, Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence, Rome and Naples, the production of a new opera is considered a national event, forming for many days previous to its production the chief topic of conversation in salons and caffès. No such enthusiasm is manifested in regard to the first representation of a new play; and although the house may be crowded and the author called before the curtain, he may deem himself happy if his drama is played four times during the season; whereas a popular opera will be given night after night for two months. An opera, if it has any merit, may be the means of carrying the fame of Italian genius to the farthest limits of the earth, but it is a chance if the comedy which pleases at Venice will be appreciated in the least degree at Rome or Naples, such are the variations in manners and customs, especially amongst the lower orders, between one Italian province and another. Hence, opera is greatly fostered and protected. There are a dozen musical conservatori, public and private, in each of the principal cities, for the training of singers, and prizes are accorded to them out of funds especially set apart for the purpose by the government, which also grants large annual subsidies to the leading lyric theatres, such as the Scala at Milan, the San Carlo at Naples, the Fenice at Venice, the Pergola at Florence, the Carlo Felice at Genoa, the Communale at Bologna, and the Apollo at Rome. The dramatic stage has none of these aids, the various companies have to pay their own expenses, and, whatever may be the merits of the artists who compose them, they scarcely ever obtain any special recognition from the government. Although the smallest Italian city possesses its theatre, and some of the capitals—Milan and Naples, for instance—at least a dozen, there is no training-school for the stage in any part of the country. Nor is there such an institution as the English Dramatic College, where decayed artists can retire when their day of glory is past and they have become poor and lonely. Each city has one theatre, the largest and most magnificent, reserved exclusively for operatic performances, and where the unmusical drama is scarcely ever tolerated. I once saw Ristori act in Metastasio's Dido at the Scala for the benefit of the wounded [pg 91] during the war for Italian independence; but this was the only occasion in fifty years on which an actress had declaimed in that enormous edifice, and nothing but patriotic charity would have excused such an infringement of time-honored etiquette. When, therefore, the Italian opera-houses close for the season, they are never reopened for the accommodation of wandering "stars." The consequence of this is, that the drama is banished to the inferior theatres, and whilst thousands of francs are spent on the scenery of a new opera or ballet, the poor player has to content himself with an indifferent stage and wretched decorations. In short, to quote an observation made to me recently by Signor Salvini, "Theatrical affairs are just the opposite in Italy to what they are in America. In Italy the opera-bill is never changed more than three times in as many months: in America it varies almost every evening. In Italy the play-bill is renewed nightly, while in this country and in England a drama, if good, may have a run of over a hundred representations." Nothing surprised Salvini more during his stay in the United States than the splendor of the mise en scène of some of the New York plays, but he accounted for it easily enough. The managers of most of the New York, Paris and London theatres do not hesitate to lavish large sums of money upon their decorations and scenery, because should the piece fail for which they were painted they can be used in some other. The Italian theatres are nearly always the property either of some nobleman or of a company of speculators, whose principal object is to make as much money out of them, and spend as little upon them, as possible. They are rented out for a month or so to one or other of the many troupes of actors which are constantly wandering about the country, and which bring their own scenery and dresses with them, generally of the cheapest and most tawdry description.

A Tuscan proverb says, "Figlio d'attore, attore" ("The son of an actor is always an actor"); and this in Italy is pretty sure to be the case. The three greatest living actors, Salvini, Rossi and Majeroni, belong to families which have long been popular on the stage, and so do the actresses Ristori and Sedowsky. Signora Ristori made her début as an infant in the cradle, and was for years a member of a troupe the leading lady of which was her late mother, Signora Maddalena Ristori, a woman of great talent and merit, whose death at an advanced age has recently occasioned her celebrated daughter poignant grief. There still exists in Italy a Venetian troupe of comedians whose ancestors were the first interpreters of the comedies of Goldoni, and several of them claim descent from players who enacted the tragedies and comedies of serious classical literature before the courts of Lucrezia Borgia and Leonora d'Este. In glancing over an Italian play-bill one is invariably struck by the fact that many of the artists bear the same name, and are evidently connected by ties of consanguinity or of marriage. In the Ristori troupe, for instance, there are several actors calling themselves by the same name as that great artist, and who are doubtless of her family. The Salvini company embraces, besides the two brothers Tommaso and Alessandro, several Piamontis, two or three Piccininis and two Colonellos. I once knew in Italy a manager named Spada who directed a little troupe of buffo actors consisting of his grandfather and grandmother, father and mother, three or four uncles and aunts, two brothers, and one or two sisters, in addition to himself, his wife and children. Such facts are in part accounted for by the social status—or rather want of status—of the profession. Down to within a very recent period ecclesiastical censures weighed heavily upon all actors, and Christian burial was denied them unless during their final illness they had formally declared their intention to abandon the stage in case of recovery. So severe a condemnation on the part of the clergy naturally produced a strong prejudice against those who connected themselves in any way with the stage; and it is only recently that in Italy, a land where social changes are slow, the [pg 92] doors of her somewhat formal society have been opened to admit even persons so distinguished in every sense of the word as are Ristori, Piamonti, Salvini and Rossi. The social unfriendliness of the audiences—who can applaud so enthusiastically that a stranger witnessing for the first time their noisy demonstrations would easily believe every man and woman in the theatre ready to die for the sake of the admired artist—is doubtless the cause of the patriarchal system observable in the formation of Italian dramatic companies. The members thereof prefer adopting their fathers' profession rather than enter another where they would be constantly mortified by being pointed at as the children of actors.

A little research into the history of the stage in Italy will enlighten the reader as to the true cause both of the harsh condemnation of the Church and of the prejudice of society against this great profession. The plays of the old Romans were proverbially loose both in their plots and dialogues, and Juvenal has spoken of the actors of his time with the bitterest contempt. During the Middle Ages the members of the various religious confraternities monopolized the stage with their sacred dramas and mysteries, and the "profane stage," as an Italian writer calls it, was so degraded that more than once both the Church and State had to use their influence to put down performances which were too infamous to be here described. When the Renaissance came the drama was reinstated in the position it occupied during the days of Roman civilization, but the plays of this period were merely imitations of the Latin comedies; and if we may judge by the most celebrated of them which still exists—the Mandragora of Macchiavelli, for example—far exceeded their models in obscenity. When Benedict XIV. ascended the pontifical throne he established a severe censorship, and inaugurated the harsh system to which I have already alluded, with the effect of banishing immoral productions from the stage, though without improving its intellectual tone. In the eighteenth century Goldoni appeared and gave to the world his graceful comedies, which were followed by the lyric dramas of Metastasio and the lofty tragedies of Alfieri. Since then there has been a succession of able dramatists—Monti, Gozzi, Manzoni, Pellico, Ippolito d'Asti, etc.; and as the class of plays acted was elevated, so the character of the performers was also improved. From being dissolute they became generally respectable; and at present it may be safely asserted that a better-conducted, more frugal or industrious class of men and woman can scarcely be found than are the Italian players. That class of actresses with whom their profession is only a means of displaying their beauty and splendid but often ill-gotten robes and jewelry, is little known in Italy, Such persons would be scarcely tolerated either by their comrades or by the public. Indeed, although within the past few years, owing to the unsettled state of affairs, a great many plays of questionable morality have been acted, especially in Rome, still the tone of the performances usually witnessed in an Italian theatre is greatly above the average of what even Americans applaud; and a French play has to go through more careful pruning for the Italian stage than for ours.

The Italian actors have always been in the habit of forming themselves into troupes, or, as they call them, compagnie, placed under the direction of one person, who is both manager and principal performer. They divide these troupes according to the various kinds of acting; thus, there are companies of tragic, melodramatic and comic actors, but it is very rare to find a combination of tragedy and comedy in the same entertainment. There are at present about eighty different troupes of actors in Italy, including those devoted to the marionnette and dialect performances. The principal are the "Salvini," "Ristori," "Majeroni," "Sedowsky," and "Rossi" for tragedy, the "Bellotti Bon" for high comedy, and the "De Mestri" for farce and vaudeville. The "Ristori," "Salvini" and "Rossi" troupes have been the round of the world. [pg 93] The "Bellotti Bon" has, I believe, never quitted Italy. It is a remarkable combination of well-trained actors, devoted exclusively to the representation of modern society plays and dramas, mostly translated or adapted from the French. Bellotti-Bon, the director, is not excelled in his own line even on the stage of the Théâtre Français. His company is rich, and its scenery and dresses are tasteful. The late Signora Cazzola, formerly the leading lady of this troupe, was perhaps the best high-comedy and dramatic actress Italy has produced. Signer Salvini informed me that Alexandre Dumas fils told him he preferred this lady's interpretation of the rôle of Marguerite Gauthier (Camille) in La Dame aux Camélias to that of Madame Doche, who created the part. She produced a great effect when the dying Camille looks at herself in the glass for the first time after her long illness. Instead of screaming or fainting, as is usual with most actresses who undertake the character, Signora Cazzola stood for a long time gazing intently at the havoc disease had wrought upon her lovely countenance. Then, with a deep sigh and an expression of intense agony, she turned the mirror with its back toward her, implying that she could never again endure the pain of seeing herself reflected upon its truth-telling surface. On the toilette-table was a vase full of camellias—those beautiful but scentless flowers which were emblematic of her brilliant but artificial life. Taking one of these in her hand, she plucked it to pieces leaf by leaf, and when the last petal fell to the ground went quietly back to her bed, there hopelessly to await the coming on of death. Her parting with Armand was very pathetic, and her death, although harrowing and true to Nature, was not revolting, its horrors being moderated by artistic good sense and delicacy. This great artiste died young, worn out by the strong emotions she not only represented, but actually felt.

Signora Cazzola, together with Virginia Marini and Isolina Piamonti, was a pupil of Signor Salvini. Virginia Marini is well considered in Italy, and used to be the leading lady in the Salvini troupe. She now directs a company of her own, and has been succeeded in her former position by the estimable Signora Piamonti, whom Salvini declares to be one of the most versatile artistes he has ever known, equally good in the highest tragedy or the liveliest farce. Her Dalilla in Samson was much admired in America, but her rendering of the rôle of Francesca di Rimini in the tragedy of that name is perhaps her greatest performance.

Signora Sedowsky is undoubtedly the greatest tragic actress of Italy. She is perhaps less stately and grand than Ristori, but in fire and depth of feeling she greatly surpasses this eminent tragédienne. Her Phèdre is pronounced by excellent judges equal to that of Rachel. Signora Sedowsky was born at Naples, and is the proprietress of three large theatres in that city. She is the wife of a wealthy nobleman. Notwithstanding her rank, she still keeps on the stage, but is received with honor in the first society. She has never acted out of Italy, and very rarely beyond the walls of Naples.

The superlative merits of Signora Ristori are so well known in America that the mere mention of her name is sure to recall some of the most delightful evenings ever spent by many of my readers. Her genius and beauty, her majesty and glorious method of declamation, have won her a foremost rank in her profession, and her virtues and nobility of conduct the esteem of all who have ever known her. There are indeed few women more estimable than Adelaide Ristori, Marchioness Capranica del Grillo. It may be a matter of surprise to some who are not aware of the fact when I tell them that in Italy Ristori is more famous in comedy than in tragedy. She is inimitable in such parts as the hostess in Goldoni's clever comedy of La Locandiera.

Of all Italian actors, Gustavo Modena was the most renowned. He is to the stage of his native land what Garrick was to that of England, and his conception of the various parts in classic drama, [pg 94] his "points," and even his dress, have become traditional, and are almost invariably retained by his followers. I never saw him act, but I once heard him recite in a private salon his famous rôle of Saul in Alfieri's tragedy of that name. In person he was tall and largely built, His countenance was not prepossessing, and, like Michael Angelo, he had a broken nose. His eye could assume a terrific aspect, and his voice was rich, powerful and varied in its tone. At times it rolled like thunder, while at other moments it was as soft and tender as the sweetest notes of a flute. Signor Modena died some years ago. He was the master of Salvini, and to him that illustrious actor does not hesitate to attribute much of his fame.

Rossi, the only living rival of Salvini, is still a young man, and doubtless has great talents. I think him even more impetuous and ardent than Salvini, but he is less intellectual, and his elocution is decidedly inferior.

Majeroni is an actor of the same school, but he is becoming old, and has a tendency to rant.

Tommaso Salvini, our late visitor, is of Milanese parentage, and was born in the Lombard capital on January 1, 1830. His father, as I have already said, was an able actor, and his mother a popular actress named Guglielmina Zocchi. When quite a boy he showed a rare talent for acting, and performed in certain plays given during the Easter holidays in the school where he was educated, with such rare ability that his father determined to devote him to the stage. For this purpose he placed him under the tuition of the great Modena, who conceived much affection for him. The training received thus early from such able hands soon bore fruits, and before he was thirteen Salvini had already won a kind of renown in juvenile characters. At fifteen he lost both his parents, and the bereavement so preyed upon his spirits that he was obliged to abandon his career for two years, and returned once more under the tuition of Modena. When he again emerged from retirement he joined the Ristori troupe, and shared with that great actress many a triumph. In 1849, Salvini entered the army of Italian independence, and fought valiantly for the defence of his country, receiving in recognition of his services several medals of honor. Peace being proclaimed, he again appeared upon the stage in a company directed by Signer Cesare Dondini. He played in the Edipo of Nicolini—a tragedy written expressly for him—and achieved a great success. Next he appeared in Alfieri's Saul, and then all Italy declared that Modena's mantle had fallen on worthy shoulders. His fame was now prodigious, and wherever he went he was received with boundless enthusiasm. He visited Paris, where he played Orasmane, Orestes, Saul and Othello. On his return to Florence he was hospitably entertained by the marquis of Normanby, then English ambassador to the court of Tuscany, and this enlightened nobleman strongly encouraged him to extend his repertory of Shakespearian characters. In 1865 occurred the sixth centenary of Dante's birthday, and the four greatest Italian actors were invited to perform in Silvio Pellico's tragedy of Francesca di Rimini, which is founded on an episode in the Divina Commedia. The cast originally stood on the play-bills thus: Francesca, Signora Ristori; Lancelotto, Signor Rossi; Paulo, Signor Salvini; and Guido, Signor Majeroni. It happened, however, that Rossi, who was unaccustomed to play the part of Lancelotto, felt timid at appearing in a character so little suited to him. Hearing this, Signor Salvini, with exquisite politeness and good-nature, volunteered to take the insignificant part, relinquishing the grand rôle of Paulo to his junior in the profession. He created by the force of his genius an impression in the minor part which is still vivid in the minds of all who witnessed the performance. The government of Florence, grateful for his urbanity, presented him with a statuette of Dante, and King Victor Emmanuel rewarded him with the title of knight of the Order of the Saints Maurice and Lazarus. Later he received from the same monarch a diamond ring, with the rank of officer in the Order of the Crown [pg 95] of Italy. In 1868, Signer Salvini visited Madrid, where his acting of the death of Conrad in La Morte Civile produced such an impression that the easily-excited Madrilese rushed upon the stage to ascertain whether the death was actual or fictitious. The queen, Isabella II., conferred upon the great actor many marks of favor, and so shortly afterward did King Louis of Portugal, who frequently entertained him at the royal palace of Lisbon.

Signor Salvini's recent visit to America I need scarcely mention: its triumphs are still fresh in the memory of the public, and the only drawback to its complete success was the unhappy fact that the eminent artist did not appeal to his audiences in their own language.

I know of nothing more remarkable than the difference which exists between the Salvini of the stage and the Salvini of private life, the one so imposing, impetuous and fiery, the other so gentle, urbane, and even retiring. He is a gentleman possessing the manners of the good old school—courtly and somewhat ceremonious, reminding one of those Italian nobles of the sixteenth century of whom we lead in the novels of Giraldo Cinthio and Fiorentino—uomini illustri, e di civil costumi. His greeting is cordial and his conversation delightful, full of anecdote and marked with enthusiasm for his art. When I first became acquainted with him I was of opinion that his interpretation of Hamlet was based only upon the translated text, but in the course of a very long conversation on the subject I discovered that he was well acquainted (through literal translations) not only with the text, but also with the notes and comments of our leading critics. In speaking of the part in which he is altogether unrivaled he said, "I am of opinion that Shakespeare intended Othello to be a Moor of Barbary or some other part of Northern Africa, of whom there were many in Italy during the sixteenth century. I have met several, and think I imitate their ways and manners pretty well. You are aware, however, that the historical Othello was not a black at all. He was a white man, and a Venetian general named Mora. His history resembles that of Shakespeare's hero in many particulars. Giraldo Cinthio, probably for better effect, made out of the name Mora, moro, a blackamoor; and Shakespeare, unacquainted with the true story, followed this old novelist's lead; and it was well he did so, for have we not in consequence the most perfect delineation of the peculiarities of Moorish temperament ever conceived?" The costumes worn by Salvini in this play are copied from those depicted in certain Venetian pictures of the fifteenth century in which several Moorish officers appear. It took him many years to master this rôle, and he assured me he could not play it more than three times in succession without experiencing terrible fatigue. "It is a matter of wonder to me," he observed, "that English actors can play a great character like this so many nights in succession; and, above all, that they retain self-possession whilst the fidgety noise of scene-shifting is going on behind them. To avoid this, I have been obliged to cut Othello into six acts, and to make many changes in Hamlet." The intensity of feeling with which he throws himself into the part he is representing was especially evident on the occasion of his playing Saul. After the performance I was invited to go behind the scenes to speak with him, and was surprised as well as pained to find him utterly exhausted. I could not help saying, "How can you exert yourself thus to please so few people?" There were scarcely four hundred persons assembled to see this sublime performance. He answered with honest simplicity, "They have paid their money, and are entitled to the best I can do for them; besides that, when I am on the stage I forget the world and all that is in it, and live the character I represent." "You will," said I, "make a grand Lear." "Yes," he replied, "I think I shall be able to make something out of the old king. I have been reading the tragedy for some time, but it will still take me two years to study it thoroughly."

Salvini related to me several anecdotes which show how quick he is to master [pg 96] any difficulties accident throws in his way. "Once I bought," he said, "a play of a poor young writer which I thought I could make something of; but when we came to rehearse it for the last time before representation, it seemed to me utterly flat and unprofitable. The piece was called La Suonatrice d'Arpa ('The Harp-Girl'). The actors all said the last act was so stupid that we should make a fiasco. I at last hit upon an idea. We had, however, only a few hours to execute it in. I changed the story: instead of the play ending happily, I made the father kill his daughter accidentally, and then die of grief. All the dialogue had to be improvised by the leading actress and myself. I played the father, and Signora Piamonti the daughter. Such was the success of our invention that the piece was played eight nights in succession, and a rival actor, hearing of the triumph achieved by The Harp-Girl, bought from the author for a handsome sum the privilege of acting it in certain districts which were not included in my purchase of the drama. Not being aware of the alterations we had made, and performing it according to the letter of the text, he made un fiasco solenne—a dead failure."

