The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature
and Science, Vol. 12, No. 32, November, 1873, by Various

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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 12, No. 32, November, 1873

Author: Various

Release Date: January 7, 2008 [EBook #24203]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Josephine Paolucci and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by J. B. Lippincott, & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected. Table of Contents has been created for the HTML version.


Books Received.


[Pg 497]




"The Strasburgers have a legend—"

We were rolling along very comfortably in the engineer's coach. From pavement to bridge, and from bridge to pavement, we effected the long step which bestrides the Rhine.

"I knew you would prick your ears up at the word. Well, I have found a legend among the people here about the original acquisition of Strasburg by the French. You know Louis XIV. bagged the city quite unwarrantably in 1681, in a time of peace."

I was much delighted with this beginning, and told my friend that to cross the storied Rhine and simultaneously listen to a legend made me feel as if I were Frithiof the Viking entertained on his voyage by a Skald.

"The Alsatians will have it," said my[Pg 498] canal-digger, "that the Grand Monarch was a bit of a magician. The depth of what I may call his High-Church sentiment, which at last proved so edifying to the Maintenon, has never convinced them that he wasn't a trifle in league with the devil. At the foot of his praying-chair was always chained a little casket of ebony, bound with iron. In this he imprisoned a little yellow man, a demon of the most concentrated structure, hardly a foot long. This goblin ran through the air, on an errand or with a letter, about as fast as a stroke of lightning, and admirably filled the place of the modern telegraph. For each meal he took three seeds of hemp, which he loved to receive from the king's hand. By and by the little yellow man became more of a gourmand. He demanded seed-pearls, and the king was obliged to rob the queen's jewel-boxes. Then the yellow dwarf's appetite changed, and he required stars, orders and garters: one by one the obedient monarch gave him the decorations of count, marquis, duke. The demon's name was Chamillo.


"One day the small devil-duke of a Chamillo hovered over the imperial free city of Strasburg. Entering by key-holes and doors ajar, he stole into the presence of the principal magistrates, and shortly after the impregnable capital of Alsace opened its gates at a show of French investment.

"For this important service Louis XIV. fancied that Chamillo would require the letters patent constituting him a prince. Not at all. Chamillo was tired of secular honors: he had seen the bishop of Strasburg officiating in scarlet, and he insisted on being made cardinal. The king could not make cardinals, and he doubted whether he could induce the pope to receive a devil among the upper clergy. He refused absolutely. Chamillo left him in dudgeon and went over to Prussia. Apparently he has remained there. At any rate, the French king's fortunes commenced at that epoch to decline, and the Peace of Ryswick almost deprived him of Strasburg, which the little yellow man wanted to get back for Germany."

We had quitted Strasburg by the gate of Austerlitz. While listening to my friend I kept an eye open, and examined the present state of the fortress, the incidents of the road to Kehl, and that fairy Ile des Épis, a perfect little Eden in the Rhine, where the tall trees and nodding[Pg 499] flowers bury the tomb of Dessaix, with its inscription, "À Dessaix, l'Armée du Rhin, 1800." This bright morning-ride enchanted me, seasoned as it was with a goblin-story.


"Behind this tale, now, there must be a fact," I said. "There is some bit of history concealed there. The common people never invent: they distort."

"It is possible," he answered. "I tell you the story as it was told me by one of my theodolite-bearers. You may find out the rest: it is in your line."

Kehl has been bombarded or razed a dozen times by French armies crossing the Rhine. The last occasion when the[Pg 500] French ruined it, however, was not in vain-glory, but in impotent malice. They fired it on August 19, 1870, during the horrors of the Strasburg bombardment. It is a town formed of a single street—But I will enter no further into topographic details.


I entered this town or street in haste, leaving my engineering acquaintance talking to a Prussian general. The idea had seized me of writing a line to Hohenfels at Marly, actually dated from the grand duchy of Baden. Undoubtedly I should reach Marly before my letter, but the postal mark would be a good proof of the actuality of my wanderings. Clinging, then, to my childishness, as we do to most of our follies, with a fidelity which it would be well to imitate in our grave affairs, and feeling pressed for time, I looked eagerly around for a resting-place where I could procure ink and paper, and entered at the sign of the "Stork." I found a smoky crowd, peasants and military, sucking German pipes and drinking from a variety of glasses, pots, syphons and jugs. I had taken up my pen when an individual by my side, at the next table, said to his opposite neighbor, "The French will hardly take Strasburg again by surprise, as they did two centuries ago."


"It was not the French who took Strasburg," replied the vis-à-vis, evidently a native: "it was the little urchin in yellow."

The expression, joined to what I had just heard in the carriage, was sufficient to attract my attention. My neighbor, a Belgian by his accent, opened his eyes. The man opposite, perceiving that he had more than one auditor, narrated at length, in substance and detail, not the fairy legend of the Alsatians, but accurately and to my amusement, the historical anecdote which I had imagined to be wrapped up in that tale. So then, while he spoke, I wrote—no longer to Hohenfels, but to my own consciousness and memory—these little notes on Chamillo, or rather Chamilly, and obtained a trifling contribution to the back-stairs history of the Grand Nation.

"The marquis of Chamilly, afterward marshal of France, was often promised[Pg 501] a good place for a young nephew he had by the powerful Minister de Louvois. Each time, however, that the youth presented himself the experienced minister said, 'Bide your time, young man: I see nothing yet on the horizon worthy of you.' The boy sulked in the tortures of hope deferred. One day in September, 1681, Louvois said, 'Young man, post yourself at Bâle on the 18th day of this month, from noon to four o'clock: stand on the bridge; take a note of all you see, without the least omission; come back and report to me; and as you acquit yourself so your future shall be.' The young chevalier found himself on the bridge at Bâle at high noon. He expected to meet some deputation from the Swiss cantons, with the great landamman at the head. What he really saw were carts, villagers, flocks of sheep, children who chased each other, mendicants who, with Swiss independence, demanded alms rather than begged it. He gave to each, imagining in each a mysterious agent. An old woman crossing the bridge on a bucking donkey, who threw her, he picked up obsequiously, not knowing but this fall might be a man[oe]uvre of state, and the precipitate take the form of the landamman in disguise: he had even the idea of running after the donkey, but the animal was already galloping with great relish outside the assigned limits to his diplomacy. When tired of the sun, the dust and the triviality of the panorama, Chamilly prepared to go. It was nearing the hour fixed for his departure, and the absence of all significant events vexed him. As if to put a crown on his discomfiture, toward the close of the last hour an odd little urchin, grotesquely dressed in a yellow coat, came to beat old blankets over the parapet, and flirted the dirt and fluff into the young man's eyes. Already angered, he was about to hang the young imp for a minute or two over the bridge, when four o'clock sounded, his duty came to his mind, and he departed.


"In the middle of the third night, tired and humiliated, he reappeared before the minister and recounted his failure. When he came to the little page in yellow, Louvois fell on his neck and kissed him. Chamilly was dragged incontinently before the king. Louis XIV., who was snoring with his royal nose in the air, was waked for the purpose, and heard with attention the story of the beggars, the donkey and the little monkey in yellow livery. At the apparition of the Yellow Jacket, Louis XIV. leaped over the ruelle and danced a saraband in his night-gown. Chamilly might perhaps have considered himself sufficiently rewarded in being the only man who ever saw the superb king dancing with bare legs in a wig hastily put on crosswise. But to this recompense others were added. The monarch named him chevalier of his orders, count and counselor of state, to the grand stupefaction of the young man, who understood nothing about it.[Pg 502]

"The little yellow urchin, shaking his blankets, announced to the king's envoy, on the part of the perjured Strasburg magistrates, that the city was betrayed."

I had now that rare complementing pair, a legend and its historical foundation. I had been obliged to cross the Rhine to obtain my prize, but I did not regret the journey. How far I was from fancying the ill-natured turn that the little yellow man was playing me!

While my neighbor of the Stork was talking, and I was taking down his words with my utmost rapidity, Time took advantage of me, and put double the accustomed length into each of his steps. On recrossing into Strasburg I had before me barely the moments necessary to regain the railway station.

The gate at the first-class passenger-exit was about closing, fifteen minutes in advance of the start, according to the European custom. I pushed in rather roughly.


The railway-officer or porter was at the gate, barring my passage until I could exhibit a ticket. I had not taken time to purchase one: the train was fuming and threatening the belated passengers with a series of false starts. Surprised into rudeness, and quite forgetting that my appearance warranted no airs of autocracy, I made some contemptuous remark.

"Der Herr is much too hasty. Der Herr is doubtless provided with the necessary papers which will enable him to pass the French frontier."

It was not the porter who spoke now: it was some kind of official relic or shadow or mouchard left from the old custom-house, and suffered to hang on the railway-station as an ornament. His costume, half uniform and half fatigue-dress, compromised nobody, and was surmounted by a skull cap. His pantaloons were short, his figure was paunchy, authoritative and German. His German, however, was spoken with a French accent. As I mused in stupefaction upon the hint he had uttered, he pointed with his hand. "The train is starting," he observed.

The reader probably knows Prudhon's great picture in the Louvre, originally painted for the Palace of Justice, and entitled "Divine Justice and Vengeance in Pursuit of Crime"? This picture, which I had not thought of, I suppose, for an age, suddenly seemed to be realized before me, but the heavenly detectives were changed into mortal gendarmes. The porter and the nondescript threw back the gate, preventing my passage. The terrors of Prudhon's avenging spirits were all expressed, to[Pg 503] my thinking, in the looks which these two official people exchanged in my favor, and then bent on me. We stood in a triangle.

"One moment: I propose a plan," I cried in desperation. "I do not know a soul in Strasburg, and the friend who brought me here is gone, I cannot tell whither. But I have an acquaintance in the British consulate at Carlsruhe—Berkley, you know," I explained with an insane familiarity, "my old friend Berkley's nephew. Admit me to the train, and we will telegraph to him. His reply will come in ten minutes, and will show you my responsible character. I have come fifteen minutes in advance of the starting-hour."

"The wire to Carlsruhe," said the porter, "is under repairs."

"The train to Paris," said the second man, "is off."

Some fate was pursuing me. Rudely rejected at the wicket, and treated as a man without a nationality, I felt as if I had but one friend now available on earth—the friend who had come into my head while conversing with the railway guard. Old Mr. Berkley, Mr. Sylvester. Berkley and I had once breakfasted together at Brighton, the first sitting in a tub, the second eating nothing but raw macerated beef, and I for my part devouring toast and Icelandic poetry. The nephew had since gone into diplomacy to strengthen his bile. I had not seen him for years.

I approached the schedule of distances hanging on the wall. My movements were those of a man prostrated and resigned. I ran my forefinger over the departures from Kohl to Carlsruhe.

In three hours I was in the latter city.

It was not in beggar's guise that Paul Flemming would fain be seen in the capital of the grand duchy—the most formal capital, the most symmetrical capital, the most monumental capital, as it is the youngest capital, in Europe. Nor was it as a vagabond that he would wish to appear in that capital, before a friend who happened to be a diplomatist. I recollected the engaging aspect in which I had offered myself to the reflections of the Rhine when last beside that romantic stream—a comely youth, with Stultz's best waistcoats on his bosom and with ineffable sorrows in his heart. Frau Himmelauen used to say, at Heidelberg, that my gloves were a shade too light for a strictly virtuous man. The Frau has gone to her account, and Stultz, the great Stultz, is defunct too, after achieving for himself a baronetcy as the prize of his peerless scissors, and founding a hospital here in Carlsruhe. Not to insult the shade of Stultz, I determined to renew my youth, at least in the matter of plumage. A shop of ready-made clothing afforded me lavender gloves, silk pocket handkerchief, satin cravat, detachable collar and a cambric shirt: the American dickey, in which some of my early sartorial triumphs were effected, is not to be had in Rhineland. My ornaments purchased, the trouble was—to change my shirt. The great hotel, the Erbprinz, was no place for a man without a passport and without baggage: not for the world would I have faced a hotel-clerk with his accusing register. Yet the street was not to be thought of: only cats are allowed by etiquette to freshen their linen on the doorstep.


A resource occurred to me. In ransacking the city for my ornaments I had[Pg 504] observed the castle-park, with its clumps of verdure and almost deserted walks. Hurrah for the leafy dressing-room!


At the gate a sentinel stopped me. Would he demand my passport? No: he taps with his finger the lid of that faithful botany-box, my sole valise. Aware that it contained nothing contraband, I opened it innocently and demonstratively. At the sight of that resonant cavity, gaping from ear to ear and belching forth gloves, kerchiefs and minor haberdashery, the dragon laughed: his mirth took the form of a deep, guttural, honest German guffaw. He still, however, rapped sonorously on my box, shaking his head from side to side like a china mandarin. In his view my box was luggage, and luggage is not permitted in any European park. Relieved to[Pg 505] find that my detention was not more serious, my first thought was to comply with the conditions of entrance. I begged to leave my package in the sentry-box, to be reclaimed at departure. The amiable Cerberus, smiling and nodding, closed his eyes significantly: at this moment I recollected that my only motive for entering the park lay in that feature of my paraphernalia, and caught it up again, with a gesture of parental violence, in the very act of depositing it. The sentry, watching with increasing delight my evolutions and counter evolutions, evidently thought me a nimble lunatic, Heaven-sent for the recreation of his long watch. He no longer opposed any of my demonstrations, and finally, with a hearty chuckle, saw me slink past him into the groves, wardrobe in hand. Most accommodating of sentinels, why were you not in charge of a Paris barrier during the siege?


Once within the park, I found that my sight had deceived me: the day was hot, and the public, driven from the sunny walks, were concentrated in the shade. Not a bough but sheltered its group of Arcadians. I wended from tree to tree, describing singular zigzags on the sward. The guardians began to eye me with lively interest. Finally, Fortune having guided me to a beautiful thicket, a closet curtained with evergreens, I prepared to use it for my toilet, and relinquished a sleeve of my coat. At that moment one of my watchmen suddenly showed himself.

Looking at him with extreme seriousness, I slowly re-entered my sleeve, and walked away with unnecessary dignity, giving the guardian my patronage in the shape of a nod, which he did not return.


Forbidden the green-room, what if I tried the bathroom? Hastily making for the Square of the Obelisk, I took a carriage, engaging it by the hour, and directing it to the nearest bathing-establishment. The driver immediately ran off with me outside the city.

Carlsruhe is an aristocratic construction, whose princely mansions are supposed to be supplied with their own thermal conveniences. The locality suggested for my bath proved to be a vast suburban garden, buried in flowers, with amorous young couples promenading the alleys, and tables crowned with cylinders of beer, each wadded with its handful of foam. At the extremity, on a square building, five lofty letters spelled out the word Baden.

A waiter showed me a handsome bath, decorated with a tub like some Roman mausoleum. I instructed him as to the temperature of my desired plunge. He nodded quietly, and left me. Twenty minutes passed. I thought of my friend Sylvester Berkley, of the document I hoped to obtain by his aid, and, most fondly, of the hour when I could return from Carlsruhe. I thought of the little group who at Marly were expecting and reproaching me. Charles now, for the twentieth time, would be brushing my morning suit and smoking-cap; Josephine, in the act of whipping a mayonnaise, would draw anxiously to the[Pg 506] window. The baron, my galling and dispensable old Hohenfels, would have arrived and scolded. My home-circle was like a ring without its jewel, while I, an undenominated waif in search of a visé, was fluttering through the duchy of Baden. Thirty minutes passed, and the bath-house retained the silence of a ruined monastery, while outside, among the perfumes and shadows of twilight, there began to arise strains of admirable harmony. I looked out of the window. Some lanterns placed among the trees were already beginning to assert their light among the shadows of evening. A chorus of fresh and accurate voices was pouring forth from the garden, the pure young tenors and altos weaving their melodies like network over the sustained, vibrating, vigorous bass voices. It was the antiphony of the youthful promenaders to the drinkers, the diastole of the heart above the stomach, the elisire d'amore in rivalry with beer. Amid this scene I recognized my waiter, illuminated fitfully like some extraordinary firefly as he sprang into sight beneath the successive lanterns, and pouring out beer to right and left. To my indignant appeal he turned, lifting his head, and stood in that attitude, finishing a musical phrase which he was contributing to the chorus. Then he told me that my bath was being made ready. The Teutonic placidity of this youth confounded me. Quite disarmed, I closed the shutter, changed my linen in the dark, and drew on my gloves over a pair of hands that decidedly needed the disguise. The lateness of the hour alarmed me, and I fled down the stair in three jumps. At the bottom I met my musical waiter, still tranquilly singing, and armed with a linen wrapper and a hairbrush.


"What do I owe?" I asked.

"Is der Herr not going to take his bath?" asked this most leisurely of valets.


"Very well: it will be half a florin, including towels."

I gave him the half-florin, and was getting into my cab, when he came rambling up.

"And the palm-greaser," he cried, "the trinkgeld?"

In ten minutes I was at the offices of the national representative, but it was now dark, and the porter, without waiting for my question, told me that the offices were closed and everybody gone to the opera.

"The theatre!" I shouted to my charioteer.


The ticket-seller was asleep in his box, and was much astonished at my application for an orchestra-seat. The last act of some obscure German opera was being shouted in full chorus. At Carlsruhe the theatre opens at five o'clock, and closes virtuously at half-past eight. There was no sign of my friend, no indication of a box for members of the diplomatic body. I was very hungry, and would willingly have re-entered the boulevards in search of a supper; but[Pg 507] the express-train going toward Paris would start at ten-fifteen, and I could afford to think of nothing but my passport. I drove to the national office again, my new costume quite shipwrecked and foundered in perspiration.

I was more explicit with the porter this time. I asked if Mr. Sylvester Berkley had returned from the opera. I was answered by that functionary that Mr. Pairkley was living at present in the city of Heidelberg, where he was trying a diet of whey for the benefit of his liver.


I became flaccid with despair. I was without a refuge on the habitable globe; my slender provision of funds would be exhausted in paying for the carriage; I was unable even to seek the friend who for the moment represented to me both country and fortune. The driver, witness of my dejection and recipient of my history in part, proposed to me a temporary refuge in a private hotel on the avenue of Ettlingen, where I would find chambers by the day, and a family table. The landlady, he believed, was a Belgian and a widow.

We drew up before a small house of neat appearance. I was shown a chamber, where, no longer dreaming of supper, I fell across a cushion like an overthrown statue. I felt as if a good month must have passed since I possessed a home.

I had in pocket about thirty sous. The philosopher was right enough when he said, "Traveling lengthens one's life;" only he should have added, "It shortens one's purse."

On awakening next morning the linnets and finches communicated through the window a pleasanter sentiment. Nature was gay and inspiring on this lovely May-day. By a perversity quite natural with me, my letter to Berkley, which it was my first care to write and post, contained[Pg 508] but a slight reflection of my woes. My need of a passport only appeared in a postscriptum, wherein I begged him to arrange that little affair for me in some way by correspondence. The bulk of my communication was a eulogy of May, of youth, of flowers, of birds, all of which were saluting me as I scribbled from the beautiful little grove outside my casement. Treating the diplomate as an intimate friend—a caprice of the moment on my part—I begged him to go back with me to Marly, promising him the joys described in old Thomas Randolph's invitation to the country:

We'll seek a shade,
And hear what music's made—
How Philomel
Her tale doth tell,
And how the other birds do fill the choir:
The thrush and blackbird lend their throats,
Warbling melodious notes.
We will all sport enjoy, which others but desire.

I engaged to furnish him his regimen of whey, and did not omit to quote from the same poem, apropos of that mild Anacreontic drink, the lines which happen to introduce his name:

And drink by stealth
A cup or two to noble Barkley's health.

"The cup," I continued, "shall be at once your toast and your medicine, and the whey shall be fresh. If you want to make a Tartar of yourself, and feed on koemiss, I will have the milk fermented." To the baron of Hohenfels I wrote with equal gayety, begging him to plant the stakes of his tent in my garden until my own nomadic career should be finished. A third letter, as my reader may imagine, was directed to the Rue Scribe, and addressed to the American banker, the beloved of all money-needing compatriots—Mr. John Munroe.

My letters committed to a domestic, I felt absolutely relieved from care. I breathed freely, and recovered all my self-possession. Sing loud, little birds! it is a comrade who listens to you.

With two days, perhaps three, of enforced leisure before me, I undertook in a singular spirit of deliberation the criticism of my surroundings. I began with my bed-chamber. It contained both a stove and a fireplace. The fireplace was like all other fireplaces, but not so the stove. Stark and straight, rising from floor to ceiling, it was fixed immovably in the wall, a pilaster of porcelain. No stove-door interrupted its enameled shaft: only a register of fretwork for the emission of heat, and quite dissociated from the cares of fire-building, relieved the ennui of this sybaritic length of polish. It was kindled—and that is the special merit of this famous invention—from without, in the corridor which borders the line of rooms. If you put the idea to profit, O overtoasted friends of Flemming, I shall not regret my forced inspection of Carlsruhe. I would distinguish less honorably that small oblique looking-glass inserted in the bevel of the window-jamb, and common to all the dwellings of Carlsruhe—a[Pg 509] handy article, an entertaining distraction, a discreet but immoral spy, which places at your mercy all the mysteries of the public street. This contrivance, which enables you to see the world without being seen, certainly gives you a tempting advantage over the untimely caller or the impertinent creditor; but it encourages, in my opinion, a habit of vision better adapted to a sultan's seraglio than to the discreet eyes of Western folk.


This reflection, by which I satisfied my perhaps exalted moral sense, was no sooner made than I found myself peeping to right and to left in my double mirror, not without a lively sense of curiosity. At first I saw—what Flemming, indeed, was wont to see when he consulted the Fountain of Oblivion—only streets and moss-grown walls and trembling spires, like those of the great City of the Past, and children playing in the gardens like reverberations from one's lost youth. Soon a nearer image approached. From a troop of blond girls, who dragged after them little chariots resembling baby-wagons, one damsel drew apart, allowing the others to pass on. She neared my window. Who is the maiden with the anachronic baby-cart? She is the milkmaid of the country. Here in Germany Perrette does not poise her milk upon her head or weigh it in a balance, in order to afford by its overthrow a fable to La Fontaine. She can dream at her ease as she draws it behind her. My fair-haired neighbor paused. A tall lad thereupon emerged from the neighboring trees, and, replacing Perrette at her wagon, he fitted himself dexterously into her maiden dream and into the shafts of her equipage. As the avenue was deserted for the instant, his arm enlaced her figure, with the obvious and commendable purpose of sustaining her in her walk, and with his lips close to her smiling, rosy ones he contributed a gentle note to the hymeneal chorus that was twittered from the trees.


Who could remain long shut up from such an out-of-doors? Directly I was in the open air, scenting the fresh breath from the parks. I inspected the streets, the factories, the people, the houses. A prolonged and deliberate examination of Carlsruhe enables me to assert that it is the most easy-going, slow-paced, loitering, temporizing, procrastinating capital outside of Dreamland.

A young workingman was assisting some bricklayers in an extension adjacent to the foundry of Christofle and Company. I saw him going, with a slow and lounging pace, toward the brick-pile, stopping by the way to quench his thirst at a hydrant, whose stream was so slender that a good many applications of the cup of Diogenes were necessary to allay the heat concentred in the fellow's thick throat. Arrived finally at the heap of bricks, the goal of his promenade, he took up precisely six, and proceeded with a lordly, lounging step to bear them back to the masons. Then, folding his arms, he watched the imbedding of those bricks in their plaster with a sovereign calm like that of Vitellius eating figs at the combats of the gladiators. When he consented to take up again his serene march, it was the turn of the bricklayers to fold their arms. At each errand he consulted the hydrant, and the builders watched all his movements with sympathy and approval.[Pg 510]

I photograph the moving figures in the street with the same simple fidelity which I have employed to represent the trouble-saving conveniences of my chamber. Take another hero, equally worthy of Capua. The placid personage who assisted me to a bath in my room was as happy a dullard as my waiter in the Baden, and both of them caressed their job as Narcissus caressed the fountain.


A large cart drew up before the door, containing twelve kegs, thoroughly bunged. Any stranger would take the load for one of beer, but a tub among the kegs acted as interpreter. The young man from the baths in the first place saw to his horse. He walked around it: the drive having heated the animal, he covered it with a cloth, and guaranteed its head against the flies with several plumes of foliage, beneath which Dobbin, blinded but content, showed only the paralytic flapping of his pendulous, negro-like lips. These indispensable cares despatched, the young man from the baths brought up the tub after a short gossip with the kitchen-maid, who was going out to market. He asked her if there were a stable attached where he could put up the horse during the taking of the bath: being answered in the negative, he then, with an almost painful inconsequence of argument, chucked the girl under the chin. He next inquired if she had any soap-fat. At length he consented to lumber up the steps with one of his little kegs: the tenacity of the bung was so exemplary that a long time was consumed in getting the advantage over it, and the water on its part was but tardy in leaping toward the tub in a series of strangulations. This formula, interrupted by minute attentions to the horse, had to be repeated twelve times, and the bath, which commenced as a warm bath, received its guest as a cold one. Such was the result when to the languor of the individual was added the national complication of apparatus.


The deliberate spectator—or, if you will, the imprisoned spectator like myself, with his artificial leisure—asks himself how long a time was consumed by this little country of Baden, by this people so lumpish in its labor, so restricted in its movements, so friendly to its own ease, in building its elegant metropolis of mansions and palaces? There is something piquant in learning that the city is the hastiest construction on the continent. It only dates from the year 1715.


Carlsruhe reminds the American traveler of Washington. In place of the tortuous plan and picturesque inconvenience of the antique capitals, it offers a predetermined and courteous radiation of broad streets from the grand-ducal palace, much like the fan of avenues that spreads away from the Capitol building. Formal as it is, and recent as it is, Carlsruhe affords as pretty a legend as any fairy-founded city of dimmest ancestry.

The margrave Charles of Baden, hunter and warrior, returned from victory to bathe his soul in the sylvan delights of the chase. One day, as he coursed the stag in the Haardt Forest, he lay down with a sudden sense of fatigue, and fell asleep: an oak tree shadowed him with its broad canopies. Dreaming, he saw the green boughs separate, and in the zenith of the heavens descried a crown blazing with incredible jewels, and inscribed with letters that he felt rather than spelled: "This is the reward of the noble." All around the crown, hanging in air like sculptured cloudwork, spread[Pg 511] a splendid city with towers: a noble castle, with open portal and stairway inviting his princely feet, stood at the centre, and the spires of sacred churches still sought, as they seek on earth, to pierce the unattainable heaven. When he awoke his courtiers were around him, for they had searched and found their lord while he slept. He related his dream, and declared his ducal will to build on that very spot a city just as he had seen it, with a splendid palace for central point, and streets like the spokes of light that spread from the sinking sun. So he said, and gave his whole soul to building this graceful capital and developing it with the arts of peace; for heretofore he had thought only of war, and had meant to patch up a seat of government in the little town of Durlach.


The Haardtwald still spreads around Carlsruhe ("Charles's Rest") to the eastward, but the bracken and underbrush have given way to beaten roads, which prolong with perfect regularity the fan of streets. An avenue of the finest Lombardy poplars in Germany, the trees being from ninety to a hundred and twenty feet high, extends for two miles to Durlach. Around the city spread rich plum and cherry orchards, yielding the "lucent sirops" from which is distilled the famous Kirschwasser.

The reputation for drunkenness, in my opinion, has been very erroneously fastened upon the German population. During my sojourn in Carlsruhe I have paid many a visit to the beer-shops, from the petty taverns frequented by the poor to the lofty saloons where Ganymedes in white skirts shuffled with huge tankards through a perfect forest of orange trees in tubs; for, worse luck to my morals, I have not seen a single frightful example, not one individual balancing dispersedly over his legs. In the grand duchy of Baden the debauch is punished by a law of somewhat harsh logic, which commits to prison both drunkards and those who have furnished the wherewithal to excess. The common people form a nation of drinkers, not drunkards. The beer-tables are usually placed in the open air, with shelter for the patrons in case of bad weather. The out-door air is almost indispensable to correct the evils which might proceed from such an artillery of pipes all fired in concert.


For Germany, if not a land of intoxication, is certainly one of fumigation. The face of a German is composed invariably[Pg 512] of the following features: two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and a pipe. Whichever of these features is movable, the pipe at least is a fixture. Fortified by this vital organ, he lives, loves and moves.

Edward Strahan.



Seemeth the chorus that greets the ear
A dirge for the dying hours,
That wake no more for the passing year,
Spring's voices of birds and flowers?
Or is it a psalm of love upborne
From this grateful earth of ours?
Unfold us the burden of your song,
Grasshoppers, chirping so
Tender and sweet the whole day long!
Is it of joy or woe,
The music that breathes from each blade of grass
In undertone deep and low?
Vainly I list for a jarring tone,
All is so blest to me—
From the cricket that answers, beneath the stone,
The brown toad hid in the tree,
To the tiniest insect of them all
That helps with the harmony.
Never a pause in the serenade!
Like the glory of ripened corn,
It filleth the air through sunshine and shade;
And from twilight till peep of morn
Is a rhythmical pulse in the dreamful night,
That of satisfied life seems born.
As the gold of the summer about us floats,
Soft melody crowneth the haze
Of the yellow ether with choral notes
Through these tuneful autumn days.
Speak, sphinx of the hearthstone, cricket dear!
Is the song of sorrow or praise?
Of this I am sure, that you bring to me
Thoughts the sweetest of any I know:
Of this I am sure, that you sing to me,
In minor tones tenderly low,
Of things the dearest that life has brought,
And dearest that hopes bestow.

Mary B. Dodge.

[Pg 513]



"Batavia, ho! and just ahead at that!" exclaimed the captain of our gallant East Indiaman as the entire party of passengers sprang to the quarter-deck on the first cry of "Land ahead!" It was scarcely five o'clock in the morning—not dawn between the tropics—but our impatience could brook no delay, and despite impromptu toilettes and yet unswabbed decks, with sluices of sea-water threatening us at every turn, we hastened forward to catch the earliest possible glimpse of the quaint old city of which we had heard such varied accounts. "You'll think a good part of it was built in Holland three centuries ago," said our captain, "then boxed up, sent across the waters, and dropped down, pell-mell, in the midst of the jungle." We all laughed incredulously at the time, but remembered his words afterward.

Batavia, one of the strongholds of Dutch power in the East, occupies the north-western extremity of the island of Java. It is composed of two distinct settlements, known, respectively, as the "Old City" and the "New City." The former, built directly on the seaboard, consists mainly of warehouses; stores and government offices, with a pretty extensive mingling of native dwellings and bazaars. The business-houses occupied by Europeans are all built in the old Dutch style of centuries ago, and their venerable appearance is largely augmented by the mould and discoloration of the sea-air; while the tout ensemble presents an ancient and dilapidated aspect strangely at variance with the luxuriant verdure of the tropical scenery and the brilliant tints of the picturesque Oriental costumes everywhere visible. The New City is a terrestrial Paradise, with broad avenues shaded by majestic trees, spacious parks, and palace-dwellings of indescribable elegance—a quaint commingling of city and country, of Oriental luxuriousness with the Hollander's characteristic love of solidity. In truth, the New City is not a city at all, but a continuous succession of beautiful villas embowered in orange groves, and surrounded by palms and banians, upon which climb and clamber flowering vines and creepers innumerable, while birds are singing, bees humming and butterflies fluttering their gauzy wings, utterly regardless of the proprieties of city life.

At eight o'clock we found ourselves in the custom-house, surrounded by Dutch revenue-officers, whose insignia of office seemed to consist of the huge bunches of keys with which they were armed. Their stylish uniforms and fair pale faces were singularly in contrast with the chocolate-colored skins, naked busts, scarlet girdles and green or yellow turbans of the crowds of native porters who stood ready to take charge of the baggage as fast as it was examined. Having seen our effects disposed of, we set out for our quarters in the New City, attended by the Bengalese comprador who was to serve as guide and purveyor-general during our stay in the island. We were driven in the neatest of pony palanquins, drawn by horses scarcely larger than Newfoundland dogs, over smooth, well-shaded roads, amid luxuriant fields and meadows, and for a good portion of the route by the banks of a beautiful canal, all aglow with busy life. Here and there were sampans and budgerows, some loaded with merchandise, and others with passengers, their light sails spread and pennons gayly flaunting in the breeze, while men, women and children, bathing and swimming in the smooth waters, sported like fish in their native element, and never dreamed of the possibility of danger.[Pg 514]


[Pg 515]

Among the majestic trees that formed natural archways above our heads, shutting out completely the sun's fervid rays, we noted especially the banians and cotton trees, the latter frequently besprinkling our heads and shoulders with what seemed at first glance a shower of bonâ fide snow, but on examination proved only the light, fleecy down of sea-island cotton. Conspicuous among the trees we encountered on that pleasant morning drive was the Palmier du voyageur, more generally known as the talipat or priestly palm, which was described in a recent number of this magazine.

A canal in Batavia A canal in Batavia

One characteristic feature of Javanese residences is their superb baths. The pools are usually of marble or granite, of such huge dimensions that one may float and flounder like fish in a pond, while the superintendent of the bath[Pg 516] keeps in constant play a brace of jets that send their sparkling spray over the bather's head and shoulders with most refreshing results. The water is clear as crystal, and sufficiently cool for the relaxed state of the system in a tropical clime. Everybody bathes three times a day, and one would far sooner dispense with a meal than do without either of these stated baths.


