The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine Of Popular Literature
And Science, April 1875, Vol. XV., No. 88, by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine Of Popular Literature And Science, April 1875, Vol. XV., No. 88

Author: Various

Release Date: December 11, 2004 [EBook #14324]

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.




APRIL, 1875.
Vol. XV, No. 88











NICE by R. DAVEY.434



















Books Received. 519




















[Pg 393]




People who go to Australia expecting every other man they meet to be a convict, and every convict a ruffian in felon's garb, will assuredly find themselves mistaken. And if contemplating a residence in Sydney or Melbourne they need not anticipate the necessity of living in a tent or a shanty, nor yet of accepting the society of convicts or negroes as the only alternative to a life of solitude. Neither will it be necessary to go armed with revolvers by day, nor to place plate and jewels under guard at night. Sydney, the capital of the penal colony, is a quiet, [Pg 394]orderly city, abounding in villas and gardens, churches and schools, and about its well-lighted streets ride and walk well-dressed and well-bred people, whose visages betray neither the ruffian nor the cannibal. Some of them may be convicts or "ticket-of-leave-men," but this a stranger would need to be told, as they dress like others, their equipages are quite as stylish, and many of them not only amass more property, but are really more honest, than some of those never sentenced, because they know that the continuance of their freedom depends on their reputation.


The city, built on the south side of a beautiful lake, is perfectly unique in design, being composed of five broad promontories, looking like the five fingers of a hand slightly expanded. All the important streets run from east to west, and each terminates in a distinct harbor, [Pg 395]while clearly visible from the upper portion of the street is a grand moving panorama of vessels of every description, with masts, sails and colors that seem peering out from every interstice between the houses. Each day witnesses the arrival and departure of eight or ten steamers, ferry-boats leave every half hour all the principal landings for the various sections of the city, and the wharves are lined with the shipping of every nation, many of the vessels ranging from fifteen hundred to two thousand tons burden. On a huge rock in Watson's Bay stands the lighthouse at the entrance of Port Jackson. The sea lashes the black rock with ceaseless fury, the light from the summit rendering even the base visible at a great distance. The light is 350 feet above the level of the sea, yet it was almost under its very rays that the good ship Dunbar came to grief. Missing the passage, she was engulfed in the raging sea, and her three hundred and ninety passengers perished in full view of the homes they were seeking.

Orange and almond trees, with other tropical plants, loaded with blossoms and fruit, beautify the lowlands, while in more elevated localities are found the fruits and foliage of the temperate zone, very many of them exotics brought by the settlers from their English homes. Down to the very water's edge extends the verdure of tree and shrub, overshadowing to the right Fort Jackson, and to the left Middle Harbor. The Government House commands the bay with the imposing mien of a fortress, and the magnificent reception-rooms are worthy of a sovereign's court. The garden surrounding it occupies a beautiful promontory, its borders washed by the sea, the walks shaded by trees imported from Europe, and the whole parterre redolent with tropical beauty and fragrance. On the promenades are frequently assembled at evening two or three hundred ladies and gentlemen in full dress, while military bands discourse sweet music for the entertainment of the brilliant throng.

Ballarat may be called the city of gold; Melbourne, of clubs, democracy and thriving commerce; Hobart Town takes the premium for hospitality and picturesque beauty; but Sydney bears the impress of genuine English aristocracy, in combination with a sort of Creole piquancy singularly in contrast with English exclusiveness, yet giving a wonderful charm to the society of this city of high life, so full of gayety, brilliancy and luxury. Who would recognize in the Sydney of to-day, with its four hundred thousand inhabitants, its churches, theatres and libraries, the outgrowth of the penal colony of Botany Bay, planted only eighty-seven years ago on savage shores? It was in May, 1787, that the first colony left England for Botany Bay, a squadron of eleven vessels, carrying eleven hundred and eighteen colonists to make a lodgment on an unknown shore inhabited by savages. Of these eleven hundred and eighteen, there were six hundred male and two hundred and fifty female convicts, the remaining portion being composed of officers and soldiers to take charge of the new penal settlement, under the command of Governor Phillip. From so unpromising a beginning has grown the present rich and flourishing settlement, and in lieu of the few temporary shanties erected by the first colonists there stands a magnificent city of more than ordinarily fine architecture, with banks and hospitals, schools and churches—among the latter a superb cathedral—all displaying the proverbial prodigality of labor and expense for which the English are noted in the erection and adornment of their public edifices. Among the educational establishments are the English University, with a public hall like that of Westminster; St. John's College (Catholic); and national primary and high schools, where are educated about thirty-four thousand pupils at an annual expense to the government of more than three hundred thousand dollars. From the parent colony have sprung others, while the poverty and corruption that were the distinguishing features of the original element have been gradually lost in the more recent importations of honest and respectable citizens.

Apart from the wealth and gayety of [Pg 396]Sydney, there is much in its various grades of society to interest the average tourist. The "ticket-of-leave men"—that is, convicts who, having served out a portion of their term and been favorably reported for good conduct, are permitted to go at large and begin life anew—form a distinct class, and exert a widespread influence by their wealth, benevolence and commercial enterprise.


Very many of the better class are talented and well educated, with the manners and appearance of gentlemen; and in some cases there has been perhaps but the single crime for which they suffered expatriation and disgrace. Such as these, as a rule, conduct themselves with propriety from the moment of being sentenced; never murmur at their work or discipline, be it ever so hard; and probably after a single year of hardship are favorably reported, and permitted to seek [Pg 397]or make homes for themselves. Many of them own bank shares and real estate, and some become immensely rich, either by ability or chance good-fortune. The property is their own, but the owners are always watched by those in power, and are liable at any moment to be ordered back to their old positions. These "remanded men" are treated with the greatest severity, and few have sufficient power of endurance to live out even a short term with its increase of rigor and hardship. Yet to the energy and enterprise of the liberated felons is probably due, more than to any other cause, that increase of prosperity which has long since rendered these colonies not only self-supporting, but a source of revenue to the Crown.


Another and the most dangerous class of convicts are those known as "bushrangers." They are desperate fellows, composed of the very lowest scum of England, have ordinarily been sentenced for life, and, having no hope of pardon or desire for amendment, they escape as soon as possible, often by the murder of one or more of their guards, and take refuge in the wilds of the interior. Some of these bushrangers are associated together in large hordes, but others roam solitary for months before they will venture to trust their lives in the hands of other desperadoes like themselves. There are hundreds of these lawless men prowling like wild beasts for their prey in the vicinity of every thoroughfare between the cities and the mines, robbing and murdering defenceless passengers, plundering the mails, and constantly exacting the best of their flocks and herds from the stockmen and shepherds, who in their isolated positions dare not refuse their demands. So desperate is the character of these outlaws that they are seldom taken, though thousands of pounds are occasionally offered for the head of some noted ringleader. They may be killed in skirmishes, but will not suffer themselves to be taken alive. A man calling himself "Black Darnley" ranged the woods for years, committing all sorts of crimes, but at length met a violent death at the hands of another convict, whose daughter he had outraged.

A curious memento of the first theatre opened in Sydney and the first performance within its walls has come down to us from the year 1796, about eight years after the establishment of the penal colony. It was opened by permission of the governor: all the actors were convicts who won the privilege by good behavior, and the price of admission was [Pg 398] one shilling, payable in silver, flour, meat or wine. The prologue, written by a cidevant pickpocket of London, illustrates the character of the times in those early days of the colony:

From distant climes, o'er widespread seas, we come,

Though not with much éclat or beat of drum,

True patriots all; for be it understood,

We left our country for our country's good:

No private views disgraced our generous zeal;

What urged our travels was our country's weal;

And none will doubt but that our emigration

Has proved most useful to the British nation.

But, you inquire, what could our breasts inflame

With this new passion for theatric fame?

What in the practice of our former days

Could shape our talents to exhibit plays?

Your patience, sirs: some observations made,

You'll grant us equal to the scenic trade.

He who to midnight ladders is no stranger

You'll own will make an admirable Ranger,

And sure in Filch I shall be quite at home:

Some true-bred Falstaff we may hope to start.

The scene to vary, we shall try in time

To treat you with a little pantomime.

Here light and easy Columbines are found,

And well-tried Harlequins with us abound.

From durance vile our precious selves to keep,

We often had recourse to the flying leap,

To a black face have sometimes owed escape,

And Hounslow Heath has proved the worth of crape.

But how, you ask, can we e'er hope to soar.

Above these scenes, and rise to tragic lore?

Too oft, alas! we've forced the unwilling tear,

And petrified the heart with real fear.

Macbeth a harvest of applause will reap,

For some of us, I fear, have murdered sleep.

His lady, too, with grace will sleep and talk:

Our females have been used at night to walk.

Grant us your favor, put us to the test:

To gain your smiles we'll do our very best,

And without dread of future Turnkey Lockets,

Thus, in an honest way, still pick your pockets!

It was by the coral-bound Straits of Torres, reckoned by navigators the most difficult in the world, that the English government determined a few years ago to send an envoy to open communication between the Australian colony and the Dutch possessions of Java and Sumatra. The Hero was the vessel selected for this perilous mission—a voyage of twelve hundred miles through seas studded thickly with reefs and islands of coral, many of which lay just beneath the surface of the waves—hidden pitfalls of death whose yawning jaws threatened instant destruction to the unwary voyager. The splendid steamer Cowarra had been wrecked on these reefs only a few months before, but a single one of her two hundred and seventy-five passengers escaping a watery grave. Her tall masts, still standing bolt upright amid the coral-reefs, presented a gaunt spectacle, plainly visible from the Hero's decks as she threaded her way among the shoaly waters, while a similar though less tragical warning was the disaster that had overtaken two other vessels, the Astrolabe and the Zélée, which by a sudden ebb of the tide were thrown high and dry upon the sands, and remained in this frightful condition for eight days before the returning waters drifted them off. But the Hero was a staunch craft—an iron blockade-runner, built at Glasgow during our late war. She was of twelve hundred tons burden, manned by forty-two men, and had already weathered storms and dangers enough to earn a right to the name she bore. Right nobly she fulfilled her dangerous mission, threading her way with difficulty among whole fields of coral, that sometimes almost enclosed her low hull as between two walls; again seeming upon the very verge of the breakers or ready to be engulfed in their whirling eddies, but emerging at last into the open channel, a monument of the skill and watchfulness of her officers. Many of these for days together never left the deck, and the lead was cast three or four times an hour during the whole passage of these dangerous seas. Such is the history of navigation in coral seas, but if full of danger, they are equally replete with picturesque beauty. In the coral isle, with its blue lagoon, its circling reef and smiling vegetation, there is a wondrous fascination; while in the long reefs, with the ocean driving furiously upon them, only to be driven pitilessly back, all wreathed in white foam and diamond spray, there is enough of the sublime to transfix the most careless observer. The barrier reef that skirts the north-east coast of the Australian continent is the grandest coral formation in the world, stretching for a distance of a thousand miles, with a varying breadth of from two hundred yards to a mile. The maximum distance from the shore is seventy miles, but it rarely exceeds twenty-five or thirty. Between this and the mainland lies a sheltered channel, safe, for the most part, when reached; but there are few open [Pg 399]passages from the ocean, and the shoals of imperfectly-formed coral that lie concealed just below the surface render the most watchful care necessary to a safe passage. The fires of the cannibals, visible on every peak all along the coast, shed their ruddy light over the blue waters, illumining here and there some lofty crest, and adding a weird beauty to the enchanting scene.


"America has no monuments," say our Transatlantic cousins, "because it is but two hundred years old." Well, Australia, with little more than three-quarters of a hundred, has already its monument—a beautiful bronze monument erected to the memory of the explorers Burke and Wills on a lofty pedestal of elegant workmanship, and occupying a commanding eminence in the city of Melbourne. [Pg 400]The figures, two in number, are of more than life size, one rising above the other—the chief, with noble form and dignified air, fraternally supporting his younger confrere. The pedestal shows three bas-reliefs of exquisite design—one the return to Cooper's Creek,


where the torn garments and emaciated limbs tell with sad emphasis the woeful tale of hardship and toil through which the heroic explorers had been passing; another exhibiting the subsequent death of Burke;


and the third the finding of the remains.


Burke and Wills, to whom belongs the honor of being the first explorers that crossed the entire continent of Australia, extending their researches from the Australian to the Pacific Ocean, set out on the 20th of August, 1860, with a party of fifteen hardy pioneers upon their perilous mission. Burke was in the prime of life, a man of iron frame, dauntless courage and an enthusiasm that knew neither difficulty nor danger. Wills, who belonged to a family that had already given one of its members to Sir John Franklin's fatal expedition, to find a martyr's grave among the eternal icebergs of the north, was somewhat younger, and perhaps less enthusiastic, but was endowed with a rare discretion and far-seeing sagacity that peculiarly fitted him to be the friend and counselor of the enthusiastic Burke in such an undertaking. All Melbourne was in excitement: the government gave fifty thousand dollars, various individuals ten thousand, to aid the enterprise; and every heart was aglow with aspirations for their success as the little band of heroes [Pg 401]waved their adieus and turned their faces outward to seek paths hitherto untrodden by the white man's foot. Besides horses, twenty-seven camels had been imported from India for the express use of the explorers and for the transportation of tents, baggage, equipments, and fifteen months' supply of provisions, with vessels for carrying such supplies of water as the character of the country over which they were passing should require them to take with them. Their plan of march divided itself into three stages, of which Cooper's Creek was the middle one, and about the centre of the Australian continent. At first their progress was slow, encumbered as they were by excess of baggage and equipments: then discontents arose in the little band, and Burke, too ardent and impulsive for a leader, was first grieved, and then angered, at what he deemed a want of spirit among some of his men. On the 19th of October, at Menindie, he left a portion of the troop under the command of Lieutenant Wright, with orders after a short rest to rejoin him at Cooper's Creek. It was the end of January before Wright set out for the point indicated. Meanwhile, as month followed month, bringing to Melbourne no news of Burke's party, the worst fears were awakened concerning its fate, and an expedition was fitted out to search for the lost heroes. To young Howitt was given the command, and it was his fortune to unveil the sad mystery that had enveloped their fate. On the 29th of June, 1861, crossing the river Loddon, Howitt encountered a portion of Burke's company under the lead of Brahe, the fourth lieutenant. Four of his men had died of scurvy, and the rest of his little band seemed utterly dispirited. Howitt learned that in two months Burke had crossed the entire route, sometimes desert, sometimes prairie, between Menindie and Cooper's Creek, and had reached the borders of the Gulf of Carpentaria, on the extreme north of the continent; also, that he was there in January, enduring the fiercest heat of summer, and men and beasts alike languishing for water, and nearly out of provisions. It was all in vain that he deplored the tardiness of Wright, and hoped, as he neared Cooper's Creek, for the coming of those who alone had the means of life for his little squad of famished men. Equally in vain that Wills with three camels reconnoitred the ground for scores of miles, hoping to find water. Not an oasis, not a rivulet, was to be found, and without a single drop of water to quench their parched lips they set out on another long and dreary march. Desiring to secure the utmost speed, Burke had left Brahe on the 16th of December with the sick and most of his provisions at Cooper's Creek, to remain three months at least, and longer if they were able, while he, with Wills, Grey and King, and six camels, pushed bravely [Pg 402]on, determined not to halt till the Pacific was reached. Battling with the terrible heat, sometimes for days together without water, and again obtaining a supply when they had almost perished for want of it, having occasional fierce conflicts with the natives, and more deadly encounters with poisonous serpents, but with an energy and courage that knew no such word as failure, the indomitable quartette went bravely on. The wished-for goal was reached, and the heroes, jubiliant though worn and weary, then returned once more to Cooper's Creek, to find the post deserted by Brahe, and Wright not arrived, while neither water nor provisions remained to supply their need.


All this Howitt learned after his arrival at the rendezvous, where he observed cut in the bark of a tree the word "Dig," and on throwing up the earth found an iron casket deposited by Brahe, giving the date of his departure and reasons for withdrawal before the appointed time. Of far deeper interest were papers written by Burke, announcing that he had reached the Pacific coast, and retraced his steps as far as Cooper's Creek—that for two months the little party had advanced rapidly, making constantly new discoveries of fertile lands, widespread prairies, gushing streams and well-watered valleys. Occasionally they had found lagoons of salt water, hills of red sand, trees of beautiful foliage, and mounds indicating the presence at some unknown period of the aboriginal inhabitants. They had discovered a range of high mountains in the north, and called them the Standish Mountains, while at their foot lay outspread a scene so lovely, of verdant groves and fertile meadows, of well-watered plains and heavy forest trees, that they christened it the Land of Promise. Then they reached again more sterile lands, parched and dry, without a rivulet or an oasis. They suffered for water and food grew scarce, but, sure of relief at Cooper's Creek, they pushed bravely on, and reached the rendezvous to learn that the men who could have saved them had passed on but seven hours before! After having accomplished so much, so bravely battled with heat and hunger, [Pg 403]serpents and cannibals, to perish at last of starvation, seemed a fate too terrible; and we cannot wonder that the little band fought their destiny to the last. Little scraps of the journal of Burke and his friends tell the sad tale of the last few weeks of agony. On March 6th, Burke seemed near dying from having eaten a bit of a large serpent that he had cooked. On the 30th they killed one of their camels, and on April 10th they killed "Billy," Burke's favorite riding-horse. On the 11th they were forced to halt on account of the condition of Grey, who was no longer able to proceed. On the 21st they reached an oasis—a little squad of human skeletons, scarcely more than alive.


Far and wide their longing eyes gazed in search of succor: they called aloud with all their little remaining strength, but the oasis was deserted, and the echo of their own sad voices was all the reply that reached the despairing men. Then, at their rendezvous, finding the word "Dig" on the tree where Howitt found it at a later day, they opened the soil, and so learned the departure of Brahe on that very morning. How terribly tantalizing, after their exhausting march and still more exhausting return, after having killed and eaten all their camels but two, and all their horses, after making discoveries that unlocked to the world the vast interior of this hitherto unknown continent, to find that they were just too late to be saved! Despair and death seemed staring them in the face: their long overtaxed powers of endurance failed them utterly, and the gaunt spectre of famine that had been journeying with the brave men for weeks threatened now to enfold them in its terrible embrace. Should they yield without another struggle? Burke suddenly remembered Mount Despair, a cattle-station about one hundred and fifty leagues away, and with his indomitable resolution persuaded his companions to start for it, depositing first in the little iron casket the journal of his discoveries and the date of his departure. As if to add the last finishing stroke of agony to the sad story, Burke and his companions had hardly turned their faces westward ere Brahe and Wright, who [Pg 404]had met at the passage of the Loddon, and were now overwhelmed with remorse at their careless neglect of their leader's orders, determined to revisit Cooper's Creek, and see if any tidings were to be gained of the missing party.


Thoughtless as imprudent, they did not examine the casket, but supposing it had remained undisturbed where they left it, they turned their faces southward to the Darling, utterly unsuspicious of the recent visit of Burke and his unfortunate comrades. Within two days after the trio began their dreary march to Mount Despair both their camels fell from exhaustion, but still the poor weary travelers pressed onward, continuing their search till the 24th of May. Discovering no eminence above the horizon, they then gave up in despair and began to retrace their steps, leaving on a tree the date of departure. In one more day's march they would have reached the summit and been saved!

On the 20th of June it was evident that young Wills could not long survive, and on the 29th are dated his last words, a letter to his father full of tenderness and resignation: "My death here within a few hours is certain, but my soul is calm." Still, almost in the last agony he made another effort to escape his fatal destiny, and set forth to reconnoitre the ground once more if perchance succor might be found. Alone, with none to close his eyes, he fell asleep, and Howitt after long search found the skeleton body stretched upon the sands, the natives having compassionately covered it with boughs and leaves. Burke's last words are dated on the 28th, one day earlier than those of Wills: "We have gained the shores of the ocean, but we have been a band—" The last word is unfinished, as if his pen had refused to make the cruel record. Burke's wasted remains too were found, covered with leaves and boughs. By his side lay his [Pg 405]revolver, and the record of his great exploits was in the little casket at the foot of the tree. King survived, and was found by Howitt, naked, famished and unable to speak or walk; but after long recruiting he was able to relate the details of suffering of those last few months, unknown to all the world save himself. Howitt reverently wrapped the precious remains in the union jack, and, leaving them in their lonely grave, retraced his steps to Melbourne with the precious casket of papers, the last legacy of the dead heroes. On the 6th of the following December, Howitt again visited the desolate spot, charged with the melancholy mission of bringing back the remains for interment in Melbourne. The chaste and elegant monument that marks the spot where the heroes sleep is a far less enduring memorial than exists in the wonderful development and unprecedented [Pg 406]prosperity which mark the colony as the fruit of the labors, sufferings and death of these martyred heroes.

A pretty romance is associated with the discovery and naming of Van Diemen's Land. A young man, Tasman by name, who had been scornfully rejected by a Dutch nabob as the suitor of his daughter, resolved to prove himself worthy of the lady of his heart. So, while his inamorata was cruelly imprisoned in the palace of her sire at Batavia, young Tasman, instead of wasting time in regrets, set forth on a voyage of adventure, seeking to win by prowess what gallantry had failed to effect. On his first voyage he so far circumnavigated the island as to be convinced of its insular character, but really saw little of the land. In subsequent voyages he made extensive explorations, calling not only the mainland, but all the little islets he discovered, by the several names and synonyms of Mademoiselle Van Diemen, his beloved. When at length he was able to lay before the Dutch government the charts of his voyages and a digest of his discoveries in the beautiful land where he had already planted the standard of Holland, the cruel sire relented and consented to receive as a son-in-law the successful adventurer. Tasman, it seems, never very fully explored the waters that surrounded his domain, and the honor was reserved to two young men, Flinders and Bass, of discovering in 1797 the deep, wide strait of two hundred and seventy miles in width that bears the name of Bass. The scenery of Van Diemen's Land is full of picturesque beauty—a sort of miniature Switzerland, with snow-clad peaks, rocks and ravines, foaming cataracts and multitudinous little lakes with their circling belt of green and dancing rivulets bordered with flowers. The Valley of Launceston is a very Arcadia of pastoral repose, while the Tamar—which in its whole course is rather a succession of beautiful lakes than an ordinary river—with its narrow defiles, basaltic rocks and sparkling cataracts, picturesque rocks that cut off one lake and suddenly reveal another, is a very miracle of beauty, dancing, frothing, foaming, like some playful sprite possessed with the very spirit of mischief.


Hobart Town, the capital of Tasmania, is a quiet, hospitable little town, but a very hotbed of aristocracy—the single spot on the Australian continent where English exclusiveness can, after the gay seasons of the large cities, retire to aristocratic country-seats, to nurse and revivify its pride of birth, without fear of coming in contact with anything parvenu or plebeian. The town is prettily laid out, with a genuine Gothic château for its government palace, and elegant private residences. It seems tame and deserted when visited from Sydney or Melbourne, but offers just the rest and refreshment one needs after a season of exhausting labor in the mines of Ballarat.

The rapid growth of the Australian colonies, their remoteness from the mother country, and the vastness of the territory over which they are spread, naturally suggest the question whether they are destined to remain in a condition of dependence or are likely to follow the example of their American prototypes. On this point the opinion of the count of Beauvoir is entitled to consideration, as that of an impartial as well as intelligent observer. He had expected, he tells us, in visiting the country, to find it preparing for its speedy emancipation; but he left it with the conviction that, far from desiring a severance of the connection, the colonists would regard it as a blow to their material interests—the one event, in fact, capable of arresting their unparalleled progress. It can only occur as the result of a European war in which the power of England shall be so crippled as to disable her from protecting these distant possessions, casting upon them the whole burden of self-defence, and forcing them to assume the responsibilities of national existence.

[Pg 407]



A somewhat tedious journey of thirty hours from Paris brought me one fine afternoon in the early part of July to Kulstein, an ancient fortress forming the frontier-town of the North Tyrol, toward Bavaria. While occupied in passing my portmanteau through the prying and unutterably dirty hands of the custom-house officials I was accosted by a man dressed in the garb of a Tyrolese mountaineer—short leathern breeches reaching to the knee, gray stockings, heavy hobnailed shoes, a nondescript species of jacket of the roughest frieze, and a battered hat adorned with two or three feathers of the capercailzie and a plume of the royal eagle. Old Hansel was one of the gamekeepers on a large imperial preserve close by, with whom some years previously I had on more than one occasion shared a hard couch under the stunted pines when inopportune night overtook us near the glaciers while in hot pursuit of the chamois.

This unexpected meeting proved a source of the liveliest interest to me, inasmuch as this old veteran of the mountains was on the point of starting on an expedition of a somewhat remarkable character. A pair of golden eagles, it appeared, had made a neighboring valley the scene of their frequent ravages and depredations among the cattle and game, and Hansel was about to organize an expedition to search for, and if possible despoil, the eyrie. Of late years these birds have become very rare. Switzerland is nearly, if not quite, cleared of them, while the Tyrol, affording greater solitude and a larger stock of game, can boast of eight or at the most ten couples. They are, as is well known, the largest and most powerful of all the birds of prey inhabiting Europe, measuring from eight to eight and a half feet in the span, and possessing terrible strength of beak, talons and wings. A full-grown golden eagle can easily carry off a young chamois, a full-grown roe or a sheep, none of them weighing less [Pg 408]than thirty pounds; and well-attested cases have occurred of young children being thus abstracted. In the fall of 1873 a boy nearly eight years of age was carried away by one of these birds from the very door of his parents' cottage, situated not far from the celebrated Königsee, near Salzburg.


The breeding-season falls in the month of June, and in the course of the first fortnight of the succeeding month the young offspring take wing and commence their raids in quest of pillage on their own account. The eyrie or nest is an object of the greatest care with the parent birds, the site being chosen with a view to the greatest possible security, generally in some crevice on the face of a perpendicular precipice several hundred feet in height. It is built of dry sticks of wood coated on the inside with moss. Hansel informed me of a surmise that the eyrie of this pair would be discovered in the face of the terribly steep "Falknerwand;" and although I had once before been engaged in a similar exploit, I could not resist the temptation to join in this expedition, and despatched on the spot a telegram to the friend who was awaiting my arrival in Ampezzo in order to make some ascents in the Dolomites, announcing a detention of some days. This done, we re-entered the cars and proceeded a few stations farther down the line to quaint old Rattenberg, a small town on the banks of the swift Inn. Not an hour from this place the scantily-inhabited Brandenberg valley opens on the broad and sunny Innthal. The former is merely a mountain-gorge. Far up in its recesses stands a small cottage belonging to the keeper of a wood-drift, and in close proximity to this solitary habitation is a [Pg 409]second very wild and wellnigh inaccessible ravine, the scene of the coming adventure.

Having passed the night in the modest little inn at Rattenberg, Hansel and I set off next morning long before sunrise on our eight hours' tramp to the wood-drift by a path which was in most places of just sufficient breadth to allow of one person passing at a time. Few of my fellow-travelers of the day before would have recognized me in the costume I had donned for the occasion—an old and much-patched coat, short leathern trousers, as worn and torn as the poorest woodcutter's, and a ten-seasoned hat which had been originally green, then brown, and had now become gray. My face and knees were still bronzed from the exposure attendant on a long course of Alpine climbing the year before.


The keeper of the wood-drift was an old acquaintance of mine, whose qualities as a keen sportsman had shone forth when four or five years previously I had quartered myself for a month in his secluded neighborhood, spending the day, and frequently also the night, on the peaks and passes surrounding his cottage. To the buxom Moidel, his pretty young wife, I was also no stranger, and her smile and blush assured me that she still remembered the time when, reigning supreme over her father's cattle on a neighboring alp, she had administered to the wants of the young sportsman seeking a night's lodging in the lonesome chalet. Many a merry evening had I spent in the low, oak-paneled "general room" of Tomerl's cottage when he was still a gay young bachelor, and no change had since been made in the aspect of the apartment. In one corner stood the huge pile of pottery used for heating the room, and round it were still fixed the rows of wooden laths by means of which I had so frequently dried my soaking apparel. Running the whole length of the room was a broad bench, in front of which were placed two strong tables; and at one of these were seated, at our entrance, two woodcutters, who had heard of the intended expedition and come to offer their help. They informed us that four more men engaged in wood-felling in a forest an hour or so [Pg 410]distant would also be delighted to join us, as they did at the close of their day's work.

The evening was spent in discussing the details of the approaching exploit and getting our various arrangements and implements in order. At nine o'clock, leaving Tomerl and his wife their accustomed bed on the top of the stove, the rest of us retired to our common bed-room, the hayloft. We were up again by three, and an hour later were all ready to start. Tomerl led the way, but stopped ere we lost sight of the cottage to shout a last "jodler" to his wife, who returned the greeting with a clear, bell-like voice, though her heart was doubtless beating fast under her smartly-laced bodice.

Three hours later we had reached the gorge, and after some difficult scrambling and wading through turbulent torrents we arrived at the base of the Falknerwand, which rises perpendicularly upward of nine hundred feet—an altitude diminished in appearance by the tenfold greater height of the surrounding mountains. Finding, after a few minutes' close observation, that nothing could be done from the base of the cliff, we proceeded to scale it by a circuitous route up a practicable but nevertheless terribly steep incline. Safely arrived at the top, we threw down our burdens and began to reconnoitre the terrain, which we did ventre à terre, bending over the cliff as far as we dared. Great was our dismay to perceive that some eighty or ninety feet below us a narrow rocky ledge, which had escaped our notice when looking up from the foot of the cliff, projected shelf-wise from the face of the precipice, shutting out all view of a crevice which we had descried from the bottom, and which, as we anticipated, contained the eyrie.

After consulting some time, we decided to lower ourselves down to this rock-band, and make it the base of our further movements, instead of operating, as we had intended, from the crest of the cliff, where everything but for this obstacle would have been tenfold easier. Posting one of the men at the top of the cliff to lower the heavy rope, three hundred feet in length, by means of a cord, we descended to the ledge, which was nowhere more than three feet in width, and in several places scarcely over a foot and a half. Standing in a single row on this miniature platform, we had to manipulate the rope with a yawning gulf some eight hundred feet in depth beside us, and nothing to lay hold of for support but the smooth face of the rock.

We began operations by driving a strong iron hook into the solid rock, at a point some two or three feet above the ledge. Through this hook the rope was passed, one end pendent over the cliff; and to obviate the peril of its being frayed and speedily severed by the sharp outer edge of our platform, we rigged up a block of wood with some iron stays to serve as an immovable pulley. These preparations completed, the men were assigned to their respective positions. Hansel and Tomerl, two renowned shots, were to lie at full length, rifle in hand, one at each end of the row, to act as my guardian angels if I were surprised and attacked by the old eagles while engaged in the work of spoliation. The remaining woodcutters, with the exception of the one who had been left on the top of the cliff, were placed in file along the ledge to lower and raise the plank which was to serve as my seat, and to which the rope was securely fastened after being passed through an iron ring attached to my stout leathern girdle. A signal-line was to hang at my side, and a hunting-knife, a revolver, a strong canvas bag to hold the booty, and an ashen pole iron-shod at one end and provided with a strong iron boathook at the other, completed my equipment, each article of which had undergone the strictest scrutiny before its adoption.

Taking the pole from the hands of Hansel, I let myself glide over the edge of the cliff, and the next moment hung in empty space. After being lowered about eighty feet, I found myself on a level with the crevice before mentioned, and gave the preconcerted signal for arresting my downward progress. Owing, however, to a beetling crag or boulder which overhung the recess, I was still at [Pg 411]a distance of ten or twelve feet horizontally from the goal. Fixing the boathook into a convenient indentation of the rock, I gradually pulled myself in till I reached the face of the wall. Then leaving the plank, I crawled up an inclined slab of rock which led to the actual crevice, until I was stopped by a barrier of dry sticks about two feet in height. Raising myself on my knees, I peered into the oval-shaped eyrie, and saw perched up at the farther side two splendid young golden eagles.


It is a very rare occurrence to find two young eagles in one eyrie. These, though only four or five weeks old, were formidable birds, measuring considerably over six feet in the span, and displaying beaks and talons of imposing size. It took some time to capture and pinion these powerful and refractory ornithological specimens, whose loud, discordant screams caused me several times to glance involuntarily over my shoulder at the strip of horizon visible, to assure myself that the old eagles were not swooping down to [Pg 412]the rescue. I was in the more haste to leave the eyrie that the stench which emanated from the remains of numerous victims strewn in and about it was something terrific. These relics, which I had the curiosity to count, consisted of a half-devoured carcass of a chamois, three pairs of chamois' horns and the corresponding bones of the animals, the skeleton of a goat picked clean, the remains of an Alpine hare, and the head and neck of a fawn.


The canvas bag being too small to contain both the eaglets, I was obliged to hang one of them to my belt, after tying my handkerchief round his beak. The game secured, I crept cautiously down the slab to the plank, and fixing the hook of my pole in the indentation of which I had made use in drawing myself in, I gave the preconcerted two jerks with the signal-line. Now occurred the first of a series of accidents which came near resulting fatally to the whole party. Contrary to my strict injunctions, the men hauling the rope gave a sudden and violent pull, wrenching the pole from my grasp, and communicating to the plank a motion like that of a pendulum, which sent me flying out into space, with the immediate prospect of being dashed by the retrograde swing against the solid wall of rock. Happily, I preserved my presence of mind, and grasped instantly the only chance of escape. Tilting myself back as far as the rope and the ring on my belt allowed, and stretching out my legs horizontally, I awaited the contact. Half a second later came a heavy blow on the soles of my feet, the pain of which ran through my whole frame like the shock of a galvanic battery. Had it [Pg 413] been my head, the reader would probably never have been troubled with any account of my sensations. As it was, my feet, though protected by immensely heavy iron-shod shoes, received a concussion the effects of which continued to be felt for weeks.

Almost at the moment of this incident I had noticed a dark object shooting past me, at so close a proximity that I distinctly heard the whistling sound as it cleft the air. Supposing it to be a stone, I gave it no further thought, and my attention was presently occupied by a sharp gash which the young eagle at my belt managed to inflict on my left thigh. It was not until I had stopped the haemorrhage by strewing some grains of powder into the wound that I perceived with surprise that I was still stationary, instead of ascending, as in due course I ought to have been. The boulder of rock projecting a few feet over my head prevented any view of the ledge, and my shouts inquiring the cause of the delay received indistinct answers, the words "patience" and "wait" being the only intelligible ones. These might have had a consoling influence but for the fact that a thunderstorm—an occurrence of great frequency in the beginning of summer in the High Alps—was fast approaching, and my position was one that exposed me to its full fury without any possibility of escape. Ere long it burst over my head, drenching me to the skin in the first five minutes, while the lightning played about me in every direction, and terrific claps of thunder followed each other at intervals of scarcely a few seconds. What heightened the danger as well as the absurdity of my situation was the chance that one or both of the old eagles might return at any moment, under circumstances that must render a struggle, if any ensued, a most unequal one. Supposing my guards to be still at their post, the distance of the ledge was such as to make a shot at a flying bird, large as it might be, anything but a sure one; and the tactics of the golden eagle when defending its home do not allow of any second attempt. A speck is seen on the horizon, and the next moment the powerful bird is down with one fell swoop: a flap with its strong wing and the unhappy victim is stunned, and immediately ripped open from the chest to his hip, while his skull is cleft or fractured by a single blow of the tremendous beak. Instances are, however, known in which the cool and self-possessed "pendant" has shot or cut down his foe at the very instant of the encounter. Happily, my own powers were not put to so severe a test: the old birds were that day far off, circling probably in majestic swoops over some distant valley or gorge.

I was forced, however, to be constantly on the alert, and my impatience and perplexity may be imagined as hours elapsed and there were still no signs of my approaching deliverance. The storm had long since passed over, and darkness was settling down when I again felt a pull at the rope, and continued my ascent, begun nearly four hours before. It was of the utmost importance that the whole party should regain the top of the cliff before night had fairly set in. I therefore deferred, on my arrival at the ledge, all questions and rebukes till we had gained a place of safety. The heavy rope, fastened to the cord, was hauled up by the man on the top, and after it had been secured to a tree-stump we swarmed up without loss of time. We had still before us a somewhat perilous scramble in the darkness down the steep incline, but the exhaustion we had undergone made it necessary that we should first recruit our strength by means of the food and bottle of "Schnapps" with which we were fortunately provided. While we were thus engaged I received from my companions an account of the causes of the perilous delay.

On receiving my signal they had begun to haul, but after the first pull had felt a sudden jerk, and perceived that the block, supposed to have been securely fastened at the edge of the platform, was gone. They imagined at first that it had struck and killed me, but my shouts soon apprised them of my safety. Fearing to continue the process of hauling lest the rope should be cut by the sharp-edged [Pg 414] stones, they informed the man on the cliff of the mishap, and despatched him to procure a second block. He accordingly ran down the slope to the bottom of the mountain, cut a young pine tree, shaped a block, and was in the act of carrying it up when the storm burst forth, and the lightning, playing around him in vivid flashes, cleft and splintered a rock weighing hundreds of tons that had stood within thirty paces of him. He received no injury except being thrown on the ground and partially stunned by the terrible concussion, but it was not till after a considerable time that he was able to rise and continue his ascent. Had he been killed, our situation would have been a most precarious one. There would have been no possibility of regaining the cliff without help, and as our party comprised all the working force of the neighborhood, and Tomerl's cottage was the only dwelling within fifteen or twenty miles, our chances of rescue would have been extremely slight.

We reached the bottom of the mountain as the upper part was beginning to be lit by the rays of a full moon, and a three hours' tramp brought us without further mishap to the cottage. Moidel, forewarned of our return by a series of "jodlers," a sound which may challenge competition as a joyful acclaim, had prepared an ample supper; and when Tomerl produced his well-tuned "zither," a species of guitar producing simple but soft and highly musical strains, the mirth was at its height. Then followed songs eulogistic of the life of the chamois-stalker, who, "with his gun in his hand, a chamois on his back and a girl in his heart," has no cause to envy a king. A dance called the "Schuhblatteln," in which the art consists in touching the soles of one's shoes with the palm of the hand, finished our evening's amusement, and we retired, rather worn out, just as day was breaking.

After four hours' sleep we rose refreshed and eager to examine our two captives. Attached to Tomerl's cottage was a diminutive barn, from which we removed the door, and nailing strong laths across the aperture, managed to improvise a large and roomy cage. A couple of rabbits furnished a luxurious breakfast, which was devoured with extraordinary voracity. The hen-bird, as is the case with all birds of prey, was considerably larger and stronger than her brother, though the latter had the finer head and eyes.

A week after their capture they were "feathered" for the first time. This process consists in pulling out the long down-like plumes situated on the under side of the strong tail-feathers. These plumes, which, if taken from a full-grown eagle, frequently measure seven or eight inches in length, are highly prized by the Tyrolese peasants, but still more by the inhabitants of the neighboring Bavarian Highlands, who do not hesitate to expend a month's wages in the purchase of two or three with which to adorn their hats or those of their buxom sweethearts. The value of a crop of plumes varies somewhat. Generally, however, an eagle yields about forty florins' ($16) worth of feathers per annum.

Six weeks after this incident I again wended my steps into the secluded Brandenburg valley, and found the eagles thriving and much grown. Being curious to see if their confinement had subdued their wild and ferocious spirit, I removed one of the laths and entered the barn. An angry hiss, similar to that of a snake, warned me of danger, but too late to save my hands some severe scratches. With one bound and a flap of their gigantic wings they were on me, and had it not been for Tomerl, who was standing just behind me armed with a stout cudgel, I should have paid dearly for my incautious visit.

I know of no instance where human skill has subdued in the slightest degree the haughty spirit of the free-born golden eagle. An untamable ferocity is the predominating characteristic of this noble bird, more than of any other animal. Circling majestically among the fleeting clouds, he reigns lord paramount over his vast domain, avoiding the sight and resenting the approach of man.


[Pg 415]





"Yes, mother," said Mabyn, bursting into the room, "here I am; and Jennifer's down stairs with my box; and I am to stay with you here for another week or a fortnight; and Wenna's to go back at once, for the whole world is convulsed because of Mr. Trelyon's coming of age; and Mrs. Trelyon has sent and taken all our spare rooms; and father says Wenna must come back directly, for it's always 'Wenna, do this,' and 'Wenna, do that;' and if Wenna isn't there, of course the sky will tumble down on the earth—Mother, what's the matter, and where's Wenna?"

Mabyn was suddenly brought up in the middle of her voluble speech by the strange expression on her mother's face.

"Oh, Mabyn, something dreadful has happened to our Wenna."

Mabyn turned deadly white. "Is she ill?" she said, almost in a whisper.

"No, not ill, but a great trouble has fallen on her."

Then the mother, in a low voice, apparently fearful that any one should overhear, began to tell her younger daughter of all she had learnt within the past day or two—how young Trelyon had been bold enough to tell Wenna that he loved her; how Wenna had dallied with her conscience and been loath to part with him; how at length she had as good as revealed to him that she loved him in return; and how she was now overwhelmed and crushed beneath a sense of her own faithlessness and the impossibility of making reparation to her betrothed.

"Only to think, Mabyn," said the mother in accents of despair, "that all this distress should have come about in such a quiet and unexpected way! Who could have foreseen it? Why, of all the people in the world, you would have thought our Wenna was the least likely to have any misery of this sort; and many a time—don't you remember?—I used to say it was so wise of her getting engaged to a prudent and elderly man, who would save her from the plagues and trials that young girls often suffer at the hands of their lovers. I thought she was so comfortably settled. Everything promised her a quiet and gentle life. And now this sudden shock has come upon her, she seems to think she is not fit to live, and she goes on in such a wild way—"

"Where is she?" Mabyn said abruptly.

"No, no, no!" the mother said anxiously, "you must not speak a word to her, Mabyn. You must not let her know I have told you anything about it. Leave her to herself, for a while at least: if you speak to her, she will take it you mean to accuse her, for she says you warned her, and she would pay no heed. Leave her to herself, Mabyn."

"Then where is Mr. Trelyon?" said Mabyn, with some touch of indignation in her voice. "What is he doing? Is he leaving her to herself too?"

"I don't know what you mean, Mabyn," her mother said timidly.

"Why doesn't he come forward like a man and marry her?" said Mabyn boldly. "Yes, that is what I would do if I were a man. She has sent him away? Yes, of course: that is right and proper. And Wenna will go on doing what is right and proper, if you allow her, to the very end, and the end will be a lifetime of misery: that's all. No, my notion is, that she should do something that is not right and is quite improper, if only it makes her happy; and you'll see if I don't get her to do it. Why, mother, haven't you had eyes to see that these two have been in love for years? Nobody in the world had ever the least control over him but her: he would do anything for Wenna; and she—why she always came back singing after she had met and spoken to him. And then you talk about a prudent and sensible husband! [Pg 416]I don't want Wenna to marry a watchful, mean, old, stocking-darning cripple, who will creep about the house all day and peer into cupboards, and give her fourpence-halfpenny a week to live on. I want her to marry a man—one that is strong enough to protect her. And I tell you, mother—I've said it before, and I say it again—she shall not marry Mr. Roscorla."

"Mabyn," said her mother, "you are getting madder than ever. Your dislike to Mr. Roscorla is most unreasonable. A cripple! Why—"

"Oh, mother!" Mabyn cried with a bright light on her face, "only think of our Wenna being married to Mr. Trelyon, and how happy and pleased and pretty she would look as they went walking together! And then how proud he would be to have so nice a wife! and he would joke about her and be very impertinent, but he would simply worship her all the same, and do everything he could to please her. And he would take her away and show her all the beautiful places abroad; and he would have a yacht, too; and he would give her a fine house in London. And don't you think our Wenna would fascinate everybody with her mouselike ways and her nice small steps? And if they did have any trouble, wouldn't she be better to have somebody with her not timid and anxious and pettifogging, but somebody who wouldn't be cast down, but make her as brave as himself?"

Miss Mabyn was a shrewd young woman, and she saw that her mother's quick, imaginative, sympathetic nature was being captivated by this picture. She determined to have her as an ally.

"And don't you see, mother, how it all lies within her reach? Harry Trelyon is in love with her: there was no need for him to say so. I knew it long before he did. And she—why, she has told him now that she cares for him; and if I were he, I know what I'd do in his place. What is there in the way? Why, a—a sort of understanding."

"A promise, Mabyn," said the mother.

"Well, a promise," said the girl desperately, and coloring somewhat. "But it was a promise given in ignorance: she didn't know—how could she know? Everybody knows that such promises are constantly broken. If you are in love with somebody else, what's the good of your keeping the promise? Now, mother, won't you argue with her? See here: if she keeps her promise, there's three people miserable. If she breaks it, there's only one; and I doubt whether he's got the capacity to be miserable. That's two to one, or three to one, is it? Now, will you argue with her, mother?"

"Mabyn, Mabyn," the mother said with a shake of the head, but evidently pleased with the voice of the tempter, "your fancy has run away with you. Why, Mr. Trelyon has never proposed to marry her."

"I know he wants to," said Mabyn confidently.

"How can you know?"

"I'll ask him and prove it to you."

"Indeed," said the mother sadly, "it is no thought of marriage that is in Wenna's head just now. The poor girl is full of remorse and apprehension. I think she would like to start at once for Jamaica, and fling herself at Mr. Roscorla's feet and confess her fault. I am glad she has to go back to Eglosilyan: that may distract her mind in a measure: at present she is suffering more than she shows."

"Where is she?"

"In her own room, tired out and fast asleep. I looked in a few minutes ago."

Mabyn went up stairs, after having seen that Jennifer had properly bestowed her box. Wenna had just risen from the sofa, and was standing in the middle of the room. Her younger and taller sister went blithely forward to her, kissed her as usual, took no notice of the sudden flush of red that sprang into her face, and proceeded to state, in a business-like fashion, all the arrangements that had to be made.

"Have you been enjoying yourself, Wenna?" Mabyn said with a fine air of indifference.

"Oh yes," Wenna answered; adding hastily, "Don't you think mother is greatly improved?"

[Pg 417]"Wonderfully! I almost forgot she was an invalid. How lucky you are to be going back to see all the fine doings at the Hall! Of course they will ask you up."

"They will do nothing of the kind," Wenna said with some asperity, and with her face turned aside.

"Lord and Lady Amersham have already come to the Hall."

"Oh, indeed!"

"Yes. They said some time ago that there was a good chance of Mr. Trelyon marrying the daughter—the tall girl with yellow hair, you remember?"

"And the stooping shoulders? Yes. I should think they would be glad to get her married to anybody. She's thirty."

"Oh, Wenna!"

"Mr. Trelyon told me so," said Wenna sharply.

"And they are a little surprised," continued Mabyn in the same indifferent way, but watching her sister all the while, "that Mr. Trelyon has remained absent until so near the time. But I suppose he means to take Miss Penaluna with him. She lives here, doesn't she? They used to say there was a chance of a marriage there too."