After the first performance of Zaïre I took the liberty of observing to Salvini that a superb piece of "business" which marks his acting in the last act was not to be found in the text. "Oh," he replied, "I will tell you the origin of it. I was playing at Naples, and one night, when I threw the body of my murdered wife upon the ottoman in the last act, my burnouse fell off and fixed itself to my waist like a tail. I saw at once that if I was not careful I should provoke laughter, and instantly imagined that I would pretend to believe the clinging drapery was the wounded Zaïre grasping me behind. I appeared to dread even to look round, lest I should encounter her pallid face. I hesitated, I trembled, and when with a supreme effort I at last grasped the burnouse and cast it from me, I still lacked the courage to ascertain what it really was, and stood shivering before the white heap it made upon the floor. Finally, just as I thought public curiosity to know what I was going to do began to grow weary, I stooped down and seizing the white mantle dashed it from me with contempt, showing by the gesture that I had discovered what it was, and felt anger that such a trifle should thus alarm a bold man who had committed murder." This pantomime obtained for Salvini at the New York Academy of Music one of his greatest ovations.

When asked why he did not learn English, "Ah!" he replied, "I am too old; and even if I mastered it, I could not control my knowledge of it. When excited I should be lapsing into Italian, which would be very absurd. You asked me the other day why I do not play Orestes. I should make a queer young Greek with an Apollo-like figure now-a-days! The time was when I looked the part and acted it well, and then I liked to play it. I must leave it, with many other good things, to younger men." Speaking about dramatic elocution, he said, "The best method is obtained by close observation of Nature, and above all by earnestness. If you can impress people with the conviction that you feel what you say, they will pardon many shortcomings. And, above all, study, study, study! All the genius in the world will not help you along with any art unless you become a hard student. It has taken me years to master a single part."

Salvini's visit to America has been fruitful of a double good. He has shown forth the splendor of Italian genius, even revealing to us new marvels in that mine of wealth, the works of the greatest Bard of the English-speaking race; and he has gone back to Italy to tell her people of things he has seen in the New World which his great compatriot discovered—as wonderful in their way as any related by Othello to Desdemona's willing ear.


[pg 97]





What was the matter with Harry Trelyon? His mother could not make out; and there never had been much confidence between them, so that she did not care to ask. But she watched, and she saw that he had, for the time at least, forsaken his accustomed haunts and ways and become gloomy, silent and self-possessed. Dick was left neglected in the stables: you no longer heard his rapid clatter along the highway, with the not over-melodious voice of his master singing "The Men of Merry, Merry England" or "The Young Chevalier." The long and slender fishing-rod remained on the pegs in the hall, although you could hear the flop of the small burn-trout of an evening when the flies were thick over the stream. The dogs were deprived of their accustomed runs; the horses had to be taken out for exercise by the groom; and the various and innumerable animals about the place missed their doses of alternate petting and teasing, all because Master Harry had chosen to shut himself up in his study.

The mother of the young man very soon discovered that her son was not devoting his hours of seclusion in that extraordinary museum of natural history to making trout-flies, stuffing birds and arranging pinned butterflies in cases, as was his custom. These were not the occupations which now kept Master Harry up half the night. When she went in of a morning, before he was up, she found that he had been covering whole sheets of paper with careful copying out of passages taken at random from the volumes beside him. A Latin grammar was ordinarily on the table—a book which the young gentleman had brought back from school free from thumb-marks. Occasionally a fencing-foil lay among these evidences of study, while the small aquaria, the cases of stuffed animals with fancy backgrounds and the numerous bird-cages had been thrust aside to give fair elbow-room.

"Perhaps," said Mrs. Trelyon to herself with much satisfaction—"perhaps, after all, that good little girl has given him a hint about Parliament, and he is preparing himself."

A few days of this seclusion, however, began to make the mother anxious; and so one morning she went into his room. He hastily turned over the sheet of paper on which he had been writing: then he looked up, not too well pleased.

"Harry, why do you stay in-doors on such a beautiful morning? It is quite like summer."

"Yes, I know," he said. "I suppose we shall soon have a batch of parsons here: summer always brings them. They come out with the hot weather—like butterflies."

Mrs. Trelyon was shocked and disappointed: she thought Wenna Rosewarne had cured him of his insane dislike to clergymen—indeed, for many a day gone by he had kept respectfully silent on the subject.

"But we shall not ask them to come if you'd rather not," she said, wishing to do all she could to encourage the reformation of his ways. "I think Mr. Barnes promised to visit us early in May, but he is only one."

"And one is worse than a dozen. When there's a lot you can leave 'em to fight it out among themselves. But one!—to have one stalking about an empty house, like a ghost dipped in ink! Why can't you ask anybody but clergymen, mother? There are whole lots of people would like to run down from London for a fortnight before getting into the thick of the season: there's the Pomeroy girls as good as offered to come."

"But they can't come by themselves," Mrs. Trelyon said with a feeble protest.

"Oh yes, they can: they're ugly enough [pg 98] to be safe anywhere. And why don't you get Juliott up? She'll be glad to get away from that old curmudgeon for a week. And you ought to ask the Trewhellas, father and daughter, to dinner: that old fellow is not half a bad sort of fellow, although he's a clergyman."

"Harry," said his mother, interrupting him, "I'll fill the house if that will please you; and you shall ask just whomsoever you please."

"All right," said he: "the place wants waking up."

"And then," said the mother, wishing to be still more gracious, "you might ask Miss Rosewarne to dine with us: she might come well enough, although Mr. Roscorla is not here."

A sort of gloom fell over the young man's face again: "I can't ask her—you may if you like."

Mrs. Trelyon stared: "What is the matter, Harry? Have you and she quarreled? Why, I was going to ask you, if you were down in the village to-day, to say that I should like to see her."

"And how could I take such a message?" the young man said, rather warmly, "I don't see why the girl should be ordered up to see you as if you were conferring a favor on her by joining in this scheme. She's very hard-worked; you have got plenty of time; you ought to call on her and study her convenience, instead of making her trot all the way up here whenever you want to talk to her."

The pale and gentle woman flushed a little, but she was anxious not to give way to petulance just then: "Well, you are quite right, Harry: it was thoughtless of me. I should like to go down and see her this morning; but I have sent Jakes over to the blacksmith's, and I am afraid of that new lad."

"Oh, I will drive you down to the inn. I suppose among them they can put the horses to the wagonette," the young man said, not very graciously: and then Mrs. Trelyon went off to get ready.

It was a beautiful, fresh morning, the far-off line of the sea still and blue, the sunlight lighting up the wonderful masses of primroses along the tall banks, the air sweet with the resinous odor of the gorse. Mrs. Trelyon looked with a gentle and childlike pleasure on all these things, and was fairly inclined to be very friendly with the young gentleman beside her. But he was more than ordinarily silent and morose. Mrs. Trelyon knew she had done nothing to offend him, and thought it hard she should be punished for the sins of anybody else.

He spoke scarcely a word to her as the carriage rolled along the silent highways. He drove rapidly and carelessly down the steep thoroughfare of Eglosilyan, although there were plenty of loose stones about. Then he pulled sharply up in front of the inn, and George Rosewarne appeared.

"Mr. Rosewarne, let me introduce you to my mother. She wants to see Miss Wenna for a few moments, if she is not engaged."

Mr. Rosewarne took off his cap, assisted Mrs. Trelyon to alight, and then showed her the way into the house.

"Won't you come in, Harry?" his mother said.


A man had come out to the horses' heads.

"You leave 'em alone," said the young gentleman: "I sha'n't get down."

Mabyn came out, her bright young face full of pleasure.

"How do you do, Mabyn?" he said coldly, and without offering to shake hands.

"Won't you come in for a minute?" she said, rather surprised.

"No, thank you. Don't you stay out in the cold: you've got nothing round your neck."

Mabyn went away without saying a word, but thinking that the coolness of the air was much less apparent than that of his manner and speech.

Being at length left to himself, he turned his attention to the horses before him, and eventually, to pass the time, took out his pocket-handkerchief and began to polish the silver on the handle of the whip. He was disturbed in this peaceful occupation by a very timid voice, which said, "Mr. Trelyon." He [pg 99] turned round and found that Wenna's wistful face was looking up to him, with a look in it partly of friendly gladness and partly of anxiety and entreaty. "Mr. Trelyon," she said, with her eyes cast down, "I think you are offended with me. I am very sorry: I beg your forgiveness."

The reins were fastened up in a minute, and he was down in the road beside her. "Now look here, Wenna," he said. "What could you mean by treating me so unfairly? I don't mean in being vexed with me, but in shunting me off, as it were, instead of having it out at once. I don't think it was fair."

"I am very sorry," she said. "I think I was very wrong, but you don't know what a girl feels about such things. Will you come into the inn?"

"And leave my horses? No," he said, good-naturedly. "But as soon as I get that fellow out, I will; so you go in at once, and I'll follow you directly. And mind, Wenna, don't you be so silly again, or you and I may have a real quarrel; and I know that would break your heart."

The old pleased smile lit up her face again as she turned and went in-doors: he meanwhile proceeded to summon a hostler by shouting his name at the pitch of his voice.

The small party of women assembled in the parlor were a trifle embarrassed: it was the first time that the great lady of the neighborhood had honored the inn with a visit. She herself was merely quiet, gentle and pleased, but Mrs. Rosewarne, with her fine eyes and her sensitive face all lit up and quickened by, the novel excitement, was all anxiety to amuse and interest and propitiate her distinguished guest. Mabyn, too, was rather shy and embarrassed: she said things hastily, and then seemed afraid of her interference. Wenna was scarcely at her ease, because she saw that her mother and sister were not; and she was very anxious, moreover, that these two should think well of Mrs. Trelyon and be disposed to like her.

The sudden appearance of a man with a man's rough ways and loud voice seemed to shake these feminine elements better together, and to clear the air of timid apprehensions and cautions. Harry Trelyon came into the room with quite a marked freshness and good-nature on his face. His mother was surprised: what had completely changed his manner in a couple of minutes?

"How are you, Mrs. Rosewarne?" he cried in his off-hand fashion. "You oughtn't to be in-doors on such a morning, or we shall never get you well, you know; and the doctor will be sending you to Penzance or Devonport for a change. Well, Mabyn, have you convinced anybody yet that your farm-laborers with their twelve shillings a week are better off than the slate-workers with their eighteen? You'd better take your sister's opinion on that point, and don't squabble with me. Mother, what's the use of sitting here? You bring Miss Wenna with you into the wagonette, and talk to her there about all your business-affairs, and I'll take you for a drive. Come along. And of course I want somebody with me: will you come, Mrs. Rosewarne, or will Mabyn? You can't?—then Mabyn must. Go along, Mabyn, and put your best hat on, and make yourself uncommonly smart, and you shall be allowed to sit next the driver—that's me."

And indeed he bundled the whole of them about until they were seated in the wagonette just as he had indicated; and away they went from the inn-door.

"And you think you are coming back in half an hour?" he said to his companion, who was much pleased and very proud to occupy such a place. "Oh no, you're not. You're a young and simple thing, Mabyn. These two behind us will go on talking now for any time about yards of calico and crochet-needles and twopenny subscriptions, while you and I, don't you see, are quietly driving them over to Tintagel—"

"Oh, Mr. Trelyon!" said Mabyn.

"You keep quiet. That isn't the half of what's going to befall you. I shall put up the horses at the inn, and I shall take you all down to the beach for a scramble to improve your appetite; and at the said inn you shall have luncheon with me, if you're all very good and [pg 100] behave yourselves. Then we shall drive back just when we particularly please. Do you like the picture?"

"It is delightful: oh, I am sure Wenna will enjoy it," Mabyn said. "But don't you think, Mr. Trelyon, that you might ask her to sit here? One sees better here than sitting sideways in a wagonette."

"They have their business-affairs to settle."

"Yes," said Mabyn petulantly, "that is what every one says: nobody expects Wenna ever to have a moment's enjoyment to herself. Oh, here is old Uncle Cornish—he's a great friend of Wenna's: he will be dreadfully hurt if she passes him without saying a word."

"Then we shall pull up and address Uncle Cornish. I believe he used to be the most thieving old ruffian of a poacher in this county."

There was a hale old man of seventy or so seated on a low wall in front of one of the gardens, his face shaded from the sunlight by a broad hat, his lean gray hands employed in buckling up the leathern leggings that encased his spare calves. He got up when the horses stopped, and looked in rather a dazed fashion at the carriage.

"How do you do this morning, Mr. Cornish?" Wenna said.

"Why, now, to be sure!" the old man said, as if reproaching his own imperfect vision. "'Tis a fine marnin', Miss Wenna, and yü be agwoin' for a drive."

"And how is your daughter-in-law, Mr. Cornish? Has she sold the pig yet?"

"Naw, she hasn't sold the peg. If yü be agwoin' thrü Trevalga, Miss Wenna, just yü stop and have a look at that peg: yü'll be 'mazed to see en. 'Tis many a year agone sence there has been such a peg by me. And perhaps yü'd take the laste bit o' refrashment, Miss Wenna, as yü go by: Jane would get yü a coop o' tay to once."

"Thank you, Mr. Cornish, I'll look in and see the pig some other time: to-day we sha'n't be going as far as Trevalga."

"Oh, won't you?" said Master Harry in a low voice as he drove on. "You'll be in Trevalga before you know where you are."

Which was literally the case. Wenna was so much engaged in her talk with Mrs. Trelyon that she did not notice how far away they were getting from Eglosilyan; but Mabyn and her companion knew. They were now on the high uplands by the coast, driving between the beautiful banks, which were starred with primroses and stitchwort and red dead-nettle and a dozen other bright and tender-hued firstlings of the year. The sun was warm on the hedges and the fields, but a cool breeze blew about these lofty heights, and stirred Mabyn's splendid masses of hair as they drove rapidly along. Far over on their right, beyond the majestic wall of cliff, lay the great blue plain of the sea; and there stood the bold brown masses of the Sisters Rocks, with a circle of white foam round their base. As they looked down into the south the white light was so fierce that they could but faintly discern objects through it; but here and there they caught a glimpse of a square church-tower or of a few rude cottages clustered on the high plain, and these seemed to be of a transparent gray in the blinding glare of the sun.

Then suddenly in front of them they found a deep chasm, with the white road leading down through its cool shadows. There was the channel of a stream, with the rocks looking purple amid the gray bushes; and here were rich meadows, with cattle standing deep in the grass and the daisies; and over there, on the other side, a strip of forest, with the sunlight shining along one side of the tall and dark-green pines. As they drove down into this place, which is called the Rocky Valley, a magpie rose from one of the fields and flew up into the firs.

"That is sorrow," said Mabyn.

Another one rose and flew up to the same spot.

"And that is joy," she said, with her face brightening.

"Oh, but I saw another as we came to the brow of the hill, and that means a marriage," her companion remarked to her.

[pg 101]

"Oh no," she said quite eagerly, "I am sure there was no third one: I am certain there were only two. I am quite positive we only saw two."

"But why should you be so anxious?" Trelyon said, "You know you ought to be looking forward to a marriage, and that is always a happy thing. Are you envious, Mabyn?"

The girl was silent for a moment or two. Then she said, with a sudden bitterness in her tone, "Isn't it a fearful thing to have to be civil to people whom you hate? Isn't it, when they come and establish a claim on you through some one you care for? You look at them—yes, you can look at them—and you've got to see them kiss some one that you love; and you wonder she doesn't rush away for a bit of caustic and cauterize the place, as you do when a mad dog bites you."

"Mabyn," said the young man beside her, "you are a most unchristian sort of person this morning. Who is it you hate in such a fashion? Will you take the reins while I walk up the hill?"

Mabyn's little burst of passion still burned in her cheeks and gave a proud and angry look to her mouth, but she took the reins all the same, and her companion leapt to the ground. The banks on each side of the road going up this hill were tall and steep: here and there great masses of wild flowers were scattered among the grass and the gorse. From time to time he stopped to pick up a handful, until, when they had got up to the high and level country again, he had brought together a very pretty bouquet of wild blossoms. When he got into his seat and took the reins again he carelessly gave the bouquet to Mabyn.

"Oh, how pretty!" she said; and then she turned round: "Wenna, are you very much engaged? Look at the pretty bouquet Mr. Trelyon has gathered for you."

Wenna's quiet face flushed with pleasure when she took the flowers, and Mrs. Trelyon looked pleased and said they were very pretty. She evidently thought that her son was greatly improved in his manners when he condescended to gather flowers to present to a girl. Nay, was he not at this moment devoting a whole forenoon of his precious time to the unaccustomed task of taking ladies for a drive? Mrs. Trelyon regarded Wenna with a friendly look, and began to take a greater liking than ever to that sensitive and expressive face and to the quiet and earnest eyes.

"But, Mr. Trelyon," said Wenna, looking round, "hadn't we better turn? We shall be at Trevenna directly."

"Yes, you are quite right," said Master Harry: "you will be at Trevenna directly, and you are likely to be there for some time. For Mabyn and I have resolved to have luncheon there, and we are going down to Tintagel, and we shall most likely climb to King Arthur's Castle. Have you any objections?"

Wenna had none. The drive through the cool and bright day had braced up her spirits. She was glad to know that everything looked promising about this scheme of hers. So she willingly surrendered herself to the holiday, and in due time they drove into the odd and remote little village and pulled up in front of the inn.

So soon as the hostler had come to the horses' heads the young gentleman who had been driving jumped down and assisted his three companions to alight: then he led the way into the inn. In the doorway stood a stranger, probably a commercial traveler, who, with his hands in his pockets, his legs apart and a cigar in his mouth, had been visiting those three ladies with a very hearty stare as they got out of the carriage. Moreover, when they came to the doorway he did not budge an inch nor did he take his cigar from his mouth; and so, as it had never been Mr. Trelyon's fashion to sidle past any one, that young gentleman made straight for the middle of the passage, keeping his shoulders very square. The consequence was a collision. The imperturbable person with his hands in his pockets was sent staggering against the wall, while his cigar dropped on the stone. "What the devil—!" he was beginning to say, when Trelyon got the three women past him and into the small parlor. Then he went back: "Did you [pg 102] wish to speak to me, sir? No, you didn't: I perceive you are a prudent person. Next time ladies pass you, you'd better take your cigar out of your mouth or somebody'll destroy that two-pennyworth of tobacco for you. Good-morning."