The usual routine of European life in India is to rise at "gun-fire" (five o'clock), go out for an airing in boat or palanquin for two full hours, bathe and dress at eight, take breakfast at nine, lunch at one, and siesta from two to four, when everybody retires, and, whether one wishes to sleep or not, he is secure of interruption, and has the full benefit of being en déshabillé for the two most[Pg 517] oppressive hours of the day. At four the second bath is taken; at five all go out in full dress in open carriages, and after a rapid drive over some of the public thoroughfares, the horses are walked slowly up and down the esplanade, where all the fashionable world assemble at this hour to see and be seen, and exchange passing courtesies or comments. At half-past six "the course" is deserted, and brilliantly-lighted dining-rooms are thronged with guests eager to test the quality of the rich and varied delicacies of which an Oriental dinner consists.


This is the principal meal of the day, and, occupying often two or three hours, it is made not merely an epicurean feast, but also an intellectual and social banquet. Strong coffee, served in the tiniest of porcelain cups, follows the guests[Pg 518] on their return to the drawing-rooms, and music, conversation, reading and company fill up the hours till midnight, when the third bath is taken immediately before retiring. This routine is seldom varied, except by the arrival of strangers, bent, like our party at Batavia, on sight-seeing. We soon wearied of the very voluptuousness of this stereo-typed course of indulgence, and welcomed in preference the fatigues and annoyances of exploring the thousand objects of interest that were beckoning us onward to jungle, mountain or sea-coast. Our friends, who were old residents, shook their heads knowingly, and prophesied sunstroke or jungle fever; but we went sight-seeing continually, filled our specimen baskets, and escaped both fever and sunstroke. The climate of Batavia is, however, extremely insalubrious for Europeans: a deadly miasma everywhere overshadows its luxuriant groves and lurks among the petals of its brightest flowers, rendering absolutely necessary regular habits of life. Before the occupation of the New City, when merchants and officers all resided on the seaboard, in the immediate vicinity of their business-places, the mortality was fearful, till utter depopulation seemed to threaten the colony. The inland location of the New City is more salubrious, and the extensive grounds that surround each dwelling give abundant freedom for ventilation, while the few hours passed by business or professional gentlemen at their offices—and those the best hours of the day, from breakfast to luncheon—are not deemed specially detrimental to health, even for foreigners. The Malays, Chinese and East Indians generally reside anywhere with impunity.


As our ship would be several weeks in port, discharging and taking in cargo, we availed ourselves of so fortunate an opportunity to explore some of the native settlements in the interior of the island. A Dutch officer, long resident in Java, kindly offered his escort, and obtained for us such passes and other facilities as were needed. Our first stopping place was at Bandong, the capital of one of the finest provinces of Java. It is under the nominal control of a native prince, who bears the title of "regent," holding his office under the government of Holland, from which he receives, an annuity of about forty thousand dollars. Among the natives he maintains the state of a grand Oriental monarch, and his subjects prostrate themselves in profoundest reverence before him; but both he and his domain are really controlled by half a dozen resident Hollanders, at the head of whom is the prefect. The palace of the regent is a massive structure, completely surrounded by beautiful gardens; and just beneath the windows where we sat I noticed a picturesque little lake, about which were sporting joyously at the evening hour a group of the young maidens of the palace. They were graceful and lovely in the careless abandon of their glee, but they no sooner perceived[Pg 519] the white faces of the foreigners looking down at them than they fled like frightened doves, hiding themselves in a grove of bananas, in any single leaf of which one of these dainty demoiselles might have clothed herself entire.

We found the regent surrounded by crowds of native attendants, among whose prostrate forms we wended our way to his presence. He was seated on a raised dais at the upper end of the audience-hall, and received us with the courteous dignity of a well-bred gentleman. His dress was that ordinarily worn by Malayan rajahs—brocade silk saráng fastened by a rich girdle, a loose upper garment of fine muslin, and a massive turban of blue silk wrought in figures of gold. Costly but clumsy Arabic sandals, and a diamond-hilted kris or dagger of fabulous value, completed a costume that looked both graceful and comfortable for a warm climate. He greeted the ladies of our party with marked empressement, thanked them for their visit, and conducted them in person to the entrance of the seraglio to make the acquaintance of his wives and daughters.


The next evening we were all invited to be present at the gammeláng, or orchestral and dramatic entertainment, in the harem of this prince. The invitation was gladly accepted, and so novel an exhibition I have seldom witnessed. Many of the musicians were masked, and wore queer-looking, conical caps that looked like exaggerated extinguishers, and a sort of light armor in which their unaccustomed limbs were evidently ill at ease. Occupying a conspicuous position in the very front, I noticed a Siamese raknát-player, robed in the native dress—or rather undress—of his country, and his hair cut à la Bangkok. He was singularly expert in the use of his instrument; and I learned afterward that, though taken to Java as a slave, his great musical talents had won for him not only liberty, but the highest favor of the regent of Bandong. He was the only rahnát-player in the gammeláng, but there were some two hundred timbrels, half a dozen drums, ten or twelve tom-toms, twenty violins, sixteen pairs of cymbals, and any imaginable number of horns, flutes and flageolets. I leave the reader to imagine the amount of noise produced by such a combination: my ears did not cease tingling for a week. But everybody praised the music, and evidently enjoyed the fun. The dancing was like all Oriental dancing, very voluptuous and enthusiastic, adapted especially to display the exquisite charms of the performers and move the passions of the audience. The play that followed possessed no merit, except in the bewildering beauty of the girlish actresses, and their superb adornments of natural flowers artistically arranged in coronets and wreaths, with costly pearls and diamonds. The play itself was simply a farce—a series of ridiculous passages between some lovesick swains and their rather tantalizing lady-loves, who eventually escaped, amid a shower of roses[Pg 520] and bon-bons, from their pursuers, and disappeared behind a huge palm tree, which the next instant had vanished into air, roots, branches and all.

After a somewhat adventurous ascent of Mount Tan-kon-bau-pra-hou, a hurried visit to the volcanoes of Merbabou and Derapi (the former nine thousand feet high, the latter eight thousand five hundred), and a glimpse at the sacred woods of Wah-Wons, we turned our faces toward Sourakarta and Djokjokarta, the two grand principalities of Java still remaining under native rule. Each is governed by an independent sultan, whom the Dutch have never been able to subjugate; and they are allowed, only by sufferance, to keep a diplomatic agent or "resident" at the courts of these monarchs. We had been forewarned, ere setting out on our tour, of the state maintained by these proud Oriental princes, and the utter impossibility of obtaining an audience without fulfilling to the very letter all the requirements of courtly usage. So we had sent forward some costly presents to each of the sultans, with letters written in Arabic and French, praying for the honor of an interview. Our messenger to the court of Sourakarta soon returned, accompanied by a native officer and five soldiers in full uniform, with a courteous letter of welcome from the sultan to his capital. He did not say to his court, and we were left in doubt as to whether we should see him, after all. But the day of our entrée was a most propitious one, as on that very morning this renowned monarch had been made the happy father of his twenty-eighth child. To this fortunate event we doubtless owed our reception at the court of this very exclusive potentate, who, we were told, almost invariably declined the proffered civilities of foreigners. Bonfires, illuminations and processions seemed the order of the day, business was suspended, bells were ringing, gongs sounding, and everybody was taking holiday, in commemoration of an event that seemed to have lost none of its novelty even after nearly a score and a half of repetitions.

The palace is built in pagoda form, with abundant architectural adornments, and is surrounded by a semicircle of smaller buildings of much the same appearance, though somewhat less imposing. The grandest view is at night, when the whole immense pile, from base to turret, is one blaze of light that but for the abundant tropical growth might be seen for miles away. The sultan is a well-informed and courtly gentleman, with a polish of mind and manners we were quite unprepared to find hidden away in the heart of Java. He is said to be the most distinguished of all the Malayan princes of this isle. He conversed with readiness on the general aspect of political affairs in Europe and America, inquired for the latest intelligence, and before we left invited us to be present at a grand military review on the following day. The garb of the troops, both officers and men, consists of long silken sarángs confined by embroidered girdles, gold or silver bangles in lieu of boots, and costly turbans adorned with precious stones—a garb that looked; better suited to the harem than the battle-field but their man[oe]uvres certainly did credit to their royal instructor in military tactics. The distinguishing weapon of Malayan soldiers, both in Java and elsewhere, is the kris, worn at the back and passed into the girdle. This is always carried both by officers and men, and very frequently civilians: the long sword is worn only by officers.

After the review we were presented to the sultan's eldest son, a tall slender young man, somewhat over twenty, with fierce, gleaming black eyes, and a profusion of black hair falling below his shoulders. His countenance indicated both intelligence and firmness, and his appearance might have been distingué but for his strangely effeminate dress of damask silk made like a girl's, his anklets and bracelets, gold chains and jeweled girdle, and a mitre-shaped coiffure of black and gold studded with enormous diamonds, any one of which would make the fortune of a Pall-Mall pawnbroker. A score of attendants about his own age were standing at the back of the young heir, while four diminutive dwarfs and[Pg 521] four jesters in comic garb crouched at his feet, and innumerable other subordinates—such as the fan-holder, the handkerchief-holder, the tea- and bouquet-holders, etc. etc.—made up the retinue of this youthful dignitary. At a subsequent interview the sonsouhounan presented me to his mother and several other ladies of the royal harem. The sultan was first married at the age of twelve, and had at the time of our visit forty-eight wives.


There is very much to interest the tourist in this Javanese city, so unlike the Anglo-Oriental settlements one meets elsewhere in the East, nor does he soon weary of its noble sultan and splendid Oriental court; but time forbade our tarrying longer than the third day, after which we pressed onward to the neighboring[Pg 522] principality of Djokjokarta. This is the name most conspicuous in Javanese history, since there, from 1825 to 1830, floated victoriously the colors of the revolt, and victory was purchased at last only by the blood of fifteen thousand soldiers, of whom eight thousand were Europeans, and Djokjokarta remained as it was before, an independent sovereignty. The sultan, who belongs to an ancient family, is fine-looking, with a somewhat martial air, and a native dignity evidently the heritage of high birth. On our first interview he wore above the ordinary silk saráng a tight-fitting jacket of French broadcloth (blue), richly embroidered and trimmed with gold lace.


He displayed also a collection of crosses, stars, and other decorations conferred by various European powers, the French[Pg 523] predominating. He had evidently a partiality for la belle France, and exhibited with no little pride an album containing photographs of Louis Philippe and Louis Napoleon. He conversed well in several languages, readily using either Arabic or French in lieu of his vernacular, and was evidently up to time in regard to the current political topics of the day. He introduced the ladies of our party to his young and beautiful sultana, and invited them to accompany her to the inner apartments of the harem. We found the private apartments of the seraglio, like so many others I visited all over the East, superbly magnificent in the display of gold and jewels, in costly carpets and exquisite hangings, in the most lavish exhibition of pictures, mirrors, statuettes and bijouterie generally. There were glowing tints and warm, rich colors, but all was sensuous: wealth and splendor were everywhere visible, but neither modesty nor true womanly refinement.

The sultan afterward entertained us by the exhibition of a curious collection of monkeys and apes. Some were of huge proportions, full four feet in height, and looking as fierce as if just captured from their native jungles, while the tiny marmosets were scarcely eight inches long. The orang-outangs and long-armed apes had been trained to go through a variety of military exercises; and when one of us expressed surprise at their seeming intelligence, the sultan said gravely, "They are as really men as you and I, and have the power of speech if they chose to exercise it. They do not talk, because they are unwilling to work and be made slaves of." This strange theory is generally believed by the Malays, in whose language orang-outang is simply "man of the woods."

Fannie R. Feudge.



How London balls came to be what, in this latter half of the nineteenth century, they are—by what process of development or natural or artificial selection they acquired their present characteristics, and where and when their congregation of frequenters picked up their current ritual—are matters which I, for one, am content to leave to the Dryasdusts of social history. The existing phase of the subject affords phenomena enough and to spare to gossip about, without delving into the rubbish-heaps of the past.

Well, of course there are different sorts of London balls, and indifferent sorts, too, for that matter. It would be a hopeless and endless task to try to classify their various species accurately; and this paper isn't meant for scientific readers, who are hereby solemnly warned off frivolous ground; so let us just mark out the field into three broad divisions—the Public, the Semi-Public and the Private Ball—and take a look at each successively.

About the public ball I do not intend to say much. Take the whole year round, it perhaps gets together the biggest crowds, merely from the fact of its affecting the biggest dancing-areas; but as anybody who wants to realize it has at most only to spend the handful of dollars requisite for a journey to London and a ticket of admission, it hasn't anything but the charm of mere geographical inaccessibility to recommend it. But if you must make acquaintance with the London variety of the public ball, you will hardly find a better place for[Pg 524] studying it than St. James's Hall, that big, many-mouthed structure between Regent street and Piccadilly, which with impartial alacrity, provided the hire is paid, opens its doors to every sort of gathering—its platform occupied one night by Joachim and Hallé, the next by Jolly Nash or the Christy Minstrels; on Wednesday, maybe, by a knot of Total Abstinence enthusiasts, denouncing publicans as sinners; and on Thursday by the band to which Licensed Victualers and their friends are dancing at their annual public ball. You really want to go in? Very well. Gentlemen's tickets, one guinea; ladies', twenty-five per cent. less—a supposed inducement to the sordid, money-grubbing male relative or friend who has the purse to bring them. Are the prices expressed to be inclusive of wine? If they are, you will be poisoned with some frothy compound of white ordinaire and chemicals—a truly "excellent substitute" for champagne—with which ingenious Cette supplies refreshment contractors (and, alas! others) in inexhaustible abundance. If not, you will have to disburse a sixpence every time a partner accepts your offer of a glass of claret-cup between the dances, and half a sovereign for your bottle of indifferent "fizz" at supper-time. This latter is about the very worst of conceivable arrangements: it is an improper and aggravating tax upon the man, who, as likely as not, has not bethought him of bringing the requisite pocketful of change; while the ladies—at any rate, all the best of them—naturally hate the idea of letting stranger partners pay for them, and often decline refreshments all the evening in consequence.

But now for the company. Mark the splendor of the gentlemen—the glossiness of their hair, the velvet collars of their dress-coats, the snowy amplitude of their wristbands, the shininess of their patent-leather boots or steel-buckled shoes. They don't don this kind of gear every evening, like your blasé Belgravian; so it is surely meet and right that the get-up should be more elaborate and brilliant than his when the festive occasions do come round. The aspect of the ladies, gallantry and an imperfect acquaintance with the language of millinery forbid one to criticise. Enough to say that they harmonize perfectly with the gentlemen. The music is generally pretty good on these public occasions, but apt to be over-brazen. It is often a military band. And to organize the dancers—not always an easy task in a crowded hall—and see that the business of introductions goes on duly, a small staff of energetic professional gentlemen, styled M.C.'s (which in London, you know, stands for Master of the Ceremonies), flit ever hither and thither amongst the throng, now catching a wildly errant waltzing couple in politely resolute arms and sending them back into the regular ring, now getting up sets for Lancers and quadrilles, and at all points doing their best to keep the ball a-rolling. Useful members of society, these M.C.'s—a congenial profession for retired Harlequins and—what is pretty much the same thing—dancing-masters. And it is their influence, maybe, in some measure that is accountable for the extraordinary variety of dances that is apt to be found in the programme of the public ball. Mazurka, Schottische, Varsoviana, La Tempête and other curiosities of the art Terpsichorean flourish and abound there, to the distraction of folk who are not fresh from a dancing academy. Away go our friends, though, with happy audacity, whether they're certain of the step or not. If in doubt, make a waltz of it, is the golden rule; and you can't be wrong in twisting your partner half a dozen times in loco whenever you seem to have a few bars to spare in a quadrille.

But we have lingered full long enough at the public ball, though indeed it is quite the correct thing, you know, to go early and stay late at such, and get one's money's worth for one's money. Jump into a swift imaginary hansom, and pass on without more delay to what I have ventured to call, in default of a better name, the semi-public ball. The term will perhaps serve as well as any other to cover all those balls which, though[Pg 525] nominally private, are given so much as a matter of course, and on such a large scale, that they tend to exhibit some characteristics of the public ball, and also those which are got up by subscription amongst the members of some semi-public body, such as a volunteer corps. The lady mayoress's annual balls at the Mansion House, and those of the Devil's Own (the Inns of Court Rifle Volunteers) in the Temple or Lincoln's Inn, may stand as typical samples of the species semi-public.

Note those words "Full Dress" in the corner of your card of invitation to the Mansion House ball. They mean that if you are the possessor of anything in the nature of a uniform—military, naval, diplomatic, consular, or what not—you are expected to appear in it. But, in any case, do not omit to put your card in your pocket, for it will be demanded at the door—a not unreasonable precaution against the influx of uninvited guests in such a crowd. And start Cityward betimes, not later than 10 or a quarter-past 10 P. M., if your home lies in Belgravian or Mayfair parts, for it's a terribly long journey to that spot where the Mansion House stands staring at the Bank, and City dances always begin early. Come, now, isn't it something worth living for to have one's coat and hat taken by one of this knot of magnificent crimson-velvet-coated, gold-beplastered, silken-calved beings who are ranged along the sides of the vestibule? For my part, I protest that, familiar though their aspect is to me, I cannot see a lord mayor's flunkeys in their state liveries—their hues varying chameleon-wise from year to year—without feelings of almost reverential wonderment. What a study for the great clothes-philosopher of Sartor Resartus! But it will never do to stand moralizing in the gangway here. Besides, a superb majordomo has caught up our names and announced them electrifyingly; so hurry we forward to where, between two pillars, the lord mayor, distinguished by his chain of office, and the lady mayoress, stand to receive their guests with bow and hand-shaking, and on, past them, into the scene of action, the Egyptian Hall. A fine big room for a dance, now that all those chairs and tables are cleared away that groan so frequently under aldermanic bodies and things edible and potable (for this hall is, as everybody knows, the home and centre of civic hospitality). The platform, see, is occupied by the band of the Grenadier Guards, so the music is sure to be, from a dancer's point of view, pretty good. Though, in truth, at present one might wonder where the dancers are to find space for their gyrations. The whole area of the floor is covered by a gay crowd, all chattering away in a very Babel of tongues. Some royal highness or other is expected to-night, it seems, and it isn't etiquette to begin dancing before he or she arrives. But a few minutes may well be spent in a quick survey of the assembled guests. All peoples, nations and languages appear to be represented in the crowd. Nawabs and other Indian dignitaries of unpronounceable names and indefinite rank, in gorgeous, many-colored raiment (presumably their national idea of evening full dress), culminating in jeweled caps and terminating in the opposite direction, somewhat incongruously, in London-made dress-boots; envoys from Burmah or the khanates, appareled in a kind of bedgowns; diplomates from all the embassies and ministries, in uniforms of all sorts and colors, the amount of stars, orders and suchlike decorations on each illustrious chest being usually in the inverse ratio of the real importance of the country to which the wearer belongs; gallant generals in scarlet and gallant admirals in blue; and gallant militia officers and deputy lieutenants just as scarlet and blue, ay, and golden too, as anybody; and all these encircled and enwrapped by billowy masses of tulle and gauze and silk and satin in which the ladies have come forth conquering and to conquer.

Meanwhile H.R.H. has arrived, and first-quadrille sets forming in every direction speedily drive the non-dancers into the background. Those who mean dancing have turned the preliminary[Pg 526] twenty minutes' waiting to useful account by getting their ball-programmes duly penciled with engagements. In doing this one little difficulty peculiar to such places as the Mansion House has to be met. The hall is so vast and the multitude so bewildering that, unless you know exactly where to look, it is as hopeless to expect to find any given partner at the right moment as to seek a needle in a haystack. The only safe expedient is to agree upon a pillar. A row of substantial pillars runs down either side of the hall, the base of each fringed with seats, apt head-quarters for chaperons, who, sitting there at ease, survey the fray and note their charges' movements in it. So, as soon as an introduction is over, and the engagement noted on the cards, "Where will you be?" asks the old hand. "Oh, mamma's by the second pillar from the dais;" and thereupon he and she go their ways, confident of meeting when their dance's turn is reached.

Have you ever gone a-skating on the Serpentine after a fall of snow? Here and there a more or less circular space has been swept clear, and on each space a batch of skaters whirl and attitudinize, the uncleared interspaces of snow-covered, impracticable ice given up to miscellaneous loafers. Even so it is with the wide area of the Egyptian Hall when the ball is in full swing. The waltzers clear four or five ever-shifting rings for themselves, in each of which a dozen to twenty couples go round and round, colliding, jostling and (righteously enough) eliminating the vagrant do-nothings who in aimless perambulation are for ever trenching upon the dancers' ground. For which reprehensible proceeding, mind, there is positively no excuse at the Mansion House, where the range of drawing-rooms and vestibule is ample enough to accommodate without difficulty the largest numbers that ever come together there. There is always the Long Parlor, too, to resort to, where, at about the longest buffet to be found in Christendom, an army of waiters are assiduous all the evening through in dispensing tea, coffee, ices, cakes, claret- and champagne-cups, fruit, and suchlike light refections to all comers. Pretty well thronged the parlor is, too, in the intervals between the dances, until between midnight and 1 A. M., when it begins to be comparatively deserted. The reason? Follow that couple hurrying to a far corner of the vestibule, and you will soon see the reason. Up a flight of stairs we follow to the first floor, to find ourselves at the end of a long queue of couples, all patiently waiting with faces turned toward a doorway barred by two authoritative footmen. Inside that doorway is—Supper, a word of substantial import to the genuine London citizen; and it is with a keen practical appreciation of its meaning that these good folk are gathered here, content to wait their turn till those guardians of the doorway, letting down the barrier of their arms, shall permit them to pass into the supper-room. Truly an instructive and elevating sight! Still, people who dance, and still more devoted matrons who chaperon, need and deserve to be fed, and when one comes to deal with six or seven hundred feeders, it is perhaps necessary to be somewhat methodical and systematic about it; so possibly the queue is inevitable, and not greatly to be sneered at.

The scene inside the supper-room may be dismissed with a very few words. Narrowish tables, with a background of waiters, line all four sides, leaving the centre space for the guests. No seats: every couple occupy the first open standing room they can find at a table, and sup on whatever viands happen to be opposite them. Maybe there is a certain stony sameness about the food, a harping ad infinitum on some eight or ten hackneyed culinary ideas which one always finds where, as here, food and drink for a great many relays of people are provided by contract; but so long as chicken and jelly and fairly wholesome wine, with plenty of that best of antidotal safeguards, seltzer, are obtainable, folk are not apt to be hypercritical on such occasions.

Another staircase leads down again to the vestibule and hall, where the crowd is by this time perceptibly thinning.[Pg 527] Chaperons are sailing off to the cloak-room, each followed by her brood; and the hoarse voices of the servants and policemen outside—"Call Mrs. Thingummy's carriage," "Mrs. Whatshername's carriage stops the way"—penetrate almost to the dancers' ears. Let us get our coats and hats and be off. There is an almost amusing coolness in that open display of a saucer for the receipt of tips on the counter at which the coats are applied for. It prosaically recalls one to the fact that these magnificent flunkeys are after all but human, and not above a regard for shillings. Next Tuesday, mind, you must not fail to drop in for a few minutes at the lady mayoress's afternoon "at home," in acknowledgment of your (I trust) pleasant evening at the dance; and be sure you write your name and address in the callers' book on the table near the entrance door, if you wish to be remembered when the cards of invitation for the next dance are going out.

Turn we now to a quite different phase of the ball semi-public. The Inns of Court Rifle Volunteers—familiarly styled (as I have said) The Devil's Own—are giving a dance in the fine newly-rebuilt hall of the Inner Temple; which, by the way, stands on the very site where in past days the Knights Templars used to laugh and quaff. It is a strictly professional corps, this of the Inns of Court. Not only every officer, but every man of the rank and file, is either actually a barrister, or at any rate a student-member of one of the four old Inns, on his way, by means of eating thirty-six dinners in term-time and passing an examination, to achieve his "call" to the Bar. Still, overladen though they be with briefs and business—as of course everybody knows all London barristers are—the Devil's Own manage somehow to find time to attain a passable proficiency in drill and rifle practice, and not a few of them in waltzing too. So the corps determine to get up a dance. Prompted by their festive and hospitable feelings? Oh, of course; that is to say, partly, and partly, at least the moving spirits in the affair, with a shrewdish eye to business. For, behold! it is rumored one summer's day through the Inns that a ball is projected; ay, and such a ball! so well managed, so brilliant, so in every way desirable as has never been known before. Every barrister, every student must be there. But—and this is an all-important "but"—it is at the same time to be understood that tickets will be issued to members of the corps only, and that members of the Inns of Court who are not also members of the corps will be specially and particularly inadmissible. Observe the moral pressure thus brought to bear. Brown, Jones and Robinson have hitherto withstood all the persuasive recruiting efforts of their friends in the corps, but this dance turns the scale. They have sisters of their own who beg and demand and insist upon their procuring tickets, and they know sisters of their friends who are sure to be there, and whom they feel ready to give any price to meet; so the long and short of it is that they go off to the orderly-room and qualify themselves for tickets by taking the oath and becoming enrolled members of the corps. Whereat those moving spirits in the affair wink their shrewd eyes gleefully. They will dance all the more heartily, remembering the good stroke of business they have done in the interest of the corps and its recruiting.

The ball committee and their workmen have been hard at the work of preparation till the last minute, and now it is half-past 10 P. M., and carriages are beginning to roll up to the hall with their freights of fair and—other ones. The staircase and corridor are lined with stately tropical plants and banks of many-colored flowers. First to the tea-room, as the stream seems to be flowing in that direction. This suite of cozy paneled rooms are the sacred and most private haunts of the Benchers, the self-electing governing body of the Inn. How astonished, not to say shocked, those berobed and bewigged legal luminaries, in their frames upon the walls, must be to look down upon this gay laughing, talking, tea-and-ice-consuming mob of invaders! I fear no one[Pg 528] heeds their possible feelings much to-night, though: there are far more important matters—searching in the crowd for friends, engaging partners for dances, introducing and being introduced—to occupy all one's time and thoughts.

From the dais-end of the hall, where on other days the Benchers' table stands, you may well take a preliminary survey of the scene of action. What a flood of light those sun-burners in the roof pour down! The blazoned escutcheons of past and present judges, members of the Inn, with which the walls are lined, show off all their colors, and the stained-glass windows do their best to look illuminated. In the gallery opposite a band of no less than nine-and-twenty picked men of Coote and Tinney's sit ready to play all the latest dance-music as long as any one will stay to dance to it; while all over the smoothly-polished floor the dancers are somehow evolving a kind of order out of chaos, and sorting themselves into pairs and sets for the opening quadrille. The male half of the gathering is, of course, almost exclusively legal, but there are no distinctions of legal rank to-night. Learned vice-chancellors, queen's counsel, juniors and students fraternize and compete for chats and dances with the ladies quite promiscuously. The hosts of the evening, the members of the corps, are distinguished by a small knot of ribbons, the corps colors, in their button-holes; but, for comfort's sake, uniforms have been tabooed in favor of the ordinary civilian's black and white. There is present, however, a military element, after all. Something like eight hundred guests are assembled here, and no little method is needed to enable such a crowd to move about from room to room without confusion and blocking-up of doorways and passages. So a couple of tall Guardsmen have been providently posted in every doorway, who, you will find, allow you readily enough to pass them in one direction, but, once passed, politely prohibit your returning on your steps, and point you forward on a course which, circling through a suite of rooms and passages, will bring you round again by another entrance into the ball-room. By this simple expedient free circulation to and from the tea-rooms and the supper-tent—a temporary erection stretching nearly to the Temple church outside—is effectually kept up all the evening, and much loss of time and temper saved. Note how, in the hall, too, the crowd of dancers are kept, in their own interest, within bounds. Half a score of the little drummers of the Grenadiers are on duty there, in all the finery of scarlet, braid and overwhelming bearskins. These, as soon as the band strikes up a waltz or galop, raise slender barriers of silken cords at intervals across the hall, cutting up the whole big area into three or four moderate-sized ones, in each of which a distinct ring may spin round and round, without fear of collisions with unexpected errant couples from other quarters of the hall. Truly the ball committee deserve the credit of having been ingeniously provident of many things; though, to be sure, it is just part of their legal stock in trade to be so. But the author of that arrangement in the passage-nooks—have you noticed it in your between-dances saunterings?—smooth-hewn pyramids of crystal ice, embowered in ferns and palms, and lit up from behind by some device which makes them glow a lovely rose-color all over—that man deserves a prize, I protest, for an inspiration that hardly could be expected from the frowsy atmosphere of lawyers' chambers. It will be morning, pale and gray, before the last volunteers see the last ladies to their carriage, and betake themselves bedward with ears ringing with half a dozen waltz tunes, and pleasantly oblivious for the nonce of briefs and work-a-day botherations.

Kind, patient reader—I feel the adjectives are justly due to any one who has accompanied my roving pen thus far—did you ever watch a street-child eating, say, a jam-tart? The dry corners of pastry are first all nibbled off; gradually the outworks where the jam lies thin are trenched upon all round; while the toothsome centre is fondly kept intact for the final morsel. Even so[Pg 529] have I been reserving my bonne bouche, the private ball; which in its happiest developments is, to my thinking, as far superior to the semi-public ball as this latter to the public. In its happiest developments, mind; for private balls in London are as infinitely diverse in character as they are infinitely multitudinous in number; and some sorts are (to speak politely) comparatively undesirable. So, in deference to the exigencies of time and space, let us confine our attention to the private dance as it appears in what is called (or calls itself) "society."

And first, as to the people who give these private balls, or dances, or dancing-parties (for these two synonyms are very commonly preferred to the more pretentious word "ball"). They may be roughly classified under five heads:

1st (and foremost). Mothers of marriageable daughters.

2d. People who for some reason or other—official or social position, wealth, vanity, or what not—are expected, or think they are expected, to give balls.

3d. Good-natured, amusement-loving married folk, with money and without grown children.

4th. Benevolent grandfathers, dowagers and aunts.

5th. The most unlikely people.

And how, where and when are these various dance-givers' gifts bestowed? The "how" is the easiest thing possible if the lady about to give the dance is of established position in society. Her set of friends and acquaintances is numerous, even to embarrassment. All the people whose dinners or drums or dances she goes to must of course be asked: a dance for a dance is a rule as obligatory as that of "cutlet for cutlet" (as a matter-of-fact old lady of the world phrased it) is in dinner-giving circles. At least as many young ladies as she can do with are sure to be supplied by this means; while as for men, there are all the host of bachelors to resort to who at the beginning of the season have left their visiting-cards at her door, thereby intimating, "I am in town, and ready to be asked to any entertainment you may happen to get up, and here is my address." But if our intending hostess is a new-comer in London, and has not yet picked up a sufficiency of town-acquaintances, or if those whom she has are not altogether the style of folk she wishes to invite, a different course of procedure has to be adopted. It may be taken as an axiom that there are always plenty of people in society who are ready to go anywhere (within recognized limits) to a ball, provided that some lady of acknowledged experience in such matters will stand sponsor for its probable goodness. So our hostess betakes herself to the half dozen or dozen of her lady friends who are possessed of the most extended and desirable sets of acquaintances, and, diplomatically interesting them in her design, leaves with each of them, for distribution at discretion, a little pack of cards of invitation. And next day young Jones, coming home to his bachelor lodgings in St. James's, find on his table the conventional oblong card:

Knowing that he has not the pleasure of Mrs. Smythe's acquaintance, he turns to the back of the card, and reading there (just the sort of thing he had expected to find) the endorsement, "With Lady Fitzbattleaxe's compliments," he at once grasps the situation, and sends off a note to 150 Queen's Gate, to the effect that he has much pleasure in accepting Mrs. Smythe's kind invitation. He feels quite safe. Lady Fitzbattleaxe and her set, all of whom he knows, will be there; and she wouldn't have sent the card unless she had reason to know that the thing was going to be well done. Unattached bachelors who dance have, in fact, little difficulty in getting their fill of dancing in the season if they lay themselves[Pg 530] out for doing so. A young lady can't, as a rule, be asked without at the same time sending a card to her mother or other chaperon, whom the hostess may, from considerations of space or otherwise, not want to have; whereas your dancing-man takes up very little room, brings no one but himself, shifts for himself, and is indeed more or less positively useful toward promoting the avowed object of the gathering. Aware of this, it is a not uncommon practice with dance-going bachelors to interrogate a partner whom they feel a wish to meet again as to the locales of her coming dance-engagements, and thereupon, through the medium of some friend of that potent and wonderful class, the Know-everybodys, to manage somehow to procure for themselves cards of invitation to the houses and parties indicated, whosoever and wherever they may be.

But now, supposing Lady This or Mrs. That to have made up her mind to give a ball, where will she give it? At home, no doubt, in the great majority of cases; but if her rooms happen to be small, or she wishes to avoid the nuisance of having her own house turned upside down (as it must be for a couple of days at the least if a ball is to be held in it), she may prefer—I am assuming expense to be no object—to hire some public rooms, like Willis's, or an empty house for the occasion; of which alternatives it is ten to one that the latter will be adopted. True it is that the ball-room at Willis's (in old days so well known as Almack's), though far too narrow for its length, offers a floor of superlative smoothness, and that its position, in the very heart of the St. James's quarter, leaves nothing to be desired; but the place is so generally associated with festivities of the public and semi-public classes that anybody giving a private dance there may feel sure that the guests will not regard it as quite the same sort of thing as a dance in a private house. The empty-house plan is not open to this objection. Owing its origin, doubtless, to the prodigious amount of house-building that has been going on of late in fashionable London, it has become quite a recognized institution of these last few seasons; and it certainly saves the ball-giver a world of trouble. There stand plenty of newly-built first-class mansions in Belgravia that have not yet found tenants, thoroughly finished off, externally and internally, so far as floors and doors and windows and staircases go, but of course entirely unfurnished. One of these is selected and hired (at a cost that would make some people gasp) for the determined evening. An upholsterer is turned in to put up temporary mirrors, chandeliers and curtains, and lay down temporary carpets; a florist, following, covers bare mantelpieces with captivating layers of cut-roses, ferns and mosses, and empties a whole conservatoryful of plants and flowers into halls and passages; essential Gunter, always equal to any accumulation of occasions, sends in the conventional foods and drinks, and a competent staff of waiters to dispense them; from equally essential and omnipresent Coote and Tinney's comes a detachment of competent musicians; and hey, presto! the empty house bursts into light and life and music, and, exulting in its Cinderella finery, welcomes the guests with all the air of an establishment that has been accustomed to this kind of thing for years.