"Mabyn, what do you mean?" Wenna said suddenly and angrily. "What do I care about Mr. Trelyon's marriage? What is it you mean?"

But the firmness of her lips began to yield: there was an ominous trembling about them, and at the same moment her younger sister caught her to her bosom, and hid her face there and hushed her wild sobbing. She would hear no confession. She knew enough. Nothing would convince her that Wenna had done anything wrong, so there was no use speaking about it.

"Wenna," she said in a low voice, "have you sent him any message?"

"Oh no, no!" the girl said trembling. "I fear even to think of him; and when you mentioned his name, Mabyn, it seemed to choke me. And now I have to go back to Eglosilyan; and oh, if you only knew how I dread that, Mabyn!"

Mabyn's conscience was struck. She it was who had done this thing. She had persuaded her father that her mother needed another week or fortnight at Penzance; she had frightened him by telling what bother he would suffer if Wenna were not back at the inn during the festivities at Trelyon Hall; and then she had offered to go and take her sister's post. George Rosewarne was heartily glad to exchange the one daughter for the other. Mabyn was too independent; she thwarted him; sometimes she insisted on his bestirring himself. Wenna, on the other hand, went about the place like some invisible spirit of order, making everything comfortable for him without noise or worry. He was easily led to issue the necessary orders; and so it was that Mabyn thought she was doing her sister a friendly turn by sending her back to Eglosilyan in order to join in congratulating Harry Trelyon on his entrance into man's estate. Now Mabyn found that she had only plunged her sister into deeper trouble. What could be done to save her?

"Wenna," said Mabyn rather timidly, "do you think he has left Penzance?"

Wenna turned to her with a sudden look of entreaty in her face: "I cannot bear to speak of him, Mabyn. I have no right to: I hope you will not ask me. Just now I—I am going to write a letter—to Jamaica. I shall tell the whole truth. It is for him to say what must happen now. I have done him a great injury: I did not intend it, I had no thought of it, but my own folly and thoughtlessness brought it about, and I have to bear the penalty. I don't think he need be anxious about punishing me."

She turned away with a tired look on her face, and began to get out her writing materials. Mabyn watched her for a moment or two in silence; then she left and went to her own room, saying to herself, "Punishment! Whoever talks of punishment will have to address himself to me."

When she got to her own room she wrote these words on a piece of paper in her firm, bold, free hand: "A friend would like to see you for a minute in front of the post-office in the middle of the town." She put that in an envelope, [Pg 418]and addressed the envelope to Harry Trelyon, Esq. Still keeping her bonnet on, she went down stairs and had a little general conversation with her mother, in the course of which she quite casually asked the name of the hotel at which Mr. Trelyon had been staying. Then, just as if she were going out to the Parade to have a look at the sea, she carelessly left the house.

The dusk of the evening was growing to dark. A white mist lay over the sea. The solitary lamps were being lit along the Parade, each golden star shining sharply in the pale purple twilight, but a more confused glow of orange showed where the little town was busy in its narrow thoroughfares. She got hold of a small boy, gave him the letter, a sixpence and his instructions. He was to ask if the gentleman were in the hotel. If not, had he left Penzance, or would he return that night? In any case, the boy was not to leave the letter unless Mr. Trelyon was there.

The small boy returned in a couple of minutes. The gentleman was there, and had taken the letter. So Mabyn at once set out for the centre of the town, and soon found herself in among a mass of huddled houses, bright shops and thoroughfares pretty well filled with strolling sailors, women getting home from market and townspeople come out to gossip. She had accurately judged that she would be less observed in this busy little place than out on the Parade; and as it was the first appointment she had ever made to meet a young gentleman alone, she was just a little nervous.

Trelyon was there. He had recognized the handwriting in a moment. He had no time to ridicule or even to think of Mabyn's school-girl affectation of secresy: he had at once rushed off to the place of appointment, and that by a short cut of which she had no knowledge.

"Mabyn, what's the matter? Is Wenna ill?" he said, forgetting in his anxiety even to shake hands with her.

"Oh no, she isn't," said Mabyn rather coldly and defiantly. If he was in love with her sister, it was for him to make advances. "Oh no, she's pretty well, thank you," continued Mabyn, indifferently. "But she never could stand much worry. I wanted to see you about that. She is going back to Eglosilyan to-morrow; and you must promise not to have her asked up to the Hall while these grand doings are going on—you must not try to see her and persuade her. If you could keep out of her way altogether—"

"You know all about it, then, Mabyn?" he said suddenly; and even in the dusky light of the street she could see the rapid look of gladness that filled his face. "And you are not going to be vexed, eh? You'll remain friends with me, Mabyn—you will tell me how she is from time to time. Don't you see, I must go away; and—and, by Jove, Mabyn! I've got such a lot to tell you!"

She looked round.

"I can't talk to you here. Won't you walk back by the other road behind the town?" he said.

Yes, she would go willingly with him now. The anxiety of his face, the almost wild way in which he seemed to beg for her help and friendship, the mere impatience of his manner, pleased and satisfied her. This was as it should be. Here was no sweetheart by line and rule, demonstrating his affection by argument, and acting at all times with a studied propriety; but a real, true lover, full of passionate hope and as passionate fear; ready to do anything, and yet not knowing what to do. Above all, he was "brave and handsome, like a prince," and therefore a fit lover for her gentle sister.

"Oh, Mr. Trelyon," she said with a great burst of confidence, "I did so fear that you might be indifferent!"

"Indifferent!" said he with some bitterness. "Perhaps that is the best thing that could happen, only it isn't very likely to happen. Did you ever see anybody placed as I am placed, Mabyn? Nothing but stumbling-blocks every way I look. Our family have always been hot-headed and hot-tempered: if I told my grandmother at this minute how I am situated, I believe she would say, 'Why don't you go like a man and run off with the girl?'"

[Pg 419]"Yes!" said Mabyn, quite delighted.

"But suppose you've bothered and worried the girl until you feel ashamed of yourself, and she begs of you to leave her, aren't you bound in fair manliness to go?"

"I don't know," said Mabyn doubtfully.

"Well, I do. It would be very mean to pester her. I'm off as soon as these people leave the Hall. But then there are other things. There is your sister engaged to this fellow out in Jamaica—"

"Isn't he a horrid wretch?" said Mabyn between her teeth.

"Oh, I quite agree with you. If I could have it out with him now! But, after all, what harm has the man done? Is it any wonder he wanted to get Wenna for a wife?"

"Oh, but he cheated her," said Mabyn warmly. "He persuaded her and reasoned with her, and argued her into marrying him. And what business had he to tell her that love between young people is all bitterness and trial, and that a girl is only safe when she marries a prudent and elderly man who will look after her? Why, it is to look after him that he wants her. Wenna is going to him as a housekeeper and a nurse. Only—only, Mr. Trelyon, she hasn't gone to him just yet!"

"Oh, I don't think he did anything unfair," the young man said gloomily. "It doesn't matter, anyhow. What I was going to say is, that my grandmother's notion of what one of our family ought to do in such a case can't be carried out: whatever you may think of a man, you can't go and try to rob him of his sweetheart behind his back. Even supposing she were willing to break with him—which she is not—you've at least got to wait to give the fellow a chance."

"There I quite disagree with you, Mr. Trelyon," Mabyn said warmly. "Wait to give him a chance to make our Wenna miserable! Is she to be made the prize of a sort of fight? If I were a man I'd pay less attention to my own scruples and try what I could do for her—Oh, Mr. Trelyon—I—I beg your pardon."

Mabyn suddenly stopped on the road, overwhelmed with confusion. She had been so warmly thinking of her sister's welfare that she had been hurried into something worse than an indiscretion.

"What then, Mabyn?" said he, profoundly surprised.

"I beg your pardon: I have been so thoughtless. I had no right to assume that you wished—that you wished for the—for the opportunity—"

"Of marrying Wenna?" said he with a great stare. "But what else have we been speaking about? Or rather, I suppose we did assume it. Well, the more I think over it, Mabyn, the more I am maddened by all these obstacles, and by the notion of all the things that may happen. That's the bad part of my going away. How can I tell what may happen? He might come back and insist on her marrying him right off."

"Mr. Trelyon," said Mabyn, speaking very clearly, "there's one thing you may be sure of. If you let me know where you are, nothing will happen to Wenna that you don't hear of."

He took her hand and pressed it in mute thankfulness. He was not insensible to the value of having so warm an advocate, so faithful an ally, always at Wenna's side.

"How long do letters take in going to Jamaica?" Mabyn asked.

"I don't know."

"I could fetch him back for you directly," said she, "if you would like that."


"By writing and telling him that you and Wenna were going to get married. Wouldn't that fetch him back pretty quickly?"

"I doubt it. He wouldn't believe it of Wenna. Then he is a sensible sort of fellow, and would say to himself that if the news was true he would have his journey for nothing. Besides, Barnes says that things are looking well with him in Jamaica—better than anybody expected. He might not be anxious to leave."

They had now got back to the Parade, and Mabyn stopped: "I must leave you now, Mr. Trelyon. Mind not to go near Wenna when you get to Eglosilyan."

"She sha'n't even see me. I shall be [Pg 420]there only a couple of days or so; then I am going to London. I am going to have a try at the Civil Service examinations—for first commissions, you know. I shall only come back to Eglosilyan for a day now and again at long intervals. You have promised to write to me, Mabyn. Well, I'll send you my address."

She looked at him keenly as she offered him her hand. "I wouldn't be downhearted if I were you," she said. "Very odd things sometimes happen."

"Oh, I sha'n't be very down-hearted," said he, "so long as I hear that she is all right, and not vexing herself about anything."

"Good-bye, Mr. Trelyon. I am sorry I can't take any message for you."

"To her? No, that is impossible. Good-bye, Mabyn: I think you are the best friend I have in the world."

"We'll see about that," she said as she walked rapidly off.

Her mother had been sufficiently astonished by her long absence: she was now equally surprised by the excitement and pleasure visible in her face.

"Oh, mammy, do you know whom I've seen? Mr. Trelyon."


"Yes. We've walked right round Penzance all by ourselves. And it's all settled, mother."

"What is all settled?"

"The understanding between him and me. An offensive and defensive alliance. Let tyrants beware!"

She took off her bonnet and came and sat down on the floor by the side of the sofa: "Oh, mammy, I see such beautiful things in the future! You wouldn't believe it if I told you all I see. Everybody else seems determined to forecast such gloomy events. There's Wenna crying and writing letters of contrition, and expecting all sorts of anger and scolding; there's Mr. Trelyon haunted by the notion that Mr. Roscorla will suddenly come home and marry Wenna right off; and as for him out there in Jamaica, I expect he'll be in a nice state when he hears of all this. But far on ahead of all that I see such a beautiful picture!"

"It is a dream of yours, Mabyn," her mother said, but there was an imaginative light in her fine eyes too.

"No, it is not a dream, mother, for there are so many people all wishing now that it should come about, in spite of these gloomy fancies. What is there to prevent it when we are all agreed?—Mr. Trelyon and I heading the list with our important alliance; and you, mother, would be so proud to see Wenna happy; and Mrs. Trelyon pets her as if she were a daughter already; and everybody—every man, woman and child—in Eglosilyan would rather see that come about than get a guinea apiece. Oh, mother, if you could see the picture that I see just now!"

"It is a pretty picture, Mabyn," her mother said, shaking her head. "But when you think of everybody being agreed, you forget one, and that is Wenna herself. Whatever she thinks fit and right to do, that she is certain to do, and all your alliances and friendly wishes won't alter her decision, even if it should break her heart. And indeed I hope the poor child won't sink under the terrible strain that is on her: what do you think of her looks, Mabyn?"

"They want mending—yes, they want mending," Mabyn admitted, apparently with some compunction, but then she added boldly, "and you know as well as I do, mother, that there is but the one way of mending them."



If this story were not tied by its title to the duchy of Cornwall, it might be interesting enough to follow Mr. Roscorla into the new world that had opened all around him, and say something of the sudden shock his old habits had thus received, and of the quite altered views of his own life he had been led to form. As matters stand, we can only pay him a flying visit.

He is seated in a verandah fronting a garden, in which pomegranates and oranges form the principal fruit. Down [Pg 421]below him some blacks are bringing provisions up to Yacca Farm along the cactus avenue leading to the gate. Far away on his right the last rays of the sun are shining on the summit of Blue Mountain Peak, and along the horizon the reflected glow of the sky shines on the calm sea. It is a fine, still evening; his cigar smells sweet in the air; it is a time for indolent dreaming and for memories of home.

But Mr. Roscorla is not so much enraptured by thoughts of home as he might be. "Why," he is saying to himself, "my life in Basset Cottage was no life at all, but only a waiting for death. Day after day passed in that monotonous fashion: what had one to look forward to but old age, sickness, and then the quiet of a coffin? It was nothing but an hourly procession to the grave, varied by rabbit-shooting. This bold breaking away from the narrow life of such a place has given me a new lease of existence. Now I can look back with surprise on the dullness of that Cornish village, and on the regularity of habits which I did not know were habits. For is not that always the case? You don't know that you are forming a habit: you take each act to be an individual act, which you may perform or not at will; but, all the same, the succession of them is getting you into its power; custom gets a grip of your ways of thinking as well as your ways of living; the habit is formed, and it does not cease its hold until it conducts you to the grave. Try Jamaica for a cure. Fling a sleeping man into the sea, and watch if he does not wake. Why, when I look back to the slow, methodical, common-place life I led at Eglosilyan, can I wonder that I was sometimes afraid of Wenna Rosewarne regarding me as a somewhat staid and venerable individual, on whose infirmities she ought to take pity?"

He rose and began to walk up and down the verandah, putting his foot down firmly. His loose linen suit was smart enough: his complexion had been improved by the sun. The consciousness that his business affairs were promising well did not lessen his sense of self-importance.

"Wenna must be prepared to move about a bit when I go back," he was saying to himself. "She must give up that daily attendance on cottagers' children. If all turns out well, I don't see why we should not live in London, for who will know there who her father was? That consideration was of no consequence so long as I looked forward to living the rest of my life in Basset Cottage: now there are other things to be thought of when there is a chance of my going among my old friends again."

By this time, it must be observed, Mr. Roscorla had abandoned his hasty intention of returning to England to upbraid Wenna with having received a ring from Harry Trelyon. After all, he reasoned with himself, the mere fact that she should talk thus simply and frankly about young Trelyon showed that, so far as she was concerned, her loyalty to her absent lover was unbroken. As for the young gentleman himself, he was, Mr. Roscorla knew, fond of joking. He had doubtless thought it a fine thing to make a fool of two or three women by imposing on them this cock-and-bull story of finding a ring by dredging. He was a little angry that Wenna should have been deceived; but then, he reflected, these gypsy rings are so much like one another that the young man had probably got a pretty fair duplicate. For the rest, he did not want to quarrel with Harry Trelyon at present.

But as he was walking up and down the verandah, looking a much younger and brisker man than the Mr. Roscorla who had left Eglosilyan, a servant came through the house and brought him a couple of letters. He saw they were respectively from Mr. Barnes and from Wenna; and, curiously enough, he opened the reverend gentleman's first—perhaps as schoolboys like to leave the best bit of a tart to the last.

He read the letter over carefully; he sat down and read it again; then he put it before him on the table. He was evidently puzzled by it. "What does this man mean by writing these letters to me?"—so Mr. Roscorla, who was a cautious and reflective person, communed with himself.—"He is no particular friend [Pg 422]of mine. He must be driving at something. Now he says that I am to be of good cheer. I must not think anything of what he formerly wrote. Mr. Trelyon is leaving Eglosilyan for good, and his mother will at last have some peace of mind. What a pity it is that this sensitive creature should be at the mercy of the rude passions of this son of hers! that she should have no protector! that she should be allowed to mope herself to death in a melancholy seclusion!"

An odd fancy occurred to Mr. Roscorla at this moment, and he smiled: "I think I have got a clew to Mr. Barnes's disinterested anxiety about my affairs. The widower would like to protect the solitary and unfriended widow, but the young man is in the way. The young man would be very much in the way if he married Wenna Rosewarne; the widower's fears drive him into suspicion, then into certainty; nothing will do but that I should return to England at once and spoil this little arrangement. But as soon as Harry Trelyon declares his intention of leaving Eglosilyan for good, then my affairs may go anyhow. Mr. Barnes finds the coast clear: I am bidden to stay where I am. Well, that is what I mean to do; but now I fancy I understand Mr. Barnes's generous friendship for me and his affectionate correspondence."

He turned to Wenna's letter with much compunction. He owed her some atonement for having listened to the disingenuous reports of this scheming clergyman. How could he have so far forgotten the firm, uncompromising rectitude of the girl's character, her sensitive notions of honor, the promises she had given?

He read her letter, and as he read his eyes seemed to grow hot with rage. He paid no heed to the passionate contrition of the trembling lines—to the obvious pain that she had endured in telling the story, without concealment, against herself—to the utter and abject wretchedness with which she awaited his decision. It was thus that she had kept faith with him the moment his back was turned! Such were the safeguards afforded by a woman's sense of honor! What a fool he had been, to imagine that any woman could remain true to her promise so soon as some other object of flirtation and incipient love-making came in her way!

He looked at the letter again: he could scarcely believe it to be in her handwriting. This the quiet, reasonable, gentle and timid Wenna Rosewarne, whose virtues were almost a trifle too severe? The despair and remorse of the letter did not touch him—he was too angry and indignant over the insult to himself—but it astonished him. The passionate emotion of those closely-written pages he could scarcely connect with the shy, frank, kindly little girl he remembered: it was a cry of agony from a tortured woman, and he knew at least that for her the old quiet time was over.

He knew not what to do. All this that had happened was new to him: it was old and gone by in England, and who could tell what further complications might have arisen? But his anger required some vent: he went in-doors, called for a lamp, and sat down and wrote with a hard and resolute look on his face:

"I have received your letter. I am not surprised. You are a woman, and I ought to have known that a woman's promise is of value so long as you are by her side to see that she keeps it. You ask what reparation you can make: I ask if there is any that you can suggest. No: you have done what cannot be undone. Do you think a man would marry a woman who is in love with, or has been in love with, another man, even if he could overlook her breach of faith and the shameless thoughtlessness of her conduct? My course is clear, at all events. I give you back the promise that you did not know how to keep; and now you can go and ask the young man who has been making a holiday toy of you whether he will be pleased to marry you.


He sealed and addressed this letter, still with the firm, hard look about his face: then he summoned a servant—a tall, red-haired Irishman. He did not hesitate for a moment: "Look here, Sullivan: [Pg 423]the English mails go out to-morrow morning. You must ride down to the post-office as hard as you can go; and if you're a few minutes late, see Mr. Keith and give him my compliments, and ask him if he can possibly take this letter if the mails are not made up. It is of great importance. Quick, now!"

He watched the man go clattering down the cactus avenue until he was out of sight. Then he turned, put the letters in his pocket, went in-doors, and again struck a small gong that did duty for a bell. He wanted his horse brought round at once. He was going over to Pleasant Farm: probably he would not return that night. He lit another cigar, and paced up and down the gravel in front of the house until the horse was brought round.

When he reached Pleasant Farm the stars were shining overhead, and the odors of the night-flowers came floating out of the forest, but inside the house there were brilliant lights and the voices of men talking. A bachelor supper-party was going forward. Mr. Roscorla entered, and presently was seated at the hospitable board. They had never seen him so gay, and they had certainly never seen him so generously inclined, for Mr. Roscorla was economical in his habits. He would have them all to dinner the next evening, and promised them such champagne as had never been sent to Kingston before. He passed round his best cigars, he hinted something about unlimited loo, he drank pretty freely, and was altogether in a jovial humor.

"England!" he said, when some one mentioned the mother-country. "Of one thing I am pretty certain: England will never see me again. No, a man lives here: in England he waits for his death. What life I have got before me I shall live in Jamaica: that is my view of the question."

"Then she is coming out to you?" said his host with a grin.

Roscorla's face flushed with anger. "There is no she in the matter," he said abruptly, almost fiercely. "I thank God I am not tied to any woman!"

"Oh, I beg your pardon," said his host good-naturedly, who did not care to recall the occasions on which Mr. Roscorla had been rather pleased to admit that certain tender ties bound him to his native land.

"No, there is not," he said. "What fool would have his comfort and peace of mind depend on the caprice of a woman? I like your plan better, Rogers: when they're dependent on you, you can do as you like, but when they've got to be treated as equals, they're the devil. No, my boys, you don't find me going in for the angel in the house—she's too exacting. Is it to be unlimited?"

Now to play unlimited loo in a reckless fashion is about the easiest way of getting rid of money that the ingenuity of man has devised. The other players were much better qualified to run such risks than Mr. Roscorla, but none played half so wildly as he. His I.O.U.'s went freely about. At one point in the evening the floating paper bearing the signature of Mr. Roscorla represented a sum of about three hundred pounds, and yet his losses did not weigh heavily on him. At length every one got tired, and it was resolved to stop short at a certain hour. But from this point the luck changed: nothing could stand against his cards; one by one his I.O.U.'s were recalled; and when they all rose from the table he had won about forty-eight pounds. He was not elated.

He went to his room and sat down in an easy-chair; and then it seemed to him that he saw Eglosilyan once more, and the far coasts of Cornwall, and the broad uplands lying under a blue English sky. That was his home, and he had cut himself away from it, and from the little glimmer of romance that had recently brightened it for him. Every bit of the place, too, was associated somehow with Wenna Rosewarne. He could see the seat fronting the Atlantic on which she used to sit and sew on the fine summer forenoons. He could see the rough road leading over the downs on which he met her one wintry morning, she wrapped up and driving her father's dog-cart, while the red sun in the sky seemed to brighten the pink color the cold wind had [Pg 424]brought into her cheeks. He thought of her walking sedately up to church; of her wild scramblings among the rocks with Mabyn; of her enjoyment of a fierce wind when it came laden with the spray of the great rollers breaking on the cliff outside. What was the song she used to sing to herself as she went along the quiet woodland ways?—

Your Polly has never been false, she declares,

Since last time we parted at Wapping Old Stairs.

He could not let her go. All the anger of wounded vanity had left his heart: he thought now only of the chance he was throwing away. Where else could he hope to find for himself so pleasant a companion and friend, who would cheer up his dull daily life with her warm sympathies, her quick humor, her winning womanly ways?

He thought of that letter he had sent away, and cursed his own folly. So long as she was bound by her promise he knew he could marry her when he pleased, but now he had voluntarily released her. In a couple of weeks she would hold her manumission in her hands; the past would no longer have any power over her; if ever they met they would meet as mere acquaintances. Every moment the prize slipping out of his grasp seemed to grow more valuable; his vexation with himself grew intolerable; he suddenly resolved that he would make a wild effort to get back that fatal letter.

He had sat communing with himself for over an hour: all the household was fast asleep. He would not wake any one, for fear of being compelled to give explanations; so he noiselessly crept along the dark passages until he got to the door, which he carefully opened and let himself out. The night was wonderfully clear, the constellations throbbing and glittering overhead: the trees were black against the pale sky.

He made his way round to the stables, and had some sort of notion that he would try to get at his horse, until it occurred to him that some suddenly awakened servant or master would probably send a bullet whizzing at him. So he abandoned that enterprise, and set off to walk as quickly as he could down the slopes of the mountain, with the stars still shining over his head, the air sweet with powerful scents, the leaves of the bushes hanging silently in the semi-darkness.

How long he walked he did not know: he was not aware that when he reached the sleeping town a pale gray was lightening the eastern skies. He went to the house of the postmaster and hurriedly aroused him. Mr. Keith began to think that the ordinarily sedate Mr. Roscorla had gone mad.

"But I must have the letter," he said. "Come now, Keith, you can give it me back if you like. Of course I know it is very wrong, but you'll do it to oblige a friend."

"My dear sir," said the postmaster, who could not get time for explanation, "the mails were made up last night—"

"Yes, yes, but you can open the English bag."

"They were sent on board last night."

"Then the packet is still in the harbor: you might come down with me."

"She sails at daybreak."

"It is not daybreak yet," said Mr. Roscorla, looking up.

Then he saw how the gray dawn had come over the skies, banishing the stars, and he became aware of the wan light shining around him. With the new day his life was altered; he would no more be as he had been; the chief aim and purpose of his existence had been changed.

Walking heedlessly back, he came to a point from which he had a distant view of the harbor and the sea beyond. Far away out on the dull gray plain was a steamer slowly making her way toward the east. Was that the packet bound for England, carrying to Wenna Rosewarne the message that she was free?



The following correspondence may now, without any great breach of confidence, be published:

"EGLOSILYAN, Monday morning.

DEAR MR. TRELYON: Do you know [Pg 425]what Mr. Roscorla says in the letter Wenna has just received? Why, that you could not get up that ring by dredging, but that you must have bought the other one at Plymouth. Just think of the wicked old wretch fancying such things! As if you would give a ring of emeralds to any one! Tell me that this is a story, that I may bid Wenna contradict him at once. I have got no patience with a man who is given over to such mean suspicions. Yours faithfully,


"LONDON, Tuesday night.

Dear Mabyn: I am sorry to say Mr. Roscorla is right. It was a foolish trick—I did not think it would be successful, for my hitting the size of her finger was rather a stroke of luck—but I thought it would amuse her if she did find it out after an hour or two. I was afraid to tell her afterward, for she would think it impertinent. What's to be done? Is she angry about it. Yours sincerely,



Dear Mr. Trelyon: How could you do such a thing? Why, to give Wenna, of all people in the world, an emerald ring, just after I had got Mr. Roscorla to give her one, for bad luck to himself! Why, how could you do it? I don't know what to say about it, unless you demand it back, and send her one with sapphires in it at once.

Yours, M.R.

P.S.—As quick as ever you can."

"LONDON, Friday evening.

Dear Mabyn: Why, you know she wouldn't take a sapphire ring or any other from me. Yours faithfully,


"MY DEAR MR. TRELYON: Pray don't lose any time in writing, but send me at once a sapphire ring for Wenna. You have hit the size once, and you can do it again; but in any case I have marked the size on this bit of thread, and the jeweler will understand. And please, dear Mr. Trelyon, don't get a very expensive one, but a plain, good one, just what a poor person like me would buy for a present if I wanted to. And post it at once, please: this is very important. Yours most sincerely,


In consequence of this correspondence Mabyn one morning proceeded to seek out her sister, whom she found busy with the accounts of the sewing club, which was now in a flourishing condition. Mabyn seemed a little shy. "Oh, Wenna," she said, "I have something to tell you. You know I wrote to ask Mr. Trelyon about the ring. Well, he's very, very sorry—oh, you don't know how sorry he is, Wenna—but it's quite true. He thought he'd please you by getting the ring, and that you would make a joke of it when you found it out; and then he was afraid to speak of it afterward."

Wenna had quietly slipped the ring off her finger. She betrayed no emotion at the mention of Mr. Trelyon's name. Her face was a trifle red: that was, all. "It was a stupid thing to do," she said, "but I suppose he meant no harm. Will you send him back the ring?"

"Yes," she said eagerly. "Give me the ring, Wenna."

She carefully wrapped it up in a piece of paper and put it in her pocket. Any one who knew her would have seen by her face that she meant to give that ring short shrift. Then she said timidly, "You are not very angry, Wenna?"

"No. I am sorry I should have vexed Mr. Roscorla by my carelessness."

"Wenna," the younger sister continued, even more timidly, "do you know what I've heard about rings?—that when you've worn one for some time on a finger, you ought never to leave it off altogether: I think it affects the circulation, or something of that kind. Now, if Mr. Trelyon were to send you another ring, just to—to keep the place of that one until Mr. Roscorla came back—"

"Mabyn, you must be mad to think of such a thing," said her sister, looking down.

"Oh yes," Mabyn said meekly, "I thought you wouldn't like the notion of Mr. Trelyon giving you a ring. And so, dear Wenna, I've—I've got a ring for [Pg 426]you—you won't mind taking it from me—and if you do wear it on the engaged finger, why, that doesn't matter, don't you see?"

She produced the ring of dark blue stones, and herself put it on Wenna's finger.

"Oh, Mabyn," Wenna said, "how could you be so extravagant? And just after you gave me that ten shillings for the Leans!"

"You be quiet," said Mabyn briskly, going off with a light look on her face.

And yet there was some determination about her mouth. She hastily put on her hat and went out. She took the path by the hillside over the little harbor, and eventually she reached the face of the black cliff, at the foot of which a gray-green sea was dashing in white masses of foam: there was not a living thing around her but the choughs and daws, and the white seagulls sailing overhead.

She took out a large sheet of brown paper and placed it on the ground. Then she sought out a bit of rock weighing about two pounds. Then she took out the little parcel which contained the emerald ring, tied it up carefully along with the stone in the sheet of brown paper: finally, she rose up to her full height and heaved the whole into the sea. A splash down there, and that was all.

She clapped her hands with joy: "And now, my precious emerald ring, that's the last of you, I imagine! And there isn't much chance of a fish bringing you back, to make mischief with your ugly green stones."

Then she went home, and wrote this note:


DEAR MR. TRELYON: I have just thrown the emerald ring you gave Wenna into the sea, and she wears the other one now on her engaged finger, but she thinks I bought it. Did you ever hear of an old-fashioned rhyme that is this?—

Oh, green is forsaken,

And yellow's forsworn;

And blue is thesweetest

Color that's worn.

You can't tell what mischief that emerald ring might not have done. But the sapphires that Wenna is wearing now are perfectly beautiful; and Wenna is not so heartbroken that she isn't very proud of them. I never saw such a beautiful ring. Yours sincerely,


P.S.—Are you never coming back to Eglosilyan any more?"

So the days went by, and Mabyn waited with a secret hope to see what answer Mr. Roscorla would send to that letter of confession and contrition Wenna had written to him at Penzance. The letter had been written as an act of duty, and posted too; but there was no mail going out for ten days thereafter, so that a considerable time had to elapse before the answer came.

During that time Wenna went about her ordinary duties just as if there was no hidden fire of pain consuming her heart; there was no word spoken by her or to her of all that had recently occurred; her mother and sister were glad to see her so continuously busy. At first she shrank from going up to Trelyon Hall, and would rather have corresponded with Mrs. Trelyon about their joint work of charity, but she conquered the feeling, and went and saw the gentle lady, who perceived nothing altered or strange in her demeanor. At last the letter from Jamaica came; and Mabyn, having sent it up to her sister's room, waited for a few minutes, and then followed it. She was a little afraid, despite her belief in the virtues of the sapphire ring.

When she entered the room she uttered a slight cry of alarm and ran forward to her sister. Wenna was seated on a chair by the side of the bed, but she had thrown her arms out on the bed, her head was between them, and she was sobbing as if her heart would break.

"Wenna, what is the matter? what has he said to you?"

Mabyn's eyes were all afire now. Wenna would not answer. She would not even raise her head.

"Wenna, I want to see that letter."

"Oh no, no!" the girl moaned. "I deserve it: he says what is true. I want [Pg 427]you to leave me alone, Mabyn: you—you can't do anything to help this."

But Mabyn had by this time perceived that her sister held in her hand, crumpled up, the letter which was the cause of this wild outburst of grief. She went forward and firmly took it out of the yielding fingers: then she turned to the light and read it. "Oh, if I were a man!" she said; and then the very passion of her indignation, finding no other vent, filled her eyes with proud and angry tears. She forgot to rejoice that her sister was now free. She only saw the cruel insult of those lines, and the fashion in which it had struck down its victim. "Wenna," she said hotly, "you ought to have more spirit. You don't mean to say you care for the opinion of a man who would write to any girl like that? You ought to be precious glad that he has shown himself in his true colors. Why, he never cared a bit for you—never!—or he would never turn at a moment's notice and insult you."

"I have deserved it all; it is every word of it true; he could not have written otherwise." That was all that Wenna would say between her sobs.

"Well," retorted Mabyn, "after all, I am glad he was angry. I did not think he had so much spirit. And if this is his opinion of you, I don't think it is worth heeding, only I hope he'll keep to it. Yes, I do. I hope he'll continue to think you everything that is wicked, and remain out in Jamaica. Wenna, you must not lie and cry like that. Come, get up, and look at the strawberries that Mr. Trewhella has sent you."

"Please, Mabyn, leave me alone, there's a good girl."

"I shall be up again in a few minutes, then: I want you to drive me over to St. Gwennis. Wenna, I must go over to St. Gwennis before lunch; and father won't let me have anybody to drive. Do you hear, Wenna?"

Then she went out and down into the kitchen, where she bothered Jennifer for a few minutes until she had got an iron heated at the fire. With this implement she carefully smoothed out the crumpled letter, and then she as carefully folded it, took it up stairs, and put it safely away in her own desk. She had just time to write a few lines:

"DEAR MR. TRELYON: Do you know what news I have got to tell you? Can you guess? The engagement between Mr. Roscorla and Wenna is broken off; and I have got in my possession the letter in which he sets her free. If you knew how glad I am! I should like to cry 'Hurrah! hurrah!' all through the streets of Eglosilyan; and I think every one else would do the same if only they knew. Of course she is very much grieved, for he has been most insulting. I cannot tell you the things he has said: you would kill him if you heard them. But she will come round very soon, I know: and then she will have her freedom again, and no more emerald rings, and letters all filled with arguments. Would you like to see her, Mr. Trelyon? But don't come yet—not for a long time: she would only get angry and obstinate. I'll tell you when to come; and in the mean time, you know, she is still wearing your ring, so that you need not be afraid. How glad I shall be to see you again! Yours most faithfully,


She went down stairs quickly and put this letter in the letter-box. There was an air of triumph on her face. She had worked for this result—aided by the mysterious powers of Fate, whom she had conjured to serve her—and now the welcome end of her labors had arrived. She bade the hostler get out the dog-cart, as if she were the queen of Sheba going to visit Solomon. She went marching up to her sister's room, announcing her approach with a more than ordinarily accurate rendering of "Oh, the men of merry, merry England!" so that a stranger might have fancied that he heard the very voice of Harry Trelyon, with all its unmelodious vigor, ringing along the passage.



Perhaps you have been away in distant parts of the earth, each day crowded with new experiences and slowly obscuring [Pg 428]the clear pictures of England with which you left: perhaps you have only been hidden away in London, amid its ceaseless noise, its strange faces, its monotonous recurrence of duties. Let us say, in any case, that you are returning home for a space to the quiet of Northern Cornwall.

You look out of the high window of a Plymouth hotel early in the morning. There is a promise of a beautiful autumn day—a ring of pink mist lies around the horizon; overhead the sky is clear and blue; the white sickle of the moon still lingers visible. The new warmth of the day begins to melt the hoarfrost in the meadows, and you know that out beyond the town the sun is shining brilliantly on the wet grass, with the brown cattle gleaming red in the light.

You leave the great world behind, with all its bustle, crowds and express engines, when you get into the quiet little train that takes you leisurely up to Launceston, through woods, by the sides of rivers, over great valleys. There is a sense of repose about this railway journey. The train stops at any number of small stations—apparently to let the guard have a chat with the station-master—and then jogs on in a quiet, contented fashion. And on such an autumn day as this, that is a beautiful, still, rich-colored and English-looking country through which it passes. Here is a deep valley, all glittering with the dew and the sunlight. Down in the hollow a farmyard is half hidden behind the yellowing elms; a boy is driving a flock of white geese along the twisting road; the hedges are red with the withering briers. Up here, along the hillsides, the woods of scrub-oak are glowing with every imaginable hue of gold, crimson and bronze, except where a few dark firs appear, or where a tuft of broom, pure and bright in its green, stands out among the faded brackens. The gorse is profusely in bloom: it always is in Cornwall. Still farther over there are sheep visible on the uplands; beyond these, again, the bleak brown moors rise into peaks of hills; overhead the silent blue, and all around the sweet, fresh country air.

With a sharp whistle the small train darts into an opening in the hills: here we are in the twilight of a great wood. The tall trees are becoming bare; the ground is red with the fallen leaves; through the branches the blue-winged jay flies, screaming harshly; you can smell the damp and resinous odors of the ferns. Out again we get into the sunlight! and lo! a rushing, brawling, narrow stream, its clear flood swaying this way and that by the big stones; a wall of rock overhead crowned by glowing furze; a herd of red cattle sent scampering through the bright-green grass. Now we get slowly into a small white station, and catch a glimpse of a tiny town over in the valley: again we go on by wood and valley, by rocks and streams and farms. It is a pleasant drive on such a morning.

In one of the carriages in this train Master Harry Trelyon and his grandmother were seated. How he had ever persuaded her to go with him to Cornwall by train was mysterious enough, for the old lady thoroughly hated all such modern devices. It was her custom to go traveling all over the country with a big, old-fashioned phaeton and a pair of horses; and her chief amusement during these long excursions was driving up to any big house she took a fancy to, in order to see if there was a chance of its being let to her. The faithful old servant who attended her, and who was about as old as the coachman, had a great respect for his mistress, but sometimes he swore—inaudibly—when she ordered him to make the usual inquiry at the front-door of some noble lord's country residence, which he would as soon have thought of letting as of forfeiting his seat in the House of Peers or his hopes of heaven. But the carriage and horses were coming down, all the same, to Eglosilyan, to take her back again.

"Harry," she was saying at this moment, "the longer I look at you, the more positive I am that you are ill. I don't like your color: you are thin and careworn and anxious. What is the matter with you?"

"Going to school again at twenty-one [Pg 429]is hard work, grandmother," he said. "Don't you try it. But I don't think I'm particularly ill: few folks can keep a complexion like yours, grandmother."

"Yes," said the old lady, rather pleased, "many's the time they said that about me, that there wasn't much to complain of in my looks; and that's what a girl thinks of then, and sweethearts and balls, and all the other men looking savage when she's dancing with any one of them. Well, well, Harry; and what is all this about you and the young lady your mother has made such a pet of? Oh yes, I have my suspicions; and she's engaged to another man, isn't she? Your grandfather would have fought him, I'll be bound; but we live in a peaceable way now. Well, well, no matter; but hasn't that got something to do with your glum looks, Harry?"

"I tell you, grandmother, I have been hard at work in London. You can't look very brilliant after a few months in London."

"And what keeps you in London at this time of the year?" said this plain-spoken old lady. "Your fancy about getting into the army? Nonsense, man! don't tell me such a tale as that. There's a woman in the case: a Trelyon never puts himself so much about from any other cause. To stop in town at this time of the year! Why, your grandfather, and your father too, would have laughed to hear of it. I haven't had a brace of birds or a pheasant sent me since last autumn—not one. Come, sir, be frank with me. I'm an old woman, but I can hold my tongue."

"There's nothing to tell, grandmother," he said. "You just about hit it in that guess of yours: I suppose Juliott told you. Well, the girl is engaged to another man: what more is to be said?"

"The man's in Jamaica?"


"Why are you going down to-day?"

"Only for a brief visit: I've been a long time away."

The old lady sat silent for some time. She had heard of the whole affair before, but she wished to have the rumor confirmed. And at first she was sorely troubled that her grandson should contemplate marrying the daughter of an innkeeper, however intelligent, amiable and well-educated the young lady might be; but she knew the Trelyons pretty well, and knew that if he had made up his mind to it, argument and remonstrance would be useless. Moreover, she had a great affection for this young man, and was strongly disposed to sympathize with any wish of his. She grew in time to have a great interest in Miss Wenna Rosewarne: at this moment the chief object of her visit was to make her acquaintance. She grew to pity young Trelyon in his disappointment, and was inclined to believe that the person in Jamaica was something of a public enemy. The fact was, her mere sympathy for her grandson would have converted her to a sympathy with the wildest project he could have formed.

"Dear! dear!" she said, "what awkward things engagements are when they stand in your way! Shall I tell you the truth? I was just about as good as engaged to John Cholmondeley when I gave myself up to your grandfather. But there! when a girl's heart pulls her one way, and her promise pulls her another way, she needs to be a very firm-minded young woman if she means to hold fast. John Cholmondeley was as good-hearted a young fellow as ever lived—yes, I will say that for him—and I was mightily sorry for him; but—but you see, that's how things come about. Dear! dear! that evening at Bath—I remember it as well as if it was yesterday; and it was only two months after I had run away with your grandfather. Yes, there was a ball that night; and we had kept very quiet, you know, after coming back; but this time your grandfather had set his heart on taking me out before everybody, and you know he had to have his way. As sure as I live, Harry, the first man I saw was John Cholmondeley—just as white as a ghost: they said he had been drinking hard and gambling pretty nearly the whole of these two months. He wouldn't come near me: he wouldn't take the least notice of me. The whole night he pretended to [Pg 430]be vastly gay and merry: he danced with everybody, but his eyes never came near me. Well—you know what a girl is—that vexed me a little bit; for there never was a man such a slave to a woman as he was to me. Dear! dear! the way my father used to laugh at him, until he got wild with anger! Well, I went up to him at last, when he was by himself, and I said to him, just in a careless way, you know, 'John, aren't you going to dance with me to-night?' Well, do you know, his face got quite white again; and he said—I remember the very words, all as cold as ice—'Madam,' says he, 'I am glad to find that your hurried trip to Scotland has impaired neither your good looks nor your self-command.' Wasn't it cruel of him?—but then, poor fellow! he had been badly used, I admit that. Poor young fellow! he never did marry; and I don't believe he ever forgot me to his dying day. Many a time I'd like to have told him all about it, and how there was no use in my marrying him if I liked another man better; but though we met sometimes, and especially when he came down about the Reform Bill time—and I do believe I made a red-hot radical of him—he was always very proud, and I hadn't the heart to go back on the old story. But I'll tell you what your grandfather did for him: he got him returned at the very next election, and he on the other side, too; and after a bit a man begins to think more about getting a seat in Parliament than about courting an empty-headed girl. I have met this Mr. Roscorla, haven't I?"

"Of course you have."

"A good-looking man rather, with a fresh complexion and gray hair?"

"I don't know what you mean by good looks," said Trelyon shortly. "I shouldn't think people would call him an Adonis. But there's no accounting for tastes."

"Perhaps I may have been mistaken," the old lady said, "but there was a gentleman at Plymouth Station who seemed to be something like what I can recall of Mr. Roscorla: you didn't see him, I suppose?"

"At Plymouth Station, grandmother?" the young man said, becoming rather uneasy.

"Yes. He got into the train just as we came up. A neatly-dressed man, gray hair and a healthy-looking face. I must have seen him somewhere about here before."

"Roscorla is in Jamaica," said Trelyon positively.

Just at this moment the train slowed into Launceston Station, and the people began to get out on the platform.

"That is the man I mean," said the old lady.

Trelyon turned and stared. There, sure enough, was Mr. Roscorla, looking not one whit different from the precise, elderly, fresh-colored gentleman who had left Cornwall some seven months before.

"Good Lord, Harry!" said the old lady nervously, looking at her grandson's face, "don't have a fight here."

The next second Mr. Roscorla wheeled round, anxious about some luggage, and now it was his turn to stare in astonishment and anger—anger, because he had been told that Harry Trelyon never came near Cornwall, and his first sudden suspicion was that he had been deceived. All this had happened in a minute. Trelyon was the first to regain his self-command. He walked deliberately forward, held out his hand, and said, "Hillo, Roscorla! back in England again? I didn't know you were coming."

"No," said Mr. Roscorla, with his face grown just a trifle grayer—"no, I suppose not."

In point of fact, he had not informed any one of his coming. He had prepared a little surprise. The chief motive of his return was to get Wenna to cancel for ever that unlucky letter of release he had sent her, which he had done more or less successfully in subsequent correspondence; but he had also hoped to introduce a little romanticism into his meeting with her. He would enter Eglosilyan on foot. He would wander down to the rocks at the mouth of the harbor on the chance of finding Wenna there. Might he not hear her humming to herself, as she sat and sewed, some snatch of "Your Polly has never been false, she declares"? [Pg 431]or was that the very last ballad in the world she would now think of singing? Then the delight of regarding again the placid, bright face and earnest eyes, of securing once more a perfect understanding between them, and their glad return to the inn!

All this had been spoiled by the appearance of this young man: he loved him none the more for that.

"I suppose you haven't got a trap waiting for you?" said Trelyon with cold politeness. "I can drive you over if you like."

He could do no less than make the offer: the other had no alternative but to accept. Old Mrs. Trelyon heard this compact made with considerable dread.

Indeed, it was a dismal drive over to Eglosilyan, bright as the forenoon was. The old lady did her best to be courteous to Mr. Roscorla and cheerful with her grandson, but she was oppressed by the belief that it was only her presence that had so far restrained the two men from giving vent to the rage and jealousy that filled their hearts.

The conversation kept up was singular.

"Are you going to remain in England long, Roscorla?" said the younger of the two men, making an unnecessary cut at one of the two horses he was driving.

"Don't know yet. Perhaps I may."

"Because," said Trelyon with angry impertinence, "I suppose if you do, you'll have to look round for a housekeeper."

The insinuation was felt; and Roscorla's eyes looked anything but pleasant as he answered, "You forget I've got Mrs. Cornish to look after my house."

"Oh, Mrs. Cornish is not much of a companion for you."

"Men seldom want to make companions of their housekeepers," was the retort, uttered rather hotly.

"But sometimes they wish to have the two offices combined, for economy's sake."

At this juncture Mrs. Trelyon struck in, somewhat wildly, with a remark about an old ruined house which seemed to have had at one time a private still inside: the danger was staved off for the moment. "Harry," she said, "mind what you are about: the horses seem very fresh."

"Yes, they like a good run: I suspect they've had precious little to do since I left Cornwall."

Did she fear that the young man was determined to throw them into a ditch or down a precipice, with the wild desire of killing his rival at any cost? If she had known the whole state of affairs between them—the story of the emerald ring, for example—she would have understood at least the difficulty experienced by these two men in remaining decently civil toward each other.

So they passed over the high and wide moors until far ahead they caught a glimpse of the blue plain of the sea. Mr. Roscorla relapsed into silence: he was becoming a trifle nervous. He was probably so occupied with anticipations of his meeting with Wenna that he failed to notice the objects around him; and one of these, now become visible, was a very handsome young lady, who was coming smartly along a wooded lane, carrying a basket of bright-colored flowers.

"Why, here's Mabyn Rosewarne! I must wait for her."

Mabyn had seen at a distance Mrs. Trelyon's gray horses: she guessed that the young master had come back, and that he had brought some strangers with him. She did not like to be stared at by strangers. She came along the path with her eyes fixed on the ground: she thought it impertinent of Harry Trelyon to wait to speak to her.

"Oh, Mabyn," he cried, "you must let me drive you home. And let me introduce you to my grandmother. There is some one else whom you know."

The young lady bowed to Mrs. Trelyon; then she stared and changed color somewhat when she saw Mr. Roscorla; then she was helped up into a seat.

"How do you do, Mr. Trelyon?" she said. "I am very glad to see you have come back.—How do you do, Mr. Roscorla?"

She shook hands with them both, but not quite in the same fashion.