Then he returned to the little parlor, to which a waitress had been summoned: "Now, Jinny, pull yourself together and let's have something nice for luncheon—in an hour's time, sharp. You will, won't you? And how about that Sillery with the blue star—not the stuff with the gold head that some abandoned ruffian in Plymouth brews in his back garden. Well, can't you speak?"

"Yes, sir," said the bewildered maid.

"That's a good thing—a very good thing," said he, putting the shawls together on a sofa. "Don't you forget how to speak until you get married. And don't let anybody come into this room. And you can let my man have his dinner and a pint of beer. Oh, I forgot: I'm my own man this morning, so you needn't go asking for him. Now, will you remember all these things?"

"Yes, sir; but what would you like for luncheon?"

"My good girl, we should like a thousand things such as Tintagel never saw, but what you've got to do is to give us the nicest things you've got: do you see? I leave it entirely in your hands. Come along, young people."

And so he bundled his charges out again into the main street of the village; and somehow it happened that Mabyn addressed a timid remark to Mrs. Trelyon, and that Mrs. Trelyon, in answering it, stopped for a moment; so that Master Harry was sent to Wenna's side, and these two led the way down the wide thoroughfare. There were few people visible in the old-fashioned place: here and there an aged crone came out to the door of one of the rude stone cottages to look at the strangers. Overhead the sky was veiled over with a thin fleece of white cloud, but the light was intense for all that, and indeed the colors of the objects around seemed all the more clear and marked.

"Well, Miss Wenna," said the young man gayly, "how long are we to remain good friends? What is the next fault you will have to find with me? Or have you discovered something wrong already?"

"Oh no," she said with a quiet smile, "I am very good friends with you this morning. You have pleased your mother very much by bringing her for this drive."

"Oh, nonsense!" he said. "She might have as many drives as she chose; but presently you'll find a lot of those parsons back at the house, and she'll take to her white gowns again, and the playing of the organ all the day long, and all that sham stuff. I tell you what it is: she never seems alive, she never seems to take any interest in anything, unless you're with her. Now, you will see how the novelty of this luncheon-party in an inn will amuse her; but do you think she would care for it if she and I were here alone?"

"Perhaps you never tried?" Miss Wenna said gently.

"Perhaps I knew she wouldn't come. However, don't let's have a fight, Wenna: I mean to be very civil to you to-day—I do, really."

"I am so much obliged to you," she said meekly. "But pray don't give yourself unnecessary trouble."

"Oh," said he, "I'd always be civil to you if you would treat me decently. But you say far more rude things than I do—in that soft way, you know, that looks as if it were all silk and honey. I do think you've awfully little consideration for human failings. If one goes wrong in the least thing, even in one's spelling, you say something that sounds as pleasant as possible, and all the same it transfixes one just as you stick a pin through a beetle. You are very hard, you are—mean with those who would like to be friends with you. When it's mere strangers and cottagers and people of that sort, who don't care a brass farthing about you, then I believe you're all gentleness and kindness; but to your real friends the edge of a saw is smooth compared to you."

"Am I so very harsh to my friends?" the young lady said in a resigned way.

[pg 103]

"Oh, well," he said, with some compunction, "I don't quite say that, but you could be much more pleasant if you liked, and a little more charitable to their faults. You know there are some who would give a great deal to win your approval; and perhaps when you find fault they are so disappointed that they think your words are sharper than you mean; and sometimes they think you might give them credit for trying to please you, at least."

"And who are these persons?" Wenna said, with another smile stealing over her face.

"Oh," said he rather shamefacedly, "there's no need to explain anything to you: you always see it before one need put it in words."

Well, perhaps it was in his manner or in the tone of his voice that there was something which seemed at this moment to touch her deeply, for she half turned and looked up at his face with her honest and earnest eyes, and said to him kindly, "Yes, I do know without you telling me; and it makes me happy to hear you talk so; and if I am unjust to you, you must not think it intentional. And I shall try not to be so in the future."

Mrs. Trelyon was regarding with a kindly look the two young people walking on in front of her. Whatever pleased her son pleased her, and she was glad to see him enjoy himself in so light-hearted a fashion. These two were chatting to each other in the friendliest manner: sometimes they stopped to pick up wild flowers: they were as two children together under the fair and light summer skies.

They went down and along a narrow valley, until they suddenly stood in front of the sea, the green waters of which were breaking in upon a small and lonely creek. What strange light was this that fell from the white skies above, rendering all the objects around them sharp its outline and intense in color? The beach before them seemed of a pale lilac, where the green waves broke in a semicircle of white. On their right some masses of ruddy rock jutted out into the cold sea, and there were huge black caverns into which the waves dashed and roared. On their left and far above them towered a great and isolated rock, its precipitous sides scored here and there with twisted lines of red and yellow quartz; and on the summit of this bold headland, amid the dark green of the sea-grass, they could see the dusky ruins—the crumbling walls and doorways and battlements—of the castle that is named in all the stories of King Arthur and his knights. The bridge across to the mainland has, in the course of centuries, fallen away, but there, on the other side of the wide chasm, were the ruins of the other portions of the castle, scarcely to be distinguished in parts from the grass-grown rocks. How long ago was it since Sir Tristram rode out here to the end of the world, to find the beautiful Isoulde awaiting him—she whom he had brought from Ireland as an unwilling bride to the old king Mark? And what of the joyous company of knights and ladies who once held high sport in the courtyard there? Trelyon, looking shyly at his companion, could see that her eyes seemed centuries away from him. She was quite unconscious of his covertly staring at her, for she was absently looking at the high and bare precipices, the deserted slopes of dark sea-grass and the lonely and crumbling ruins. She was wondering whether the ghosts of those vanished people ever came back to this lonely headland, where they would find the world scarcely altered since they had left it. Did they come at night, when the land was dark, and when there was a light over the sea only coming from the stars? If one were to come at night alone, and to sit down here by the shore, might not one see strange things far overhead or hear some sound other than the falling of the waves?

"Miss Wenna," he said—and she started suddenly—"are you bold enough to climb with me up to the castle? I know my mother would rather stay here."

She went with him mechanically. She followed him up the rude steps cut in the steep slopes of slate, holding his hand where that was possible, but her head was so full of dreams that she answered [pg 104] him when he spoke only with a vague yes or no. When they descended again they found that Mabyn had taken Mrs. Trelyon down to the beach, and had inveigled her into entering a huge cavern, or rather a natural tunnel, that went right through underneath the promontory on which the castle is built. They were in a sort of green-hued twilight, a scent of seaweed filling the damp air, and their voices raising an echo in the great hall of rock.

"I hope the climbing has not made you giddy," Mrs. Trelyon said in her kind way to Wenna, noticing that she was very silent and distrait.

"Oh no," Mabyn said promptly. "She has been seeing ghosts. We always know when Wenna has been seeing ghosts: she remains so for hours."

And, indeed, at this time she was rather more reserved than usual all during their walk back to luncheon and while they were in the inn; and yet she was obviously very happy, and sometimes even amused by the childlike pleasure which Mrs. Trelyon seemed to obtain from these unwonted experiences.

"Come, now, mother," Master Harry said, "what are you going to do for me when I come of age next month? Fill the house with guests—yes, you promised that—with not more than one parson to the dozen? And when they're all feasting and gabbling, and missing the targets with their arrows, you'll slip quietly away, and I'll drive you and Miss Wenna over here, and you'll go and get your feet wet again in that cavern, and you'll come up here again and have an elegant luncheon, just like this. Won't that do?"

"I don't quite know about the elegance of the luncheon, but I'm sure our little excursion has been very pleasant. Don't you think so, Miss Rosewarne?" Mrs. Trelyon said.

"Indeed I do," said Wenna, with her big, earnest eyes coming back from their trance.

"And here is another thing," remarked young Trelyon. "There's a picture I've seen of the heir coming of age—he's a horrid, self-sufficient young cad, but never mind—and it seems to be a day of general jollification. Can't I give a present to somebody? Well, I'm going to give it to a young lady who never cares for anything but what she can give away again to somebody else; and it is—well, it is—Why don't you guess, Mabyn?"

"I don't know what you mean to give Wenna," said Mabyn naturally.

"Why, you silly! I mean to give her a dozen sewing-machines—a baker's dozen—thirteen. There! Oh, I heard you as you came along. It was all, 'Three sewing-machines will cost so much, and four sewing-machines will cost so much, and five sewing-machines will cost so much. And a penny a week from so many subscribers will be so much, and twopence a week from so many will be so much;' and all this as if my mother could tell you how much twice two was. My arithmetic ain't very brilliant, but as for hers—And these you shall have, Miss Wenna—one baker's dozen of sewing-machines, as per order, duly delivered, carriage free—empty casks and bottles to be returned."

"That is very kind of you, Mr. Trelyon," Wenna said—and all the dreams had gone straight out of her head so soon as this was mentioned—"but we can't possibly accept them. You know our scheme is to make the sewing club quite self-supporting—no charity."

"Oh, what stuff!" the young gentleman cried. "You know you will give all your labor and supervision for nothing: isn't that charity? And you know you will let off all sorts of people owing you subscriptions the moment some blessed baby falls ill. And you know you won't charge interest on all the outlay. But if you insist on paying me back for my sewing-machines out of the overwhelming profits at the end of next year, then I'll take the money. I'm not proud."

"Then we will take six sewing-machines from you, if you please, Mr. Trelyon, on those conditions," said Wenna gravely. And Master Harry—with a look toward Mabyn which was just about as good as a wink—consented.

As they drove quietly back again to Eglosilyan, Mabyn had taken her former [pg 105] place by the driver, and found him uncommonly thoughtful. He answered her questions, but that was all; and it was so unusual to find Harry Trelyon in this mood that she said to him, "Mr. Trelyon, have you been seeing ghosts, too?"

He turned to her and said, "I was thinking about something. Look here, Mabyn: did you ever know any one, or do you know any one, whose face is a sort of barometer to you? Suppose that you see her look pale and tired or sad in any way, then down go your spirits, and you almost wish you had never been born. When you see her face brighten up and get full of healthy color, you feel glad enough to burst out singing or go mad: anyhow, you know that everything's all right. What the weather is, what people may say about you, whatever else may happen to you, that's nothing: all you want to see is just that one person's face look perfectly bright and perfectly happy, and nothing can touch you then. Did you ever know anybody like that?" he added rather abruptly.

"Oh yes," said Mabyn, in a low voice: "that is when you are in love with some one. And there is only one face in all the world that I look to for all these things, there is only one person I know who tells you openly and simply in her face all that affects her, and that is our Wenna. I suppose you have noticed that, Mr. Trelyon?"

But he did not make any answer.



The lad lay dreaming in the warm meadows by the side of a small and rapid brook, the clear waters of which plashed and bubbled in the sunlight as they hurried past the brown stones. His fishing-rod lay beside him, hidden in the long grass and the daisies. The sun was hot in the valley—shining on a wall of gray rock behind him, and throwing purple shadows over the clefts; shining on the dark bushes beside the stream and on the lush green of the meadows; shining on the trees beyond, in the shadow of which some dark red cattle were standing. Then away on the other side of the valley rose gently-sloping woods, gray and green in the haze of the heat, and over these again was the pale blue sky with scarcely a cloud in it. It was a hot day to be found in spring-time, but the waters of the brook seemed cool and pleasant as they gurgled by, and occasionally a breath of wind blew over from the woods. For the rest, he lay so still on this fine, indolent, dreamy morning that the birds around seemed to take no note of his presence, and one of the large woodpeckers, with his scarlet head and green body brilliant in the sun, flew close by him and disappeared into the bushes opposite like a sudden gleam of color shot by a diamond.

"Next month," he was thinking to himself as he lay with his hands behind his head, not caring to shade his handsome and well-tanned face from the warm sun—"next month I shall be twenty-one, and most folks will consider me a man. Anyhow, I don't know the man whom I wouldn't fight or run or ride or shoot against for any wager he liked. But of all the people who know anything about me, just that one whose opinion I care for will not consider me a man at all, but only a boy. And that without saying anything. You can tell, somehow, by a mere look, what her feelings are; and you know that what she thinks is true. Of course it's true—I am only a boy. What's the good of me to anybody? I could look after a farm—that is, I could look after other people doing their work—but I couldn't do any work myself. And that seems to me what she is always looking at: 'What's the good of you, what are you doing, what are you busy about?' It's all very well for her to be busy, for she can do a hundred thousand things, and she is always at them. What can I do?"

Then his wandering day-dreamings took another turn: "It was an odd thing for Mabyn to say—'That is when you are in love with some one.' But those girls take everything for love. They don't know how you can admire, almost [pg 106] to worshiping, the goodness of a woman, and how you are anxious that she should be well and happy, and how you would do anything in the world to please her, without fancying straight away that you are in love with her, and want to marry her and drive about in the same carriage with her. I shall be quite as fond of Wenna Rosewarne when she is married, although I shall hate that little brute with his rum and his treacle. The cheek of him, in asking her to marry him, is astonishing. He is the most hideous little beast that could have been picked out to marry any woman, but I suppose he has appealed to her compassion, and then she'll do anything. But if there was anybody else in love with her, if she cared the least bit about anybody else, wouldn't I go straight to her and insist on her shunting that fellow aside? What claim has he on any other feeling of hers but her compassion? Why, if that fellow were to come and try to frighten her, and if I were in the affair, and if she appealed to me even by a look, then there would be short work with something or somebody."

He got up hastily, with something of a gloomy and angry look on his face. He did not notice that he had startled all the birds around from out of the bushes. He picked up his rod and line in a morose fashion, not seeming to care about adding to the half dozen small and red-speckled trout he had in his basket.

While he was thus irresolutely standing he caught sight of a girl's figure coming rapidly along the valley under the shadow of some ash trees growing by the stream. It was Wenna Rosewarne herself, and she seemed to be hurrying toward him. She was carrying some black object in her arms.

"Oh, Mr. Trelyon," she said, "what am I to do with this little dog? I saw him kicking in the road and foaming at the mouth; and then he got up and ran, and I caught him—"

Before she had time to say anything more the young man made a sudden dive at the dog, caught hold of him and turned and heaved him into the stream. He fell into a little pool of clear brown water: he spluttered and paddled there for a second, then he got his footing and scrambled across the stones up to the opposite bank, where he began shaking the water from his coat among the long grass.

"Oh, how could you be so disgracefully cruel?" she said, with her face full of indignation.

"And how could you be so imprudent?"' he said quite as vehemently. "Why, whose is the dog?"

"I don't know."

"And you catch up some mongrel little cur in the middle of the highway—He might have been mad."

"I knew he wasn't mad," she said: "it was only a fit; and how could you be so cruel as to throw him into the river?"

"Oh," said the young man, coolly, "a clash of cold water is the best thing for a dog that has a fit. Besides, I don't care what he had or what I did with him, so long as you are safe. Your little finger is of more consequence than the necks of all the curs in the country."

"Oh, it is mean of you to say that," she retorted warmly. "You have no pity for those wretched little things that are at every one's mercy. If it were a handsome and beautiful dog, now, you would care for that, or if it were a dog that was skilled in getting game for you, you would care for that."

"Yes, certainly," he said: "these are dogs that have something to recommend them."

"Yes, and every one is good to them: they are not in need of your favor. But you don't think of the wretched little brutes that have nothing to recommend them, that only live on sufferance, that every one kicks and despises and starves."

"Well," said he with some compunction, "look there! That new friend of yours—he's no great beauty, you must confess—is all right now. The bath has cured him. As soon as he's done licking his paws he'll be off home, wherever that may be. But I've always noticed that about you, Wenna: you're always on the side of things that are ugly and [pg 107] helpless and useless in the world; and you're not very just to those who don't agree with you. For after all, you know, one wants time to acquire that notion of yours—that it is only weak and ill-favored creatures that are worthy of the least consideration."

"Yes," she said rather sadly, "you want time to learn that."

He looked at her. Did she mean that her sympathy with those who were weak and ill-favored arose from some strange consciousness that she herself was both? His cheeks began to burn red. He had often heard her hint something like that, and yet he had never dared to reason with her or show her what he thought of her. Should he do so now?

"Wenna," he said, blushing hotly, "I can't make you out sometimes. You speak as if no one cared for you. Now, if I were to tell you—"

"Oh, I am not so ungrateful," she said hastily. "I know that two or three do; and—and, Mr. Trelyon, do you think you could coax that little dog over the stream again? You see he has come back again—he can't find his way home."

Mr. Trelyon called to the dog: it came down to the river's side, and whined and shivered on the brink.

"Do you care a brass farthing about the little beast?" he said to Wenna.

"I must put him on his way home," she answered.

Thereupon the young man went straight through the stream to the other side, jumping the deeper portions of the channel: he caught up the dog and brought it back to her; and when she was very angry with him for this mad performance, he merely kicked some of the water out of his trousers and laughed.

Then a smile broke over her face also. "Is that an example of what people would do for me?" she said shyly. "Mr. Trelyon, you must keep walking through the warm grass till your feet are dry; or will you come along to the inn, and I shall get you some shoes and stockings? Pray do, and at once. I am rather in a hurry."

"I'll go along with you, anyway," he said, "and put this little brute into the highway. But why are you in a hurry?"

"Because," said Wenna, as they set out to walk down the valley—"because my mother and I are going to Penzance the day after to-morrow, and I have a lot of things to get ready."

"To Penzance?" said he with a sudden falling of the face.

"Yes. She has been dreadfully out of sorts lately, and she has sunk into a kind of despondent state. The doctor says she must have a change—a holiday, really—to take her away from the cares of the house—"

"Why, Wenna, it's you who want the holiday—it's you who have the cares of the house," Trelyon said warmly.

"And so I have persuaded her to go to Penzance for a week or two, and I go with her to look after her. Mr. Trelyon, would you be kind enough to keep Rock for me until we come back? I am afraid of the servants neglecting him."

"You needn't be afraid of that: he's not one of the ill-favored—every one will attend to him," said Trelyon; and then he added, after a minute or two of silence, "The fact is, I think I shall be at Penzance also while you are there. My cousin Juliott is coming here in about a fortnight to celebrate the important event of my coming of age, and I promised to go for her. I might as well go now."

She said nothing.