It is not always an easy matter to time one's arrival at a private ball quite satisfactorily. The old hands have of course certain general rules to go by: for instance, if the invitation-card has borne the words "Small and early" in one corner, that dancing may be expected to begin by eleven o'clock or thereabouts; but in the absence of any such guide it is almost impossible to predict with accuracy the time when arrivals will set in; and so one oftentimes falls into the Scylla of over-lateness in anxiety to steer clear of the Charybdis of over-earliness, or vice versâ. I call to mind a ball at the close of last season to which I went expressly to meet certain friends, and thought to have hit off the happy mean by entering the ball-room just twenty minutes before midnight; but,[Pg 531] lo! the musicians had not yet taken possession of their corner, and sofas and chairs were but sparsely occupied by some couple of dozen specimens of that portion of the fair sex who in outward seeming not attractive, for dancing purposes, to the frivolous male, yet for some inscrutable reason always put in the earliest appearances in ball-rooms.

It is all very well to cry out against dances that don't begin till near midnight as absurd and reprehensible; but, after all, their lateness is easily accounted for. In May and June from six to half-past seven in the evening are the pleasantest of hours for driving in the Park or strolling to see others drive there. Nobody willingly goes home till those pleasant hours are over; so no wonder that dinners tend to begin at a quarter- or even half-past eight; that they consequently are not over much before eleven; and that people who have, after that, to look in and gossip for ten minutes at somebody or other's drum, do not find themselves at the ultimate evening engagement, the ball, much before the stroke of twelve. The balls of the London season will not become much earlier, methinks, until some thorough revolution takes place in the likings and habits of the folk who give and go to them.

Suppose, then, the arrival accurately timed, or, at any rate, any fault on the side of over-earliness corrected by a judicious waste of minutes in the cloak- and tea-rooms down stairs. At the top of the inevitable staircase, or just inside her drawing-room, our hostess stands ready with smile and hand-shake for each and every guest announced by the sonorous butler. Many of the younger men (who have received cards by one or other of the side-winds above spoken of) she has very likely never seen or heard of till this moment; but no matter—they and she are equally equal to the occasion. Perhaps the lady who has sent the stranger a card "with her compliments" hears him announced, and stepping forward introduces him to the hostess. If not, the hardly formidable ordeal of a polite bow and a hand-shake passes him on into the ball-room, where, once arrived, he looks about for friends, and proceeds to engage dances, and (let us hope) enjoy them without the slightest sense of strangeness in the strange house, provided only that he has chanced upon a fair sprinkling of his own set there. Who the master of the house may be he probably, if an average careless Gallio, knows little and cares less. Indeed, Paterfamilias is usually content to sink his own personality and be a nonentity for the nonce on the night of his wife's dancing-party.

The suite of drawing-rooms, usually two rooms occupying the whole of the first floor, have been gutted of furniture and stripped of carpets to form the ball-room. The floor is hardly ever of polished wood in modern London houses, but the boards are smooth, and a very tolerable surface for dancing purposes is produceable by the simple process of washing them over with milk. Some people, not caring to go to the trouble of having carpets taken up, content themselves with a holland cloth tightly stretched over the carpeting, which is indeed preferable to that abomination, a beeswaxed floor, but is, at best, but heavy traveling for the dancers, and apt, too, to tear during the evening into dangerous foot-ensnaring holes.

Are you a connoisseur in costumes? The men's dress is, of course, the same, in general appearance, all the Western world over, and the only varieties in a London ball-room are the better or worse styles of tailoring and an occasional white waistcoat. Fortunately, the fair sex, with all the colors of the rainbow and all the inspirations of the fashion-books and dressmakers at command, can and do give a kaleidoscopic plentitude of variety to the scene. Débutantes just "come out" in society are conventionally confined to simple white, but their more experienced sisters may indulge in any combinations of tulle and other gauzy substance, white or colored, with ribbons, flowers, and all the materials and devices known to millinery, at discretion; to all which the rich and stately velvets and silks of the chaperoning matrons form an effective background.[Pg 532]

And now for the introductions. There is no getting on at all in a private dance, nor indeed in any London society, without introductions. Society rigidly requires of every man that he submit to the process as a preliminary to addressing even a remark anent the weather to a lady—much more before asking of her such a favor as a dance. But a man who goes much to dances soon grows somewhat wary in this matter. He learns to shun the overtures of the seemingly benevolent people—above all, the master of the house—who proffer willingness to introduce him to partners; for has not experience taught him that such folk are always actuated by the desire (laudable enough, perhaps) of procuring partners for some lady friend whose personal attractions are not, by themselves, calculated to bring them? No, he prefers, the selfish wretch! to seek and choose for himself—first, to look about and determine to which of all the strange faces in the room he would wish to be introduced, and then to set about finding out means of getting introduced to them.

It is a misfortune that the present habits of society, placing the fair sex in the position of waiting to be asked by would-be male partners, as well for dances as for life-partnerships, do not at the same time, in the former as they do in the latter case, countenance their meeting undesired proposals with a direct negative. It is fully admitted in principle, and is said to be experienced in practice, that a lady may reply to the question, "Will you marry me?" with a conclusive "No." But the same answer, given to the stock ball-room interrogatory, "May I have the (honor/pleasure) of a dance?" would be conventionally reprobated as discourteous, and is practically impossible. The natural consequence is, that the fair answerer is driven to all manner of distressing—sometimes almost amusingly distressing—shifts and equivocations, merely to escape the necessity of dancing with men whom she doesn't wish to dance with, but who insist on asking her to do so. Sometimes she salves her conscience by the device of arranging beforehand with a brother or other near relative that she shall be understood to be engaged to him for every and any dance that may be asked for by a person undesired. At other times she will have mislaid her programme, or "think mamma will want to be gone" before the proposed dance is reached. To young ladies thus embarrassed a practice which has recently gained some hold at private balls, of supplying no dance-programmes at all, has afforded a novel and most happy relief. For when one man has asked for (and perhaps fondly noted on his ample cuff) "the third dance from now," another "the second galop," and a third "the fourth round," she is so genuinely bewildered as to how many and what dances she is and is not engaged for that it becomes alike easy to checkmate proposals by the reply "engaged," and at any time in the course of the evening to give an immediate dance to any favored partner, in sheer hopelessness of remembering to whom, if at all, it has already been promised, and on the chance that the unknown will not appear to claim it.

But suppose, on the other hand, there are programmes. If one could get a sight of any dozen, taken at random, after all, I warrant there would be some curious if not edifying reading there. Names are (unintentionally enough) so slurred in the hurry of introduction—"Miss Mumble-mumble, allow me to introduce Mr. Jumble-jumble"—that, more often than not, neither party catches the other's name; and so She, even if she gives up her programme to be marked with the engagement, probably gets it back just scrawled with some initials; while He is driven to the expedient of entering on his programme some brief memorandum of dress or ornament—"blue and roses," "pearls," or the like—which may or may not serve to recall to him each fair personality in turn. Sisters, though, are apt to upset this descriptive arrangement by their provoking habit of going about in identical costumes. Some luckless wight has taken a satisfactory note of the dress[Pg 533] and general appearance of a Miss Unknown, and then, horror! half an hour afterward he discovers that there are two wearers of such dress in the room, each the very ditto of the other. There is only one way out of it: when the destined dance arrives he must go boldly up to one of them with the usual "My dance, I believe?" For there's, at any rate, an even chance of his being right; while, at worst, if she answers, "I think not," his doubt is at once solved in favor of the other sister.

In the dances themselves there is not much variety. Society knows of four only—two "squares," quadrille and Lancers, and two "round," waltz and galop. Of these, waltzes are the most, and quadrilles the least, popular, it being of course understood that "round" dances occupy considerably more than half of every programme. Still, "squares" are not likely ever actually to disappear. There is a certain undeniable utility about them. They give breathing-times between waltz and galop; a share in the amusement of the evening to people who are too old or too ponderous, or otherwise unsuited for the whirling "rounds;" and scope for that pleasant institution, "sitting out," which, as everybody knows, consists in ostensibly engaging a partner for a "square," and then, instead of dancing it, deliberately spending the time in a quiet sit-down chat. "Dancing it," I see I have written, but truly it is only by courtesy that the word can be applied to a private-ball quadrille, in which nobody dreams of doing steps or attending to time, and the conventional ideal is reached by a sort of unconcerned-looking saunter, distantly suggestive of the formulated movements of the figures. But if you can't dance too ill for the "squares," on the other hand you can't dance too well for the "rounds," especially waltzes. All thorough-going dancers will now have nothing but the valse à trois temps, which requires both partners to be exactly in time both with one another and the music, and a partner who can only dance the old deux temps, or whose trois temps step is faulty, is not very likely, if a man, to be favored with many "rounds," or if a lady to be asked for them.

As for the talk of ball-rooms, its silliness and inanity are almost proverbial. And yet what else can one expect? In the "squares" one's attention is so constantly called off to some process of bowing, or setting, or crossing over, or turning round, that it is next to impossible to get half a dozen consecutive sentences of conversation at a time. Indeed, I have often meditated making a fortune by publishing, for the use of men whose small talk is limited, a pocket Dancers Conversation Book, to consist wholly of three-word beginnings of sentences, such as "Don't you think—," "Have you seen—," "Do you know—," and so on. The reader would be instructed, every time he found himself at rest beside his partner, to start one of these fragments, with a pleasant smile and an interrogative air, in well-founded confidence that by the time the third word was out of his mouth some exigency of the figure would require him to turn off to some independent movement on his own part, which ended, his partner might safely be assumed to have forgotten all about his last remark, and to be ready to listen to another equally illusory. But even supposing a couple have comparatively time to talk—as, for instance, during the short interval between two dances—how, if (as must continually happen) they were utter strangers to one another till ten minutes ago—how, I say, can they be expected to get beyond the veriest outworks and superficialities of conversation? The man (with whom it lies to take the lead) may possibly have a host of interests, and be able to talk sensibly or speciously on a variety of subjects, but at the start he is quite in the dark as to his partner's tastes and pursuits, and so almost perforce breaks ground with first one, and if that fails another, of the ordinary small-talk questions, on the chance of lighting upon some topic that the lady knows or cares about. There is always a hope of turning up trumps. "Have you been to the opera lately?" may discover an ardent[Pg 534] musician, and pave the way for a long "sit-out" gossip on things musical. "Have you been in town long?" may lead to any amount of pleasantly rambling talk about places and people in the counties, or recollections of continental travel, perhaps the most fascinating of all kinds of "shop." Of course, if the partners are old friends, or even tolerably familiar acquaintances, the surface-fishing process is happily unnecessary, and they can plunge at once into deep waters. Still, even if they get upon so-called tender subjects, it's long odds they won't have time enough to get out of their depth. That danger is reserved for the quieter and more prolonged intercourse of picnic-parties and country-house life. Cupid's arrows seldom penetrate deep at a ball.

A careful observer of ball-room talk will not fail to notice what may be called the exclusive slang of society. He will find people "in society" habitually using a few pet words which they love, not because they are a bit better than the synonyms used by other people, but just because other people don't use them, whereby they serve as a sort of passwords or Masonic signs among the initiated. Just now plainness is all the fashion. Ladies who are not in society talk of "dresses" and "gentlemen," and grammatically contract "are not" into "aren't;" so the ladies of the Upper Ten say "gowns" and "men" and "ain't" for distinction's sake. And the same idea comes out at many points. The public-ball cavaliers rejoice in lavender- or lemon-colored kids, and display exuberant activity in the "squares;" so the dancing-man of society punctiliously gloves his hands in white, and strolls through a quadrille with an air of languid indifference. One romp, and one only, does the private ball countenance in the merry-go-round of the third figure of a "sixteen" (double) set of Lancers.

After every dance, in the early stage of the ball, there is a general set of the dancers in the direction of the tea-room. Till some time between midnight and one o'clock the door of the supper room is kept strictly closed, and light refreshments—tea, iced coffee, cream- and water-ices, various "cups" and lemonades and strawberryades, and cakes and biscuits and such-like—have undisputed possession of the field. Anything to get away for five minutes from the heated atmosphere of the dancing-room; so it is generally advisable to propose "tea" to your partner as an excuse for a visit to the back room down stairs (probably Paterfamilias's study or the children's school-room on other days); and, once there, you will ask instructions as to whether "tea" shall this time take the form of "cup," or something-ade, or ice. Most likely it will be the latter, and between "cream" and "water" [ices] her voice is almost sure, despite the certainty of consequential thirst, to be for "cream." But hardly has the preux chevalier successfully struggled at the buffet for the creamy spoonful when harp and horn are heard preluding to the next dance up stairs, and everybody must hurry back from passage, stairs or tea-room to find or await his or her next partner.

When the ball is at its fullest is the time for the really first-rate dancer to turn his talent to the best advantage. Nearly all London ball-givers have such an immense circle of acquaintances that, for some shorter or longer period of the evening, their parties are pretty sure to be overcrowded. Soon after midnight, it may be, all the world and his wife will just have arrived together, and the abomination of suffocation sets in. The staircase is congested and impassable: the dancing area in the ball-room is encroached upon till a space about as big as a dining-table is all the dancers have to dance in. At which crisis it wants no little skill and practice in a man to steer his partner deftly and without collisions through the intricate mêlée. It can be done, though, to a degree hardly credible till practically tested, the really greatest difficulties being, in point of fact, rather to start and stop than to avoid bumpings when once fairly underweight; but ladies suffer sufficiently from dizzy or clumsy partners to make them often, in a crowd, prefer to give their "rounds" to a man whose steering is[Pg 535] good, rather than to one whose feet are less dexterous than his tongue.

At some unperceived moment toward one o'clock couples descending to the ice-room find the dining-room door wide open, the signal that the supper period has commenced. First, one or two make up their minds that the discovery is opportune, and enter shyly in the face of an expectant line of waiters drawn up behind the buffet. Note the arrangement of the room while there is yet space to grasp its details, for ten minutes hence, be sure, the place will be so thronged, with such an all-pervading hurry-scurry going on, that there will be no chance of noting anything. Facing you as you enter, down the length of one side of the room, runs a long buffet-table, the nearer side spread with the apparatus of eating and drinking, the centre laden with every variety of comestibles, interspersed at intervals with tall épergnes and other silver ornaments sacred to all that's aesthetically captivating in fruit and flower; while in the rear, calm, collected and decorous, stand a row of middle-aged ministering persons from Gunter's. There are no chairs at the buffet. If you sup there, you must sup standing—no great hardship, as the table is of course of a height just convenient for the purpose—and you can either accept the services of the ministering person opposite you, or help yourself from the multitude of dishes within reach. All very well, this, for those who are in a hurry, just snatching a morsel between two dances, and for all who see no practicable opportunity of doing better for their partners and themselves. For, an intervening gangway being of course left clear for folk to pass up and down to and along the buffet, the rest of the floor-space is occupied by three or more (according to the size of the room) small round tables, low, chair-surrounded, each laden with a due complement of plates, glasses, victuals, and so on, and each capable of accommodating three or four couples at a time. To one of these, if you are wise, and have the luck to espy any vacant chairs, you will surely—I am of course addressing my male readers—lead your partner. I assume that, with an experienced eye to this very thing, you have purposely contrived to engage one with whom you specially enjoy, or think it likely that you will enjoy, a good gossip, for a quadrille that occurs just at this period of the evening, and that you have suggested "sitting out" the dance in the supper-room; so that you have now descended the stairs happy in the consciousness of ten minutes or more of leisure before the next "round" will again demand your indefatigable trois temps in the ball-room.

Well, two chairs secured, and partner comfortably seated on one of them, the next thing for the man to do, before settling down into conversation, is to forage at the buffet for supplies; for the stock originally placed on the little table is pretty sure to have been eviscerated in the course of the first half hour's attack. He doesn't ask his partner to say what she will have, knowing full well that ladies, young and old, even if so interrogated, are sure to give that invariable pair of successive answers, "chicken" and "jelly," not because they really prefer those to any other viands—as a matter of fact, their own inclinations, so far as they are earthly enough to have any, are generally very much otherwise—but from a modest wish to give the least possible trouble; chicken and jelly being stock dishes that are quite certain to be at hand in every supper-room. No, he is far more likely to please by asking to have the matter left in his hands, and thereupon going off to the buffet, to return with a small but varied collection of three or four samples, each on a separate plate, of the most novel and attractive of the culinary triumphs there displayed, for her to choose from. Which duty done, and some champagne and seltzer-water deftly mixed, he will with a light heart take possession of his reserved chair, and fall to upon one or other of the unchosen samples and the most thoroughly zestful chat of the evening.

Behooves it to say a word or two of the materials of the typical ball-supper? There is a family likeness about those[Pg 536] turned out by Gunter that the experience of one season is enough to make one recognize. And, on the whole, the Gunterian supper is as good, in its way, as; need be. Nothing hot, of course, except oyster soup (specially adapted for deserving chaperons), and, maybe, some delicately browned cutlets; but cold meats of every shade of substantiality, from boars' heads and chickens and raised pies to the most delicate of sandwiches, tempting translucent aspics, in which larks, lobsters, prawns, fillets of sole, and such-like lie "imbedded and injellied," and ethereal plovers' eggs. Of sweets the multitude and variety is almost infinite; and indeed the possible combinations of things creamy and jammy and gelatinous are tolerably well known all over the world. Among them fresh strawberries combined with plain iced cream may be mentioned as holding a high place in general favor. As to the drinkables, sherry and claret are always at hand, but the almost universal beverage is a mixture of, say, two thirds of champagne to one of seltzer-water. The idea of this mixture is, no doubt, partly to get rid of that excess of fixed air which is apt to make undiluted champagne a rather uncomfortable material for a draught; but the custom is mainly the result of sad experience of the unwisdom of doing otherwise, owing (it must be admitted) to the badness of the so-called champagne only too commonly dispensed at ball suppers. How the man who wouldn't dream of giving his guests a glass of inferior wine at his dinner-table comes to think nothing of poisoning them with the cheap rubbish that audaciously flouts in advertising columns as "supper-champagne," has puzzled sager brains than mine. Surely, bad wine is not less injurious taken in repeated draughts in the small hours of the morning than it would be sipped in small doses at dinner-time; yet it's only here and there a logically-minded individual produces his dinner-champagne at his wife's dancing-parties; and everywhere else old and young with equal caution demand a prudent admixture of the seltzer that will, if anything can, avert a next-morning headache. The chaperon, warrantably hungry, taking her time over her supper in a comfortable corner, is often not to be tempted by any sparkling liquid; but the dancers want the nervous exhilaration that champagne, however inferior, at least temporarily supplies, and are rarely careful enough to shun the danger altogether.

"Are you going on anywhere?" is a query that not unfrequently meets one's ears about halfway through the evening. "Going on" is an essentially town practice. In the country, houses lie too far scattered for it, and there is seldom such a press of gayeties on foot together as to make it likely that two or more engagements will have been made for one night. But in London, owing to the limited number of evenings comprised in a season, as compared with the host of people who want to give their parties in the course of it, it constantly happens that folk who go out much find themselves invited to a dinner, a drum and a couple of dances, all on one and the same evening. Ay, and they manage to achieve them all, too, thanks to determination and broughams. To the dinner at eight P. M.; away at a quarter to eleven to put in an appearance and for ten minutes swell the hurried and promiscuous chatter at the drum; thence off again to one of the balls—to stay if it is good, or if it isn't to go on after a dance or two to the other. The custom is so thoroughly recognized that no hostess would ever dream of being offended with any of her guests for "going on" elsewhere whenever they think fit. Not that she is ever likely to know whether this or that individual does or does not do so; for it's not at all necessary before one goes off to say any formal good-night to the hostess, and in fact men very seldom do so. When they have had dancing enough, or, remembering some disagreeable necessity of being up and alert for work next morning, feel it's about time to be going bedward, they quietly slink down stairs to the cloak-room, get hats and wraps, and are off in a fast hansom without a word to anybody.[Pg 537] It's all very well for the young lady, who has from day to day no calls upon her time but those of her own pleasures and engagements, to stay late at any particularly pleasant dance. She may collapse to her heart's content next morning, and still be ready again by nightfall for another round of excitements; but with her partners things are very different, unless, indeed, they are officers in the Household Brigade. The young barrister or banker, or what not, who is frivolous enough to like combining some nights of dancing in the season with hard days of work, soon finds that the only way of gratifying both tastes is to partake sparingly, in point of hours, of the former one; so he comforts himself with the reflection that there are as good balls in the season as ever came out of it, and resolutely says good-night to the most festive scenes by 2 A. M. at latest. By that time, indeed, the best of a private ball is very commonly over. No doubt there are delicious and long-to-be-remembered opportunities now and then seizable by staying later. Strauss' world-known "Blue Danube" waltz with an appreciative partner, and the rare luxury of ample dancing-space in an emptying room, is one such. But when the minute-hand of the hall-clock is approaching the third of the small hours, the endurance of the most indulgent and enduring of matrons is apt to get exhausted, and she carries off her brood, determined, like everybody else, not to be the last to go. In the tea-room she will get a strengthening draught of some clear soup or other in a tea-cup, and meanwhile John Thomas will have called the carriage to the door.

Next morning the Morning Post will serve up to its (mostly lady) readers a full list of the names of those who were at last night's balls, under the head of "Fashionable Entertainments." The Post is the one daily paper that systematically goes in for this kind of news, publishing every day during the season a long list of coming fixtures, as well as catalogues of the guests attending them. And I fear it must be owned that there are people not a few who take delight in having their parties and appearances chronicled in this small-beer manner, and that there are several grains of truth contained in the good-humoredly sarcastic lines in which that clever rhymer "C.S.C," parodying the Proverbial Philosophy of Mr. Tupper, gives worldly advice to young ladies entering society. Says "C.S.C.":

Choose judiciously thy friends, for to discard them is undesirable;
Yet it is better to drop thy friends, O my daughter, than to drop thy H's.
Dost thou know a wise woman? yea, wiser than the children of light?
Hath she a position? and a title? and are her parties in the Morning Post?
If thou dost, cleave unto her, and give up unto her thy body and mind;
Think with her ideas, and distribute thy smiles at her bidding:
So shalt thou become like unto her, and thy manners shall be "formed:"
And thy name shall be a sesame at which the doors of the great shall fly open:
Thou, shalt know every peer, his arms, and the date of his creation,
His pedigree and their intermarriages, and cousins to the sixth remove;
Thou shalt kiss the hand of royalty, and lo! in next morning's papers,
Side by side with rumors of wars and stories of shipwrecks and sieges,
Shall appear thy name, and the minutiae of thy headdress and petticoat,
For an enraptured public to muse upon over their matutinal muffin.

Society expects every guest after a dance to go through the form of paying a call upon the giver. If you are an old friend of the house, or for any reason want to go in, it will be wise to defer your visit for two or three days, until the interior of the house has recovered its normal condition; for of course on the very day that follows a dance the rooms are in such a universal state of up-side-downness (if the word may be coined) that callers can't expect to be admitted. For which reason, if you don't want to go in, you can't do better than select this very day for leaving a card at the door; which last ceremony duly concluded, all possible respect and duty may be taken to have been shown and done to the private ball: at all events, the present writer—rejoice, long-suffering reader, if you still exist—has no further word or suggestion to offer, on this occasion, on the subject.

W. D. R.

[Pg 538]



"What under the canopy is all that hammering at the door?" said Mrs. Lively, glancing up from her crocheting.

Master Napoleon Lively, the person appealed to, was sucking a lemon through a stick of candy. He took this from his mouth, said, "Dunno," and then returned it to the anxious aperture.

"And don't care," said Mrs. Lively with spirit. "Any other child in the city would go to the door and find out what it means; but you! much you care to save your mother's feet!" Gathering her ball of worsted with the crocheting in her left hand, she swept out of the room and through the hall to the front door. She pulled this open. There stood a man with hammer in hand.

"No harm to ye's, marm," he said. "I's jist afther puttin' a bill on ye's door; for shure it's to be sowld, that the house is."

"Sold!" cried Mrs. Lively. "When?"

"Faith! whiniver it may please a body to buy it," was the definite reply.

Mrs. Lively read the bill: "'Six thousand dollars!' Why the whole property isn't worth six thousand, much less the lease for twelve years. Won't the owner take less?"

"It's more than likely he would, 'specially from the likes of ye's. Shure! folks most ginerly wants all they kin git, and ef they can't git it they'll be afther takin' less. The gintleman says as it must be sold immadiate, for the owner is bruck to smitherations."

Here was prospective trouble. Mrs. Lively went down the doorsteps and along the paved walk to her husband's office, in the front basement. The doctor laid down his pen, expecting a patient, but, seeing that it was only his wife, resumed it.

"There's a bill put up on our door: the house is for sale—six thousand dollars. I'll warrant it could be got for five: I think it's worth six, though. We may have to move out at a day's notice, and we've just had this office newly papered, and the kitchen repainted, and, dear me! just got those Brussels carpets down in the parlors. It's too provoking! I know those carpets'll have to be cut and slashed into ribbons to make them fit other rooms. I was afraid of that when I got them. Until you own a house we oughtn't to get anything nice. But, oh dear! if I waited till we owned a home, I should go down to my grave on a two-ply. But where in the name of reason are we going? There isn't another vacant house in this neighborhood that I'd live in. And just think of the damage to your practice in moving your office! What are we going to do? Why in the world don't you say something? Can't you suggest something? One would think you hadn't any interest in the matter. But it's always the way. I've had to do all the planning for this family ever since I came into it, and I came into it before it was a family. Oh, you needn't smile: I know you're thinking that I haven't given you a chance to say anything; but I wouldn't talk if you'd talk, and I wouldn't bother myself about our arrangements if you would. It's too provoking about this house. It just suits me: there isn't a thing about it I should wish to have altered."

"Closets, little kitchen, back stairs," said Napoleon, who had entered the office unobserved, and who had often heard his mother denounce the house as most inconvenient in these three particulars.

"What have you come for?" the mother demanded sharply. "Go back to the sitting-room, and learn your geography lesson for to-morrow."

"Have learnt it," replied the imperturbable Napoleon.

"Then go and get your arithmetic."

"Have got it."[Pg 539]

"Well, then, get your history."


"And your grammar and spelling and German—you've learned them all, have you?"


"Then go and take your walk."


"For pity's sake, what is it you haven't done?"


"Every duty of life discharged, is it?" and Mrs. Lively smiled in spite of herself.

"'Cept eating."

"Except eating! Of course: I never knew a time in your life when you'd finished up your eating.—What are you going to do about that bill?" Mrs. Lively continued, turning to her husband.

"I can't do anything about it except to leave it there," replied the gentleman, smiling quietly.

"It's exasperating," cried the lady. "I don't see how I can ever give up this house."

"We might buy it," said Dr. Lively. "I've been thinking about it for some time."

"How can we? Where's the money?"

"I have some in bank."

"You have, and you didn't let me know it, you mean, stingy thing!" said Mrs. Lively between a pout and a smile. "How much have you in bank?"

"Four or five thousand."

"Why, where did you get it?"

"Saved it."

"Why, you've always talked as poor as poverty, especially if I wanted a bonnet or anything—said you were barely making a living."

"No man is making a living till he can afford to own a home," said the doctor, laying aside his pen. "I'll go and see the agent, and learn what we can get the house for."

"Well, beat him down: don't give him six thousand for it, and don't decide on anything till you've consulted me. After all, there are a good many things about this house that don't suit me. Maybe, we can get a lot and build a house to suit us better for the same money."

"Hardly," said Dr. Lively.

"Well, really, I don't know about buying this house," said the lady in an undecided way. "I should like to be nearer church, and Nappy ought to be nearer his school."

"But my practice is all in this neighborhood, and it's a most excellent neighborhood—permanent: the people own their houses. To go into a new neighborhood would be like going into a new city. I should have to build up a practice with new people."

Dr. Lively saw the agent, and agreed to pay five thousand dollars in cash for the house, and five hundred in one year, at six per cent. "Now, my dear," he said to his wife, "we've got to save that five hundred dollars this year."

"Don't I know that? I suppose, now, I shall have to hear that ding-donged at me for the next twelve months. You'll fling it at me every time I ask for change. I dare say before the year is out I shall repent in sackcloth and ashes that we ever bought the house. Save it! Of course I've got to save it. It never enters your head that it's possible for you to save anything."

"Who saved the five thousand?" asked the doctor quietly.

"For pity's sake, how could I save it if you never gave it to me? I didn't even know you'd made it. I'm sure my dress has been shabby enough to suit the stingiest mortal in existence. There isn't a woman in our church that dresses plainer than I do."

"As you are going out," said the doctor, changing the subject, "you can call at the savings bank and get the money: the agent will be here in the morning with the papers."

Mrs. Lively came home in due time and displayed ten five-hundred-dollar bills. "They offered to give me a cheque," she said, "but these bills look so much richer."

"But a cheque is safer in case of accident," the doctor suggested.

"What in the world's going to happen to-night? You are such a croaker, always anticipating trouble!"

"Oh no; I don't anticipate a fire or[Pg 540] a robbery before morning," the doctor said.

That night, when Mrs. Lively went to bed, she took the doctor's purse from his pocket and put it under her pillow. All night long she was dreaming about those bills. The next morning, when she woke, her first act was to look for the purse. There it was, just where she had placed it. She returned it to her husband's pocket, and then dressed without waking him, for he had been called up that night to see a patient.

Very promptly at eight o'clock the agent for the house presented himself in Dr. Lively's office. Who ever knew an agent behind time when a sale was to be consummated?

Dr. Lively looked over the papers carefully, and, being satisfied, opened his purse to make the cash payment. If the agent's eyes had not been eagerly watching the purse for the forthcoming bills, but instead had been fixed on Dr. Lively's face, they would have seen in it first a look utterly blank, then one of intense alarm.

"Excuse me a moment," he said as he closed his purse. He left the office and hurried to Mrs. Lively's sitting-room.

"Well, is the deed done?" the lady asked with the complacent air of a land-holder.

"What did you do with the money?" the doctor asked anxiously. "I thought you put it in my purse."

"I did," replied Mrs. Lively, her eyes dilating with alarm.

"It isn't here," the doctor asserted. "You must be mistaken."

"I am not mistaken," said the lady, panting with alarm. "I did put it in your purse. You've dropped it out somewhere."

"That is impossible: I haven't opened my purse since those bills were brought into the house until just now in my office. You must have put the bills somewhere else. Look in your purse."

"I tell you I put the money in your purse," replied Mrs. Lively with asperity, at the same time opening her purse with an impatient movement. "It isn't here: I knew it wasn't. I tell you again I put it in your purse, and you've dropped it out somewhere."

"But I haven't opened the purse till a moment since in my office," the doctor reiterated.

"Then you've dropped the bills in the office."

"No, I have not. I was holding the purse over the table when I opened it, and I perceived at once that it was empty, even to my small change."

"Well, that shows that the money has been dropped out of the purse some time when you opened it. If I put the bills somewhere else, what's become of the change? You've lost it all out together, you see."

"Then it must be in the house somewhere," said the doctor, evidently staggered, "for I haven't been out since those bills were brought home."

"Yes, you have," urged Mrs. Lively from her vantage-ground. "You were called up last night to see that child on Morgan street."

"But I didn't lose it there. For when I wanted to make change for a five-dollar bill, I found that I hadn't my purse; and that reminds me, I found it in my pocket this morning, though it wasn't there last night."

"I can explain that," said Mrs. Lively after a moment's hesitation. "I put the purse under my pillow last night, and returned it to your pocket this morning."

"Then of course you lost the money out," said the doctor promptly.

"Of course! I might have known you would lay it on me if there was a shadow of a chance. I had nothing in the world to do with the losing of that money."

"You ought to have got a cheque."

"Why in Heaven's name didn't you tell me to?"

All this while the two had been looking the room over, rummaging through drawers, looking on whatnots, brackets, shelves, etc.

"Well, I can't keep the agent waiting any longer," said the doctor. "I'll tell I him I'll bring the money round to him;" and he left the room.

"What are you standing there for?"[Pg 541] said Mrs. Lively, whirling sharply on Napoleon. "Go, and look for that money."


"How do I know where? Look anywhere and everywhere. There's no telling where your father lost it. Napoleon Lively," she exclaimed, a sudden idea seeming to strike her, "what did you do with that money?"

"Nothing," answered the youth with cool indifference.

"Where did you hide it?"

"Didn't hide it."

His perfect nonchalance was irresistibly convincing.

"Have you found it?" said the doctor, re-entering the room.

"Found it!" Mrs. Lively snapped out the words, and then her lips shut close together as if with the vehemence of the snapping.

"Perhaps the house was entered last night," suggested the doctor.