"And you have sent no message that [Pg 432]you were coming?" she said, looking her companion straight in the face.

"No—no, I did not," he said, angry and embarrassed by the open enmity of the girl. "I thought I should surprise you all."

"You have surprised me, any way," said Mabyn, "for how can you be so thoughtless? Wenna has been very ill—I tell you she has been very ill indeed, though she has said little about it—and the least thing upsets her. How can you think of frightening her so? Do you know what you are doing? I wish you would go away back to Launceston or London, and write her a note there, if you are coming, instead of trying to frighten her."

This was the language, it appeared to Mr. Roscorla, of a virago; only, viragoes do not ordinarily have tears in their eyes, as was the case with Mabyn when she finished her indignant appeal.

"Mr. Trelyon, do you think it is fair to go and frighten Wenna so?" she demanded.

"It is none of my business," Trelyon answered with an air as if he had said to his rival, "Yes, go and kill the girl. You are a nice sort of gentleman, to come down from London to kill the girl!"

"This is absurd," said Mr. Roscorla contemptuously, for he was stung into reprisal by the persecution of these two: "a girl isn't so easily frightened out of her wits. Why, she must have known that my coming home was at any time probable."

"I have no doubt she feared that it was," said Mabyn, partly to herself: for once she was afraid of speaking out. Presently, however, a brighter light came over the girl's face. "Why, I quite forgot," she said, addressing Harry Trelyon—"I quite forgot that Wenna was just going up to Trelyon Hall when I left. Of course she will be up there. You will be able to tell her that Mr. Roscorla has arrived, won't you?"

The malice of this suggestion was so apparent that the young gentleman in front could not help grinning at it: fortunately, his face could not be seen by his rival. What he thought of the whole arrangement can only be imagined. And so, as it happened, Mr. Roscorla and his friend Mabyn were dropped at the inn, while Harry Trelyon drove his grandmother up and on to the Hall.

"Well, Harry," the old lady said, "I am glad to be able to breathe at last: I thought you two were going to kill each other."

"There is no fear of that," the young man said: "that is not the way in which this affair has to be settled. It is entirely a matter for her decision; and look how everything is in his favor. I am not even allowed to say a word to her; and even if I could, he is a deal cleverer than me in argument. He would argue my head off in half an hour."

"But you don't turn a girl's heart round by argument, Harry. When a girl has to choose between a young lover and an elderly one, it isn't always good sense that directs her choice. Is Miss Wenna Rosewarne at all like her sister?"

"She's not such a tomboy," he said, "but she is quite as straightforward and proud, and quick to tell you what is the right thing to do. There's no sort of shamming tolerated by these two girls. But then Wenna is gentler and quieter, and more soft and lovable, than Mabyn—in my fancy, you know; and she is more humorous and clever, so that she never gets into those school-girl rages. But it is really a shame to compare them like that; and, indeed, if any one said the least thing against one of these girls, the other would precious soon make him regret the day he was born. You don't catch me doing that with either of them. I've had a warning already when I hinted that Mabyn might probably manage to keep her husband in good order. And so she would, I believe, if the husband were not of the right sort; but when she is really fond of anybody, she becomes their slave out and out. There is nothing she wouldn't do for her sister; and her sister thinks there's nobody in the world like Mabyn. So you see—"

He stopped in the middle of this sentence.

"Grandmother," he said, almost in a whisper, "here she is coming along the road."

[Pg 433]"Miss Rosewarne?"

"Yes: shall I introduce you?"

"If you like."

Wenna was coming down the steep road between the high hedges with a small girl on each side of her, whom she was leading by the hand. She was gayly talking to them: you could hear the children laughing at what she said. Old Mrs. Trelyon came to the conclusion that this merry young lady, with the light and free step, the careless talk and fresh color in her face, was certainly not dying of any love-affair.

"Take the reins, grandmother, for a minute."

He had leapt down into the road, and was standing before her almost ere she had time to recognize him. For a moment a quick gleam of gladness shone on her face: then, almost instinctively, she seemed to shrink from him, and she was reserved, distant, and formal.

He introduced her to the old lady, who said something nice to her about her sister. The young man was looking wistfully at her, troubled at heart that she treated him so coldly.

"I have got to break some news to you," he said: "perhaps you will consider it good news."

She looked up quickly.

"Nothing has happened to anybody—only some one has arrived. Mr. Roscorla is at the inn."

She did not flinch. He was vexed with her that she showed no sign of fear or dislike. On the contrary, she quickly said that she must then go down to the inn; and she bade them both good-bye in a placid and ordinary way, while he drove off with dark thoughts crowding into his imagination of what might happen down at the inn during the next few days. He was angry with her, he scarcely knew why.

Meanwhile Wenna, apparently quite calm, went on down the road, but there was no more laughing in her voice, no more light in her face.

"Miss Wenna," said the smaller of the two children, who could not understand this change, and who looked up with big, wondering eyes, "why does oo tremble so?"



The curious eye may watch her lovely face,

Whereon such rare and roseate tinctures glow,

And cry, How fair the rose and lily show

Mid all the glories of a maiden grace!

If this sweet show, this bloom and tender glance,

Would so attract a stranger's unskilled eyes,

Until he sees the light of Paradise

Dawn in the garden of that countenance—

I, to whom love hath given finer powers,

See there the emblems of a flowering soul

That hath its root in other world than ours,

And which doth ever seek its native goal;

Meanwhile decks life with love and grace and flowers,

And in one beauteous garland binds the whole.


[Pg 434]


Twenty-Two centuries ago—eighteen hundred years before Columbus sailed in quest of the New World—a Phocean colony from Marseilles founded this celebrated city, calling it Nichê (Nice or Victory), in honor of a signal triumph obtained by their arms over their enemies, the Ligurians, or inhabitants of the northern coast of Italy. For ages it flourished, being almost as famous with the ancients as a health-resort as it is to-day; but its evil hour came when the Goths, Lombards and Franks in A.D. 405, pouring through the defiles and gorges of the Maritime Alps, laid Nice and almost all the other cities of Italy, even beyond Rome, in ashes. A hundred years later it was rebuilt, but its beautiful forum, its classical temples, its mosaic-paved villas and marble theatres had disappeared utterly, and the new city was but a shadow of the old. In the tenth century the Saracens conquered Nice, and remained in quiet possession for seventy years, and during their stay introduced much of the tropical vegetation which we still admire. They were finally driven away by the insurgent natives in A.D. 975, but they left the impress of their occupation in many Arabic words which still mark the local patois; and as a number of the fugitives were captured and reduced to slavery, intermarrying in the course of time with the native population, the Moorish type is still very noticeable amongst the peasantry. Freed from the Saracenic yoke, the Niçois lived in peace for nearly two centuries, being only disturbed from time to time by the unwelcome visitations of pirates. Later on, toward the middle of the thirteenth century, like most other Southern and Italian cities, Nice fell a victim to the constant quarrels of the powerful families allied respectively to the Ghibelline and Guelphic factions. Thus, the incessant broils between the Lascaris of Tenda, the Grimaldis of Monaco and the Dorias of Dolceacqua desolated the surrounding country, and often reduced the city to a state of siege. The Niçois were compelled to keep up a perpetual guerilla, which, however inspiriting, was by no means conducive to their material prosperity. In 1364 an invasion of locusts from Africa led to a famine, and ultimately a plague which destroyed two-thirds of the population. The people, attributing their misfortunes to the intercession of the Jews with the powers below, rose up and massacred them: only five Israelites out of over two thousand are said to have escaped their blind fury. When order was at last re-established, and the Niçois began to settle down again, they perceived their impoverished and subordinate position to be so alarming that their only chance of safety was immediately to place themselves under the protection of the dukes of Savoy, who for a century and a half defended them from the attacks of their numerous enemies in a most valiant manner. But in 1521, Francis I. of France wrenched the city and province from the beneficent rule of the Savoyards and proclaimed himself count of Nice. In 1524 war broke out between Francis and the emperor Charles V., and the contending armies alternately devastated and pillaged Nice and its environs. The pest reappeared, and with it a drought and famine of so fearful a character that many thousand persons perished, and others in their despair slew themselves. Pope Paul III. undertook the difficult task of reconciling the belligerents, and even went so far as to travel to Nice for the purpose. A marble cross which gives its name to a suburb of the town ("La Croix de Marbre") still marks the spot where the conference took place in which Francis and Charles swore a peace in the presence of His Holiness which they took the first opportunity to violate. In 1540 the war recommenced, and a number of dissolute young men of good family [Pg 435]formed themselves into organized companies of bandits and overran the country, to the terror of the wretched peasantry and the utter ruin of many hundreds of honest families. But in 1543 a second Joan of Arc was raised up by Providence to deliver the Niçois in the person of the still popular heroine, Catterina Segurana. Francis I. had recently scandalized Christendom by allying himself with the famous Mohammedan corsair, Barbarossa of Algiers with a view of reconquering Nice, which he considered the key of Italy. Accordingly, one fine morning three hundred vessels belonging to the Algerine pirate entered the neighboring port of Villefranche, and presently the whole country was filled with a horde of turbaned freebooters. Cimiez, Montboron, Mont Gros and a hundred other villages and hamlets were soon alive with French marauders and Turkish pirates, who presently proceeded to bombard the city itself. The siege was short, but terrible, and the inhabitants were at the last gasp when the energetic Catterina Segurana, a washer-woman by trade, and surnamed Mao faccia ("Ugly face"), on account of the homeliness of her countenance, seized a hatchet, and, after a vigorous address to her fellow-citizens, placed herself at their head and led them against the enemy. The same result attended her efforts as did those of her immediate prototype, the glorious Maid of Orleans. She so animated the people, so roused their patriotism, that before the day was over the French and infidels were conquered, and the bold and generous Catterina. stood surrounded by her enthusiastic fellow-citizens, waving the conquered Algerine flag, in token of victory, from the summit of the castle hill, on the spot where formerly stood her statue.[001]

From the time of the brave Catterina to our own, Nice has sustained at least a dozen sieges of more or less severity. That of 1706 was perhaps one of the most shocking on record. The city, by the treaty of Turin of 1696, had once more passed under the protectorate of the dukes of Savoy, but the French, who have always had a longing eye for the "Department of the Maritime Alps," as they even then called it, broke the treaty they had themselves framed, and sent the duc de la Feuillade over the frontier with twenty thousand men to conquer the country. Nice was then governed by the marquis de Caraglio, who, although entreated by the enemy to allow the women and children to leave the city's gates, positively refused to do so. The consequence was that during the siege, which lasted six months, more than a third of the inhabitants perished from starvation. Men are said to have killed their wives for food, and women their children. Sixty thousand shells fell in various parts of the town, and the castle, cathedral and many churches were entirely destroyed.[002]

In 1792, under the First Republic, Nice was again occupied by the French, and declared a chef-lieu de département. By the treaty of 1814 the place was handed over to the Piedmontese, and stayed contentedly beneath the rule of the Sardinian kings until 1860, when, by the treaty of March 24, Napoleon III. annexed the county of Nice and the duchy of Savoy to his imperial possessions, in exchange for the services his army had rendered Italy at Magenta and Solferino. How long Nice will continue French is a question somewhat difficult to answer just now. There exists in the city and province a very strong Italian party, and during the war of 1870, Nice was declared in a state of siege, owing to the constant and very serious demonstrations of a certain part of the population. One of the leading inhabitants, a noted banker, [Pg 436]even went so far as to travel to Florence with the intention of proving to the Italian government that whilst the French troops were concentrated in the north those of Victor Emmanuel would find no difficulty in crossing the frontier and uniting Nice to Italy. To the honor of the Italian government, this treacherous suggestion was rejected, but in those days the feeling between France and Italy was more cordial than it has since been. The Italian party is so active in the city and the department that the government has difficulty in keeping note of its proceedings. Thousands of pamphlets are secretly circulated amongst the lower orders, in which the advantages of the city's return to Italy are vividly contrasted with the disadvantages it suffers from by remaining French. The clergy, however, who are both numerous and influential, are French to a man, and dread the hour which will see them governed by the "jailer of Pius IX.," and consequently prove a very great assistance to the authorities in counteracting the intrigues of the Italians. But should ever, in future years, a war break out between either France and Italy, or between France and Italy's new ally, Prussia, the question de Nice will be once more on the tapis, and victory alone will preserve this magnificent possession to its present owners.

Nice may well boast herself a rival in point of splendor of natural position of the most famous cities of the South—of Lisbon, Genoa, Naples and Constantinople—and she eclipses them in point of climate. Built at the eastern extremity of a fine gulf—that of Les Anges—and backed by an amphitheatre of hills and lofty mountains, she is sheltered from cold winds in winter, and in summer the Alpine breezes temper an atmosphere which would else be unendurably sultry, owing to the prevalence of the sirocco, a hot wind which passes directly hither over the Mediterranean from the burning shores of Africa. One can scarcely imagine a more glorious panorama than that of this city and its environs as seen from the sea or from any neighboring elevation. Let us suppose it a fine morning late in spring, and that we stand upon the deck of a yacht about a mile and a half distant from the shore. Nice, we see, surrounds a steep and rugged rock which rises almost perpendicularly from the Mediterranean to the height of about six hundred feet, and is crested by the ruins of the ancient castle, and covered with terraced gardens forming a delicious promenade. Groves of cypresses and sycamores hang on the declivities of this rock, which in places is rough with cactuses and aloes and with the Indian fig, whose bright orange flowers, when the sun's rays fall on them, have a magic splendor of color. A group of palm trees at the extremest elevation, standing out on a high crag, add not a little to the picturesque appearance of this singular urban hill. On one side of this rock the rapid torrent Paillon, traversed by several handsome bridges, some of them adorned with statues, separates the "old" from the "new" town. On the other is the port, filled with steamers and innumerable fishing-craft. Beyond the port stretches the Boulevard de l'Impératrice, inaugurated a few years since by the late empress of Russia, with its fine villas, notably the splendid Venetian Palace, an exact reproduction of the celebrated Moncenigo Palace at Venice, belonging to Viscount Vigier, whose wife was once a popular idol of the musical world of Paris and London—Sophie Cruvelli—and the extraordinary Moresque-looking castle of Mr. Smith, which is well called the Folie d'un Anglais—the "craze of an Englishman." The latter stands on the end of a promontory, and with its lofty towers and domes closes in the view. It is perhaps the most curious residence in the world, being built on a barren rock, and its apartments literally hewn out of the marble of which it is composed. On the top of the hill is a long building, with two curious twin towers and a dome, built of red brick faced with white marble. Here is situated the chief entrance. You descend from the spacious entry-hall a long well staircase cut in the rock and lighted from above, until you reach a superb octagonal chamber of white marble [Pg 437]ornamented with statues and Oriental divans covered with Persian silk. This is the great saloon, and leading out of it are other fine chambers, all of them lined with polished marble and furnished with Eastern magnificence. Externally, there is no trace of these chambers visible. They are, as I have said, excavated, like Egyptian tombs, in the heart of the mountain. The proprietor, an eccentric English bachelor, never inhabits this fantastic mansion, but lives in a second-rate hotel, spending thousands annually in adding embellishments to his astonishing castle, where, notwithstanding its magnificent suites of apartments, no human being has ever slept a night or eaten a meal.

"Smith's Craze," as I have said, closes in the view to our right. To the left, beyond the torrent Paillon, is situated modern Nice, with its quays, leviathan hotels, and an almost interminable line of villas marking the celebrated Promenade des Anglais. The background of the scene is filled up by a semicircle of well-wooded hills, verdant with vines, fig, orange, olive and pomegranate trees, and sparkling with white country-seats, convents, and campanili. Towering over these hills appears another range, of rocky and bold outlines, and then another, of lofty mountains whose peaks lose themselves in clouds, and by their fantastic figures form as delightful an horizon as the eye can behold. In the centre rises the conical peak of Monte Cao, an extinct volcano, exactly resembling Vesuvius in conformation, and only wanting a curl of smoke issuing from its crater to make the illusion perfect. Alongside of Monte Cao is another extinct volcano, on which are seen the ruins of the ancient and deserted village of Châteauneuf, while between the two summits (thirty-five hundred feet high) are distinctly visible the peaks of some of the ever-snowy Alps. The foreground of the picture is formed by the deep indigo waters of the Mediterranean, diversified by a hundred sunny sails, and overhead hangs the cloudless Italian sky.

Let us now put back to port and walk through the city, visiting first Old Nice, then the modern Pompeii, as Alphonse Karr pleasantly calls the new town. Old Nice resembles Genoa on a small scale, and has very narrow streets of lofty (and in some cases really fine) houses, no end of churches, gloomy-looking convents, and one or two palaces. In the narrow streets surrounding the cathedral—a large and showy building, formerly a parish church—is a market supplied with native fruits—oranges, lemons, grapes, figs, and many varieties of melons and nuts. The streets, which are in places so narrow that you can almost stretch your arms across them, are full of bright-looking shops, with all their varied goods displayed at the open, unglazed windows. Here and there one comes across remains of ancient times of considerable interest. Thus, in the Rue Droite is an old house, with a series of quaint little arches and a curious Gothic gateway, which was formerly part of the palace inhabited by Joanna II. of Naples. Near the church of St. Jacques is another old residence, with an odd decoration on its front in the shape of colossal figures of Adam and Eve, executed in alto-rilievo, which have their feet on either side of the doorway and their heads above the fifth story. The tree of knowledge, over-laden with its dangerous fruit, flourishes between the windows of what was once the saloon, and is now a manufactory of maccaroni. In the Rue du Centre is the quondam palace of the Lascaris family, an old Italian mansion, with marble balconies, wide, majestic staircases adorned with Corinthian columns, and vast apartments frescoed by Carlone, a reputable Genoese painter of mythological subjects. Carlone's gods and goddesses look down no longer on the members of the House of Lascaris, who once ruled over Tenda, and were the lineal descendants of the imperial Byzantine house of Del Comneno, but on those of an amiable Niçois family, who most willingly show the old palace to any stranger who may choose to knock at their door.

Some years ago a Turinese lawyer, looking over his father's private papers, discovered that he was the legitimate heir to the Lascaris titles and estates, [Pg 438]which had been left unreclaimed for many centuries. This gentleman, on proving his claim, assumed the grandiose title of Prince Lascaris del Comneno, grand duke of Macedonia. His glory was short-lived. His wife went to Rome and obtained a full recognition of her rights from the Holy Father and admission into the first circles of Roman society, but was subsequently expelled from the city for plotting against the papal government; but she returned with the Piedmontese occupation in 1870, only, however, to get into a still worse pickle by exposing herself to the charge of defrauding Flaminio Spada's bank of a large sum of money. During the trial she mizzled, and has not, I believe, been heard of since. This lady is the famous "Princess Mopsa" about whose adventures the Roman papers have entertained their readers considerably during the last year or so.

The churches are usually in the Italian style, having heavy façades, plain brick sides and queer but rather picturesque bell-towers. Internally, they are gaudy and tasteless, the altars ornamented on high days and holidays with innumerable wax candles, festoons of red, white and blue drapery, and huge pyramids of paper roses with gold foliage. Ecclesiastical affairs are presided over by Monsignor Pietro Sola, a charming old bishop, who is the essence of kindliness and charity. He was formerly one of the spiritual directors of Queen Adelaide of Austria, the late wife of Victor Emmanuel. The number of priests, monks and nuns is very considerable. There is a very large Franciscan monastery up at Cimiez on the hill, and a rambling old Capuchin convent at St. Bartolomé. The Nice Capuchins are a splendid body of men, and a goodly sight to see marching in a procession with their chocolate-colored hooded robes and long, flowing beards. Their present prior is a marquis Raggi of Genoa, a man of high family and rank, who some years since abandoned a world he had known only too well, gave all his fortune to the poor, and turned monk.

There is a street in the old part of Nice which is perfectly unique. It is nearly a mile and a half long, runs parallel with the sea, and consists of a double row of low, one-storied houses having a paved terrace on their roofs, to which you ascend by several handsome staircases. The terrace forms a very popular promenade of an evening, and from it are enjoyed lovely views of the bay and mountains. Between these two rows of houses is the fish-market, where are frequently seen displayed monsters like Victor Hugo's famous pieuve sprawling out their dozen glutinous legs fringed with eyes and deadly weapons in almost supernatural hideousness, to the admiration of a group of English or American tourists. Hard by the fish-market is the Corso, a shady promenade round which the gala carriages drive in Carnival time, while the masked inmates pelt and get pelted in turn with comfits made of painted clay. The Corso is also the scene of numerous religious processions, some of which are quaint and picturesque. There are a number of ancient confraternities established amongst the trades-people of Nice, who wear costumes of, red, white, black and blue serge, according to the guild they belong to. This sack-like garment covers them from head to foot, face and all, there being only two eyeholes slit in the mask to permit the wearer to see out. These brotherhoods attend the sick, bury the dead and take care of the widows and orphans, and in Holy Week make the narrow streets of the old city delightful to the artistic eye by the bright mass of their vivid-colored raiment, the flickering of their tapers, and the gigantic crucifixes of gold and silver they carry in procession from church to church. Every morning there is a market held on the Corso of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Such magnificent baskets of camellias, japonicas and roses, such nosegays of violets and orange-blossoms, can be seen, I fancy, nowhere but at Nice. Here also the peasant-women sometimes bring immense pots of Peruvian aloes for sale, whose snowy blossoms are scented like those of the magnolia, and rise in gigantic pyramids of magnificent cup-shaped[Pg 439]flowers. They are plants to salute respectfully as you pass by them, such is their size and dignity. In Holy Week women are to be seen all over the old town selling plaited palm branches of a pale straw-color, some of which are bedecked with little bows of ribbon or stars of tinsel, used in the ceremonies of Palm Sunday. The peasant-girls who come to market at Nice are rather handsome, but as dark as Nubians, with almond-shaped eyes and long, coarse black hair, which they wear plaited into tails bound round the head with broad velvet ribbons, like a coronet. On the top of this headgear they sport a wide-brimmed straw hat of peculiar shape, ornamented with little black crosses made of narrow velvet. In Princess Marie Lichtenstein's Holland House there is a portrait of Lady Augusta Holland wearing one of these Nice hats.

But it is time for us to cross the bridges and pay our respects to Nice the "new." When I first visited Nice in 1856 at least two-thirds of this part of the city were not in existence. There were no splendid railway-stations then; only one or two, instead of twenty, monster hotels; the Promenade des Anglais only extended about a mile along the shore, instead of four; and there were but one quay and two bridges. Now superb quays line the river on either side, and there are six bridges, and Heaven only knows how many churches for the accommodation of all the denominations imaginable and unimaginable, from Père Lavigne's very beautiful and very orthodox church, in which Monsignor Capel has preached in Lent, down to Léon Pilate's, where collections are made for the evangelical missions presided over by Mrs. Gould and W.C. Van Metre. There is a Greek church of exceeding beauty, the altar-screen of which was sent from Moscow as a present from the czar; and an Episcopal church, surrounded by a beautiful cemetery, where sleeps the philosophic Bussy d'Anglas, with many others whose names are well known. The real Niçois almost all dwell in Old Nice, leaving the new city to the foreign colony. Indeed, the natives are rarely if ever seen, except in the street. They keep to their old quiet way of living, and, beyond letting their houses and selling their goods, appear to be utterly unconscious even of the existence of the strangers on the other side of Paillon. Many of the Nice families are titled and wealthy, but with the exception of that of the count de Cessoles, it is very rare to meet the Niçois in society. Mademoiselle Mathilde de Cessoles is the reigning belle, and deserves the honor. She is a superb-looking woman, with a head and countenance worthy of a regal diadem. Her features resemble those of the House of Bourbon, her complexion is admirable, and she has a certain good-natured, indolent, sultana way of moving which is perfectly charming. Cupid alone knows how many have sighed for her hand since her long reign as a queen of society began, but none have as yet been favored with a kinder glance than that of friendship. Scottish dukes, Roman princes and American officers have wooed, but never won: la belle Mathilde still walks the orange groves of her villa, "in virgin meditation, fancy free."

"But it waxes late—'tis near three o'clock:" let us hasten past the casinos, cafes, reading-rooms, Turkish baths and American drinking-bars which flourish on the quays, and make our way to the Promenade des Anglais, by this time alive with fashionables. The "Promenade," as I have said, is nearly four miles long, and faces the sea. It is very broad, and has on one side a row of villas and hotels—on the other a walk shaded by oleanders and palm trees, through the openings of which are obtained magnificent views of the Mediterranean. Some of these villas are remarkably beautiful, especially that of the Princes Stirby, the former sovereigns of Wallachia, which is surrounded with exquisite gardens abounding with noble camellia trees, some of which produce as many as fifteen hundred flowers. The Villa de Dempierre is very pretty, and is the property of the countess of that name, who is a most noteworthy person. Madame de Dempierre belongs to one of the most ancient and wealthy families of France. [Pg 440]She was once a great beauty, and is still a brilliant wit and charming artist. Some years ago she visited the empress of Russia, then residing at Nice, where she died. Her Imperial Majesty, who was noted for her habit of making personal remarks, said bluntly, "Madame la comtesse, how beautiful you must have been!" "Majesty," answered the spirituelle Madame de Dempierre, "you were complaining of the nearness of your sight: since you can distinguish my beauty through the vista of so many years, I think you enjoy long-sightedness in a remarkable degree." The empress wrinkled her nose, and presently observed: "I think, countess, I remember to have seen your husband, General de Dempierre, in Russia." "Doubtless Your Majesty did so: he was the first Frenchman that entered the Kremlin." The czarina was silent: the fall of Moscow was not a pleasant subject of conversation to the wife of Nicholas. The Villa de Diesbach comes next, the winter residence of the historical family of that name, into which married a few years since a tall, gazelle-eyed American belle, Miss Meta McCall. Then follows the pretty Villa Bouxhoevden, the property of a Corlandese count of a very noble house, whose wife hails from New Jersey. The countess is much the fashion, and her hospitable house is a rendezvous of the elite of the foreign and American colony. She is a tall, graceful woman, with a pale and interesting countenance, shadowed with clusters of light-brown curls, which reminds one of Vandyke's portraits of Queen Henrietta Maria—a likeness somewhat increased by costumes admirably suited to her style—long flowing robes of rich silk trimmed with ermine and costly lace. Then there is Mrs. Williams's garden, with Indian creepers and gaudy Eastern plants, sent to her by her gallant son, the Crimean hero, from the slopes of the Himalayas. Here on a Sunday gathers a pleasant circle to drink five-o'clock tea and listen to the bright remarks of Madame de la Caume, the daughter of the hostess, who knows more about French politics than many a deputy at Versailles. But whilst we have been looking in at villa-gardens the Promenade has filled up rapidly. A continuous stream of carriages occupies the centre of the road, a throng of gay folks animate with their showiest toilets the oleander walk and the Jardin Publique, where a tolerable band plays for two or three hours thrice a week. The marble stairs of the Casino are crowded with loungers, and the windows and balconies of every villa are filled with well-dressed men and women. Nowhere, perhaps, excepting in Rotten Row or the Bois de Boulogne, can so many celebrated and beautiful women and handsome or famous men be seen parading up and down together as on the Promenade des Anglais of a fine afternoon in the season. Here gathers the crême de la crême of two worlds, the Old and the New, Europe and America. In the winter of 1870 the town was crowded to excess. Never before were there so many notabilities assembled at Nice—never was there so much gossip, so much cancan and small talk. It was amusing to sit in the shade of a palm tree on the promenade and review the personæ of this Vanity Fair. Frederick Charles of Prussia and his princess in a landau, with two Nubians on the box; the crown-princess Victoria of England and her sister of Hesse-Darmstadt, on a trip from Cannes, where they were then visiting; Her Grace of Newcastle; De Villemessant of the Figaro, in an invalid's chair, the most accomplished of causeurs; Count Montalivet, the former minister of Louis Philippe, and by him, for a few days at the full of the season, a little old gentleman with a squeaky voice, M. Adolphe Thiers. Next comes a group of ladies, the three daughters of the Hispano-Mexican duchess De Fernan-Nuñez; all three looking exactly alike, tall and dark; all three of a height; all three invariably dressed in black, with lofty Tyrolese hats and cocks' feathers; all three unmarried; all three marriageable, and worth Croesus only knows how many millions; all three invariably alone—a fact which made old Madame Colaredo scream out of her window one day, "Tiens! voilà les trois cent (sans) gardes!" Then follow Lord [Pg 441]Rokeby, the most affable of lordships; Lord Portarlington; General Sir William Williams of Kars; Princess Kantacuzène, the last descendant of the imperial Byzantine house of that name; the ideally lovely Miss Amy Shaw of Boston; the three pretty Miss Warrens of New York; Madame Gavini de Campile, the wife of the prefect, a fine-looking dame gloriously arrayed in showy robes, whom half the society adored and the rest cordially hated; the duke de Mouchy, who married Anna Murat; the duke de Périgord-Talleyrand, who married an American; the duke de la Conquista, who derives his title from the conquest of Peru; the lovely countess Del Borgo; and the famous Italian beauty, Madame Bellotti, a Milanese lady, whose maiden name was Visconti, of that semi-royal house. Theresa Bellotti's beauty is of a grand style seen nowhere out of Italy. Picture her to yourself as I once saw her at a masquerade at the préfecture. Round her superb figure swept an ample robe of crimson velvet looped up with bands of gold. Her bare arms, models worthy of the chisel of Canova, gleamed from the rich sables which lined the hanging sleeves of her dress. Her hair, dark as night, was gathered up in the high fashion Sir Joshua Reynolds loved to depict. A half-moon of enormous diamonds fastened a plume over her left temple, and her neck and fingers flashed back the colors of the rainbow from a thousand gems. As to her face, it was radiant. Rich color flushed her cheeks, her eyes sparkled with animation when she spoke; but at times, when her features resumed a calm after conversation, she resembled the portraits of some of the famous Italian women of the Renaissance—her own ancestress, for instance, Bianca Visconti, duchess of Milan, or Veronica Cibò, or Lucrezia Petroni, whose daughter was the ill-fated Beatrice Cenci. And now come by the fascinating Mrs. Lloyd, whom all the world knows and likes; grand-looking Mrs. Senator Grymes of Louisiana, a witty, brilliant old lady, whose salon is one of the most elegant in Nice; Baron Haussmann, and with him his colossal daughter, Madame de Perneti, the handsomest of giantesses, who was once asked to join in private theatricals, but when the stage was built up in her friend's drawing-room, being about five feet from the level of the rest of the chamber, it was discovered that la belle Caryatide, as her friends call her, could not act on it, for the simple reason that she was a full head taller than the scenery; clever Madame de Skariatine, the daughter of the famous Count Schouvalof (the "Shoveloff" of our times), who, after being Russian ambassador half over Europe, turned Barnabite monk at Rome; Lady Dalling and Bulwer, the great duke of Wellington's niece, and now the widow of one of England's most illustrious statesmen; hospitable Marquise de St. Agnan, and her pretty daughter, Mademoiselle Henriette; and Princess Souvarow, ci-devant widow Apraxine, ci-devant widow Kisselof, the most fascinating of Russian princesses, and one of the greatest of female gamblers, who one night broke the bank at Monte Carlo for two hundred and fifty thousand francs, and lost them the next. On the opposite side of the way, screening herself from observation, demurely clad in sober-colored attire, Madame Volnis passes along from some mission of charity. This lady was once one of the most popular actresses on the French stage, and with Mademoiselle Mars and Rose Chéri was the idol of Paris—Léontine Fay. She was, if possible, a still greater favorite in St. Petersburg, where, on her retirement from the stage, she became French reader to the late czarina. Since the death of the empress she has always resided at Nice, where she is distinguished for her exalted piety and extreme charity. Even when on the stage this lady devoted her leisure to charitable works. She was always remarked for her modesty of manner: her dress was simplicity itself. At the theatre she wore costumes rich and elegant, suited to the parts she enacted, but in society she invariably appeared in plain white muslin or dark silk. It would be impossible to exaggerate her goodness. Her whole life has been passed amongst the poor, in the minute fulfillment [Pg 442]of her duties, and on her knees in church. After acting one part of the evening, she would hasten, on the fall of the curtain, to pass the rest of it watching by the bedside of some poor wretch stricken low perhaps by some infectious disease. During the war of 1870, Madame Volnis's conduct was angelical. If there was some awful operation to be performed upon any of the wounded soldiers sent to Nice from the field of battle, it was she who was present, who held the sufferer's hand, and who consoled and cheered with the tenderness of a Sister of Charity—of a mother.

As the austere figure of Léontine Fay passes away, hidden in a cloud of sunny dust raised by the wheels of a hundred carriages, another form comes upon the stage, radiant amongst the most brilliant, the observed of all observers—Madame Rattazzi, née Princess Bonaparte Wyse. What a wonderful toilette is hers! One fine afternoon she appeared upon the Promenade clad in a purple velvet robe, edged and flounced with canary-colored satin, looped up voluminously en panier, and adorned with big bows of yellow ribbon. Her hat was a broad-brimmed Leghorn straw trimmed with large bunches of pansies. No one but Madame Rattazzi could have worn such an attire in the public streets without the risk of being hooted, but such are the grace and beauty of this celebrated woman that her costume seemed in perfect keeping. She was in Nice one winter for at least five months, and every day saw her out in a fresh dress. When she travels she has more boxes than Madame Ristori. She dwelt on the Promenade, over the dowager of Colaredo, who had a special spite against her; in consequence of which she invariably illuminated her windows, when she had company, with the Italian colors, red, white and green, to the supreme disgust of the old Ultramontane countess. Her apartment was elegantly furnished, and adorned with beautiful vases of mignonette and plants of moss-roses. When she received of an evening the chambers were agreeably lighted up with many pale and subdued lamps. Her tables were always covered with new books, magazines and several copies of her own poems and novels, including an exceedingly clever story, Louise Keller, which she had just finished. On the walls hung pictures in oil and water-colors of her own execution; on the piano were scattered, together with much classical music, some hymns, polkas and ballads of her composition. One night she acted in a comedy of her own writing, and her rendering of the part of the heroine, a witty and intriguing widow, was inimitable. Many severe critics have declared that Madame Rattazzi is, as an actress, a worthy rival of Fargeuil or Madeleine Brohan. Her manners are very fascinating—a little bit too natural to be quite French, and a little too ceremonious to be quite Italian. She would have proved an invaluable acquisition at the downfall of the tower of Babel, for she is mistress of I dare not say how many languages. As a rule, women hate her, and men do just the contrary. This is not to be wondered at, for she is very beautiful even now. Her face has the chiseled cameo features of her uncle, Napoleon I.; her eyes are deep violet, fringed with long sweeping lashes; her mouth is perfectly exquisite, and on either side of it two pretty dimples appear whenever she smiles. So many enemies has she amongst her own sex that to avenge herself for the affronts they constantly offer her she published a magazine in Florence called the Matinées Italiennes, for the purpose of showing up her female antagonists. Here is a sample: "At Nice a grand ball; Madame la Viscomtesse de B—— en grande toilette, looking for all the world like a big Nuremberg doll, with her black hair dyed an impossible straw-color, and appearing at least five years younger than she did when I first saw her make her début in society five-and-twenty years ago; and she was then a gushing maiden of twenty-one." By and by comes the hour of vengeance. Madame Rattazzi gives a ball, and not a woman will go to it. In 1870 she gave one at the Grand Hotel, to which half the town was invited. There arrived at the festal [Pg 443]scene about five hundred men and just thirty-two women. It was funny enough. The thirty-two women besported themselves with thirty-two partners in the centre of the hall to the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musical instruments, whilst the rest of the men stood round the hall five deep, like a deep dark fringe on a Turkish carpet. Madame Rattazzi, however, achieved a great triumph against all odds. By dint of grace, charm of manners and tact she put all her guests in the best humor. The "thirty-two" had a fine time of it, and danced to their hearts' content. The five hundred men were introduced and grouped and wined and punched until every man there swore that earth did not hold a fairer or more genial hostess. Madame Rattazzi was "supported," as the phrase goes, on this memorable occasion by Madame la Princesse, her mother, a rather formidable-looking dowager, a daughter of Lucian Bonaparte, and widow of Sir Thomas Wyse, once British consul at Athens. Her Imperial Highness Princess Letitia must have been a wonderful beauty in her youth—a stately grand being who one could easily imagine might have resembled the Roman Agrippina or empress Livia. Once the barrier of her stately manners overcome, she proved to be a talkative, affable woman of the world, with a huge experience thereof. I can see her now, dressed in a scarlet satin robe and glittering with jewels. She wore a headdress of diamonds with two long ostrich feathers in it, one of which, a white one, got out of its place and stood bolt upright, as if it was frightened, until some charitable hand laid it down. This was, I fancy, the last ball Princess Letitia ever graced, for she died a very little while afterward. Poor Rattazzi was there too. He was not a striking-looking man, but agreeable and excessively polite. He rarely talked politics—I rather suspect from the fear of compromising himself—but his conversation was was pleasant and varied. After his death Madame Rattazzi removed to Monaco, where she busied herself with editing his letters and memoirs—a task which, it appears, the Italian government would be delighted that she should spare herself, as his papers are said to be very full of compromising matter relative to the Mentana expedition. A large sum of money was offered her to relinquish her hold on these documents, but she answered by a letter published in the Italian papers that they were left to her as a sacred trust, and that she felt herself in duty bound to make their contents public, in order to justify her husband's memory. As a curious proof of her political sagacity—unless it is to be considered a mere coincidence—I may mention that in January, 1870, she came to a masked ball at the Casino dressed as Mars, in a short skirt of red satin, a cuirass of gold, on her head a helmet, in one hand a spear, and in the other a shield, and on it was written "Roma." Did Madame Rattazzi foresee that by September of the same year there would be a war, and that as one of its results Rome would so soon become the capital of that Italy which her husband had helped to build up?[003]

From this somewhat rambling sketch the reader will readily understand that Nice is one of the great centres of society in Europe, and indeed in late years it is rather, as a place of gay reunion that it is frequented than as a resort for invalids. Since the foundation of quieter colonies at Mentone and San Remo, Nice has somewhat lost its reputation as a sanitarium, for it is rather difficult, especially for young people, to resist the temptation of its innumerable balls and round of gayeties; and these are not considered conducive to the preservation of health even amongst the healthiest. The medical men, therefore, recommend places along the neighboring coast which enjoy [Pg 444]the same or even greater advantages of climate. That of Nice, after all that has been written about it, still seems to me one of the finest in the world. The air is exquisitely pure and clear, and has proved beneficial in many hundreds of cases of incipient consumption. But the fatal error is often made of sending hither patients in whom the disease has made considerable progress. In such cases the irritating air hastens death. I have known people brought here in the second and last stages of consumption, who have been carried off in a fortnight after their arrival, and who might have lingered on for years elsewhere. The patient who finds himself benefited should remain at Nice for at least three or four years, only varying the air in summer by a visit to some of the many pleasant places in the neighboring mountains, where the atmosphere is pure, cool and wholesome. Perhaps, it is owing in part to the brightness of the sunshine and the beauty of the scenery that soon after his arrival the health of the invalid often revives as if by enchantment. Alphonse Karr, a resident of many years, who knows every nook and corner of the place, and who has cultivated a garden in its environs as celebrated throughout the world as his own sparkling pen, says well: "Who is there so downhearted as to resist the glorious heat of the sun, the beauty of that deepest of blue seas, the loveliness of the varied trees, the tropical vegetation, the scent of the orange-flowers, the music of the brooks, the sight of the ever-changing hues of the mountains of Nizza la bella?"





For more than two centuries Russian orthodoxy has been undermined by obscure sects, unknown to foreigners, and little known to Russians themselves. Beneath the imposing pile of the official Church have been hollowed out vast underground burrows and a labyrinth of gloomy crypts, which form a retreat for the popular beliefs and superstitions. We propose to descend into these catacombs of ignorance and fanaticism. We shall attempt to map them out, to explore their remotest nooks, and to lay hold in this, their hiding-place, of the character and aspirations of the people. Nothing could yield better means of acquaintance with the genius of the nation and the groundwork of Russian society. The Raskol, with its thousand sects, is perhaps the most original feature of Russia, and what most sharply distinguishes it from Western Europe.

Like rivers colored by the soil through which they flow, religions often change their characteristics according to the nations who practice them. The Raskol is Byzantine Christianity issuing from the Russian lower classes. In the thick and muddy waters of Muscovite sectarianism we can distinguish foreign admixtures, sometimes Protestant, sometimes Jewish, or even Mohammedan, more frequently Gnostic or pagan. The Raskol, nevertheless, remains wholly different, in principle and in tendency, from all the religions and religious movements of the world: it is original and national from the foundation up. So thoroughly Russian is it that outside of its native country it has never made a proselyte, and even within the empire has hardly any adherents excepting among the people of "Greater Russia," the most thoroughly national of all. So spontaneous has been its growth that in all its phases it is [Pg 445]its own best interpreter, and if confined to an isolated continent, its development would have been the same. The Raskol is the most national of all the religious movements to which Christianity has given birth, and at the same time the most exclusively popular. It took its rise, not in the schools, nor in the monasteries, but in the mujik's hovel and in the shop; and it has never spread beyond its birthplace. Hence, the student of politics and the philosopher take a keener interest in ignorant heresies than is to be found in their doctrines alone. These sects of lately-liberated peasants claim an attention by no means due to their meagre theology, from their being the symptom of a mental condition and a social state for even a distant approach to which all Western Europe would be scoured in vain.

The Raskol (schism) is neither a sect nor a group of sects. It is, rather, an aggregate of doctrines and heresies, which are often divergent or even contradictory, with no other tie than a common starting-point and a common hostility to the official orthodox Church. In this respect the Raskol is more nearly analogous to Protestantism than to anything else. It is inferior to Protestantism in the numbers and education of its adherents, but it almost equals it as regards the variety and originality of its developments. Further the likeness cannot be fairly said to go. In the midst of their unfilial revolt, German Protestantism and the Russian Raskol preserve alike the signs of their origin, the stamp (so to speak) of the Church whence they have issued, as well as of the widely-differing states of society which gave them birth. In Western Europe love of speculation and a critical spirit gave rise to the larger part of modern sects, while in Russia they are the offspring of reverence and unenlightened obstinacy. In the West, the predominance of feeling over the value attached to the externals of religion has been the cause of religious divisions, whereas the same result has been produced in Russia by an extraordinary reverence for external forms for ritual and ceremonial. The two movements thus seem to be in absolutely opposite directions, but they have nevertheless terminated at the same point. In other words, the Raskol, when once freed from the authority which maintained the unity of the faith, was as powerless as Protestantism to establish any authority within itself. It has in consequence become a prey to the same license of opinion, to the same individualism, and, finally, to the same anarchy.

Few religious revolutions have involved results so, complex as the Raskol, yet few have been simpler in their inception. The countless sects which for two centuries have had their being among the Russian people took their rise, in general, from the revision of the liturgy. One stock produced them nearly all: only a few sects (though these, by the way, are by no means the least curious) date from an earlier time or have another origin than this liturgic reform. The Middle Ages in Russia, as elsewhere, were marked by the rise of heresies. Of these the oldest may have arisen before the Mongol conquest, from contact with Greeks or Slaves, particularly with the Bulgarian Bogomiles, the ancestors or Oriental brethren of the Albigenses. Other heresies sprang up later in the North, in the Novgorod region, from intercourse with Jewish or other Western traders. Of most of these the name alone remains: such are the Martinovtsy, the Strigolniki, the Judaizers, and so on. All these sects were dying away when the Raskol broke out; and it absorbed all the vague, embryonic beliefs floating in the popular mind. Some of these antique heresies—the Strigolniki, for instance—after having disappeared from history, seem to have come to light again in the shape of certain sects of our own days; and one might fancy that they had been for centuries running on in an underground channel.

In the dim disputes of mediæval times, however, one may make out with some clearness the fundamental principle of the Raskol: it is a scrupulous veneration for the letter—formalism, in a word. "In such a year," says a Novgorod chronicler of the fifteenth century, "certain philosophers [Pg 446]began to chant, 'O Lord, have mercy upon us!' while others said, 'Lord, have mercy upon us!'"[004] In this remark the whole Raskol stands revealed. Controversies like these begat the schism which has rent the Russian Church asunder. Religious invocations have for this people the nature of magical formulæ, the slightest change in which destroys their efficacy. The Russian clings to the heathen feeling, though he hides it under a Christian veil. He believes in the power of particular words and gestures. He still seems to regard his priest as a kind of chaman, religious ceremonies as enchantments, and religion in general as witchcraft. A fondness for rites (obriad) is indeed one of the characteristics of the inhabitant of Greater Russia. The way in which Russia was converted to Christianity has much to do with this. The mass of the people became Christians at the bidding of others, and with no sufficient preparatory instruction, without even having passed through all the stages of that polytheistic evolution from which other nations of Europe had emerged before their adoption of Christianity. The religion of the gospel was, in its highest statement, too far advanced for the mental and social condition of the people; and so it was corrupted, or rather reduced to external forms. Russia adopted merely the outside of Christianity; and there, even more strictly than in the West, it is true that the peasant was still a heathen. Other nations have adopted the outside of a religion, and have afterward absorbed its spirit: from its geographical and historical remoteness such an absorption was hard for Russia to achieve. It was separated from the centres of the Christian world by distance and by Mongol rule: its religion, like everything else, was debased by poverty and ignorance. Theology, properly speaking, utterly vanished, and its place was taken by ceremonial, which thus became the whole of religion. Amidst the general degradation a knowledge of the words and rites of public worship was all that could be exacted of a clergy which did not always know how to read.

The changes which had taken place in the traditional texts and ritual have little solid ground for the popular devotion entertained for them. The liturgy was corrupted by the superstitious veneration paid it by the ignorant. False readings had crept into the books which contained the various local "uses," to borrow a term from the Anglican terminology. Liturgical unity had imperceptibly disappeared amidst various readings and discordant ceremonies. In course of transcription absurdities had slipped into the missals, along with grotesque additions and arbitrary intercalations, while the new readings were received with the respect due to antiquity, and these sometimes unintelligible passages acquired a sanctity in direct proportion to their obscurity. The devout mind found in them mysteries and occult meanings. On such perverted texts were erected theories and systems which pious fraud from time to time expanded into treatises attributed to the Fathers of the Church. So wild was the confusion, and so palpable the alterations, that early in the sixteenth century Vassili IV., a Russian prince, summoned a Greek monk for the purpose of revising the liturgical books. But the blind veneration of the clergy and people rendered this attempt abortive. The reviser, Maximus, was condemned by a council, and confined on a charge of heresy in a distant monastery. The crisis was superinduced by the introduction of the press. Here, as elsewhere, the new discovery brought with it a taste for the study and revision of texts, and ultimately violent theological contests. The missals which issued from the Russian presses of the sixteenth century at first only aggravated the evils for which they should have afforded a remedy. The errors of the manuscripts from which they were printed received from these missals the authority and circulation of type. The copyists had introduced countless variations, but these acquired a fresh unity and unanimity [Pg 447]from the very fact of their publication in such a form.