"I might as well go any time," he said rather impatiently. "I haven't got anything to do. Do you know, before you came along just now, I was thinking what a very useful person you were in the world, and what a very useless person I was—about as useless as this little cur. I think somebody should take me up and heave me into a river. And I was wondering, too"—here he became a little more embarrassed and slow of speech—"I was wondering what you would say if I spoke to you, and gave you a hint that sometimes—that sometimes one might wish to cut this lazy life if one only knew how, and whether so very busy a person as yourself mightn't—don't you see?—give one some notion—some sort of hint, in fact—"

"Oh, but then, Mr. Trelyon," she said quite cheerfully, "you would think it very [pg 108] strange if I asked you to take any interest in the things that keep me busy. That is not a man's work. I wouldn't accept you as a pupil."

He burst out laughing. "Why," said he, "do you think I offered to mend stockings and set sums on slates and coddle babies?"

"As for setting sums on slates," she remarked with a quiet impertinence, "the working of them out might be of use to you."

"Yes, and a serious trouble too," he said candidly. "No, no—that cottage business ain't in my line. I like to have a joke with the old folks or a romp with the kids, but I can't go in for cutting out pinafores. I shall leave my mother to do my share of that for me; and hasn't she come out strong lately, eh? It's quite a new amusement for her, and it's driven a deal of that organ-grinding and stuff out of her head; and I've a notion some o' those parsons—"

He stopped short, remembering who his companion was; and at this moment they came to a gate which opened out on the highway, through which the small cur was passed to find his way home.

"Now, Miss Wenna," said the young man—"By the way, you see how I remember to address you respectfully ever since you got sulky with me about it the other day?"

"I am sure I did not get sulky with you, and especially about that," she remarked with much composure. "I suppose you are not aware that you have dropped the 'Miss' several times this morning already?"

"Did I, really? Well, then, I'm awfully sorry; but then you are so good-natured you tempt one to forget; and my mother she always calls you Wenna Rosewarne now in speaking to me, as if you were a little school-girl, instead of being the chief support and pillar of all the public affairs of Eglosilyan. And now, Miss Wenna, I sha'n't go down the road with you, because my damp boots and garments would gather the dust; but perhaps you wouldn't mind stopping two seconds here, and I'm going to go a cracker and ask you a question: What should a fellow in my position try to do? You see, I haven't had the least training for any one of the professions, even if I had any sort of capacity—"

"But why should you wish to have a profession?" she said simply. "You have more money than is good for you already."

"Then you don't think it ignominious," he said, with his face lighting up considerably, "to fish in summer and shoot in autumn and hunt in winter, and make that the only business of one's life?"

"I should if it were the only business, but it needn't be, and you don't make it so. My father speaks very highly of the way you look after your property; and he knows what attending to an estate is. And then you have so many opportunities of being kind and useful to the people about you that you might do more good that way than by working night and day at a profession. Then you owe much to yourself, because if every one began with himself, and educated himself, and became satisfied and happy with doing his best, there would be no bad conduct and wretchedness to call for interference. I don't see why you should be ashamed of shooting and hunting and all that, and doing them as well as anybody else, or far better, as I hear people say. I don't think a man is bound to have ambition and try to become famous: you might be of much greater use in the world, even in such a little place as Eglosilyan, than if you were in Parliament. I did say to Mrs. Trelyon that I should like to see you in Parliament, because one has a natural pride in any person one admires and likes very much, and one wishes—"

He saw the quick look of fear that sprang to her eyes—not a sudden appearance of shy embarrassment, but of absolute fear—and he was almost as startled by her blunder as she herself was. He hastily came to her rescue. He thanked her in a few rapid and formal words for her patience and advice; and, as he saw she was trying to turn away and hide the mortification visible on her face, he shook hands with her and let her go.

[pg 109]

Then he turned. He had been startled, it is true, and grieved to see the pain her chance words had caused her. But now a great glow of delight rose up within him, and he could have called aloud to the blue skies and the silent woods because of the joy that filled his heart. They were but chance words, of course. They were uttered with no deliberate intention: on the contrary, her quick look of pain showed how bitterly she regretted the blunder. Moreover, he congratulated himself on his rapid piece of acting, and assured himself that she would believe that he had not noticed that admission of hers. They were idle words: she would forget them. The incident, so far as she was concerned, was gone.

But not so far as he was concerned. For now he knew that the person whom, above all other persons in the world, he was most desirous to please, whose respect and esteem he was most anxious to obtain, had not only condoned much of his idleness out of the abundant charity of her heart, but had further, and by chance, revealed to him that she gave him some little share of that affection which she seemed to shed generously and indiscriminately on so many folks and things around her. He, too, was now in the charmed circle. He walked with a new pride through the warm, green meadows, his rod over his shoulder: he whistled as he went, or he sang snatches of "The Rose of Allandale." He met two small boys out bird's-nesting: he gave them a shilling apiece, and then inconsistently informed them that if he caught them then or at any other time with a bird's nest in their hands he would cuff their ears. Then he walked hastily home, put by his fishing-rod, and shut himself up in his study with half a dozen of those learned volumes which he had brought back unsoiled from school.



When Trelyon arrived late one evening at Penzance he was surprised to find his uncle's coachman awaiting him at the station: "What's the matter, Tobias? Is the old gentleman going to die? You don't mean to say you are here for me?"

"Yaäs, zor, I be," said the little old man with no great courtesy.

"Then he is going to die if he sends out his horse at this time o' night. Look here, Tobias: I'll put my portmanteau inside and come on the box to have a talk with you—you're such a jolly old card, you know—and you'll tell me all that's happened since I last enjoyed my uncle's bountiful hospitality."

This the young man did: and then the brown-faced, wiry and surly little person, having started his horse, proceeded to tell his story in a series of grumbling and disconnected sentences. He was not nearly so taciturn as he looked: "The maäster he went sün to bed to-night: 'twere Miss Juliott sent me to the station, without tellin' en. He's gettin' worse and worse, that's sure: if yü be for giving me half a crown, like, or any one that comes to the house, he finds it out and stops it out o' my wages: yes, he does, zor, the old fule!"

"Tobias, be a little more respectful to my uncle, if you please."

"Why, zor, yü knaw en well enough," said the man in the same surly fashion. "And I'll tell yü this, Maäster Harry, if yü be after dinner with en, and he has a bottle o' poort wine that he puts on the mantelpiece, and he says to yü to let that aloän, vor 'tis a medicine-zart o' wine, don't yü heed en, but have that wine. 'Tis the real old poort wine, zor, that yür vather gied en—the dahmned old pagan!"

The young man burst out laughing, instead of reprimanding Tobias, who maintained his sulky impassiveness of face.

"Why, zor, I be gardener now, too: yaäs I be, to save the wages. And he's gone clean mazed about that garden—yaäs, I think. Would yü believe this, Maäster Harry, that he killed every one o' the blessed strawberries last year with a lot o' wrack from the bache, because he said it wüd be as good for them as for the 'sparagus?"

[pg 110]

"Well, but the old chap finds amusement in pottering about the garden—" said Master Harry.

"The old fule!" repeated Tobias, in an under tone.

"And the theory is sound about the seaweed and the strawberries; just as his old notion of getting a green rose by pouring sulphate of copper in at the roots."

"Yaäs, that were another pretty thing, Maäster Harry, and he had the tin labels all printed out in French, and he waited and waited, and there bain't a fairly güde rose left in the garden. And his violet glass for the cucumbers: he burned en up to once, although 'twere fine to hear'n talk about the sunlight and the rays and such nonsenses. He be a strange mahn, zor, and a dahmned close'n with his penny-pieces, Christian and all as he calls his-sen. There's Miss Juliott, zor, she's go-in' to get married, I suppose; and when she goes no one 'll dare spake to 'n. Be yü going to stop long this time, Maäster Harry?"

"Not at the Hollies, Tobias. I shall go down to the Queen's to-morrow: I've got rooms there."

"So much the better—so much the better," said the frank but inhospitable retainer; and presently the jogtrot old animal between the shafts was pulled up in front of a certain square old-fashioned building of gray stone which was prettily surrounded with trees. They had arrived at the Rev. Mr. Penaluna's house, and there was a young lady standing in the light of the hall, she having opened the door very softly as she heard the carriage drive up.

"So here you are, Harry; and you'll stay with us the whole fortnight, won't you? Come in to the dining-room—I have some supper ready for you. Papa's gone to bed, and he desired me to give you his excuses, and he hopes you'll make yourself quite at home, as you always do, Harry."

He did make himself quite at home, for, having kissed his cousin and flung his topcoat down in the hall, he went into the dining-room and took possession of an easy-chair.

"Sha'n't have any supper, Jue, thank you. You won't mind my lighting a cigar—somebody's been smoking here already. And what's the least poisonous claret you've got?"

"Well, I declare!" she said, but she got him the wine all the same, and watched him light his cigar: then she took the easy-chair opposite.

"Tell us about your young man, Jue," he said. "Girls always like to talk about that."

"Do they?" she said. "Not to boys."

"I shall be twenty-one in a fortnight. I am thinking of getting married."

"So I hear," she remarked quietly.

Now he had been talking nonsense at random, mostly intent on getting his cigar well lit, but this little observation rather startled him. "What have you heard?" he said abruptly.

"Oh, nothing—the ordinary stupid gossip," she said, though she was watching him rather closely. "Are you going to stay with us for the next fortnight?"

"No, I have got rooms at the Queen's."

"I thought so. One might have expected you, however, to stay with your relations when you came to Penzance."

"Oh, that's all gammon, Jue," he said: "you know very well your father doesn't care to have any one stay with you—it's too much bother. You'll have quite enough of me while I am in Penzance."

"Shall we have anything of you?" she said with apparent indifference. "I understood that Miss Rosewarne and her mamma had already come here."

"And what if they have?" he said with unnecessary fierceness.

"Well, Harry," she said, "you needn't get unto a temper about it, but people will talk, you know; and they say that your attentions to that young lady are rather marked, considering that she is engaged to be married; and you have induced your mother to make a pet of her. Shall I go on?"

"No, you needn't," he said with a strong effort to overcome his anger. "You're quite right—people do talk, but they wouldn't talk so much if other people didn't carry tales. Why, it isn't like you, Jue! I thought you were another [pg 111] sort. And about this girl, of all girls in the world!"

He got up and began walking about the room, and talking with considerable vehemence, but no more in anger. He would tell her what cause there was for this silly gossip. He would tell her who this girl was who had been lightly mentioned. And in his blunt, frank, matter-of-fact way, which did not quite conceal his emotion, he revealed to his cousin all that he thought of Wenna Rosewarne, and what he hoped for her in the future, and what their present relations were, and then plainly asked her if she could condemn him.

Miss Juliott was touched: "Sit down, Harry: I have wanted to talk to you, and I don't mean to heed any gossip. Sit down, please—you frighten me by walking up and down like that. Now, I'm going to talk common sense to you, for I should like to be your friend; and your mother is so easily led away by any sort of sentiment that she isn't likely to have seen with my eyes. Suppose that this Miss Rosewarne—"

"No, hold hard a bit, Jue," he said imperatively. "You may talk till the millennium, but just keep off her, I warn you."

"Will you hear me out, you silly boy? Suppose that Miss Rosewarne is everything that you believe her to be. I'm going to grant that, because I'm going to ask you a question. You can't have such an opinion of any girl, and be constantly in her society, and go following her about like this, without falling in love with her. Now, in that case would you propose to marry her?"

"I marry her!" he said, his face becoming suddenly pale for a moment. "Jue, you are mad! I am not fit to marry a girl like that. You don't know her. Why—"

"Let all that alone, Harry: when a man is in love with a woman he always thinks he's good enough for her; and whether he does or not he tries to get her for a wife. Don't let us discuss your comparative merits: one might even put in a word for you. But suppose you drifted into being in love with her—and I consider that quite probable—and suppose you forgot, as I know you would forget, the difference in your social position, how would you like to go and ask her to break her promise to the gentleman to whom she is engaged?"

Master Harry laughed aloud in a somewhat nervous fashion: "Him? Look here, Jue: leave me out of it—I haven't the cheek to talk of myself in that connection—but if there was a decent sort of fellow whom that girl really took a liking to, do you think he would let that elderly and elegant swell out in Jamaica stand in his way? He would be no such fool, I can tell you. He would consider the girl first of all. He would say to himself, 'I mean to make this girl happy; if any one interferes, let him look out!' Why, Jue, you don't suppose any man would be frightened by that sort of thing?"

Miss Juliott did not seem quite convinced by this burst of scornful oratory. She continued quietly, "You forget something, Harry. Your heroic young man might find it easy to do something wild—to fight with that gentleman in the West Indies, or murder him, or anything like that, just as you see in a story—but perhaps Miss Rosewarne might have something to say."

"I meant if she cared for him," Trelyon said, looking down.

"Granting that also, do you think it likely your hot-headed gentleman would be able to get a young lady to disgrace herself by breaking her plighted word and deceiving a man who went away trusting in her? You say she has a very tender conscience—that she is so anxious to consult every one's happiness before her own, and all that. Probably it is true. I say nothing against her. But to bring the matter back to yourself—for I believe you're hot-headed enough to do anything—what would you think of her if you or anybody else persuaded her to do such a treacherous thing?"

"She is not capable of treachery," he said somewhat stiffly. "If you've got no more cheerful things to talk about, you'd better go to bed, Jue. I shall finish my cigar by myself."

[pg 112]

"Very well, then, Harry. You know your room. Will you put out the lamp when you have lit your candle?"

So she went, and the young man was left alone in no very enviable frame of mind. He sat and smoked while the clock on the mantelpiece swung its gilded boy and struck the hours and half hours with unheeded regularity. He lit a second cigar, and a third; he forgot the wine. It seemed to him that he was looking on all the roads of life that lay before him, and they were lit up by as strange and new a light as that which was beginning to shine over the world outside. New fancies seemed to awake with the new dawn. For himself to ask Wenna Rosewarne to be his wife! Could he but win the tender and shy regard of her eyes he would fall at her feet and bathe them with his tears. And if this wonderful thing were possible—if she could put her hand in his and trust to him for safety in all the coming years they might live together—what man of woman born would dare to interfere? There was a blue light coming in through the shutters. He went to the window: the topmost leaves of the trees were quivering in the cold air far up there in the clearing skies, where the stars were fading out one by one, and he could hear the sound of the sea on the distant beach, and he knew that across the gray plain of waters the dawn was breaking, and that over the sleeping world another day was rising that seemed to him the first day of a new and tremulous life, full of joy and courage and hope.



In Rome, 1851; a cold, dreary day in December—one of those days in which a man's ambition seems to desert him entirely, leaving only its grinning skeleton to mock him. Depressing as was the weather to a man who had cheerfulness as a companion by which to repel its blustering attacks, and raise his mind above the despondency it was calculated to produce, how much more so to one whose hope had gone out as a flickering lamp in a sudden gust of wind, and the sharp steel of whose ambition had turned to pierce his own heart!

Such a man, on the day mentioned, was walking along the Via San Basilio. He was small in stature, poorly clad, and so thin, and even cadaverous, that the casual observer might have been under apprehension lest a gust of wind a little stronger than the average might blow him entirely away; yet his air and manner were proud and haughty, and what little evidences of feeling peered through the signs of dissipation too apparent on his naturally attractive face were those of genuine refinement. He was accompanied by a cicerone, or servant, as villainous-looking a fellow as one often meets, even in Italy, where an evil expression is so often seen stamped on handsome features.

Along the Via San Basilio the two men walked until they stood opposite the door of No. 51. Sacred ground this, and historical as well. Art had her votaries here, as the tourist of to-day will find she still has, at whose shrines pilgrims from afar and from near worshiped, and grew better and stronger for their ministrations. Crawford, then at the acme of his fame, had his constantly-thronged studio in the immediate vicinity, while those at No. 51 embraced, among others, that of Tenerani, the famous Italian sculptor, whose work is always in such fine dramatic taste, although he never sacrifices his love and deep feeling of reverence for Nature, combining that with the most delightful charms of Greek art. Among this [pg 113] artist's most noted works will be remembered his "Descent from the Cross," which tourists visiting the Torlonia chapel in the Lateran never gaze upon without a thrill. The house was owned and also occupied by Bienaimé, a French sculptor who afterward became famous.

In the immediate vicinity stands the famous Palazzo Barberini, begun by Urban VIII. (Maffeo Barberini), who sat in the pontifical chair from 1623 to 1644, and finished by Bernini in 1640. This palace contains many paintings of historical interest by Raphael, Titian, Guido, Claude and others. The one by the first-mentioned artist is a Fornarina, and bears the autograph of the painter on the armlet. But the picture that attracts the most attention here is one of world-wide reputation, copies, engravings and photographs of which are everywhere to be met with—Guido's Beatrice Cenci. A great divergence of opinion, as is well known, exists in regard to the portrait. It bears the pillar and crown of the Colonnas, to which family it probably belonged. According to the family tradition, it was taken on the night before her execution. Other accounts state that it was painted by Guido from memory after he had seen her on the scaffold. Judging from the position in which the poor girl's head is represented, one would more readily give credence to the latter story, and think the artist's memory had preserved her look and position as she turned her head for a last look at the brutal, bellowing crowd behind.

In the piazza of the palace is a very beautiful fountain, utilized by one of the oldest Roman statues, representing a faun blowing water from a conch-shell.

But we must return to the Via San Basilio, and the two wayfarers we left standing in front of No. 51. After gazing a moment at the number to assure themselves that they were right, they entered, and knocked at the first door, which was opened by the occupant of the apartment. He was an artist and a man of very marked characteristics. Seven years later Hawthorne wrote as follows of him: "He is a plain, homely Yankee, quite unpolished by his many years' residence in Italy. He talks ungrammatically; walks with a strange, awkward gait and stooping shoulders; is altogether unpicturesque, but wins one's confidence by his very lack of grace. It is not often that we see an artist so entirely free from affectation in his aspect and deportment. His pictures were views of Swiss and Italian scenery, and were most beautiful and true. One of them, a moonlight picture, was really magical—the moon shining so brightly that it seemed to throw a light even beyond the limits of the picture; and yet his sunrises and sunsets, and noontides too, were nowise inferior to this, although their excellence required somewhat longer study to be fully appreciated."

After this introduction by our sweet and quaint romancer, the reader will hardly need be told that the two strangers stood in the presence of America's now illustrious artist, George L. Brown. But one seeing him then, as he stood almost scowling at the two strangers, would hardly have idealized him into the artist whose pencil has done so much of late years to give American art a distinctive name through his poetical delineations of the rare, sun-tinted atmosphere that hovers over Italian landscapes. However, our apology for him must be that the day was raw and blustering, and that he had no sooner caught sight of the men through his window, as they hesitatingly entered the door, than his suspicions were aroused.