"I locked every door and window, and they were all locked this morning when I got up," replied Mrs. Lively. "Perhaps you left the front door open when you went out in the night. I'll warrant you did: it would be just like you."

"I did not leave the door open," replied the doctor. "I found it locked when I got back, and opened it with my night-key. Besides, I was not out of the house more than forty minutes, and you told me when I got back that you hadn't been asleep."

"I told you I had scarcely been asleep," said Mrs. Lively.

All that day the Lively household was in extreme commotion. Every bedstead was stripped naked, and each article of bedding was separately shaken in the middle of the room; the contents of every drawer were turned out; every piece of furniture was moved; every floor was carefully swept. The house, in short, was turned inside out. Advertisements were put in the papers; handsome rewards were offered; the police were notified of the loss. The detectives were of opinion that the house had been entered, but there was not the slightest clew to the burglars.

It was Friday, the sixth of October, when the loss was discovered. On the seventh the house was again looked over, inch by inch.

"You must have put that money somewhere else than in my purse," said Dr. Lively to his wife. "Have you looked in the pockets of all your dresses?"

"Don't say to me again that I didn't put that money in your purse," said Mrs. Lively vehemently: "I won't bear it. You might as well tell me that I don't see you this minute. There never was anything in this world that makes me so tearing mad as to be contradicted about something that I perfectly well know. I'd go into any court and swear that I put that money in your purse; and I don't want to hear any more of your insinuations. Do you think I've stolen the money? You've lost it out of the purse—that's all there is about it. This house has no more been entered than I've been burglaring."

"Then where's the money?"

"How in the name of sense do you think I know? I'd go and get it if I knew. Dear! dear! dear! dear! The savings of ten years gone in a night, after all my pinching! I've done my own work—"

"When you couldn't get a girl," said Napoleon.

"I've worn old-fashioned clothes; I've twisted and screwed in every possible way to save that money—"

"Pa saved it," was Napoleon's emendation.

"Well," retorted the lady, "he'd better not have saved it: he'd better have let his family have it. What's the use of saving money for burglars?"

"You think now that the burglars have it?" said the doctor dryly.

"Oh, for pity's sake, hush! I don't think anything about it. I believe I'm going insane. How in the universe we're ever going to live is more than I can conceive."

"My dear, we are better off than we were ten years ago, for I yet have my practice, and we are as well off as you thought we were two days ago; and you were happy then."[Pg 542]

"Happy!" There was a volume of bitter scorn in the word as Mrs. Lively uttered it.

"Oh, my dear!" said the husband in a tone of piteous remonstrance.

The next evening, which was Sunday, Dr. Lively and wife went to church, and; heard a sermon by the Rev. Charles Hilmer from the words, "Help one another."

"What's the use of preaching such stuff?" said Mrs. Lively with petulance when they were out of church. "Nobody heeds it. Who's going to help us in our loss?"

"Our lesson from that sermon is, that we are to help others," said the doctor.

"We help others! I'd like to know what we've got to help others with! Five thousand dollars out of pocket!"

"There's a fire somewhere," said the doctor as an engine whirled by them while they stood waiting for a car.

The lady and gentleman proceeded to their home on the South Side, and went to bed, though the fire-bells were still ringing. About midnight they were roused by a violent ringing of the door-bell. Dr. Lively started up with a patient on his mind. "There's a fire somewhere," he exclaimed immediately, perceiving the glare in the room. Mrs. Lively was out of bed in an instant.

"Where? where's the fire?" she cried. "Is the house afire? I believe in my soul it is."

"No," said Dr. Lively, who had gone to the window; "but there's a tremendous fire to the south-west. The flames seem to be leaping from roof to roof. That was a policeman who rang us up. He seems to be waking all this neighborhood."

They dressed hurriedly, called up Napoleon, and went out at the front door, and on with the stream toward the fire. The street was crowded with people, the air thick with noises, and everywhere it was as light as day. They passed on under the lurid heavens, and reached a hotel which stood open. Two streams of people were on the stairs—one hurrying down, the other going up for a view of the fire. Our party followed the stream up the stairs and on to the roof. It was crowded with spectators, all greatly excited. Making their way to the front of the roof, our couple stood spellbound by a vision which once seen could never be forgotten. It was like a look into hell. The whole fire seemed below them, a surging, tempest-lashed ocean of flame, with mile-long billows, mile-high breakers and mile-deep shadows. All about the flaming ocean, except to the leeward, was a sea of faces, white and upturned, and rapt as with some unearthly vision. Stretching out for miles were housetops swarming with crowds, gazing appalled at the spectacle in which the fate of every man, woman and child of them was vitally involved. At times the gale, with a strong, steady sweep, would level the billows of fire, and bear the current northward with the majestic flow of a great river. Then the flames would heave and part as with earthquake throes, dash skyward in jets and spouts innumerable, and pile up to the north-east mountains of fire that seemed to touch the heavens. Clouds of smoke obscured at times the view of the streets below, without making inaudible the roll of wheels, the beat of hoofs, the tramp of human feet, the cry of human voices, the scream of the engines, the thunder of falling buildings, the maniacal shriek of the gale, the Niagara-like roar of the fire; and ever and anon, striking through all the tumult, the deep, solemn voice of the great court-house bell, and the one word it seemed to say to the trembling city—"Doomed! doomed! doomed."

"We must go home," said Mrs. Lively in a lost, bewildered way.

"Yes," assented the doctor: "there is no safety this side the river. All the engines in creation couldn't stop that fire. Why in God's name don't they pull down houses or explode them? Come!"

But the lady continued to gaze in a fascinated way at the unearthly spectacle. It was all so wild, so awful, that the brain reeled. The doomed houses in the path of the fire seemed to her to be animate things—dumb, helpless, feeling[Pg 543] creatures, that trembled and shrank as the flames reached out cruel fingers for them. She shook off the bewildered, dazed feeling, but it came again as the tempest of flame and smoke went racing to the north. Street and house and steeple and the vast crowds seemed sailing away on some swift crescent river to a great, vague, yawning blackness beyond.

They hurried down into the street. Momently the crowds, the tumult, the terror were growing. Every house stood open, the interior as clear as at noonday. Men, women and children were moving about in eager haste, tearing up carpets, lifting furniture and loading trucks. Ruffians were pushing in at the open doors, snatching valuables and insulting the owners. There was a hasty seizing of goods, and a wild dash into the street from imperiled houses, a shouting for trucks and carriages, piteous inquiries for absent friends, distressed cries for absent protectors, screams of little children, swift, wild faces pushing eagerly in this direction and that; oaths and prayers and shoutings; women bowed beneath mattresses and heavy furniture; wheels interlocking in an inextricable mass; horses rearing and plunging in the midst of women separated from their husbands and little children from their mothers; men bearing away their sick and infirm and their clinging little ones; the shower of falling brands, and the roar of the oncoming flood of destruction.

In the next block but one to our doctor's home a brand had lodged in the turret of a little wooden Catholic church, and, pinned there by the fierce gale, was being blown and puffed at as with a blowpipe. There was no time to lose. While he stopped on the street to secure a truckman, Mrs. Lively hurried in to get together the most valuable of their belongings. For a time she proceeded with considerable system, tying in sheets and locking in trunks the best of the bedding and other necessaries. Then she got together some family relics, looked longingly at some paintings, took down a quaintly-carved Black-Forest clock from its shelf, and then set it back, feeling that something else would be more needed. But as the roar of the tempest came nearer she was seized with panic, and no longer knew what she did. When Dr. Lively came in to announce the dray at the door he found his wife making for a trunk with a tin baking-pan in one hand and a cloth duster in the other.

"For Heaven's sake, Priscilla, don't pack up such trash!" he cried. "Have you got up the parlor carpets?"

"Oh dear! no: I never thought of them. Nappy might get them up if he would. Napoleon! Where under the sun is that boy? Napoleon!" she called.

"Here," answered Napoleon through a mouthful of cake. He entered with a basket in his hand.

"Why in the world don't you go to work and help?"

"Am helping."

"What are you doing?"


"Packing what, I'd like to know?"


"Of course! I might have known without asking. What in the world shall we want with victuals, in the street without roof or bed?"

But the father told him to hold on to his basket.

"You may be sure he'll do that," said the mother. "What in the world are all those boxes you've got there?" she asked as she dragged a sheet full of articles to the front door.

"Some things from my office," the doctor replied hurriedly.

"I just know they're those plants and fossils and casts and miserable things that have been in my way everlastingly. I was in hopes they'd get burnt up."

Without heeding his wife, Dr. Lively disappeared into the house for something else.

"Take those boxes off," she said to the drayman.

"Blast my eyes if I'm going to be lifting boxes off and on here all night for any darned twenty-five dollars that ever was paid. Hurry your things on here, or, by Godfrey! I'll dump 'em and[Pg 544] be off. Blast me if I'll wait here a second beyond five minutes."

Just then the doctor reappeared, and began to turn over the contents of a sheet before tying it. "Oh, my dear," he cried in a tone of mingled remonstrance and despair, "we can't spare room for these worthless traps;" and he pitched out a pair of vases, two pin-cushions, a dustpan, a sieve, a kitchen apron, a statuette of Psyche, a pair of plaster medallions, Our Mutual Friend in paper cover, a pink tarletan dress, a dirty tablecloth, an ice pitcher, a flat-iron, a mosquito-bar, a hoop-skirt, a backgammon-board and a bottle of hair restorative.

"They're worth a thousand times more than those old rocks and things you've loaded up the dray with," Mrs. Lively maintained.

At last the truck moved off, followed by Dr. Lively, shouting to his wife to come on and not lose sight of him. Mrs. Lively seized a carpet-bag in which she had packed her silver and jewelry, and rushed into the street, screaming to Napoleon to follow and not lose sight of her. Napoleon hung his basket of provisions on his arm and stuck his hat on his head. Then he went to the pantry and poked up cookies through a lift between his hat and forehead, until there was no vacant space remaining in the top of his hat. Then he crammed a cake in his mouth, filled his pockets and both hands, and left the rest to their doom.

The wind, which for a time had blown steadily to the north-east, was now seemingly bewildered. At times there would be a dead calm, as though the fierce gale had tired itself out; then it would sweep roaring down a street with the force of a hurricane, and go shrieking through an alley as though sucked through a tube; again, it seemed to strike from every quarter of the compass, while anon a vast whirlwind was formed, swirling and circling till one half expected to see the glowing masses of masonry lifted and whirled like autumn leaves.

On went our party as fast as the press would permit. One bundle after another, as it took fire from falling brands, was pitched off the truck and left to burn out on the pavement; and to these bundle-pitchings Mrs. Lively kept up a running accompaniment of groans and ejaculations. When they had reached the corner of Washington and La Salle, the truckman signified his intention of throwing off his load.

"They'll be safe here," he said. Dr. Lively, too, thought this, for he did not believe that the flames could pass the double row of fireproof buildings on La Salle street and others in the neighborhood. But as he was bound for a friend's house across the river, on the North Side, he would of course have preferred to take his goods with him, even if there had been no danger from pillagers. But no arguments or persuasions, even when offered in the shape of the gentleman's last five-dollar bill, could induce the drayman to cross the river. He dumped on the sidewalk all that remained of the Livelies' earthly possessions, and disappeared in the press.

Again and again, but all in vain, Dr. Lively offered his forlorn hope, his one greenback, to procure the transportation of his goods across the river. But that five-dollar bill was so scorned and snubbed by the ascendent truckmen that the doctor found himself smiling at his conceit that the poor, despised thing, when returned to his purse, went sneakingly into the farthest and deepest corner.

As he could not leave his goods, it was decided that Mrs. Lively and Napoleon should cross the river without him. He sat down on Mrs. Lively's big Saratoga trunk to await developments. He did not have to wait long. The double row of fireproofs, which was to have held the fire at bay, was attacked and went down; then the Chamber of Commerce melted away; shortly after the court-house was assailed. Dr. Lively gave up his trunks and bundles as lost, and as too insignificant, in that wild havoc, to be worth a sigh. He did feel a desire, however, for a clean shirt in which to face the heavens. Then, too, he wanted to bring something through the fire—to preserve something which[Pg 545] would serve as a memento of his ante-igneous life. The best thing in the way of a relic which he could secure was a case of sea-weeds mounted on cards. He made a hasty bundle of these and a few articles of underwear, tucked it under his arm, and then looked about him, considering which way he should go. The wind had again risen to a hurricane. All around him was a storm of fire-brands, as though the flakes in a snow-storm had been turned to flame. Great sheets of blazing felt-roofing were driving overhead. Everywhere timbers and masonry were falling: walls a half square in length came down with the thunder's crash, and in such quick succession that the noise ceased to be noticed. Thousands of frantic people were pushing wildly in every direction. The crowds seemed bewildered, lost, frenzied. And what wonder? The world seemed to be burning up, the heavens to be melting: a star looked like a speck of blood, so that the whole canopy of heaven when visible seemed blood-spattered.

As the doctor was gazing at the terrible spectacle the cry ran from mouth to mouth that all the bridges across the west branch of the river were burned. There were thousands of spectators from the West Division who had come over to witness the melting away of the South Side business-palaces. If the bridges were burned, there remained but one avenue by which they could reach their homes. There were cries of "The tunnel! the tunnel!" a panic and a grand rush, in which everybody was borne westward toward Washington street tunnel. Dr. Lively found himself forced into the tunnel. It was crowded with two streams of wildly-excited people moving in opposite directions. One was rushing to the rescue of property on the South Side or to see the fire—the other, to get away from it. Most of these latter were carrying articles of furniture and bales of goods, or they were wheeling loaded barrows. Everybody was crowding and pushing. Our doctor had made his way through about one-third of the tunnel when suddenly every light went out. The great gasometer of the South Side gas-works had exploded. He was under the river, in the bowels of the earth, in the midst of that wild crowd of humanity, and in utter darkness. "There will be a panic," he thought: "all the weak will be overrun and trampled to death. God help them and help us all!" Then there came to him a flash of inspiration: "Keep to the right!" he shouted, "to the right!" "Keep to the right!" repeated an abetting voice. "To the right!" "Keep to the right!" "Right! right!" The blessed words ran along from one end of the dark way to the other. Then a hush seemed to fall on the lips as though the hearts were at prayer, and the two streams moved along like processions through the dark valley of the shadow of death.

Facing about, Dr. Lively squeezed his way through a dense throng on North Water street bridge till he gained the North Division. Here he sat down on the steps of a warehouse to take breath, and looked back on the scene he had left. The fire had reached the river, which reflected the lurid horror above, and seemed a stream of molten metal, or a current of glowing lava poured from some wide rent in the earth. Struggling human creatures in the blazing, hissing, sputtering waters realized Dante's imaginings of tortured, writhing souls on the red floor of hell.

Tired and faint, Dr. Lively pressed on to the north. He was not long in learning that the fire was already raging in the doomed North Division, and that the waterworks were disabled. Reaching the house of his friend, where his family had taken refuge, he found them all informed of the peril to the North Side, and getting ready to move. His friend decided to take refuge on the prairies. "There we can keep up the race," he said.

"I'm going where I can get water," said Dr. Lively: "it's the only thing under heaven that this fire-fiend won't eat. There isn't a suburb but may be burned. I'm going toward the lake." So he took possession of his wife and boy and started for Lincoln Park. There[Pg 546] were lights in all the houses, and eager, swift-moving figures were seen through the doors and windows: everywhere people were getting their things into the streets. Shortly after, the flames, it was; noticed, were beginning to pale. A weird kind of light began to creep over burning house, blazing street and ruined wall. The day was dawning. With a kind of bewildered feeling our friends watched the coming on of the strange, ghostly morning, and saw the pale, sickly, shamefaced sun come up out of the lake. It was ten o'clock before they reached the old cemetery south of Lincoln Park. Hundreds had already arrived here with their belongings, representing every article that pertains to modern civilization. Parties were momently coming in with more loads. Here our friends halted. Mrs. Lively dropped down in a fugitive rocking chair, thinking what a comfort it would be to go off into a faint. But without a pillow or salts or camphor it was a luxury in which she did not dare to indulge, though she had a physician at hand. Right in front of her she noticed a besmutched, red-eyed woman who had something familiar in her appearance. "Why, it's myself!" she said to her husband, pointing to a large plate mirror; leaning against an old headstone.

"Yes," said the doctor smiling, "we all look like sweeps."

Napoleon seated himself on a grave and opened his lunch-basket.

"Did anybody ever?" cried the mother. "This boy's brought his basket through. There's nothing in all the world except something to eat that he would have devoted himself to in this way."

"Nothing could have proved more opportune," said the father.

Then they ate their breakfast, sharing it with a little girl who was crying for her father, and with a lady who was carrying a handsome dress bonnet by the ribbons, and who in turn shared her portion with her poodle dog. They offered a slice of cake to a sad old gentleman sitting on an inverted pail with his hands clasped above a gold headed cane, and his chin resting on them. He shook his head without speaking, and went on gazing in a dreary, abstracted way into the air, as though oblivious of everything around him. "'Though I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there,'" he said in slow measured soliloquy. His lip began to quiver and the tears to stream down his furrowed face. Dr. Lively heard, and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand: he had nothing else to receive the quick tears. Just then a hearse with nodding black plumes came by loaded with boxes and bundles, on which were perched a woman and five children, the three youngest crowing and laughing in unconscious glee at their strange circumstances. This was followed by two buggies hitched together, both packed with women and children drawn by a single horse, astride of which was a lame man.

"What is it, madam?" said Dr. Lively to a woman who was wringing her hands and crying piteously.

"Why, you see," she said between her sobs, "me and Johnny made our livin' a-sellin' pop-corn; and last night we had a bushel popped ready for the Monday's trade; and now it's all gone: we've lost everything—all that beautiful corn: there wasn't a single scorched grain."

"But think what others have lost—their beautiful homes and all their business—"

She suddenly ceased crying, and, turning upon him, said sharply, "We lost all we had: did they lose any more'n they had?"

A young man came pressing through the crowd, desperately clutching a picture in a handsome gilt frame. Through the smoke and smutch which stained the canvas was seen a gray-haired, saintly woman's head.

"The picture of his mother," thought the doctor with a swelling about his heart.

"I saved dese," said a jolly-faced German, extending his two hands; "and dey is all I had when I come from de Faderland to Chicago. And saved you nothin'?"

The man appealed to had about him[Pg 547] three children and a pale delicate woman.

"I saved these," he said with a gesture that was an embrace. "All the baby-faces we left hanging on the walls in the home where all were born."

Then the bearded lip quivered and the lids were dropped over the brimming eyes. The mother looked up with clear, unfaltering features, and with a light grateful, almost joyous, in her fine eyes, and said softly, "But all the real faces we've brought along."

Then one of the little girls took up the story: "Oh, mother, Tommy's picture will be burned, and we can never get another. Tommy's dead, you know," she explained.

The mother's eyes grew misty, and so did the German's and the doctor's, and many others. There they were in that old deserted cemetery, a company of strangers, not one of whom had ever seen the other's face before, exchanging their confidences and mingling their tears.

All day long the fugitives poured into this strange encampment, and by night they numbered thirty thousand. There was shouting, swearing, laughing, weeping, waiting. There was pallid stupefaction, sullen silence, faces of black despair—every kind of face except the happy variety. The air was thick with frightful stories of arson; of men hanged to lamp-posts; of incendiaries hurled headlong into the fires they had kindled; of riot, mobs and lawlessness. There was scarcely a suburb that was not reported to be burning up, and prairie-fires were said to be raging. The fate of Sodom was believed to have overtaken Chicago and her dependent suburbs.

"There's no safety here," said Mrs. Lively nervously as the flames approached the cemetery. "Do let's get out of this horrid place. What in the world do you want to stay here for?"

"My dear," replied the doctor with a twinkle, "I don't want to stay here. We are not certainly safe, but I don't know of any place where our chances would be better."

"Let's go down to the beach, get on a propeller and go out into the lake."

"But, my dear, 'the Sands' and the lake shore are already thronged. It is said that people were lying in the lake, and others standing up to their necks in water—women with children in their arms. The propellers have doubtless taken off fugitives to their entire capacity."

In the mean time the fire came on. Everywhere over the dead leaves and dry grass and piles of household goods, and against the headboards and wooden crosses, the brands were falling; and the people were running and dodging, and fighting the incipient fires.

"Oh, we shall be burned to death here: I knew all the time we should," cried Mrs. Lively, dodging to the right to escape a torch, and then running backward over a grave, beyond the reach of a second. Dr. Lively stamped out the fires. "What under the sun are we going to do?" persisted the lady.

"Dodge the brands—that's your work—and look out that Napoleon doesn't get on fire in one of his dreams."

"Look there!" said Napoleon.

"Look where?" cried Mrs. Lively, whirling around.


"Where is there?"


"The dead-house! Good Heavens! it's afire!"

"This fire-demon," said the doctor, "isn't going to let any of us off. It strikes at the living through their dead."

The dead-house, fortunately empty, was consumed, the headboards and crosses were burned, the trees were scorched and blackened, the graves were seared: all the life which the years had drawn from the entombed ashes was laid again in ashes.

After a horrible suspense these graveyard campers saw the fiery tide recede from their quarters and sweep on to the north. Then came on the weird, elfinish night, that mockery of day, when, except in the direction of the lake, great mountains of fire loomed up on every side against the horizon, so that one felt environed, besieged, engirdled by horrors.

"Try to get some sleep," said Dr.[Pg 548] Lively to his wife when the torrent had swept by to the north.

"Sleep!" said Mrs. Lively. "How can anybody sleep with these terrible fires all around? It seems to me as if I were in some part of the infernal regions. I shall always know after this how hell looks."

"I don't think the fire will trouble us any more to-night, but I'll watch: there will be plenty of watchers, indeed, to give the alarm. Lie down and try to get some rest."

"Where in the world is anybody to lie? On a grave? What in the world are you eating?" continued Mrs. Lively, turning on Napoleon.

"Shoemake" answered the boy. "Want some?"

Mrs. Lively took some of the crimson, acrid berries and put them in her mouth.

"You're hungry," said the father compassionately.

"Awful," answered the lad.

"Where are you going?" asked the mother as he started off.

"To bed," he replied, and he stretched himself out on a piece of carpet where half a dozen children were sleeping.

"Now do, Priscilla, lie down and try to sleep," the husband insisted.

"How under the stars do you suppose I could sleep with hunger and thirst gnawing at the pit of my stomach? Do let me alone: I want to try to think out something—to plan for the future. What under the sun is to become of us?"

"My dear," said the doctor, "don't worry about the future. I'll take care of it some way, if the fire will ever let us out of our present prison. We have our lives, our hands and our heads, and we must thank God."

"Heads! I feel as if I'd lost mine. I think sometimes that I'm insane."

"Oh no: you ain't of the kind that go insane."

"I suppose you mean by that I've got no feelings, no sensibility."

"No, I don't mean that;" and Dr. Lively became silent, as though it was useless to prolong the conversation.

They were sitting together on the ground, she leaning against a headstone.

"Let me sit there against that stone, and you put your head on my lap," the doctor proposed.

"What in the world is the use of it?" she said. "Do you think I'm deaf that I could sleep with all this moaning around me? Just hear it! One would think all these graves had just been made, and that all these people were chief mourners for the dead."

"The strangest bivouac ever seen under heaven!" said the doctor, looking around. "In a life liable to such vicissitudes," he continued softly, "it is important that we possess our spirits."

"Oh, for pity's sake, don't preach! What's the use?" said the wife.

"What's the use, indeed?" said the husband in a saddened tone. "If one heed not the voice of the past twenty-four hours—" He left the sentence unfinished.

"Oh, I know. Everybody, the world over, will be preaching about Chicago. She was so wicked. Sodom and Gomorrah and Babylon! That'll be the talk. I suppose we shall be told ten thousand times that riches have wings—just as though we hadn't seen the wings and couldn't swear to the color of them. But, dear me! I've been thinking that your story of losses by the fire is not worth telling. I wish to goodness we'd bought the house. If you hadn't lost the money, we might have now a respectable-sized story to tell of our losses. I shall be ashamed to tell that we lost just some clothes and household traps, when some people have lost millions. How much better it would sound to say that our house and everything in it was burned! People wouldn't know but it was a fifty-thousand-dollar house. But a few chairs and bedquilts!—it's too small to talk about."

"We've lost enough to satisfy me," said the doctor. "All my practice that I've been ten years in building up! I'm exactly where I was when I began in Chicago. We own but five dollars in the world—haven't even a change of clothes."[Pg 549]

"I've a mind to say that we had just bought the house, and it was burned," said Mrs. Lively. "I'm sure it was just the same. But then you never would stand by me in the story: you'd be sure to let the cat out."

"But what good would come of such a story?" asked the doctor.

"Why, people would be so much sorrier for us. Nobody could feel sorry for that old pop-corn woman you were talking to, even if she did lose all she had; and just so it will be with us. It's just like you to be always missing a good thing. If you'd only bought the house before you lost the money!"

"You're determined to saddle the loss of that money on me," the doctor said smiling.

"Well, who lost it if you didn't?"

"I'm sure I can't say."

"Of course you can't. You might as well say that black isn't black as that you didn't lose that money."

"I'll acknowledge, once for all, that I lost the money if you'll let the subject drop," said he wearily. "It's wasting time and breath to talk about it. There," he continued soothingly, "try to forget, and go to sleep."

"It's wasting time and breath telling me to go to sleep," replied the wife.

"Hurrah! here's a cigar!" said the doctor, producing one from his pocket. "Now, if I only had a match to light it!"

"For patience' sake, you needn't be at a loss for a light for a cigar when all this universe is afire. Go and light it at that headboard over there, and then sit down and take your comfort while I'm starving. Why in the world doesn't it rain? I don't see why the Lord should have such a spite against Chicago: we ain't any worse than other people."

And thus the woman continued to run on all night. Up to two o'clock she complained because it didn't rain, and after that she shivered and moaned because it did.

With the morning, water-carts and bakers' wagons began to arrive on the ground. These were quickly emptied among the hungry, thirsty people. Dr. Lively spent his five dollars to within fifty cents for the relief of the sufferers about him. Mrs. Lively obstinately refused to take anything.

"I won't eat bread at twenty-five cents a loaf, and I won't drink water at ten cents a quart. I'll die first!" she declared.

"I want you to take me to the West Division," Dr. Lively said to one of the bakers. He had already tried a dozen times to make terms with teamsters to this end. "I have a wife and child."

"I'll do it for five dollars apiece," replied the man.

"I haven't any money. Will you take a set of silver forks in pawn?"

"He sha'n't have my forks," said Mrs. Lively violently.—"How dare you speculate on our calamities?" she demanded of the baker. "You sha'n't have my forks: I'll stay here and starve first. I mean to stand this siege of extortion to the last gasp."

"But, my dear," remonstrated the doctor, "there are people here who are already near their last gasp. There are the sick and infirm and little children. There are women now on this desolate ground in the pangs of childbirth, and infants not an hour old. These must have help. I must get over to the West Division. There are some hearts over there, I am sure."

"I'll take you, sir," said the baker, "and I don't want none of your silver. I'm beat, sir: I never thought of women hit that way. I can't fight with sich, and with babies born in a graveyard. I'm whipped, sir. I ain't never had much of a chance to make a extry dollar: I thought this fire had give me a chance. My shop was left, full of flour. I was bakin' all night; but darn me if I kin put the screw onto babies, and women in childbed. You shall have my horse and cart and all my bakery for 'em. Come, load up."[A]

[A] It need scarcely be said that the incidents here related are literal facts, which came under the writer's observation in the midst of the scenes described.

On their way through the burnt district, on the ill-fated Chicago Avenue, they passed a ruined wall where people were preparing to dig out two men. One was crying piteously in mixed German[Pg 550] and English for help. The other, except his head and shoulders, was completely buried beneath the ruins. As the people began to remove the rubbish he said in a tone expressive at once of pluck and agony, "Leave me, and go and get out that bawling Dutchman: he ain't dead, and I am."

As it proved, he was broken all to pieces, both legs and both arms being fractured, one of the arms in two places.

Of course Dr. Lively found the hearts he went to seek, not only among the favored few whom God had spared the bitter cup, but all over the world. We all know the beautiful story—how all the cities and villages and hamlets of the land were on the housetops, watching the burning of Chicago, marking her needs, and speeding the relief as fast as steam and lightning could bring it. We know of that message of love, the sweetest, the most wonderful the world ever heard since Christ died for us. Through the pallid stupefaction, the sullen silence, the awful gloom, the black despair that were settling over Chicago's heart, it pierced, and from all the world it came: "We have heard thy cry, O our sister! Our hearts are aching for thee; our tears are flowing for thee; our hands are working for thee." Oh, how it electrified us in Chicago! If any refused, if any gave grudgingly, we saw it not, we knew it not. We saw only the eager outstretched hand of love.

And we know now the sequel of the wonderful story—how Chicago has proved herself worthy of the great love wherewith the world hath loved her, and of the great faith wherewith the world hath believed in her. She has come up out of her bereavement strong through suffering, wearing yet her badge of mourning, her face subdued, but uplifted, wise and strong of purpose; her eye sad, but earnest and true; her figure less imperious, but majestic and regal; her spirit less arrogant, but just as brave, just as heroic, and more human.

Sarah Winter Kellogg.



Most of us know what a pathos is mixed with the sweet surprise of meeting a beautiful thing in strange and inferior surroundings, in circumstances that suggest an utter incongruity between the subject and the situation, and imply an awful weight of loneliness and an intolerable lack of sympathy. The Alpine harebell on the edge of the glacier, the caged lion gazing vacantly into a wearisome monotony of idleness, the shivering little Italian fiddling about our winter streets, make the same appeal, in various measure, to this consciousness of incongruity that in another phase would stimulate our laughter instead of our tears.

As with space, so with time. It is the appreciation of the discord between the subject and its surroundings that awakens our sympathy for men "born out of their time," as we express it with an arrogance of wiser judgment. In every period of history, affronting the great averages of intellectual development, appear certain minds classified at once as being either before or behind their age. To the first class belong the great reformers, discoverers, inventors—men whose immense genius, concentrated upon one idea, carries them beyond their fellows, as a straight-going steamer distances a pleasure-yacht. These men we do not think of pitying, unless they come too near us, and then we call them fools or fanatics.

But there are lost children of the second class whose fate we all deplore—children[Pg 551] of an earlier age or a summer clime, drifting about in this laborious world like helpless babes in the wood; bright-eyed, luxurious young Greeks, rebelling against pain and intolerant of toil, struggling in vain to hold their own among keen, restless Yankees; dreamy mystics, strayed from the shadows of some cloister, their vague eyes dazzled by the sun; artists of early Italy, worshiping the mediæval Madonna; poets, belonging of right to the court of Elizabeth, or companions of the wandering and disastrous fortunes of "the fairest and crudest of princesses."

It is of an Elizabethan poet strayed into our Victorian age that I propose to write. Few people except professed students of literature know more of Thomas Lovell Beddoes than his name. More than a year ago an article on him appeared in the Fortnightly, half biographical, half occupied with a sketch of his principal tragedy—an article doing more justice to the dramatic than to the lyric quality of his genius. But it is by his songs that his name is kept in the minds of men to-day—exquisite snatches of melody, full of the peculiar charm of that Elizabethan age to which they properly belong.

In 1851 an edition of his poems in two volumes, with a memoir and letters, was published by Pickering. The edition was small and soon exhausted, but the literary world of England was unanimous in its praise; and Landor, Browning, Proctor, and many others came out with generous tributes to the genius of that poet whose circle of listeners has always been so small. "Nearly two centuries have elapsed," wrote Walter Savage Landor, with his hearty enthusiasm, "since a work of the same wealth of genius as Death's Jest-Book has been given to the world." And Browning wrote to Mr. Kelsall, the author of the memoir: "You might pick out scenes, passages, lyrics, fine as fine can be: the power of the man is immense and irresistible."

The two volumes contain, besides the Life and letters, two dramas, The Brides' Tragedy and Death's Jest-Book, two unfinished plays, Torrismond and The Second Brother, and many dramatic and poetic fragments and songs. The Life is an uneventful history, but the letters, though singularly free from egotism, bring up before us a most interesting character—a curious mixture of genius and want of faith in that genius, of energy and self-distrust, of intense devotion to practical studies and the most impractical and dreamy fancy, an affectionate nature lonely and misunderstood, a spirit of the most sturdy and uncompromising independence, a mind of keen and scientific insight—a character made up, in short, of all the warring elements of philosopher, physician, politician and poet.

Thomas Lovell Beddoes was born in Clifton in 1803, and died at Bâle in Switzerland in 1849. His mother was a sister of Maria Edgeworth, and his father a distinguished physician and an intimate friend of Sir Humphry Davy. In the father's character we may trace the principal traits of the son: a strong scientific bent, a fondness for poetic dreams, an invincible independence, were predominant in both. The character of Lovell Beddoes' poetry was the natural outgrowth of his early studies. His schoolfellows at the Charterhouse speak of him at the age of fourteen as already thoroughly versed in the best English literature and a close student of the dramatists, from the Elizabethan to those of his own day. He was always ready to invent and carry out any acts of insubordination, which he informed with so much wit and spirit that the very authorities were often subdued by their own irresistible laughter. It was one phase of his dramatic genius, that seemed to be constantly impelling him to get up some striking situation wherein he might pose as a youthful Ajax defying the lightnings. At Oxford his restless independence was continually prompting him to affront his tutors. He was always in opposition to the spirit of the occasion, whatever it might be.