The Slavonic liturgy of Russia seemed in a state of hopeless corruption when, toward the middle of the seventeenth century, the patriarch Nikon determined upon a measure of reform. In addition to a degree of cultivation unusual in his age and country, and an enterprising and determined character, he possessed what was specially required for such a step: he had learning, firmness and power, for through his influence over Alexis, the czar, he ruled the State almost as thoroughly as he ruled the Church. In Russia, as it was before Peter the Great, a task so completely dependent on learning was indeed a bold undertaking. By order of the patriarch ancient Greek and Slavonic manuscripts were gathered from all quarters, and monks were summoned from Byzantium and from the learned community of Athos to collate the Slavic versions with their Greek originals. The interpolations due to the ignorance or whims of copyists were remorselessly stricken out, and into the ritual, thus purified, was introduced the pomp customary at the court of Byzantium. The new missals were printed and adopted by a council (through the patriarch's influence), and finally imposed, with all the authority of the state government, on every Russian province. "A sore trembling laid hold upon me," says a copyist of the sixteenth century, "and I was affrighted when the reverend Maximus the Greek bade me blot out certain lines from one of our Church books." Not less was the scandal under Peter the Great. The man who laid hands on the sacred books was everywhere held guilty of sacrilege. Whether from a knowledge of the propriety of the measure, or from the spirit of ecclesiastical fidelity, the higher clergy upheld the patriarch, but their inferiors and the common people made a determined fight. And even now, after the lapse of more than two centuries, a large body adhere immovably to the ancient books and the ancient ritual, which are made sacred to them by the approbation of national councils and the blessing of generations of patriarchs. Such was the inception of the schism, the Raskol, which still divides the Russian Church. Tracing the matter back to its source, the contest is seen to turn upon the knotty question of the transmission and the translation of the sacred texts, which has more than once divided the churches of the West. In Russia no one was competent to form a proper judgment of the essence of the dispute, and it was thus rendered only more lasting and bitter. Monks, deacons, plain sextons, denounced the innovations as novelties borrowed from Rome or from the Protestants, and as being tantamount to the bringing in of a new religion. When the Church brought to bear upon these recusants the pains and penalties everywhere employed against heretics, the only result was to give the schism martyrs, and with martyrs a fresh impetus. Ten years after the promulgation of the revised liturgy its rash author fell a victim to the jealousy of the boyards and to his own arrogance, and was solemnly deposed by a council. To the Raskol his deposition appeared in the light of a justification of their own course. The condemnation of the reformer seemed necessarily to involve the condemnation of the reform. Great, then, was the popular bewilderment when the council turned from deposing the author of the liturgic revision to hurl its anathemas against those who opposed that revision. The share taken in this excommunication by the Oriental patriarchs rather lessened than added to its weight, since the dissenters denied to Greek and Syrian bishops, who knew not a letter of the Slavonic alphabet, the right of passing judgment on Slavonic books.

The theological world is no stranger to subtleties, but never perhaps did causes so trifling breed such interminable quarrels. The sign and the form of the cross, the heading of processions westward or eastward, the reading of a particular article of the Creed, the spelling of the name of Jesus, the inscription to be placed over the crucifix, the single or double repetition of the Hallelujah, the number of eucharistic wafers to be consecrated,—such Pg 448]are the leading points in the controversy which ever since has rent the Russian Church. The orthodox make the sign of the cross with three fingers, while the dissenters follow the Armenian practice of only two. The former permit the cross with four arms, like our own: the latter cannot away with any but that with eight arms, with a crosspiece for the Saviour's head and another for his feet. Since the reform the Church chants the Hallelujah thrice, the Raskolniks only twice. The dissenters defend their persistence by symbolical interpretations, and delight to make a profession of faith out of the simplest rite. For instance, they insist that after their fashion of making the sign of the cross the three closed fingers render homage to the Trinity, while the two others testify to the double nature of Christ, so that, without uttering a word, the sign of the cross is an act of adherence to the three fundamental dogmas of Christianity—the Trinity, the incarnation and the atonement. In like manner they interpret the double Hallelujah following the three Glorias, and cast it in the teeth of their opponents that they ignore in their ritual one or another of the great Christian doctrines. Such interpretations, based on corrupted texts or feigned visions, show the grotesque blending of coarseness and subtlety which makes up the Raskol.

If we may judge from the origin of the schism, its essence lies in the worship of the letter, the servile respect for forms. To the anti-reforming Russian, ceremonies form the whole of Christianity, and liturgy is one with orthodoxy. The same confusion between faith and the outward forms of worship is revealed by the chosen name in which the dissenters delight. Not content with the title of Starovbriadtsy (old ritualists), they adopt that of Starovery (maintainers of the old faith), which amounts to styling themselves true believers, the genuine orthodox, since in religious matters, unlike those of human science, authority is on the side of antiquity, and even innovations must come forward invoking the past. Here, as often happens, there is little ground for the Starovery's boast, for if they preserve the ancient Russian books, their opponents have gone back to the old Byzantine liturgy; and the party which most loudly vaunts its claim to antiquity does so with least reason.

The principle of the Raskol, which sometimes runs out into the wildest dreams of mysticism, is essentially realistic. Under this materialistic cultus, however, there lurks a sort of idealism, of coarse spiritualism. Religious vagaries, with all their absurdities, always have a lofty, sometimes even a sublime, side. It would be wrong to fancy that there is nothing but ignorant superstition in the Starovere's scrupulous attachment to his ancestral worship. The vulgar heresy is, in fact, only an overdone ritualism, whose logic lands it in absurdity. The Old Believer's reverence for the letter comes from his belief that letter and spirit are indissolubly united, and that the forms of religion are as needful as its essence. Religion is to him, both as regards forms and dogmas, a whole, all whose parts hang together; and no human hand can touch this masterpiece of Providence without blemishing it. There is an occult sense in every word and in every rite. He cannot believe that any ceremony or formula of the Church is void of meaning or of efficacy. Divine service has nothing in it merely accessory, indifferent or unmeaning. Holy things are holy throughout: in the worship of the Lord everything is deep and full of mystery; and it is blasphemy to change anything or to withhold from it its proper veneration. The Starovere, of course, cannot formulate his doctrine, but if he could, religion would appear, according to his view, a sort of completed and adequate representation of the supernatural world. His simple logic exacts from all public worship an absolute perfection which it is impossible to realize. Looked at in this light, the Old Believer who marched to the stake for the sign of the cross, and sacrificed his tongue rather than chant another Hallelujah, grows highly respectable. From this standing-point the Russian schism is essentially religious: its mistake, so to speak, is the [Pg 449]excess of religion. Symbolism is the principle of its formalism, or rather the Raskol is symbolism run into a heresy. This gives it originality and value in sectarian history. To these extravagant ritualists ceremonies are not simply the garb of religion: they are its flesh and blood, in whose absence dogma is but a lifeless skeleton. Thus, the Raskol is the direct opposite of ordinary Protestantism, which by its very nature sets small store by outward ceremonies, regarding them as needless ornament or a dangerous superfluity. Ritual to the Starovere is as much an integral part of traditional Christianity as doctrine: it, is equally the legacy of Christ and the apostles; and the sole mission of the Church and the clergy is to preserve both intact. This leaning to symbolism saves his scrupulous fidelity to outward forms from degenerating into a slavish superstition. On the other hand, the allegorizing tendency which clings fast to the letter sometimes takes odd liberties with the spirit of ceremonies and texts. It is the peculiarity of the symbolizing temper scrupulously to respect the form while arbitrarily dealing with the spirit. Thus, the ritual and the sacred books become a kind of heavenly charade, whose answer must be found by the imagination. And so, in their hunt after the hidden sense of narratives and words, some of the Raskolniks have allegorized the histories of the Old and New Testaments, and changed the gospel records into parables. Some have gone so far as to see in the greatest of the gospel miracles nothing but types.[005] Such a system of exegesis easily leads to a kind of mystic rationalism: the forms of religion tend to gain more consistency than the essence, and public worship to be placed above doctrine. Some of the extreme sects of the Raskol have actually reached this point. A perfect carnival of wild interpretation prevailed among this ignorant rabble, and crazy doctrines and grotesque tenets were not slow in following in its train.

The Old Believer loves his peculiar rites, not only for the meaning he puts into them, but also for the sake of the authority on which he holds them: the moral and social rationale of the schism is a deep respect for traditional customs and for the habits handed down from his forefathers. But even in his slavish devotion to ancestral ritual and prayers the Starovere simply exaggerates a feeling which, if not properly religious, commonly links itself with religion and adds to its influence. All men and all nations set great store by the maintenance of their hereditary faith, and even the common rhetorical abuse of such phrases demonstrates its power. When thus intertwined with the associations of family and country, religion assumes the guise of an inheritance solemnly committed to our trust by the departed. This feeling is singularly powerful in Russia from linking itself with a superstitious veneration for antiquity. You can often get no other reason from many of these sectaries for the faith that is in them. Quite recently a judge tried to bring to reason a group of peasants who were under prosecution for celebrating clandestine religious rites, but he could extract no other answer than this: "Our fathers practiced these customs. Take us anywhere you please, but leave us free to worship as our fathers did." A like reply is said to have been made by the Old Believers of Moscow to the late czarovitch on occasion of a visit to their burying-ground at Rogojski.

The liturgic reform of the seventeenth century was a revolution in the simplest elements of worship: it called upon the son to unlearn the sign of the cross that his mother had taught him. Such a change would have been hazardous anywhere, but it caused a peculiarly serious disturbance in Russia, where all prayer is connected with a kind of ceremonial of repeated bowings and crossings, which more closely resemble the devotional customs of the Mohammedans than those [Pg 450]of other Christian countries. The people violently rejected the new sign of the cross and the entire reformed liturgy. It mattered little that the new ritual was more ancient than their own. The ignorant Russian knows no antiquity older than his fathers and grandfathers, and his attachment to the outer forms of orthodoxy was only intensified by remembering the recent attempts of popes and Jesuits to gain a foothold in the country. If he suffered the least change in his cherished customs, he might risk being Romanized, and, like the United Greeks of Poland, one day wake up and find himself part and parcel of the spiritual dominion of the papacy. With such dim fears the Old Believer opposed to the orthodox hierarchy a blind fidelity to orthodoxy. Their dread of seeing the Church corrupted inspired people and clergy with suspicion of all foreigners, even of their brethren in the faith whom the czars or the patriarchs had invited from Byzantium and from Kief. The Russian alone, of all the orthodox nations, had maintained his independence against infidel and pope, and he held himself the people of God, chosen to preserve the true faith. Everything European was indiscriminately rejected by this long-isolated nation. Their detestation of the West, its churches and its civilization, leads some of the Old Believers to anathematize even the language of theology and learning. Not longer ago than the close of the last century one of their writers waxed hot against the orthodox priests of Lesser Russia, many of whom, he said, "study the thrice-accursed Latin tongue." He reviled them for their readiness to commit the mortal sin of calling God Deus, and God the Father Pater, as though the Deity could have no other than the Slavic name of Bog, or the change of appellation involved a change of God. A like spirit is evident in the resistance offered by the Staroveres to the correct spelling of the name of Jesus, whom they persist in calling Issous, rejecting as diabolical the more accurate form Iissous. Such peculiarities show a nation shut up in its own vastness and isolated by its position and its history. It is a kind of Christianized China, knowing, and desiring to know, nothing beyond itself.

The revolt against the innovating patriarch was, in reality, a revolt against foreign, particularly against Western, influences. Instead of the accusation that he leaned to Romanism or Lutheranism, it would have been a better representation of the real grievance to charge him and the czar with borrowing from the West, not its theology, but its spirit and civilization, and even this, perhaps, unwittingly. The outbreak of the Raskol synchronizes with the introduction of foreign influence; and the coincidence is not accidental. The schism was but the reaction against the reforms which the Romanoffs carried out in so European a spirit. The patriarch's enterprise has been sometimes attributed to his vanity or his thirst for literary fame, but it was really the first indication of the approaching revolution, and of a growing sympathy with the West, where (as in England, for instance) at about the same period analogous[006] reforms gave birth to similar disturbances. If the former hermit of the White Sea invited criticism and learning to review the ritual of his Church, it was only in obedience to the same Zeitgeist which under Peter the Great's elder brother, who succeeded Alexis, was to found at Moscow a kind of ecclesiastical university modeled on that of Kief. The Church, not less than the State, felt the Western breeze that was rising on the Russian steppes. And, as the Western spirit first attempted to introduce itself in the sphere of religion, so religion confronted it with its most formidable barrier. From the historian's point of view, the Raskol is that same popular resistance to the introduction of Western novelties which under Peter the Great passed from its original aspect of an ecclesiastical and religious revolt into the further stage of a social and civil insurrection.

[Pg 451]


In spite of himself, Peter the Great both inherited and aggravated the schism. At the present day it is hard to picture the impression produced upon his subjects by Peter I. He not merely astonished and bewildered them: he scandalized them. An open, systematic and sometimes brutal attack was made upon the customs, traditions and prejudices of the people. The reformer did not confine himself to the civil institutions: he laid violent hands upon the Church, and forced his way into the family, regulating, as the whim seized him, both public affairs and the private life of the citizen. The old-fashioned Russian was a stranger in Peter's new empire. His eyes were shocked by the spectacle of an unaccustomed garb, and novel administrative titles fell strangely on his ear. Names and things, the almanac and the laws, the alphabet and the fashions of dress,—everything was transformed. The very elements of civilization were hardly recognizable. The year began on the first of January, instead of the first of September. Men were no longer to date from the creation, but must adopt the Latin era. The old Slavonic characters, hallowed by immemorial ecclesiastical use, were partly cast aside, and what were retained took a new shape. The masculine attire was altered and the chin was shorn of its beard, while the veil no longer might protect the modesty of the women. The impression made by such a succession of shocks upon a nation so bigotedly attached to its ancestral ways was comparable only to an earthquake rocking Old Russia to its foundations.

Many of these innovations, as being borrowed from the Romanists or the Lutherans of the West, had a religious significance for the people. The change introduced by Peter the Great in the ancient calendar, in the Slavonic alphabet and in the national costume seemed but a carrying out of those which Nikon had initiated. So natural was the parallel that the Old Believers held the one to be but the continuation of the other; and the notion took shape in a seditious legend, according to which Peter was the adulterous offspring of the patriarch. The popular aversion felt for the reforms of the latter was augmented by that aroused by the emperor's innovations: the social revolt took the disguise of religion, since it had been provoked by a Church measure, and still more because Russia had not yet emerged from that stage of civilization in which every great popular movement assumes a religious aspect. A national prestige was thus communicated to the Raskol, which in its turn lent to the popular resistance the energy of religion. By giving the social revolt the semblance of a struggle for the rights of conscience the schism imparted to it a vigor and persistency which the lapse of two centuries has not succeeded in crushing.

But the Raskol rebelled not only against innovations and the introduction of foreign elements, but still more obstinately against the principle of the reforms and the modern method of state administration. The Russian, like the Mohammedan East of to-day and all other primitive societies, was most keenly sensitive to the burdens and vexations made necessary by this imitation of the European governmental system. From this point of view the Raskol was the opposition of a half-patriarchal society to the regular, scientific, omnipresent, impersonal system of European administration. It kicks instinctively against centralization and bureaucracy—against the state's encroachments upon private life, the family and the community. It struggles to tear itself loose from the pitiless machinery of government, hemming every life within its iron pale. The Cossack took refuge in the wild freedom of nomadic life, and the Old Believer was equally averse to giving in to the complicated mechanism of government. He would have nothing to do with the census, with passports or stamped paper. He strove to elude the new systems of taxation and conscription, and to this day some of the Raskolniks are in a state of systematic revolt against the simplest of governmental methods. Religious grounds, of course, are found for this insubordination, and they have theological arguments [Pg 452]to urge against the census, as well as against the registration of births and deaths. In the opinion of a strict Old Believer the right of numbering the people belongs to God alone, as is shown by the biblical record of David's punishment. Sometimes the official designations strengthen the scruples of these simple folk, with their tendency to attach a great importance to phrases and names; and hence, partly at least, the popular antipathy to the poll-tax under its Russian form, "soul-tax." The revolt against such phrases is the fashion in which this nation of serfs, whose body was chained to the soil, asserted its possession of a soul.[007]

The struggle against the supervision and interference of the state has gone with some sects to the length of refusing submission to obligations imposed by every civilized country. The Stranniki (wanderers) in particular boast of keeping up a ceaseless struggle with the civil authority, and make rebellion a moral principle and a religious duty. From condemning the state as the protector and helper of the Church, they have come to cursing it for its own tendencies and claims. Thus, the singular spectacle is presented of the more extreme schismatics looking upon their native government with the same feelings as were entertained by some of the Christians of the first three centuries toward the pagan empire of Rome. To these fanatics the government of the orthodox czars came to be the reign of Satan and the dominion of Antichrist. Nor was this an empty metaphor: it was a clear, determined conviction, and it still exerts a strong religious and political influence upon the schism. The Raskolniks could see but one interpretation of the overturning of public and private order under Peter the Great, and for what they regarded as the triumph of darkness: to them it was the coming end of the world and the advent of Antichrist. The old customs, it seemed, must carry with them in their fall the Church, society and all mankind. For centuries the extremity of agony or of wonder has wrung this cry from Christendom. After political revolutions and disastrous wars, in the most enlightened countries of Europe, in France and elsewhere, religious persons, in the panic of calamity, have been seen to take refuge in this last solution for the woes of Church or of State, and proclaim with the Raskolniks that the time was at hand. But what must have been the state of mind in Old Russia when the stunning blows of Peter the Great seemed to be dashing everything to pieces? Even at the period of the liturgic reform the fanatics had cried that the patriarch's fall was the harbinger of the world's end. The days of man, they said, are numbered; the Apocalyptic woes are at hand; Antichrist draws nigh. With the accession of Peter the Great, while he was reducing everything to confusion before their bewildered eyes, and trampling under foot the old customs, along with morality itself at times, the Raskolniks were at no loss to recognize in him the coming Antichrist. Nations are not always clear-sighted: the creator of modern Russia was regarded by a considerable portion of his subjects as an envoy or representative of hell; and his empire has never ceased to hold the unexampled position of a government cursed by a part of its own people as the dominion of Antichrist.

This Satanic apotheosis derived no little support from some of the reformer's idiosyncrasies. He was to his subjects what a rejected claimant of the Messianic office may have been to the Jews—a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to the people whom he came to bring to a new birth. His civil and ecclesiastical reforms, with the seeming decapitation of the Church by the abrogation of the patriarchate, were to the mass of the people an enigma only one shade less disreputable than the demeanor of himself and his courtiers. The repudiation of his legitimate wife, Eudoxia, and his adulterous connection with a foreign [Pg 453]concubine, the death (perhaps by his own hand) of his son Alexis, even the morbid state of his health and the nervous twitching of his face, and his astonishing triumphs after equally incredible disasters, contributed to invest the sombre and gigantic physiognomy of the reformer with a kind of diabolic halo. The vices of Ivan the Terrible had been as monstrous, but even in the thick of his crimes he was a true Russian, as superstitious a devotee as the meanest of his subjects. But the astonishment and bewilderment inspired by Peter the Great were only deepened by the reverence felt by the old Russian for the person of his sovereign. Men could not help doubting whether such a man, who had cast aside his national and scriptural title for the foreign and heathen style of emperor, could be the true, the "white" czar. The story of the usurpers and the false Dmitri had not faded from the popular memory; and thus there grew up amidst the unlettered and bewildered Russian people a string of legends in which were harmonized their belief in the reign of Antichrist and the popular respect for the czar. In this way the Raskolniks have created a fantastic history which has been handed down to our own days, according to one version of which, as has been said, Peter the Great is the impious bastard of the patriarch Nikon (and from such a parentage only a devil's offspring could be looked for); while another asserts that Peter Alexovitch was a pious prince, like his forefathers, but that he had perished at sea, and in his stead had been substituted a Jew of the race of Danof, or Satan. On gaining possession of the throne, continues the legend, the false czar immured the czarina in a convent, slew the czarovitch, espoused a German adventuress and filled Russia with foreigners. Such is the Old Believers' explanation of the portentous phenomenon of a Russian czar engaged in destroying the institutions of Holy Russia. In the midst of the nineteenth century the incidents of Peter's career, whether insignificant or important—his vices not less than his glory—are used as proofs of his infernal mission. The remarkable victories with which he recovered from terrible disasters were miracles wrought by the help of the devil and the Freemasons. The extension of his power beyond that of all previous Russian monarchs and of all the ancient bogatyrs was effected by the determination of Satan that his offspring should receive divine honors. The same interpretation is applied to the simplest events. Thus, Peter's celebration with allegorical figures and festivals of the beginning of the year on the first of January was due to his desire to restore the worship of false deities and "the old Roman idol Janus." These silly fables, and this incapacity of understanding how a pagan name or emblem can be used without falling back into paganism, betray one of the peculiar features of the Raskol—namely, the realistic nature, of its symbolism, and its matter-of-fact determination to fill images, allegories and words with occult meaning.

When once the presence of Antichrist was clearly made out, there was nothing to hinder the application to Russia of the gloomy descriptions of the prophets. Their disposition to hunt out mysterious enigmas in names and numbers made it easy for the fanatics to find the whole Apocalypse in modern Russia; and the number of the Beast was sought in the names of Peter and of his successors. Each letter of the Slavonic alphabet, as of the Greek, has a numerical value, and the problem is thus to add up the total of the letters of a name, and so obtain the Apocalyptic number 666 (Rev. xiii. 18). By inserting, reduplicating or omitting certain letters, and not insisting too strongly on an exact result, the sectaries have discovered the infernal number in the names of most of the Russian sovereigns from Peter the Great to Nicholas. Such alterations are defended on the ground that to throw investigators off the scent the Beast changes the number which is meant to designate him, so that he should be recognized under the number 662 or 664 as clearly as under 666. Turning from the particular sovereign to the imperial title, the Raskolniks have unearthed the number of the Beast in the [Pg 454]letters composing it. Singularly enough, it happens that all which is needed to obtain the Apocalyptic number from the word imperator is the omission of the second letter; whence they say that Antichrist hides his accursed name behind the letter M. By an equally odd and embarrassing coincidence the Council of Moscow—which, after deposing Nikon, definitively excommunicated the schismatics—met in 1666. Here, plainly enough was the fatal number, and when the reform of the calendar attracted the attention of the Old Believers to the point, they considered it a weapon thrust into their hands by their opponents. The year in question, accordingly, was fixed as the date of Satan's accession. But not content with turning the line of monarchs into so many emissaries of hell, some of these champions of Old Russia have managed, by the help of an anagram, to identify their native country with the mysterious land which is the object of so many prophetic curses. In the Asshur of the Bible they find Russia, and apply to it the anathemas launched by the prophets against Nineveh and Babylon.

The infernal sign, however, was visible to the Raskolniks not only in the title and the names of their rulers, but in all their innovations as well, and in all that they imported from abroad. Since Russia is under the dominion of the "devil, the demon's son," the truly faithful are bound to reject all that has been introduced during "the years of Satan." Encouraged by the notion of Antichrist, the Raskol's opposition against the modern reform of government spread until it embraces in its hostility everything brought from the West. In no other of its developments do we see more distinctly the characteristic features of the schism, its narrow formalism and its coarse allegorizing, its blind worship of the past and its national exclusiveness. It presented the novel spectacle of a group of popular sects holding in abomination every object of foreign commerce, everything new—material articles of consumption not less than the discoveries of science. While the products of the East and West Indies were pouring into the rest of Europe, the Old Believer rigorously excluded them. He frowned upon the use of tobacco, of tea, of coffee and of sugar, and by a curious transfer of his respect for antiquity to his meat and drink, he stormed against almost all colonial produce as heretical and diabolical. All that had come in since Nikon and Peter was put under the ban by the champions of the ancient liturgy. One Raskolnik forbade traveling on turnpikes, because they were an invention of Antichrist. More recently, another showed that the potato was the forbidden fruit which caused the fall of our first mother. On every side the Old Believer raised about him a wall of scruples and prejudices, entrenching himself behind his stagnation and ignorance, and anathematizing all civilization in a breath. To meet Peter's edicts enjoining a new costume or alphabet or calendar, the Raskol put forth a second decalogue: "Thou shalt not shave; Thou shalt not smoke; Thou shalt use no sugar," etc. In the North, where they are stricter and more numerous, many Raskolniks still have conscientious scruples about using tobacco and putting sugar in their tea. The scriptural arguments urged for this opposition are generally marked by the coarsest realism. The Old Believer who will not smoke adduces the passage, "There is nothing from without a man that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." The rebuker of the use of sugar urges that blood is used in its manufacture; whereas Scripture forbids the eating of the blood of animals—a prohibition, by the way, which seems to have been maintained longer in Russia than in any other Christian country. The true ground of the opposition to this or that article or habit is to be sought not in these theological arguments, but in its novelty and late introduction. As regards his way of life and his faith, his table and his devotions, he is minded to tread in his forefathers' footsteps. A Raskolnik and a member of the orthodox Church were drinking together, when the latter took a cigar. "Out on the infernal poison!" [Pg 455]cried the Raskolnik.—"What do you, think of brandy?" asked his companion. "Oh! Wine" (vino, the Russian name for brandy)—"wine was Noah's favorite drink."—"Very good!" said the other: "now prove to me that Noah was not a smoker." These folk are still in the patriarchal stage, and an appeal to antiquity is an end of controversy, "Jeer not at the old," says one of their proverbs, "for the old man knows old things and teaches justice."

The parties to any political or religious contest need a standard—some outward sign which appeals to the eye and the intelligence of all. The most serious of the political questions that convulse France to-day are symbolized and summed up in the color of a flag; and thus in the Russian conflict between popular obstinacy and the modern propagandism the rallying-sign of the Old Believers, and the emblem of the champions of nationality and conservatism, was the beard. The national chin was the centre of a conflict less puerile than might be fancied. Long before Peter the Great imitators of Western ways had begun to shave, thus setting at defiance the Oriental custom which everywhere prevailed in Russia. Under Peter's father one of the Raskol leaders, the protopope Avvakum, denounced "these bold-faced" men—bold-faced meaning shaven. The prohibition of Leviticus (xxix. 27; xxi. 5) was first adduced, in conformity with the love for alleging religious scruples. Recourse was next had to the ancient missals and the decrees of the Stoglaf, a sort of ecclesiastical code attributed to a national council. The prohibition of the razor was at first confined to the clergy, but it spread by little and little to all the faithful of the orthodox Church. Up to the time of Nikon the patriarchs had laid hardly less stress on forms and on the exclusion of foreign ways than their future opponents of the Raskol, and had condemned shaving as "an heretical practice which disfigures the image of God, and makes men look like dogs and cats." This is the main theological argument of the foes of the barber, and their current interpretation of the verse of Genesis, "God created man in His own image," "The image of God is the beard," writes a Raskolnik about 1830, "and His likeness is the moustache." "Look at the old images of Christ and the saints," urge the Old Believers: "all of them wear their beards." And so cogent is the argument that the orthodox theologians are fain to hunt up the scanty list of beardless saints to be found in Byzantine iconography. Whatever the force of the arguments drawn from divinity, at bottom the opposition was only the simple folks' one way of seeing things—the same clinging to forms, the same compound of symbolism and realism. The living work of God is to them as sacred as the text of the divine word. Every word and letter of the sacred office must have its separate significance; and they cannot admit that the hair with which the Almighty has covered a man's face is without a meaning. It is to them the distinctive mark of the male countenance; to remove it is to change, and therefore to disfigure, the divine handiwork: it is, in short, hardly less than mutilation.[008]

The beard, like the single repetition of the Hallelujah and the cross with eight branches, has had its martyrs. No later than last year (1874), on the Gulf of Finland a peasant who had been drafted for the navy obstinately refused to be shaved, and rather than betray his religion underwent a sentence of several years for insubordination. Scruples of this sort have led the government to grant permission to wear the beard in the case of certain corps (for instance, the Cossacks of the Ural) which are mainly composed of Old Believers. Peter the Great used every means to overcome these popular prejudices, but the beard was too much for the reformer. Finding himself unable to shave all the recusants by force, he bethought him of laying a tax on the wearers of long beards, but in vain. He was similarly foiled in his attempt to lay a double tax on the schismatic upholders of the ancient ways. He forbade them [Pg 456]to live in the towns; he deprived them of civil rights; he forced them to wear a bit of red cloth on the shoulder as a distinctive badge; but these measures only marked them out as the bravest champions of national traditions, and increased the respect everywhere rendered them.

Such an attitude toward civilization leaves no room for mistake as to the social and political character of the schism. It is a popular protest against the irruption of foreign customs. It is a reaction against the reforms of Peter the Great, somewhat as Ultramontanism is a reaction against the spirit of the French Revolution. The Staroveres are the champions of ancient customs in the civil sphere as well as in the religious. The Old Believer is emphatically the old-fashioned Russian—the Slavophilist of the lower classes—and hence extreme to the point of absurdity. His revolt against authority has more resemblance to that of La Vendée than to that of the Jacobins. Like a conscript obstinately refusing to join his regiment, he holds back from all part and lot in the changes of modern Russia; and in this light the schism is the feature which above all others assimilates Russia to the East.

And just as the East has bound itself fast to externals, so the Raskolnik praises his fossilism to the skies, and would gladly run the risk of petrifying society in its inherited shape. With him, as with the child or the Oriental, wisdom and science belong to the infancy of civilization, and the maxims of antiquity leave nothing to be learnt. Under both aspects the Old Believer is reactionary, opposed to the very principle of progress—the hero of routine and a martyr to prejudice. His gaze turns naturally to the past, and if reform ever enters his mind, he dreams of a return to the good old times of yore. Even his struggle against authority is based on the old idea of sovereignty: his political motto, as well as that of most of the people, is, "No emperor, but a czar!" The czar was one day pointed out to a Raskolnik conscript. "That is no czar," he said: "he wears a moustache, a uniform and a sword, like all the rest of the officers. He is nothing but a general." These worshipers of the past, with their devotion to ceremonial, think of the czar only as a long-bearded man in a flowing robe, such as they see in the ancient images. The Old Believers are the exaggerated representatives of the spirit of stagnation which everywhere confronts the Russian government. Nothing gives a clearer conception of the obstacles still in the way of reforms which elsewhere would be matters of course (as, for instance, the substitution of the Gregorian for the Julian calendar) than the resistance which other measures have already encountered.

In principle the Raskol is conservative, not to say reactionary, but its attitude toward the Church and the State, and the habits engendered by two centuries of opposition and persecution, give it a revolutionary, or even an anarchical, character. A secret tie unites all the branches of public authority, and the rejection of one leads to the rejection of another. As has been said by an eminent historian of Russia, the refusal to submit to a single form of authority brings into activity a disposition to rid one's self of all social and moral ties. The Hussite revolt against Rome speedily results in the Taborite revolt against society: Luther calls the Anabaptists into being. The same phenomenon is repeated in Russia, in England and in Scotland. Once carried away by the spirit of revolt, an irresistible tendency sweeps the schism on in the direction of civil liberty; and both in theory and in practice some of these sects have reached the most unbridled license. Hence, by one of those contrasts which are so common in Russia, the Raskol is judged in two utterly different ways, each of which is partly correct. The reactionary movement in its inception had the appearance of an assertion of the rights of individual liberty and national life, as opposed to the autocratic government; and such it was, after a fashion—the fashion of refractory conscripts or of smugglers, not to say of brigands—the fashion, in short, in which all abuses and prejudices are defended. What it [Pg 457]claimed was liberty, indeed, but liberty as the commonalty understand it—liberty to retain its customs, its superstitions and its ignorance—liberty to go and come as it chose. But in all this there was no notion of political freedom. With all his hatred of foreign importations, the Old Believer is no enemy to reform in the sense of national tradition or of furthering the interests of the lower classes, the artisan and the peasant. Like all popular movements, the Raskol is essentially democratic, and in some of its sects socialistic and communistic.

Two things which have especially tended to give the Raskol a democratic—or even liberal—complexion are serfdom and the bureaucratic despotism of the country. It was no mere coincidence which caused the Raskol to break out about half a century after serfdom was established. Much of its popularity and life was due to the enslavement of the mass of the people. The slave was proud of having a different faith from his master; and slavery is always a propitious soil for the growth of sects. This nation of serfs dimly felt the Raskol to be an assertion of religious liberty and self-respect against master, Church and government; and these were symbolized by the beard and the peculiar sign of the cross. The Raskol offered to all the oppressed a moral, and often a material, refuge, an asylum for all enemies of the master and the law, and a shelter for the fugitive serf, for the deserter, for public debtors and outlaws of every description. Some sects (as the Wanderers, for example) are specially organized for such purposes. In these respects the Raskol was unconsciously one form of the opposition to serfdom and official despotism; and hence the Old Believers are most numerous among the most refractory elements of Russia—in the North among the free peasants (the old colonists of Novgorod), and in the South among the independent Cossacks of the steppes. Religious and political opposition have joined hands, and to this combination is due the strength of the great popular movements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, such as the Streltsy insurrections at the time of the revolt of Pougatchef, whose excesses curiously recall the wars of the Peasants and Anabaptists in the West before the abolition of serfdom. In the great Russian Jacquerie, and in all the seditions which held out the hope of emancipation, the first place was taken by the Old Believers and the Cossacks, most of whom held the same faith. These two forms of national resistance are naturally akin. They equally personify the character and the prejudices of the old Russian. Their main point is their character of protests, so that an Old Believer may be described as a Cossack in religion, transporting into that domain the instincts peculiar to the wild horsemen of the Don. But both Cossack and Starovere have found themselves forced to give way before the march of civilization, and the different branches into which the Raskol has split have reached very divergent conclusions both as to politics and religion.


Nothing is more logical than religious creeds—nothing more rigorously consequent in its deductions than the theological mind. Religious thought has an unimpeded course in the twilight of mystery where it takes its airy flight, and no material facts avail to check it or divert it from the chosen path. The innate logic of the Russian mind adds force to the kindred theological quality in its influence upon the Raskol, for the inhabitant of Greater Russia is distinguished for his logical consecutiveness and his acceptance of the extremest consequences of a position. This is partly the cause of the multiplicity and growth of the strange doctrines prevalent among them; and while this disposition frequently lands the schism in the most grotesque of absurdities, it gives a remarkable unity and regularity to even its apparent divergencies and variations. Irregularity and the play of chance have as little real place in this spiritual phenomenon as in one belonging to the region of physics; and a knowledge of the terminus a quo would have suggested its complications as well [Pg 458]as the point ultimately reached. One is now and then tempted to look upon the various sects as utterly chaotic, but it is not difficult to trace the general course of their natural evolution.

A less robust faith might easily have been cast down by the obstacle which confronted the schism at the outset. The revolt aimed at maintaining the ritual, yet the lack of priests to officiate necessitated its abandonment. The defenders of the old faith found themselves, at the first step, deprived of the means of practicing its rites. A single bishop, Paul of Kolomna, had held out for the ancient books at the time of Nikon's reform, but he had been imprisoned, and perhaps put to death: at all events, he died without consecrating a bishop, and the Raskol was consequently left without an episcopate or a priesthood. Now, Oriental orthodoxy is not simply doctrinal in its character, but, as M. A. Réville has remarked of Catholicism, "is, above all, a method of establishing communication between man and God by the medium of an organized priesthood, whose successive members transmit uninterruptedly the divine powers which they hold from Christ;" and the death of Paul of Kolomna snapped the chain uniting the Old Believers with Christ, for ever depriving the schism of the powers conferred by Christ on the apostles and essential to the continuance of the priesthood and the Church.

The Raskol, so to speak, was stillborn. Unless they retraced their steps, there were but two paths to take—either to admit priests consecrated by a Church they had condemned, or to dispense with the clergy, who alone could celebrate the rites in defence of which they had revolted. There was little to choose between the two self-contradictory courses, and each had its partisans. This first check split the schism into two groups, whose hostility has not been allayed by the lapse of two centuries. According to some, as Christianity cannot exist without a priesthood, its complicity with Nikon's heresy has not deprived the Russian Church of apostolic powers—of the cheirotonia, or right to consecrate bishops and priests by the laying on of hands; and as their ordination is valid, the schismatics have only to bring back priests of the official Church to the observance of the ancient ritual. To this it is answered that by abandoning the ancient books and anathematizing the ancient traditions the sect of Nikon has lost all claim to the apostolical succession, so that the established clergy constitute no longer a Church, but the synagogue of Satan. All communion with these emissaries of hell is a sin, and ordination by the apostate bishops a defilement. The Oriental patriarchs have shared the heresy of the Russian prelates by agreeing to their anathemas against the ancient rites, and orthodoxy has carried with it in its fall the episcopate, apostolical succession and the lawful priesthood.

Thus, in the first generation the Raskol fell into two sections—the Popovtsy, who adhere to the priests, and the Bezpopovtsy, who do not. To recruit their clergy the Popovtsy were fain to have recourse to deserters from the established Church, and were thus dependent upon it; though we shall see that of late they have succeeded in getting an independent episcopate along with a complete ecclesiastical hierarchy. By maintaining a priesthood, however scanty and ignorant, the Popovtsy preserve the sacraments and the orthodox Christian system; and, despite the inconsistency of admitting the priests of a Church that they condemn, they have paused at the first step of schism and maintain the original position. It is almost impossible, on the other hand, for the Bezpopovtsy to stop on the slope down which their logic inexorably drags them. Involved in the abandonment of the priesthood is that of orthodoxy, or at least of the orthodox ritual, and the sacrament of orders carries with it the sacraments which none but the priest can administer. Of the seven traditional channels of divine grace, baptism alone remains open: the other six are dried up for ever. Thus, the first step of the Bezpopovtsy brings them to the destruction of the first principle of Christian worship. The more rigid of them do not shrink from this most glaring [Pg 459]of contradictions. To save the entire ritual they have sacrificed its most essential parts. For the double Hallelujah and the sign of the cross with two fingers instead of three they have foregone the whole Christian life and the one visible link between man and God, which is to be found only in the sacraments. The abolition of the sacred ministry and divine service is their protest against the trifling changes introduced into their devotional customs by the established Church. In barring the entrance to Nikon's so-called innovations they have done away with the priesthood, and so with every dyke against sectarian whimsies or the very novelties against which they blindly contend.

In the melancholy upshot of the Bezpopovtsy movement there was nothing to satisfy the fondness for ceremonial and tradition to which the schism owed its birth; and it was hard to fill the gap left by the loss of priesthood and sacraments. The old orthodox law had become impossible to carry out, yet it had not been abrogated. Though perfectly united as to rejecting the priesthood, they accordingly fell into new fragments, marked now by hesitations and compromises, and now by grotesque fancies or by cruel doctrines. For the timid and for those who clung to public worship it was impossible to believe in Christian life and salvation without the divinely-appointed means; and in the perplexed effort to supply the loss of the sacraments their piety resorted to all manner of ingenious make-believes. Priestly absolution being out of the question, confession is sometimes made to the "elder" or to a woman, and the promise of pardon has to do duty for the direct absolution. As the Eucharist cannot be consecrated, famishing souls resort to types or memorials of the holy sacrament; and for this quasi communion rites have been devised which are sometimes pleasing, sometimes bloody and horrible. One of these is the distribution of raisins by a young girl; while one sect (which is, however, but indirectly connected with the Raskol) use the breast of a young maiden instead of the element of bread. To one of the Bezpopovtsy sects the name of "gapers" is given, because they are accustomed to keep their mouths open during the Maundy-Thursday service, that the angels, God's only remaining ministers, may give them drink from an invisible chalice, since, as they hold, Christ cannot have wholly deprived the faithful of the flesh and blood offered upon the cross.

Such are the expedients of the more gentle or enthusiastic to escape from the religious vacuum into which schism has precipitated them. Quite different is the course of the more strict and dauntless theologians; and the ascendency of logic over pious feeling carries with these the majority of the Bezpopovtsy. No consequence is too revolting for them, and no hesitating subterfuge worthy of a thought. The priesthood, they hold, is extinct, leaving only the sacrament of baptism, which the laity may administer. Make-believes are of no avail. The chain that linked Heaven with earth is snapped, and can be reunited only by miracle. Meanwhile, the faithful are like men shipwrecked on a desert island without a priest among them. Eucharist, penitence, chrism, and, more than all, marriage, are alike impossible. The priest alone can pronounce the nuptial benediction; and where there is no priest there can be no marriage. Such is the ultimate consequence of the schism—the rock on which the Bezpopovtsy split. With marriage the family goes, society with the family, and such teachings can never be in harmony with the feelings, with society or with morality. Marriage is their stumbling-block and the principal matter on which their discussions and divisions turn, giving rise to the wildest aberrations and strangest compromises. The more practical retain marriage as a social conventionality, while the more logical make celibacy universally binding, thereby fostering anything but asceticism. Among the Russian sectaries the familiar combination is repeated of sensuality and mysticism. Free-love has been both preached and practiced among them; and among the lower classes the grossest heresies of ancient [Pg 460]Gnosticism have mingled with the wildest and most morbid of modern social theories. Most of their theological writers, while avoiding such extremes, urge the most extraordinary maxims in connection with their forbiddance of marriage, such as that immorality, being but a passing weakness, is less criminal than marriage, which is interdicted by the faith.... To such a point as this have the conscientious champions of old ceremonial been brought. They have carried with them a few shreds of ancient ritual, and they have not only abandoned Christian and natural morality, but in their struggle with modern government and civilization deny the principle which upholds all society.

Even fanatics must stand affrighted before conclusions like these, and the Bezpopovtsy feel the need of some justification for their subversal of the cultus and the morality of Christianity. They find but one solution for the awful enigma presented by Christ's abandonment of the Church and mankind, by the extinction of appointed sacraments and means of grace, and by the impious rupture of the tie between man and God. The downfall of Church and priesthood and the triumph of falsehood and wrong were foretold by the prophets. This is the time predicted in Holy Writ, when the very elect shall be wellnigh seduced, and when God shall seem to give up His own into the hand of the Adversary. The priestless Church is the Church in the state of widowhood foretold by Daniel in the last days. Thus, the Raskol was brought by the new path of theology to that belief in the approaching end of the world and the reign of Antichrist to which we have already seen it led by its aversion to ecclesiastical and civil reforms. That the reign of Antichrist is begun is the fundamental doctrine of the Raskol, and particularly of the Bezpopovstchin. In the light of this new dogma all the contradictions of the latter are explained and justified. This is the reason for the extinction of the priesthood, of marriage and of the family. Wherefore—many ask—wherefore continue the race when the archangel's trump is about to proclaim the end of humanity?

The end of the world was announced to be nigh even before Peter the Great; and they who proclaimed it are not yet weary of awaiting it. Like Christians in the West in other periods, they are not undeceived by the delay of the destined time, and are at no loss to explain it. Many consider the reign of Antichrist to be a period or era which may last for centuries, as one of the three great epochs in religious history, and as having, like those of the old and the new dispensations, a law of its own which abrogates what went before. All of the Raskolniks, or even of the Bezpopovtsy, however, do not agree as to Antichrist; for while his reign is generally admitted, it seems to be very differently understood. Those who retain the priesthood and the more moderate of their opponents hold his reign to be spiritual and invisible, and government and established Church to be the unconscious or unwilling tools of Satan; while the extremists of the Bezpopovstchin maintain that Antichrist reigns materially and palpably. He it is, as we have seen, who occupies the throne of the czars since Peter the Great, and his Sanhedrim that usurps the name of the holy synod. Trivial as the difference is, theologically speaking, its political consequences are considerable; for the state may arrive at some understanding with sects that only regard it as blind and misled, while even a truce is out of the question with those which look upon it as the incarnate enemy of souls.

Very singular are the vagaries to which the ignorant peasants are naturally led by this belief. Since the world is in subjection to "Satan, the son of Beelzebub," all contact with it was defiling, and submission to its laws nothing short of a denial of the faith. To escape the hellish contagion the best means was isolation or rigid withdrawal into inaccessible retreats or desert places. In their spiritual confusion and terror some of the sectaries saw no refuge but death, and murder and suicide were systematically resorted to for the purpose of shortening the time of probation and hastening their [Pg 461]departure from the accursed world. With some fanatics, called "child-slayers" (dietoubütsy), it was held a duty to expedite the entrance to heaven of newborn children, and thus to save them infernal anguish. Others, called "stranglers" or "butchers" (duchelstchiki, tiukalstchiki), think they render a valuable service to their relatives and friends by anticipating a natural death, in hastening the end of those who are seriously ill. Taking with a savage literalness the text, "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. xi. 12), they hold that none can enter into the kingdom of heaven but those who die a violent death. One of the most numerous and powerful bodies in the first century of the Raskol, the Philipovtsy, or "burners," like the Indian fakeers, preached redemption by suicide, and salvation by the baptism of fire, holding that the flames alone could purify men from the defilements of a world which had fallen under the rule of Satan. In Siberia and the neighborhood of the Ural these sectaries have been known to burn themselves in hundreds on enormous piles built for the purpose, or by families in their hovels, to the sound of hymns and chants. Such acts have been known even during the present century.

One insanity begets another, and belief in the presence of Antichrist leads to belief in the approaching restoration of the earth, the second advent of Christ and the millennium, which has infected the more extreme sects of the Bezpopovstchin, thus connecting it with Gnostic sects of various origins. Russian literalism, like many early Christian heresies, interprets the prophets and the Apocalypse in a purely material sense. The mujik or artisan looks for the establishment of Christ's temporal kingdom, and anticipates the dominion promised to the saints. Such a belief opens the door to a trust in prophets, and to all the extravagances and rascalities that come in its train. In vain does the Russian statute-book condemn false prophets and lying miracles: from time to time the country is overrun by illuminati proclaiming the Second Advent, and occasionally giving themselves out as the expected Messiah. They are frequently accompanied by a woman, who plays the part of mystical mother or spouse, and to whom they give the title of the Mother of God or the Blessed Virgin. Sometimes it is only the simple folk who are themselves hunting for the Redeemer; and not long since appeared a body of Siberian sectaries, called "Christ-hunters," maintaining that the Saviour was about to appear, and scouring desert and forest to find him. Peasants have even been known to refuse payment of their taxes under pretext that Christ was come and had done away with them. The Messiah of the Russian sectaries is sometimes sought in the person of a simple peasant, and sometimes in a native or foreign prince. Some have long beheld the expected liberator in Napoleon, for their persuasion that the Russian state is the reign of Antichrist easily led to welcoming as a Saviour any one who seemed destined to destroy it; and in the great enemy of the empire, the great furtherer of a general abolition of serfdom, many recognized the conquering Messiah of the prophets. It is said that at their meetings an image of Napoleon is worshiped, and busts of him are certainly nowhere met with more commonly than in Russia. An equal veneration is paid to pictures representing the first emperor surrounded by his marshals and floating above the clouds in a kind of apotheosis, which is literally accepted by the matter-of-fact Russian. The story runs among his worshipers that Napoleon is not dead, but has escaped from St. Helena and taken shelter on the shores of Lake Baikal, whence he will one day come forth to overturn the throne of Satan and found the kingdom of justice and peace.