The Italian acted as spokesman, and inquired if there were any rooms to let in the building. Brown, thinking this the easiest way of ridding himself of the visitors, went in search of the landlord, who came, and after a moment's conversation the whole party entered the studio, much to its owner's displeasure.

The cicerone did most of the talking, though now and then the other made a remark or two in broken Italian. But this was only for the first few moments. He soon became oblivious of all save art, of which one could see at a glance he was passionately fond. One of Mr. Brown's pictures—a large one he was then engaged on—particularly attracted [pg 114] his attention. He drew closer and closer to the canvas, examining it with a minuteness that showed the connoisseur, and finally remarked: "It is very fine in color, sir, and the atmosphere is delicious. Why have I not heard of you before?" examining the corner of the canvas for the artist's name, but speaking in a tone and with an air that gave Brown the impression he was indulging in the random flattery so current in studios. So, ignoring the question, he asked with a slight shrug of the shoulders, "Are you an artist?"

"I paint a little," was the reply, with an air of modesty which Brown mistook for the bashful half-assertion of some daubing amateur.

Just then the cicerone came forward and announced that the bargain was completed and the room ready for occupancy.

"I shall be happy—no, happy is not a good word for me—I shall be glad to see you in my studio when I have moved in, and perhaps you may see some things to please you."

So saying, the stranger departed, leaving Brown not a whit better impressed with him than at first.

The next morning the two called again, when the gentleman made an examination of the room selected the day before, having met Mr. Brown in the hall-way and invited him in. On entering, the new occupant took from his pocket a piece of chalk and a compass and made a number of circles and figures on the floor to determine when the sun would shine in the room. Brown watched him with a certain degree of curiosity and amusement, and finally, concluding he was half crazy, returned to his own studio.

The next day the cicerone called alone to see about some repairs, when Brown hailed him: "Buono giorno. Che è questo?" ("Good-day. Who is that?")

"Non sapete?" ("Don't you know?"), was the Italian's response. "Why, that is the celebrated Brullof."

Brown started as though shot. First there flashed through his brain the remembrance of how cavalierly he had treated the distinguished artist, and then a quick panorama of his recent history, which had been the gossip of studios and art-circles for some time back. "I must go to him," he said, "and apologize for not treating him with more deference."

"Non, signore," was the cicerone's response. "Never mind: let it rest. He is a man of the world, and pays little heed to such things. Besides, he is so overwhelmed with his private griefs that he has probably noticed no slight."

However, when the great Russian artist took possession of his studio his American brother of the pencil made his apology, and received this response; "Don't waste words on so trivial a matter. Do I not court the contempt of a world that I despise to my heart's core? Say no more about it. Run in and see me when agreeable; and if you have no better callers than such a plaything of fate as I, maybe you will not refuse me occasional admittance."

The Russian artist now shunned notoriety as he had formerly courted it. Little is known of his history beyond mere rumor, and that only in artistic circles. He was born at St. Petersburg in 1799 or 1800, and gave himself to the study of art at an early age, becoming an especial proficient in color and composition. One of his most widely-known works is "The Last Days of Pompeii," which created great enthusiasm a quarter of a century ago. This, however, was painted during his career of dissipation, and its vivid coloring seemed to have been drawn from a soul morbid with secret woes and craving a nepenthe which never came.

The young artist was petted and idolized by the wealth and nobility of St. Petersburg, where he married a beautiful woman, and became court-painter to the czar Nicholas about the year 1830. For some years no couple lived more happily, and no artist swayed a greater multitude of fashion and wealth than he; but scandal began to whisper that the czar was as fond of the handsome, brilliant wife of the young court-painter as the cultivated people of St. Petersburg were of the husband's marvelously colored works; and when at last the fact became [pg 115] known to Brullof that the monarch who had honored him through an intelligent appreciation of art had dishonored him through a guilty passion for his wife, he left St. Petersburg, swore never again to set foot on Russian soil or be recognized as a Russian subject, and, plunging headlong into a wild career of dissipation, was thenceforth a wanderer up and down the continent of Europe.

It was when this career had borne its inevitable fruit, and he was but a mere wreck of the polished gentleman of a few years previous, that Brullof came to the Via San Basilio, where, as soon as the fact became known, visitors began to call. Among the first were the Russian ambassador and suite, who were driven up in a splendid carriage, with liveried attendants; but after the burly Italian had announced to his master who was in waiting, the door was closed, and with no message in return the representatives of the mightiest empire on the globe were left to withdraw with the best grace they could muster for the occasion. Similar scenes were repeated often during the entire Roman season. He saw but few of his callers—Russians, never.

The Russian and the American artists became quite intimate during the few months they were thrown together, and Mr. Brown has acknowledged that he owes much of the success of his later efforts to hints received from the self-exiled, dying Russian.

"Mr. Brown," he said on one occasion, while examining the picture on the artist's easel, "no one since Claude has painted atmosphere as you do. But you must follow Calamé's example, and make drawing more of a study. Draw from Nature, and do it faithfully, and with your atmosphere I will back you against the world. That is bad," pointing to the huge limb of a tree in the foreground: "it bulges both ways, you see. Now, Nature is never so. Look at my arm," speaking with increased animation, and suddenly throwing off his coat and rolling up his shirt-sleeve. "When you see a convexity, you will see concavity opposite. Just so in Nature, especially in the trunks and limbs of trees."

This criticism made such an impression on Brown that it decided him to go into more laborious work, and was the foundation of his habit of getting up at daybreak and going out to sketch rocks, trees and cattle, until he stands where he now does as a draughtsman.

The painting which Brullof had first admired, and which had induced him to compare Brown to Claude in atmospheric effects, was a view of the Pontine Marshes, painted for Crawford the sculptor, and now in possession, of his widow, Mrs. Terry, at Rome.

During this entire season the penuriousness exhibited by Brullof is one of the hardest phases of his character to explain. Though he was worth at least half a million of dollars, his meals were generally of the scantiest kind, purchased by the Italian cicerone, and cooked and eaten in his room. Yet a kindness would touch the hidden springs of his generosity as the staff of Moses did the rock of Horeb.

Toward the close of the Roman season, Brullof, growing more and more moody, and becoming still more of a recluse, painted his last picture, which showed how diseased and morbid his mind had become. He called it "The End of All Things," and made it sensational to the verge of that flexible characteristic. It represented popes and emperors tumbling headlong into a terrible abyss, while the world's benefactors were ascending in a sort of theatrical transformation-scene. A representation of Christ holding a cross aloft was given, and winged angels were hovering here and there, much in the same manner as coryphées and lesser auxiliaries of the ballet. A capital portrait of George Washington was painted in the mass of rubbish, perhaps as a compliment to Brown. In contradistinction to the portrait of Washington were seen prominently those of the czar Nicholas and the emperor Napoleon; the former put in on account of the artist's own private wrong, and the latter because at that time, just after the coup d'ètat, he was the execration of the liberty-loving world.

In the spring the Russian artist gave up [pg 116] his studio, and went down to some baths possessing a local reputation situated on the road to Florence, where he died very suddenly. Much mystery overhangs his last days, and absolutely no knowledge exists as to what became of his vast property. His cicerone robbed him of his gold watch and all his personal effects and disappeared. His remains lie buried in the Protestant burying-ground outside the walls of Rome, near the Porto di Sebastiano. His tomb is near that of Shelley and Keats, and the monument erected to his memory is very simple, his head being sculptured upon it in alto relievo, and on the opposite side an artist's palette and brushes.



The air was still o'er Bethlehem's plain,

As if the great Night held its breath,

When Life Eternal came to reign

Over a world of Death.

The pagan at his midnight board

Let fall his brimming cup of gold:

He felt the presence of his Lord

Before His birth was told.

The temples trembled to their base,

The idols shuddered as in pain:

A priesthood in its power of place

Knelt to its gods in vain.

All Nature felt a thrill divine

When burst that meteor on the night,

Which, pointing to the Saviour's shrine,

Proclaimed the new-born light—

Light to the shepherds! and the star

Gilded their silent midnight fold—

Light to the Wise Men from afar,

Bearing their gifts of gold—

Light to a realm of Sin and Grief—

Light to a world in all its needs—

The Light of life—a new belief

Rising o'er fallen creeds—

Light on a tangled path of thorns,

Though leading to a martyr's throne—

Light to guide till Christ returns

In glory to His own.

There still it shines, while far abroad

The Christmas choir sings now, as then,

"Glory, glory unto God!

Peace and good-will to men!"

ROME, Christmas, 1871.


[pg 117]


Hanging in my study is a noteworthy portrait, generally the first object observed by those who enter. It is an exquisite painting on glass, the work of Làng Quà, the best artist China has produced in our day, and it delineates the form and features of a singularly handsome young man. But it is the quaint Parsee garb that first attracts attention; and the weird romance that attaches to the history of the Fire-worshipers gives this work of art its real value, rather than its lines of beauty or the celebrity of the painter's name. This delicately-featured portrait may depict the countenance of Musaljee Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, the first-born son and heir of the late Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, baronet, of Bombay, India. That he really sat for this portrait I cannot, however, positively assert, since I obtained the painting from an English officer, who bought it of the artist, but had "forgotten the strange, outlandish name of the Indian nabob," as he said. It is certainly the portrait of a Parsee—true to the life in features and garb, and it bears a striking resemblance to the young Musaljee when about eighteen years of age. He was not then a personage of any great celebrity, though the worthy son of a most remarkable sire, the latter long known and honored in Europe for his liberal and enlightened charities, and especially for his munificent donations, that saved the lives of thousands of British subjects, during the terrible famines that occurred in India between the years 1840 and 1846. It was in grateful recognition of this noble philanthropy that Queen Victoria conferred upon him the honor of a baronetcy, sending out a nobleman to act as her proxy in the presentation of a sword which had been handled by more than one British monarch. Sir Jamsetjee was the first East Indian who ever received a title from a European sovereign. During the terrible famines alluded to he not only distributed daily from his own palace a plentiful supply of food to all who came, but he made also large donations of provisions to the English governor of Bombay for the supply of his starving troops. When, subsequently, pestilence followed in the footsteps of famine, this true-hearted philanthropist, overstepping all prejudices of creed and clan, built and endowed at his own expense a free hospital for the sick of all nations and religions. Temporary bamboo cottages at first received the sick till there was time for the erection of the present elegant structure, which is built in the Gothic style, and is capable of accommodating some six or eight hundred patients, besides nurses and attendants. The physicians have been from the beginning of the enterprise all English, as are many of the nurses, and the supplies in every department are the very best the country can furnish. Since the death of the noble founder, the son, who inherits his name and title, has continued to foster with loving devotion the institution which stands as a lasting monument of the fame and virtues of his illustrious sire. The conception of such a charity tells not only of a generous heart, but of far-reaching intelligence, while the energy and perseverance of both father and son in carrying on, year after year, so vast a system of benefactions, challenge our warmest admiration.

The name of the late Sir Jamsetjee stood for more than a score of years at the very head of the list of merchant-princes and ship-owners in Bombay, where he was born, and where his ancestors for many generations resided. He came of an old and wealthy family, who trace their genealogy back to the Parsee exodus of the eighth century; and it is said that the "sacred fire" has never once during all that time burned out upon their altar. Sir Jamsetjee himself, though probably faithful in the observance of the actual requirements of his [pg 118] creed, was assuredly less strict than the majority, and being a man of large intellect, cultivated mind and great independence of character, he did not hesitate to borrow from other nations any customs, institutions or inventions that might tend to the improvement of his own people. His stately mansion was built and furnished in European style; his children, even his daughters, were carefully educated in foreign as well as native lore; and his own associations were with refined and cultivated people, without any regard to their nation or creed. It was while visiting at his house, in familiar intercourse with his family, and with other Parsees of similar position, that I gleaned many items of interest concerning the history and practices of the Fire-worshipers. Other facts were added from time to time during several years of frequent association with these singular people, in whose glorious though unsuccessful struggles for home and liberty it is impossible not to feel an interest.

As a race, the Parsees are intelligent, active and energetic. With business capacities far above the average, they are usually successful in amassing wealth, while they are extremely benevolent in dispensing their gains for both public and private charities. For private benefactions they have, however, little call among themselves, since a Parsee pauper would be an unheard-of anomaly. Their style of living is princely but peculiar. In the reception-rooms of the wealthy—and most of the Parsees in the city of Bombay are wealthy—one finds a rather quaint mingling of Oriental luxury and European elegance—brightly-tinted Persian carpets placed in Eastern fashion over divans strewn with embroidered cushions and jewel-studded pillows, among which recline, with genuine Oriental indolence, some of the members of the family; while in another part of the same room half a dozen more may be grouped about a table of marble and rosewood, occupying velvet chairs that have traveled unmistakably from London or Paris. French mirrors and Italian statuettes may have for their vis-à-vis the exquisite mosaics, the massive gold vases and the costly bijouterie of the Orient, strewn so profusely around as to startle unaccustomed eyes; and a genuine Meissonier will be just as likely to be placed side by side with a Persian houri as anywhere else. The Parsees drive the finest Arab steeds, but on their equipages there is a more lavish display of ornament than we should deem quite in accordance with good taste. The same is true in regard to personal decoration. They wear immense quantities of costly jewelry, and nearly all their garments are of silk, generally richly embroidered in gold, and often with the addition of precious stones. Even little children wear only silk, infants from the very first being wrapped in long, loose robes of plain white silk that are gradually displaced by others more elaborate and costly; while the toilette of a Parsee lady in full evening-dress is often of the value of a hundred thousand rupees (or forty-five thousand dollars). The female costume consists of silk or cotton skirts gathered full round the waist, and long, loose robes of silk, lace or muslin, all more or less decorated according to the wealth of the wearer. The dress of the men is composed of trousers and shirts of white or colored silk and long caftans of muslin, with the addition of a fanciful little scarf fringed at the ends, and worn jauntily across one shoulder and under the other arm. Their caps are made of pasteboard covered with gay-colored silk, embroidered and studded with precious stones or pearls. The form of a Parsee's shirt is a matter of vital importance, both in regard to respectability and religion. It must have five seams, neither more nor less, and be made to lap on the breast exactly in a certain way. Both sexes wear around the body a double string, which they loosen when at prayer, and which a Parsee is never, under any circumstances, permitted to dispense with. No engagement or business transaction is legally binding if by any chance this talismanic cord was left off by either party when the contract was made. The cord is first placed on children when they have completed their [pg 119] ninth year, and this serves to mark the most important epoch of their lives. Before the investiture the eating of food with Christians or heathen does not defile the juvenile Parsee, and girls may even go about in public with their fathers; but after the bestowal of the sacred cord the girls must be kept in seclusion and the boys eat only with their own people.

Only the most liberal Parsees will permit those of other creeds to eat under the same roof with themselves, and even these never eat at the table with their guests. The table is first covered for the visitors, and they are waited on with the utmost assiduity, often by the members of the family in addition to the servants. When the guests leave the board not only is the cloth changed, but the table itself is washed before being recovered: salts, castors and other similar articles are all emptied and washed, and the table newly laid in every particular. Small flat cakes are distributed round the board to do service as plates, and the various dishes arranged in the centre within reach of all. The family then wash hands and faces and the father says a short prayer, after which all take their seats and the meal begins. Neither knives nor forks are used, but the meat is torn from the bones with the fingers only, and with the left hand each one dips, from time to time, bread, meat or vegetables into the broth or gravy as he wishes, and then tosses it into his mouth, without allowing his fingers to touch his lips. This requires some dexterity, and children are not permitted at the family board till they have learned thus to acquit themselves. If, however, the fingers of any one, child or adult, should chance to come in contact with the lips, though ever so slightly, he is required to leave the table instantly and perform his ablutions over again, or else to take the dish from which he was eating to himself, and touch no other during the meal. In drinking they exercise the same caution, adroitly throwing the liquid into the mouth or throat without touching the lips with the cup or glass. The left hand is the one with which food is always taken; and the reason assigned is, that the right, having of necessity to perform most labor, is more frequently brought in contact with things unclean.

I once made a voyage with an American lady and gentleman in a Bombay ship that was owned and commanded by a wealthy Parsee merchant, though the real sailing-master and mate were Englishmen. Our party ate at one table, and the Parsee nabob had his own in solitary state. I was then quite a youthful wife, and, as my husband was not of the party, the Parsee supposed me unmarried, and overwhelmed me with the most gallant attentions, among which were frequent invitations to our party to dine in his cabin. But, though he would stand at my side all the time I was eating, fill my cup or glass with his own hands, and urge me to partake of certain dishes that were favorites of his own, nothing could induce him to eat or drink in our presence, even after we had left the table. And I learned afterward that the costly service of rare china, silver and glass from which we had eaten and drunk at his table, though carefully laid aside, was never again used by the owner. One evening, as we sat on the upper deck inhaling the balmy air, he invited me to smoke. Of course I declined, and when he insisted I told him that it was contrary to the customs of good society in our country for ladies to use tobacco in any form. He laughed heartily, and said, "Did you suppose I would ask a lady to pollute her fragrant breath and dewy lips with so foul a thing as vile tobacco? Taste and see." He brought his splendid hookah, which I found filled with the "fragrant spices of Araby" perfumed with attar of roses, while a long slender tube rested in a vessel of rose-water at my feet; and the fumes were certainly as agreeable as harmless. But this, my first experiment in smoking, cost my Parsee friend three hundred dollars, the estimated value of his gold-mounted hookah, with its complicated array of tubes and vessels of the same precious metal, none of which he durst ever use again.