This spirit of rebellion inspired him with an intense interest in German literature and German politics, as representing[Pg 552] the ultra-liberal tendencies of the day. Shelley, too, the rejected of Oxford, whose name was scarcely to be mentioned to the British Philistine of the moment, was one of Beddoes' idols, and he joined with two other gentlemen in the expense of printing the first edition of the poet's posthumous works in 1824, afterward withdrawn by Mrs. Shelley. Byron was the popular poet then, and universal Young England was turning down its shirt-collars in a mockery of woe. But this boy of twenty, with his sturdy independence, would judge for himself, and wrote to a friend: "I saw —— (the greatest fool within the walls of my acquaintance) the other night at Oxford, repeating the whole of the Deformed in raptures. God forgive him!"

In 1821, while yet a freshman, he published a little volume of poems called The Improvisatore, of which he was soon ashamed. Long before he left Oxford he used to hunt the unfortunate volume through the libraries of his acquaintance, and cutting out all the pages leave the binding intact, a hollow mockery, upon their shelves. The next year, however, he published The Brides' Tragedy, a drama of very great originality and power, and a most extraordinary production for a boy of nineteen. The Edinburgh Review and the London Magazine. then at the height of their power, came out with critical and highly laudatory notices by Proctor (Barry Cornwall) and George Darley, and the former was ever after one of Beddoes' warmest personal friends. In July, 1825, he went to Göttingen, where his brilliant achievements as a student of medicine won him numerous honors. The rest of his life was spent in Germany and Switzerland, with occasional brief visits to England, but his heart was with the German radicals, and he found the united attractions of science, liberalism and Swiss scenery far more powerful than love of his native land. He threw himself with enthusiasm into the discussion of the scientific and political questions of the day, soon became a master of the language, wrote a great deal for the German newspapers, both in prose and verse, and used jestingly to call himself "a popular German poet."

About this time he began his finest tragedy, Death's Jest-Book, still undergoing correction and revision at the time of his death in his forty-sixth year. He was never weary of making alterations: never satisfied with the result of his labors, he tore up scene after scene, or struck out remorselessly the finest passage in a drama if he thought it inharmonious with the context. He had a theory that no man should devote himself entirely to poetry unless possessed of most extraordinary powers of imagination, or unfitted, by mental or bodily weakness, for severer scientific pursuits. The studies of the physician and the dramatist were to his mind allied by Nature, and he looked upon tragedy as the fitting and inevitable result of combined physiological and psychological researches. And he afterward declared himself determined "never to listen to any metaphysician who is not both anatomist and physiologist of the first rank." This was in 1825, when German and French scientists were just beginning to explore the hidden mysteries of matter, and to trace its intimate and subtle connections with the mind, and when protoplasm was still an unknown quantity toward whose discovery science was slowly feeling its way.

As he penetrated deeper and deeper into the arcana of anatomy and physiology his judgment of his own poetry grew more and more severe. The more he knew of Truth, the nearer absolute perfection must that Beauty be which would compete with her for his heart. Busy with a pursuit in which his progress was marked by absolute tests that even his modesty could not disown, he shrank from trying to reach vague eminences in poetry that he judged himself unable to attain. There is something in his style that recalls Heine when he writes, "Me you may safely regard as one banished from a service to which he was not adapted, but who has still a lingering affection for the land of dreams—as yet, at least, not far enough in the journey of science to have lost sight of the old[Pg 553] two-topped hill." And again: "I am essentially unpoetical in character, habits and ways of thinking; and nothing but the desperate hanker for distinction so common to the young gentlemen at the university ever set me upon rhyming. If I had possessed the conviction that I could by any means become an important or great dramatic writer, I would have never swerved from the path to reputation; but seeing that others who had devoted their lives to literature, such as Coleridge and Wordsworth—men beyond a question of far higher originality and incomparably superior poetical feeling and genius—had done so little, you must give me leave to persevere in my preference of Apollo's pill-box to his lyre, and should congratulate me on having chosen Göttingen instead of Grub street for my abode.... It is good to be tolerable or intolerable in any other line, but Apollo defend us from brewing all our lives at a quintessential pot of the smallest ale Parnassian!"

There are so many racy bits of anecdote and opinion scattered through this correspondence, so many things worth keeping for their own sakes or as throwing new light upon the character of their writer, that it is hard to choose a single specimen, but with one more extract we must strive to be content. Beddoes' friend and editor had been trying to get from him some personal details about his daily life, pursuits and fancies, which, with his usual horror of the egotistical, he flatly declined to give. "I will not venture on a psychological self-portraiture," he writes, "fearing—and I believe with sufficient reason—to be betrayed into affectation, dissimulation or some other alluring shape of lying. I believe that all autobiographical sketches are the result of mere vanity—not excepting those of St. Augustine and Rousseau—falsehood in the mask and mantle of truth. Half ashamed and half conscious of his own mendacious self-flattery, the historian of his own deeds or geographer of his own mind breaks out now and then indignantly, and revenges himself on his own weakness by telling some very disagreeable truth of some other person; and then, re-established in his own good opinion, marches on cheerfully in the smooth path toward the temple of his own immortality. Yet even here, you see, I am indirectly lauding my own worship for not being persuaded to laud my own worship. How sleek, smooth-tongued, paradisaical a deluder art thou, sweet Self-conceit! Let great men give their own thoughts on their own thoughts: from such we can learn much; but let the small deer hold jaw, and remember what the philosopher says, 'Fleas are not lobsters: d——n their souls!'"

Caring nothing even for professional honors, Beddoes refused various professorships in Germany, and traveled about to Zurich, to Bâle, and to the other German centres of learning as his desires prompted him. Always the same independent and rebellious spirit that he had shown himself as a boy, he sympathized warmly with the democratic movements then agitating Switzerland and the Rhine provinces, and devoted both his purse and his pen to aid the anti-oligarchic and anti-clerical party. In 1848 he had intended to go back to England, but in the spring of that year a slight wound received while dissecting infused a poison into his system that undermined his health. In May, while seeking restoration in the purer air of Bâle, his horse fell with him, and his left leg was so badly broken that amputation became necessary. Until the autumn he seemed to be doing well, but then the poison imbibed at Frankfort declared itself once more, and a slow fever set in which terminated in death on the 26th of January, 1849.

Beddoes' great fault as a dramatist he was quite aware of himself, and had pointed out to the friend who was continually urging him to write: "The power of drawing character and humor—two things absolutely indispensable for a good dramatist—are the first two articles in my deficiencies; and even the imaginative poetry I think you will find in all my verse always harping on the same two or three principles; for which[Pg 554] plain and satisfactory reasons I have no business to expect any great distinction as a writer." He could draw types of character, but not individuals: the power of making the creations of the mind seem as real as "our dear intimates and chamber-fellows" was denied him. But he was not wholly destitute of humor, though he was possessed of but one kind—that grim, sardonic quality which we find so often among the Elizabethans—that mocking irony most like the grin upon a skull. His fools are his best characters, so far as strength and originality go. Here is a snatch from the wise conversation of two of these worthies in Death's Jest-Book:

"Isbrand. Good-morrow, Brother Vanity! How? soul of a pickle-herring, body of a spagirical tosspot, doublet of motley, and mantle of pilgrim, how art thou transmuted! Wilt thou desert our brotherhood, fool sublimate? Shall the motley chapter no longer boast thee? Wilt thou forswear the order of the bell, and break thy vows to Momus? Have mercy on Wisdom and relent.

"Mandrake. Respect the grave and sober, I pray thee. To-morrow I know thee not. In truth, I mark that our noble faculty is in its last leaf. The dry rot of prudence hath eaten the ship of fools to dust: she is no more seaworthy. The world will see its ears in a glass no longer. So we are laid aside and shall soon be forgotten; for why should the feast of asses come but once a year, when all the days are foaled of one mother? O world! world! The gods and fairies left thee, for thou wert too wise; and now, thou Socratic star, thy demon, the great Pan, Folly, is parting from thee. The oracles still talked in their sleep, shall our grandchildren say, till Master Merriman's kingdom was broken up: now is every man his own fool, and the world's sign is taken down.

"Isbrand. Farewell, thou great-eared mind! I mark, by thy talk, that thou commencest philosopher, and then thou art only a fellow-servant out of livery."

Isbrand is the brother of the slain knight Wolfram: his foolery is but the disguise of his revenge, and thus he rails over the body of his brother: "Dead and gone! a scurvy burden to this ballad of life. There lies he, Siegfried—my brother, mark you—and I weep not, nor gnash the teeth, nor curse: and why not, Siegfried? Do you see this? So should every honest man be—cold, dead, and leaden-coffined. This was one who would be constant in friendship, and the pole wanders; one who would be immortal, and the light that shines upon his pale forehead now, through yonder gewgaw window, undulated from its star hundreds of years ago. That is constancy, that is life. O moral Nature!"

It is unnecessary to try to describe the plot of this strange drama, if plot it may be called. The poem rather resembles the old bridge at Lucerne with the gloomy figures of the Dance of Death painted along its wormeaten sides, while over its old timbers rolls the current of busy life, and the laughter of children echoes from its roof. With the exception of Isbrand, the characters of the play are pale and shadowy enough, but the poetry that they speak is wonderful. The gloom and tender beauty of the verse are inextricably united, as in the plays of Webster, whose "intellectual twin" Beddoes might have been. Here is a lovely sketch of "a melancholy lady:"

Duke. Thorwald, I fear hers is a broken heart.
When first I met her in the Egyptian prison,
She was the rosy morning of a woman:
Beauty was rising, but the starry grace
Of a calm childhood might be seen in her.
But since the death of Wolfram, who fell there,
Heaven and one single soul only know how,
I have not dared to look upon her sorrow.
Thorwald. Methinks she's too unearthly beautiful.
Old as I am, I cannot look at her,
And hear her voice, that touches the heart's core,
Without a dread that she will fade o' th' instant.
There's too much heaven in her; oft it rises,
And, pouring out about the lovely earth,
Almost dissolves it. She is tender too;
And melancholy is the sweet pale smile
With which she gently does reproach her fortune

But the greatest beauty of this singular poem, with its wild medley of jesters and spirits, knights and fiends, Deaths and tender women, "like flowers on a grave," is the wonderful perfection of its songs. There are no less than thirteen in this play, some of them the wild mockery remind us of their faults. A turgid inflation in the tragic passages, a tendency to bombast, even more apparent in the man of forty-six than in the boy of nineteen, mar the calm strength of many of his scenes. The cloying sweetness that overloaded the verses of his juvenile work he left behind him as he grew older, but the Marlowe-like extravagance that noted in the soliloquies of Hesperus still comes to the surface occasionally in the pages of Death's Jest-Book. It is the extravagance of strength, however, not of weakness.

It is not often that we see a poet giving up the glorious race from sheer distrust of his power to win, but such was the case of Beddoes. A want of faith in his own genius was for ever paralyzing his hand. To succeed, as he himself knew but too well, and as he wrote to his editor, "a man must have an exclusive passion for his art, and all the obstinacy and self-denial which is combined with such a temperament—an unconquerable and always enduring will, always working forward to the only goal he knows." This singleness of purpose Beddoes never possessed. Inheriting from his father the qualities of both poet and physician, the faculties of the scientific man, trained and cultivated through a long life by Dr. Thomas Beddoes (with whom poetry was but an occasional pastime), seem to have overbalanced and diverted the poetic genius of his son. The hereditary instinct overcame the individual bent. And in spite of Lovell Beddoes' opinion that "the studies of the dramatist and physician are closely, almost inseparably, allied," is it not true that the analytical faculty so essential to the latter is rarely found in connection with great creative ability? Sainte-Beuve never forgave Balzac for saying that critics were unsuccessful authors, but he should have consoled himself with the of the jesters, but many of them very beautiful; and there are three more in The Brides' Tragedy. Since the days of Elizabeth we have had nothing to compare with them. They have that delicate poise of beauty, like the lighting of a butterfly on a bending flower, that adds to our delight the keen sense of its transitoriness. Here is one—"a voice from the waters:"

The swallow leaves her nest,
The soul my weary breast;
But therefore let the rain
On my grave
Fall pure; for why complain?
Since both will come again
O'er the wave.
The wind dead leaves and snow
Doth hurry to and fro;
And once a day shall break
O'er the wave,
When a storm of ghosts shall shake
The dead, until they wake
In the grave.

This is the least Elizabethan of them all, perhaps, in sentiment, but it has an exquisite sombre tenderness and music of its own. Then follows one of the finest of all Beddoes' songs, a dirge, beginning—

If thou wilt ease thine heart
Of love and all its smart,
Then sleep, dear, sleep;

which it is useless to quote entire, because it may be found in Dana's Household Poetry, and in the best collection of songs we have, R. H. Stoddard's Melodies and Madrigals, wherein are enshrined three of Beddoes' dirges, all from this one drama of Death's Jest-Book.

The second volume of Beddoes' poems also contains The Brides' Tragedy, written when he was but nineteen. More simple and coherent in plot and construction than the other drama, it has more sweetness and less strength. It is full of the innocence of love, and rich with that prodigality of beauty with which youthful genius loves to make itself splendid. It begins with a scene in a garden, and "while that wingèd song, the restless nightingale, turns her sad heart to music," two lovers talk of flowers and love and dreams—dreams of the Queen of Smiles, and her attendant[Pg 555] mob of Loves, busy with their various tasks:

Here stood one alone,
Blowing a pyre of blazing lovers' hearts
With bellows full of absence-caused sighs:
Near him his work-mate mended broken vows
With dangerous gold, or strung soft rhymes together
Upon a lady's tress.... And one there was alone,
Who with wet downcast eyelids threw aside
The remnants of a broken heart, and looked
Into my face and bid me 'ware of love,
Of fickleness, and woe, and mad despair.

There are beautiful scenes and passages all through the play, the passion and the terror smacking somewhat of youth, perhaps, that loves to pile up agonies, but the poetry still so fine that one continually forgets to say, This is the work of a boy of nineteen. There is no need to say it, in fact: it is a work of genius, and demands no extenuation. There is a scene between Olivia and her attendants, as they prepare her for her bridal, that has a sustained and tender sweetness and calm about it hard to be matched in all our modern drama. For the same Olivia is sung this lovely


First Voice. Who is the baby that doth lie
Beneath the silken canopy
Of thy blue eye?
Second Voice. It is young Sorrow laid asleep
In the crystal deep.
Both. Let us sing his lullaby,
Heigho! a sob and a sigh.
First Voice. What sound is that, so soft, so clear,
Harmonious as a bubbled tear
Bursting, we hear?
Second Voice. It is young Sorrow, slumber breaking,
Suddenly waking.
Both. Let us sing his lullaby,
Heigho! a sob and a sigh.

They are not all dirges, these beautiful scraps of melody. Sometimes we come upon one as blithe as sunshine, like this serenade from the fine fragment called The Second Brother:

Strike, you myrtle-crownèd boys,
Ivied maidens, strike together:
Magic lutes are these whose noise
Our fingers gather,
Threaded thrice with golden strings
From Cupid's bow:
And the sounds of its sweet voice
Not air, but little busy things,
Pinioned with the lightest feather
Of his wings,
Rising up at every blow
Round the chords, like flies from roses
Zephyr-touched; so these light minions
Hover round, then shut their pinions,
And drop into the air, that closes
Where music's sweetest sweet reposes.

[Pg 556]There is a song worthy of Ariel, whose delicate involutions well repay study, and whose perfect melody carries along the unfolding of the thought as easily and lightly as a swift stream sweeps along scattered rose-leaves. And here is another of the same dainty complexion, but simpler:

How many times do I love thee, dear?
Tell me how many thoughts there be
In the atmosphere
Of a new-fall'n year,
Whose white and sable hours appear
The latest flake of Eternity:
So many times do I love thee, dear.
How many times do I love again?
Tell me how many beads there are
In a silver chain
Of evening rain,
Unraveled from the tumbling main,
And threading the eye of a yellow star:
So many times do I love again.

Nor is it only the songs of Beddoes that ought to keep his memory alive among us, if his dramas are too long to enchain our fickle attention. We turn over the small collection of fragments that his stern judgment has spared from the material of his two finished plays, to come across thoughts like these, that would have made the best part of some less severe critic's pages:

I know not whether
I see your meaning: if I do, it lies
Upon the wordy wavelets of your voice
Dim as the evening shadow in a brook,
When the least moon has silver on't no larger
Than the pure white of Hebe's pinkish nail.
And many voices marshaled in one hymn
Wound through the night, whose still, translucent moments
Lay on each side their breath; and the hymn passed
Its long harmonious populace of words
Between the silvery silences.
Luckless man
Avoids the miserable bodkin's point,
And flinching from the insect's little sting,
In pitiful security keeps watch,
While 'twixt him and that hypocrite the sun.
To which he prays, comes windless Pestilence,
Transparent as a glass of poisoned water
Through which the drinker sees his murderer smiling:
She stirs no dust, and makes no grass to nod,
Yet every footstep is a thousand graves,
And every breath of hers as full of ghosts
As a sunbeam with motes.

There is an old saying that the workman may be known by his chips: surely from these chips we may gather a high opinion of that artificer who left[Pg 557] such fragments to testify for him. For imaginative power of a very high order, for the true tragic spirit, for exquisitely melodious versification, for that faculty of song which is the flower of the lyric genius, Beddoes was pre-eminently distinguished. Nor for these alone. His style is based upon the rich vocabulary of the old dramatists, and is terse, pregnant and quaint, without any trace of affectation. There was a sturdy genuineness about the man that forbade him to assume, and his phraseology was the natural outgrowth of his mind and his early education. He has not gone to work, like so many of our modern pre-Raphaelite painters, to imitate crudeness of form in the vain hope of acquiring thereby earnestness and innocence of spirit; but he has studied the best tragic models in a reverent spirit, and allowed his muse to work out her own salvation. That grim ironical humor which infuses such bitter strength into the speeches of Isbrand was always scoffing at his own verses, and nipping the blossoms of his genius in the bud. "I believe I might have met with some success as a retailer of small coal," he writes to Mr. Kelsall, "or a writer of long-bottomed tracts, but doubt of my aptitude for any higher literary or commercial occupation."

His greatest weakness as a writer of tragedy has already been mentioned as one of which he was himself but too well aware—his inability to create characters that should have any more individual existence than as the mouthpieces of various sentiments. While holding that the proper aim of the dramatic writer should be to write for the stage, his dramas are nevertheless fitted only for the closet. "If it were possible," said George Darley (in the London Magazine, December, 1823), "speaking of a work of this kind (The Brides' Tragedy), to make a distinction between the vis tragica and the vis dramatica, I should say that he possessed much of the former, but little of the latter." As the beauties of his style—and they are many—recall to us the Shakespearian writers and the matchless riches of their verse, so do its faults—which are few—reflection that the author was unsuccessful because the critic was great. All critics, however, do not aspire to create, but all poets sooner or later attempt to criticise. Baudelaire, "the illustrious poet, the faultless critic," as Swinburne calls him, went still further. He said: "Tous les grands poëtes deviennent naturellement, fatalement, critiques. Je plains les poëtes que guide le seul instinct; je les crois incomplets. Il serait prodigieux qu'un critique devînt poëte, et il est impossible qu'un poëte ne contienne pas un critique." Yet a man cannot serve two masters, and Art is a jealous mistress who will not brook a rival. Even Beddoes found that his ideal of the physiologist-poet was fast slipping through his fingers, and confessed at last that were he "soberly and mathematically convinced" of his own inspiration, he would give himself up to the cultivation of literature. But he died at the early age of forty-six, from the effects of a wound received in the cause of Science. A singular retribution befell him, a truly poetic justice: all his scientific writings have disappeared—were either stolen before his executors had time to examine his papers, or had been destroyed by his own ruthless hand—and all that was left to keep his memory alive were the two tragedies and the few scattered fragments of verse of which he had made so little account during his lifetime. Their circle of readers has necessarily been small, but choice. There are few left, besides Browning and Proctor and John Forster, of his original admirers, and his name seems to be another on the long list of those who have failed, as the world counts failure. But the poets know better, and among their undying brotherhood space will always be kept for this strayed singer.

Kate Hillard.

[Pg 558]


Gray orchards starred with fruitage gold and red,
Field beyond field of yellow-tasseled corn,
Rippling responsive to each breath of morn.
Along the Southern wall the dark vines shed
Their splendid clusters, blue-black and pale green,
With liquid sunshine through their thin films seen.
In yonder mead the haymakers at work
With lusty sounds the clear tense air fulfill,
Rearing the shapely hayrick's mimic hill,
The dried grass tossing with light-wielded fork.
Daylong the reapers glean the bladed gold;
High to the topmost orchard branches climb
The apple-gatherers, and from each limb
Shake the ripe globes of sweetness, downward rolled
Upon the leaf-strewn ground; and all day long
From the near vineyard comes the merry song
Of those who prune the stocks and tread the press.
The spirit melts beneath the mastering sense
Of supreme beauty and beneficence,
Power divine and awful gentleness.
No space for sadness in the heart to-day,
Seeing the generous, faithful earth fulfill
The springtide promise of vine, field and hill
When bush and hedge were rosy-flushed with May.
Yet at the threshold of fruition fain
We pause to catch the savor once again
Of sweet expectancy. The perfect year
In fourfold beauty rounds itself at length,
With golden fullness of developed strength,
Into the sure, complete, unswerving sphere.
This the result of frozen winter-rains,
Of hard, white snows, of dull, loud-dripping thaw,
Of showers and shine of spring, of March blasts raw,
Of glaring August heats,—these dainty grains,
This fruitage delicate. O sluggard soul!
What harvest reapest thou as seasons roll?
Mayhap to thee the slow results of time
Bring also profit, though thy fruit, hung high,
Escape the glance of careless passers-by,
A seeming fragile husk of empty rhyme.
Yet there are those who know what fed the root,
What long, dull tedium as of wintry hours,
What rapture as of spring-light after showers,
Went to the ripening of this strange, frail fruit.
[Pg 559] Defeat and hope, disaster, joy and pain,
Grief, pleasure and despair—the same old train
That follows every soul. No grafted seed,
No alien harvest this, but a true part
Of the whole being—soul and pulse and heart—
That from the living bough is lightly freed.

Emma Lazarus.



We were as usual assembled in the arbor. The evening was stormy, the air heavy and the sky charged with black clouds furrowed with frequent lightnings. We were keeping a melancholy silence, as if the gloom of the atmosphere had reached our hearts, disposing us involuntarily to tears. Beppa, particularly, seemed given up to sorrowful thoughts. In vain had the abbé, alarmed at the disposition of the company, tried several times and in every way to reanimate the gayety, usually so sparkling, of our friend. Neither questions, teasing nor entreaties succeeded in drawing her from her reverie: her eyes fixed on the sky, her fingers wandering carelessly over the trembling strings of her guitar, she seemed not to notice what was going on around her, and to be thinking of nothing but the plaintive sounds she caused her instrument to utter, and the capricious course of the clouds.

The good Panorio, disheartened by the ill success of his attempts, took the resolution of addressing himself to me. "Come, dear Zorze," said he, "try in thy turn the power of thy affection upon this capricious beauty. There exists between you two a sort of magnetic sympathy stronger than all my reasoning, and the sound of thy voice succeeds in drawing her from her deepest distraction."

"This magnetic sympathy of which thou speakest to me," I answered, "comes, dear abbé, from the identity of our feelings. We have suffered in the same way and thought the same things, and we know each other well enough, she and I, to know what sort of ideas external circumstances recall to each. I wager that I can guess, not the subject, but at least the nature, of her reverie." And turning toward Beppa, "Carissima," I said gently, "of which of our sisters art thou thinking?"

"Of the most beautiful," she answered without turning round, "of the proudest, the most unfortunate."

"When did she die?" I continued, already interested in her who lived in the memory of my noble friend, and desiring to associate myself by my regrets with a destiny which could not be strange to me.

"She died at the close of last winter, on the night of the ball at the palace Servilio. She had resisted many sorrows, she had come forth victorious from many dangers, had suffered, without succumbing, terrible agonies, and died suddenly without leaving any trace, as if carried off by a thunderbolt. Every one here knew her more or less, but no one so well as I, because none loved her so much, and she only let herself be known according as she was loved. Others do not believe in her death, although she has not appeared since the night of which I tell thee: they say it has often happened that she has disappeared thus for a long time, and returned again[Pg 560] afterward. But I know that she will never come back any more, and that her part upon the earth is finished. If I wished to doubt it I could not: she took care to let me know the fatal truth through him who was the cause of her death. And what a misfortune was that! O God! the greatest misfortune of our unhappy age! Such a beautiful life was hers! so beautiful and so full of contrasts! so illustrious, so mysterious, so sad, so magnificent, so enthusiastic, so austere, so voluptuous, so complete in its resemblance to all human things! No: no life and no death were like hers. She had found means of suppressing all the pitiful realities of her existence, leaving only its poetry. Faithful to the old customs of the national aristocracy, she only showed herself after the close of the day, masked, but never followed by any one. There is not an inhabitant of the city who has not met her wandering in the squares or in the streets—not one who has not noticed her gondola moored in some canal, but no one ever saw it enter or go out. Although this gondola was watched by no one, it was never known to have been the object of an attempt at theft. It was painted and equipped like all other gondolas, yet every one knew it. Even the children said, on seeing it, 'There is the gondola of the Mask.' As to the way in which it moved, and the place from which it brought its mistress at night, and to which it carried her back in the morning, no one could even suspect it. The revenue-cruisers had, indeed, often seen a black shadow upon the lagoons, and, taking it for a contraband boat, had given chase to it as far as the open sea, but when morning came they never saw upon the waves anything resembling the object of their pursuit; and finally they fell into the way of not minding it, and of saying when they saw it, 'There is the gondola of the Mask again.'

"At night the Mask traversed the whole city, seeking no one knew what. She was seen by turns in the broadest squares and in the most crooked streets, on bridges and under the arches of tall palaces, in the most frequented places and the most deserted. She went sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, without appearing to notice the crowd or the solitude, but never stopping. She seemed to contemplate with passionate curiosity the houses, the monuments, the canals, and even the sky above the city, and to breathe with delight the air which circulated through it. When she met a friendly person, she signed to him to follow her, and soon disappeared with him. More than once she has led me thus from the midst of the crowd, and has conversed with me of the things we loved. I followed her with confidence, for I knew we were friends; but many of those to whom she signaled did not dare respond to her invitation. Strange stories circulated about her, and froze the courage of the most intrepid. It was said that several young men, thinking they discovered a woman beneath this mask and this black dress, became enamored of her, as much for the singularity and mystery of her life as for her beautiful form and noble appearance—that having had the imprudence to follow her, they had never reappeared. The police, having even noticed that these young men were all Austrians, had brought all their man[oe]uvres into use to discover them, and get possession of her who was accused as the cause of their disappearance. But the sbirri were not more fortunate than the revenue-officers, and were never able to learn anything about the young foreigners or to lay hands upon her. A strange incident had discouraged the most ardent spies of the Venetian Inquisition. Finding that it was impossible to seize the Mask by night in Venice, two of the most zealous of the police resolved to wait for her in her own gondola, so as to capture her when she should enter it to row away. One evening, when they saw it moored to the Quay dei Schiavi, they got into it and concealed themselves. They remained there all night without hearing or seeing any one, but an hour before day they thought they perceived that some one was untying the boat. They rose silently and prepared to fall upon their prey, but at the same instant a terrible push[Pg 561] capsized the gondola and the unlucky agents of Austrian rule. One of them was drowned, and the other only owed his life to aid brought him by the smugglers. The next day there was no trace of the boat, and the police were forced to believe it submerged, but in the evening it was seen moored in the same place and in the same condition as the night before. Then a superstitious terror took possession of the police, and not one of them was willing to make the same attempt a second time. After that day they no longer sought to disturb the Mask, who continued her excursions as in the past.

"In the beginning of last autumn there came to the garrison here an Austrian officer named Count Franz Lichtenstein. He was an enthusiastic, passionate young man, who had within him the germ of all great sentiments and an instinct for noble thoughts. In spite of his bad education as a great lord, he had been able to preserve his mind from all prejudices, and to keep in his heart a reverence for liberty. His position forced him to dissimulate in public his ideas and tastes, but as soon as his duties were performed he hastened to throw off his uniform, which seemed to him a badge of all the vices of the government he served, and hurried to meet the friends whom his goodness and intelligence had procured for him in the city. We loved particularly to hear him speak of Venice. He had seen it as an artist, had deplored its servitude, and had come to love it as much as a Venetian. He never wearied of traversing it night and day, and of admiring it. He wished, he said, to know it better than those whose good fortune it was to have been born there. In his nocturnal rambles he encountered the Mask. At first he paid no great attention to her, but having soon noticed that she appeared to study the city with the same curiosity as himself, he was struck with this strange coincidence, and spoke of it to several persons. They related to him the stories which were afloat concerning the veiled woman, and advised him to beware of her. But, as he was brave even to rashness, these warnings, instead of frightening him, excited his curiosity, and inspired him with a mad desire to make the acquaintance of the mysterious personage who so terrified the vulgar. Wishing to keep toward the Mask the same incognito which she preserved toward him, he dressed himself as a citizen and continued his nocturnal excursions. He was not long in meeting what he sought. He saw under a beautiful moonlight the masked woman standing before the charming church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. She seemed to contemplate with adoration the delicate ornaments which decorated its portal. The count silently and slowly approached her. She did not appear to notice him, and did not stir. The count, who had stopped a moment to see if he were discovered, moved on again and came close to her. He heard her utter a profound sigh, and as he knew Venetian very badly, but Italian very well, he addressed her in pure Tuscan. 'Salutation,' said he—'salutation and happiness to those who love Venice.'

"'Who are you?' replied the Mask, with a voice full and sonorous as a man's, but sweet as a nightingale's.

"'I am a lover of beauty.'

"'Are you one of those whose brutal love does violence to free beauty, or of those who kneel before captive beauty and weep for its sorrows?'

"'When the king of the night sees the rose flourish joyously beneath the breath of the breeze, he flaps his wings and sings: when he sees her wither beneath the hurrying blast of the storm, he hides his head under his wing and shudders. Thus does my love.'

"'Follow me, then, for thou art one of the faithful.' And grasping the young man's hand, she drew him toward the church. When he felt the cold hand of the unknown press his, and saw her move with him toward the sombre depth of the portal, involuntarily he recalled the fearful stories he had heard, and, seized with a sudden terror, he stopped. The Mask turned, and fixing a scornful look on the pale face of her companion, said to him, 'You are afraid?[Pg 562] Adieu.' Then loosing his arm she hastened away.

"The count was ashamed of his weakness, and rushing after her, in his turn seized her hand, saying, 'No, I am not afraid. Come!' Without answering, she continued her walk. But instead of going toward the church, as at first, she turned into one of the little streets which lead into the square. The moon was hidden, and the most complete obscurity reigned over the city. Franz hardly saw where he placed his foot, and could distinguish nothing in the deep shadows which enfolded him on all sides. He followed at random his guide, who seemed, on the contrary, to know her way perfectly well. From time to time a few beams gliding across the clouds came to show Franz the edge of a canal, a bridge, an arch or some unknown part of a labyrinth of deep and tortuous streets: then everything relapsed into darkness. Franz soon discovered that he was lost in Venice, and that he was at the mercy of his guide, but he resolved to brave everything. He showed no uneasiness, and let himself be led along without making an observation.

"At the end of a full hour the masked woman stopped. 'It is well,' she said to the count: 'you have courage. If you had shown the least sign of fear during our walk, I would never have spoken to you again. But you were calm: I am satisfied with you. To-morrow, then, on the square of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, at eleven o'clock. Do not seek to follow me: it would be useless. Turn down this street to the right and you will see the piazza of St. Mark's. Au revoir!' She quickly pressed the count's hand, and before he had time to answer disappeared behind the angle of the street.

"The count remained for some time motionless, still perfectly astounded at what had passed, and undecided what to do. But having reflected on his slight chance of finding the mysterious lady again, and the risk he ran of losing himself by pursuing her, he resolved to return home. He followed, therefore, the street to the right, found himself in a few moments in the piazza of St. Mark's, and thence easily regained his hotel.

"The next day he was faithful to the rendezvous. He arrived in the square as the church-clock was striking eleven. He saw the masked woman standing waiting for him on the steps of the entrance.

"'It is well,' said she. 'You are punctual: let us enter.' So speaking, she turned immediately toward the church.

"Franz, who saw that the door was shut, and knew that it was never opened at night, thought the woman was mad. But what was his surprise at seeing the door yield to her first effort! He mechanically followed his guide, who quickly reclosed the door after he had entered. They then found themselves in darkness, but Franz, remembering that a second door without a lock still separated them from the nave, felt no uneasiness, and prepared to push it before him in order to enter. But she stopped him by a pressure of the arm. 'Have you ever come into this church?' she asked him abruptly.

"'Twenty times,' he answered. 'I know it as well as the architect who built it.'

"'Say you think you know it, for you do not really know it yet. Enter!'

"Franz pushed the second door, and they penetrated into the interior of the church. It was magnificently lighted on all sides, but completely empty.

"'What ceremony is to be performed here?' asked Franz, stupefied.

"'None: the church expected me to-night: that is all. Follow me.'