The main point of these millennial hopes was the abolition of forced labor and the obrok, the emancipation of the serfs, and the equitable distribution of land and other property. A ready reception was sure to await such a gospel, with its combination of promises of liberty and faint dreams of communism; and something of the kind is necessary to explain the easy success of so many [Pg 462]extravagant sects, lying prophets and feigned Messiahs. Dreams like these in the West incited the revolutions of the peasants in mediæval times and of the Anabaptists in the sixteenth century, but they must slowly vanish with the slavery which gave them birth. The age of freedom anticipated by the mujik, the kingdom of God of which he caught a glimpse in the promises of the prophets, is come at last: the Messiah and freer of the people has appeared, and his reign is begun. The emancipation of the serfs has given a blow to these millennial dreams, and consequently to the more advanced sects of the Raskol: its ruin will be completed by education and material improvement.

The sects whose general evolution we have sketched may appear to us ridiculous and childish. We are tempted to look with contempt upon a people capable of such extravagances; but such an estimate would be erroneous. Absurdity and extravagance have always found a ready welcome when presented under the garb of religion; and countries boasting of older and more widespread civilization are not behind Russia in this regard. The Raskol has its counterpart in the past and the contemporary sectarianism of England and of the United States. A strong likeness holds between the Puritans and the Old Believers; and both as to originality and religious eccentricities the Anglo-Saxon and the inhabitant of Greater Russia may be compared. The Russians delight in pointing out the resemblances between their country and the great republic of the New World; and this is not the least of them. The Americans have their prophets and prophetesses, just like the old Russian serfs, and no absurdity or immorality is too gross to find preachers and converts among them. How shall we account for so striking an analogy between the two most extensive empires of the two continents? To characteristics of race and an incomplete blending of different stocks, or to the nature of the soil, the extremes of heat and cold, and the strong contrasts of the seasons? to the vastness of their territories and the scanty diffusion of population and culture over areas so immense? or still again to the rapid and inharmonious growth of the two countries—to the lack of popular education in the one, and the low standard of the higher education in the other? Separately or combined, these causes fail completely to explain the curious phenomenon; and still they are the most striking points of resemblance between the two colossal powers. In some respects, the sectarian spirit presents itself in a different and almost opposite manner in the democratic republic and the despotic empire. In the United States the ranker growths of religious enthusiasm spring from an excess of individualism and enterprise—from the independent and pushing temper transported from politics and business into religion. In Russia, on the contrary, the popular mind has thrown off all restraint in the religious sphere, simply because this was long the only one in which it could disport itself unchecked. The religious boldness and extravagance which in the one country is the direct consequence of the state of society is in the other rather a reaction against it. Russia's advantage over America lies in the fact that there the excesses of fancy and zeal prevail in a more primitive, unsophisticated and childlike race. Some diseases are best passed through early in life, before the time of full development. It is no less true of some moral maladies: childhood suffers from them less than youth or maturity. Russia is still in that stage of civilization which is naturally subject to attacks of feverish and mystical religion, but one day it will emerge from it; and the precocious skepticism of a large portion of its educated classes shows plainly that no inexorable fate condemns the national character to credulity and superstition.

The Raskol is more than a morbid symptom or a sign of weakness. If it does little credit to the sense or cultivation of the people, it does much to its heart, its conscience and its will. Independence and individuality are often said to be lacking in it, but the Old Believers show that firmness and conception of duty which are as needful as [Pg 463]intelligence to a nation's strength. Beneath the dull, monotonous surface of political society these sects give us a glimpse of the hard rock which is the groundwork of this seemingly inert race: its originality and stern individuality are what are dear to it. One day Russia will display in other spheres the originality and patient, sturdy energy which these religious struggles have called forth. That a considerable portion of the people have revolted against the liturgic reform shows that it is not the stupid, sluggish herd Europe has so long imagined. On one ground at least its conscience has displayed sufficient independence, and told despotism that it is not all-powerful. And if mere ritual alterations have aroused such opposition, what would result from a change of religion—from the transition to Catholicism or Protestantism so often dreamed of and advised by Western theologians? So far from being always docile and void of will and determination, the Russian people, even in their religious vagaries, have displayed a singular power of organization and combination.


I first met Eleanor Vachy at a boarding-school in the city of R——, where we soon became intimate friends. Eleanor was the result of a system. When but a few months old, and an orphan, she had been left to the care of her aunt, Miss Willmanson, a reformer, a progressionist, advanced both in life and opinions, who had spared nothing to make her niece an example to her sex. No pugilist ever believed more fully in training than did Miss Willmanson: she looked upon institutions of learning as forcing-houses, where nipping, budding and improving the natural growth was the constant occupation, and where the various branches of knowledge were cultivated, like cabbages, at so much a head. When Eleanor became, so to speak, her property, she seized with avidity the opportunity of submitting her principles to the test of experiment—of demonstrating to an incredulous world the power of education, and the vigor of the female mind and body when formed by proper discipline. The child was fed in accordance with the most recent discoveries in chemistry: she was taught to read after the latest improvement in primers; she was provided with mathematical toys and gymnastic exercises. Did she take a walk in summer, her attention was directed to botany; if she picked up a stone to make it skip over a passing brook, passages from the Medals of Creation or Thoughts on a Pebble were quoted; and when the stone went skimming over the surface of the calm pool, the theory of the ricochet was explained and the wonders of natural philosophy were dilated upon. Every sentence she spoke was made the text of a lesson, and the names of sages and philosophers became as familiar to her as those of Jack the Giant-killer and Blue Beard are to ordinary children.

Especially were the stories of distinguished women repeated by Miss Willmanson in glowing language, pointed out as precedents, and dwelt upon as worthy of emulation. "If their genius was great enough," she would remark, "to extort a recognition in times when only masculine pens wrote history, what could not the same ability do now?—now, when, strengthened by waiting, encouraged by ungrudging praise, and sure of having chroniclers of their own sex who will do them justice, a new era is dawning. The history of the world needs to be reseen from a woman's point of view, and rewritten by a woman's hand. [Pg 464]Men have had the monopoly of making public opinion, and have distorted facts. What in a king they name policy, in a queen is called cruelty; what in a minister is diplomacy, in a favorite is deceit; what in a man is justice, in a woman is inhumanity; vigor is coarseness, generosity is weakness, sincerity becomes shallowness; and faults that are passed over lightly in the hero are sufficient to doom the heroine for all posterity."

The peculiar views of Eleanor's aunt did not prevent her from being an agreeable acquaintance. Although she believed in the intellectual capacity of woman, she did not look upon herself as a representative of the class: her admiration of her sex did not degenerate into self-laudation, and her enthusiasm was not tainted by egotism. Hers was not a strong-mindedness that showed itself in ungainly coiffures and tasteless attire. It was content with desiring and claiming for woman whatever is best, noblest and most lovely in mind and body. She would have given her life to further this end, but thought it mattered little if her name were forgotten in the bulletin that announced success to the cause.

Owing to her extreme reserve in talking of herself, it was very gradually that I gained this knowledge of Miss Willmanson's character; but many of her opinions were received at second hand from Eleanor, who admired her aunt greatly, and never tired of quoting her. It was she who told me that this talented lady was engaged upon a book the title of which was Footsteps of Women in All Ages. The aunt returned this admiration in no stinted measure, and her highest ambition seemed centred in her niece.

Eleanor was a tall, well-formed, unaffected girl, with a clear olive complexion; a slight rose-colored bloom on cheeks and lips; deep blue eyes, rather purple than blue, rather amethyst than purple, that looked every one candidly in the face; and hair reminding you of late twilight—a shade that, though dark, still bore traces of having once been light, even sunny.

As to her acquirements, however, what in the older lady was love of information, in the younger appeared to be what Pepys called a "curious curiosity." If she had been obliged to investigate a subject by constant labor, I doubt whether she would have stood the test. At school she was a parlor-boarder, attended outside lectures on the sciences, went to concerts and the opera, frequented museums, had small blank-books in which she took voluminous notes, and was constantly busy with some new scheme of improvement. In looking at her I often thought that could her aunt's dreams be realized, could her intellect ever approach the unusual symmetry and beauty of her face and form, it would indeed be an achievement. But was it likely that Nature, who is so grudging of her gifts, after having endowed her so highly physically would do as much for her mentally? "Aunt Will," as the girl called her, had none of these misgivings. This beautiful physique she believed to be the effect of her own foresight and care—of proper food and clothing, of training in the gymnasium, riding and walking. It was itself an earnest of the success of her plans, and made her confident for the future. One of the tenets of her faith was that Eleanor needed only to decide in what direction to exert herself, and that in any career success was certain. For this reason she gave her opportunities of every kind, that her choice might be unlimited.

In this, as in every other opinion, Eleanor agreed with her aunt, not through vanity, but through respect and habit. What she intended to become was the theme of long confidences between us when alone together, for the time which most other girls of her age devote to dreams of love and lovers was employed by her in speculations about her future profession. The artlessness of the girl in thus appropriating to herself the whole field of human wisdom would have been ludicrous had it not been so frank: it reminded you of a child reaching out its chubby hands to seize the moon.

In regard to love and marriage, Aunt Will was most resolute in speaking against them, and by precept and example she endeavored to influence her niece in the same direction. "It is a [Pg 465]state which mentally unfits a woman for anything"—a dictum which was accepted by Eleanor without argument. It was understood that her life was to be devoted to being great, not to being loved. But Aunt Will refused to lend her help or advice in deciding what the career should be, believing that the prophetic fire would kindle itself without human help, and fearing that the least hint of what she desired might fetter a waking genius, though the girl often plaintively remarked, "I wish aunt would settle it for me."

The entire faith with which these two women looked forward to the future roused no little curiosity on my part as to the realization of their hopes. A year after our acquaintance began the ladies left R—— to travel abroad. Eleanor assured me solemnly that she should not return until she had won renown, that vision of so many young hearts on leaving home. "The great trouble is to decide what to do;" and here she sighed. "But Aunt Will says our work shapes itself without our knowing. Some morning we wake and find it ready for our hands, with no more doubt on the subject. I am waking."

"Meanwhile enjoying yourself."

"Why not?" she answered, smiling: "it is what aunt wishes me to do."

At first I had frequent letters from my friend, but the intervals between them became longer, as is usual when a new life replaces the old. In those which I received there was no allusion to the career, and I felt that inquiries on the subject would be indiscreet. If she were succeeding, I should hear of it soon enough; and if not, why should I give her pain? After a separation of about eighteen months, and a silence of six, one morning, on being sent for to the parlor, what was my surprise to find myself face to face with Eleanor Vachy, and the girl, prettier than ever, pressing warm kisses on my cheeks!

We had been talking on every conceivable topic for perhaps an hour, as only friends can talk, when I chanced to remark, "You intended to make a much longer stay when you left: I hope nothing disagreeable has happened to bring you home."

"Nothing disagreeable," she replied, looking slightly embarrassed. "I would have written about it, but thought I would rather tell you. I hope it won't alter your opinion of me when you hear it: I hope you won't think less of me;" and the color mounted swiftly in her cheeks as she gave me one deprecating glance out of her purple eyes, and then as quickly hid them under their long lashes.

"I will try to be impartial," I answered gravely, seeing that she was not in a humor to be laughed at. "I suppose it is in reference to your career?"

"Yes it is," she replied, looking attentively at the point of her boot; "and I fear aunt is disappointed, although she says nothing; and it is very possible that you will be disappointed also."

"If you have chosen anything reasonable," I remarked encouragingly, "I am sure your aunt will be satisfied: she is so unprejudiced, and you know she always declared that she would not influence you."

"She trusted me too much," sighing. "What I have preferred, you—maybe she—that is, many people—would think no career at all."

"Ah, indeed! Poetry?" (I knew that Aunt Will had no great opinion of most of the versifiers.)

She interlocked her fingers and gave them a slight twist, looked still more intently at the toe of her boot, and dropped ruefully one little word, "No."

"It is not the stage, surely?" looking at her perfect beauty with a sudden start.

"No, no! it is not that. You cannot guess. I may as well tell you. I will begin at the beginning, and you will see that I could not help it: that is—For Mercy's sake don't look at me as if I were a criminal, or I won't say another word!"

"Nonsense, Eleanor! I am not looking at you as if you were a criminal. Go on and tell me."

"It is too late now," she said hastily: "I have been here so long already. I will see you to-morrow."

"If you dare to go without making a [Pg 466]full confession, I will never forgive you. Sit down: the sooner it is over the more composed you will feel. I have been so anxious to hear about it!"

"Well, if it must be. I know you will be disgusted. I have to begin when we left here."

"I have plenty of time to listen."

"You remember we started on the voyage by ourselves. At our first dinner on board aunt recognized an old friend, a Mrs. Kenderdine, who was also crossing, together with her son. That first dinner was our last for some time, for, though we tried to be as strong-minded as possible, in the end we were obliged to stay in our cabins. Having recovered sooner than aunt, one day I stumbled out as far as the companion-way, and was sitting there very disconsolately when Mr. Kenderdine, passing by, stopped to ask if he should assist me on deck. Of course I was only too glad to go. He had not been sick at all, and could walk about quite easily, which gave me a high opinion of his abilities. Later he brought me my dinner, with a glass of wine, of which he did not spill a drop, and by evening I found that with the aid of his arm I could promenade.

"That day was a sample of all until the voyage was over, for if I attempted to move alone I stumbled, rolled and behaved with a lack of dignity that was frightful; and yet, after getting a taste of fresh air, I could not bear to stay below. Somehow, it became understood that each morning Mr. Kenderdine might find me in the companion-way at a certain hour; and as aunt would not leave her state-room, and old Mrs. Kenderdine could not, we had nothing to do but to try and amuse each other; so we ended by becoming pretty well acquainted by the time we arrived at Queenstown.

"In England aunt was very busy. You used to think her a student here: I wish you could have seen her there. For six months she spent almost every hour of daylight in the library of the British Museum, where she had been introduced by a learned friend. Aunt Will has a wonderful admiration for Boadicea: she was also critically examining the history of Queen Henrietta and of Elizabeth. She thinks the latter did not do justice to her opportunities, and that her vanity was the mark of a feeble mind. You know aunt has no patience with vanity and—"

"But about yourself, Eleanor?"

"I am coming to that directly. Mrs. Kenderdine had gone abroad to get medical advice: as her health would permit her to take but little exercise, a morning drive, with receiving and paying visits (she is of an English family and well connected), was all she was capable of.

"It happened in this way that the only ones of our party fit for active duty were Fred—I mean Mr. Kenderdine—and myself. As we had formed the habit of amusing each other on the voyage, we still continued it. Aunt would join us when any historical site was to be visited; but there were many places that were not historical, but that were just as pleasant or as beautiful as if they had been, and to these we went together. We stayed in London until the season was over, and then started for Paris.

"You can form no idea how aunt reveled in the antiquities of Paris. If she went to the Musée Cluny in the morning, we might be sure we should see no more of her for that day at least. She absolutely took rooms at Versailles for two weeks that she might study up the locale of the Pompadour, whom she regards as a female Richelieu, and she also found a rich field of investigation in the lives of the French queens."

"And what were you doing all this time?"

"Oh! I had professors, French, Italian and German, for the languages, I visited the galleries, and aunt would read me her notes, so that I was gaining much information. You see, in a foreign country it is not the thing to sit in the house to study: you must go about as much as possible and use your eyes, which is an education in itself. That is what I was doing."

"About your career, I mean?"

"Don't be so impatient: I am about to tell you. We concluded to spend the winter in Rome, aunt and I: the Kenderdines [Pg 467]remained in Paris. Aunt preceded me to Brussels about two weeks to explore the libraries there, as we were to make the Rhine tour before going to Italy. I should have accompanied her, but we were expecting a remittance from home that had not arrived, and I was obliged to wait for it. The day before I left Paris I was regretting that I had not been to Montmorency, and Mr. Kenderdine, who overheard me, proposed that as I did not mind fatigue we should go. By starting early in the morning we could make our 'last day,' as he called it, a fête. I consented, and we arranged to take the early train to Enghien, to breakfast there, ride through Montmorency to the Château de la Chasse, where we could have dinner, and return in time for the Belgian train in the evening. The next morning I was ready, my riding-skirt in a satchel, and off we went. The day was perfect, the air cool and delicious. We took the cars at the Gare du Nord, and in less than an hour we arrived at Enghien, ordered breakfast at a charming little hotel that overlooks the lake, and had it brought to us on the balcony, from whence we could listen to the band playing, and look at the beautiful villas that border the water, watch the invalids taking their constitutionals, and see the brightly-painted boats bobbing over the small waves. While waiting for the horses, Fred made me go to the springs and taste the water, which is horrid: then we mounted and cantered leisurely on to Montmorency, a hilly, desolate-looking place, although so much lauded by the Parisians: I suppose the beautiful forest in the vicinity is its attraction. The road for the next five or six miles was shaded by trees, and most of it was a soft turf on which the horses' hoofs rebounded noiselessly, with views of rolling country at intervals. The château had been a hunting-lodge two or three hundred years ago, but nothing remains of it now but a couple of towers, to which a modern country inn has been added, where excellent dinners may be had, as I can testify. It is a great place for the picnics and pleasure-parties of the natives, but foreigners seldom visit it. After we had wandered about for several hours, enjoying ourselves in that silly French way, with nothing but light hearts, fresh air, green grass and blue sky for all incitement thereto, I, in consideration of my evening journey, recommended our return. We had the horses brought round, and then my career commenced."

"Why, how?"

"You know that road from the château? No you don't, but I will tell you of it. The woods lie on one side, and an ivy-covered wall separates it from sloping fields on the other—the prettiest place on earth." ("Artistic," thought I: "she has decided on landscape-painting;" but I did not interrupt.) "It was just there that Mr. Kenderdine came to my side: he had dismounted to open the gate, and was leading his horse. He came to my side, and, looking up at me, said half seriously, half smiling, 'You are very happy to-day, Miss Eleanor: what will you do when I am not with you to ride and walk and talk to?'

"'I suppose I shall find some one in Rome who rides, walks and talks as well. They say the Campagna is lovely for riding.'

"'And perhaps some one who waltzes as well.'

"'Certainly: that is no great accomplishment. Like playing a hurdy-gurdy, if you turn round often enough you cannot fail to make a successful performance.'

"'There is one thing you will not find, Eleanor;' and he laid his hand on my wrist: 'that is, some one who loves you as well.'

"'Mr. Kenderdine, please get on your horse, and don't talk nonsense.'

"'I suppose I have as good a right to talk nonsense as any one, and I believe the fancy for doing so comes to all of us once in our lifetime.'

"'I admit your right to talk, and claim mine to refuse to listen;' so saying, I gave my horse a cut. The animal started, but Fred's hand was still on my bridle-wrist, and with a motion he checked the animal so violently that it reared, afterward coming down on the sod with a thud that almost unseated me.

[Pg 468]"'I will talk, and you shall listen,' said Mr. Fred, looking dangerous.

"'So it appears,' I retorted, thoroughly provoked; 'but I hope you will oblige me by being as expeditious as possible, for I am very much afraid that I shall miss the train to-night.'

"He looked at me a moment as if to be sure he understood my meaning, then turned and sprang on his horse, at the same time remarking, 'You are right: I had better not detain you. I had forgotten your journey.'

"We cantered on in silence for about three miles. The flush of anger had slowly faded out of his face, when he commenced abruptly: 'Miss Vachy, I have no right to ask you what I intend asking, but I have always thought you had a kind heart, and perhaps you will answer my question. You may depend that the confidence you may place in me will be held sacred.' Then less quickly, 'Will you tell me, have you an understanding, or are you engaged, or do you care for any one else?'

"For a moment I thought of entering into an explanation—of telling him what my aunt expected of me, and what I intended doing—only I did not myself know what I intended doing; and it seemed absurd to begin such an account without being able to complete it. Besides, if he thought I cared for some one else, it would end the matter and save a world of argument; so I replied hesitatingly, 'I am sorry, Mr. Kenderdine, that I cannot answer your question, but—'

"'Enough: I understand.'

"Then our canter quickened into a gallop, and the gallop into a race. I am quite sure those horses never went at such a pace in their lives before. Fred seemed unconscious of the run we were making of it, unconscious of everything, urging his poor beast whenever it flagged, and fretting its mouth by alternately jerking and loosening the reins, until had it been anything but a livery hack it would have been frantic. Conversation was impossible, and I had nothing to sustain me during the ride but the satisfaction of feeling that I had done my duty."

"It don't seem to me that you are getting any nearer the end of your story."

"The darkest hour is that which precedes the dawn," said Eleanor, adding maliciously, "if you are tired I will tell you the rest to-morrow. Don't you see that I must bring you up to it gradually, so that the shock will not be too great?"

"But think of the suspense I am in."

"My dear, the first steps in any career are as important as the last; so curb your curiosity and listen. If you were telling it, you would not get on one bit faster."

"Perhaps not," I answered doubtfully: "however, continue."

"Thanks to our haste, we got to Paris early enough to allow me to rest and have supper. I had sent on my baggage by express, and had nothing to worry about Starting at seven, I should arrive next morning at Brussels. I can sleep famously in the cars, and I apprehended no difficulty. Fred, looking as black as a thundercloud, took me to the station, and was preposterous enough to ask me if I was not sorry I was going."

"And what did you say?"

"Say? Why, the truth—that I was glad; and then Mr. Thundercloud looked blacker than ever.

"I had several stations to pass before we reached Creil, where I was to change cars and take the express. I settled myself comfortably, so that I could look out of the window, and I whiled away the time by reviewing the whole of my acquaintance with Mr. Kenderdine. I was forced to admit that I had acted imprudently in not letting him know from the beginning what my life was to be, but I never thought it would matter to him. Then my conscience reproached me for the lie I had implied: I might have told him the truth, and spared him the mortification of believing that I preferred some one else. I knew, in thinking of it calmly, that it was not to avoid an argument that I had done it, but to make him feel as badly as possible, because I was angry at him for stopping my horse. It was mean in me, especially as that De Vezin was the person he would pitch on. You see, I had made a good deal of De Vezin while in Paris, but it was only to [Pg 469]improve my French accent—a fact which poor Fred could not know.

"The train whizzed on. The night grew dark: I could scarcely distinguish objects outside the blurred window, but I still remained attentive to the voice of the conductor as he called out the names of the successive stations until—until I heard no more: I had fallen asleep.

"I suppose I slept profoundly for about half an hour, when I was suddenly awakened by a jerk: the cars had stopped. I was not aware I had been sleeping, but I had an undefined sense that something was wrong. I hastily opened the window and heard the name Liancourt shouted. There was no such stopping-place between Paris and Creil, for I had studied up my route before starting. The truth flashed upon me, and impulsively I left my car, rushed to the conductor, and asked, 'What place is this?'


"'And where is Creil?'

"'We have passed it. Did you want to go there?'

"'Of course I did. Why did you not call it?'

"'We did call it,' said he indignantly: 'you must have been asleep.'

"'No such thing,' I replied, for at the moment I did not think it could be possible.

"There was but little time for reflection. Should I go on to the next large town, or should I stay? If I went on, I should get to my destination in the middle of the night, and, knowing nothing of the place, might have great difficulty in finding lodgings. If I stayed, I might get a train back or a carriage, or even find here a hotel of some kind where they would accommodate me until morning. I decided to remain, and off went the cars.

"One of the ticket-agents came forward from the office—as I supposed to offer his services: there were but few people about, but all understood my situation. As I said, the man came forward and bowed: 'Your fare, if you please.'

"I handed him my ticket: he stood before me and repeated, 'Your fare, if you please.'

"'I have given you my ticket,' said I, looking at him inquiringly.

"'This one is not for Liancourt: it is for Creil.'

"'I was going to Creil, only the train brought me past.'

"'Exactly, and you will please pay for the extra distance,' said he politely.

"It was too much. I had the misfortune of being carried out of my way, and this exasperating clerk was coolly asking me to pay the company a premium for the result of the conductor's carelessness. It was one of those situations in which words fail to express the extent of your indignation. The fellow's audacity verged on the sublime. He stood there with the calmness of a hero. And what did I do? Why, I paid him. But I tell you truly that I have hated that whole railroad company with the blackest hatred ever since. That was not all. As soon as he received the provoking money—I wish it had been red hot—he turned on his heel and walked into his office.

"But it was not the time to indulge in resentment: I must act promptly. The people there when I arrived were fast dispersing. I addressed myself to a half-grown boy who was standing near me: 'When does the next train go to Paris?' I thought I had better return and start afresh in the morning.

"'The last has gone for to-night,' answered the lad.

"'Are you quite sure?'

"He gave his head a decisive jerk.

"'How far is this place from Creil?'

"'About five miles.'

"'Can I get a carriage to take me there?'

"'No.' This time he looked for corroboration to the group who had gathered round us, all of whom with one accord wagged their heads in the negative.

"'Is there a hotel here?'


"'Isn't it a town?'

"'No,' much intensified.

"I knew that there are many stations in France consisting of a single building located in the midst of fields: these places take their names from the nearest [Pg 470]town (which may be several miles distant), and are marked on the maps by a black spot like a hyphen: many of them are served by an omnibus. I found, on further questioning, that this was one of the aforesaid black spots, minus the omnibus.

"'What is the nearest town?' I continued.

"'Liancourt is a little more than a mile off, but it is a village.'

"'Is there an inn there?'

"'I believe there is.'

"By this time most of my audience had satisfied their curiosity and departed, leaving only the boy, and an old man who attracted my attention. He held a lantern which illuminated a kindly, weatherbeaten face, looking like that of an old sailor. I discovered later that he had come from Normandy, and like most Normans had spent half his life on the waves. He seemed interested in my hapless plight: perhaps he would assist me.

"'I want to go back to Creil' (I knew I should find a hotel there): 'won't you come with me and show me the way with your lantern?'

"'Can't, mademoiselle: can't leave here.' He gave an indicative jerk of his head and thumb in a certain direction toward the railroad.

"'Why not?'

"'I am the night-watchman, and should lose my place if I left.'

"Then please point out the road: I shall have to return alone.'

"'Can't, mademoiselle: it is too dark. You would get lost.'

"I thought I could not get much more lost than I was at that moment, but did not say so. Just then a bright idea struck me: 'I will walk back on the railroad: I cannot fail to find my way.'

"The old man looked aghast at the proposition, and pointed to the long line of high thick hedge that bordered it on each side.

"'How could you leave the track if you did get to Creil? They are locked up there for the night. Besides, you would be crushed by passing trains, and you would be fined too, for it is against the law. Now,' he went on in that patronizing manner which, from its naïveté is so charming in the French peasant—'now, mademoiselle does not wish to die to-night, does she, and be also fined?'

"'No,' I replied dolefully, seeing my chances of shelter diminishing, 'but I shall certainly die if you will not help me to find a hotel.'

"'Wait,' he whispered—'wait a little until all the world is gone. It won't be five minutes until every one has departed and every light is out in the station; then—'

"I could not see how this was to improve my condition, but, having no choice, I waited patiently while he went and busied himself about his work. Presently he returned. Everything was silent, and pointing mysteriously to the waiting-room in the building, he said in a low voice, 'There is where you can stay till morning. They would not allow it if they knew, but no one will be the wiser. You can leave as soon as it is light, and to-night sleep on one of the sofas. That's where I sit at night, and I will give it up to you.'

"The idea was repugnant to me. I could not consent; it was too frightful; it was impossible. I hastened to say, 'It will not do—I cannot stay here: you must take me back. Do take me to Creil.'

"'Can't do it.'

"'Well, take me to the next town: there is an inn, and it is not far.'

"He wavered, and seeing my distress his good-nature conquered. 'I will go with you,' he answered, slowly shaking his head as if admonishing himself for being such a fool; 'but if they should find it out—'

"You may think it was unkind in me to let him run the risk of losing his place, but what was I to do? I could not submit to stay at the station like a vagabond, and I could not find my way alone. So, without allowing him time to change his mind, I set out. The road was bad and the night dark; the lantern threw a circle of light around us, but all beyond was impenetrable; still, the hope of shelter at the end made the walk agreeable to [Pg 471]me. We stumbled along in silence, and by and by heard the barking of dogs that always heralds a night approach to a village. The first house that greeted my eyes had the welcome signboard swinging before it, and above its lintel a bush. It was a tiny place, but it was a refuge, and I felt quite cheerful as I requested the old tar to knock.

"He did so, and the sound echoed and re-echoed, but there was no response.

"'Again,' I said, and 'again,' and 'again,' with no better result. It was anything but encouraging.

"'They cannot hear, they are asleep: take up a stone and beat the door. You must awaken them.'

"He obediently picked up a stone, and there followed a noise like thunder. I should not have been surprised to see the wee house tilt over and lie down on its side under the force of the blows. Now a gruff voice called out, 'What do you want?'


"'We have no room for any one: go away.'

"'Tell him I must stay,' And with the help of my prompting the old fellow put my case in the most persuasive light possible, but, although we talked and knocked with perseverance, the owner of the voice neither appeared, nor would he vouchsafe us another answer. One might have thought the house had been suddenly enchanted.

"'It is of no use—of no use whatever: they will not open,' finally said my exhausted companion.

"'Is there no other inn here?'

"'No: you will have to return.'

"'Then you must take me to Creil.'

"'That I can't do. I have been away too long already: there is a freight-train expected, and I must see that the track is clear. We must go back;' and he turned resolutely and led the way.

"Just as we left the village a gay party of peasant-girls passed us coming from a ball, laughing and chatting merrily with their beaus. I had an insane idea of accosting them, appealing to their pity, and asking them to keep me for the night, but fear lest they should refuse restrained me: I was too dejected to risk a second repulse. I have been able to realize the poetical things they tell us of the sensations of outcasts, of adventurers; and homeless wanderers ever since. The sight of this merry party made me feel more terribly alone; and the beaus—well, I confess I did wonder what Fred was doing at that moment. Then I thought of the horror of my aunt could she know where I was, and what she would think of the 'footsteps' her own niece was making just then, could she see her.

"When we arrived at the station my guide preceded me to the waiting-room, and I, completely worn out, meekly followed him.

"'This is much better than sleeping in the fields,' he remarked cheerily as we entered: 'shall I make you a fire?'

"'No, thank you, but let me go into the other room.' My reason for this was that its sofas and chairs had some pretensions to comfort, being 'first class.' He went to open the connecting door. It was locked.

"'This is the only room that is open: I am sorry. Wait a moment: I will bring something to make a pillow, and you can sleep like a top.' He went out, and returned with an old coat, which he folded for me, and which, after covering it with my handkerchief, made a tolerable resting-place for my head. My bed was a hard bench.

"'Now,' said my protector in a tone of much satisfaction—'now, you will be well. Voilà un bon gîte! Both these other doors are fastened, and this one you can lock after me. Very early I will come and take you part of the way back, and by daylight you can easily find the rest yourself. Bonne nuit, mademoiselle: dormez bien.' He went to the door, and taking the key from the outside put it inside. It would not turn. The lock had been made to work with two keys, and the other was absent.

"'I will tell you what I will do,' said my friend, not in the least discomfited: 'I will lock the door and take the key with me. I must go up the road about two miles on my beat, but you can feel [Pg 472]quite safe: no one can get in while I am gone. There is another watchman on the road: he might come while I am away, and—and raise a row. It is best to lock you up.' He nodded his head with great complacency at his good management, and prepared to leave me. I could suggest nothing better. I was at the end of my resources, and had to accept my fate. It would be interesting to know what the Pompadour or Queen Elizabeth would have done under the circumstances, wouldn't it?

"It was with no pleasant feeling that I saw the door shut, heard the key turned, then withdrawn: the lantern glimmered for a moment through the window, and I was left in the darkness a prisoner. Thoroughly a prisoner, for none of the three doors had keys on my side, and the windows, with their tiny panes of ground glass, were high above the floor. Then, too, the old man had insisted on speaking in a whisper, and walked about on tiptoe. Who were those persons he evidently feared to waken? Persons near by, of course. Probably they carried the missing keys and could enter at any moment. And the other watchman? What if he should come, and, this being the room allotted to himself and companion, refuse to be barred out? Those other unknowns would be aroused by his knocking, and rush in to seek an explanation. If I were found there, should I be taken before the police as a vagabond? Or imagine a fire—a fire and no one knowing that I am here! A fire and no means of escape! My friends losing all trace of me, unable to ascertain how I came by my death! And such a horrible death! Four hours yet till dawn! What might not happen in four hours? The man himself might only have gone to seek an accomplice to murder me. He might have known that the key would not turn on the inside. But at last, in spite of myself, fatigue conquered fear and I slept.

"I cannot say how long I had been unconscious when I was awakened by hearing a key turning in the lock: the door cautiously opened, and a man entered and came toward the bench where I was lying. My drowsiness calmed me. I wondered quite placidly whether it was to be robbery or murder. What a paragraph it would make in the Moniteur next day! I would cheerfully give him my watch and purse if they would content him. I might call out and rouse the house, but most likely Brunhilda in my situation would have held a parley. A good precedent. I sat up to show that I was awake, and in doing so recognized my old man. Though nothing could look more threatening as he stealthily advanced, shading his light, taking pains to make no noise, I could not entirely mistrust the weatherbeaten face with its anxious, benevolent eyes that met mine.

"'Is it time to go?' I asked.

"'Not yet, but soon. I have just returned, and came in to know if you would have a fire: it is cold outside.'

"'No, never mind: I am doing well enough. I think I will take another nap.'

"'Very well: I shall be near for the rest of the night, so you need not be afraid.' And he left, carefully locking me in again.

"When he came for me the dawn was beginning to break; the morning star was shining in the sky; the earliest birds were twittering, and cocks answered each other from distance to distance; but not a human being was to be seen. We crossed ploughed fields and stubble to find the road, and I felt the truth of my guide's augury of the night before. Had I attempted to go alone I should have become bewildered, and ended by sleeping in the fields. It did strike me that if the man wished to rob me, now would be his chance, and at first I intentionally kept a little behind; but his innocent garrulity was such as to allay all suspicions, and we jogged on very amicably until, coming to two roads, he pointed out that which leads to Creil, and bade me good-bye.

"Had I had the giving of a medal of the Legion of Honor, I should have decorated him on the spot. I believe it repaid me for my annoyance to have found such ample goodness, such chivalry, such [Pg 473]kindness, growing as it were by the wayside. It was as if the world had rolled back into the days of knight-errantry, when to rescue and protect distressed damsels ranked next to religious worship. Sure am I if my weatherbeaten old man had lived at that time, none would have been more renowned for gentle deeds: in this prosaic age he is but a watchman on a railroad. I was about to pour out my gratitude, when I remembered we were in the nineteenth century, and looking into his face, I fancied that something more substantial would be better. I drew out my purse. He was frankly delighted with what I gave him, saying only that it was too much, and we separated mutually pleased.

"I sauntered on, lingering by the way to avoid waiting at Creil; consequently, I was just able to procure my ticket and a paper of brioches at the buffet when the English train came in. As I stood at the door, knowing that as soon as it moved off the Belgian train was due, whom should I see get out but Fred! I thought he would re-enter in a moment, and placed myself so that he could not see me. I was mistaken. The train started, and mine puffed up: there he was still. In the crowd I hoped I should not be discovered, but as I stepped from the door his eyes met mine, and he rushed up to me with the exclamation, 'In the name of Heaven, how did you get here? Was there an accident? Are you hurt? What is the matter?'

"It was singular how his voice unnerved me: I could not say a word. The crowd carried us with them, and he helped me into a car, sitting by me and recommencing his questions. Then I stammered, 'You will be taken on if you do not get out: there is nothing wrong.'

"For answer he shut the door of the compartment, and said, 'I am going with you. Now tell me how you come to be here?'

"I do not know why I should have given way when all danger was over—I believe there is no parallel case in the life of any celebrated woman—but I suppose I was tired out. My anxiety and fright, a night spent on a hard board, the surprise of meeting Mr. Kenderdine,—whatever it was, I leaned back in the corner of the seat, took out my handkerchief, and cried harder than I had ever done in my life before. He was greatly alarmed, but, like a sensible man, waited until I became more composed, and when I was able to tell him, instead of blaming me or thinking I was stupid, he censured himself for not accompanying me.

"'I did mean to ask your permission to do so, Miss Eleanor,' he said slightly embarrassed, 'and I was prig enough to think you would allow it, but when you told me of your engagement I did not dare. After you left I had a dread that something might happen, and I could not rest satisfied until I had made up my mind to come on and see that you had arrived safely. I thought you would forgive me, as it is for the last time, and De Vezin need not be jealous, for he will have you for ever, while I—' Fred can be wonderfully pathetic.

"Then I made up my mind to undeceive him, as was my duty, you know. I told him very gently that he was under a false impression. I was not engaged: my aunt had educated me for a purpose, and we both had quite determined that I should never marry, but instead do something great in the world, though I had not yet decided what. I explained it to him fully, so that there should be no more mistakes about it. When I ended I did not venture to look at him for a long time, fearing to see him grieved at this irrevocable barrier; but when I did, what was my surprise to see his face beaming with joy! He began impetuously, 'If you had told me I was to be crowned at Brussels, it would not be better news. I was sure it was De Vezin who separated us. Now I can hope.'

"'You must not talk in that way if you do not want our friendship to cease: you offend me deeply. Can't you see that if you persist in this idea of yours, our pleasant acquaintance must end?' It was so frivolous in Fred, and I spoke very decidedly.

"'Not at all, Eleanor: it would only begin. Why should not our whole life be like this past year?'

[Pg 474]"'You know it can't,' said I. 'Haven't I told you the reason?'

"'It will be no reason when De Vezin asks you,' said he suspiciously.

"'De Vezin is nothing to me.'

"'You carry a gage d'amour from him on your watch-chain at this very minute.'

"Now, wasn't that talk silly? De Vezin had brought me a two-centime piece one day because I said I had never seen one. and I put a hole in it and hung it to my chain. Fred to call that a gage d'amour!

"'Nonsense!' said I.

"'De Vezin thought the same when he saw it there. I took him for a fool, but I see he was right.'

"'Well, now you will see you were both fools,' said I angrily, and I twisted off the coin and threw it from the window.

"'Is only that preposterous notion in the way?' he asked, looking happy again and taking a seat by me.

"I told you how I cried on first entering the cars, and now—would you believe it?—I got terribly embarrassed. It seemed as if everything I did or said made matters worse. I was scarcely able to stammer, 'My aunt—'

"'I will speak to her. Let me put this on your finger until I can replace it by another:' and he slipped off his seal and leaned forward with an entreating look.

"I shook my head.

"'I won't ask you to promise anything: only wear it that I may not be forgotten in Rome.'

"'No, no, I cannot!' I exclaimed, clasping my hands. I suppose the action and tone were very exaggerated, for Mr. Kenderdine drew back, saying, 'I shall not force you to take it;' and then went to the other window, took a newspaper out of his pocket and pretended to read it, while I was angry and sorry and miserable, though why I should feel so much like crying at what had only amused me the day before I cannot understand. I suppose none of those wonderful ladies would have acted so, would they?

"But you are tired long ago, and you can easily imagine what comes after. See!" and she turned a ring on her finger until I could catch the shimmer of its stone. "That is how it ended; and though I did not accept it until the next spring in Rome, I shall always blame that night for the whole affair. When I asked Fred why he took the trouble to follow me after the double snubbing I had given him, he said 'I was worth it.' But since we are engaged he teases me shamefully—calls me doctor, hopes I intend to support him in comfort and ease, and says that it always was his ambition to be the husband of a strong-minded woman, and broadly hints about my experience in traveling being so useful to him. And aunt? When I first told her she looked so shocked and disappointed that I threw myself in her arms, saying I would not distress her for the world; that I would do anything she desired; that if she wished she might send Fred off, for I loved her best on earth. But after some minutes of deep thought she looked at me quizzically and replied, 'You know, dear, I always said you must choose your career for yourself.' Then seeing that I seemed hurt and ashamed, she kissed me and whispered, 'Love makes us selfish: my affection for you has grown stronger than my ambition. If you are happy, my Eleanor, I can wait patiently for the advancement of the rest of my sex.'"

Then Eleanor rose, and drawing her shawl round her preparatory to going, said shyly, "And what I came to tell you is, that the wedding will take place at Christmas."


[Pg 475]


We are looking over sundry trunks and boxes, the careful and the careless gatherings of three generations. There are law-papers in dusty files; familiar gossipy letters from brothers and sisters and college chums; dignified letters from reverend judges and law-makers; letters bursting with scandalized Federalisms, and burning or melting with long-forgotten joys and sorrows. We have read some thousands of these papers, and begin to be very uncertain about the times we are living in. What indeed is this year of our Lord? We have a dim recollection that we have been wished a happy New Year in 1875, yet we are living and thinking with the boys and girls of 1776, who have grown to be the men and women of Jefferson's time.

To make things more misty to our comprehension, we are sitting by a dormer window in a high, "hip-roofed" garret of a mansion built just before the Revolution, and the air is redolent of ancient memories. The very cobweb that swung across the window just now has a venerable appearance, entirely inconsistent with the fact that the housemaid's broom was supposed to have whisked across these beams but yesterday. But then the housemaids of to-day, as everybody knows, are, as a source of perplexity and vexation of spirit, always to be relied upon, but never to be relied upon for anything else. And with the thought we sigh for the "good old days" and the "good old servants" of our grandmothers.

Happy grandmothers! so blessed in their simple, quiet lives, unvexed by ever-changing fashions and domestics! What did they know of trouble whose best silk gowns remained in fashion from year to year, and whose cooks never treated them to an empty breakfast-table, and a cool "I thought I'd be a-lavin' this marnin', mum"? Happy grandmothers!

Thus thinking, we pick up a little rough paper-book with marbled covers from the corner of the old hair trunk where it was long ago thrown by some careless hand. The little tumbled book proves to be a diary. Not a record of a soul's strivings and pantings after a higher life, or a curiously minute inquiry into the possible reasons which induced the Almighty to allow Satan to afflict Job, but a simple daily note-book, the memoranda of a housekeeper. The old letters had been to us what the newspapers of to-day will be to the great-grandchildren of the present generation. The diary carried us back into the immediate home-life of seventy years ago.

The diarist had been a fair and stately dame in her day, and it is easy to remove her from the frame where her portrait hangs on the walls of the south parlor, and fancy her seated in the same room before the crackling fire jotting down the memoranda of the day. She is a pretty sight, we think, sitting in her straight-backed mahogany arm-chair, with her feet on the polished brass fender and her book resting on the little stand, which also holds the two tall silver candlesticks with their tall tallow candles, for wax candles are saved for gala-nights, when diaries are not in requisition. She must have been nearly forty years old when she wrote in this little book, but we see her as her portrait shows her, very young-looking in spite of her stateliness, enhanced though it is by the high turban of embroidered muslin edged with soft lace falling over the clusters of fair curls on her temples, and by the black satin gown, short-waisted and scanty, relieved only by delicate lace frills, which shade the beautiful throat and the strong, white, shapely hands. The shadow on her face as she gazes into the fire is not marvelous, for it is winter in her quiet Connecticut home; the post comes but twice a week; her husband is representing his State in Washington, and her only child is studying in distant Yale. [Pg 476]Perhaps, though, the shadow is not that of pure loneliness. Is there not some perplexity in it? And something also of vexation? Yes, and it is the very vexation of spirit which—in the face of Solomon's venerable testimony to the contrary—we had fancied to be peculiar to our own evil days. Almost the first entry in this quaint little diary is to the effect that "Jim was sulky to-night and gave short answers." A little farther on we find that "Yesterday Jim went away without leave, and stayed all night;" which delinquency, being accompanied by a suspicion of drunkenness, caused the anxious dame to "send for General T—— to come and give Jim a lecture." Lecturing, however, was not then so popular as now, and Jim appears to have profited little by the veteran general's discourse, for on the very next night he repeats his offence. We have reason also to fear that Jim's honesty was not above suspicion, for we read that Betsey, an American woman who acted as assistant housekeeper and companion, "found in Jim's possession a red morocco pocket-book which I had given her, but"—alas for Betsey!—"with the contents all gone."

Other entries to the effect that madam one day lost her key to the wine-cellar, and the next day discovered the bibulous Jim in the said cellar "sucking brandy through a straw inserted in the bunghole of the cask," and that, "furthermore, Jim had confessed to having stolen and sold a coffee-basin for rum," do not tend to raise in our estimation this pattern of an ancient darkey. This time it appears that madam did not need to call in the aid of General T——, for she admits that she herself "lectured Jim severely;" sarcastically adding, "he professed penitence, but that did not hinder him from stealing another basin to-day."

But the refractory Jim, we think, must have been the exception which proved the rule that all servants prior to the late Celtic invasion were models of deportment. Accordingly, we are not surprised to find that Betsey was a handmaiden held in high estimation, and that "old Jack" was a servant whose shortcomings were offset by his general good conduct and affectionate heart. But we find also that there was a certain Sally, who could be tolerated only because of her great culinary skill; and an uncertain Silvy, who appears to have been in mind, if not in fact, the twin-sister of Jim, with a spice of Topsy thrown in.

The trouble in those days was not the prospect of suddenly losing cook or nursemaid, but that there was no getting rid of either. The fact of slavery was, under the act of 1793, slowly fading away from Connecticut, but all its habits remained in full force. "I wish I could send Jim and Silvy away," writes madam, "but the poor rascals have no place to go to."

Silvy was a tricksome spright that delighted in breaking bottles of the "best Madeira wine and spilling the contents over the new English carpet" when the mistress had invited the parson's and the doctor's families to dinner. This, though of course it was "not to be endured," might have been accidental, and so was very "tolerable" in comparison with Silvy's next exploits of poisoning the beloved house-dog and throwing by the roadside the bottle of wine—possibly emptied first—the jar of jelly and the fresh quarter of lamb which had been sent to a poor and sick old woman. These two offences, occurring on the same day, we are sorry to confess, incited the stately, white-handed dame to do something more decisive than to "deliver a lecture" to Silvy. It is demurely recorded that "for these two misdeeds I whipped Silvy." What effect the whipping had upon that somewhat too frolicsome damsel we are not informed, but madam admits that it made herself ill, and adds that "if Silvy does not reform it is impossible to see what can be done for her, for she will not listen to remonstrance. Betsey is not strong enough to punish so strapping a wench, and it does not seem right that a man should be set to whip any woman or girl, even a wench, else Jack could do it."