[pg 120]

As we sat chatting together in the bright moonlight our ears were suddenly greeted by the sound of sweet music—wild, unearthly melody that seemed to rise from the very depths of the ocean just below our feet. At first it was only a soft trill or a subdued hum, as of a single voice: then followed what seemed a full chorus of voices of enchanting sweetness. Presently the melody died away in the distance, only, however, to burst forth anew after a brief interval. All the time we were being regaled with the music we could see nothing to enlighten us as to its source, and were inclined to pronounce it a trick played by our fun-loving sailing-master. He, however, denied all agency in the matter, but counseled us to "keep a close look-out on the lee bow" if we wanted to see a mermaid. We had noticed a sort of thrilling motion on the lower deck, not unlike the sensation produced by the charge of an electro-galvanic battery; and this, the Parsee captain gravely assured us, was the mermaids' dance, and their efforts to drag down our ship. "But I'll catch one of them yet—see if I don't," he said energetically as he caught up something from the deck and ran forward, and was presently, with two of the Lascars, leaning over the bow. Half an hour afterward he returned, and with a merry laugh laid in my lap two little brown fish, informing me that they were singing-fish, and that the music we had heard had been produced by shoals of these tiny vocalists then clinging to the bottom of our ship. Our Parsee friend told me that the Arabs and Persians always speak of the singing-fish as "tiny women of the sea;" but he had never heard our version of their long hair, and their twining it about hapless sailors to drag them down to their coral caverns beneath the ocean's wave. He showed me how to preserve the fish by drying in the sun after repeated anointings with an aromatic oil, which he gave me for the purpose; and I have still in my cabinet these two specimens as a reminder of the incident.

The manner in which the Parsees dispose of their dead seems to us too shocking to be tolerated by a people so gentle and refined. But they have grown familiar with a custom that, generation after generation, has been observed by their race till it has ceased to be repugnant. They call it "consigning the dead to the element of air." For this purpose they have roofless enclosures, the walls of which are twenty-five or thirty feet high, and within are three biers—one each for men, women and children. Upon these the bodies of the dead are laid, and fastened down with chains or iron bands. Presently birds of prey, so numerous within the tropics and always waiting to devour, pounce upon the corpse and quickly tear the flesh from the bones, while the skeleton remains intact. This is afterward deposited in a pit dug within the same enclosure, and which remains open till completely filled up with bones; after which another is dug, and when the enclosure can conveniently contain no more pits a new one is selected and prepared. None but priests and bearers of the dead may enter, or even look into, these walled cemeteries. The priests, by virtue of their holy office, are preserved from defilement, but the bearers are men set apart for this express purpose, and they are considered so unclean that they may not enter under the roof of any other Parsee or salute him on the street. If in passing a bearer do but touch one's clothes accidentally, he is subject to a heavy fine, while he who has been thus contaminated must bathe his entire person and burn every article of raiment he wore at the time of his defilement.

I was anxious to visit one of their temples, but this, Sir Jamsetjee assured me, was impossible, as none but the initiated are allowed even to approach the entrance, still less to get a glimpse of what is passing within. He, however, volunteered the information that, so far as the sanctuary itself was concerned, there was little to be seen, only naked walls, bare floors, and an altar upon which burns the sacred fire brought with the Parsees from Persia, and which, he said, had never been extinguished since it was kindled by Zoroaster from the sun four thousand years ago. Of the form of service I could [pg 121] not induce the baronet to speak, but I learned afterward from my ship-friend that the altar is enclosed by gratings, within which none but the priest may enter. He goes in every day to tend "the eternal fire," when he must remain for the space of an hour, repeating certain invocations, with a bundle of rods in his hand to repel any unclean spirits that should venture to approach the sacred fire. Meanwhile, the assembled multitudes prostrate themselves without and offer up their silent adoration. "Yet, after all," musingly said the Parsee, "the universe is the throne of the invisible God, of whom fire is but the emblem, and we worship Him most acceptably with our eyes fixed on the east when the sun rides forth at morning in his celestial chariot of fire." This form of worship those curious in such matters may see on any bright morning at Bombay, where whole crowds of Parsee men, women and children rush out at sunrise to greet the king of day and offer up their morning oblations. I was not surprised at the avowed preference of my Parsee friends for out-door worship, since it is well known that the ancient Persians not only permitted few temples to be erected to their gods, and held in abhorrence all painted and graven images, but they laid it to the charge of the Greeks, as a daring impiety, that "they shut up their gods in shrines and temples, like puppets in a cabinet, when all created things were open to them and the wide world was their dwelling-place." It was probably religious zeal, even more than revenge against the Greeks, that induced the burning of the temple at Athens by Xerxes, led on, as he may have been, by the fanatical zeal of the Magi who accompanied him.

Plutarch speaks of the Persians, in common with the Chaldeans and Egyptians, as worshipers of the sun under the name of Mithra, whom they regarded as standing between Ormuzd, "the author of good," and Ahriman, "the author of evil," occupied alternately in aiding the former and subduing the latter. So do the Parsees of our own day regard him; and their only hope for the ultimate triumph of Ormuzd is in constant sacrifices and prayers and propitiatory offerings to the sun as the fire that is to burn out and utterly consume all evil from our earth. Fire is to the Parsees now, as it has ever been, the holiest of all holy things, carried about by princes and great men for safety; by warriors, as that which is to give them the victory over their foes; and by all, as their sole and ever-present deity. Sir Jamsetjee assured me that the intelligent Parsees regard the sun and fire as only the symbols that are to remind them of the God they worship. But there can be no doubt that the mass of the Parsees literally worship the sun and the "sacred fire;" and hence arise the utter repugnance many of them have to celebrating their religious rites within closed walls, and the decided preference ever shown for out-door worship. I have often heard them say that the Fire-god shows his aversion to confinement by drooping when he is shut up, and growing vigorous just in proportion as free scope is given him. The sun appears everywhere on the shields and armor of the ancient Persians, as on some of the old-time monuments that have come down to us; while occasionally Mithra is depicted as a youthful hero, with high Persian cap, his knee on a prostrate bull, into whose heart he seems plunging a dagger—symbolically, "the power of evil" in complete subjection to the victorious sun, and about to be for ever annihilated.

Zoroaster (called by the Persians Zerduscht) was not, the Parsees say, the founder of their sect, but only the reviser and perfecter of the system as it now exists among them. Living in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, he was the contemporary, probably an associate, of the prophet Daniel. Before the advent of this reformer the Magi acknowledged two great First Causes—i.e., the light and the darkness, the former the author of all good, the latter of every evil, moral and physical—and these they believed were at perpetual war with each other. Zoroaster taught, as he may have learned from Daniel, that there was One [pg 122] greater still, who created both the light and the darkness, making both to subserve His own will. He also inculcated the duty of building temples for the preservation of the sacred fire from storm and tempest, when "by sudden extinction of the light the powers of darkness do gain often a signal victory." The Parsees hold in supreme veneration the name of Zoroaster as the most noted of all their Magi for wisdom and virtue. They believe that the sacred fire was lighted by him miraculously from the sun—that it has burned steadily ever since, and can never go out till it has consumed all evil from the earth and the good has become universally triumphant. They claim also that from the reforms wrought by Zoroaster there was never the slightest change in any of their observances until about twelve centuries ago, when Persia was overrun and conquered by the Mohammedan Arabs. But not the fiercest persecution could induce the Fire-worshipers to change their religion for that of the Koran. Preferring liberty and their altars in a foreign land to the alternative of apostasy or persecution at home, the aboriginal Persian inhabitants fled to other lands, settling immense colonies in Surat and Bombay, where their descendants form in our day a large and valuable element of the population. Their integrity, industry and enterprise are proverbial all over the East; and while they live strictly apart from all other races, the Parsees are never wanting in sympathy and help for those who need them. Dwelling amid nations who are almost universally destitute of veracity, the Parsees are eminently truthful; surrounded by polygamists and sensualists, they maintain habits of purity and virtue; and accustomed to every-day association with those who make a boast of cheating, my memory fails to recall the case of a single Fire-worshiper who was not strictly upright and honorable in his dealings.

Commencing with the worship of the sun, and of fire as his emblem, the Parsee grew into a sort of reverence for the elements of air, earth and water. The air must not be contaminated by foul odors, and of necessity no filth could be tolerated anywhere in house, street or suburb; and to this reverence for the purity of the atmosphere may be traced the absolute cleanliness for which Fire-worshipers are everywhere noted. As the earth must receive no defilement, the Parsees would deem it sacrilege to deposit therein their dead for corruption and decay; and hence have doubtless originated their strange rites of sepulture, as they believe that the body is thus more readily and rapidly reduced to its original elements. Streams of water, even the tiniest rivulets, are deemed too holy to be desecrated by washing or spitting in them, and still less would they make the water the receptacle of offal of any sort. To each of these elements, as well as to the fire, the Parsees still make oblations on their high-days. It is true that their ceremonies now are less imposing than those described by Xenophon, when a thousand head of cattle were immolated at a single festival, four beautiful bulls presented to Jupiter, or the sky, and a magnificent chariot, drawn by white horses crowned with flowers and wearing a golden yoke, was offered to the sun; while the king in his chariot was escorted by princes and great nobles, two thousand spearmen marching on either side, and three hundred sceptre-bearers, armed with javelins and mounted on splendidly-caparisoned horses, bringing up the rear. But those jubilant days have passed: the Fire-worshipers are in exile, and have no king to lead them, either in battle against their foes or in triumphal processions in honor of their gods. Yet is Parseeism not dead, nor even on the decrease. Sacrifices, numerous and costly, are still piled upon their altars, the finest cattle are dedicated to their gods, the flesh being cut up and roasted for the people, while the Magi cast the caul and a portion of the fat into the fire as emblematic of the souls of the victims being imbibed by the gods, while the grosser portions are rejected.

The sacrifices and those who offer them are always crowned with flowers, but the pontifical robes of the Magi, though of pure white silk, are severely [pg 123] plain in style and utterly devoid of ornament. In their lives the Magi claim to practice a rigid asceticism, making the earth their bed and subsisting wholly on fruit, vegetables and bread, besides submitting to frequent painful penances from fasting, scourging and the endurance of fatiguing exercises. "Wine, women and flesh" they are commanded to eschew as "special abominations to those who aspire to minister before the gods." The most remarkable feast of the ancient Parsees was one called by them the "sack-feast." On the appointed day a condemned malefactor was clothed in royal robes, seated on a kingly throne and the sceptre of regal power placed in his hand. Princes and people bowed the knee in mock homage before this king of a day, and he was suffered to glut his appetite with all manner of sensual delights till the sun went down, and then he was cruelly beaten with rods, and forthwith executed. (Were the crown and sceptre, the purple robe and mock reverence, that were the antecedents of the Redeemer's crucifixion, a reproduction of this barbarous custom?) The modern Parsees, though recognizing this feast as a legitimate part of their worship, say that they have not observed it since their flight from Persia in the eighth century, because since then, being under a foreign yoke, they have had no jurisdiction over human life, and durst not sacrifice even those who chanced to be in their power. This may be one reason for the renunciation of this barbarous practice of the olden time, but there has been wonderful progress in civilization during the last twelve hundred years; and certain it is that scenes of cruelty that suited the ferocious tastes of the eighth century could not possibly be repeated in the nineteenth.




It is not so magnificent as the Scala and San Carlo, and still, after seeing both those famous theatres, I must confess I preferred that of Carlstad to either. It is small and different in form from the generality: it reminded me, in fact, of a hall in a certain New England town where I used to go to the panorama as a child. There was a gallery like that in which the men and boys sat who tramped the loudest and kissed their hands, to the confusion of their neighbors, when the lights were turned down to enhance the effect of the burning of Moscow; only, at my panorama the gallery was unfashionable on account of the noisy male element, whereas at Carlstad it was the dress-circle. We—a party of Americans, the only foreigners in the house that night—occupied orchestra-stalls, as I presume the two or three front benches in the parquet may be called. There was a white cape in our vicinity, as well as one in the balcony; so our seats were probably as fashionable as those in the first and only circle; but behind us, stretching out to the doors and in under the gallery, was a dense mass unrelieved by opera-cloaks of any description; and that was the region of the unpretending—-of those who came simply to enjoy, to see and not to be seen.

As we spent a good part of a day at Carlstad, I should, perhaps, relate something more of the place than merely how we went to the theatre there; but that delightful evening effaced all other impressions, and after the interval that has since elapsed Fleur de Thé and our commissioner are the only things that have retained somewhat of their original savor.

The railway from Stockholm to Christiania ceased at Carlstad on Lake [pg 124] Wener, which gave us a day's drive to Arvika to strike the track again; and while we stood consulting where we were to get carriages, and whether we should go directly on, there came up a flourishing specimen of the genus valet de place, who took possession of us and laid out a plan that he had apparently prepared over night for our especial benefit. It is a way those persons have, and one that gives them a tremendous advantage over travelers weakened by a long journey, that they act as if they were there by appointment to meet you, or as if you had telegraphed precisely what you wished to do, and they were merely carrying out your intentions. "You want to go to the Black Eagle Hotel: I take you there. You would like to dine: you can have dinner at the hotel, or I shall show you a nice restaurant." We had not expected to find a member of the great European brotherhood just there in a little town in the heart of Sweden, and, taken unawares, fell an easy prey. However, they do not invariably succeed in that way: sometimes, if their officiousness is excessive, their English very exasperating and the traveler a little fractious as well as tired, they get the tables turned on them. A lady just arrived at Genoa, when halfway to the hotel with one of these persuasive personages snatched her bag out of his hand and walked into the rival albergo because he said with an aggravating accent, "I sall get you a ticket for de steam-er." "No you sha'n't, either: I have got it myself," she said; and so they parted company, to his infinite amazement. My friend—it was a friend of mine—turned back, on second thoughts, to offer the man something for having carried her belongings, but he put on offended dignity and declared that he didn't want her money. She was rather sorry afterward that he didn't do violence to his feelings and take it; and so, no doubt, was he.

Our Carlstad commissioner beguiled the length of the way to the inn, at which we were a little inclined to grumble, by pointing out everything of note in our walk through the town. We had been reading up in the train, and knew that Carlstad was the capital of a district, had five thousand inhabitants, and was nearly destroyed by fire in 1865; but he, a son of the place, and seeing in his mind's eye its rising glory when the railroad should be completed, did not let us off with that. We had to look and admire just where he told us. "Wide streets," he would say in his finely-chopped English. "Houses all very high—new since the fire. See here! there's the telegraph-office."

At which, to answer in the style he understood best, we must have responded, "Oh, I say! Well. Very good! All right!"

"You shall go to the theatre if you want to," he remarked at last, in that sweet, protecting way peculiar to his class from the habitual confounding of can, shall and will, and that put us into good humor directly. To go to the theatre would be just the thing.

"Oh yes, everybody goes," he said. It was a Danish company—very good actors—very pretty piece; but we rather expected to care more for the everybody than either the piece or the actors; and so it proved.

We went early, and established ourselves in the orchestra-stalls, as already stated, while our guardian accepted an unpretending seat for himself, where he remained in readiness to tow us home after the performance. And then the spectators began to come in, and positively some of the very people who used to be at the panorama. I know there was a lady in front of me, in Mechanic Hall, who wore her hair in just such a little knot—pug is, I think, the classic name for that coiffure—and her dress cut as low in the throat and adorned with precisely such a self-embroidered collar as the lady rejoiced in who occupied the seat before me at the theatre. That she was one of the fashionables of Carlstad could be seen in the lofty pose of that pug, and in the curious structure of ribbon and lace that sat astride of it and hung down at each side. Her husband, a small, rather dried-up gentleman, had the look of a town oracle who was oppressed at home, and her daughter [pg 125] was one of the prettiest girls in the house. The overgrown boy, the son and heir, was not pretty: he sat beside his sister and kept nudging her. I could not exactly understand what he said in Swedish, but I know it must have been of this nature: "There's Jim Davis over there. Look, sister, look!"

Sister only glanced at him with a reproving air of "Don't push me so," and then gazed steadfastly in the other direction; but she was not left long in peace. Tom's elbow began again in a minute: "He's looking right at you, all the time. You'd better turn round and bow to him." And the color would creep up in her cheeks, do all she could to prevent it, so that she had to lean across mamma and say something to her father, just so as not to bow to Mr. Davis, which would have been such a simple thing to do, after all.

Everybody who came in nodded and spoke to everybody else, and then shook hands across the seats; and we felt quite out of our element under the inquiring but superior glances that fell to our lot. It was all very well for us to make our little observations and smile at each other on the sly: we had the consciousness all the while of not belonging to the first society in Carlstad, and of being viewed as intruders in that select circle.

We had been studying one family party after another as the seats filled around us, for the audience collected by families, when, with a little rustle and stir attending her progress, and a whispering behind her as she advanced, the Bride appeared, for she had arrived from Stockholm by our train. It was the first time any one had seen her since she started on the wedding-tour, and the bows and smiles she dealt out on every side were not to be numbered. Our pretty girl got one—they were school-friends—and the horrid boy another, which he barely answered with a solemn nod of his head, being as shy of her, apparently, in her blue silk and white cape, as his sister was of Mr. Davis. It was really a very pretty dress of the Bride's, and one that made our traveling costumes look uncommonly shabby: it was taken up behind in the approved style, and only needed a bustle to have been truly effective. Doubtless she had seen plenty of those articles in Stockholm, only her husband said, "I hope, dear, you will never put on one of those horrid things;" and she told him certainly not if he did not like them; but I think she found afterward she needed one for that blue dress, and sent for it at the first opportunity. The young husband was not got up for show, knowing very well that no one would mind him, but he looked beamingly happy; and if he was not in a dress-coat with a flower in his buttonhole, like the habitués of the Comédie Française or the Italiens, he understood how they use an opera-glass there. The glass was a new acquisition that he had brought home with him, and after practicing with it at the Royal Theatre in the capital, he was fully prepared to stand up between the acts, with his arm behind him in a negligently graceful attitude, and study the balcony. His acquaintances there must have found it rather embarrassing, for it was not a usual thing in Carlstad to look at one's friends through an opera-glass: he was the only person who did it, and they probably all talked about it when they went home.

We were so occupied with our surroundings that we hardly thought of the piece, though it was given with considerable spirit, if I remember rightly. The sailors were fine, jolly tars, and the Chinese ladies and gentlemen toddled about in flowered dressing-gowns and talked with their thumbs, as it would appear the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire usually do; but the house did not allow itself to be betrayed into unseemly enthusiasm. There was an involuntary laugh now and then, and once somebody said bravo, but as a general thing a discreet reticence prevailed, and the actors might have gone through the piece on their heads in an extravagant desire to elicit signs of approval: they would only have received a cool little round of applause when the curtain fell.

We, at all events, had no hesitation in telling the commissioner that we had enjoyed ourselves immensely; and so, [pg 126] it appeared, had he. He was even bold enough to call it a very fine company, and as we walked back to the hotel at half-past nine in broad daylight, he told us what they were going to play the next evening, possibly in the hope that we should stay for it and he should get another seat. That was out of the question, however, sorry as we were to disappoint him. He had to tuck us into the carriage the following day, and let us drive away and leave him bereft of his charges. "You shall have a good ride," were his parting words, kind and fatherly as he was to the last; and so we had. But we found no one again to care for us so tenderly as our old friend, nor did any one take us to the theatre throughout the remainder of the journey. G.H.