"The count vainly tried to understand the meaning of the words the Mask addressed to him, but, subjugated by a mysterious power, he followed her obediently. She led him into the middle of the church, made him notice, understand and admire its general architecture; then, passing to the examination of each part, she explained to him in detail, by turns, the nave, the colonnades, the chapels, the altars, the statues, the pictures, all the ornaments; showed him the meaning of everything, disclosed to him the idea hidden beneath each form, made him feel all the beauties[Pg 563] of the works which composed the whole, and caused him to penetrate, so to speak, into the very entrails of the church. Franz listened with religious attention to all the words of the eloquent mouth which was pleased to instruct him, and from minute to minute recognized how little he had comprehended this ensemble of works which had seemed to him so easy to understand. When she finished the rays of morning, penetrating through the window-panes, caused the light of the tapers to pale. Although she had spoken for several hours, and had not sat down for an instant during the whole night, neither her voice nor her body betrayed any fatigue. Only her head drooped upon her bosom, which was throbbing violently, and seemed to listen to the sighs exhaling from it. Suddenly she lifted up her head, and raising her arms toward heaven, cried, 'O servitude! servitude!' At these words tears, rolling from beneath her mask, fell among the folds of her black dress.

"'Why do you weep?' asked Franz, approaching her.

"'To-morrow,' she answered, 'at midnight, before the Arsenal;' and went out by the side door at the left, which closed again heavily. At the same moment the Angelus sounded.

"Franz, astonished by the unexpected noise of the bell, turned and saw that all the tapers were extinguished. He remained for some time motionless from surprise, then left the church by the great door which the sacristan had just opened, and returned slowly home, endeavoring to guess who this woman, so bold, so artistic, so powerful, with such charm in her speech, such majesty in her appearance, could be.

"The next night at midnight the count was before the Arsenal. He found the Mask, who was waiting for him as on the previous night, and who, without saying anything, began to walk rapidly before him. Arrived before one of the side doors on the right, she stopped, inserted in the keyhole a golden key, which Franz saw glitter in the moonbeams, opened the door without making any noise, and entered first, signing to Franz to follow her. The latter hesitated an instant. To penetrate into the Arsenal at night by the aid of a false key was to expose one's self to a trial by a court-martial, if one were discovered; and it was almost impossible to avoid discovery in a place guarded by sentinels. But seeing the Mask on the point of closing the door upon him, he suddenly decided to pursue the adventure to the close, and entered. The masked woman first led him across several courts, then through corridors and galleries, all the doors of which she opened with her golden key, and ended by bringing him into vast halls filled with arms of all kinds and times, which had served, in the wars of the republic, either its defenders or its enemies. These halls were lighted by ships' lanterns placed at equal distances between the trophies. She showed the count the most curious and celebrated arms, telling him the names of those to whom they had belonged and of the battles in which they had been used, and relating to him in detail the exploits of which they had been the instruments. Thus she revived before the eyes of Franz the whole history of Venice. After having visited the four halls consecrated to this exhibition, she led him into a last one, larger than all the others, and lighted like them, but containing wood for shipbuilding, the débris of vessels of different forms and sizes, and fragments of the last Bucentaur. She told her companion the properties of these woods, the use of the ships, the time at which they had been built and the expeditions in which they had taken part: then pointing to the balcony of the Bucentaur, 'There,' said she, in a sad voice, 'are the remains of a past royalty. That was the last ship which bore a doge of Venice to wed the sea. Now Venice is a slave, and slaves never marry. O servitude! servitude!'

"As upon the previous evening, she went away after having pronounced these words, but this time taking the count with her, as he could not, without danger, remain in the Arsenal. Arrived in the square, they agreed on a new rendezvous for the morrow and parted.[Pg 564]

"The next night and many succeeding nights she took Franz to the principal monuments of the city, introducing him everywhere with incomprehensible facility, explaining to him with admirable lucidity everything presented to their view, displaying to him marvelous treasures of intelligence and sensibility. He did not know which to admire most, the mind that had investigated so deeply or the heart that displayed itself in such beautiful bursts of feeling. What had at first been with him only a fancy, soon changed to a real and profound sentiment. Curiosity had caused him to form a connection with the Mask, and astonishment had led him to continue it. But at length the habit which he had formed of seeing her every night became to him a veritable necessity. Although the words of the unknown were always grave and often sad, Franz found in them an indefinable charm which attached him to her more and more, and he could not have fallen asleep at the break of day if he had not at night heard her sighs and seen her tears. He had such a sincere and profound respect for the grandeur and sufferings of which he suspected her that he had not dared beg her to take off her mask or to tell him her name. As she had not asked his, he would have blushed to show himself more curious and less discreet than she; and he was resolved to hope everything from her good-will and nothing from his own importunity. She seemed to appreciate the delicacy of his conduct, and to be pleased with it, for at each succeeding interview she showed him more confidence and sympathy. Although not a single word of love had been uttered between them, Franz had reason to believe that she knew his passion and felt disposed to share it. His hopes almost sufficed for his happiness, and when he felt a deeper desire to know her whom he already named internally his mistress, his imagination, impressed and as if assured by the marvels which surrounded him, painted her so perfect and so beautiful that he almost feared the moment in which she should be unveiled to him.

"One night, as they were wandering together under the arcades of St. Mark's, the masked woman made Franz stop before a picture which represented a girl kneeling before the patron saint of the basilica and the city. 'What do you think of this woman?' said she to him, after having given him time to examine it well.

"'It is,' he answered, 'the most wonderful beauty that one could, not see, but imagine. The artist's inspired soul has been able to give us its image, but the model can only exist in heaven.'

"The masked woman warmly pressed the hand of Franz. 'I,' she replied, 'know a face more beautiful than that of the glorious Saint Mark, and I could love no other than that which is the living image of it.'

"On hearing these words Franz paled and trembled as if seized with vertigo. He had just perceived that the face of the saint offered the most exact resemblance to his own. He fell on his knees before the unknown, and seizing her hand bathed it with his tears, without being able to utter a word.

"'I know now that thou belongest to me,' she said in a voice full of emotion, 'and that thou art worthy to know me and possess me. To-morrow, at the ball of the palace Servilio.' Then she left him as before, but without pronouncing the sacramental words, so to speak, which had terminated the conversation of each previous night.

"Intoxicated with joy, Franz wandered through the whole city, without being able to stop anywhere. He admired the sky, smiled upon the lagoons, saluted the houses and spoke to the wind. All who met him took him for a madman, and singled him out by their glances. He perceived it, but only laughed at the madness of those who found amusement in his. When his friends asked him what he had been doing for a month in which he had not been visible, he answered, 'I am going to be happy,' and passed on.

"Evening having arrived, he bought a magnificent scarf and new epaulettes, returned home to dress, took the greatest[Pg 565] pains with his toilette, and then went, adorned with his uniform, to the palace Servilio. The ball was magnificent: every one except the officers of the garrison had come disguised, according to the injunction in the cards of invitation; and this multitude of varied and elegant costumes, mingling and moving to the sound of a numerous orchestra, presented the most brilliant and animated appearance. Franz traversed all the halls, approached all the groups and cast his eyes upon all the women. Several were remarkably beautiful, but none seemed to him worthy to arrest his regard. 'She is not here,' he said to himself. 'I was sure of it: it is not yet her hour.' He placed himself behind a column near the principal entrance and waited, his eyes fixed on the door. Many times it opened, many women entered, without causing the heart of Franz to throb, but at the moment when the clock struck eleven he started and cried out, loud enough to be heard by his neighbors, 'There she is!'

"All eyes turned toward him, as if to ask the meaning of his exclamation. But at the same moment the doors opened abruptly, and a woman who entered attracted all attention toward herself. Franz recognized her immediately. It was the young girl of the picture, dressed like a dogess of the fifteenth century, and rendered still more beautiful by the magnificence of her costume. She advanced with a slow and majestic step, looking about her with assurance, and saluting nobody, as if she had been the queen of the ball. No one except Franz knew her, but every one, conquered by her marvelous beauty and her lofty air, stood respectfully aside, and almost bowed down before her passage. Franz, at once dazzled and enchanted, followed her at a sufficient distance. At the moment she arrived in the last hall a handsome young man wearing the costume of Tasso was singing, accompanying himself on the guitar, a romance in honor of Venice. She walked straight toward him, and looking; fixedly at him asked him who he was that dared to wear such a costume and to sing of Venice. The young man, overwhelmed by her look, turned pale, bent his head and handed her his guitar. She took it, and drawing her fingers, white as alabaster, across the strings, she intoned in her turn, with a harmonious and powerful voice, a strange and irregular song: 'Dance, laugh, sing, gay children of Venice! For you the winter has no frosts, the night no shadows, life no cares. You are the happy ones of the world, and Venice is the queen of nations. Who says No? Take care: eyes see, ears hear, tongues speak. Fear the Council of Ten if you are not good citizens. Good citizens dance, laugh and sing, but do not speak. Dance, laugh, sing, gay children of Venice!—Venice, only city not created by the hand, but by the mind, of man! thou who seemst made to serve as the passing dwelling of the souls of the just, placed as a step for them from earth to heaven; walls which fairies inhabited, and which a magic breath still animates; aërial colonnades which tremble in the mist; light spires which one confounds with the floating masts of ships; arcades which seem to contain a thousand voices to answer each passing voice; ye myriads of angels and saints, who seem to bound upon the cupolas and move your bronze and marble wings when the breeze blows upon your damp brows; city which liest not, like others, on a dark and filthy soil, but which floatest, like a troop of swans, upon the waves,—rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! A new destiny is opening for you as beautiful as the first! The black eagle floats over the lion of St. Mark's, and Teutonic feet waltz in the palaces of the doges. Be silent, harmony of the night! Die, insensate noises of the ball! Be no more heard, holy song of the fishermen! Cease to murmur, voice of the Adriatic! Pale lamp of the Madonna! hide thyself for ever, silver queen of the night! There are no more Venetians in Venice. Do we dream? are we at a fête? Yes, yes: let us dance, let us laugh, let us sing! It is the hour when Faliero's shade descends slowly the staircase of the Giants, and seats himself, immovable, upon the lowest[Pg 566] step. Let us dance, let us laugh, let us sing, for presently the voice of the clock will say, Midnight! and the chorus of the dead will come to cry in our ears, Servitude! servitude!'

"With these words she let fall the guitar, which gave forth a funereal sound on striking against the marble floor. Every one listened for the twelve strokes in a horrible silence. Then the master of the palace advanced toward the unknown with an air half terrified, half angry. 'Madame,' said he in a troubled voice, 'who has done me the honor to bring you to my house?'

"'I,' cried Franz, advancing, 'and if any one finds it ill, let him speak.'

"The unknown, who had appeared to pay no attention to the host's question, quickly raised her head on hearing the count's voice. 'I live,' she cried with enthusiasm, 'I shall live!' and she turned toward him with a radiant face. But as she looked at him her cheeks paled and her brow darkened with a sombre cloud. 'Why have you taken this disguise?' she said in a severe tone, pointing to his uniform.

"'It is not a disguise,' he answered: 'it is—' He could say no more: a terrible look from the unknown had as if petrified him. She regarded him some seconds in silence, then let fall from her eyes two large tears. Franz would have rushed toward her, but she did not give him time.

"'Follow me,' she said in a hollow voice: then rapidly breaking through the astonished crowd, she left the hall, followed by Franz.

"Arrived at the foot of the palace steps, she leaped into her gondola, and told Franz to enter after her and be seated. When he had done so he looked about him, and seeing no gondolier, 'Who will row us?' he asked.

"'I,' she answered, seizing the oar with a vigorous hand.

"'Rather let me.'

"'No: Austrian hands do not know the oar of Venice;' and giving a powerful impulse to the gondola, she sent it like an arrow into the canal. In a few moments they were far from the palace. Franz, who expected from the unknown an explanation of her anger, was astonished and unhappy at seeing her keep silence. 'Where are we going?' he said after a moment's reflection.

"'Where destiny wills us to go,' she replied in a terrible voice, and as if these words had reanimated her anger she began to row still more vigorously. The gondola, obeying the impulse of her powerful hand, seemed to fly over the water. Franz saw the foam dash with dazzling rapidity along the sides of the boat, and the ships on their course flee behind them like clouds borne away by the whirlwind. Soon the darkness grew deeper, the wind rose, and the young man heard nothing but the seething of the waves and the hissing of the air through his hair, and saw nothing before him but the tall white figure of his companion in the midst of the shadows. Standing at the stern, her hands on the oar, her hair scattered over her shoulders, and her long, white garments abandoned in disorder to the wind, she less resembled a woman than the spirit of shipwrecks playing upon the stormy sea.

"'Where are we?' cried Franz in an agitated voice.

"'The captain is afraid?' answered the unknown with a disdainful laugh.

"Franz did not reply. He felt that she was right, and that fear was gaining him. Not being able to master it, he wished at least to disguise it, and resolved to remain silent. But at the end of a few moments, seized with a sort of vertigo, he rose and walked toward the unknown.

"'Sit down!' she cried to him. 'Sit down!' she repeated in a furious voice; and seeing that he continued to advance, she stamped with so much violence that the boat trembled as if it would capsize. Franz was thrown down by the shock, and fell fainting on the bottom of the boat. When he came to himself he saw the unknown lying weeping at his feet. Touched by her bitter sorrow, and forgetting all that had just passed, he seized her in his arms, raised her up and made her sit by him; but she did not cease to weep.[Pg 567]

"'Oh, my love,' cried Franz, pressing her against his heart, 'why these tears?'

"'The Lion! the Lion!' she answered, raising toward heaven her arm white as marble.

"Franz raised his eyes to the part of the sky toward which she pointed, and saw indeed the constellation of the Lion shining solitary amid the clouds: 'What matters it? The planets have no power over our destinies, and if they had we would find favorable constellations to struggle against fatal stars.'

"'Venus is set, alas! and the Lion rises; and yonder, look yonder! Who can struggle against what comes yonder?' She uttered these words in a sort of delirium, lowering her arms toward the horizon.

"Franz turned his eyes in the direction she designated, and saw a black point traced upon the waves in the midst of an aureole of fire. 'What is that?' he asked with profound astonishment.

"'It is destiny,' she answered, 'who comes to seek its victim. Which of us? thou wilt ask. Whichever I will. Thou hast heard of the Austrian nobles who came with me in my gondola, and were never seen again?'

"'Yes, but that story is false.'

"'It is true. I must devour or be devoured. Every man of thy nation who loves me, and whom I do not love, dies. As long as I do not love one, I shall live and I shall cause to die; and if I love one, I shall die: it is my fate.'

"'Oh, my God, who art thou, then?'

"'How it advances! In a minute it will be upon us! Dost thou hear? dost thou hear?' The black point had approached with inconceivable rapidity, and had taken the form of an immense boat. A red light came from its sides and surrounded it with flame: tall phantoms stood motionless on the deck, and innumerable oars rose and fell in measure, striking the water with a dreadful noise, while hollow voices chanted the Dies Iræ, accompanying themselves with the noise of chains.

"'O Life! O Life!' continued the unknown in a tone of despair. 'Oh, Franz, here is the ship: dost thou recognize it?'

"'No: I tremble before this terrible apparition, but I do not know it.'

"'It is the Bucentaur: it is that which engulfed thy countrymen. They were here in this same place, at this same hour, seated by my side in this gondola. The ship approached as it is approaching now: a voice cried to me, "Who goes there?" I answered, "Austrian." The voice cried to me, "Dost thou hate or love?" I answered, "I hate;" and the voice said to me, "Live!" Then the ship passed over the gondola, engulfed thy compatriots, and bore me in triumph on the waves.'

"'And to-day?'

"'Alas! the voice is going to speak.'

"In fact, a lugubrious and solemn voice, imposing silence on the funereal equipage of the Bucentaur, cried, 'Who goes there?'

"'Austrian,' replied the trembling voice of the unknown.

"A chorus of malediction burst from the Bucentaur, which approached with ever-increasing rapidity. Then a new silence fell, and the voice continued, 'Dost thou hate or love?'

"The unknown hesitated a moment, then in a voice thrilling like thunder she cried out, 'I love.'

"Then the voice said, 'Thou hast accomplished thy destiny—thou lovest Austria. Die, Venice!'

"A great cry, a heartrending, desperate cry, clove the air, and Franz sank in the waves. On coming to the surface he saw nothing—neither the gondola, the Bucentaur nor his beloved. Only on the horizon shone some little lights: they were the famous lanterns of the fishermen of Murano. He swam in the direction of the little isle, and arrived there at the end of an hour. Poor Venice!"

Beppa had finished speaking: tears fell from her eyes. We watched them flow in silence without seeking to console her. But suddenly she dried them, and said to us with her capricious vivacity, "Well, what is the matter with you that you are so sad? Is that the[Pg 568] effect fairy-stories produce upon you? Have you never heard of Orco, the Venetian Trilby? Have you never met her at evening in the churches or on the Lido? She is a good devil, who only does harm to oppressors and traitors. One may say that she is the real genius of Venice. But the viceroy, having heard indirectly and confusedly of Count Lichtenstein's perilous adventure, begged the patriarch to pronounce a great exorcism over the lagoons, and since then Orco has never reappeared."

L. W. J.


The Solent Sea, the channel dividing the Isle of Wight from the mainland, varies in breadth from one to six miles. The island must at one time have formed a portion of the mainland, and so late as when the Greeks traded with Cornwall for tin the Solent is said to have been passable at low water by men and carts.

The circumference of the island is about sixty miles, the surface undulating, with a range of fine downs running through from east to west, having here and there points of considerable elevation. It is said to have been well wooded formerly, but no forests remain, and the hedge-rows, coppices and scattered trees are all it can now offer in the way of foliage. The scenery of the north side of the island is quiet, pleasing, here and there picturesque, but the southern side is full of the beauty of bold cliffs, chasms, irregular coast- and hill-lines, tumbled rocks, bare, wind-swept hills, and sheltered coves where flowers bloom and ivy climbs from the very verge of the sea. On this side lies the famous region known as the Undercliff—a series of terraces rising ambitiously from the sea up the steep sides of St. Boniface's Down—the tract being about seven miles long, and from a quarter to half a mile broad.

On the one hand, the bold promontories, the shell-like bays of the sea-line; on the other, the lofty, rounded down, with here and there its buttress of gray rock coming out in naked grandeur; between the two a lovely irregularity of soft slope, sinuous or dimple-like valleys, dark ravines, velvet-smooth laps of terrace, with now and again a sudden springing brook, and everywhere the thickets of holly and cedar clambered rampantly over by masses of ivy and traveler's joy—our Virgin's bower clematis—and such sunshine as falls not elsewhere in England over all.

Miss Sewell, the author of Amy Herbert, Ivors and Ursula, who resides at Bonchurch with her sisters, where they have a school, says of the Undercliff: "There is a verse spoken of a very different country which often comes to my mind when I think of it: 'It is a land which the Lord thy God careth for. The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year, even unto the end of the year.' Sometimes it has even seemed to me that heaven itself can scarcely be more beautiful."

It was Sir James Clark who discovered the Undercliff to the public. Up to the time of the publication of his work On the Influence of Climate in the Prevention and Cure of Disease, only a few fishermen's huts marked the spot that is now populous Ventnor. But the sheltered, sunny spot, the soft air, the plants flourishing even in winter, the charming surroundings, at once caught the fancy of invalids: they came in numbers, both for a summer visit and a winter residence, and of course suitable accommodation had to be provided for[Pg 569] them. The "plague of building" lighted on Ventnor: almost every possible and impossible spot has been used for lodging—houses, hotels, shops, villas, churches, situated with utter disregard to the natural lines of the place. The building still goes on. There are everywhere ugly scars in the chalk-banks that Nature has not had time to heal: in short, Ventnor is spoiled for those who remember it in its early days, and for aristocratic dwellers roundabout, but it is a case of the greatest good to the greatest number; and when the quick-springing green shall have kindly softened and folded in the crowded, incongruous buildings, and blended into rounded masses above them, Ventnor will be forgiven its railway that has made this region accessible to the many-headed, in consideration of the comforts and amenities of life brought to the doors of circumjacent dwellers, instead of being, as once, lacking, or brought laboriously from London at serious individual expense.

To say that Ventnor is dull, to American notions, is only to say that it is an English sea-side resort. People live mostly in lodgings, which is the most unsocial way possible of living: there are no reading-rooms, no cafés, no hops, no places of meeting and introduction. There is the rapprochement of proximity on the Esplanade and the bathing beach, where one gets a little of his fellow-creatures in a sort of spiritual endosmose and exosmose. But nothing more, and I am afraid our average youthful American specimen of Solomon's lilies would, at the end of two days, cause all her crisp, snowy and varicolored petals to be refolded within their calyx "ark," and indignantly withdraw herself for evermore from the "Fair Island." "Her own loss?" Doubtless, but it is the race's as well that any single creature should be deaf, blind, without heart to feel, intellect and culture to appreciate, or with any exquisite sense of apprehension wanting.

But there are Americans and Americans; and some of our countrymen and countrywomen who have been busiest at home, who have journeyed far and wide, seem to find it the most natural thing possible to linger for months in Capuan Ventnor—anywhere in the soft-aired, Sleepy-Hollow Undercliff; and to pluck themselves away from the sweet peace, the calm delights of sauntering and lying on the cliffs, watching "the wrinkled sea" that "beneath them crawls," breathing the air that has no suggestion of ocean in it save its freshness, so entirely is all odor of brine and sea-weed overborne by the fragrance of flowers, notably that of the mignonette, sweet-pea and nasturtium, making little excursions on foot or coach-top along the coast, or to the charming inland famous spots,—a thing very grievous to be borne patiently.

Just above Ventnor, where the down is steepest, and almost at its top, is a wishing well; but if one would have his wish fulfilled, made while drinking its waters, he must climb to the spring without casting one backward glance. A sure foot and a head not easily dizzied are imperative necessities, and then one may climb, as I did, with carefulest directions, scramble to the very brow and find no drop of water on the way, get a superb view of the Undercliff and the Channel for miles and miles, gather handfuls of the lovely heather that clothes the down's top, then, plunging downward again, almost set foot unawares in the milky little basin no bigger than a kneading-bowl, that on the upward way would have been a very Kohinoor, and is now only glanced at with spiteful aversion. The ancients were right: there is a malignity of matter.

At Ventnor died John Sterling, made known to the world through the biographies of Carlyle and Archdeacon Hare. He was buried in the churchyard of the old church at Bonchurch, a tiny Norman building, of date 1270, which has been for years deserted. Graves fill all the enclosure, ancient elms shade it, a noisy brook half winds about it, then dashes down the sudden slope to the restless sea, whose mighty murmur underlies the streamlet's plashes and gurgles and the ceaseless tender bird-notes, and makes[Pg 570] for this little burial ground, that is only hidden, not widely removed from men, a wondrous sense of space and solemn solitude.

Bonchurch is perhaps a mile from Ventnor, and is the boskiest bit of loveliness in all the lovely island. By every approach you enter it under the interlacing arches of noble old trees; ivy and ferns mask all with tender and dark glossy green; the thatched cottages are masses of honeysuckle and jessamine, their tiny windows and gardens gay with old English flowers; you may stand beneath fuchsia trees so reddened with the profusion of blossoms that at a little distance they are like nothing so much as tall clumps of barberry bushes laden with the ripe berries; you may visit, by introduction or permission, gardens of the lovely villas nestled in dells here, perched on bold crags there, or backing against the abrupt gray cliff, which has here no turfy covering—gardens such as one could well dream away life in, with no wish to range beyond their bounds, had one in this work-filled world no conscience about long dalliance in an earthly paradise. In one of these gardens I wandered long one afternoon that was not sunny, and that was yet not sombre, the air of balmiest breath, all the earth and sky softened with the changing, tender tones one finds not out of England. The house was grandly placed against the cliff, and the garden, which was rather a succession of gardens, was all up and down on the scattered terraces provided by long-ago landslips. There were modern gardens with banks of color and mosaic parterres; old-fashioned gardens, clipt and quaint; a fernery brought bodily from Fairy-land; clematis, ivy, woodbine and jessamine clambering and flowering against the wall of crag, and fuchsias that seemed to have no foothold swinging long, jewel-hung branches from far overhead. In one place, from a broad low arch at the crag's base, a clear spring rushed forth. One could see some yards within the arch, discern rare ferns, a shimmer of ghostly lilies, and one vigorous tuft of maiden-hair that dropped a veil of tremulous green lace almost to the water's edge. Still, vines and vines, and in this little garden of the grot what a magnificent growth of canes, cannas and pampas-grass; with walks now dropping into densest shade, now climbing out upon a bare spur of rock or lap of smooth lawn; the musical rain of a fountain in the green depths below; the hamlet and neighboring villas so lost to sight that the very birds might well doubt where to pierce the leafy canopy to find home, wife and callow nestlings; beyond, and round all, the half ring of quiet-colored, placid sea—the emerald sea, rough with white caps; the blue sea, sparkling in sunshine; the moonlit sea, silver-gleaming, but melancholy, and terrible as eternity.

At Bonchurch lived the parents of the poet Swinburne, but they left some years since, because, it is affirmed, there was no church hereabouts sufficiently ritualistic to content their consciences. One cannot help thinking, with a little unmalicious amusement, what a cuckoo child the poet must have been to this pair. Here, too, lived a good old man and prolix poet, a friend of Tennyson. It is asserted, on authority, that the laureate, in his visits to the family, sometimes found himself so intolerably bored by his fellow-craftsman that he was fain to betake himself to a bathing-machine, dallying therein and over his bath for two or three hours to purchase the necessary respite.

Beyond Bonchurch are three lions—"the Landslip" and the Luccombe and Shanklin Chines. Many and many a rocky hillside pasture in New England is far finer than the Landslip, and the Chines (fissures or ravines—"He that in his day did chine the long-ribb'd Apennine," sings Dryden) are by no means impressive to American eyes. But the mixture of miniature wildernesses, tumbled rocks, stream, waterfall, airy little swells and falls of ground, elegant villas, charming walks where all is beautiful, finished, dainty, with incessant views of the really grand features of the scene—the sea and the down—forms an enchanting combination. The authoress[Pg 571] who under the nom-de-plume "Holme Lee" has done so much for the readers of circulating libraries, resides at Shanklin, and here in 1819 came Keats and tarried while writing Lamia.

From Ventnor south-west through the Undercliff to St. Catherine's Hill, the western bulwark of the Elysium of suave airs, the scenery is perhaps even finer to Western hemisphere taste than that of the more noted northern region. It is, if not wilder, more solitary, unimproved by art, less pervaded with tourists and tourists' needs: one feels less suffocated, crowded, and very, very covetous of one or another of the lovely, lonely homes scattered here and there.

On this side of Ventnor is situated the National Consumptive Hospital projected by Dr. Arthur Hill Hassall. It is on the cottage plan. There are to be sixteen cottages, each to contain about six patients. Several of the buildings are already completed and in use. The hospital is partly self-supporting, partly dependent upon voluntary aid, and in all the places of resort one sees the little alms-box with its eloquent appeal, "For I was sick, and ye visited me not."

High up upon the hill above Ventnor is the seaside refuge of the London city missionaries. The block of buildings was erected as a series of model cottages for laborers. Whether these found their intended homes too fine, too phalansterian, or what not, I cannot tell, but the group of houses was made over to the tired workers in the London slums, and the laborers perch upon all sorts of inaccessible places upon the down, scratching great unsightly places in the chalk, erecting therein the tiniest houses of red brick; and though the one or two windows may be filled with flowers, the ugly gashes do not heal quickly high on the wind-swept hill.

The longest, and certainly the most interesting, excursions to be made from Ventnor are those to Carisbrooke and to Freshwater. The first leads you into the very heart of the island, through lanes that must be the boweriest in all England. Often the road-bed drops for a long way into a deep cutting. Ivies cover all the sides, ferns, vetches, campions and arums spring thickly amid them, and the tall, straggling hedges of dog-roses, brambles and hawthorn that top the banks are luxuriantly overrun with honeysuckle, filling the whole air with its spicy fragrance. On either side are blossoming fields of clover and beans, the larks are mounting and singing in ecstasy overhead, the road climbs a steep ascent, and we have miles and miles of finished landscape in view. There are timber-tied farm-houses here and there, or tiny hamlets whose straw thatches are simply glorious with their patches of velvet moss and the brilliant golden blossoms of a succulent whose name I do not know—houses and hamlets one would like to seize in one's arms and drop them down in America, in the midst of New England's hideous factory-villages, ornamentless, shadeless, unrestful, glaring with white-painted deal.

For the interior of the old English cottages there is not one word of defence to be uttered: the ugliest pine box of a house to be found anywhere in all the unlovely New England towns is more comfortable, more sanitary. The English cottage has a rheumatic floor of beaten earth or tile; its rooms are few and small, and very dark; the water-supply is scanty and most inconvenient; its chimney smokes; mice and rats find secure refuge in the thatch; the masses of clinging vines make it damp and earwiggy; but what a lovely bit it is in the landscape!—the neutral tints, the patches of color, the picturesque outlines, the pitch and curved border of its roof, the yellow ricks in the background, the little garden gorgeous with marigolds, wallflowers, stocks, pinks, balsams, or white and pure with stately ranks of the beautiful Virgin lily. For the interior, away with it! but can we get no hint from all the external beauty?

Of Carisbrooke too much might be said for the scope and limits of this paper: brief mention must suffice. It is the old capital of the island. The remains of a Roman villa were discovered about a dozen years since; the old church dates from the time of William[Pg 572] the Conqueror; and the grand old castle, connected with almost every era of English history, had for its nucleus a Saxon stronghold, which succeeded a Roman fortress, as that in turn succeeded a Celtic camp. The ruin covers a large space of ground on a hill overlooking the old town. There is no majesty of beetling crags, no girdle of turbulent sea, but the dignity of its size, its age, its story, is all-satisfying. It is a good, a fitting spot for an American to make a pilgrimage to. A noble, eloquent, peaceful sadness pervades it, and generations shrink to dots. And Nature herself has had pity on these stones for the mirth, the heroism, the misery they have encompassed: she has propped up the tottering ramparts with forests of tall trees in the courts, balustraded the dizzy heights with a sturdy, bushy growth of ivy, and firmly bound together all the crumbling decay with a centuries-old cording of vine-stems.

A mile from Carisbrooke village lies Newport, the modern capital of the island—modern in its relation to Carisbrooke, but possessing some traces that it was formerly of Roman occupation also. It is pleasantly situated in a gentle valley, the temperature mild and damp like that of Devonshire, but is chiefly interesting to visitors for the attractions of the lovely region round about—stately Carisbrooke; Osborne, the royal manor of Her Majesty, and not far from thence the birthplace of Dr. Arnold; Godshill, a hamlet so beautiful one would like to wave over it an enchanter's wand that should fix for ever just the charm one sees in it to-day. The name of the village is accounted for by a tradition that is not uncommon. The builders of the church proposed to erect it at the foot of the hill, but each morning found the previous day's work undone and the materials carried to the top. After some days' perseverance they gave up the contest, and set up their beacon of the faith on the spot indicated by their invisible combatants.

Not far from Newport, by a way filled with delight, one reaches Shorwell, a little village beautifully placed, and with a curious old church full of interest. Upon one of the walls is an old fresco illustrating the life and adventures of St. Christopher, and there is a quaint memorial brass erected by Barnabas Leigh in honor of his two deceased wives, and with a flattering allusion to wife No. 3, then living! One wife is followed by a troop of children—the other is forlornly alone. There is also a memorial to Sir John Leigh and his grandson Barnabas, who died seven days after the grand-sire:

Inmate in grave he took his grandchild heire,
Whose soul did haste to make to him repaire;
And so to heaven along, as little page,
With him did poast to wait upon his age;

and to Lady Elizabeth Leigh—"Sixteene a maide, and fiftie yeares a wife."

In the opposite direction from Newport lies Arreton, where Legh Richmond found the heroine of a narrative we have all read—The Dairyman's Daughter. Her memorial is in the churchyard, which is unusually full of interesting inscriptions. Here is an early English one from a brass, dated 1430, within the church:

Here is yburied vnder this graue
Harry Hawles his soul God saue
Longe tyme steward of ye yle of Wyght
Have mercy on hym God ful of myght.

Legh Richmond was curate of two near-by villages, Brading and Yaverland, during the first years of the present century. Both villages are very old and full of interesting antiquities—churches, Jacobean manor- and farm-houses, parish stocks, a bull-ring where our enlightened forefathers amused themselves savagely as well as sadly.

The excursion to Freshwater, twenty-two miles from Ventnor, is sufficiently charming when made on top of a coach in the veiled yet warm friendliness of an English summer day; but the way of ways to make it, as indeed to see the whole island, is as a pedestrian. Freshwater is at the extreme western point of the island. In going thither from Ventnor one traverses all the western portion of the Undercliff, where every glimpse is a joy; then emerges into a wilder, solitary region, with a bold coast-line sharply indented with chines whose[Pg 573] scenery varies from beautiful to savage and drear; finds always the little hamlets—this with its church, that with its inn, become a classic resort, another with its story of an old hermitage or tradition of gold-laden galleon foundered on its cruel rocks, the gold coins still now and then to be found in certain sands. Here a landslip has exposed the remains of a Romano-British pottery; there is a down with Pictish tumuli, and at long intervals one of the old farm-houses which it is impossible not to grudge to its possessor. The landscape has none of the exuberant luxuriance and variety of the Undercliff. Bare, lofty downs, shadeless fields, no coppices, great swampy pastures—an open, breezy country all swells and falls, with occasionally fine clumps and avenues of English elms, feathered to their roots. And so, at last, Freshwater, where downs are noblest, and the air, blown straight across the Atlantic, seems not less bracing and exhilarating than that of New England.

The old village of Freshwater is picturesque, but the new lodging-house portion, only lately sprung up because it has become a fashion with doctors to prescribe Freshwater as a holiday and sanitary place, is hideous in its newness of fiery red brick and freshly uptorn earth.