However, Jack's own patience having been tried by the refractory Silvy, he seems to have taken the matter into his [Pg 477]own hands, for his mistress tells us how she was scandalized, on her return from church, by "finding Jack whipping Silvy," while that young lady was "screaming vehemently, so that all the people passing by could hear her." As Jack had discovered Silvy engaged in the amiable diversion of breaking the legs of the young calves by throwing stones at them, one can have a little charity for his summary action, although, as madam gravely remarks, "he might at least have waited until Monday."

The calves, by the way, had an unlucky winter of it, and were especially shaky about the legs. We find that a few weeks later "Jack having neglected to repair the barn floor, as he had been directed, a plank had given way and three of the calves' legs had been broken by the fall." We have felt a deep interest in the fate of these calves, but with all our anxiety have failed to discover whether three calves had all their legs broken, or only three legs in all had been sacrificed to Jack's culpable neglect.

By this time we begin to think that madam would have been just as well off if she had not kept so many servants, and to wonder what they could have had to do. Perhaps it was the idle man's playmate that made the trouble. But a little farther reading in the old diary dissipates this illusion. If anybody thinks that our grandmothers must have been cursed with ennui because they did not attend three parties a night three times a week, with operas and theatres to fill in the off nights, they are mightily mistaken.

Of sociability there could have been no lack in this rural neighborhood, for besides a ball or two madam records numbers of tea-drinkings and debating clubs, and meetings of the Clio, a literary club, at which assisted at least two future judges of the supreme courts of the States of their adoption, and several other men and women whose names would attract attention even in our clattering days. Visiting, too, of the old-fashioned spend-the-day sort had not gone out of date—was indeed so common that madam one evening enters in her journal—whether in sorrow or in thankfulness there is nothing to tell us, but at least as a notable fact—that she had "had no company to-day."

But it was not company that occupied all the hours of so busy a dame as our diarist. Though she had not to remodel her dresses in hot chase after the last novelty of the fashion-weekly, she had to superintend the manufacture of the stuff of which her maids' gowns and her own morning-gowns were made, to say nothing of bed-and table-linen, etc. Bridget in our day seems to think that to do a family washing is a labor of Hercules. Yet seventy years ago before a towel could be washed the soap wherewith to cleanse it must be made at home; and this not by the aid of condensed lye or potash, but with lye drawn by a tedious process of filtering water through barrels or leach-tubs of hard-wood ashes. The "setting" of these tubs was one of the first labors of the spring, and to see that Silvy or Jim poured on the water at regular intervals, and did not continue pouring after the lye had become "too weak to bear up an egg," was a part of Betsey's daily duty for some weeks. Then came the soap-boiling in great iron kettles over the fire in the wide fireplace. Apparently, this was not always a certain operation. Science had not yet put her meddling but useful finger into the soap-pot, for madam sadly records that on the twenty-first of May she had superintended the soap-boiling, but had not been blessed with "good luck;" and on the third of June we find the suggestive entry, "Finished the soap-boiling to-day." Eleven days—for we must of course count out the two Sundays—eleven days of greasy, odorous soap-boiling! We think that if we had been in madam's slippers we should have allowed Sally, Silvy and the rest to try the virtues of the unaided waters of heaven upon the family washing, and when this ceased to be efficacious should have let the clothes be purified by fire. But upon second thoughts, no: it was too much trouble to make those clothes.

We are not yet through with the preparations for the washing. The ancient housewife could not do without starch [Pg 478]for her "ruffs and cuffs and fardingales," and for her lord's elaborately plaited ruffles. Yet she could not buy a box of "Duryea's best refined." The starch, like the soap, must be made at home. "On this day," writes our diarist, "had a bushel of wheat put in soak for starch;" and in another place we find the details of the starch-making process. The wheat was put into a tub and covered with water. As the chaff rose to the top it was skimmed off. Each day the water was carefully turned off, without disturbing the wheat, and fresh water was added, until after several days there was nothing left but a hard and perfectly white mass in the bottom of the tub. This mass was spread upon pewter platters and dried in the sun.

Another sore trouble was the breadmaking. The great wheat-fields of the West were not then opened, and we find that the wheat was frequently "smutty;" hence, that "the barrel was bad," which must sorely have tried the soul of the good housewife. Woe be to Silvy if that damsel did not carry herself gingerly on the baking-day when the long, flat shovel removed from the cavernous brick oven only heavy and sticky lumps of baked dough, in place of the light white loaves which the painstaking housewife had a right to expect!

In the absence of husband and son the care of a large farm fell upon our madam's shoulders, and the details of cost and income are dotted through the little journal. We can imagine the lady, gracious in her stateliness, marshaling old General T—— and Colonel C——, two veterans of the Revolution, out into her barnyard to get their opinion as to the value of her fat cattle, and the concealed disapproval with which she received their judgment that forty-five dollars was a fair price for the pair, "when," as she quietly remarks, "I considered that fifty dollars was little enough for so fine a pair of fat cattle; and in fact I got my own price for them the next day."

Fifty dollars was a much larger sum then than now. Imagine how many things could be bought for fifty dollars, when butter brought but ten, veal three or four, beef six or seven cents respectively per pound, and a pair of fat young chickens brought but twenty-five cents! There is one article upon whose accession of price we can dwell with pleasure. Madam records discontentedly that it "took two men all day to kill four hogs, notwithstanding that she had spent fifty cents for a half gallon of rum for them to drink." Fancy the sort of liquor that could now be bought for a dollar the gallon, and the sort of men that could drink two quarts thereof and live!

It is heretical, of course, to hint a syllable against the open wood-fire which crackled and flickered so beautifully while our madam wrote about her cattle and pigs and Jim and Silvy, but in truth we cannot envy our ancestors the care of those fires. With three yawning, devouring fireplaces constantly to be fed, and an additional one for each of the guest-rooms so often occupied during the winter—for this was the visiting season—there was no lack of business for Ralph, a white man; and his colored coadjutors, Jack and Jim. When we look at the still existing kitchen fireplace, nine feet in width and four in depth, we cease to blame Jack for neglecting to mend the barn floor. We only wonder that he found time to whip Silvy.

Among the occupations of the women one great time-consumer must have been the daily scouring, so much woodwork was left unpainted to be kept as white as a clean sea-beach by applications of soap and sand. Probably a good deal of this hand-and-knee work fell upon the unfortunate Silvy, as well as the polishing of the pewter plates, the brass fenders, andirons, tongs, shovels, door-knobs, knockers, and the various brazen ornaments which bedecked the heavy sideboards and tall secretaries.

Seventy years ago, when gas and kerosene were not, and wax candles were an extravagance indulged in only on state occasions, even by the wealthy, the tallow dip was an article of necessity, and "candle dip-day" was as certain of recurrence as Christmas, though perhaps even less welcome than the equally certain [Pg 479]annual Fast Day. Fancy an immense kitchen with the before-mentioned fireplace in the centre of one side. Over the blaze of backlog and forestick, and something like half a cord of "eight-foot wood," are swinging the iron cranes laden with great kettles of melting tallow. On the opposite side of the kitchen two long poles about two feet apart are supported at their extremities upon the seats of chairs. Beside the poles are other great kettles containing melted tallow poured on the top of hot water. Across the poles are the slender candle-rods, from which depend ranks upon ranks of candle-wicks made of tow, for cotton wick is a later invention. Little by little, by endlessly repeating the slow process of dipping into the kettles of melted tallow and hanging them to cool, the wicks take on their proper coating of tallow. To make the candles as large as possible was the aim, for the more tallow the brighter the light. When done, the ranks of candles, still depending from the rods, were hung in the sunniest spots of a sunny garret to bleach.

But all these employments were as play compared with the home manufacture of dry goods. Ralph, Jack and Jim had no time for such work, so two other men were all winter kept busy in the barn at "crackling flax" and afterward passing it through a coarse hetchel to separate the coarsest or "swingling tow." After this the flax was made up into switches or "heads" like those which we see in pictures, or that which Faust's Marguerite so temptingly wields. These were deposited in barrels in the garret. During the winter the "heads" were brought down by the women to be rehetcheled once and again, removing first the coarser, and then the finer tow. This must have been a fearfully dusty operation. It makes one cough only to think of "the inch depth of flax-dust" which settled upon Betsey's protecting handkerchief while she "hetcheled."

The finest and best of the flax was saved for spinning into thread, for cotton thread there was none, excepting, possibly, a little of very poor quality in small skeins. The small wheel that we see in the far corner of the garret—just like Marguerite's—was used for spinning the fine thread. A larger wheel was used to spin the tow into yarn for the coarse clothing for boys and negroes or for "filling" in the coarser linens. All the boys, and very often the men—perhaps even our M.C. himself—wore in summer trousers made of linen cloth, for which the yarn was spun at home by the maids, and was then taken to the weaver's to be made into cloth. Part of the linen yarn was dyed blue, and, mingled with white or unbleached yarn, was woven into a chequered stuff for the curtains of servants' beds and for dresses for the maids and aprons for their mistresses. In view of the fact that all the bed-linen and most of the table-linen was thus made at home, one cannot wonder that a house-wife's linen-closet was an object of special care and pride.

If there were at that time any woolen manufactories in the United States, their powers of production must have been very limited, while foreign cloths could only have been worn by the gentlemen, and by them probably not at all times, for a few years later than the date of madam's diary we find that English cloths were sold at the then fearful prices of eighteen and twenty dollars per yard. So sheep must be kept and sheared, and their wool carded, rolled and spun. As linen-spinning was the fancy-work of winter, so wool-spinning was that of summer. Back and forth before the loud-humming big wheel briskly stepped the cheerful spinner through the long bright afternoons of summer, busily spinning the yarn that was to be woven into cloths and flannels of different textures. Busily indeed must both mistress and maids have stepped, for not without their labors could be provided the coats and trousers, the undershirts, the petticoats and the woolen sheets, to say nothing of blankets, white or chequered, and the heavy coverlets of blue or green and white yarns woven into curiously intermingling figures, all composed of little squares; and last, but not least, the yarn for countless pairs of long warm stockings for the feet of master and man, mistress and maid. [Pg 480]For as a legacy from dying slavery the servants were still unable or unwilling to provide for their own wants, and the house-mistress had frequently to knit Jack's stockings with her own fair fingers, as well as to "cut out the stuff for Jim's pantaloons," which she will "try to teach Silvy to sew."

Did we think that we had reached the last purpose for which the homespun woolen yarn was required? We were mistaken, for here is the entry: "To-day dyed the yarn for back-hall carpet. Remember to tell the weaver that I prefer it plaided instead of striped."

Economy of time must, one would think, have been the most necessary of economies to the old-time housewives. With so many things to do, how did they find time to make those marvels of misplaced industry, the patched bed-quilts? Our diarist, rich as her closets were in blankets and linen, left but few bed-quilts to vex the eyes of her descendants, yet we read that "Betsey and I quilted a bed-quilt this afternoon"—their fingers were surely nimble—"and in the evening"—happy change of employment!—"Betsey finished reading aloud from Blair's Lectures. To-morrow evening we shall begin the Spectator. My husband has sent us by private hand Mr. A. Pope's translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, but it has not yet arrived. Strange that a private hand should be slower than the post!"

And indeed the slowness of the post had been a source of frequent disquietude to our madam during this lonely winter, for very lonely it was to the waiting wife and mother, notwithstanding all her occupations. "'Life's employments are life's enjoyments,'" she sadly writes on the night before Christmas, "and surely I have not a few of them; but with my beloved husband and son far from me I cannot half enjoy my life. I have given the servants their presents to-night" (though living in Puritan Connecticut, our madam was of Hollandish stock, and did not ignore the Christmas festival), "and paid them eighteen pence apiece not to wish me a Merry Christmas to-morrow, for little merriment indeed should there be for me."

Yet she was a cheerful soul, this stately madam who sadly gazes into the fire on the Christmas Eve of seventy years ago—a cheerful, loving soul, and a kindly (notwithstanding her chastisement of the delinquent Silvy); and after all the winter wore not unhappily away.

With the opening spring husband and son returned to gladden her heart, and we close the little diary with a smile at once of sympathy and of amusement as we read that while madam had intended to meet her loved ones with the family coach on their landing from the sloop at Poughkeepsie, thirty miles from her home, she was "so detained by reason of the depth and vileness of the mud that it was full fifteen miles this side the river" (Hudson) "that our coach fell in with a hired carriage coming this way. The road was so bad that we had difficulty in passing, and it was not until we were almost by that my dear husband noticed his own coach. There was some trouble in getting from the one carriage to the other, but when all were safely in the coach there was much rejoicing, you may be sure."


[Pg 481]


Black boughs against a pale, clear sky,

Slight mists of cloud-wreaths floating by;

Soft sunlight, gray-blue smoky air,

Wet thawing snows on hillsides bare;

Loud streams, moist sodden earth; below

Quick seedlings stir, rich juices flow

Through frozen veins of rigid wood,

And the whole forest bursts in bud.

No longer stark the branches spread

An iron network overhead,

Albeit naked still of green;

Through this soft, lustrous vapor seen,

On budding boughs a warm flush glows,

With tints of purple and pale rose.

Breathing of spring, the delicate air

Lifts playfully the loosened hair

To kiss the cool brow. Let us rest

In this bright, sheltered nook, now blest

With broad noon sunshine over all,

Though here June's leafiest shadows fall.

Young grass sprouts here. Look up! the sky

Is veiled by woven greenery,

Fresh little folded leaves-the first,

And goldener than green, they burst

Their thick full buds and take the breeze.

Here, when November stripped the trees,

I came to wrestle with a grief:

Solace I sought not, nor relief.

I shed no tears, I craved no grace,

I fain would see Grief face to face,

Fathom her awful eyes at length,

Measure my strength against her strength.

I wondered why the Preacher saith,

"Like as the grass that withereth."

The late, close blades still waved around:

I clutched a handful from the ground.

"He mocks us cruelly," I said:

"The frail herb lives, and she is dead."

I lay dumb, sightless, deaf as she;

The long slow hours passed over me.

I saw Grief face to face; I know

The very form and traits of Woe.

I drained the galled dregs of the draught

She offered me: I could have laughed

In irony of sheer despair,

Although I could not weep. The air

Thickened with twilight shadows dim:

I rose and left. I knew each limb

[Pg 482]

Of these great trees, each gnarled, rough root

Piercing the clay, each cone of fruit

They bear in autumn.

What blooms here,

Filling the honeyed atmosphere

With faint, delicious fragrancies,

Freighted with blessed memories?

The earliest March violet,

Dear as the image of Regret,

And beautiful as Hope. Again

Past visions thrill and haunt my brain.

Through tears I see the nodding head,

The purple and the green dispread.

Here, where I nursed despair that morn,

The promise of fresh joy is born,

Arrayed in sober colors still,

But piercing the gray mould to fill

With vague sweet influence the air,

To lift the heart's dead weight of care,

Longings and golden dreams to bring

With joyous phantasies of spring.



It may be that before these lines meet the eye of the readers they are intended for the world will be once again witnessing that function of the Roman Catholic Church which of all others makes the highest pretensions to transcendental spiritual significance, and is in reality the most utterly and grossly mundane—a conclave. In any case, it cannot be long before that singular spectacle is enacted on the accustomed stage before the converging eyes of Christendom. In any case, too, it will be nearly thirty years since the world has seen the like. And never before since St. Peter sat (or did not sit) in the seat of the Roman bishops has so long a period elapsed unmarked by the election of a supreme pontiff. The coming conclave will be held under circumstances essentially dissimilar from those surrounding all its predecessors, as will be readily understood if we consider the difference which recent changes, both lay and ecclesiastical, have made in the position of the pope. If, on the one hand, the political changes in Europe have taken from the cardinals the power of creating a sovereign prince, the ecclesiastical changes which the late ecumenical council has wrought in the constitution of the Church have placed in their hands the power and duty of selecting a supreme ruler of the Church with acknowledged claims to a loftier and more tremendous authority than the most high-handed of his predecessors has hitherto claimed. And the nature of this authority is such that the political rulers of the world may well feel—and are, as we know, feeling—a more anxious interest in the result of the election than they have for many a generation felt in the elevation of a temporal ruler of the ci-devant States of the Church. Under these circumstances it may be acceptable to our readers to have some brief account of what conclaves are and have been.

[Pg 483]That this method of choosing a supreme head of the universal Church was in its origin abusive—that the earliest popes were chosen by the suffrages of the entire body of the faithful, that by a process of encroachment this election was in the course of time arrogated to themselves by the Roman clergy, and was ultimately, by a further process of similar encroachment, monopolized by the "Sacred College" of cardinals,—all this is sufficiently well known. It is, however, curious enough to merit a passing word, that a precisely analogous process of progressive encroachment may be observed to have taken place in the mode of appointing the bishops of the Church, not only in the Catholic, but also in the Protestant branch of it. First freely elected by the body of the faithful, they were subsequently chosen by the clergy, and lastly by a small and select body of these in the form of a "chapter." Only in this case a further step of encroachment being still possible, that step has been made; and bishops are nominated in the Catholic Church formally, and in the Anglican really, by the pope and the sovereign respectively.

It does not seem that in the earliest elections made by the cardinals the precautions of a "conclave," or a shutting up together of the cardinals, was adopted. The first conclave seems to have been that which elected Innocent IV. in 1243, and the motive for the locking up appears to have been the fear of interference by the emperor Frederick, who was at the time ravaging all the country around Rome. The first conclave that was guarded by a Savelli, in whose family the office of marshal of the Church and guardian of the conclaves became hereditary, was that which elected Nicholas IV. in 1288. The mode in which this pontiff merited his elevation is worth telling, apropos of conclaves. The conclave had lasted over ten months, and been prolonged into the hottest and most unhealthy season, insomuch that six cardinals died, many more fell ill, and all ran away save one, the bishop of Palestrina. He, "keeping large fires continually burning to correct the air," stuck to it, remained in conclave all alone, and was unanimously elected pope at the return of the cardinals when the pestilence had ceased. In 1270 we find a conclave sitting under difficulties of another kind. It was at Viterbo, and their Eminences sat for two years without making any election; whereupon, we are told, Raniero Gatti, the captain of the city, took the step of unroofing the palace in which they were assembled as a means of hastening their decision. That their Eminences were not thus to be hurried, however, is proved by their having subsequently dated a bull, still to be seen with its seventeen seals, "from the unroofed episcopal palace of Viterbo." There were four or five popes elected subsequently to this, however, without conclaves; but from the death of Boniface VIII. in 1303 the series of conclaves has been unbroken. Celestine V., who abdicated in 1294, drew up the rules which, confirmed by his successor, Boniface VIII., and by many subsequent popes from time to time down to the last century, still regulate the assembling and holding of the conclave, modified in some degree, as regards the food and private comforts of the cardinals, by indulgence of later pontiffs.

In old and long-since-forgotten books concerning the conclaves many curious particulars may be found respecting the customs and ceremonies connected with the disposal of the body of the deceased pontiff. A learnedly antiquarian dispute has been raised on the question whether in early times the body of a pope was embalmed, as we understand the word, or only exteriorly washed and perfumed. It seems, on the whole, clear that the first pope who was, properly speaking, embalmed, was Julius II., who died in 1513. But here is a striking account of the condition of things in the papal palace after the death of that great, high-handed and powerful pontiff, Sixtus IV., which occurred in 1484, after a reign of thirteen years. The statement is that of Burcardo (Burckhardt), the papal master of the ceremonies, the same writer whose diary, jotted down from day to day, has revealed to us the incredible atrocities of the court [Pg 484]of Alexander VI., the Borgia pope, who died in 1503. "For all that I could do," writes the master of the ceremonies, who perhaps at that time occupied some less conspicuous post in the papal court, "I could not get a basin, a towel, or any kind of utensil in which the wine and the water for the odoriferous herbs could be put for washing the body of the deceased. Nor could I obtain drawers or a clean shirt for putting on the body, though I asked for them again and again. At length the cook lent me the copper kettle in which he was wont to heat the water for washing the plates, together with some hot water; and Andrew the barber brought me his barber's basin from his shop. So the pontiff was washed. And as there was no towel to wipe the body with, I caused him to be wiped with the shirt in which he died, torn into two halves. I could not change the drawers in which he died and was washed, because there were no others. His canonical vestments were put upon him without any shirt, and a pair of red cloth stockings, furnished by the bishop of Cervia, who was his chamberlain, and a long tunic, if I remember rightly, of red damask, as well as some other things." This pope, whose body was thus washed with his shirt torn in half for want of a towel, was that same Sixtus the enormous wealth and boundless luxury of whose nephews seem almost fabulous to readers even of these money-abounding days.

The explanation of the extraordinary state of things above described is to be found in the custom which existed of sacking the apartments of the deceased pope as soon as ever the breath was out of his body. The utter lawlessness which prevailed at Rome sede vacante—that is to say, during the interval between the death of one pope and the election of his successor—was not, indeed, confined to the residence of the departed pontiff. Throughout Rome all law used to be on those occasions in abeyance. The streets were scenes of the most unbridled excesses and violence of all sorts. That was the time for the satisfying of old grudges. Murder was as common as murderous hate; and no man's life was safe save in so far as his own hand or his own walls could protect it. And walls did not always avail. I find a petition to Leo X. from a monastery in Rome, setting forth that a document assuring certain indulgences to the house had been lost at the time of the sack and plunder of the convent during the last conclave. No sort of claim, it is to be observed, is attempted to be set up of redress for the plunder and destruction of the property of the convent; only a prayer that the privileges in question might be again granted in consideration of the loss of the document. A very curious illustration of Roman manners in the sixteenth century is to be found in a practice with regard to these periods of interregnum which I find recorded by Cancellieri in his work on the conclaves. Roman wives, it seems, were forbidden—not without reason—to leave their homes and go forth into the streets of Rome at their pleasure. But in the articles of the marriage contract it was stipulated that the lady should be free to go out on certain specified occasions, mainly ecclesiastical festivals; and among these it was always specially provided that the lady might go out during the days of the exposition of the body of a deceased pope for the purpose of kissing his feet. One would have thought that, looking to the state of things in the city, the time of the interregnum would have been the very last to select for ladies to venture into the streets. It would seem, however, that the Roman matrons thought otherwise. Cancellieri says that it was in those days a common saying among Roman ladies that "Happy were they who were married to Spaniards!" For it would seem that the Spanish husbands in Rome did not think it necessary to enforce this restraint on their wives—a circumstance that rather curiously contradicts our general notions of Spanish marital feelings and discipline.

In truth, the condition of Rome during the period of the conclave down to very recent times affords a singular evidence of the virtue of the old French formula, "Le roi est mort! Vive le roi!" as signifying the non-existence of any period of [Pg 485]transition between one embodiment of law and authority and his successor; for the absence of any similar provision in the case of the popes made Rome a veritable hell upon earth during the period of a papal election.

But if the city outside the walls within which the purple fathers of the Church were deliberating presented a scene which was a disgrace and a scandal to Christendom, that which was being enacted within those walls was very often still more profoundly scandalous. Never probably has any human institution existed in which practice was more grossly and notoriously in disaccord with pretensions and theory, and with respect to which the highest and most sacred of all conceivable human sanctions was so shamelessly desecrated and profaned to the lowest and vilest uses.

Before touching on this part of the subject, however, it is necessary first to give in as few words as possible some intelligible account of the formal regulations and method of holding the conclave and electing the pontiff. All the regulations, which have been made with extreme minuteness, together with the subsequent modifications of them by different pontiffs, would occupy far too much space to be given here. The following rules seem to be the essential points. Ten days, including that of the pope's death, are to be allowed for the coming of absent cardinals. This delay may, however, be dispensed with for urgent reasons. The conclave should properly be held in the building in which the pope died. Regulations of various degrees of rigor have been made for securing the isolation of the members of the Sacred College, greater latitude and indulgence having been permitted as we approach modern times. Sundry means also were devised for hastening the deliberations of their Eminences. The old rule of Gregory X. prescribed that if an election were not made in three days, the cardinals should be supplied during the following five days with one dish only at dinner and one at supper; and if at the end of those five days the election was still uncompleted, the electors should be allowed only bread and water till they had accomplished their task. But, as may be readily supposed, all this has been materially modified. Many of the minute and rigorous precautions for preventing communication with the world outside the conclave have also fallen into desuetude. The purpose of these, however—that is, the absolute prevention of any possibility of consultation between those in conclave and those outside—is still sought to be, and probably is, maintained. Cardinals obliged to leave the conclave by ill-health, on sworn certificates of the two physicians who are shut up with them in conclave, may return to it, if able to do so, before the election is made. No censure or excommunication or deposition of any cardinal by the pope whose successor is to be elected can avail to deprive such cardinal of the right to take part in the conclave and in the election. No cardinal under pain of excommunication may say anything, or promise anything, or request anything, to or from another cardinal for the purpose of influencing him in the giving of his vote. It may safely be asserted, however, that pretty much all that is done in the conclave from the beginning to the end of it is one long contravention of this rule. The whole—at all events, the main—occupation of those in conclave consists of exactly what is here forbidden. The rule proceeds to declare that all such bargains, agreements and obligations, even sworn to, are ipso facto void, and "he who does not keep them merits praise rather than the blame of perjury." This merit elected popes have usually been found to strive after with all their strength. Julius II., by a bull issued in 1505, declared that any pope elected by means of bargains or promises is elected simoniacally; that his election is null even if he have the vote of every cardinal; that he is a heresiarch and no pope; that such an election cannot become valid by enthronation, or by lapse of time, or by the obedience of the cardinals; that it is lawful for the cardinals, the clergy and the people of Rome to refuse obedience to a pope so elected. On all which Monsignor [Pg 486]Spondano in his ecclesiastical annals, remarks, with a naïveté of hypocrisy which is irresistibly amusing, that inasmuch as there would be considerable difficulty in applying the remedy proposed, God has specially provided that there should never be any need of it. How far Monsignor Spondano can have supposed that such was the case will become evident from the account of the doings of a conclave which I propose giving to the reader presently.

Together with the cardinals there are shut up in the conclave two attendants, called "conclavisti," for each cardinal, or three for such of them as are ill or infirm; one sacristan, two masters of the ceremonies, one confessor, two physicians, one surgeon, one carpenter, two barbers and ten porters. Any conclavist who may leave the conclave cannot on any account return. The different cells prepared in the Quirinal, Vatican or other place in which the conclave may be held are assigned to the cardinals by lot. The election may be made in the conclave in either of three different manners—by scrutiny of votes, by compromise, or by acclamation. A vote by scrutiny is to be taken twice every day in the conclave—once in the morning and once in the afternoon. All the cardinals, save such as are confined to their cells by infirmity, proceed to the chapel, and there, after the mass, receive the communion. They then return each to his cell to breakfast, and afterward meet in the chapel again. The next morning at 8 A.M. the sub-master of the ceremonies rings a bell at the door of each cell; at half-past eight he rings again; and at nine a third time, adding in a loud voice the summons, "In capellam Domini!"

The arrangement of the Pauline Chapel at the Vatican, in which the voting takes place, is as follows: The floor is raised by a boarding to the level of the pontifical throne, which stands by the side of the altar, and which is left in its place in readiness for the newly-elected pope to seat himself and receive the "adoration" of his electors. All around the walls of the chapel are erected as many thrones as there are cardinals, and over each of them a canopy, so arranged that by means of a cord it can be suddenly let down; so that at the moment the election is pronounced all the canopies are suddenly made to fall except that of the new pope. In front of each throne and under each canopy there is a little table covered with silk—green in the case of all those cardinals who have been created previously to the pontificate of the pope recently deceased, and purple in the case of those created by him. The colors of the canopies are similar. On each table are printed registers prepared for registering the votes at each scrutiny, the schedules for giving the votes, the means for sealing, etc. On the front of each table is inscribed the name of the cardinal who is to occupy it, together with his armorial bearings. In the midst of the body of the chapel are six little tables covered with green cloth, with a seat at each of them for the use of any cardinal who may fear that his neighbor might overlook him while writing his voting paper if he wrote it on the table before his throne. In front of the altar there is a large table covered with crimson silk, on which are folded schedules, wafers, sealing-wax; four candles, not lighted, but ready for use; a tinder-box with steel and matches; scarlet and purple twine for filing the voting schedules; a box of needles for the same purpose; a tablet with seventy holes in it, answering to the number of cardinals if the college were full, and in each hole a little wooden counter with the name of a cardinal, so that there are as many counters as cardinals in the college; and finally, a copy of the form of oath respecting the putting the schedules into the urns, the two urns themselves, and a box with a key, used for receiving the voting papers of such cardinals as may be too ill to leave their cells. The two urns, however, at the time of the scrutiny are placed on the altar. Behind the altar there is placed a little iron brazier or stove, in which, after every scrutiny which does not succeed in electing a pope, the voting papers are burned, together with some damp straw, the object [Pg 487]being to cause a dense smoke, which, passing by a pipe outside the building, serves to inform the Romans that no election has yet been made. Twice a day, at about the same hour every day till the election is achieved, this smoke, which is eagerly watched for by all Rome, and specially by the commandant of the Castle of St. Angleo, who is waiting to fire a salute for the new pope, tells the city that there is no pope yet. When the hour passes and no smoke is seen, it is known that the election is made, and the cannoneers fire away without waiting to know whom they are saluting.

There is no portion of the day or of the lives of the cardinals in conclave which is not regulated by a host of minute regulations and ceremonies. The introduction of the food supplied to them; the form of bringing it from their palaces; the method of communication with the outside world, and the precautions taken to prevent any communication with reference to the great business in hand; the form and color of the garments to be worn by their Eminences and by all the subordinates; the amount of remuneration and perquisites to be received by the latter (among which regulations I find the following: "Let no man receive anything who has not purchased the office he holds"); the order of precedence of everybody, from the dean of the Sacred College to the last sweeper who enters the conclave with their Eminences,—all subject to minute rules, which would require, one would imagine, a lifetime to make one's self master of, and which, curious as some of them are, it is impossible to find place for here. We must get on to the method of voting.

Each cardinal has a schedule about eight inches long by six wide, divided by printed lines into five parts. On the topmost is printed "Ego, Cardinalis——," to be filled up with the name and titles of the elector using it. On the second space are printed, toward either side of the paper, two circles, indicating the exact place where the paper when folded is to be sealed. On the middle space is printed the words "Eligo in Summum Pontificem R'um D'um meum Dom. Card.," leaving only the name of the person chosen to be filled in. On the fourth space two circles are printed, as on the second, indicating the places of two more seals, which, when the paper is folded and sealed down, make it impossible to see the motto which is written, together with a number, on the last space. On the back of the second and fourth divisions are printed the words "nomen" and "signum," denoting that immediately under them are the name and motto of the elector. There are also printed certain ornamental flourishes, the object of which is to render it impossible to see the writing within through the paper. Thus, the schedule, with its top and bottom folds sealed down, can be freely opened so far as to allow the name of the cardinal for whom the vote is given to be seen, but not so far as to make it possible to see the name or motto of the giver of the vote.

When the voting papers have been thus prepared, the senior cardinal, the dean of the Sacred College, rises from his throne and walks to the foot of the altar, holding his schedule aloft between his finger and thumb. There he kneels and passes a brief time in private prayer. Then rising to his feet, he pronounces aloud in a sonorous voice the following oath: "Testor Christum Dominum qui me judicaturus est, me eligire quem secundum Deum judico eligi debere, et quod in accessu praestabo" ("I call to witness the Lord Christ, who shall judge me, that I elect him whom before God I judge ought to be elected, and which vote I shall give also in the accessit"). The last words allude to a subsequent part of the business of the election, to be explained presently. It is hardly necessary to point out to the reader that this oath, solemn as it sounds, might just as well be omitted. It is as a matter of course evident that each elector will give his vote for the person who ought in his opinion to be elected. But as to the motives of that opinion, as to the grounds on which it seems best to each elector that such and such a man ought to be elected, the oath says nothing. The cardinals whose votes Alexander VI. bought [Pg 488]thought, no doubt, that in all honesty they ought to give their voices for the man who had fairly paid for them. But, putting aside such gross cases, let the reader reflect for a moment how extensive a ground is covered by the celebrated "A.M.D.G." formula ("Ad majorem Dei gloriam"). The conscience of an elector may be supposed to speak to him thus: "It is true that I know A.B. to be a profligate and thoroughly worldly man, but his influence with such or such a statesman or monarch will probably be the means of saving the Church from a schism in this, that or the other country. And that assuredly is A.M.D.G. And he is the man, therefore, who ought to be elected."

Well, the oath having been thus pronounced, the voter places his folded schedule on a silver salver, and with this casts it into the silver urn which is on the altar. And one after another every cardinal present does the same—every cardinal present except, however, any one who may not have received at least deacon's orders. One so disqualified may indeed be empowered to vote by dispensation of the deceased pope; but this dispensation is usually given for a limited period—a few days probably—only; and if this time has expired before the election is completed the cardinal who is not in sacred orders must cease to vote till he have received orders. It has frequently occurred that cardinals have been ordained under these circumstances in the conclave. When all the schedules have been placed in the urn, three cardinals, who have been previously chosen by lot for the purpose, as scrutineers proceed to verify the result of the voting. First, the schedules are counted to ascertain that they are equal in number to the number of the cardinals present. If this should not be the case, all are forthwith burned and the business is recommenced. But if this is all right, then comes the moment of interest which sets many an old heart beating under its purple vestments. The three scrutineers seat themselves at the large table with their backs turned to the altar, so that they face the assembly. Then each cardinal in his throne-seat places on the little table before him a large sheet duly prepared with the names of all the cardinals living, and ruled columns for the votes, and pen in hand awaits the declaration of these. The first scrutineer takes a schedule from the urn, unfolds the central part, leaving the two sealed ends intact, takes note of the vote declared within, and hands the paper to the second scrutineer, who also notes the vote and hands it to the third, who declares the vote aloud in a voice audible to all present, and each cardinal marks it on his register. Then, if the votes shall have been sufficient to elect the pope—that is, two-thirds of those voting—there is nothing more to be done save to number the votes, to verify them, and then burn the schedules. But if this is not the case, as it rarely if ever is, the cardinals proceed to the accessit. The papers and all the forms for this are precisely the same as for the first voting, save that in the place of the word "Eligo" there is the word "Accedo," and that in the place of the name of the cardinal voted for those who do not choose to alter their previous vote write "Nemini" ("To no one"). Then the matter proceeds as before; and if no election is effected, the assembly breaks up, and meets for another voting and scrutiny that afternoon or the next morning, as the case may be. And this is done twice every day till the election is made. The reader, I fear, may think that I have been prolix in my statement of these particulars of the method of the election, but I can assure him that I have given him only the main and important points, selected from some hundreds of pages in the works of those who have treated on the wonderfully minute regulations and prescriptions with which the whole matter is surrounded.

It will be easily seen that the moment of proceeding to the accessit is the time for fine strokes of policy, for the most cautious prudence and craftiest cunning. The general condition of the ground has been disclosed by the results of the previous scrutiny. The possibilities and chances begin to discover themselves. "Frequently," says the President de [Pg 489]Brosses, who was at Rome during the conclave which elected Benedict XIV. in 1740, in the charming published volume of his letters—"Frequently at the accessit everything which was done at the preceding ceremony is reversed; and it is at the accessit that the most subtle strokes of policy are practiced. Sometimes, for example, when a party has been formed for any cardinal, the leader of the party keeps in reserve for the accessit all the votes that he can count on as certain, and induces those that he suspects may be doubtful to vote for the person intended to be made pope at the first scrutiny, so as to make sure by the number of votes given whether his supporters have been true to their party, and to avoid unmasking his policy till he shall be sure of his coup."

The story of the conclave which elected Cardinal Lambertini pope as Benedict XIV., gives a curious picture of the schemes and intrigues carried on in the mysterious seclusion of the conclave. Clement XII., of the Florentine Corsini family, had died. The cardinal Corsini, his nephew, was at the head of one faction in the conclave, and the cardinal Albani, nephew of Clement XI., who died in 1721, at the head of the other. The former party seemed at the beginning of the conclave to be the most numerous. But De Brosses describes the two men as follows. Corsini, he says, had little intelligence, less sense, and no capacity for affairs. Of Albani, he says that he was "highly considered for his capacity, and both hated and feared to excess—a man without faith, without principles; an implacable enemy even when appearing to be reconciled; of a great genius for affairs; inexhaustible in resource and intrigue; the ablest man in the college, and the worst-hearted man in Rome." It soon became clear that the struggle between the factions thus led would be severe, and the conclave a long one. The history of the plots and counterplots by which each strove to circumvent the other is extremely amusing, but too long to be given here. After various fruitless attempts, the Corsini faction concentrated all their forces on Cardinal Aldrovandi. He was a man of decent character, and had the support of a small body of independent cardinals, called the "Zelanti," who, to the great disgust and contempt of their brethren in purple, were mainly influenced by the consideration of the worthiness of his character. The number of voices needed to make the election was thirty-four: Aldrovandi had thirty-three. Cardinal Passionei, the scrutator who had to declare the votes, and a member of the opposite faction, became, we are told, as pale as death when he announced with trembling voice the thirty-third vote. There was every reason to think that at the accessit he would have the one other vote needful to make the election. But it was not so. The terrible Albani was too much feared, and had his own party too well in hand. But the thing was run very close. The danger was great that during the hours of the night that must intervene before the next scrutiny some means might be found to detach one Albani follower from his allegiance. There was the great bait to be offered that the one who changed his vote would be in effect the maker of the new pope. Under these circumstances, Albani felt that nothing but some "heroic" measure could save him. What he did was this: There was a certain Father Ravali, a Cordelier, and one of the leading men of his order, on whom Albani could depend, and who was, in language more expressive than ecclesiastical, "up to anything." This monk was instructed to seek a conference with Aldrovandi at the rota. (The rota was the opening in the wall at which such interviews were permitted in presence of certain high dignitaries specially appointed to attend it, for the express purpose of hearing all that might be said, and preventing any communication having reference to the business of the conclave. How they performed their duty the present story shows.) The monk began by saying that all Rome looked upon the election of Aldrovandi as a certain thing. Aldrovandi, doing the humble, replied that to be sure many of his brethren had deigned to think of him, but that he did not make any progress—that there were those who were too determinately [Pg 490]opposed to his election, etc. The monk thereupon goes into a long and unctuous discourse on all the sad evils to Christendom of a conclave so prolonged. (It had already lasted over five months.) To which Aldrovandi replies that he ought rather to address his remonstrances to Cardinal Albani, who is in truth the cause of the inability of the conclave to come to an election. "Ah, monsignor," returns the Cordelier, "put yourself in the place of the cardinal Albani. I know his sentiments from the many conversations we have had together. He is far from feeling any personal objection or enmity to you. But you know that there has been in the past unpleasant feeling between your family and his, and he fears that you are animated by hostility toward him." "I assure you," replies Aldrovandi, falling into the trap, "that he is greatly mistaken. I have long since forgotten all the circumstances you allude to. Besides, as I remember, the cardinal had no part in the matter. He can't doubt that I have the greatest respect for his personal character. Besides, I am not the man to forget a service rendered to me." "Since those are the sentiments of Your Eminence," cries the monk, "I begin to see an end to this interminable conclave. I perceive that there will be no difficulty in arranging matters between Your Eminence and the cardinal Albani. Will you permit me to be the medium of your sentiments upon the subject?" Aldrovandi is delighted, and feels the tiara already on his head. Then, after a little indifferent talk, the Cordelier, in the act of taking leave of the cardinal, turns back and says, "But, after all, the mere word of a poor monk like me is hardly sufficient between personages such as Your Eminence and the cardinal Albani. Permit me to write you a letter, in which I will lay before Your Eminence those considerations concerning the crying evils of the length of this conclave which I have ventured to mention to you, and that will give me an opportunity of entering on the matters we have been speaking of. And then you, in your reply to me, can take occasion to say what you have already been observing to me of your sentiments toward the cardinal Albani." Aldrovandi eagerly agreed to this, and the two letters were at once written. "I am told," adds De Brosses, "that the letter of Aldrovandi was strong on the subject of the gratitude he should feel toward Albani." No sooner has the perfidious Cordelier got the letter into his hand than he runs with it to Albani, who goes with it at once to the body of the "Zelanti" cardinals with pious horror in his face: "Here! Look at your Aldrovandi, your man of God, that you tell me is incapable of intriguing in order to become His vicar! Here he is making promises to seduce me into violating my conscience."—"Alas! alas! It is too true! Clearly the Holy Ghost will none of him. Speak to us of him no more!" So Aldrovandi's chance was gone, and Albani found the means of uniting the necessary number of voices on Lambertini, a good-enough sort of man, by all accounts, but hardly of the wood from which popes are or should be made. He became that Benedict XIV. who was Voltaire's correspondent, and who, as the story goes, when he was asked by a young Roman patrician to make him a list of the books he would recommend for his studies, replied, "My dear boy, we always keep a list of the best books ready made. It is called the Index Expurgatorius!"

Such were the doings of conclaves, and such the popes which resulted from them, in that eighteenth century whose boasted philosophy pretty well culminated in the conviction that pudding was good and sugar sweet. Such will not be the conclave which will assemble at the death of the present pontiff. The election will doubtless be scrupulously canonical on all points; and, though it may be doubted how far the deliberations of the Sacred College will be calculated to advance the truly understood spiritual interests of humanity, there is, I think, little doubt that they will be directed, according to the lights of the members, to the choice of that individual who shall in their opinion be most likely to advance the interests of the Church "A.D.M.G."


[Pg 491]


Monsoor Pacha, it is pleasant to meet

Here, in the heart of this treacherous town—

Where faith is a peril and courtship a cheat,

More false to the touch than a rose overblown—

With a soul that is true to itself, as your own.

Monsoor Pacha, as two gentlemen may,

Civilized, city-bred, link we our hands:

Now from the town to the desert away!

Ours is a friendship whose spirit demands

The scope of the sky and the stretch of the sands.

Monsoor Pacha, doff your courtier's garb;

We have given to courtesy all of its dues;

Spring to your throne on the back of your barb,

Shake to the breezes your regal burnous,

Wave your lance-sceptre wherever you choose!

Monsoor, my chief! ah, I know you at length!

King of the desert, your children are come

To cluster, like sheep, in the shade of your strength,

Or to strike, like young lions, for country and home,

When your eyes are ablaze at the roll of the drum!

Monsoor, my chief! now one gallop, to see

The land you have sworn that no despot shall grind!

Though sun-tanned and arid, by Allah! 'tis free!

Its crops are these lances: these sons of the wind,

Our steeds, are its flocks—a grim harvest to bind!

Monsoor, my chief! how we dash o'er the sand,

Hissing behind us like storm-driven snow!

Flash the long guns of your wild Arab band,

Brandish the spears, and the light jereeds throw,

As, half-winged, through the shrill singing breezes we go!

Monsoor, my chief! send the horses away:

The sports of your tribe I have seen with delight.

Now let us watch while the rose-tinted day

Fades from the desert, and peace-bearing Night

Shakes the first gem on her brow in our sight.

Monsoor, my host! lo, I enter your tent,

As brother by brother, hands clasping, is led:

I sleep like a child in a dream Heaven-sent;

For have I not eaten the salt and the bread?

And Monsoor will answer for me with his head.


CONSTANTINOPLE, Jan. 10, 1875.
[Pg 492]


This was in slave times. It was also immediately after dinner, and the gentlemen had gone to the east piazza. Mr. Smith was walking back and forth, talking somewhat excitedly for him, while Dr. Rutherford sat with his feet on the railing, thoughtfully executing the sentimental performance of cutting his nails. Dr. Rutherford was an old friend of Mr. Smith who had been studying surgery in Philadelphia, and now, on his way back to South Carolina, had tarried to make us a visit.

"You see," Mr. Smith was saying, "about a week ago one of our old negroes died under the impression that she was 'tricked' or bewitched, and the consequence has been that the entire plantation is demoralized. You never saw anything like it."

"Many a time," said Dr. Rutherford, and calmly cut his nails.

"There is not a negro on the place," continued Edward, "who does not lie down at night in terror of the Evil Eye, and go to his work in the morning paralyzed by dread of what the day may bring. Why, there is a perfect panic among them. They are falling about like a set of ten-pins. This morning I sent for Wash (best hand on the place) to see about setting out tobacco plants, and behold Wash curled up under a haystack getting ready to die! It is enough to—So as soon as you came this morning a plan entered my head for putting a stop to the thing. It will be necessary to acknowledge that two or three of them are under the spell, and it is better to select those who already fancy themselves so.—Rosalie!" I appeared at the window. "Are any of the house-servants 'witched?"

"Mercy is," said I, "and I presume Mammy is going to be: I saw her make a curtsey to the black cat this morning."

"Well, what is your plan?" inquired Dr. Rutherford.

Mr. Smith seated himself on the piazza railing, dangling his feet thereagainst, rounding his shoulders in the most attractive and engaging manner, as you see men do, and proceeded to develop his idea. I was called off at the moment, and did not return for an hour or two. As I did so I heard Dr. Rutherford say, "All right! Blow the horn;" and the overseer down in the yard

Blew a blast as loud and shrill

As the wild-boar heard on Temple Hill—

an event which at this unusual hour of the day produced perfect consternation among the already excited negroes. They no doubt supposed it the musical exercise set apart for the performance of the angel Gabriel on the day of judgment, and in less than ten minutes all without exception had come pell-mell, helter-skelter, running to "the house." The dairymaid left her churn, and the housemaid put down her broom; the ploughs stood still, and when the horses turned their heads to see what was the matter they found they had no driver; she also who was cooking for the hands "fled from the path of duty" (no Casabianca nonsense for her!), leaving the "middling" to sputter into blackness and the corn-pones to share its fate. Mothers had gathered up their children of both sexes, and grouped them in little terrified companies about the yard and around the piazza-steps.

Edward was now among them, endeavoring to subdue the excitement, and having to some extent succeeded, he made a signal to Dr. Rutherford, who came forward to address the negroes. Throwing his shoulders back and looking around with dignity, he exclaimed, "I am the great Dr. Rutherford, the witch-doctor of Boston! I was far away in the North, hundreds of miles from here, and I saw a spot on the sun, and it looked like the Evil Eye! And I found it was a great black smoke. Then I knew that witch-fires were burning in the mountains, and [Pg 493]witches were dancing in the valleys; and the light of the Eye was red! I am the great Dr. Rutherford, the witch-doctor of Boston! I called my black cat up and told her to smell for blood, and she smelled, and she smelled, and she smelled! She smelled, and she smelled, and she smelled! And presently her hair stood up like bristles, and her eyes shot out sparks of fire, and her tail was as stiff as iron!" He threw his shoulders back, looked imposingly around and repeated: "I am the great Dr. Rutherford the witch-doctor of Boston! My black Cat tells me that the witch is here—that she has hung the deadly nightshade at your cabin-doors, and your blood is turning to water. You are beginning to wither away. You shiver in the sunshine; you don't want to eat; your hearts are heavy and you don't feel like work; and when you come from the field you don't take down the banjo and pat and shuffle and dance, but you sit down in the corner with your heads on your hands, and would go to sleep, but you know that as soon as you shut your eyes she will cast hers on you through the chinks in the cabin-wall."