It is years since so lovely an autumn as that of 1874 has been seen in Europe: people say not since the last great comet year, and they credit the erratic visitor of last summer with the exceptional beauty of the weather. As in the case of other marked comet years, the vintages of which still bring extraordinary prices, Italy has had exceptionally fine harvests of all kinds this year. The grain has been abundant, the vintage has been superb, the olives have escaped the danger of unseasonable frosts, and the still more important crop of foreigners seems to be pretty well assured. The charming weather in October and November made the interesting blossoms sprout plentifully; and boat-loads and train-loads came in with an abundance promising an unusually fine winter for la bella Italia. Venice, indeed, may be said to have pretty well housed her crop in this kind already. It has been a magnificent one, and the Queen of the Adriatic admits that due homage has been done to her. The forestieri season sets in earlier in her case than in her sister cities. The real "Carnival de Venice" is in August, September and October now-a-days, let the calendar say what it may. Some flaunting of gaudy-colored calico, some dancing on the Piazza of St. Mark, there may be on the eve of Lent in obedience to old usages, but the dancing that really glads the Italian heart is the dancing for which the forestiere pays the piper, and the true Lenten time is that when his beneficent presence is wanting.

Venice, then, has already brought her Carnival to a conclusion; and it has been a splendid one. English, Americans, Germans, all came in shoals—all thronged the galleries, the churches and the palaces in the morning, sauntered or bathed on the outer shore of the Lido in the afternoon, and met at Florian's in the evening. "What is Florian's?" will be asked by those who have never been at Venice—by some such, at least. For probably the fame of the celebrated caffè may have traveled across the Atlantic, just as many who have never crossed it westward are no strangers to the name of Delmonico. Florian's, however, in any case, deserves a word of recognition. It is the principal, largest and most fashionable caffè on the Piazza di San Marco. But the singular and curious specialty of the place is that it has never been closed—no, not for five minutes—day or night, for a period of more than a hundred and thirty years! Probably it is the only human habitation of any sort on the face of the globe of which that could be said.

But the caffè in itself is in many respects a specialty of Venetian life, and has been so since the days of Goldoni. The readers of his comedies, so abundantly rich in local coloring, will not have failed to observe that the caffè plays a larger part in the life of Venice than is the case in any other city. Probably no Venetian passes a single day without visiting once at least, if not oftener, his accustomed caffè. Men of business write their letters and arrange their meetings there. Men of pleasure know that they shall find their peers there. Mere loafers take their seats there, and gaze at the stream of life, as it flows past them, for hours together. And, most marked specialty of all, Venice is the only city in Italy where the native female aristocracy frequents the caffè. Indeed, I know no place in all the Peninsula where so large an amount of Italian beauty may be seen [pg 127] as among the fashionable crowd at Florian's on a brilliant midsummer moonlight night.

Venice is of all the cities in the world the one which those who have never seen it know best. The peculiarities of it are so marked and so unlike anything else in the world, and the graphic representations of every part of the city are so numerous and so admirably accurate, that every traveler finds it to be exactly what he was prepared to see, and can hardly fancy that he sees the Queen of the Adriatic for the first time. I may therefore assume, perhaps, that my readers are acquainted with the appearance of that most matchless of city spaces, the Piazza di San Marco. They will readily call to mind the long series of arcades that form the two long sides of the parallellogram which has the gorgeous front of St. Mark's church occupying the entirety of one of the shorter sides. Well, about halfway up the length of the piazza six of the arches on the right hand of one facing St. Mark's church are occupied by the celebrated caffè. The six never-closed rooms, corresponding each with one of the arches of the arcade, are very small, and would not suffice to accommodate a twentieth part of the throng which finds itself at Florian's quite as a matter of course every fine summer's night. But nobody thinks of entering these smartly-furnished little cabinets save for breakfast or during the hours of the day. Some take their evening ice or coffee on the seats under the arcade, either immediately in front of the cabinets or around the pillars which support the arches, and thus have an opportunity of observing the never-ceasing and ever-varying stream of life that flows by them under the arcade. But the vast majority of the crowd place themselves on chairs arranged around little tables set out on the flags of the piazza. A hundred or so of these little tables are placed in long rows extending far out into the piazza, and far on either side beyond the extent of the six arches which are occupied by the caffè itself. A London or New York policeman would have his very soul revolted, and conclude that there must be something very rotten indeed in the state of a city in which the public way could be thus encumbered and no cry of "move on" ever heard. Assuredly, it is public ground which Florian, in the person of his nineteenth-century representative, thus occupies with his tables and chairs. Probably, if a Venetian were asked by what right he does so, the question would seem to him much as if one asked by what right the tide covers the shallows of the lagoon. It always has been so. It is in the natural order of things. And how could Venice live without Florian's?

But it is not Florian's alone which is thus a trespasser on the domain of the public. The other less celebrated caffès do the same thing. One immediately opposite to Florian's, on the other side of the piazza—Quadri's—has almost as large a spread of chairs and tables as Florian himself. But it is a curious instance of the permanence of habits at Venice, that though at Quadri's the articles supplied are quite as good, and the prices exactly the same, the fashionable world never deserts Florian's. The only difference between the two establishments, except this one of their customers, that is perceptible to the naked eye, is that at Quadri's beer is served, while Florian ignores the existence of that plebeian beverage, which assuredly was never heard of in Venice in the days when he began his career and formed his habitudes.

I am tempted to endeavor to give the reader some picture of the scene on the piazza on a night when (as is the case almost every other evening) a military band is playing in the middle of the open space, and the cosmopolitan crowd is assembled in force—to describe the wonderful surroundings of the scene, the charm of the quietude broken by no sound of hoof or of wheel, the soft and tempered light, the gay clatter, athwart which comes every fifteen minutes the solemn mellow tone of the great clock of St. Mark with importunate warning that another pleasant quarter of an hour has drifted away down the stream of time. It is a scene that tempts the pen. But the well-dressed portion of mankind [pg 128] is very similar in all countries and under all circumstances, and perhaps my readers may be more interested in a few traits of the popular life of Venice, which the magnificent Piazza of St. Mark is not the best place for studying, for some of the most characteristic phases of it are absolutely banished thence. The strolling musician or singer, who may be heard every night in other parts of the city, never plies his trade on the piazza. Mendicancy, which is more rife at Venice, I am sorry to say, than in any other Italian city, except perhaps Naples, is not tolerated on the piazza.

But if we wish for a good specimen of the truly popular life of Venice, it will not be necessary to wander far from the great centre of the piazza. Coming down the Piazzetta, or Little Piazza, which opens out of the great square at one end, and abuts on the open lagoon opposite the island of St. George at the other, and turning round the corner of the ducal palace, we cross the bridge over the canal, which above our heads is bridged by the "Bridge of Sighs," with its "palace and a prison on each hand," as Byron sings, and find ourselves on the "Riva dei Schiavoni"—the quay at which the Slavonic vessels arrived, and arrive still. The quay is a very broad one, by far the broadest in Venice, paved with flagstones, and teeming with every characteristic form of Venetian life from early morning till late into the night. There are two or three hotels frequented by foreigners on the Riva, for the situation facing the open lagoon is an exceptionally good one; and there are three or four caffès at which the cosmopolitan and not too aristocratic visitor may get an excellent cup of coffee (for the Venetians, thanks to their long connection with the East, know what coffee is, and will not take chiccory or other such detestable substitutes in lieu of it) for the modest charge of thirteen centimes—just over two cents—and study as he drinks it the moving and ever-amusing scenes enacted before his eyes. His neighbor perhaps will be an old gentleman, the very type of the old "pantaloon" whose mask was in the old comedy supposed to be the impersonation of Venice. There are the long, slender and rather delicately-cut features terminating in a long, narrow and somewhat protruding chin; the high cheek-bones, the lank and sombre cheeks, the high nose, the dark bright eye under its bushy brow. He is very thin, very seedy, and evidently very poor. But he salutes you, as you take your seat beside him, with the air of an ex-member of "The Ten;" his ancient hat and napless coat are carefully brushed; his outrageously high shirt-collar and voluminous unstarched neckcloth, after the fashion of a former generation, though as yellow as saffron, are clean; and his poor old boots as irreproachable as blacking—which can do much, but, alas! not all things—can make them. His expenditure of a penny will entitle him not only to a cup of coffee, as aforesaid, but also to a glass of fresh water, which has been turned to an opaline color by the shaking into it of a few drops of something which the waiter drops from a bottle with some contrivance at its mouth, the effect of which is to cause only a drop or two of the liquor, whatever it may be, to come out at each shake. Our old friend is also entitled, in virtue of his expenditure, to occupy the chair he sits on for as many hours as he shall see fit to remain in it. And after the coffee, which must be drunk while hot, has been despatched, the sippings of the opaline mixture aforesaid may be protracted indefinitely while he enjoys the cool evening-breezes from the lagoon, the perfection of dolce far niente, and the amusement the life of the Riva never fails to afford him. An itinerant vender of little models of gondolas and bracelets and toys made out of shells comes by, seeking a customer among the folk assembled at the caffè. He does not address Pantaloon, for of course he knows that there is nothing to be done in that line with him. But spying with a hawk's glance a forestiere among the crowd, he strolls up to him, holding up one of his gimcrack bracelets daintily—and he thinks temptingly, poor fellow!—between his finger and thumb. "Un franco! Un sol franco! è una beleza per una contesa!" ("One franc! [pg 129] only one franc! It would be beautiful on the arm of a countess!") he murmurs in his soft lisping Venetian, which abolishes all double consonants, and supplies their place by prolonging the soft liquid sound of the preceding vowel. One franc! It is wonderful how the thing, worthless as it is, can be made even by the most starving fingers for such a price. Yet after dangling his toy for a minute, and gazing, oh, so wistfully! the while out of his big haggard eyes, he says, "Seventy-five centimes! half a franc!" and still lingers ere he turns away with a sigh, a weary movement of his emaciated figure and a longing look on his poor hollow face that make one feel that the drama we are witnessing is not all comedy. But it is all supremely interesting to our neighbor, Si'or Pantaleone. He has been keenly watching the attempted deal, and no doubt wished that his countryman might succeed. But there was no element of tragedy in the matter for him, a condition of semi-starvation is too much an ordinary, every-day and normal spectacle. He looked on more as a retired merchant might look on at the progress of a bargain for the delivery of a shipload of grain. Presently, a middle-aged woman and a girl of some fourteen years station themselves in front of the audience seated outside the caffè. The elder woman has a guitar, and the girl a violin and some sheets of music in her hand. The woman has her wonderful wealth of black hair grandly dressed and as shining as oil can make it. She has large gilt earrings in her ears, a heavy coral necklace, and a gaudy-colored shawl in good condition. Whatever might be beneath and below this is in dark shadow—"et sic melius situm." She is not starved, however, for, as she prepares to finger her guitar, she shows a well-nourished and not ill-formed arm. The young girl has one of those pale, delicate, oval faces so common in Venice: she also has a good shawl—an amber-colored one—which so sets off the olive-colored complexion of her face as to make her a perfect picture. This couple do not in any degree assume an attitude of appealing ad misericordiam. They pose themselves en artistes. The girl sets about arranging her music in a business-like way, and then they play the well-known air of "La Stella Confidente," the little violinist really playing remarkably well. Then the elder woman comes round with a little tin saucer for our contributions. No slightest word or look of disappointment or displeasure follows the refusal of those who give nothing. The saucer is presented to each in turn. I supposed that the application to Si'or Pantaleone was an empty form. But no. That retired gentleman could still find wherewithal to patronize the fine arts, and dropped a centime—the fifth part of a cent—into the dish with the air of a prince bestowing the grand cross of the Golden Fleece. Then comes a dealer in ready-made trousers, which Pantaloon examines curiously and cheapens. Then a body of men singing part-songs, not badly, but to some disadvantage, as they utterly ignore the braying of half a dozen trumpets which are coming along the Riva in advance of a body of soldiers returning to some neighboring barracks. Then there are fruit-sellers and fish-sellers and hot-chestnut dealers, and, most vociferous of all, the cryers of "Acqua! acqua! acqua fresca!" There, making its way among the numerous small vessels from Dalmatia, Greece, etc. moored to the quay of the Schiavoni, comes a boat from the Peninsular and Oriental steamer, which arrived this morning from Alexandria, with four or five Orientals on board. They come on shore, and proceed to saunter along the Riva toward the Grand Piazza, while their dark faces and brightly-colored garments add an element to the motley scene which is perfectly in keeping with old Venetian reminiscences.



It is Christmas Eve in Albuquerque. Blazing fagots of mesquite-roots placed on the surrounding adobe walls illuminate the old church on the plaza. There is a grand baile at the fonda, to which we and our "family are most respectfully invited." The sounds of music [pg 130] already invite us to the ball-room. We enter. The floor is full; a hundred couples are gliding through the graceful "Spanish dance," or "slow waltz," as it is termed here. Not a few blue-and-gold United States uniforms are to be seen in the throng. A full-uniformed major-general of volunteers adds the éclat of his epaulettes to the occasion. The ranchos have poured in their señoras and señoritas, and three rows of the dark-eyed creatures sit ranged around the room.

The Mexican women look their best in a ball-room. Their black eyes, black hair and white teeth glisten in the light; they are dressed in the gayest of gay colors; ponderous ornaments of gold, strongly relieved by their dusk complexions, shed around them a rich barbaric lustre. Not that they eschew adventitious means to blanch their sun-shadowed tints. For days some of the señoras and señoritas have worn a mask of a white clayey mixture to give them an ephemeral whiteness for this occasion. Those who could procure nothing else have worn a pasty vizard kneaded of common clay, to effect in some degree a like result by protecting their faces from the sun and wind. Should you visit New Mexico, and as you ride along slowly in the heat of midday meet a señorita who gazes at you with a pair of jet black eyes through a hideous, ghastly mask of mud or mortar, do not be frightened from your accustomed propriety. The señorita is preparing her toilette de bal.

The New Mexican women cannot be considered pretty, generally speaking. In artistic symmetry of feature, in purity of complexion, they are not to be compared with our countrywomen. These can bear the searching light of day, when delicacy of detail can be distinguished and appreciated. Those look their best in the artificial light of the ball-room. There the blue-black hair, the brilliant black eyes, the well-traced eyebrows, the magnificently white and regular teeth, the richly-developed forms, produce a general effect before which our blond and delicate beauties seem pale and fades. But the Mexican's coarser skin—her teint basané—is too plainly visible in the light of the sun: you should see her only by the lamps. It is doubtless rather from an instinct of coquetry than from any other feeling that in the day-time the Mexican women shroud their dusky traits in the folds of their rebosas, leaving only one pilot eye to look upon the outer world.

No introductions are necessary at the public bailes. Saunter around the room, inspect the show of expectant partners, and when you see one who suits your fancy ask her to dance, without more ado. If she be not engaged she will at once accept your proffered arm. She will not say anything. Ten to one she will not breathe a syllable during your evolutions. Conversation is not the forte of the señoritas. But she will smile and smile, and you will have no reason to complain of her waltzing. The Mexican caballero, when he seeks a partner, will not put himself out so far as to have any words about it. He merely beckons the chosen one, as the sultan might throw the handkerchief, and she comes to him at once.

Each dance concluded, you lead your partner to a sort of bar where refreshments are furnished, and ask her whether she will take vino or dulces—wine or candies? She will take dulces—"Gracias, señor!" This is de rigueur. You pay for them of course, and conduct her to her seat. She pours the dulces into the awaiting pocket-handkerchiefs of the old people, her comadres, and of her younger brothers and sisters.

In a little room adjoining the ball-room, with door invitingly open, is the shrine of monte. The revelry of the ball-room is unheeded by the preoccupied votaries of the changeful deity as they sit around the green table watching the dealer as he turns the cards, and nervously fingering their little piles of red or white "chips." We have no business and no pleasure here. Let us merely look in and pass on.

Waltzes, "round" and "slow," are the pièces de résistance of a Mexican baile: quadrilles are not relished by the [pg 131] dusky danseuses. There are some New Mexican dances which do not lack prettiness. Of these, the Cuna is the most popular. It commences with a see-saw movement suggestive of its name—cuna- or cradle-dance. For the rest, the waltz enters much into its composition.

The orchestra generally consists of one or more violins and a guitar or two. The New Mexican guitar is strung conversely: the base-string is where we put the treble, and vice versâ. The strings are generally struck with the thumb-nail or with a piece of horn or wood like the ancient plectrum. This produces a harsh metallic sound, without any rotundity. Few New Mexican fiddlers or guitar-players are capable of playing in any time except dancing time, and the character of the baile, funeral and sacred music is the same. The only distinction is the addition of a continuous tremolo to the latter two, which produces the same unpleasant effect on the nerves as a comic song chanted by the shaky, cracked, piping and quavering voice of senility. As the fiddles invariably play their parts in funerals as well as on festive processions, it requires some familiarity with the customs of the country to distinguish one from the other. The music to-night is much better than the ordinary baile music. A native harpist adds the music of his many strings; and not bad music either, though he does not know a quaver from a semibreve, and his harp is of his own manufacture. The sameness, however, caused by playing always and everything in the same key is perceptible. But dancing critics are not disposed to be very severe.

The enjoyment of the evening is at high pressure. The dancers are swinging, surging, spinning through the Spanish dance. Everybody who can find a partner and a place on the floor—there are many who cannot find the latter—is dancing. It is a gay, a brilliant scene. All is going as merrily as a whole chime of marriage-bells when a deep and solemn peal from the church close by breaks in over the music, the laughter and the dancing. It is midnight! It is the Noche Buena, and the bell summons the faithful to the midnight mass. The effect is electric. The last twirl of the waltz is suspended, half executed. The dancers stop as suddenly as if they were puppets moved and stilled by the cunning of some wire-pulling hand. A general rush is made for the church: in a moment the ball-room is empty. The church is filled as instantaneously, and the wildly gay dancers of a moment ago are now kneeling, hushed and down-bent, in devotional attitudes.

The scene is impressive: the bright ball-toilettes contrasted in a "dim religious light," the sudden change of place and mood, from gay to grave, from ball-room to sanctuary, strikes a stranger's eye with thrilling effect. At the conclusion of the service the dancers return to the ball-room, to change from grave to gay, and dance ad libitum till daylight.