But it was not for Freshwater, old or new; not for its church, which has some very fine bits, and an epitaph celebrating "the most virtuous Mrs. Anne Toppe, in her widowhood, by a memorable providence, preserved out of the flames of the Irish rebellion;" not for the really superb character of the coast-cliffs, just here mined into caverns only accessible from the sea, with huge detached masses of chalk, one hollowed into a grand arch, through which the waters rush with magnificent music; not for "the Needles," the extreme western points of the middle range of downs, isolated masses of rock that are very fine seen from seaward, entering "the Race" between the Isle of Wight and Dorset; not for Alum Bay, whose gay sands we have all seen fantastically arranged in landscapes under glass, and whose cliffs have their vertical strata in brilliant stripes of deep, purplish-red, blue, yellow, gray that is almost white, and jet black, and contrast delightfully with the snowy sides of "the Needles;"—not for any or all the sublimity of sea and shore, did I make the pilgrimage to this out-of-the-way island corner. I went, as most lovers of our English tongue in its strength and poetry will go, because here for years was Tennyson's home—the home wherein most of his poems have been written—Farringford,

Where, far from noise of smoke and town,
I watch the twilight falling brown
All round a careless-ordered garden,
Close to the ridge of a noble down.
You'll have no scandal while you dine,
But honest talk and wholesome wine,
And only hear the magpie gossip
Garrulous, under a roof of pine.
For groves of pine on either hand.
To break the blasts of winter, stand,
And farther on, the hoary Channel
Tumbles a breaker on chalk and sand.

The house is by no means beautiful, but it is in the midst of such a network of peacefulest leafy lanes, the near-by surroundings are so grand, the "groves of pine" and the "careless-ordered garden" look so utterly fitted to be haunted by a poet's step and musings, the whole place must be so associated, so saturated with his reveries and fancies, so peopled with his creations, that it seems impossible any other spot could be home to him; and one feels a great pang of sadness that the only true master of Farringford should have felt himself driven to leave it, and to set up his household gods where he would be comparatively unknown and unhunted.

An un-famous person finds it however, a little difficult to sympathize with Tennyson's overpowering horror of the troublesomely affectionate curiosity of which he is the object. Even such extreme cases of hero-worship as that of the American who climbed the tree at Farringford to survey its master at his leisure, and that of the bevy of ladies at a London exhibition who, occupying a lounge before one of the special pictures of the season, and beholding Tennyson[Pg 574] approach for a look, overwhelmed him with discomfiture by impressively ceding to him the entire sofa,—even these, and others of their kind, have a humorous side that might serve to qualify their impertinence and ill-breeding.

Neither Browning nor George Eliot is unknown by sight to the reading world of London: neither was Thackeray nor Dickens. Did either of these ever make outcry at the friendly if vulgar glances? Yet it is true that no one of them, save Dickens, has been so widely read, and it is probable that Browning, who looks like nothing so much as a hale, hearty business-man, oftenest escapes detection, while Tennyson's late photograph reproduces him so faithfully that he declares he can go nowhere without being known. Of the mischievous fidelity of the picture I am myself a witness, for having driven up one day to the Victoria station of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, by which Tennyson's new home is reached, and being busied with extricating from my purse the cabman's fare, my companion suddenly caught my arm, crying out, "Oh, S——, there's Tennyson!" The purse dropped in my lap: he was so near the cab I could have touched him, and of course he had heard the exclamation and knew why two ladies had so utterly forgotten their manners; but if he had also known that one of us had a certain shabby-through-use edition of all his earlier poems, which during a space of a dozen years had never been separated from her, traveling in a crowded trunk for even the shortest absences from home—that for months of that time she had been used to read therefrom to a precocious child who came every night in her night-gown to nestle in the reader's lap and listen to the music without which she declined to undertake the business of sleep,—I think the look bestowed upon the absorbed twain might well have been more amiable than the one which really fell upon them and blighted their innocent delight. It was all the photograph's fault, and, enthusiastic American sisters, be content with beholding the representation, for the original looks neither more patient, more gracious, nor more hopeful. So sensitive is he to looks which have in them any recognition, any stress, that a visitor at Farringford relates that, wandering about the cliffs and shores with his host, the latter would every now and then nervously cry out, "Come! let's walk on—I hear tourists!" and his companion, delaying a little, would be able to answer reassuringly, "Oh no: see! there's nothing in sight but a flock of sheep."

Perhaps I ought to confess that finding in one of the Farringford lanes a lovely little green gate opening into one of the "groves of pine," I did just try the latch. The door opened, and it looked all so still and shaded, whispery and ferny, so exactly as if Tennyson might any minute come pacing down between the tall trees, as if the "Talking Oak" was sure to stand just round a sun-lighted corner of the wood, that, incited thereto by a countrywoman of the poet's, who, herself a member of the guild, should know how poets' possessions may worthily be approached, I let my sacrilegious feet carry me a little way within that violated enclosure. But it was only a very tiny raid we made. We stood quietly for two or three minutes, just feeling the place, then scurried hastily away like two timorous hares; and as I have since lost a much prized little fern-leaf plucked within the enclosure, I think Mr. Tennyson should agree that this intrusive American has been quite severely enough punished, and that much ought to be forgiven one who has loved so much.

There really is one spot in England where "skies are blue and bright" uniformly, and, in the Undercliff, where no harsh winds come. And the whole island—with its smiling loveliness, its miniature sublimity, all its varying scenery, all its old landmarks, its rich story, its soft yet sparkling air, its dainty English culture, the sea that one never loses for long—is a honeymoon paradise. It can have been intended for nothing else. But it should be a pedestrian honeymoon. They should come to Ryde, leave all impedimenta to be sent forward to Ventnor[Pg 575] by rail, and Madame in a serviceable walking-dress that need not be hideous, a sun-hat, with a strap holding her waterproof cloak, Monsieur with wraps, a bag containing the indispensable toilet necessaries, an umbrella and guide-book, should set gayly forth on their enchanted way. What a month in the romantic byways, over hill, down dale, in the old churches, churchyards, ivied ruins, through the ideal villages, resting amidst the heather on a down's summit, on the sands of a little scallop of a bay, stopping for food and sleep at the comfortable quaint inns or the sometimes "swell" hotels that are nowhere many miles asunder—seeing it, having it all together—the idyllic spot in the idyllic time!

And to American invalids it seems to me the Undercliff is far less known as a winter resort than it deserves to be. It is perfectly sheltered, yet has none of the dampness of Torquay and most of the other south-of-England health-resorts. And to invalids who speak no language save their own it must be infinitely pleasanter to abide where they hear their own tongue, where home comforts and home ways are joined to the other advantages they have come to seek. There is all the accessible beauty of walk and drive, ever-changing aspects of sea, shore, sky and crag, of which it would be difficult to tire, and a delicious languor in the mental atmosphere inexpressibly soothing to worn brain and nerves.

S. F. Hopkins.


Thou art the last rose of the year,
By gusty breezes rudely fanned:
The dying Summer holds thee fast
In the hot hollow of her hand.
Thy face pales, as if looking back
Into the splendor of thy past
Had thrilled thee strangely, knowing that
This one long look must be the last.
Thine essence, that was heavenly sweet,
Has flown upon the tricksy air:
Fate's hand is on thee; drop thy leaves,
And go among the things that were.
Be must and mould, be trampled dust,
Be nothing that is fair to see:
One day, at least, of glorious life
Was thine of all eternity.
Be this a comfort: Crown and lyre,
And regal purple last not long:
Kings fall like leaves, but thy perfume
Strays through the years like royal song.

James Maurice Thompson.

[Pg 576]





Was this, then, the end of the fair and beautiful romance that had sprung up and blossomed so hopefully in the remote and bleak island, amid the silence of the hills and moors and the wild twilights of the North, and set round about, as it were, by the cold sea-winds and the sound of the Atlantic waves? Who could have fancied, looking at those two young folks as they wandered about the shores of the island, as they sailed on the still moonlight nights through the channels of Loch Roag, or as they sang together of an evening in the little parlor of the house at Borvabost, that all the delight and wonder of life then apparently opening out before them was so soon and so suddenly to collapse, leaving them in outer darkness and despair? All their difficulties had been got over. From one side and from another they had received generous help, friendly advice, self-sacrifice to start them on a path that seemed to be strewn with sweet-smelling flowers. And here was the end—a wretched girl, blinded and bewildered, flying from her husband's house and seeking refuge in the great world of London, careless whither she went.

Whose was the fault? Which of them had been mistaken up there in the North, laying the way open for a bitter disappointment? Or had either of them failed to carry out that unwritten contract entered into in the halcyon period of courtship, by which two young people promise to be and remain to each other all that they then appeared?

Lavender, at least, had no right to complain. If the real Sheila turned out to be something different from the Sheila of his fancy, he had been abundantly warned that such would be the case. He had even accepted it as probable, and said that as the Sheila whom he might come to know must doubtless be better than the Sheila whom he had imagined, there was little danger in store for either. He would love the true Sheila even better than the creature of his brain. Had he done so? He found beside him this proud and sensitive Highland girl, full of generous impulses that craved for the practical work of helping other people, longing, with the desire of a caged bird, for the free winds and light of heaven, the sight of hills and the sound of seas, and he could not understand why she should not conform to the usages of city life. He was disappointed that she did not do so. The imaginative Sheila, who was to appear as a wonderful sea-princess in London drawing-rooms, had disappeared now; and the real Sheila, who did not care to go with him into that society which he loved or affected to love, he had not learned to know.

And had she been mistaken in her estimate of Frank Lavender's character? At the very moment of her leaving her husband's house, if she had been asked the question, she would have turned and proudly answered, "No!" She had been disappointed—so grievously disappointed that her heart seemed to be breaking over it—but the manner in which Frank Lavender had fallen away from all the promise he had given was due not to himself, but to the influence of the society around him. Of that she was quite assured. He had shown himself careless, indifferent, inconsiderate to the verge of cruelty; but he was not, she had convinced herself, consciously cruel, nor yet selfish, nor radically bad-hearted in any way. In her opinion, at least, he was courageously sincere, to the verge of shocking people who mistook his frankness for impudence. He was recklessly generous: he would have given the coat off his back to a beggar at the instigation of a sudden impulse, provided he[Pg 577] could have got into a cab before any of his friends saw him. He had rare abilities, and at times wildly ambitious dreams, not of his own glorification, but of what he would do to celebrate the beauty and the graces of the princess whom he fancied he had married. It may seem hard of belief that this man, judging him by his actions at this time, could have had anything of thorough self-forgetfulness and manliness in his nature. But when things were at their very worst, when he appeared to the world as a self-indulgent idler, careless of a noble woman's unbounded love; when his indifference, or worse, had actually driven from his house a young wife who had especial claims on his forbearance and consideration,—there were two people who still believed in Frank Lavender. They were Sheila Mackenzie and Edward Ingram; and a man's wife and his oldest friend generally know something about his real nature, its besetting temptations, its weakness, its strength and its possibilities.

Of course, Ingram was speedily made aware of all that had happened. Lavender went home at the appointed hour to luncheon, accompanied by his three acquaintances. He had met them accidentally in the forenoon, and as Mrs. Lorraine was most particular in her inquiries about Sheila, he thought he could not do better than ask her there and then, with her mother and Lord Arthur, to have luncheon at two. What followed on his carrying the announcement to Sheila we know. He left the house, taking it for granted that there would be no trouble when he returned. Perhaps he reproached himself for having spoken so sharply, but Sheila was really very thoughtless in such matters. At two o'clock everything would be right. Sheila must see how it would be impossible to introduce a young Highland serving-maid to two fastidious ladies and the son of a great Conservative peer.

Lavender met his three friends once more, and walked up to the house with them, letting them in, indeed, with his own latch-key. Passing the dining-room, he saw that the table was laid there. This was well. Sheila had been reasonable.

They went up stairs to the drawing-room. Sheila was not there. Lavender rang the bell, and bade the servant tell her mistress she was wanted.

"Mrs. Lavender has gone out, sir," said the servant.

"Oh, indeed!" he said, taking the matter quite coolly. "When?"

"A quarter of an hour ago, sir. She went out with the—the young lady who came this morning."

"Very well. Let me know when luncheon is ready."

Lavender turned to his guests, feeling a little awkward, but appearing to treat the matter in a light and humorous way. He imagined that Sheila, resenting what he had said, had resolved to take Mairi away and find her lodgings elsewhere. Perhaps that might be done in time to let Sheila come back to receive his guests.

Sheila did not appear, however, and luncheon was announced.

"I suppose we may as well go down," said Lavender with a shrug of his shoulders. "It is impossible to say when she may come back. She is such a good-hearted creature that she would never think of herself or her own affairs in looking after this girl from Lewis."

They went down stairs and took their places at the table.

"For my part," said Mrs. Lorraine, "I think it is very unkind not to wait for poor Mrs. Lavender. She may come in dreadfully tired and hungry."

"But that would not vex her so much as the notion that you had waited on her account," said Sheila's husband with a smile; and Mrs. Lorraine was pleased to hear him sometimes speak in a kindly way of the Highland girl whom he had married.

Lavender's guests were going somewhere after luncheon, and he had half promised to go with them, Mrs. Lorraine stipulating that Sheila should be induced to come also. But when luncheon was over and Sheila had not appeared, he changed his intention. He would remain at home. He saw his three friends[Pg 578] depart, and went into the study and lit a cigar.

How odd the place seemed! Sheila had left no instructions about the removal of those barbaric decorations she had placed in the chamber; and here, around him, seemed to be the walls of the old fashioned little room at Borvabost, with its big shells, its peacocks' feathers, its skins and stuffed fish, and masses of crimson bell-heather. Was there not, too, an odor of peat-smoke in the air?—and then his eye caught sight of the plate that still stood on the window-sill, with the ashes of the burned peat on it.

"The odd child she is!" he thought with a smile, "to go playing at grotto-making, and trying to fancy she was up in Lewis again! I suppose she would like to let her hair down again, and take off her shoes and stockings, and go wading along the sand in search of shellfish."

And then, somehow, his fancies went back to the old time when he had first seen and admired her wild ways, her fearless occupations by sea and shore, and the delight of active work that shone on her bright face and in her beautiful eyes. How lithe and handsome her figure used to be in that blue dress, when she stood in the middle of the boat, her head bent back, her arms upstretched and pulling at some rope or other, and all the fine color of exertion in the bloom of her cheeks! Then the pride with which she saw her little vessel cutting through the water!—how she tightened her lips with a joyous determination as the sheets were hauled close, and the gunwale of the small boat heeled over so that it almost touched the hissing and gurgling foam!—how she laughed at Duncan's anxiety as she rounded some rocky point, and sent the boat spinning into the clear and smooth waters of the bay! Perhaps, after all, it was too bad to keep the poor child so long shut up in a city. She was evidently longing for a breath of sea-air, and for some brief dash of that brisk, fearless life on the sea-coast that she used to love. It was a happy life, after all; and he had himself enjoyed it when his hands and face got browned by the sun, when he grew to wonder how any human being could wear black garments and drink foreign wines and smoke cigars at eighteenpence apiece, so long as frieze coats, whisky and a brier-root pipe were procurable. How one slept up in that remote island, after all the laughing and drinking and singing of the evening were over! How sharp was the monition of hunger when the keen sea-air blew about your face on issuing out in the morning! and how fresh and cool and sweet was that early breeze, with the scent of Sheila's flowers in it! Then the long, bright day at the river-side, with the black pools rippling in the wind, and in the silence the rapid whistle of the silken line through the air, with now and again the "blob" of a big salmon rising to a fly farther down the pool! Where was there any rest like the rest of the mid-day luncheon, when Duncan had put the big fish, wrapped in rushes, under the shadow of the nearest rock, when you sat down on the warm heather and lit your pipe, and began to inquire where you had been bitten on hands and neck by the ferocious "clegs" while you were too busy in playing a fifteen-pounder to care? Then, perhaps, as you were sitting there in the warm sunlight, with all the fresh scents of the moorland around, you would hear a light footstep on the soft moss; and, turning round, here was Sheila herself, with a bright look in her pretty eyes, and a half blush on her cheek, and a friendly inquiry as to the way the fish had been behaving. Then the beautiful, strange, cool evenings on the shores of Loch Roag, with the wild, clear light still shining in the northern heavens, and the sound of the waves getting to be lonely and distant; or, still later, out in Sheila's boat, with the great yellow moon rising up over Suainabhal and Mealasabhal into a lambent vault of violet sky; a pathway of quivering gold lying across the loch; a mild radiance glittering here and there on the spars of the small vessel, and out there the great Atlantic lying still and distant as in a dream. As he sat[Pg 579] in this little room and thought of all these things, he grew to think he had not acted quite fairly to Sheila. She was so fond of that beautiful island-life, and she had not even visited the Lewis since her marriage. She should go now. He would abandon the trip to the Tyrol, and as soon as arrangements could be made they would together start for the North, and some day find themselves going up the steep shore to Sheila's home, with the old King of Borva standing in the porch of the house, and endeavoring to conceal his nervousness by swearing at Duncan's method of carrying the luggage.

Had not Sheila's stratagem succeeded? That pretty trick of hers in decorating the room so as to resemble the house at Borvabost had done all that she could have desired. But where was she?

Lavender rose hastily and looked at his watch. Then he rang the bell, and a servant appeared. "Did not Mrs. Lavender say when she would return?" he asked.

"No, sir."

"You don't know where she went?"

"No, sir. The young lady's luggage was put into the cab, and they drove away without leaving any message."

He scarcely dared confess to himself what fears began to assail him. He went up stairs to Sheila's room, and there everything appeared to be in its usual place, even to the smallest articles on the dressing-table. They were all there, except one. That was a locket, too large and clumsy to be worn, which some one had given her years before she left Lewis, and in which her father's portrait had been somewhat rudely set. Just after their marriage Lavender had taken out this portrait, touched it up a bit into something of a better likeness, and put it back; and then she had persuaded him to have a photograph of himself colored and placed on the opposite side. This locket, open and showing both portraits, she had fixed on to a small stand, and in ordinary circumstances it always stood on one side of her dressing-table. The stand was there, the locket was gone.

He went down stairs again. The afternoon was drawing on. A servant came to ask him at what hour he wished to dine: he bade her wait till her mistress came home and consult her. Then he went out.

It was a beautiful, quiet afternoon, with a warm light from the west shining over the now yellowing trees of the squares and gardens. He walked down toward Netting Hill Gate Station, endeavoring to convince himself that he was not perturbed, and yet looking somewhat anxiously at the cabs that passed. People were now coming out from their business in the city by train and omnibus and hansom; and they seemed to be hurrying home in very good spirits, as if they were sure of the welcome awaiting them there. Now and again you would see a meeting—some demure young person, who had been furtively watching the railway-station, suddenly showing a brightness in her face as she went forward to shake hands with some new arrival, and then tripping briskly away with him, her hand on his arm. There were men carrying home fish in small bags, or baskets of fruit—presents to their wives, doubtless, from town. Occasionally an open carriage would go by, containing one grave and elderly gentleman and a group of small girls—probably his daughters, who had gone into the city to accompany their papa homeward. Why did these scenes and incidents, cheerful in themselves, seem to him to be somehow saddening as he walked vaguely on? He knew, at least, that there was little use in returning home. There was no one in that silent house in the square. The rooms would be dark in the twilight. Probably dinner would be laid, with no one to sit down at the table. He wished Sheila had left word where she was going.

Then he bethought him of the way in which they had parted, and of the sense of fear that had struck him the moment he left the house, that after all he had been too harsh with the child. Now, at least, he was ready to apologize to her. If only he could see Sheila coming along in one of those hansoms—if he[Pg 580] could see, at any distance, the figure he knew so well walking toward him on the pavement—would he not instantly confess to her, that he had been wrong, even grievously wrong, and beg her to forgive him? She should have it all her own way about going up to Lewis. He would cast aside this society-life he had been living, and to please her would go in for any sort of work or amusement of which she approved. He was so anxious, indeed, to put these virtuous resolutions into force that he suddenly turned and walked rapidly back to the house, with the wild hope that Sheila might have already come back.

The windows were dark, the curtains were yet drawn, and by this time the evening had come on and the lamps in the square had been lit. He let himself into the house by his latch-key. He walked into all the rooms and up into Sheila's room: everything remained as he had left it. The white cloth glimmered in the dusk of the dining-room, and the light of the lamp outside in the street touched here and there the angles of the crystal and showed the pale colors of the glasses. The clock on the mantelpiece ticked in the silence. If Sheila had been lying dead in that small room up stairs, the house could not have appeared more silent and solemn.

He could not bear this horrible solitude. He called one of the servants and left a message for Sheila, if she came in in the interval, that he would be back at ten o'clock: then he went out, got into a hansom and drove down to his club in St. James's street.

Most of the men were dining: the other rooms were almost deserted. He did not care to dine just then. He went into the library: it was occupied by an old gentleman who was fast asleep in an easy-chair. He went into the billiard-rooms, in the vague hope that some exciting game might be going on: there was not a soul in the place, the gases were down, and an odor of stale smoke pervaded the dismal chambers. Should he go to the theatre? His sitting there would be a mockery while this vague and terrible fear was present to his heart. Or go down to see Ingram, as had been his wont in previous hours of trouble? He dared not go near Ingram without some more definite news about Sheila. In the end he went out into the open air, as if he were in danger of being stifled, and, walking indeterminately on, found himself once more at his own house.

The place was still quite dark: he knew before entering that Sheila had not returned, and he did not seem to be surprised. It was now long after their ordinary dinner-hour. When he went into the house he bade the servants light the gas and bring up dinner: he would himself sit down at this solitary table, if only for the purpose of finding occupation and passing this terrible time of suspense.

It never occurred to him, as it might have occurred to him at one time, that Sheila had made some blunder somewhere and been unavoidably detained. He did not think of any possible repetition of her adventures in Richmond Park. He was too conscious of the probable reason of Sheila's remaining away from her own home; and yet from minute to minute he fought with that consciousness, and sought to prove to himself that, after all, she would soon be heard driving up to the door. He ate his dinner in silence, and then drew a chair up to the fire and lit a cigar.

For the first time in his life he was driven to go over the events that had occurred since his marriage, and to ask himself how it had all come about that Sheila and he were not as they once had been. He recalled the early days of their friendship at Borva; the beautiful period of their courtship; the appearance of the young wife in London, and the close relegation of Sheila to the domestic affairs of the house, while he had chosen for himself other companions, other interests, other aims. There was no attempt at self-justification in those communings, but an effort, sincere enough in its way, to understand how all this had happened. He sat and dreamed there before the warmth of the fire, with the slow and monotonous ticking[Pg 581] of the clock unconsciously acting on his brain. In time the silence, the warmth, the monotonous sound produced their natural effects, and he fell fast asleep.

He awoke with a start. The small silver-toned bell on the mantelpiece had struck the hour of twelve. He looked around, and knew that the evil had come upon him, for Sheila had not returned, and all his most dreadful fears of that evening were confirmed. Sheila had gone away and left him. Whither had she gone?

Now there was no more indecision in his actions. He got his hat, plunged into the cold night air, and, finding a hansom, bade the man drive as hard as he could go down to Sloane street. There was a light in Ingram's windows, which were on the ground floor: he tapped with his stick on one of the panes—an old signal that had been in constant use when he and Ingram were close companions and friends. Ingram came to the door and opened it: the light of a lamp glared in on his face. "Hillo, Lavender!" he said in a tone of surprise.

The other could not speak, but he went into the house, and Ingram, shutting the door and following him, found that the man's face was deadly pale.

"Sheila—" he said, and stopped.

"Well, what about her?" said Ingram, keeping quite calm, but with wild fancies about some terrible accident almost stopping the pulsation of his heart.

"Sheila has gone away."

Ingram did not seem to understand.

"Sheila has gone away, Ingram," said Lavender in an excited way. "You don't know anything about it? You don't know where she has gone? What am I to do, Ingram? how am I to find her? Good God! don't you understand what I tell you? And now it is past midnight, and my poor girl may be wandering about the streets!"

He was walking up and down the room, paying almost no attention, in his excitement, to the small, sallow-faced man who stood quite quiet, a trifle afraid, perhaps, but with his heart full of a blaze of anger.

"She has gone away from your house?" he said slowly. "What made her do that?"

"I did," said Lavender in a hurried way. "I have acted like a brute to her—that is true enough. You needn't say anything to me, Ingram: I feel myself far more guilty than anything you could say. You may heap reproaches on me afterward, but tell me. Ingram, what am I to do? You know what a proud spirit she has: who can tell what she might do? She wouldn't go home—she would be too proud: she may have gone and drowned herself."

"If you don't control yourself and tell me what has happened, how am I to help you?" said Ingram stiffly, and yet disposed somehow—perhaps for the sake of Sheila, perhaps because he saw that the young man's self-embarrassment and distress were genuine enough—not to be too rough with him.

"Well, you know, Mairi—" said Lavender, still walking up and down the room in an excited way. "Sheila had got the girl up here without telling me, some friends of mine were coming home to luncheon, we had some disagreement about Mairi being present, and then Sheila said something about not remaining in the house if Mairi did not: something of that sort. I don't know what it was, but I know it was all my fault, and if she has been driven from the house, I did it: that is true enough. And where do you think she has gone, Ingram? If I could only see her for three minutes I would explain everything: I would tell her how sorry I am for everything that has happened, and she would see, when she went back, how everything would be right again. I had no idea she would go away. It was mere peevishness that made me object to Mairi meeting those people; and I had no idea that Sheila would take it so much to heart. Now tell me what you think should be done, Ingram. All I want is to see her just for three minutes to tell her it was all a mistake, and that she will never have to fear anything like that again."

Ingram heard him out, and said with[Pg 582] some precision, "Do you mean to say that you fancy all this trouble is to be got over that way? Do you know so little of Sheila, after the time you have been married to her, as to imagine that she has taken this step out of some momentary caprice, and that a few words of apology and promise will cause her to rescind it? You must be crazed, Lavender, or else you are actually as ignorant of the nature of that girl as you were up in the Highlands."

The young man seemed to calm down his excitement and impatience, but it was because of a new fear that had struck him, and that was visible in his face. "Do you think she will never come back, Ingram?" he said, looking aghast.

"I don't know: she may not. At all events, you may be quite sure that, once having resolved to leave your house, she is not to be pacified and cajoled by a few phrases and a promise of repentance on your part. That is quite sure. And what is quite as sure is this, that if you knew just now where she was, the most foolish thing you could do would be to go and see her."

"But I must go and see her—I must find her out, Ingram," he said passionately. "I don't care what becomes of me. If she won't go back home, so much the worse for me; but I must find her out, and know that she is safe. Think of it, Ingram! Perhaps she is walking about the streets somewhere at this moment; and you know her proud spirit. If she were to go near the river—"

"She won't go near the river," said Ingram quietly, "and she won't be walking about the streets. She is either in the Scotch mail-train, going up to Glasgow, or else she has got some lodgings somewhere, along with Mairi. Has she any money?"

"No," said Lavender. And then he thought for a minute. "There was some money her father gave her in case she might want it at a pinch: she may have that—I hope she has that. I was to have given her money to-morrow morning. But hadn't I better go to the police-stations, and see, just by way of precaution, that she has not been heard of? I may as well do that as nothing. I could not go home to that empty house—I could not sleep."

"Sheila is a sensible girl: she is safe enough," said Ingram. "And if you don't care about going home, you may as well remain here. I can give you a room up stairs when you want it. In the mean time, if you will pull a chair to the table and calm yourself, and take it for granted that you will soon be assured of Sheila's safety, I will tell you what I think you should do. Here is a cigar to keep you occupied: there are whisky and cold water back there if you like. You will do no good by punishing yourself in small matters, for your trouble is likely to be serious enough, I can tell you, before you get Sheila back, if ever you get her back. Take the chair with the cushion."

It was so like the old days when these two used to be companions! Many and many a time had the younger man come down to these lodgings, with all his troubles and wild impulses and pangs of contrition ready to be revealed; and then Ingram, concealing the liking he had for the lad's generous waywardness, his brilliant and facile cleverness and his dashes of honest self-depreciation, would gravely lecture him and put him right and send him off comforted. Frank Lavender had changed much since then. The handsome boy had grown into a man of the world; there was less self-revelation in his manner, and he was less sensitive to the opinions and criticisms of his old friend; but Ingram, who was not prone to idealism of any sort, had never ceased to believe that this change was but superficial, and that, in different circumstances and with different aims, Lavender might still fulfill the best promise of his youth.

"You have been a good friend to me, Ingram," he said with a hot blush, "and I have treated you as badly as I have treated—By Jove! what a chance I had at one time!"

He was looking back on all the fair pictures his imagination had drawn while[Pg 583] yet Sheila and he were wandering about that island in the northern seas.

"You had," said Ingram decisively. "At one time I thought you the most fortunate man in the world. There was nothing left for you to desire, so far as I could see. You were young and strong, with plenty of good spirits and sufficient ability to earn yourself an honorable living, and you had won the love of the most beautiful and best-hearted woman I have known. You never seemed to me to know what that meant. Men marry women—there is no difficulty about that—and you can generally get an amiable sort of person to become your wife and have a sort of affection for you, and so on. But how many have bestowed on them the pure and exalted passion of a young and innocent girl, who is ready to worship with all the fervor of a warmly imaginative and emotional nature the man she has chosen to love? And suppose he is young too, and capable of understanding all the tender sentiments of a high-spirited, sensitive and loyal woman, and suppose that he fancies himself as much in love with her as she with him? These conditions are not often fulfilled, I can tell you. It is a happy fluke when they are. Many a day ago I told you that you should consider yourself more fortunate than if you had been made an emperor; and indeed it seemed to me that you had everything in the shape of worldly happiness easily within your reach. How you came to kick away the ball from your feet—Well, God only knows. The thing is inconceivable to me. You are sitting here as you used to sit two or three years ago, and in the interval you have had every chance in life; and now if you are not the most wretched man in London, you ought at least to be the most ashamed and repentant."

Lavender's head was buried in his hands: he did not speak.

"And it is not only your own happiness you have destroyed. When you saw that girl first she was as lighthearted and contented with her lot as any human being could be. From one week's end to the other not the slightest care disturbed her mind. And then, when she entrusted her whole life to you—when she staked her faith in human nature on you, and gave you all the treasures of hope and reverence and love that lay in her pure and innocent soul—my God! what have you done with these? It is not that you have shamed and insulted her as a wife, and driven her out of her home—there are other homes than yours where she would be welcome a thousand times over—but you have destroyed her belief in everything she had taught herself to trust, you have outraged the tenderest sentiments of her heart, you have killed her faith as well as ruined her life. I talk plainly: I cannot do otherwise. If I help you now, don't imagine I condone what you have done: I would cut my right hand off first. For Sheila's sake I will try to help you."

He stopped just then, however, and checked the indignation that had got the better of his ordinarily restrained manner and curt speech. The man before him was crying bitterly, his face hidden in his hands.

"Look here, Lavender," he said presently: "I don't want to be hard on you. I tell you plainly what I think of your conduct, so that no delusions may exist between us. And I will say this for you, that the only excuse you have—"

"There is no excuse," said the other, sadly enough. "I have no excuse, and I know it."

"The only thing, then, you can say in mitigation of what you have done is that you never seem to have understood the girl whom you married. You started with giving her a fancy character when first you went to the Lewis, and once you had got the bit in your teeth there was no stopping you. If you seek now to get Sheila back to you, the best thing you can do, I presume, would be to try to see her as she is, to win her regard that way, to abandon that operatic business, and learn to know her as a thoroughly good woman, who has her own ways and notions about things, and who has a very definite character underlying that extreme gentleness which she[Pg 584] fancies to be one of her duties. The child did her dead best to accommodate herself to your idea of her, and failed. When she would rather have been living a brisk and active life in the country or by the seaside, running wild about a hillside, or reading strange stories in the evening, or nursing some fisherman's child that had got ill, you had her dragged into a sort of society with which she had no sympathy whatever. And the odd thing to me is that you yourself seemed to be making an effort that way. You did not always devote yourself to fashionable life. Where are all the old ambitions you used to talk about in the very chair you are now sitting in?"

"Is there any hope of my getting Sheila back?" he said, looking up at last. There was a vague and bewildered look in his eyes. He seemed incapable of thinking of anything but that.

"I don't know," said Ingram. "But one thing is certain: you will never get her back to repeat the experiment that has just ended in this desperate way."

"I should not ask that," he said hurriedly—"I should not ask that at all. If I could but see her for a moment, I would ask her to tell me everything she wanted, everything she demanded as conditions, and I would obey her. I will promise to do everything that she wishes."

"If you saw her you could give her nothing but promises," said Ingram. "Now, what if you were to try to do what you know she wishes, and then go to her?"

"You mean—" said Lavender, glancing up with another startled look on his face. "You don't mean that I am to remain away from her a long time—go into banishment as it were—and then some day come back to Sheila and beg her to forget all that happened long before?"

"I mean something very like that," said Ingram with composure. "I don't know that it would be successful. I have no means of ascertaining what Sheila would think of such a project—whether she would think that she could ever live with you again."

Lavender seemed fairly stunned by the possibility of Sheila's resolving never to see him again; and began to recall what Ingram had many a time said about the strength of purpose she could show when occasion needed.