"Dat's me!" said Mercy—"dat certny is me!"

"Gret day in de mornin', mas' witch-doctor! How you know? Is you been tricked?" inquired Martha, who, having been reared on the plantation, was unacquainted with the etiquette observed at lectures.

Wash groaned heavily, and shook his head from side to side in silent commendation of the doctor's lore.

"My black cat tells me that the witch is here; and she is here!" (Immense sensation among the children of Ham.) "But," continued he with a majestic wave of the arm, "she can do you no harm, for I also am here, the great Dr. Rutherford, the witch-doctor of Boston!"

"Doctor," inquired Edward in a loud voice, "can you tell who is conjured and who is not?"

"I cannot tell unless robed in the blandishments of plagiarism and the satellites of hygienic art as expunged by the gyrations of nebular hypothesis. Await ye!" He and Mr, Smith went into the house.

The negroes were very much impressed. They have excessive reverence for grandiloquent language, and the less they understand of it the better they like it.

"What dat he say, honey?" asked old Mammy. "I can't heer like I used ter."

"He says he will be back soon, Mammy, and tell if any of you are tricked," said I; and just then Edward and the doctor reappeared, bearing between them a pine table. On this table were arranged about forty little pyramids of whitish-looking powder, and in their midst stood a bottle containing some clear liquid, like water. Dr. Rutherford seated himself behind it, robed in the black gown he had used in the dissecting-room, and crowned by a conical head-piece about two feet high, manufactured by Edward and himself, and which they had completed by placing on the pinnacle thereof a human skull. The effect of this picturesque costume was heightened by two large red circles around the doctor's eyes—whether obtained from the juice of the pokeberry or the inkstand on Edward's desk need not be determined.

In front of the table stood the negroes, men, women and children. There was the preacher, decked in the clerical livery of a standing collar and white cravat, but, perhaps in deference to the day of the week, these were modified by the secular apparel of a yellow cotton shirt and homespun pantaloons, attached to a pair of old "galluses," which had been mended with twine, and pieced with leather, and lengthened with string, till, if any of the original remained, none could tell the color thereof nor what they had been in the day of their youth. The effect was not harmonious. There was Mammy, with her low wrinkled forehead, and white turban, and toothless gums, and skin of shining blackness, which testified that her material wants were not neglected. There was Wash, a great, stalwart negro, who ordinarily seemed able to cope with any ten men you might meet, now looking so subdued and dispirited, [Pg 494]and of a complexion so ashy, that he really appeared old and shrunken and weak. There was William Wirt, the ploughboy, affected by a chronic grin which not even the solemnity of this occasion could dissipate, but the character of which seemed changed by the awestruck eyes that rolled above the heavy red lips and huge white teeth. There was Apollo—in social and domestic circles known as 'Poller—there was Apollo, his hair standing about his head in little black tufts or horns wrapped with cotton cord to make it grow, one brawny black shoulder protruding from a rent in his yellow cotton shirt, his pantaloons hanging loosely around his hips, and bagging around that wonderful foot which did not suggest his name, unless his sponsors in baptism were of a very satirical turn. There were Martha, and Susan, and Minerva, and Cinderella, and Chesterfield, and Pitt, and a great many other grown ones, besides a crowd of children, the smallest among the latter being clad in the dishabille of a single garment, which reached perhaps to the knee, but had little to boast in the way of latitude.

There they all stood in little groups about the yard, looking with awe and reverence at the great Dr. Rutherford, who sat behind the table with his black gown and frightful eyes and skull-crowned cap.

"You see these little heaps of powder and this bottle of water. You will come forward one at a time and pour a few drops of the water in this bottle on one of these little heaps of powder. If the powder turns black, the person who pours on the water is 'witched. If the powder remains white, the person who pours on the water is not 'witched. You may all examine the powders, and see for yourselves whether there is any difference between them, and you will each pour from the same bottle."

During a silence so intense that nothing was heard save the hum of two great "bumblebees" that darted in and out among the trees and flew at erratic angles above our heads, the negroes came forward and stretched their necks over each other's shoulders, peering curiously at the little mounds of powder that lay before them, at the innocent-looking bottle that stood in their midst, and the great high priest who sat behind. They stretched their necks over each other's shoulders, and each endeavored to push his neighbor to the front; but those in front, with due reverence for the uncanny nature of the table, were determined not to be forced too near it, and the result was a quiet struggle, a silent wrestle, an undertone of wriggle, that was irresistibly funny.

Then arose the great high priest: "Range ye!"

Not knowing the nature of this order, the negroes scattered instanter and then collected en masse around Mr. Smith.

"Range ye! range!" repeated the doctor with dignity, and Edward proceeded to arrange them in a long, straggling row, urging upon them that there was no cause for alarm, as, even should any of them prove 'witched, the doctor had charms with him by which to cast off the spell.

"Come, Martha," said Edward; but Martha was dismayed, and giving her neighbor a hasty shove, exclaimed,

"You go fus', Unk' Lumfrey: you's de preacher."

Uncle Humphrey disengaged his elbow with an angry hitch: "I don't keer if I is: go 'long yose'f."

"Well, de Lord knows I'm 'feerd to go," said Martha; "but ef I sot up for preachin', 'peers to me I wouldn' be'feerd to sass witches nor goses, nor nuffin' else."

"I don't preach no time but Sundays, an' dis ain't Sunday," said Uncle Humphrey.

"Hy, nigger!" exclaimed Martha in desperation, "is you gwine to go back on de Lord cos 'tain't Sunday? How come you don't trus' on Him week-a-days?"

"I does trus' on Him fur as enny sense in doin' uv it; but ef I go to enny my foolishness, fus' thing I know de Lord gwine leave me to take keer uv myse'f, preacher or no preacher—same as ef He was ter say, 'Dat's all right, cap'n: ef you gwine to boss dis job, boss it;' an' [Pg 495]den whar I be? Mas' Ned tole you to go: go on, an' lemme 'lone."

"Uncle Humphrey," said Edward, "there is nothing whatever to be afraid of, and you must set the rest an example. Come!"

Uncle Humphrey obeyed, but as he did so he turned his head and rolled—or, as the negroes say, walled—his eyes at Martha in a manner which convinced her, whatever her doubts in other matters pertaining to theology, that there is such a thing as future punishment. The old fellow advanced, and under direction of the great high priest poured some of the contents of the bottle on the powder indicated to him, and it remained white.

"Thang Gord!" he exclaimed with a fervency which left no doubt of his sincerity, and hastened away.

Two or three others followed with a similar result. Then came Mercy, the housemaid, and as her trembling fingers poured the liquid forth, behold the powder changed and turned to black! The commotion was indescribable, and Mercy was about to have a nervous fit when Dr. Rutherford, fixing his eyes on her, said in a tone of command, "Be quiet—be perfectly quiet, and in two hours I will destroy the spell. Go over there and sit down."

She tottered to a seat under one of the trees.

One or two more took their turn, among them Mammy, but the powders remained white. I had entreated Edward not to pronounce her 'witched, because she was so old and I loved her so: I could not bear that she should be frightened. You should have seen her when she found that she was safe. The stiff old limbs became supple and the terrified countenance full of joy, and the dear ridiculous old thing threw her arms up in the air, and laughed and cried, and shouted, and praised God, and knocked off her turban, and burst open her apron-strings, and refused to be quieted till the doctor ordered her to be removed from the scene of action. The idea of retiring to the seclusion of her cabin while all this was going on was simply preposterous, and Mammy at once exhibited the soothing effect of the suggestion; so the play proceeded.

More white powders. Then Apollo's turned black, and, poor fellow! when it did so, he might have been a god or a demon, or anything else you never saw, for his face looked little like that of a human being, giving you the impression only of wildly-rolling eyeballs, and great white teeth glistening in a ghastly, feeble, almost idiotic grin.

Edward went up to him and laid his hand on his shoulder: "That's all right, my boy. We'll have you straight in no time, and you will be the best man at the shucking to-morrow night."

More white powders. Then came Wash, great big Wash; and when his powder changed, what do you suppose he did? Well, he just fainted outright.

The remaining powders retaining their color, and Wash having been restored to consciousness, Dr. Rutherford directed him to a clump of chinquapin bushes near the "big gate" at the entrance of the plantation. There he would find a flat stone. Beneath this stone he would find thirteen grains of moulding corn and some goat's hair. These he was to bring back with him. Under the first rail near the same gate Mercy would find: a dead frog with its eyes torn out, and across the road in the hollow of a stump Apollo was to look for a muskrat's tail and a weasel's paw. They went off reluctantly, the entire corps de plantation following, and soon they all came scampering back, trampling down the ox-eyed daisies and jamming each other against the corners of the rail fence, for, sure enough, the witch's treasures had been found, but not a soul had dared to touch them. Dr. Rutherford sternly ordered them back, but all hands hung fire, and their countenances evinced resistance of such a stubborn character that Edward at length volunteered to go with them. Then it was all right, and presently returned the most laughable procession that was ever seen—Wash with his arms at right angles, bearing his grains of moulding grain on a burdock leaf which he held at as great a distance as the size of the leaf and the length of his arms [Pg 496]would admit, his neck craned out and his eyes so glued to the uncanny corn that he stumbled over every stick and stone that lay in his path; Mercy next, with ludicrous solemnity, bearing her unsightly burden on the end of a corn-stalk; Apollo last, his weasel's paw and muskrat's tail deposited in the toe of an old brogan which he had found by the roadside, brown and wrinkled and stiff, with a hole in the side and the ears curled back, and which he had hung by the heel to a long crooked stick. On they came, the crowd around them following at irregular distances, surging back and forth, advancing or retreating as they were urged by curiosity or repelled by fear.

It was now getting dark, so Dr. Rutherford, having had the table removed, brought forth three large plates filled with different colored powders. On one he placed Mercy's frog, on another Wash's corn, and on the third the muskrat's tail and weasel's paw taken from Apollo's shoe. Then we all waited in silence while with his hands behind him he strode solemnly back and forth in front of the three plates. At length the bees had ceased to hum; the cattle had come home of themselves, and could be heard lowing in the distance; the many shadows had deepened into one; twilight had faded and darkness come. Then he stood still: "I am the great Dr. Rutherford, the witch-doctor of Boston! I will now set fire to these witch's eggs, and if they burn the flames will scorch her. She will scream and fly away, and it will be a hundred years before another witch appears in this part of the country."

He applied a match to Apollo's plate and immediately the whole place was illuminated by a pale blue glare which fell with ghastly effect on the awestricken countenances around, while in the distance, apparently near the "big gate," arose a succession of the most frightful shrieks ever heard or imagined. Then the torch was applied to Mercy's frog, and forthwith every nook and corner, every leaf and every blade of grass was bathed in a flood of blood-red light, while the cries grew, if possible, louder and fiercer. Then came Wash's corn, which burned with a poisonous green glare, and lashed its sickly light over the house and yard and the crowd of black faces; and hardly had this died away when from the direction of the big gate there slowly ascended what appeared to be a blood-red ball.

"There she goes!" said the great Dr. Rutherford, and we all stood gazing up into the heavens, till at length the thing burst into flames, the sparks died away and no more was to be seen.

"Now, that is the last of her!" impressively announced the witch-doctor of Boston; "and neither she nor her sisters will dare come to this country again for the next hundred years. You can all make your minds easy about witches."

Then came triumph instead of dread, and scorn took the place of fear. There arose a succession of shouts and cheers, laughter and jeers. They patted their knees and shuffled their feet and wagged their heads in derision.

"Hyar! hyar! old gal! Done burnt up, is you? Take keer whar you lay yo' aigs arfer dis!" advised William Wirt in a loud voice.—"Go 'long, pizen sass!" said Martha. "You done lay yo' las' aig, you is!"—"Hooray tag-rag!" shouted Chesterfield.—"Histe yo' heels, ole Mrs. Satan," cried one.—"You ain't no better'n a free nigger!" said another.—"Yo' wheel done skotch for good, ole skeer-face! hyar! hyar! You better not come foolin' 'long o' Mas' Ned's niggers no mo'!"

The next night was a gala one, and a merrier set of negroes never sang at a corn-shucking, nor did a jollier leader than Wash ever tread the pile, while Mercy sat on a throne of shucks receiving Sambo's homage, and, unmolested by fear, coyly held a corncob between her teeth as she hung her head and bashfully consented that he should come next day to "ax Mas' Ned de liberty of de plantashun."

"But, Edward," said I, "why did those three powders turn black?"

"Because they were calomel, my dear, [Pg 497]and it was lime-water that was poured on them," said Mr. Smith.

"Well, but why did not the others turn black too?"

"Because the others were tartarized antimony."

"Where did you get what was in the plates, that made the lights, you know?"

"Rutherford had the material. He is going to settle in a small country town, so he provided himself with all sorts of drugs and chemicals before he left Philadelphia."

"But, Edward," persisted I, putting my hand over his book to make him stop reading, "how came those things where they were found? and the balloon to ascend just at the proper moment? and who or what was it screaming so? Neither you nor Dr. Rutherford had left the yard except to go into the house."

"No, my dear; but you remember Dick Kirby came over just after dinner, and he would not ask any better fun than to fix all that."

"Humph!" said I, "men are not so stupid, after all."

Edward looked more amused than flattered, which shows how conceited men are.



The last thing which the student learns, the last thing which the world, that universal student, comprehends, is how to study. It is only after our little store of facts has been laboriously accumulated, after we have tried path after path that promised to take us by an easy way up the Hill Difficulty, and have abandoned each in turn,—it is only when we have attained a point somewhere near the top, that we can look down and see the way we should have come, the one road that avoided unnecessary steepness and needless windings, and led by the quickest and easiest direction to the summit. The knowledge that we have thus gained, however late to profit by it ourselves, should at least be valuable to others. But, unfortunately, as Balzac has said, experience is an article that no one will use at second hand. When the great teachers of the world, who have been its most patient scholars, shall go to work to teach us how to study, and when we are content to learn, then we shall all be in a fair way to become sages.

But, in the mean time, there are two things we must apprehend—truisms both of them, but, like all truisms, better known theoretically than practically. The first is, that we must not use a microscope if we want to study the stars; and the second is, that we must beware of having a fly between the lenses of our telescope, unless we wish to discover a monster in the moon. If a discriminating public would not consider it an insult, one might add, in the third place, that it is useless to look for lunar rainbows in the daytime.

It is true that all this sounds like child's play, but it is astonishing how many of our Shakespearian critics commit one or all of these faults. Forgetting entirely that criticism demands common sense, impartial judgment, intense sympathy, a total absence of prejudice, and a great deal of general information, they bring to their task minds deeply tinctured with preconceived systems of truth, goodness and beauty, upon whose Procrustean bed the unfortunate poet must be stretched; while, as if ignorant of the history of thought, they judge the productions of another age and another atmosphere by the canons of criticism that hold good to-day among ourselves. Not only this, but they snuff enigmas in every line, and scent abstruse theories [Pg 498]behind the simplest statement. They take up passages of Shakespeare whose obvious meaning any person of average intelligence can understand, and turn and twist them into such intricate doublings that they cannot undo their own puzzle. They attack his poetry as if it were a second Rosetta Stone, or as if it had to be read, like the lines in a Hebrew book, backward. They study him in the spirit of the fool, who, being given a book upside down, stood on his head to read it—a position naturally confusing to the intellect.

Nor is it only in their methods of investigation that many of our Shakespearian critics are at fault. Their fondness for rearing vast temples of possibilities upon small corner-stones of fact is proverbial. We know that Shakespeare went to London, where he both wrote and acted plays, and upon this slender basis you may find, in almost any of his commentators, such added items of biography as this sentence from Heraud's book upon Shakespeare's Inner Life: "That he had a house in Southwark, that his brother Edmund lived with him, and that his wife was his frequent companion in London, are all exceedingly probable suppositions." So they may be to Mr. Heraud's mind, but the next biographer shall form a totally different set of "exceedingly probable suppositions" equally satisfactory to himself. The same critic says that when Shakespeare, in his Sonnets, spoke of "a black beauty" (a phrase universally used to express a brunette as late even as the age of Queen Anne), the poet had his Bible open at Solomon's Song, and meant the Bride "who is black but comely;" in other words, the Reformed Church. Mr. Page, the artist, finds in the Chandos portrait, after it has been cleaned and scraped, and upon the photographs of the German mask, a certain mark which he thinks the indication of a scar. Two gentlemen, one an artist, who have seen the mask itself, assure him that they find his scar to be merely a slight abrasion or discoloration of the plaster; but Mr. Page, secure in his position, quotes Sonnet 112,

Your love and pity doth the impression fill

Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow,

and triumphantly asks, "If that doesn't refer to the scar, what does it refer to?"

The Sonnets of Shakespeare have been quite too much neglected by the lovers of his plays, and Stevens said that the strongest act of Parliament that could be framed would fail to compel readers into their service. Two classes of minds, however, have always pondered over them—the poets, who could not fail to appreciate their wonderful power and beauty, and the psychologists, who have found in them an ample field for speculation. The variety and extent of the theories of these latter gentlemen can only be rivaled by the feat of the camel-evolving German. Indeed, it is the true German school of thought to which these speculations belong, and it is but just that to a genuine Teuton belongs the honor of the most extraordinary solution of the mystery yet given. It would take too long to sum up all the theories that have been broached upon the subject, but two or three will do as an example. Without stopping to dwell upon the ideas of M. Philarète Chasles, or of Gen. Hitchcock, who believes the Sonnets to be addressed to the Ideal Beauty, we will pass on to the book of Mr. Henry Browne, published in London in 1870. His idea is that the Sonnets are dedicated to William Herbert, afterward earl of Pembroke, and are intended chiefly as a parody upon the reigning fashion of mistress-sonneting and upon the sonneteers of the day, especially Davies and Drayton; that they also contain much which is valuable in the way of autobiography, and that "the key to the whole mystery lies in Shakespeare's conceit (i.e., Mr. Browne's conceit) of the union of his friend and his Muse by marriage of verse and mind; by which means, and for which favor, his youth and beauty are immortalized, but which theme does not fully commence till the friend had declined the invitation to marriage, which refusal begets the mystic melody." Mr. Browne graciously accepts the Sonnets in their order, and professes to be unable to name the real mistress of Herbert, though he considers [Pg 499]Lady Penelope Rich to be the object of their allegorical satire.

Mr. Heraud also accepts the order of the Sonnets as correct. His book contains an article on the Sonnets published by him in Temple Bar for April, 1862, the result, he declares (and far be it from us to dispute it), of pure induction. He has evolved the theory that Shakespeare in writing against celibacy had in view the practice of the Roman Catholic Church; that the friend whom he apostrophizes was the Ideal Man, the universal humanity, who gradually develops into the Divine Ideal, and becomes a Messiah, while the Woman is the Church, the "black but comely bride" of Solomon. "Shakespeare found himself between two loves—the celibate Church on the one hand, that deified herself, and the Reformed Church on the other, that eschewed Mariolatry and restored worship to its proper object.... Thus, Shakespeare parabolically opposed the Mariolatry of his time to the purer devotion of the word of God, which it was the mission of his age to inaugurate."

This is pretty well for a flight of inductive genius, but it is quite surpassed by the soaring Teutonic mind before mentioned, who, in the words of the reflective Breitmann,

Dinks so deeply

As only Deutschers can.

This mighty philosopher, of whom Mr. Heraud speaks with becoming reverence, is Herr Barnstorff, who published a book in 1862 to prove that the "W.H." of the dedication means William Himself, and that the Sonnets are apostrophes to Shakespeare's Interior Individuality! Mr. Heraud thinks this idea is rather too German, but, after all, not so very far out of the way, for in Sonnet 42 the poet certainly declares that his Ideal Man is simply his Objective Self.[009] For, as Mr. Heraud beautifully and lucidly remarks, "the Many, how multitudinous soever, are yet properly but the reflex of the One, and the sum of both is the Universe." And herein, according to Mr. Heraud, we find the key to the mystery.

In 1866, Mr. Gerald Massey published a large volume on the same subject, with the somewhat pretentious title. Shakespeare's Sonnets, never before interpreted; his private friends identified; together with a recovered likeness of himself. The first chapter contains a summary of the opinions of Coleridge, Wordsworth and others upon the Sonnets; a notice of the theory of Bright and Boaden (Gentleman's Magazine, 1832), afterward confirmed by a book written by Charles Armitage Brown (1838); the theories of Hunter, Hallam, Dyce, Mrs. Jameson, M. Chasles, Ulrici, Gervinus and many others (most of them, by the way, confirming the theory originated by Boaden and Bright); and having thus gone over the work of twenty-five named authors, and a space of time extending from 1817 to 1866, Mr. Massey begins his second chapter by saying that as yet there has never been any genuine attempt to interpret the Sonnets, "nothing having been done except a little surface-work." Mr. C. Armitage Brown in particular (who, by the way, must not be confounded with Mr. Henry Browne) appears to be Mr. Massey's special aversion. The very name of Brown irritates him as scarlet does an excitable bull. Armitage Brown was the intimate friend of Keats and Landor, and, Severn says, was considered to know more about the Sonnets than any man then living, while the "personal theory," as Mr. Massey styles it, has had a far larger number of supporters than any other. Unfortunately, the opinions of others have not the slightest weight with Mr. Massey, and words are too weak to express his scorn of this theory and its supporters. Mr. Brown wraps things in a winding sheet of witless words (delicious alliteration!); he leaves the subject dark and dubious as ever; his theory has only served to trouble deep waters, and make them so muddy that it is impossible to see to the bottom; in short, Mr. Brown and his fellow thinkers, in the opinion of Mr. Massey, are arch-deceivers and audacious misinterpreters, and have no more idea of what Shakespeare meant than they have of telling the truth about it. Why Mr. Massey should have worked himself [Pg 500]into a passion before he began to write is a mystery darker than any he attempts to solve, but the intemperate, bitter and self-conceited tone of the whole book is alone an immense injury to its critical value.

In constructing his elaborate theory of the Sonnets, Mr. Massey has committed many grave offences against the rules of criticism. He has gone to his work with the strongest possible prejudices; he has begun it with certain preconceived ideas of what Shakespeare meant to write; he has found it necessary to destroy entirely the order of the poems, and to rearrange them, even sometimes to alter the text, to fit his own notions; and he has carried his investigations into such puerile and minute twistings of the text as can only be paralleled by Mr. Page's quotation in support of his scar. For instance, in Sonnet 78 occur these lines:

Thine eyes that taught the dumb on high to sing

And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,

Have added feathers to the learned's wing

And given grace a double majesty.

Mr. Massey thinks that in this quatrain (which the vulgar mind would accept as it stands, nor expect to treat as other than figurative) Shakespeare was passing in review the writers under the patronage of the earl of Southampton, to whom the sonnet is addressed, and that he can identify the four personifications! Shakespeare of course is the Dumb taught to sing by the favor of the earl; resolute John Florio, the translator of Montaigne, is Heavy Ignorance; Tom Nash is the Learned, who has had feathers added to his wing; and Marlowe is the Grace to whom is given a double majesty! Marlowe's chief characteristic was majesty, says Mr. Massey; therefore, we suppose, he is spoken of as grace. The rest of his "exquisite reasons" may be found at pages 134-143 of the book.

This is nothing, however, to the feats of which Mr. Massey's subtlety is capable. Sonnet 38 begins:

How can my Muse want subject to invent,

While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse

Thine own sweet argument, too excellent

For every vulgar paper to rehearse?

That is, kindly explains Mr. Massey—lest we should be tempted to accept the obvious meaning of the lines, that the poet could not want a subject while his friend lived, whose worth was too great for every ordinary writing to celebrate fitly—"that is, the new subject of the earl's suggesting and the new form of the earl's inventing are too choice to be committed to common paper; which means that Shakespeare had until then written his personal sonnets on slips of paper provided by himself, and now the excelling argument of the earl's love is to be written in Southampton's own book"! Perhaps it means that Shakespeare had taken to gilt-edged, hot-pressed, double-scented Bath note.

Mr. Massey's ingenuity in getting over a difficulty is as great as his faculty of construction. Having assumed Lady Rich (that Stella whose golden hair makes half the glory of Sidney's verse) to be the "black beauty" of the Sonnets, he finds that Sonnet 130 perversely says, "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head"—a bit of evidence that would seem to upset this theory. But Mr. Massey is not to be put down so easily. This is ironical, he says in effect; Shakespeare did not mean this; "it is a bit of malicious subtlety to call the lady's hair black wires, which was so often besung as golden hair; and she had been so vain of its mellow splendor! ... And there is the 'if' to be considered—'much virtue in an if'!—'If hairs be wires,' says the speaker, 'black wires grow on her head!' So that the 'black' is only used conditionally, and the fact remains that 'hairs' are not 'wires.'" If we are to interpret Shakespeare in this manner, where is such foolery to cease?

To sum up the principal facts of Mr. Massey's elaborate theory in a few words, we find that he considers the Sonnets to be dedicated to William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, as "their only begetter" (or obtainer) for the publisher, Mr. Thomas Thorpe; that they consist properly of two series, the first written for Henry Wriothesley, earl of Southampton, the second for the earl of Pembroke; that they begin with the poet's advice to Southampton to marry; that when the earl fell in love with Elizabeth Vernon, [Pg 501]he suggested a new argument (see Sonnet 38), wherein is no such thing as a new argument, by the way; and that then the poet begins to write love-poems in the person of his friend. This continues up to the year 1603, when the earl of Southampton was released from prison, the dramatic sonnets being interspersed with personal ones. These dramatic sonnets also include sonnets written for Elizabeth Vernon of and to Penelope Lady Rich, of whom she is supposed to be jealous; sonnets from Southampton to herself upon the lovers' quarrel, and the desperate flirtation of Elizabeth Vernon to punish her lover (which Mr. Massey says ensued upon this jealousy); together with various other sonnets between them, and upon the earl's varying fortunes, his marriage, imprisonment, etc., which make up the first series. The second series are love-poems written for William Herbert, and addressed to Lady Rich, who is supposed by Mr. Massey to be the "black beauty" (or brunette) of the closing sonnets, although it is well known that Lady Rich was a golden blonde, with nothing dark about her but her black eyes. To make out this complicated story, Mr. Massey arranges the Sonnets in groups to suit his fancy, baptizes them as he chooses, and does not scruple to vilify the fair name of man or woman in order to make out his argument and to defend the spotless purity of Shakespeare's moral character.

Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems, by Charles Armitage Brown (1838), is the book which more than all others on the subject seems to have excited Mr. Massey's indignation, chiefly because it is the leading advocate of "the personal theory"—that is, the autobiographical and non-dramatic character of the poems. This implies an acceptance of the statement clearly made in the Sonnets of Shakespeare's infidelity to his wife; and this Mr. Massey pronounces an outrageous and unwarranted slander. But in order to leave the name of Shakespeare pure from any stain of mortal imperfection, Mr. Massey arranges a dramatic intention for the Sonnets which involves, with more or less of light or evil conduct, no less than four other names—the earl of Southampton and Elizabeth Vernon (daughter of Sir John Vernon), whom he afterward married; William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and Lady Rich, for whom Mr. Massey finds no words too abusive, and whom he considers the "worser spirit" of the later Sonnets. The history of this lady is sufficiently well known, and, so far as I can ascertain, there is no historical warrant for supposing her to have been the mistress of Herbert, or the beguiler of Southampton into such a lapse of duty to his beloved Elizabeth Vernon as should inspire the expressions of Sonnets 134, 133, 144, which Mr. Massey says are written in the person of this lady to Lady Rich. Lady Penelope Devereux, sister of Essex, was born in 1563, and her father, who died when she was but thirteen, expressed a desire that she should be married to Sir Philip Sidney. For some unknown reason the intended match was broken off, and the fair Penelope, who is described as "a lady in whom lodged all attractive graces of beauty, wit and sweetness of behavior which might render her the absolute mistress of all eyes and hearts," was married in 1580 to Lord Rich, a man whom she detested. Sidney's Astrophel and Stella, a series of one hundred and eight sonnets and poems addressed to Lady Rich, and celebrating the strength and the purity of their love for each other, was first printed in 1591. Sidney had died five years before, and so long as he lived, at least, no whisper had been breathed against Lady Rich. In 1600 we have the first notice of her losing the queen's favor from a suspicion of her infidelity to her husband, and in 1605, having been divorced, her lover, the earl of Devonshire, formerly Lord Mountjoy, immediately married her. He defended her in an eloquent Discourse and an Epistle to the King, in which he says: "A lady of great birth and virtue, being in the power of her friends, was by them married against her will unto one against whom she did protest at the very solemnity and ever after." Lord Rich treated her with great brutality, and having ceased to live with her for twelve [Pg 502]years, "did by persuasions and threatenings move her to consent unto a divorce, and to confess a fault with a nameless stranger." In spite of Mountjoy's noble pleadings for his wife, the whole court rose up against his marriage. The earl's sensitive heart was broken by the disgrace he had brought upon one whom he had loved so dearly and so long (for he was Sidney's rival in his early youth, and had been rejected by Lady Penelope's family before her marriage with Lord Rich), and he died of grief four months after their marriage, April 3, 1606. His countess, "worn out with lamentation," did not long survive him.

Does that look like the conduct of a light and fickle heart? or was it likely that so noble a man as Charles Mountjoy would have died of grief for the disgrace he had brought upon a notoriously bad woman? As to Lord Southampton's alleged flirtation with Lady Rich, which so excited Elizabeth Vernon's jealousy, Mr. Massey has not one circumstance in proof of it but the forced interpretation he chooses to put upon certain lines of certain sonnets which he has wrested from their proper places, as well as their proper meaning. After using such sonnets as the 144th to express this jealousy, he quietly confesses at the end of the chapter that it could not have gone very deep, as the intimacy of the two fair cousins (for such was their relationship) continued to be of the closest—that it was to Lady Rich's house that Elizabeth Vernon retired after her secret marriage to the earl in 1598, and there her baby was born, named Penelope after her cousin and friend! There was only matter enough in it for poetry, Mr. Massey concludes after having upset the whole order of the Sonnets to prove its reality.

Now, as to the story of Lady Rich's having been the mistress of Herbert, for whom Mr. Massey says that twenty-four of the Sonnets were written. William Herbert, afterward earl of Pembroke, was born in 1580. He came up to London in 1598, being then eighteen years of age, and made the acquaintance of Shakespeare, who was then thirty-four years old. Lady Rich, at that time, according to Mr. Massey's own statement, was "getting on for forty." The fact is that she was just thirty-five, having been born, as he tells us, in 1563. According to the obvious meaning of the Sonnets, the lady spoken of is much younger than Shakespeare, instead of a year older, and, according to Mr. Massey, Lady Rich was at that time (1597) in the midst of her love-affair with Mountjoy. The lady of the Sonnets, if we take them literally, could have borne no such high position as Lady Rich: she seems to have been neither remarkably beautiful and high-bred, nor virtuous, and was evidently a married woman of no reputation. (Sonnets 150, 152.)

It is impossible to bring up separately, in a single article, the items contained in a volume of 603 pages, so we must be content to leave Mr. Massey's theory with these meagre allusions to its principal statements, and pass on to that of Mr. Charles Armitage Brown. Upholding the opinion that the Sonnets are autobiographical, he maintains that they are in reality not sonnets, but poems in the sonnet stanza, there being but three sonnets, properly so called, in the series. The poems are six in number, terminating each with an appropriate envoi, and are addressed, the first five to the poet's friend, "W.H.," and the sixth to his mistress. That friend must have been very young, very handsome, of high birth and fortune; and to all this the description of William Herbert exactly answers. The divisions made by Mr. Brown are as follows: First poem, 1 to 26—to his friend, persuading him to marry. Second poem, 27 to 55—to his friend, who had robbed the poet of his mistress, forgiving him. Third poem, 56 to 77—to his friend, complaining of his coldness, and warning him of life's decay. Fourth poem, 78 to 101—to his friend, complaining that he prefers another poet's praises, and reproving him for faults that may injure his character. Fifth poem, 102 to 126—to his friend, excusing himself for having been some time silent, and disclaiming the charge of inconstancy. Sixth poem, 127 to 152—to his mistress, on her infidelity. In this last poem, says [Pg 503]Mr. Brown, we find the whole tenor to be "hate of my sin grounded on sinful loving." However the poet may waver, and for the moment seem to return to his former thralldom, indignation at the faithlessness of his mistress and at her having been, through treachery, the cause of his estrangement from a friend, at the last completely conquers his sinful loving. "For myself," continues Mr. Brown, "I confess I have not the heart to blame him at all, purely because he so keenly reproaches himself for his own sin and folly. Fascinated as he was, he did not, like other poets similarly guilty, directly or by implication obtrude his own passions on the world as reasonable laws. Had such been the case, he might have merited our censure, possibly our contempt."

Having thus glanced over the work of the principal commentators upon the Sonnets, let us try the simple plan of reading them as we read Tennyson's In Memoriam, for instance, or the Sonnets from the Portuguese, by Mrs. Browning. In Mr. R.G. White's admirable edition of Shakespeare he confesses that he has no opinion upon the subject: "Mr. Thomas Thorpe appears in his dedication as the Sphinx of literature, and thus far he has not met his Oedipus." But herein have we not the main difficulty stated? The first great error committed by almost all students of the Sonnets, if we may be pardoned the opinion, is to take it for granted that they are a mystery whose key is lost. Just so long as the Sonnets are considered as a species of enigma they will be misunderstood and misinterpreted. It was not Shakespeare's habit to talk in riddles or to propound psychological problems: of all poets except Chaucer he is the most simple, direct and straightforward.

We have in the Amoretti of Spenser, and in the Astrophel and Stella of Sir Philip Sidney, admirable examples of autobiographical poems written mostly in sonnet stanza, of irregular and varied construction and subject, although the general theme is the same. Surely we may bring to the study of Shakespeare's poems the same simple method used in reading these. Poets of his own day, and using in their highest flights the form which was Shakespeare's familiar relaxation, nobody has tried to ascribe to Sidney and Spenser metaphysical mysteries and psychological conceits. Let us hope that some day this mistaken idolatry of Shakespeare, which besmokes his shrine with concealing clouds of incense, will be done away with, and that we shall be allowed to behold the simple truth, which never suffers in his case for being naked.

In his 76th Sonnet, Shakespeare says,

Why write I still all one, ever the same.

And keep invention in a noted weed,

That every word doth almost tell my name,

Showing their birth and whence they did proceed?

Oh know, sweet love, I always write of you,

And you and love are still my argument.

With this explicit declaration of Shakespeare, the general character of the poems, and the similar writings of his friends and contemporaries, we can but consider the Sonnets as autobiographical poems, written during a period of time beginning certainly as early as 1598 (when Meres speaks of Shakespeare's having written sonnets), and ceasing some time before their first publication in 1609. In the same way were written the poems composing Tennyson's In Memoriam, which, although dedicated to "A.H.H.," close with a long poem addressed to the poet's sister.

The first and principal series of the Sonnets (divided from the second in many editions of Shakespeare by a mark of separation) is clearly addressed to a male friend. The extremely lover-like use of language by which they are characterized was a common trait of the age; and here again we see the necessity of thoroughly understanding the atmosphere that Shakespeare breathed. To us, with our frigid vocabulary of friendship, such a style sounds unnatural, and undignified perhaps: with the Elizabethans it was an every-day habit. Lilly, the author of Euphues, says in his Endymion, "The love of men to women is a thing common and of course; the friendship of man to man, infinite and immortal." And indeed it is to the influence of the Euphues that much of the poetic ardor of language characterizing the masculine friendship of the time was due. [Pg 504]A man's beauty was as often the theme of verse as a woman's, and the endearing terms only associated by us with the conversation of lovers were used continually among men. The friends in Shakespeare's plays, as in all the other dramas and novels of the period, continually address each other as "sweet," and even "sweet love" and "beloved." Ben Jonson called himself the "lover" of Camden, and dedicated his eulogistic lines to "my beloved Mr. William Shakespeare." There is therefore no reason for considering the language of the first series of Sonnets as necessarily inapplicable to a masculine friend. The second series, beginning with the 127th Sonnet, is as evidently addressed, as Mr. Brown says, "to his mistress, on her infidelity;" and the Sonnets end with two upon "Cupid's Brand," admitted by all to be separate poems, and wrongfully tacked on to the Sonnets proper.

Taking it for granted, then, from this very literal survey of the text, that the Sonnets are autobiographical, we find their study divided into two branches: (1) the story that the poems themselves tell by the most simple and direct statements; and (2) the conjectural explanation of the personages of that story, involving a careful historical comparison of names and dates, but amounting, after all is said that can be said, simply to conjecture, incapable of direct proof. The first part is to the real lover of Shakespeare and of poetry the only important one; the second concerns that which is mortal and has passed away. The first implies a knowledge of the friendship and the love of Shakespeare; the second the discovery of the names of his friend, of the poet who was his rival in the praises of that friend, and of the mistress who was unworthy of them both; not to mention such other items concerning time and place as might be ascertained by a persevering antiquarian.

It is impossible, within less than a volume, to quote from the Sonnets very freely, therefore we shall be compelled to trust to the reader's recollection of them, assisted by an occasional reference; this explanation of them being simply a record of the impressions they have produced upon an unbiased mind reading them as one would read any other poetry of the same character.

The story unfolded by the Sonnets, then, is this: Shakespeare had an ardent friendship, made all the livelier by the fervor of the poetic temperament, for a young man of noble birth and very great personal beauty, himself a lover of poetry, if not a poet. This youth was very much younger than Shakespeare, who was already beginning to speak of himself as past the prime of life, although he was probably not more than thirty-four. The friend of Shakespeare was almost perfect in beauty, intellect and disposition, but he had two faults: he was extremely fond of flattery (Sonnet 84), and he was over-addicted to pleasure:

How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame

Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,

Doth spot the beauty of thy budding name!     (95.)

Shakespeare scorned to palter with the truth—"fair, kind and true" he had called his friend—but he saw his faults with the keen eye of love, that cannot bear an imperfection in the one who should be all-perfect.

Thou truly fair wert truly sympathized

In true plain words by thy true-telling friend;    (82.)


I love thee in such sort,

As, thou being mine, mine is thy good report;    (36.)

therefore in all love he warns him to take heed.

Such was the character of Shakespeare's friend, to whom he begins by addressing seventeen sonnets (or poems in the sonnet stanza, which is the better definition), urging him to marry. He knows the weakness of his character and the temptations that beset him, and in a strain of loving persuasion, whose theme bears great resemblance to many passages in Sidney's Arcadia, he beseeches him, now that he stands upon the top of happy hours,

Make thee another self for love of me.

That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

Sonnet 17 in a most beautiful manner sums up the argument and ends the subject.

The Sonnets from the 18th to the 126th are all addressed to this beloved friend, [Pg 505]who nevertheless, early in the history of their friendship, inflicted upon the poet a cruel wrong. With the 33d Sonnet begin the references to this double treachery. It is impossible for an unprejudiced reader to interpret this and the other poems upon the same subject in any way but one. The mistress of Shakespeare, fascinated by the beauty and brilliant qualities of his friend, took advantage of the poet's absence to win that facile heart, so incapable of resisting the charms of woman and the tongue of flattery;

And when a woman woos, what woman's son

Will sourly leave her till she have prevailed?    (41.)

His friend's loss was the greater to the poet, for, although he loved with passionate strength, it was against his conscience and his reason. Such a love, he says, is "enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;" "Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream."

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leadeth to this hell.    (129.)

Nor does he mince matters in directly addressing her. She is a brunette, with black eyes and black hair, yet black in nothing except her deeds, which have given her an evil reputation. She has sealed false bonds of love as often as he, and is twice forsworn, having deceived both her husband and her lover. She is as cruel as if she had that transcendent beauty which in reality she only possesses in his doting eyes. He knows that her heart is "a bay where all men ride," and yet love persuades him to believe her true.

Who taught thee how to make me love thee more

The more I hear and see just cause of hate?

She is his "worser spirit," tempting him to ill—his "false plague," whom he knows to be "as black as hell, as dark as night," though he has sworn her fair and true. His friend's name is Will also, and Sonnets 135, 136 contain a play upon their names:

Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy "Will,"

And "Will" to boot, and "Will" in overplus.

Only love my name, he says to her, and then you will still love me, for my name too is "Will."

Such are the three actors in this tragedy of sin and sorrow and remorse; and the more we read these wonderful poems, and perceive the intense passion that throbs through them, the nearer we seem to get to the great heart of Shakespeare, the real inner life of that man of whose outer personality we know so little. We see him wounded to the quick by his dearest friend, yet weighing the sin of that friend in the balance of divinest mercy as he acknowledges the strength of the temptation, and, while he does not extenuate the sin, extends a loving pardon to the sinner. He knows weakness of his own soul: he himself struggles in the toils of an unworthy passion, which his reason abhors while his heart is led captive. His is the battle and the defeat: who is he that he should judge with indignant virtue the failing of another?—

I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,

Although thou steal thee all my poverty;

And yet love knows it is a greater grief

To bear love's wrong than hate's known injury.    (40.)

He pardons the penitent as freely as only so great and magnanimous a soul can, but gently reminds him that "though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:"

The offender's sorrow lends but weak relief

To him that bears the strong offence's cross.    (34.)

Hereafter we two must be twain, the poet says, although our undivided loves are one, for fear thy good report suffer, which is to me as my own. Do not even remember me after I am dead, if that remembrance cause you any sorrow, nor rehearse my poor name, but let your love decay with my life;

Lest the wise world should look into your moan,

And mock you with me after I am gone.

Such is the story of the Sonnets, the saddest of all stories, as it comes to us from the simple and unbiased reading of the series as it stands, without alteration or transposition. The meaning is sufficiently obvious without making any change, although, judging from the purely eulogistic character of some of the first series of the Sonnets, and the purely reflective style of others, it seems probable that those which are more or less reproachful in tone may belong together, nearer the second series. Still, even to this rearrangement there are objections [Pg 506]when we consider the alternations of feeling and the different conditions that must have affected the poet during the space of time covered by these poems. In the 104th Sonnet three years are mentioned as having elapsed since the friends first met, and the time covered by the whole series was probably still longer. Conjectural evidence points to William Herbert as the person to whom the Sonnets are addressed. His name, his age, his beauty, his rank, all agree with Shakespeare's description. As for the earl of Southampton, the poet's early patron, to whom the Venus and Adonis and the Lucrece are dedicated, his name was Henry; he was but nine years younger than Shakespeare, and therefore not likely to have been called by him "a sweet boy;" he was a remarkably plain man, instead of an Adonis, and noted, not for his devotion to women in general, but for his ardent attachment to Mistress Elizabeth Vernon, whom he married secretly, in spite of the queen's opposition, in 1598. Now, the earliest mention that we have of Shakespeare's poems is when Meres speaks of "his sugared sonnets among his private friends." This was in 1598, and, as Hallam and other critics have argued, is probably a reference to earlier sonnets which have been lost, not to those published in 1609. It was in 1598 that William Herbert, a brilliant and fascinating young man, addicted to pleasure and susceptible to flattery, but strongly disinclined to marriage, came up to London to live, having visited the metropolis during the previous year.

As for Lady Rich, besides the objections already urged on the score of her personal appearance and her age, Shakespeare would never have dared to speak of a reigning beauty of the court in the words of Sonnets 137, 144, 152. In fact, Mr. Massey's whole argument upon this head is based upon his assertion that the poems are dramatic and not personal.

Mr. Massey's conviction that Marlowe is the rival poet of whose "great verse" Shakespeare was jealous depends upon Southampton, and not Herbert, being acknowledged to be the friend addressed, for Marlowe died in 1593, when Herbert was but thirteen years old, and five years before we have the first mention of Shakespeare as a writer of sonnets. Certainly, a writer who had died five years before we find any mention of the Sonnets can hardly be the living poet of whom Shakespeare distinctly speaks in Sonnets 80 and 86. Also in Sonnet 82 he makes mention of the "dedicated words" this rival addresses to his friend. Now, we have no evidence that Marlowe ever dedicated anything to Southampton, although Mr. Massey tries to bolster up a desperate case by saying that "there is nothing improbable in supposing that Marlowe's Hero and Leander was intended to be dedicated to Southampton" had the poet lived to finish it!

A stronger chain of evidence (still conjectural, it must be remembered) points to Ben Jonson as this rival poet. His Epigrams, which contain a eulogy upon Pembroke, and his Catiline, were both dedicated to this earl, although neither of them was published till after the Sonnets. We find the earl of Pembroke's name among the actors in Ben Jonson's masques, and Falkland's eclogue testifies to their intimacy. And in the 80th Sonnet, Shakespeare uses the same comparison of himself and his rival, to two ships of different bulk, which Fuller used to describe Shakespeare and Ben Jonson as they appeared at the Mermaid Tavern.

As for the name of the false woman who ensnared two such noble hearts, it is lost for ever, let us hope, in a deserved oblivion. The scanty data that we have given here are about all that can be accepted without wrenching history and poetry from their proper sphere. But so long as the spirit is more than the letter, so long will the Sonnets of Shakespeare be read by all true lovers of true poetry, whether their historical significance ever be known or not. They are the saddest and the sweetest story of friendship that we have in all literature; and while one faithful friend remains possessed of that fine wit that can "hear with eyes what silent love hath writ," his heart will beat in answer to the perfect love of the greatest of all poets and the noblest of all friends.


[Pg 507]



Some visitors to the Eternal City leave it without having found time to see this one of its wonders, while others are driven by the sad inelasticity of the hours to leave a different class of objects for "another time." But it may be safely asserted that none who have been at Rome for even twenty-four hours ever left it without having had their attention forcibly arrested by the groups of painters' and sculptors' models—the former mainly—who haunt the upper part of the great steps that lead up from the Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità di Monti, and perhaps even more specially the corner where the Via Sistina falls into the Piazza Barberini. But very few probably have asked for, and fewer still obtained, information as to who and what these people are, and whence they come. Yet to an attentive observer many points about the appearance of these groups must suggest that a curious interest might attach itself to the reply to such questions. There are sights in Rome of grander and greater interest, but there is nothing in all the famous centre of the Catholic world more distinctively, essentially and exclusively Roman, more unlike anything that is seen elsewhere, more instinct with couleur locale, than these singularly picturesque groups of nomads.