The first complete translation of the Bible into our language was made about the year 1380 by John de Wycliffe, or Wickliffe. There are several manuscript copies of it in the Bodleian and other European libraries. This great work unlocked the Scriptures to the multitude, or, as one of his antagonists, bewailing such an enterprise, worded it, "the gospel pearl was cast abroad and trodden under foot." Long before the appearance of this translation various versions of portions of the Bible had appeared, specimens of which, of every century from the reign of Alfred to Chaucer's time, are preserved in the British Museum and elsewhere. Sir Thomas More says: "The Holy Byble was longe before Wycliffis daies by virtuose and well-learned men translated into the English tongue, and by good and godly people with devotion and soberness well and reverently read." This statement is further corroborated by Foxe, the martyrologist, who remarks: "If histories be well examined, we shall find both before and after the Conquest, as well before John Wickliffe was borne as since, the whole body of the Scriptures by sundry men translated into this our country tongue." Wycliffe's Bible was first printed at [pg 132] Oxford in 1850, previous to which the New Testament appeared in 1721 and was reprinted in 1810.

In 1526, William Tyndale completed and published in English his translation of the New Testament. He also translated and printed the Pentateuch and the book of Jonah, and was preparing them for publication when he was put to death in Flanders, being strangled and burnt for heresy. Tyndale's translation, with his latest revisions (1534), was republished in the English Hexapla in 1841. A copy of his translation of the Pentateuch which had belonged to Bishop Heber was sold in 1854 for $795. Four years later another copy sold for within twenty dollars of that amount.

The first English translation of the entire Bible was made by Miles Coverdale, who afterward became bishop of Exeter, and was printed in folio in the year 1535. In 1538 a second edition of Coverdale's Bible was printed at Paris, but the Inquisition interfered and committed the whole edition of twenty-five hundred copies to the flames. No perfect copy of Coverdale's version is known to exist, but one lacking the original title-page and first leaf was sold in 1854 for $1725. Another, at the Perkins' sale, in June, 1873, brought $2000.

Two years after the appearance of the first edition of Coverdale's Bible, John Rogers, the first martyr in Queen Mary's reign, published his version of the Scriptures. He made some emendations, but the text is chiefly that of Tyndale and Coverdale. It was printed by Grafton and Whitchurch in 1537, and the title runs: "The Byble, which is all the holy Scripture: in which are contayned the Olde and Newe Testament truely and purely translated into Englysh by Thomas Matthew." For safety, Rogers assumed the name of Matthew, whence it is known as Matthew's Bible. Seven hundred and fifty dollars have been paid for a copy.

The third version of the Bible, known as Taverner's, was published in 1539. Richard Taverner was a learned man who published many translations during the sixteenth century. Horne says of his translation, "This is neither a bare revisal of Cranmer's Bible nor a new version, but a kind of intermediate work, being a correction of what is called 'Matthew's Bible.'"

The first edition of Cranmer's Bible, the printing of which was begun in Paris in 1538 and completed in London in 1540—the Inquisition having interposed by imprisoning the printers and burning the greater part of the impression—is excessively rare. Cranmer's Bible—or the Great Bible, as it was called—is Tyndale's, Coverdale's and Rogers's translations most carefully revised throughout. This was the first sound and authorized English version; and as soon as it was perfected a proclamation was issued ordering it to be provided for every parish church, under a penalty of forty shillings a month. A second edition of Cranmer's Bible appeared in 1560, a copy of which brought, at a recent sale in England, the sum of $610.

The Genevan version of the Bible was made by several English exiles at Geneva in Queen Mary's reign—viz., Cole, Coverdale, Gilby, Knox, Sampson, Whittingham and Woodman—and was first printed in 1560. It went through fifty editions in the course of thirty years. This translation was very popular with the Puritan party. In this version the first division into verses was made. It is commonly known as the "Breeches Bible," from the peculiar rendering of Genesis iii. 7—" breeches of fig-leaves." To the Geneva Bible we owe the beautiful phraseology of the admired passage in Jeremiah viii. 22. Coverdale, Matthew and Taverner render it, "For there is no more treacle at Gilead?" Cranmer, "Is there no treason at Gilead?" The Genevan first gave the poetic rendering, "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

In the year 1568 another translation appeared, which is indiscriminately known as "Matthew Parker's Bible," the "Bishops' Bible" and the "Great English Bible." This version was undertaken and carried on under the inspection of Matthew Parker, second Protestant archbishop of Canterbury. Of the fifteen [pg 133] translators, six were bishops, hence this edition is often called the Bishops' Bible, though it is sometimes designated the Great English Bible, from its being a huge folio volume. In 1569 it was published in octavo form. There is a well-preserved copy of the first edition of Matthew Parker's Bible in the possession of a gentleman residing in New York City. This was the authorized version of the Scriptures for forty years, when it was superseded by our present English Bible.

The English Roman Catholic College at Rheims issued in the year 1582 a translation of the New Testament, known as the "Rhemish New Testament." It was condemned by the queen of England, and copies imported into that country were seized and destroyed. In 1609 the first volume of the Old Testament, and in the following year the second volume, were published at Douay, hence ever since known as the Douay Bible. Some years since Cardinal Wiseman remarked that the names Rhemish and Douay, as applied to the current editions, are absolute misnomers. The publishers of the edition chiefly used in this country state that it is translated from the Latin Vulgate, "being the edition published by the English College at Rheims A.D. 1582, and at Douay in 1609, as revised and corrected in 1750, according to the Clementine edition of the Scriptures, by the Rt. Rev. Richard Challoner, bishop of Debra, with his annotations for clearing up the principal difficulties of Holy Writ."

Theodore Beza translated the New Testament out of the Greek into the Latin. This was first published in England in 1574, and afterward frequently. In 1576 it was "Engelished" by Leonard Tomson, under-secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham, and was afterward frequently annexed to the Genevan Old Testament. The following is a copy of the title-page of the New Testament, verbatim et literatim: "The New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, translated out of Greeke by Theod Beza: with brief summaries and expositions upon the hard places by the said authour, Ioach Amer and P Loseler Vallerius. Engelished by L Tomson. Together with the Annotations of Fr Junius upon the Revelation of S. John. Imprinted at London by the Deputies of Christopher Barker, Printer to the Queene's Most Excellent Majestie—1599." The volume opens with a primitive version of the Psalms in verse, then follow the Old Testament, the Apocrypha and the New Testament, as in Bibles of the present day.

The version of the Scriptures now in use among Protestants was translated by the authority of King James I., and published in 1611. Fifty-four learned men were appointed to accomplish the work of revision, but from death or other causes seven of the number failed to enter upon it. The remaining forty-seven were ranged under six divisions, different portions of the Bible being assigned to each division. They entered upon their task in 1607, and after three years of diligent labor the work was completed. This version was generally adopted, and the former translations soon fell into disuse. The authors of King James's version of the Bible included the most learned divines of the day; one of whom was master of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac and fifteen modern languages.

Among other rare and highly-coveted editions of the Bible is one printed in England in the seventeenth century, in which the important word not was omitted in the seventh commandment, from which circumstance it has ever since been known as "The Adulterer's Bible." Another edition, known as the Pearl Bible, appeared about the same time, filled with errata, a single specimen of which will suffice: "Know ye not the ungodly shall inherit the kingdom of God?" Bibles were once printed which affirmed that "all Scripture was profitable for destruction;" while still another edition of the sacred volume is known as the "Vinegar Bible," from the erratum in the title to the twentieth chapter of St. Luke, in which "Parable of the Vineyard" is printed "Parable of the Vinegar."


[pg 134]


Life and Labours of Mr. Brassey, 1805-1870. By Sir Arthur Helps, K.C.B. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

The "captains of industry," who constitute in our day so distinct and notable a class of worthies, are doubtless as well entitled to have their achievements recorded and their fame sounded throughout the lands as were the doughty men of war who of old were deemed the only fitting heroes of chronicle and epic. Few of them, however, can hope to have their deeds commemorated by a "veray parfit, gentle knight"—of the quill, not of the sword, albeit the letters which he writes after his name would once have indicated the possession of military rank and distinction. Sir Arthur Helps is not a man of few words or of a very stern or passionate temperament. It is the graces of chivalry, not its fiery ardor, that he cultivates and reflects, and though "arms and the man" have often been his theme, the soft and delicate strain was ever more suggestive of the pastoral pipe than of the bardic lyre. Essayist, historian, biographer, novelist, he is always intent to smooth away the asperities of his subject, and, like some stately grandame enthroned in high-backed chair, he remembers that his simple auditors are to be not merely entertained by the matter of his discourse, but impressed by the suave tones and high-bred prolixity of the speaker. With a dignified courtesy unknown in these latter times—when biographers and historians do not scruple to take liberties with their heroes to the extent even of designating them by nicknames—the subject of the present memoir is introduced to us as Mr. Brassey, a form not only adopted on the title-page, but preserved in the body of the work, where we read that "Mr. Brassey was born November 7, 1805," that "Mr. Brassey, at twelve years of age, went to a school at Chester," and that, being afterward articled to a surveyor, "Mr. Brassey was permitted by his master" to assist in making certain surveys. It is only from a side whisper to the American public, which is honored with a preface all to itself, that we are permitted to learn that the great contractor owned to the Christian name of Thomas. Besides the two prefaces there is a dedication to the queen, an introduction telling how Sir Arthur Helps made the acquaintance of Mr. Brassey and what impressions he received from the interview, and a preliminary chapter containing a brief outline of Mr. Brassey's character as "a man of business;" so that we get at the substance of the book by a process like that which in a well-conducted household precedes the carving and distribution of a Christmas cake, any eagerness we might feel to "put in a thumb and pull out a plum" being kept in check by a proper amount of ceremony and tissue-paper.

Plums, however, there are, though not perhaps in full proportion to the frosted coating, or of just the kind that are best agglutinated by the biographical dough. Of anecdote or gossip, glimpses of "life and manners" or personal details, there is nothing. Nor can we justly take exception to this. On the contrary, it gives a unity to the subject by excluding whatever had no relation to the enterprises with which Mr. Brassey's name is connected, and which absorbed his time and thoughts to a degree that can have left him but little opportunity for intercourse with mankind except in a business capacity. It is these enterprises—not in their entirety or with reference to the objects with which they were designed, but as evidences and illustrations of the working force, mental and physical, demanded for their execution—that form the real subject of the book, the matter of which has been chiefly furnished by the various agents entrusted with the immediate supervision of the labor and outlay of the capital employed. The details thus brought together afford perhaps a more vivid idea of the industrial energy and activity of the nineteenth century, and of the resources they have called into play, than could have been obtained from a survey of any other field in which the like qualities have been displayed. It was chiefly with railway enterprises, and this almost from their inception, and to an extent far beyond the rivalry of any other constructor, that Mr. Brassey was engaged; and the railway system, not only by its own immense demands on capital, labor and inventive skill, but still more by the stimulus and aid it has given to industrial enterprises of every kind, must be regarded [pg 135] as the main lever of a material progress that has outstripped the conceptions and possibilities of all previous ages. With the development of a system so different in its nature from the great undertakings of any former period came the need of the contractor, entrusted with the direction and laden with the full responsibility of works which no government "boards" or similar machinery would have been competent to carry through under the conditions imposed by the novel circumstances of the movement and the exacting spirit by which it was impelled. To attain the foremost place in the new career thus created demanded, obviously, no ordinary powers—special knowledge of various kinds, equal facility in mastering details and grasping a general plan, tact in the choice and management of subordinates, courage and promptness in encountering unforeseen obstacles and disasters, and skill and clearheadedness in the general control of enormous and intricate financial interests. To these qualities must be added in the present case what is not so invariably associated with the names of succesful contractors—a faithfulness and integrity which merited and received the fullest confidence. Whether working at a gain or at a loss, Mr. Brassey was ever resolute to execute his engagements to the letter, and he declined to make demands for extra compensation when his contracts proved unprofitable, though it was customary with him to make good the losses of his sub-contractors. He amassed a colossal fortune, not through excessive gains, but by a small profit—"as nearly as possible three per cent."—which accrued to him from all his enterprises taken as a whole, and the accumulations consequent on an inexpensive mode of life.

The railways constructed by Mr. Brassey, generally in partnership with some other contractor, between the years 1834 and 1870, comprised between six and seven thousand miles in all parts of the globe, including Australia and in almost every civilized country except Russia and the United States. "There were periods in his career during which he and his partners were giving employment to 80,000 persons, upon works requiring £ 17,000,000 of capital for their completion." Yet a large part of his time and of the time of his agents was spent in the investigation of schemes which he either decided not to undertake or for which he tendered unsuccessfully. It was necessary at times to transport materials, a large staff of employés and an army of laborers from one country to another. In some cases works were prosecuted in regions occupied or threatened by hostile armies, in others under all the embarrassments and gloom of a great financial revulsion. In countries where commercial transactions were usually very limited the great difficulty was to obtain coin for the payment of wages, while in others there was the danger of the supply of labor failing through the enticements of superabundant capital or the more dazzling temptations of gold-digging. It is needless to mention the usual accidents and impediments to which all such undertakings are liable, and which the skill and ingenuity of the modern engineer never fail to overcome; but it is certainly not a little remarkable, when the multiplicity of Mr. Brassey's contracts is remembered, as well as the early period from which they date, to find that they were invariably completed within the specified time.

Personal Reminiscences of Barham, Harness and Hodder. (Bric-à-Brac Series, edited by Richard Henry Stoddard.) New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

Why we should love so dearly a fresh anecdote of a literary celebrity, a new quip by Talleyrand, a new stutter of Lamb's, a new impertinence of Sheridan's, may be not hard to understand, but it is rather hard to defend, any regard being paid to our dignity. The best stories about that particular line of authors who have possessed bonhomie and become classic for it are long since told. What remains is the dregs. Yet the other day we found ourselves smiling with real delight over a new "bit" of Cowper. It was merely that his barber, being late with the poet's wig, said, "Twill soon be here, it is upon the road;" and that Cowper had smiled, with a "Very well, William," or a "Very fair, Thomas." The mot, like most of the stories that crop up now, was not good; it did not exhibit the author of "John Gilpin" in a brilliant light; it was not even uttered by the poet—he had merely smiled at it; yet it had the effect of rekindling the vapid embers about the dear old hearthstone of Olney, and the shy, gentle creatures that used to disport there among the hares when nobody was looking became for a moment more real from the citation. Now, the question is, What is the superiority of a new piece of gossip like this, which involves [pg 136] no witticism and confers no wisdom, over the next bit of history that will be exchanged between the heroines of the alley-gate? When Mrs. Jones tells Mrs. Baker that Mrs. Briggs has delivered a daughter, and that Mr. Briggs said he had rather she had given him a wooden leg, the epigram is quite as good as a Bric-à-Brac anecdote, the people are quite as worthy as Cowper's barber, and the effect upon the history of letters quite as close and important. With this demurrer, we will apply ourselves for a moment to Mr. Stoddard's last collection, which of course we relish as much as anybody. We could wish that, after discharging his very well-executed duty of writing the preface, he could find some further time for elucidating the text. The present book being about three people, whose memoirs are taken from three volumes, it is confusing to the reader to find on a page headed "Rogers" or "Scott" a foot-note about what "my father" said or what "my friend" remembered, without anything to point out that the authority is other than Mr. Stoddard's father or friend. Other peculiarities, too, suggest that the pretty little volume is clipped instead of edited: on page 134 we find that "William, who had lived many years with Hook, grew rich and saucy. The latter used to assert of him that for the first three years he was as good a servant as ever came into a house; for the next two a kind and considerate friend; and afterward an abominably bad master." And on page 240, that when Rogers was condoled with about the death of an old servant, he exclaimed, "Well, I don't know that I feel his loss so much, after all. For the first seven years he was an obliging servant; for the second seven years an agreeable companion; but for the last seven years he was a tyrannical master." This duality of epigrams seems to show a discrepancy somewhere; or are we to believe that the wits of the Regency used to drive their jokes as hired hacks, like the livery carriages employed by faded dowagers in Hampton Court? The rest of the little book is perhaps free from duplicates. It is a good one to turn over for an hour in the cars, which is perhaps all it claims to be. The anecdotes are good old familiar anecdotes, but it is pleasant to have them strung on a thread. We are reminded that the original Bride of Lammermoor was a Miss Dalrymple; that the "laughing Tom" of Thackeray's "Ballad of Bouillabaise" was Thomas Frazer, Paris correspondent of the Morning Chronicle; that the dramatist of Nicholas Nickleby, so savagely assaulted by Dickens in the course of the work, was a Mr. Moncrief, who would never have prepared the story for the stage if Dickens had intimated his objection.

Books Received.

The American Educational Annual: A Reference Book for all matters pertaining to Education. Vol. I., 1875. New York: J.W. Schermerhorn & Co.

The Song-Fountain: A Vocal Music-book. By Wm. Tillinghast & D.P. Horton. New York: J.W. Schermerhorn & Co.

My. Sister Jennie: A Novel. By George Sand. Translated by T.S. Crocker. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Democracy and Monarchy in France. By Charles Kendall Adams. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Egypt and Iceland in the year 1874. By Bayard Taylor. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Elements of Geometry. By W.H.H. Phillips, Ph. D. New York: J.W. Schermerhorn & Co.

The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe. By Amanda M. Duglas. Boston: William F. Gill & Co.

The Lily and the Cross: A Tale of Acadia. By Prof. James De Mille. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible. By John W. Haley, M.A. Andover: Warren F. Draper.

History of the United States. By George Bancroft. Vol. X. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Roddy's Romance. By Helen Kendrick Johnson. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

My Life on the Plains. By Gen. G.A. Custer, U.S.A. New York: Sheldon & Co.

American Wild-Fowl Shooting. By Joseph W. Long. New York: J.B. Ford & Co.

Hazel-Blossoms. By John Greenleaf Whittier. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

Losing to Win: A Novel. By Theodore Davies. New York: Sheldon & Co.

Linley Rochford: A Novel. By Justin McCarthy. New York: Sheldon & Co.

A First Book in German. By Dr. Emil Otto. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

What of the Churches and Clergy? Springfield, Mass: D.E. Fisk & Co.

Footnote 1: (return)

The Pilgrimage of the Tiber, by Wm. Davies.

Footnote 2: (return)

Com' io fui dentro, in un bogliente vetro

Gittato mi sarei per rinfrescarmi,

Tant' era ivi lo'ncendio senza metro.

Del Purgatorio, xxvii. 49.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular
Literature and Science Vol. XV., No. 85. January, 1875., by Various


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