Let us, then, take a stroll among them, starting from that bright centre of the foreigners' quarter of Rome, the Piazza di Spagna. It is a brilliant January day, and, we will say, ten o'clock in the morning. In the Via Babuino and the neighboring streets, which the sun has not yet visited, the morning cold is a little sharp. Matutina parum cautos jam frigora mordent. But the magnificent flight of the great stair—there are properly eleven flights, divided by as many spacious and handsomely balustraded landing-places, each flight consisting of twelve steps, and all of white marble—with its southern exposure has almost the temperature of a hothouse. There are two or three beggars basking in the sunshine near the bottom of the steps. But our models do not consort with these. Not only are they not beggars, but they belong to a different caste and a different race. We leisurely saunter up the huge stair, pausing at each landing-place to turn and enjoy the view over the city, and the gradually rising luminous haze around the cupola of St. Peter's, and the heights of Monte Mario clear against the brilliant blue sky. It is not till we are at the topmost flight that we come upon the objects of our ramble. There we fall in with a group of them, consisting perhaps of three or four girls, as many children, a man in the prime of life, and an aged patriarch. There is not the smallest possibility that we should pass them unobserved. They are far too remarkable and too unlike anything else around us. Even those who have no eye for the specialties of type which characterize the human countenance will not fail to be struck by the peculiarities of the costume of the group of figures before us. At the first glance the eye is caught by the quantity of bright color in their dresses. The older women wear the picturesque white, flatly-folded linen cloth on their heads which is the usual dress of the contadine women in the neighborhood of Rome. The younger have their hair ornamented with some huge filagree pin or other device of a fashion which proclaims itself to the most unskilled eye as that of some two or three hundred years ago. All have light bodices of bright blue or red stuff laced in front, and short petticoats of some equally bright color, not falling below the ankle. But the most singular portion of the costume is the universally-worn apron. It consists of a piece of very stout and coarsely-woven wool of the brightest blue, green or yellow, about twenty inches broad by thirty-three in length, across which, near the top and [Pg 508]near the bottom, run two stripes, each about eight inches wide, of hand-worked embroidery of the strangest, old-world-looking patterns and the most brilliant colors. These things are manufactured by the peasantry of the hill-country in the neighborhood of San Germano, who grow, shear, spin, weave, dye and embroider the wool themselves. And being barbarously unsophisticated by any adulteration of cotton, and in no wise stinted in the quantity of material, they are wonderfully strong and enduring. The most remarkable thing about them, however, is the unerring instinct with which these uneducated manufacturers harmonize the most audaciously violent contrasts of brilliant color. It is not too much to assert that they are never at fault in this respect. So much is this the case, and so truly artistic is this homely peasant manufacture, that there is hardly a painter's studio in Rome in which two or three of these richly colored apron-cloths may not be seen covering a sofa or thrown over the back of a chair. A great part of the singularly picturesque and striking appearance of the group of figures we are speaking of is due to the universal use of these aprons by the women. The men also affect an unusually large amount of bright color in their costume. The waistcoat is almost always scarlet; the velveteen jacket or short coat generally blue; the breeches sometimes the same, but often of bright yellow leather, and the stockings a lighter blue. The men often wear a long cloak reaching to the heels, always hanging open in front, and generally lined with bright green baize. They generally, too, have some bright-colored ribbons around their high-peaked, conical felt hats. But I must not forget to mention the costume of the children. It consists of an exact copy in miniature of that of their elders; and the inconceivable quaintness and queer old-world look produced is not to be imagined by those who have never witnessed it. Fancy a little imp of six or seven years old dressed in little blue jacket, bright-yellow leather breeches, blue stockings, sheepskin sandals on his little bits of feet, and long bright flaxen curls streaming down from under a gayly-ribboned brigand's hat!

But if the first glance is given to this singularity of costume, the second will not fail to take cognizance of the remarkable beauty of feature to be observed in almost every individual of this race of models. The men are well grown, almost invariably wear their black hair streaming over their shoulders, and have generally fine eyes and picturesquely colored, swarthy red faces. But the beauty of the girls is in almost every case something quite extraordinary; and the same may be said of the children. The next thing which the closeness of observation this unusual degree of beauty is calculated to attract will reveal to the observer is that all these singularly lovely faces are remarkably like each other, and at the same time remarkably unlike any of the faces around them. There is often much beauty among the Roman women of the lower classes, but it is of an essentially different type. The Roman beauty is generally large in stature and ample in development, with features whose tendency to heaviness needs the majestic and Juno-like style of beauty which the Roman women so frequently have to redeem them. But the countenances of the women of whom we have been speaking have nothing at all of this. The features are small, delicately cut, the form of face generally short, rather than tending to oval, being in this respect also in marked contrast with the ordinary Roman type. There is a type of face well known to most English eyes, though less so, I take it, to those on the western side of the Atlantic, which is strangely recalled to the memory by these model-girls; and that is the gypsy type. There is the same Oriental look about them, the same brilliancy of dark eyes under dark low brows, the same delicately-cut noses and full yet finely-chiseled lips. They have also almost invariably the same wondrous wealth of long raven black tresses, glossy but not fine. The complexions are fresher, more delicate, and with more of bloom, than is often seen among the gypsies; and this is the principal difference between the two types. There is also another [Pg 509]point of similarity, which, if the accounts of Eastern travelers may be accepted, seems also to point to an Oriental origin. I allude to the singular gracefulness of "pose" which is observable in these people, among the men and women alike. There they stand and lounge, or sit propped, half recumbent, against a balustrade in the sun, in all sorts of attitudes, but in all they are graceful. There is that indefinable simplicity and ease in the natural movement and disposition of their limbs which tuition can never, and birth in the purple can so rarely, enable a European to assume. It may perhaps be supposed that the exigencies of their profession have not been without influence in producing the effect I am speaking of. But I do not think that such is the case. In the young and the old, in the children even, the same thing is observable; and the exceeding difficulty of teaching it may be accepted, I think, as a guarantee that it has not been taught in the case of creatures so unteachable as these half-wild sons and daughters of Nature.

Now, if these people, who for generations past have exercised the profession of artists' models in Rome, do really belong to a race apart from the inhabitants of the district around Rome, as I think cannot be doubted by any one who has carefully observed them, the question suggests itself, Who and what are they, and whence do they come? Fortunately, we are not unprovided with an answer, and the answer is rather a curious one. If the excursionist from Rome to Tivoli will extend his ramble a little way among the Sabine Mountains which lie behind it, up the valley through which the Teverone—the præceps Anio of Horace—runs down into the Campagna, he will see on his right hand, when he has left Tivoli about ten miles behind him, a most romantically situated little town on the summit of a conically shaped mountain. The name of it is Saracinesco, and its story is as curious as its situation. It is said—and the tradition has every appearance of truth—that the town was founded by a body of Saracens after their defeat by Berengarius in the ninth century. The spot is just such as might have been selected for such a purpose. It is difficult of access to an extraordinary degree, and it is said to be no less than two thousand five hundred feet above the stream which flows at the base of the rocky hill on which it is built. Tradition, however, is not the only testimony to the truth of this account of the origin of the strangely placed little town, for in many cases the inhabitants have preserved their old Arabic names. It is from this strange eyrie of Saracinesco that our picturesque and handsome friends of the Piazzi di Spagna descend to seek a living at Rome from the profession which they have followed for generations of artists' models. And this is the explanation of the singular sameness of beautiful feature, the utterly un-Roman type, the sharply-cut features, and the admirable grace of movement and of attitude which characterize these denizens of the steps—if of the steppes no longer.

What a life they lead! From early morn to dewy eve there they lounge, in every sort of restful attitude, basking in the sun, with nothing on earth to occupy mind or body save an eternal clatter. On what subjects, who shall say or attempt to guess? Every now and then one of the tribe is hired by an artist to go and pose for a Judith, a Lucretia, a Venus, as the case may be. Some are wanted for an arm, some for a hand, some for a brow, some for a leg, some for a bust. Some one may have a special gift for personating an ancient Roman, and another exactly assume the saintly look of a Madonna or the smile and expression of a Venus. Their several and special gifts and capacities are all well known in the world of their patrons, and special reputations are made in the art-world accordingly. It is a strange life: not probably conducive to a high development of intellectual and moral excellence, but very much so to the picturesque peopling of the most magnificent flight of stairs in Christendom.

T. A. T.


Nowhere do we see the genuine soul and character of a people so distinctly [Pg 510]as in its myths, legends, popular songs and traditions. They reflect faithfully, though—perhaps we should say, because—unconsciously, the deeds, aspirations and beliefs of the earlier ages, and not only afford to our own precious material for philological and ethnological study, but still exert, in many instances at least, considerable influence over the ideas and feelings of men. The Faust legend will never lose its mysterious fascination: many poets have felt it, but Goethe's insight penetrated all its depth of meaning, and his marvelous poem is for us the supreme expression of it.

But it is interesting to find the same legend in Poland, with characteristic variations from the German conception, illustrative of the hospitality and chivalry and the dominant influence of woman which are such marked features in Polish history. Twardowsky (the Doctor Faustus of Poland) lived in the sixteenth century, in the time of Sigismund Augustus. He studied at the University of Cracow, rose to the rank of doctor, and devoted himself especially to chemistry and physics, having a secret laboratory in a vast cavern of Mount Krzemionki. Science in those days was regarded as intimately associated with the black arts, and it was not surprising that Twardowsky's contemporaries added the title of sorcerer to those of doctor and professor, supposed he had made an alliance with Satan, and fancied an army of demons always waiting to do his bidding. All this did not prevent his enjoyment of the king's favor. Sigismund had married, against his mother's wish, Barbara Radziwill, the beautiful daughter of a Polish magnate. The nobles, probably influenced by Bona, the mother of the king, demanded that Barbara should be repudiated: he indignantly refused, and shortly afterward she was poisoned. The grief and rage of Sigismund were without bounds: he exiled his mother, wore black all the rest of his life, and had the apartments of his palace hung with it. His melancholy gave him new interest in the occult sciences, and he became more than ever intimate with Twardowsky, sometimes visiting him in his cavern, sometimes receiving him secretly in his palace. At first, he was satisfied with the chemical experiments which the populace regarded as supernatural, but after a while he urgently desired Twardowsky to produce for him a vision of Barbara. Twardowsky appointed a night for the exhibition of his skill, and after drawing a magic circle and pronouncing some mysterious words, he called Barbara thrice by name, and she appeared—not as a spectre risen from the tomb, but in all the beauty and freshness which had been the king's delight. He fainted at the sight, and his regard for the magician increased greatly. But one fatal evening he found the door of the cavern shut. Twardowsky, not expecting him, was not there. After some delay the door was opened by a beautiful young woman. "Barbara!" exclaimed Sigismund. "Barbara is my name, but I am alive, not dead," was her reply. Twardowsky's device was now exposed. He had created an illusion for the satisfaction of Sigismund by employing this substitute for his lost Barbara. She was a girl named Barbara Gisemka, whom Twardowsky had rescued from the hands of a furious mob, had concealed in his cavern, and initiated into the sciences to which he devoted himself. She became his adept and his mistress. But the king, furious at the imposition which had been practiced upon him, and desirous of making this beautiful creature his own, had Twardowsky murdered, and gave out that the devil had carried him off. Barbara Gisemka acquired immense influence over the mind of her royal lover, which lasted while he lived. When he was ill she suffered no physician to approach him, and was with him when he died in 1572.

So much for history. Tradition has transformed Twardowsky into a gay and brilliant gentleman, who, in order to gain all the pleasures of life, sold his soul to the devil, engaging on his honor to give it up to him whenever he (the devil) should enter the city of Rome. Twardowsky now enjoyed to the full his new power, reveling in luxury himself, and lavishing gifts and banquets on his [Pg 511]friends. The populace also shared his generosity—all the more, too, from the strange manner of it. On one occasion, we are told, he pierced three holes in a shoemaker's nose with his own awl, and caused a tun of brandy to flow from it for the refreshment of the crowd. One day he was informed that a stranger who was at the inn called the "City of Rome" wished to see him. He went at once to the place with no misgivings, but on his arrival there found the devil, who had come to claim the fulfillment of the contract. Provoked at the quibble, he resolved to employ a ruse himself, and just as the devil was about to take possession of him he seized the infant child of the innkeeper from its cradle and held it up before him, its innocence being a sure defence against Satan's power. He, however, demanded what had become of his plighted word. The honor of the Polish gentleman could not resist this appeal. He put down the child and rose into the air with Satan. But while they were still hovering over Cracow the sound of church-bells awoke in Twardowsky's recollection a hymn to the Virgin, which he forthwith sang, and the devil could hold him no longer. Twardowsky, however, could not get down again, but remains suspended in the air, only receiving news from the earth by means of a spider which happened to be on the tail of his coat, and which occasionally spins a thread and goes down, for a while, returning with whatever it may have picked up for his information and amusement.

No Polish story would be complete without a woman, and so we find that Twardowsky had a wife, beautiful, witty and imperious, with all the fascinations universally conceded to the Polish women. Madame Twardowsky is said to have ruled her husband just as he ruled the devil during the time of that personage's subjection; and there is a second version of the story which makes her too much for Satan himself. According to this account, Twardowsky was entertaining a number of friends at the "City of Rome," when suddenly the devil appeared. While Twardowsky, to gain time, was reading over the compact, his wife, looking over his shoulder, suddenly laughed, and addressing the devil, told him there were still three conditions for him to fulfill, on failure of which the parchment should be torn up, and asked whether she might impose them. The devil politely replied in the affirmative. "Here, then," said she, "see this horse painted on the wall of the inn: I wish to mount him, and you must make me a whip of sand and a staple of walnuts." The devil bowed, and in a moment the horse was prancing before their eyes. The lady now had a large tub of holy water brought in, and invited the devil, as his second task, to plunge into it and refresh his weary limbs. He coughed, shivered, then went in resolutely, coming out again as quickly as possible, and shaking himself well. "The third task will be a pleasant one," said the lady with her most bewitching smile: "The first year my husband passes in hell you shall spend with me, swearing to me love, fidelity and implicit obedience. Will you?" The devil rushed toward the door, but she was too quick for him, and succeeded in locking it and putting the key into her pocket. Satan, resolved to escape from the servitude in store for him, could only do so by going through the keyhole, which has been black ever since.

E. C. R.


HAVANA, Feb. 14, 1875.

It is not a very long sail from home to Cuba—you pass into the Bay of Havana on the morning of the fifth day, if you have luck—but the sky and land you left behind at this wintry season at home are very different from those you find on arriving here. It is a great change in so short a time from the dun-colored shore and the frozen river to the waving verdure of the Cuban coast and the sparkling blue and white of the water. We made the land before daylight, and, the rules forbidding us to enter the harbor till sunrise, we bobbed up and down for two or three hours a mile or so outside of the Moro Castle, which guards the narrow entrance to Havana. The moon [Pg 512]was so brilliant that we did not have to wait for day to enjoy the scene before us: in fact, it could not have been improved by the sun. The fortress of Moro crouches on a bed of rock, rearing a tall lighthouse aloft. Its Moorish turrets have a soft rounded outline, and the undulations of the shore blend with the masonry of the castle; only a sharp retiring angle here and there gives an occasional glimpse of a grim purpose. When the Moro light is put out, ships in the offing may enter the bay. The mouth of the harbor is not more than half a mile wide, and on the shore opposite to the Moro the town of Havana comes down to the water's edge, withdrawing up the bay on one hand, and up the sea-coast on the other. A pilot is not necessary except for the perquisites of office, but one comes on board, and with anxious countenance directs the ship straight on through clear water for a mile, when the anchor is dropped.

Just as day breaks on the high ground on the Moro shore, and the growing light brings houses and trees and ships into relief, with all their rich variety of color, the scene is memorable and full of beauty. On the green slope behind the castle, while the outline of the tropical vegetation is only stealing into view, there is hid, and yet visible, a long, low building of yellow columns, blue facade, brown gables and red tiles: if you shut out the rest of the landscape with your hands, you would say it was a picture by Fortuny. The expanse of the bay is fine, and the large fleet at anchor furnishes it but thinly. Townward, as the sun's rays begin to dissipate the brown shadows and define shape and color, the city sparkles like a gorgeous mosaic; but in another half hour, when the sun is higher, the hazy softness has departed and the city is ablaze with light, so that your eyes can scarcely look at it. Then, if you have seen it earlier, it loses its charm.

I was jealous of Havana from what I had heard and read of it: if the shore-line, and the entrance, and the bay, and the scene were finer than Rio, I was prepared to be angry; but Rio is grand and Havana is pretty, so that one may like both and not divide his allegiance. A patchwork of good pictures in the Moorish vein of town, and shore, and water would reproduce, and yet not copy, all that Havana has to offer; but there is not a picture in the world that aspires to the grandeur of Rio. But I won't deny the sparkle and brilliancy of Havana. At this moment the sky is of a perfect "Himmel-blau." I can see from my window, near the roof, the rich, harmonious Moorish blending of varied colors in the houses; and beyond these "the white feet of the wind shine along the sea." A ship with all sail set is coming into port, the white-capped waves rolling her along before the stiff sea-breeze. Wind is the bane of the place. It sets in to blow, as the sailors say, soon after daylight nine days in ten, and blows all day, and sometimes far into the night. It is not always the soft, perennial zephyr of tradition, but often chill and raw, and then there is no escape from it except to shut yourself in your room; and that means hermetically sealing, for when you close a window here you close a shutter, and thus, if you shut out the breeze, you shut the light out also. The doors and windows are not meant to exclude the air, and so when the breeze gets on a frolic it whirls up stairs and down—goeth, in fact, where it listeth; and sometimes one feels it going through him like a knife.

The houses are built in one width of rooms round a hollow square; consequently, when you put your boots out you put them out of doors. In the midst of the house, with the sky overhead, the umbrageous palm tree and banana spread their broad leaves. The rooms are high and white, with little furniture, and no curtains, with open ceiling of painted rafters, and iron gratings, like a prison's bars, shutting out the street in the front of the house. Behind these gratings the passer-by may see the Cuban family arranged in two prim rows of arm-chairs vis-à-vis, or gathered about the bars as if looking for some means of escape. Occasionally now in some of the better quarters a child of either sex, but black as night, disports itself in full view, "covered [Pg 513]by the darkness only." There is an infinite variety of opinion in regard to the clothing necessary to comfort here. I have often found a light overcoat comfortable, but there is a tribe or clan from some Spanish province whose boast it is to wear coat nor vest by day or night. The representatives of the various provinces maintain their individuality here, and preserve for festive occasions the costumes which characterize them in Spain. Some of these are very rich, and many of the men, especially of the lower orders, being stalwart and handsome, their gala appearance is decidedly striking. In the fête in honor of Alfonso XII. there were some beautiful groups of men, women and children in Spanish costumes, dancing in the procession with silk emblems and flower wreaths, and singing provincial songs. Others were mounted on the splendid Andalusian horses, which make one's mouth water with desire to ride them. They are as beautiful as Fromentin and Gérôme have painted them—such eyes and nostrils, and such action! It has taken centuries to produce him, but at last there is a saddle-horse: if only for parade occasions, that is no matter. He is perfect in his kind. The Arab keeps his horse in his tent, but the Cuban keeps his in his house. We should say that the horse-owning Cuban sleeps over a stable, but no doubt to his mind his stable is merely under his room. A rich gentleman in town has encased his horses in a beautiful drawing-room of cedar and satin-wood, and it is rather pleasant than otherwise to pass through it on the way to the other apartments.

The houses of Havana are low; the streets are narrow; the sidewalks ditto: there is an occasional plaza of broad, white glare, which must be intolerable in summer-time. The Prado has trees which are rather Dutch than tropical; and the Paseo, where the driving is, is quite a fine avenue. This afternoon, though it is Lent, the Carnival will rage there. Some people go in masks, but not many; and there are no confetti. It is mainly a parade—rich people turning out in their best, poor people making light of their poverty: the rich gorgeous in apparel, and splendid in equipage, the poor arrayed in some gay, inexpensive motley, and crowded into miserable vehicles. The particolored costumes give an aspect of brightness to the street; but it is a solemn sight to see four Cuban women, of the middle age, drawn by a four-in-hand, arrayed in full ball-dress, powdered and bejeweled, and passing in review of admiring mankind.

The ugliness of the women amounts to a vice, and is unredeemed by any quality such as sometimes palliates plainness of features. I have cried aloud for the beautiful Cuban, but in vain. I am assured that she exists, am told, "My dear fellow, you never made a greater mistake in your life," am poohpoohed in various ways; but I cannot find her. I hear it said that owing to the political chaos here she has retired from public view, but it is not denied that she will go to the Carnival and the opera. I was warned not to expect her at the ball in Alfonso's honor at the Spanish Club, and certainly it was a timely warning. Fancy a long hall of colored marble, pillars running the length of it forming arcades; balconies on both sides hanging over the streets, and full of young men smoking cigarettes; men parading up and down the hall and quizzing the women, who were all seated—two rows of them, hundreds all together—seriously contemplating the male procession: enameled, powdered, attired in the wealth of the Indies, saying nothing, doing nothing, not smiling, not blinking, just sitting there, an awful array of hideousness. After the band struck up and the dancing began, I remained long enough to lose in the music the horrible impression of, the opening scene, and then hurried home. At the opera and the Carnival it is not so positively unendurable, but a handsome face, or a pretty face, or even an intelligent, expressive face, I have not yet seen in a woman in Havana; and at this season of the year, if ever, Havana is Cuba. I don't condemn them—I merely give my luck.

The town is of course full of Spanish military and their accessories, civil functionaries [Pg 514]who are all Spanish, money-makers, adventurers, shoddy. The Spanish army is at "the front," posted across or partly across the island on a sort of strong picket-line, fortified by block-houses, whence watch is kept on the movements of the insurgents, who seem to come and go as they please in the Spanish front, and cross the lines with impunity. The Spanish hold the whole seaboard, all important towns and villages, hold the insurgents practically in check, so far as the fertile region of the island is concerned, and from year to year keep military matters just about in statu quo. The insurgents dwell in the wildest portion of the island, often in almost impenetrable woods, living the life of savages, and depending on the bounty of Nature for their daily bread.

So the war lingers. It is not what we would call a war: it is a condition of armed hostility. It is conducted almost wholly at the expense of Spain in men, wholly at the expense of Cuba in money. The Cuban volunteers are a home-guard, but the purse of the Cubans is open. Spain is not loath to dip into it, and taxation for carrying on the government and the war has become very onerous—dreadfully so, in fact, though I believe that the Cubans do not realize it so fully as strangers do. The government is impoverished; the war makes no progress; what becomes of the enormous revenue derived from the taxes? A rich planter said to me dryly, "They are ignorant men: they make mistakes in applying it." Hard things are openly said of all Spanish officials; and all officials, from the captain-general to the harbor pilot, are Spanish. Startling things are heard here every day in political and military discussions. The people think in classes: there is the Spanish view, the Creole view, the foreign view—none very dispassionate, and none very accurate. There is no accepted basis of fact for anything: nobody believes anybody else, and truth here lies in a very deep well. But one thing else is clear. Cuba, so gifted by Nature, is being despoiled by man; and what ought to be a garden will become overgrown with weeds if there is not a change of fortune. There is taxation without representation under an iron despotism: there is an army without war, and the people look on. It is not necessary to find any new means of going to the bad at a gallop. The rich give practical support to the Spanish, and moral support to the insurrection; but if the insurrection should triumph, I can't see how it will benefit the Creole Cubans of property. I think ideas here are confused on the subject, and while they are giving hearty encouragement to neither cause, between the two they are sure to be utterly ruined.

I have spent a week in all on sugar plantations in the interior. I was delightfully entertained, and reveled in the luxury of soft air and out-of-door life. I was on horseback a good deal, riding one of the shuffling little animals they have here, whose gait is so easy that it doesn't amount to motion. The crops are to a great extent still uncut; the green cane, which looks like our broom-corn at a distance, waves in the winds as far as the eye can reach. The country is level, but has a frame of mountain-land. The woods are festooned with air-plants and parasites; palm trees dot the landscape in every direction or run in splendid avenues, sometimes in double rows, alternating with the round, full mamey tree, whose deep green foliage brings into fine relief the white stalk of the palm. The breeze rustles through the broad plantations of bananas and sways the orange groves. The gardens are rich in flowers of brilliant hues. The fields swarm with negroes and ox-carts; the ponderous machinery of the boiling-houses maintains a steady hum; the picturesque buildings are all touched with Fortuny-like tints: there is much to see and much to tell of, but I must have some regard for your patience. I have not finished, but I must stop.

F. C. N.


Reading the slang of a language is much like seeing the said language in its intellectual shirt-sleeves, off duty and taking its ease: one feels sure of detecting some essential characteristics of the people who speak it, and one turns [Pg 515]over the pages of a slang dictionary expecting to recognize through its corruption and perversions the real nature of the people who have created it. French slang is no exception to this, theory: the two hundred and thirty double-columned pages of M. Larcher's Dictionnaire historique, etymologique et anecdotique de l'argot parisien tell us that the two grand sources and inspirations of our American slang are entirely wanting: there is not a humorous word or phrase from beginning to end; and hardly an instance of that incongruous exaggeration which is so salient a picture of our best-known and most original slang phrases. But, on the other hand, there is satire keen and fine on every page, a reckless, devil-may-care gayety, and throughout that mocking spirit which is so essentially French, making game alike of its own pain and that of others, and jeering always at the sight of an altar, never mind what may chance to be thereon, whether its own sacred things or those of others. Half the words in the book are quaint, grotesque phrasings of two ideas—ideas which most people on our side of the water are hardly inclined to joke about: one is the idea of death, and the other the frailty or falseness of women. One is specially struck by the wealth of words and the sameness of ideas, and, above all, by the quickwittedness that must belong to the people who can all catch a verbal allusion or suggestion as Anglo-Saxons might a plump, square hit. Sometimes a little unconscious pathos mingles with the mocking vein, for courage is moving when it is light-hearted. When a Frenchman tells you he has eaten nothing for two days, he adds, "Ça, ce n'est pas drôle" ("Now, that's no joke"). "Coeur d'artichaut" (a heart like an artichoke) is a felicitous expression for a person who has a succession of caprices and short-lived fancies; and there is something to the point in the satire which calls a surgical instrument "baume d'acier" (steel balm), or in the saying which mocks the credulous faith many people vaguely have in the efficacy of mineral waters: "Croyez cela et buvez de l'eau" (Believe that and drink water). There is something desperately significant in a language in which the lover who supports, protects and is deceived is called "le dessus," and the one who is favored at his expense "le dessous;" while the words "une femme," a woman, without qualification, are identical with frailty, and virtue, being the exception, demands an adjective to identify and proclaim it.

But there is something fine in the old French slang for the beginning of a war: "La danse va commencer" (The dance is about to begin, or the ball to open), and this dates from time immemorial: fighting has always been fun to Frenchmen. And there is something better still in the phrase which has become an official one, and has a proper technical meaning, with which the orders of a naval officer when sent on a difficult or dangerous expedition always end. "Debrouillez vous," meaning simply "Come well out of it." There must be stuff in men who can be trusted to always extricate themselves from a tight place with credit to their flag without more words than that simple exhortation. But one cannot say much for the morality of a country where, when any one says "la muette" (the dumb one), it is understood to mean conscience.

The instances are rare of resemblance between our slang phrases and theirs. Once in a while such a phrase as "Asseyezvous dessus" (literally, Sit on him) strikes one; but seldom. French slang teems with words that caricature and satirize personal defects, of which many are brutally coarse and not quotable. A comical expression for a sumptuous meal is a "Balthazar" (Belshazzar); and an unpleasant one for a coffin is a "boite a dominos" (a box of dominoes); a droll phrase for a plagiarist is "demarqueur de linge" (some one who alters the marking of another's linen). An interesting fact for the notice of physiologists is that when the officers of the engineer corps lose a comrade from insanity, they say, "Il s'est passé au dixième," in allusion to the fact that their loss in numbers from this cause amounts to practical decimation. This is attributed to the [Pg 516]close study of the exact sciences. Under "femme du demi-monde" we find the origin of the phrase as created by A. Dumas fils: "Femme née dans un monde distingué, dont elle conserve les manières sans en respecter les lois" ("a woman belonging by birth to the upper class, the manners of which she retains, without respecting its laws"); but the present meaning is quite different from this, the phrase being now used as a euphuistic designation of a disreputable woman. French slang is saturated with irreverence. A common term for an emaciated-looking man is to call him an "ecce homo," and a "grippe Jésus" is thieves' slang for a gendarme.

The author of this dictionary evidently sympathizes with modern romanticists and light literature in general, for we find "académicien" defined as "littérateur suranné." One is always inclined to suspect sour grapes of giving the flavor to French sarcasm concerning the Academy, and is reminded of Piron's epigram in the shape of his own epitaph:

Ci git Piron qui ne fut rien,

Pas même académicien.

He wrote it, however, after his failure to obtain one of the much-coveted arm-chairs.

Our national vanity might be flattered by hearing that the phrase "L'oeil Américain" is used to describe an eye whose piercing vision is escaped by nothing, were we not told that it dates from the translation of Cooper's Leatherstocking tales into French, and has no reference, as "Natty Bumpo" would say, to "white gifts."

We find long, elaborate definitions of those much-disputed words, "chic," "cachet" and "chien," which, after all has been said, seem to take their meaning from the intention of those who use them and the perception of those who hear. "Chocnoso" is a delightfully expressive and absurd onomatopeic word to describe what is brilliant, startling and remarkable. The most striking feature of this elaborate book is that, although it contains almost words enough to constitute the vocabulary of a miniature language, yet the vast majority of these words would be as unintelligible to an educated Frenchman as to an Englishman. The bulk of French slang is never heard by the ears of educated people nor uttered by their lips: it circulates among the classes which create it; and the size of this dictionary is therefore not necessarily appalling to a Frenchman's eyes: it does not represent the corruption of the language, because slang does not taint the speech of those classes who control and make the standard speech and literature of the nation. If a dictionary of English slang were published now, how many young ladies and gentlemen of the educated classes, either in England or America, could profess honest and absolute ignorance of the meaning of most of the words? The answer to this question makes the moral of this paper.

F. A.


If it be true, as a writer in the February Gossip says, that "it is what Mr. Mill has omitted to tell us in his Autobiography, quite as much as what he has there told us, that excites popular curiosity," the following anecdote told by John Neal, one of Jeremy Bentham's secretaries, may be found interesting. The father of John Stuart Mill, it seems, was in the habit of borrowing books of Bentham, and was even allowed the privilege of carrying them away without asking permission—a courtesy so well utilized that from five to seven hundred volumes found their way in time from Bentham's library into the study of the elder Mill. He was a more conscientious borrower, however, than most of his class are, for he had a case made for these books, kept them carefully locked up, and carried the key in his pocket. This put the owner to some trouble occasionally when he wanted to consult his books. In one instance he begged Mr. Mill to leave the key when the latter was going out of town. In vain, however, for Mill marched off to the country carrying the key with him, and Bentham had to wait a whole month for a peep at his own books. If we could know all the facts, doubtless it would be found [Pg 517]that Mill knew too well the careless habits of the philosopher to trust him to such an extent. It is not prudent to decide until the evidence is all in. It is that these books—two or three thousand dollars' worth, according to Neal—were, on the death of Mr. Bentham, all recovered by his heir.

Quarritch, a London bookseller, lately advertised for sale a Chinese book from the library of the emperor Khang-Hi, bearing the following title: Yu Sionan Row-wen youen kien—that is, "Mirror of the Profound Resources of Ancient Literature," being extracts from those profound resources arranged chronologically in the order of their production; but the singular thing about the book is its typography. It is printed in inks of four different colors. All the articles dating from the time of Confucius (B.C. 550) to the Mongol dynasty (A.D. 1260) are printed in black, with punctuations in red. All names of persons and places are upon scrolls, to distinguish them from the ordinary text. Observations upon the emperor Khang-Hi (who annotated the whole book autographically) are printed in yellow, the color of the reigning dynasty; those upon scholars and authors living at the time of the publication of the book are printed in red, the color of the living; those upon persons deceased in blue, the mourning color of China. The work is in twenty-five volumes, preserved in four cases. It was printed in 1685.

In the infancy of astronomy the moon and all the planets of our solar system were supposed to be gliding along over the smooth blue firmament like a boat upon smooth water or a sleigh upon ice. The blue vault was a solid substance; hence the word firmament. In this vault were set the "fixed" stars, and of course the moon or any planet passing across it might run straight into the constellation Leo or some other dreadful beast; and this explained why direful things happened to this world, which was supposed to be the only world in the universe. As the moon has always been the most observed of all the heavenly bodies, and as she passes most rapidly across the constellations of the zodiac, it is easy to understand that her phases should excite profound wonder, and that strange effects should be predicated upon these phases, called "changes" from time immemorial. In fact, however, the moon is not "changing" at one time any more than at another. She is continually passing in and out of the earth's shadow as she revolves around the earth, and the width of this shadow, with the state of being in the full light of the sun, constitutes her phases or changes. She does not "enter" any sign of the zodiac in the sense of entering, as understood by the illiterate; and if she did, the signs Cancer, Leo, Virgo, have no comprehensible relation, to plants or parts of the human body. Again, if the moon or sun, or any of the planets, are said to "enter" these signs, they are not now the same as the constellations known as the Crab, the Lion, the Virgin. They did correspond some two thousand or more years ago, when the zodiacal belt was divided into twelve parts and named; but at present, on account of the nutation or gyratory motion of the poles of the earth, the signs of the zodiac (not the constellations) are drifting westward at the rate of one degree in about seventy-one years. This movement is known in astronomy as the precession or recession of the equinoxes. It happens, therefore, that when the astrologer consults his tables, and finds that, at, the time of the birth of a person whose horoscope he is going to cast, Venus was in Cancer—a terrible condition of things for happiness in love—Venus is in reality passing the constellation Gemini or the Twins, which ought to make everything all lovely. The development of the Copernican system did a great deal of damage to the interests of astrology, but it was not until the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes that this venerable and pretentious art received its death-blow. To be sure, "the fools are not all dead yet," for certain people still pay five dollars to have their horoscopes cast, and not a few rustics consult the moon or the almanac before planting beans or weaning calves.

[Pg 518]


The Romance of the English Stage.
By Percy Fitzgerald.
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

According to Carlyle, the only biographies in the English language worth reading—of course with implied exceptions—are the lives of players. Over English biographers in general there hangs, as he says, a "Damocles' sword of Respectability," forbidding revelations that might either offend somebody's sensibilities or exhibit the subject in any other than a dignified attitude and sober light, and, as a consequence, compelling the suppression of details which were needed to render the portraiture characteristic and lifelike. Actors being as a class outside the pale of "respectability," no such sacrifice is demanded in their case; and whereas in their lifetime they assume many characters, and though constantly before the public are known to it only in disguised forms and borrowed attributes, after death their personality is laid bare, and they are made to contribute once more to the entertainment of the world by a last appearance in which nothing is unreal and nothing dissembled or concealed. This, of course, applies far better to a former period than to the present, as does also the explanation of the same fact offered by Mr. Fitzgerald—namely, the romantic interest attaching to the stage and exciting curiosity in regard to those wonderful beings who appear before us as embodiments of passion and poetry, humor and whimsicality, transporting us into an ideal world, and leaving us, when they vanish, in a prosaic one to which they do not seem to belong. Illusions of this kind are scarcely retained by even the young—perhaps, indeed, least of all by the young—of our generation. Moreover, the changes which society has undergone during the last half century have rubbed out much that was distinctive in the actor's life, and have given to manners and habits in general a uniformity that leaves little that is striking and piquant to describe. The adventures and the eccentricities of actors and actresses of a bygone time were paralleled or exceeded by those of other classes. At present such sources of interest are rare in any class, and we are obliged to have recourse to sensational novels or the records of crime.

Future biographers are no more likely to have such a subject as Samuel Johnson than such a one as George Frederick Cooke; while both Boswell and Dunlap, had they written in our day, would probably have been much more reticent and much less amusing. We cannot therefore agree with Mr. Fitzgerald in thinking that the colorless character of the few theatrical biographies that have appeared in recent times is to be ascribed to the decay of the art of acting and the lack of an ideal involving a long and arduous struggle in the attainment of eminence. In France, as he justly observes, the history of the profession has never possessed the same adventurous interest, the lives of French actors showing in general a mere record of steady and regular progression, such as is found in other professions. The stage in France, as in all Catholic countries, lay under a heavier ban than in England; but on this very account the actors constituted a separate class, having little contact with society, receiving few recruits from without, regulated by fixed usages, and confined to a particular groove. In England, on the contrary, the stage was an outlet for irregular talent, impatient of steady labor or severe restrictions, and captivated by the freedom and diversity of a career which, beginning in vagrancy, might lead at a single bound to a brilliant and enviable position. Hence the biographies of English players, taken collectively, offer a vast store of amusing anecdotes, illustrative not only of the history of the stage, but of personal character and social manners. Yet books of this kind; though read with avidity on their first appearance, have naturally fallen into neglect. Like most other biographies, they are overloaded with details that have no abiding interest, and few readers of the present day are tempted to explore the mass for themselves. It was, however, no very arduous task to sift out the more valuable relics and dispose them in proper order, and we can only wonder that Mr. Fitzgerald was not anticipated in the performance of it by some earlier collector. Gait's Lives of the Players and Dr. Doran's History of the English Stage have left this particular field almost wholly unworked, and it is one for which Mr. Fitzgerald was well fitted, both by[Pg 519]his previous labors and knowledge of the soil, and by his practiced dexterity in the use of the necessary implements. He has accordingly produced a volume which may either be read consecutively or dipped into at random with the certainty of entertainment and without risk of tedium. Among the sources from which his material is drawn he assigns the first place to the Memoirs of Tate Wilkinson and its sequel, The Wandering Patentee, and the summary which he gives, as far as possible in the narrator's own language, presents a graphic picture of the provincial stage at a period when it formed a real nursery of talent for the metropolitan theatres, enriched with anecdotes of Foote and Garrick as lively and dramatic as any of the scenes in their own farces, and affording the strongest confirmation of their protégé's account of his unrivaled mimicry. The story of George Anne Bellamy, and that of Mrs. Robinson, the "Perdita" of a somewhat later day, deal with the more familiar and less obsolete vicissitudes of betrayed beauty, while giving us glimpses of a social crust that has since been replaced by a more composite exterior. A deeper and far more pathetic interest attaches to the brief career of Gerald Griffin, the author of The Collegians and Gisippus, who, had he lived in our day, would have been in danger of having his head turned by premature success, instead of being heart-sickened by long neglect and coarse rebuffs, and smothering his aspirations in a convent. In striking contrast with this pale figure is the portly and imposing one of Robert William Elliston, type of theatrical charlatans, embodiment of bombast and puffery, monarch over the realm of pasteboard, immortalized by Lamb, and surely not undeserving of the honor. With him may be said to have ended the line of the eccentrics, which fills a large space in Mr. Fitzgerald's volume. The great actors are comparatively unnoticed, Garrick, Siddons and Kean being only introduced incidentally, while a whole chapter is given to "the ill-fated Mossop." This is consistent with the general design of the book, but there was no good reason for a fresh repetition of the oft-told tale of the Ireland forgeries. There are, as Mr. Fitzgerald remarks, many subjects—such as the lives of Macklin and Quin, of Mrs. Inchbald and Mrs. Jordan—omitted which might fairly have claimed a place, and which would furnish ample matter for a second and equally agreeable volume.

Democracy and Monarchy in France from the Inception of the Great Revolution to the Overthrow of the Second Empire.
By Charles Kendall Adams, Professor of History in the University of Michigan.
New York: Henry Holt & Co.

There can be no more fruitful and interesting study than that of the changes and struggles which have occurred in France since the fall of the ancient monarchy. But the time has not yet come when a general survey can be taken of this important epoch, its successive phases seen in their true relations and proportions, and its character fully and correctly appreciated. The overthrow of the Second Empire was clearly not the closing scene of the drama, and even within the last few weeks a sudden turn in the line of events has awakened curiosity afresh, and prepared us for the introduction of new elements or new complications, with results which can only be conjectured. For lack of that key which the Future still holds in its hand the most acute and comprehensive mind must be at fault in the endeavor to analyze the workings and appreciate the significance of the conflicting principles. If Professor Adams has had no such misgivings, this seems to be accounted for by his ready acceptance of a theory which has long passed current in England and America, and which springs from a habit peculiar to the people of these two countries of regarding the movements of all other nations, when not on a parallel course, as deviations from a prescribed orbit. According to this theory, the excesses of the First Revolution, due in part to the passions engendered by a long course of misgovernment, in part to wild speculations and experiments, produced an anarchical spirit which has frustrated every subsequent attempt to establish a solid government of any form, including the constitutional monarchy of Louis Philippe, patterned on the English model—the resemblance being in fact that of a castle of cards to its Gothic prototype—which offered the proper compound of liberty and authority in sufficiently balanced proportions. The French people having thus proved itself incapable of uniting liberty with order, the one great need is the destruction or suppression of the revolutionary spirit, to which end a strong government of whatever kind is the first requisite, and some form of Napoleonism the most available, it being improbable that the nation would accept permanently anything better. [Pg 520]Such is the view of Professor Adams, one with which all readers have long been familiar, but which most independent thinkers have come to reject as shallow and false. However obscure the issue, however doubtful the solution, it cannot but be apparent to all who, casting aside prejudices, have studied the history of France in its entirety and recognized its special character, that its course during the period in question exhibits no mere series of lawless oscillations, but a process of development, often checked and retarded, often prematurely hastened, but passing from stage to stage without suffering itself to be stifled by factitious aid or crushed by arbitrary repression. What underlies the history of these events, what distinguishes it from the galvanic agitations of the torpid Spanish populations in Europe and America, is the constant presence and activity of ideas, shaping and shaped by events, hardened or fused by conflict, and preserving through all vicissitudes and convulsions the incomparable vitality of the nation. France, more than any other country, is to be studied as a living spirit, not as an inert mass, and in a study of this kind the mechanico-philosophical method will not carry us far. It does not appear to strike Professor Adams as singular that a nation "abandoned for the last eighty years to the domination of Siva, the fierce god of destruction," should have all this while been cutting a somewhat respectable figure in literature, science and the arts, and during most of that period paid its way in the solid and shining metal considered by our rulers to have merely a mythical significance. Or rather he seems to contend that civilization has in fact perished in France, that as "such a tendency to turbulence is destructive of all healthy national growth," the inevitable result has ensued. He admits that there are still some good scholars in France, but he proves—need we add, by statistics?—that the illiteracy of the masses is greater than it was under the ancien regime, if not in the reign of Clovis. The controlling influence of Paris is shown, of course, to have been a prime source of mischief, and we are asked to "imagine the United States withdrawing from all interest in political affairs, and saying to New York City, 'Govern us as you please: we do not care to interfere.'" The fact, as most people are aware, is not at all as here assumed; but that aside, is it possible that Professor Adams knows so little of the difference in the origin and structure of the two nations as not to perceive that the comparison is ridiculous?

Books Received.

Social Life in Greece, from Homer to Menander.
By Rev. J.P. Mahaffy, M.A.
London: MacMillan & Co.

A Free Lance in the Field of Life and Letters.
By William Cleaver Wilkinson.
New York: Albert Mason.

The Bewildered Querists and other Nonsense.
By Francis Blake Crofton.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

A Practical Theory of Voussoir Arches.
By Professor William Cain, C.E.
New York: D. Van Nostrand.

On Teaching: Its Ends and Means.
By Henry Calderwood.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

The Influence of Music on Health and Life.
By Dr. H. Chomet.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

The Man in the Moon, and Other People.
By R.W. Raymond.
New York: J.B. Ford & Co.

Sowed by the Wind; or, The Poor Boy's Fortune.
By Elijah Kellogg.
Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Religion and Modern Materialism.
By James Martineau.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Singers and Songs of the Liberal Faith.
By Alfred P. Putnam.
Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Winter Homes for Invalids. By Joseph W. Howe, M.D.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Helps to a Life of Prayer. By Rev. J.M. Manning, D.D.
Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Far from the Madding Crowd. By Thomas Hardy.
New York: Henry Holt & Co.

A Foregone Conclusion. By W.D. Howells.
Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

That Queer Girl. By Virginia F. Townsend.
Boston: Lee & Shepard.

Magnetism and Electricity. By John Angell.
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Estelle: A Novel. By Mrs. Annie Edwards.
New York: Sheldon & Co.

A Rambling Story. By Mary Cowden Clarke.
Boston: Roberts Brothers.

Life and Times of Sir Philip Sidney.
New York: J.B. Ford & Co.

An Old Sailor's Story. By George Sergeant.
Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Nature and Culture. By Harvey Rice.
Boston: Lee & Shepard.

The Story of Boon. By H.H.
Boston: Roberts Brothers.


[001] Another statue to this remarkable woman is now in progress of execution, and will be soon ready to place on its pedestal in one of the principal squares of the town.

[002] So complete was the destruction that few persons who now visit Nice would ever imagine that the hill in its centre, which is laid out with terraced gardens and used as a public promenade, was before the siege of 1706 completely covered with houses, churches, an episcopal palace, a fine cathedral of great antiquity, and an immense castle, which still gives its name to the fashionable walk, Le Château. Every vestige, save the crumbling walls of the fortress, of this by far the largest portion of the old town has entirely disappeared, and picnics are now made under the shade of beautiful avenues of trees which replace the labyrinthine streets of yore.

[003] Madame Rattazzi is now living in Paris, in the little palace once inhabited by the duke d'Aquila, in the Cour de la Reine, where she entertains the literary and artistic world once a week. Her soirées this year are becoming famous. Recently she acted in Ponsard's Horace et Lydie and in other little comedies, assisted by the greatest actors and actresses of Paris including Mesdames Favart and Roussel, but according to universal testimony her own performance was by far the finest. Never has Madame Rattazzi been so popular as at present, and her salon is frequented by all the celebrities of the French capital, to whom she extends the most charming hospitality.

[004] This refers to the Gospodi pomiloui (the Roman Catholic Kyrie eleison), which perpetually recurs in the Russian liturgy. Similar discussions about the Hallelujah and other liturgic forms are met with long before the Raskol broke out.

[005] If we may trust Dmitri of Rostof, a bishop of the last century, even so early certain sectaries regarded the raising of Lazarus as not a fact, but a parable: "Lazarus is the human soul, and his death is sin. His sisters, Martha and Mary, are the body and the soul. The tomb represents the cares of this life, and his raising from the dead is conversion. Similarly, Christ's entry into Jerusalem sitting on an ass is a mere parable."

[006] The analogy must certainly be admitted to lie very far from the surface.—(Note of the Translator.)

[007] The opposition of some of the Raskolniks to this tax (which has lately been modified) was rendered more determined by the fact that in the interval between one census and another the tax continued to be paid for "dead souls." Gogol's novel is founded on this. From its being nominally levied on the dead, this tax was regarded by these simple people as a sacrilege.

[008] To combat this notion, an orthodox bishop, Dmitri of Rostof, wrote a treatise on the image and likeness of God. A Raskolnik told this prelate, "We would as lief lose our heads as our beard."—"Will your heads grow again?" was the bishop's retort.

[009] "But here's the joy, my friend and I are one..."

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine Of Popular
Literature And Science, April 1875, Vol. XV., No. 88, by Various


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