"If her faith in you is wholly destroyed, your case is hopeless. A woman may cling to her belief in a man through good report and evil report, but if she once loses it she never recovers it. But there is this hope for you: I know very well that Sheila had a much more accurate notion of you than ever you had of her; and I happen to know, also, that at the very time when you were most deeply distressing her here in London she held the firm conviction that your conduct toward her—your habits, your very self—would alter if you could only be persuaded to get out of the life you have been leading. That was true, at least, up to the time of your leaving Brighton. She believed in you then. She believed that if you were to cut society altogether, and go and live a useful and hardworking life somewhere, you would soon become once more the man she fell in love with up in Lewis. Perhaps she was mistaken: I don't say anything about it myself."

The terribly cool way in which Ingram talked—separating, defining, exhibiting, so that he and his companion should get as near as possible to what he believed to be the truth of the situation—was oddly in contrast with the blind and passionate yearning of the other for some glimpse of hope. His whole nature seemed to go out in a cry to Sheila that she would come back and give him a chance of atoning for the past. At length he rose. He looked strangely haggard, and his eyes scarcely seemed to see the things around him. "I must go home," he said.

Ingram saw that he merely wanted to get outside and walk about in order to find some relief from this anxiety and unrest, and said, "You ought, I think, to stop here and go to bed. But if you would rather go home, I will walk up with you if you like."

When the two men went out the night-air smelt sweet and moist, for rain had fallen, and the city trees were still dripping with the wet and rustling in the[Pg 585] wind. The weather had changed suddenly, and now, in the deep blue overhead, they knew the clouds were passing swiftly by. Was it the coming light of the morning that seemed to give depth and richness to that dark-blue vault, while the pavements of the streets and the houses grew vaguely distinct and gray? Suddenly, in turning the corner into Piccadilly, they saw the moon appear in a rift of those passing clouds, but it was not the moonlight that shed this pale and wan grayness down the lonely streets. It is just at this moment, when the dawn of the new day begins to tell, that a great city seems at its deadest; and in the profound silence and amid the strange transformations of the cold and growing light a man is thrown in upon himself, and holds communion with himself, as though he and his own thoughts were all that was left in the world. Not a word passed between the two men, and Lavender, keenly sensitive to all such impressions, and now and again shivering slightly, either from cold or nervous excitement, walked blindly along the deserted streets, seeing far other things than the tall houses and the drooping trees and the growing light of the sky.

It seemed to him at this moment that he was looking at Sheila's funeral. There was a great stillness in that small house at Borvabost. There was a boat—Sheila's own boat—down at the shore there, and there were two or three figures in black in it. The day was gray and rainy; the sea washed along the melancholy shores; the far hills were hidden in mist. And now he saw some people come out of the house into the rain, and the bronzed and bearded men had oars with them, and on the crossed oars there was a coffin placed. They went down the hillside. They put the coffin in the stern of the boat, and in absolute silence, except for the wailing of the women, they pulled away down the dreary Loch Roag till they came to the island where the burial-ground is. They carried the coffin up to that small enclosure, with its rank grass growing green and the rain falling on the rude stones and memorials. How often had he leaned on that low stone wall, and read the strange inscriptions in various tongues over the graves of mariners from distant countries who had met with their death on this rocky coast! Had not Sheila herself pointed out to him, with a sad air, how many of these memorials bore the words "who was drowned;" and that, too, was the burden of the rudely-spelt legends beginning "Hier rutt in Gott," or "Her under hviler stovit," and sometimes ending with the pathetic "Wunderschen ist unsre Hoffnung." The fishermen brought the coffin to the newly-made grave, the women standing back a bit, old Scarlett MacDonald stroking Mairi's hair and bidding the girl control her frantic grief, though the old woman herself could hardly speak for her tears and her lamentations. He could read the words "Sheila Mackenzie" on the small silver plate: she had been taken away from all association with him and his name. And who was this old man with the white hair and the white beard, whose hands were tightly clenched, and his lips firm, and a look as of death in the sunken and wild eyes? Mackenzie was gray a year before—

"Ingram," he said suddenly, and his voice startled his companion, "do you think it is possible to make Sheila happy again?"

"How can I tell?" said Ingram.

"You used to know everything she could wish—everything she was thinking about. If you find her out now, will you get to know? Will you see what I can do—not by asking her to come back, not by trying to get back my own happiness, but anything, it does not matter what it is, I can do for her? If she would rather not see me again, I will stay away. Will you ask her, Ingram?"

"We have got to find her first," said his companion.

"A young girl like that," said Lavender, taking no heed of the objection, "surely she cannot always be unhappy. She is so young and beautiful, and takes so much interest in many things: surely she may have a happy life."[Pg 586]

"She might have had."

"I don't mean with me," said Lavender, with his haggard face looking still more haggard in the increasing light. "I mean anything that can be done—any way of life that will make her comfortable and contented again—anything that I can do for that. Will you try to find it out, Ingram?"

"Oh yes, I will," said the other, who had been thinking with much foreboding of all these possibilities ever since they left Sloane street, his only gleam of hope being a consciousness that this time at least there could be no doubt of Frank Lavender's absolute sincerity, of his remorse, and his almost morbid craving to make reparation if that were still possible.

They reached the house at last. There was a dim orange-colored light shining in the passage. Lavender went on and threw open the door of the small room which Sheila had adorned, asking Ingram to follow him. How wild and strange this chamber looked, with the wan glare of the dawn shining in on its barbaric decorations from the sea-coast—on the shells and skins and feathers that Sheila had placed around! That white light of the morning was now shining everywhere into the silent and desolate house. Lavender found Ingram a bedroom, and then he turned away, not knowing what to do. He looked into Sheila's room: there were dresses, bits of finery and what not that he knew so well, but there was no light breathing audible in the silent and empty chamber. He shut the door as reverently as though he were shutting it on the dead, and went down stairs and threw himself almost fainting with despair and fatigue on a sofa, while the world outside awoke to a new day with all its countless and joyous activities and duties.



There was no letter from Sheila in the morning; and Lavender, so soon as the post had come and gone, went up to Ingram's room and woke him. "I am sorry to disturb you, Ingram," he said, "but I am going to Lewis. I shall catch the train to Glasgow at ten."

"And what do you want to get to Lewis for?" said Ingram, starting up. "Do you think Sheila would go straight back to her own people with all this humiliation upon her? And supposing she is not there, how do you propose to meet old Mackenzie?"

"I am not afraid of meeting any man," said Lavender: "I want to know where Sheila is. And if I see Mackenzie, I can only tell him frankly everything that has happened. He is not likely to say anything of me half as bad as what I think of myself."

"Now listen," said Ingram, sitting up in bed, with his brown beard and grayish hair in a considerably disheveled condition: "Sheila may have gone home, but it isn't likely. If she has not, your taking the story up there and spreading it abroad would prepare a great deal of pain for her when she might go back at some future time. But suppose you want to make sure that she has not gone to her father's house. She could not have got down to Glasgow sooner than this morning by last night's train, you know. It is to-morrow morning, not this morning, that the Stornoway steamer starts; and she would be certain to go direct to it at the Glasgow Broomielaw, and go round the Mull of Cantyre, instead of catching it up at Oban, because she knows the people in the boat, and she and Mairi would be among friends. If you really want to know whether she has gone north, perhaps you could do no better than run down to Glasgow to-day, and have a look at the boat that starts to-morrow morning. I would go with you myself, but I can't escape the office to-day."

Lavender agreed to do this, and was about to go. But before he bade his friend good-bye he lingered for a second or two in a hesitating way, and then he said, "Ingram, you were speaking the other night of your going up to Borva. If you should go—"

"Of course I sha'n't go," said the[Pg 587] other promptly. "How could I face Mackenzie when he began to ask me about Sheila? No, I cannot go to Borva while this affair remains in its present condition; and, indeed, Lavender, I mean to stop in London till I see you out of your trouble somehow."

"You are heaping coals of fire on my head."

"Oh, don't look at it that way. If I can be of any help to you, I shall expect, this time, to have a return for it."

"What do you mean?"

"I will tell you when we get to know something of Sheila's intentions."

And so Frank Lavender found himself once more, as in the old times, in the Euston Station, with the Scotch mail ready to start, and all manner of folks bustling about with that unnecessary activity which betokens the excitement of a holiday. What a strange holiday was his! He got into a smoking-carriage in order to be alone, and he looked out on the people who were bidding their friends good-bye. Some of them were not very pretty, many of them were ordinary, insignificant, commonplace-looking folks, but it was clear that they had those about them who loved them and thought much of them. There was one man whom, in other circumstances, Lavender would have dismissed with contempt as an excellent specimen of the unmitigated cad. He wore a white waistcoat, purple gloves and a green sailor's knot with a diamond in it, and there was a cheery, vacuous, smiling expression on his round face as he industriously smoked a cheroot and made small jokes to the friends who had come to see him off. One of them was a young woman, not very good looking perhaps, who did not join in the general hilarity; and it occurred to Lavender that the jovial man with the cheroot was perhaps cracking his little jokes to keep up her spirits. At all events, he called her "my good lass" from time to time, and patted her on the shoulder, and was very kind to her. And when the guard came up and bade everybody get in, the man kissed the girl and shook hands with her and bade her good-bye; and then she, moved by some sudden impulse, caught his face in both her hands and kissed him once on each cheek. It was a ridiculous scene. People who wear green ties with diamond pins care nothing for decorum. And yet Lavender, when he averted his eyes from this parting, could not help recalling what Ingram had been saying the night before, and wondered whether this outrageous person, with his abominable decorations and his genial grin, might not be more fortunate than many a great statesman or warrior or monarch.

He turned round to find the cad beside him; and presently the man, with an abounding good-nature, began to converse with him, and explained that it was 'igh 'oliday with him, for that he had got a pass to travel first-class as far as Carlisle. He hoped they would have a jolly time of it together. He explained the object of his journey in the frankest possible fashion, made a kindly little joke upon the hardship of parting with one's sweetheart, said that a faint heart never won fair lady, and that it was no good crying over spilt milk. She would be all right, and precious glad to see him when he came back in three weeks' time, and he meant to bring her a present that would be good for sore eyes.

"Perhaps you're a married man, sir, and got past all them games?" said the cad cheerily.

"Yes, I am married," said Lavender coldly.

"And you're going farther than Carlisle, you say, sir? I'll be sworn the good lady is up somewhere in that direction, and she won't be disappointed when she sees you—oh no! Scotch, sir?"

"I am not Scotch," said Lavender curtly.

"And she?"

Should he have to throw the man out of the window? "Yes."

"The Scotch are a strange race—very," said the genial person, producing a brandy flask. "They drink a trifle, don't they? and yet they keep their wits about them if you've dealings with them. A very strange race of people, in my opinion—very. Know the story of the[Pg 588] master who fancied his man was drunk? 'Donald, you're trunk,' says he. 'It's a tam lee,' says Donald. 'Donald, ye ken ye're trunk,' says the master. 'Ah ken ah wish to Kott ah was!' says Donald. Good story, ain't it, sir?"

Lavender had heard the remarkable old joke a hundred times, but just at this moment there was something odd in this vulgar person suddenly imitating, and imitating very well, the Highland accent. Had he been away up in the North? or had he merely heard the story related by one who had been? Lavender dared not ask, however, for fear of prolonging a conversation in which he had no wish to join. Indeed, to get rid of the man, he shoved a whole bundle of the morning papers into his hands.

"What's your opinion of politics at present, sir?" observed his friend in an off-hand way.

"I haven't any," said Lavender, compelled to take back one of the newspapers and open it.

"I think, myself, they're in a bad state: that's my opinion. There ain't a man among 'em who knows how to keep down those people: that's my opinion, sir. What do you think?"

"Oh, I think so too," said Lavender. "You'll find a good article in that paper on University Tests."

The cheery person looked rather blank. "I would like to hear your opinion about 'em, sir," he said. "It ain't much good reading only one side of a question, but when you can talk about it and discuss it, now—"

"I am sorry I can't oblige you," said Lavender, goaded into making some desperate effort to release himself. "I am suffering from relaxed throat at present. My doctor has warned me against talking too much."

"I beg your pardon, sir. You don't seem very well: perhaps the throat comes with a little feverishness, you see—a cold, in fact. Now if I was you I'd try tannin lozenges for the throat. They're uncommon good for the throat; and a little quinine for the general system—that would put you as right as a fiver. I tried it myself when I was down in 'Ampshire last year. And you wouldn't find a drop of this brandy a bad thing, either, if you don't mind rowing in the same boat as myself."

Lavender declined the proffered flask and subsided behind a newspaper. His fellow-traveler lit another cheroot, took up Bradshaw and settled himself in a corner.

Had Sheila come up this very line some dozen hours before? Lavender asked himself as he looked out on the hills and valleys and woods of Buckinghamshire. Had the throbbing of the engine and the rattle of the wheels kept the piteous eyes awake all through the dark night, until the pale dawn showed the girl a wild vision of northern hills and moors, telling her she was getting near to her own country? Not thus had Sheila proposed to herself to return home on the first holiday-time that should occur to them both. He began to think of his present journey as it might have been in other circumstances. Would she have remembered any of those pretty villages which she saw one early morning long ago when they were bathed in sunshine and scarcely awake to the new day? Would she be impatient at the delays at the stations, and anxious to hurry on to Westmoreland and Dumfries, to Glasgow, and Oban, and Skye, and then from Stornoway across the island to the little inn at Garra-na-hina? Here, as he looked out of the window, the first indication of the wilder country became visible in the distant Berkshire hills. Close at hand the country lay green and bright under a brilliant sun, but over there in the east some heavy clouds darkened the landscape, and the far hills seemed to be placed amid a gloomy stretch of moorland. Would not Sheila have been thrilled by this glimpse of the coming North? She would have fancied that greater mountains lay far behind these rounded slopes hidden in mist. She would have imagined that no human habitations were near those rising plains of sombre hue, where the red-deer and the fox ought to dwell. And in her delight at getting away from the fancied[Pg 589] brightness of the South, would she not have been exceptionally grateful and affectionate toward himself, and striven to please him with her tender ways?

It was not a cheerful journey, this lonely trip to the North. Lavender got to Glasgow that night, and next morning he went down, long before any passengers could have thought of arriving, to the Clansman. He did not go near the big steamer, for he was known to the captain and the steward, but he hung about the quays, watching each person who went on board. Sheila certainly was not among the passengers by the Clansman.

But she might have gone to Greenock and waited for the steamer there. Accordingly, after the Clansman had started on her voyage, he went into a neighboring hotel and had some breakfast, after which he crossed the bridge to the station and took rail for Greenock, where he arrived some time before the Clansman made her appearance. He went down to the quay. It was yet early morning, and a cool fresh breeze was blowing in across the broad waters of the Frith, where the sunlight was shining on the white sails of the yachts and on the dipping and screaming sea gulls. Far away beyond the pale blue mountains opposite lay the wonderful network of sea-loch and island through which one had to pass to get to the distant Lewis. How gladly at this moment would he have stepped on board the steamer with Sheila, and put out on that gleaming plain of sea, knowing that by and by they would sail into Stornoway harbor and find the wagonette there! They would not hasten the voyage. She had never been round the Mull of Cantyre, and so he would sit by her side and show her the wild tides meeting there, and the long jets of white foam shooting up the great wall of rock. He would show her the pale coast of Ireland; and then they would see Islay, of which she had many a ballad and story. They would go through the narrow sound that is overlooked by the gloomy mountains of Jura. They would see the distant islands where the chief of Colonsay is still mourned for on the still evenings by the hapless mermaiden, who sings her wild song across the sea. They would keep wide of the dangerous currents of Corryvreckan, and by and by they would sail into the harbor of Oban, the beautiful sea-town where Sheila first got a notion of the greatness of the world lying outside of her native island.

What if she were to come down now from this busy little seaport, which lay under a pale blue smoke, and come out upon this pier to meet the free sunlight and the fresh sea-air blowing all about? Surely at a great distance he could recognize the proud, light step, and the proud, sad face. Would she speak to him, or go past him, with firm lips and piteous eyes, to wait for the great steamer that was now coming along out of the eastern mist? Lavender glanced vaguely around the quays and the thoroughfares leading to them, but there was no one like Sheila there. In the distance he could hear the throbbing of the Clansman's engines as the big steamer came on through the white plain. The sun was warmer now on the bright waters of the Frith, and the distant haze over the pale blue mountains beyond had grown more luminous. Small boats went by, and here and there a yachtsman, scarlet-capped and in white costume, was taking a leisurely breakfast on his deck. The sea-gulls circled about, or dipped down on the waters, or chased each other with screams and cries. Then the Clansman sailed into the quay, and there was a flinging of ropes and general hurry and bustle, while people came crowding round the gangways, calling out to each other in every variety of dialect and accent.

Sheila was not there. He lingered about, and patiently waited for the starting of the steamer, not knowing how long she ordinarily remained at Greenock. He was in no hurry, indeed, for after the vessel had gone he found himself with a whole day before him, and with no fixed notion as to how it could be passed.

In other circumstances he would have been in no difficulty as to the spending[Pg 590] of a bright forenoon and afternoon by the side of the sea. Or he could have run through to Edinburgh and called on some artist-friends there. Or he could have crossed the Frith and had a day's ramble among the mountains. But now that he was satisfied that Sheila had not gone home all his fancies and hopes went back to London. She was in London. And while he was glad that she had not gone straight to her own people with a revelation of her wrongs, he scarcely dared speculate on what adventures and experiences might have befallen those two girls turned out into a great city of which they were about equally ignorant.

The day passed somehow, and at night he was on his way to London. Next morning he went down to Whitehall and saw Ingram.

"Sheila has not gone back to the Highlands, so far as I can make out," he said.

"So much the better," was the answer.

"What am I to do? She must be in London, and who knows what may befall her?"

"I cannot tell you what you should do. Of course you would like to know where she is; and I fancy she would have no objection herself to letting you know that she was all right, so long as she knew that you would not go near her. I don't think she has taken so decided a step merely for the purpose of being coaxed back again: that is not Sheila's way."

"I won't go near her," he said. "I only want to know that she is safe and well. I will do whatever she likes, but I must know where she is, and that she has come to no harm."

"Well," said Ingram slowly, "I was talking the matter over with Mrs. Lorraine last night—"

"Does she know?" said Lavender, wincing somewhat.

"Certainly," Ingram answered. "I did not tell her. I had promised to go up there about something quite different, when she immediately began to tell me the news. Of course it was impossible to conceal such a thing. Don't all the servants about know?"

"I don't care who knows," said Lavender moodily. "What does Mrs. Lorraine say about this affair?"

"Mrs. Lorraine says that it serves you right," said Ingram bluntly.

"Thank her very much! I like candor, especially in a fair-weather friend."

"Mrs. Lorraine is a better friend to you than you imagine," Ingram said, taking no notice of the sneer. "When she thought that your going to their house continually was annoying Sheila, she tried to put a stop to it for Sheila's sake. And now, at this very moment, she is doing her very best to find out where Sheila is; and if she succeeds she means to go and plead your cause with the girl."

"I will not have her do anything of the kind," said Lavender fiercely. "I will plead my own cause with Sheila. I will have forgiveness from Sheila herself alone—not brought to me by any intermeddling woman."

"You needn't call names," said Ingram coolly. "But I confess I think you are right; and I told Mrs. Lorraine that was what you would doubtless say. In any case, she can do no harm in trying to find out where Sheila is."

"And how does she propose to succeed? Pollaky, the 'Agony' column, placards, or a bellman? I tell you, Ingram, I won't have that woman meddle in my affairs—coming forward as a Sister of Mercy to heal the wounded, bestowing mock compassion, and laughing all the time."

"Lavender, you are beside yourself. That woman is one of the most good-natured, shrewd, clever and amiable women I have ever met. What has enraged you?"

"Bah! She has got hold of you too, has she? I tell you she is a rank impostor."

"An impostor!" said Ingram slowly. "I have heard a good many people called impostors. Did it ever occur to you that the blame of the imposture might possibly lie with the person imposed on? I have heard of people falling into the[Pg 591] delusion that a certain modest and simple-minded man was a great politician or a great wit, although he had never claimed to be anything of the kind; and then, when they found out that in truth he was just what he had pretended to be, they called out against him as an impostor. I have heard, too, of young gentlemen accusing women of imposture whose only crime was that they did not possess qualities which they had never pretended to possess, but which the young gentlemen fancied they ought to possess. Mrs. Lorraine may be an impostor to you. I think she is a thoroughly good woman, and I know she is a very delightful companion. And if you want to know how she means to find Sheila out, I can tell you. She thinks that Sheila would probably go to a hotel, but that afterward she would try to find lodgings with some of the people whom she had got to know through her giving them assistance. Mrs. Lorraine would like to ask your servants about the women who used to come for this help. Then, she thinks, Sheila would probably get some one of these humble friends to call for her letters, for she would like to hear from her father, and she would not care to tell him that she had left your house. There is a great deal of supposition in all this, but Mrs. Lorraine is a shrewd woman, and I would trust her instinct in such matters a long way. She is quite sure that Sheila would be too proud to tell her father, and very much averse, also, to inflicting so severe a blow on him."

"But surely," Lavender said hastily, "if Sheila wishes to conceal this affair for a time, she must believe it to be only temporary? She cannot propose to make the separation final?"

"That I don't know anything about. I would advise you to go and see Mrs. Lorraine."

"I won't go and see Mrs. Lorraine."

"Now, this is unreasonable, Lavender. You begin to fancy that Sheila had some sort of dislike to Mrs. Lorraine, founded on ignorance, and straightway you think it is your duty to go and hate the woman. Whatever you may think of her, she is willing to do you a service."

"Will you go, Ingram, and take her to those servants?"

"Certainly I will, if you commission me to do so," said Ingram readily.

"I suppose they all know?"

"They do."

"And every one else?"

"I should think few of your friends would remain in ignorance of it."

"Ah, well," said Lavender, "if only I could get Sheila to overlook what is past, this once, I should not trouble my dear friends and acquaintances for their sympathy and condolence. By the time I saw them again I fancy they would have forgotten our names."

There was no doubt of the fact that the news of Sheila's flight from her husband's house had traveled very speedily round the circle of Lavender's friends, and doubtless in due time it reached the ears of his aunt. At all events, Mrs. Lavender sent a message to Ingram, asking him to come and see her. When he went he found the little, dry, hard-eyed woman in a terrible passion. She had forgotten all about Marcus Aurelius and the composure of a philosopher, and the effect of anger on the nervous system. She was bolstered up in bed, for she had had another bad fit, but she was brisk enough in her manner and fierce enough in her language.

"Mr. Ingram," she said the moment he had entered, "do you consider my nephew a beast?"

"I don't," he said.

"I do," she retorted.

"Then you are quite mistaken, Mrs. Lavender. Probably you have heard some exaggerated story of all this business. He has been very inconsiderate and thoughtless, certainly, but I don't believe he quite knew how sensitive his wife was; and he is very repentant now, and I know he will keep his promises."

"You would apologize for the devil," said the little old woman frowning.

"I would try to give him his due, at all events," said Ingram with a laugh. "I know Frank Lavender very well—I have known him for years—and I know[Pg 592] there is good stuff in him, which may be developed in proper circumstances. After all, what is there more common than for a married man to neglect his wife? He only did unconsciously and thoughtlessly what heaps of men do deliberately."

"You are making me angry," said Mrs. Lavender in a severe voice.

"I don't think it fair to expect men to be demigods," Ingram said carelessly. "I never met any demigods myself: they don't live in my neighborhood. Perhaps if I had had some experience of a batch of them, I should be more censorious of other people. If you set up Frank for a Bayard, is it his fault or yours?"

"I am not going to be talked out of my common sense, and me on my death-bed," said the old lady impatiently, and yet with some secret hope that Ingram would go on talking and amuse her. "I won't have you say he is anything but a stupid and ungrateful boy, who married a wife far too good for him. He is worse than that—he is much worse than that; but as this may be my death-bed, I will keep a civil tongue in my head."

"I thought you didn't like his wife very much?" said Ingram.

"I am not bound to like her because I think badly of him, am I? She was not a bad sort of girl, after all—temper a little stiff, perhaps; but she was honest. It did one's eyes good to look at her bright face. Yes, she was a good sort of creature in her way. But when she ran off from him, why didn't she come to me?"

"Perhaps you never encouraged her."

"Encouragement! Where ought a married woman go to but to her husband's relatives? If she cannot stay with him, let her take the next best substitute. It was her duty to come to me."

"If Sheila had fancied it to be her duty, she would have come here at any cost."

"What do you mean, Mr. Ingram?" said Mrs. Lavender severely.

"Well, supposing she didn't like you—" he was beginning to say cautiously, when she sharply interrupted him:

"She didn't like me, eh?"

"I said nothing of the kind. I was about to say that if she had thought it her duty to come here, she would have come in any circumstances."

"She might have done worse. A young woman risks a great deal in running away from her husband's home. People will talk. Who is to make people believe just the version of the story that the husband or wife would prefer?"

"And what does Sheila care," said Ingram with a hot flush in his face, "for the belief of a lot of idle gossips and slanderers?"

"My dear Mr. Ingram," said the old lady, "you are not a woman, and you don't know the bother one has to look after one's reputation. But that is a question not likely to interest you. Let us talk of something else. Do you know why I wanted you to come and see me to-day?"

"I am sure I don't."

"I mean to leave you all my money."

He stared. She did not appear to be joking. Was it possible that her rage against her nephew had carried her to this extreme resolve?

"Oh!" he stammered, "but I won't have it, Mrs. Lavender."

"But you'll have to have it," said the little old woman severely. "You are a poor man. You could make good use of my money—better than a charity board that would starve the poor with a penny out of each shilling, and spend the other elevenpence in treating their friends to flower-shows and dinners. Do you think I mean to leave my money to such people? You shall have it. I think you would look very well driving a mail-phaeton in the Park; and I suppose you would give up your pipes and your philosophy and your bachelor walks into the country. You would marry, of course: every man is bound to make a fool of himself that way as soon as he gets enough money to do it with. But perhaps you might come across a clever and sensible woman, who would look after you and give you your own way[Pg 593] while having her own. Only don't marry a fool. Whatever you do, don't marry a fool, or all your philosophers won't make the house bearable to you."

"I am not likely to marry anybody, Mrs. Lavender," said Ingram carelessly.

"Is there no woman you know whom you would care to marry?"

"Oh," he said, "there is one woman—yes—who seems to me about everything that a man could wish, but the notion of my marrying her is absurd. If I had known in time, don't you see, that I should ever think of such a thing, I should have begun years ago to dye my hair. I can't begin now. Gray hair inspires reverence, I believe, but it is a bad thing to go courting with."

"You must not talk foolishly," said the little old lady with a frown. "Do you think a sensible woman wants to marry a boy who will torment her with his folly and his empty head and his running after a dozen different women? Gray hair! If you think gray hair is a bad thing to go courting with, I will give you something better. I will put something in your hand that will make the young lady forget your gray hair. Oh, of course you will say that she cannot be tempted, that she despises money. If so, so much the better; but I have known more women than you, and my hair is grayer than yours, and you will find that a little money won't stand in the way of your being accepted."

He had made some gesture of protest, not against her speaking of his possible marriage, which scarcely interested him, so remote was the possibility, but against her returning to this other proposal. And when he saw the old woman really meant to do this thing, he found it necessary to declare himself explicitly on the point. "Oh, don't imagine, Mrs. Lavender," he said, "that I have any wild horror of money, or that I suppose anybody else would have. I should like to have five times or ten times as much as you seem generously disposed to give me. But here is the point, you see. I am a vain person. I am very proud of my own opinion of myself; and if I acceded to what you propose—if I took your money—I suppose I should be driving about in that fine phaeton you speak of. That is very good: I like driving, and I should be pleased with the appearance of the trap and the horses. But what do you fancy I should think of myself—what would be my opinion of my own nobleness and generosity and humanity—if I saw Sheila Mackenzie walking by on the pavement, without any carriage to drive in, perhaps without a notion as to where she was going to get her dinner? I should be a great hero to myself then, shouldn't I?"

"Oh, Sheila again!" said the old woman in a tone of vexation. "I can't imagine what there is in that girl to make men rave so about her. That Jew-boy is become a thorough nuisance: you would fancy she had just stepped down out of the clouds to present him with a gold harp, and that he couldn't look up to her face. And you are just as bad. You are worse, for you don't blow it off in steam. Well, there need be no difficulty. I meant to leave the girl in your charge. You take the money and look after her: I know she won't starve. Take it in trust for her, if you like."

"But that is a fearful responsibility, Mrs. Lavender," he said in dismay. "She is a married woman. Her husband is the proper person—"

"I tell you I won't give him a farthing!" she said with a sudden sharpness that startled him—"not a farthing! If he wants money, let him work for it, as other people do; and then, when he has done that, if he is to have any of my money, he must be beholden for it to his wife and to you."

"Do you think that Sheila would accept anything that she would not immediately hand over to him?"

"Then he must come first to you."

"I have no wish to inflict humiliation on any one," said Ingram stiffly. "I don't wish to play the part of a little Providence and mete out punishment in that way. I might have to begin with myself."

"Now, don't be foolish," said the old lady with a menacing composure. "I[Pg 594] give you fair warning: the next fit will do for me. If you don't care to take my money, and keep it in trust for this girl you profess to care so much about, I will leave it to found an institution. And I have a good idea for an institution, mind you. I mean to teach people what they should eat and drink, and the various effects of food on various constitutions."

"It is an important subject," Ingram admitted.

"Is it not? What is the use of giving people laborious information about the idle fancies of generations that lived ages before they were born, while you are letting them poison their system, and lay up for themselves a fearfully painful old age, by the continuous use of unsuitable food? That book you gave me, Mr. Ingram, is a wonderful book, but it gives you little consolation if you know another fit is coming on. And what is the good of knowing about Epictetus and Zeno and the rest if you've got rheumatism? Now, I mean to have classes to teach people what they should eat and drink; and I'll do it if you won't assume the guardianship of my nephew's wife."

"But this is the wildest notion I ever heard of," Ingram protested again. "How can I take charge of her? If Sheila herself had shown any disposition to place herself under your care, it might have been different."

"Oh, it would have been different!" cried the old lady with a shrill laugh. "It would have been different! And what did you say about her sense of duty to her husband's relatives? Did you say anything about that?"

"Well—" Ingram was about to say, being lost in amazement at the odd glee of this withered old creature.

"Where do you think a young wife should go if she runs off from her husband's house?" cried Mrs. Lavender, apparently much amused by his perplexity. "Where can she best escape calumny? Poor man! I won't frighten you or disturb you any longer. Ring the bell, will you? I want Paterson."

Ingram rang.

"Paterson," said Mrs. Lavender when the tall and grave woman appeared, "ask Mrs. Lavender if she can come here for a few minutes."

Ingram looked at the old woman to see if she had gone mad, and then, somehow, he instinctively turned to the door. He fancied he knew that quick, light step. And then, before he well knew how, Sheila had come forward to him with her hands outstretched and with something like a smile on her pale face. She looked at him for a second, she tried to speak to him, but there was a dangerous quivering of the lips; and then she suddenly burst into tears, and let go his hands and turned away. In that brief moment he had seen what havoc had been wrought within the past two or three days. There were the same proud and handsome features, but they were pale and worn, and there was a piteous and weary look in the eyes that told of the trouble and heartrending of sleepless nights.

"Sheila," he said, following her and taking her hand, "does any one know of your being here?"

"No," she said, still holding her head aside and downcast—"no one. And I do not wish any one to know. I am going away."


"Don't you ask too much, Mr. Ingram," said the old lady from amid her cushions and curtains. "Give her that ammonia—the stopper only. Now, sit down, child, and dry your eyes. You need not be ashamed to show Mr. Ingram that you knew where you ought to come to when you left your husband's house. And if you won't stop here, of course I can't compel you, though Mr. Ingram will tell you you might do worse."

"Sheila, why do you wish to go away? Do you mean to go back to the Lewis?"

"Oh no, no!" she said, almost shuddering.

"Where do you wish to go?"

"Anywhere—it does not matter. But I cannot remain here. I should meet with—with many people I used to know. Mrs. Lavender, she is kind enough to[Pg 595] say she will get me some place for Mairi and me: that is all as yet that is settled."

"Is Mairi with you?"

"Yes: I will go and bring her to you. It is not any one in London she will want to see as much as you."

Sheila left the room, and by and by came back, leading the young Highland girl by the hand. Mairi was greatly embarrassed, scarcely knowing whether she should show any gladness at meeting this old friend amid so much trouble. But when Ingram shook hands with her, and after she had blushed and looked shy and said, "And are you ferry well, sir?" she managed somehow to lift her eyes to his face; and then she said suddenly, "And it is a good day, this day, for Miss Sheila, that you will come to see her, Mr. Ingram, for she will hef a friend now."

"Yon silly girl," said Mrs. Lavender sharply, "why will you say 'Miss Sheila?' Don't you know she is a married woman?"

Mairi glanced in a nervous and timid manner toward the bed. She was evidently afraid of the little shriveled old woman with the staring black eyes and the harsh voice.

"Mairi hasn't forgotten her old habits, that is all," said Ingram, patting her good-naturedly on the head.

And then he sat down again, and it seemed so strange to him to see these two together again, and to hear the odd inflection of Mairi's voice, that he almost forgot that he had made a great discovery in learning of Sheila's whereabouts, and wholly forgot that he had just been offered, and had just refused, a fortune.



The appearance of Sheila in Mrs. Lavender's house certainly surprised Ingram, but the motives which led her to go thither were simple enough. On the morning on which she had left her husband's house she and Mairi had been driven up to Euston Square Station before she seemed capable of coming to any decision. Mairi guessed at what had happened with a great fear at her heart, and did not dare to speak of it. She sat, mute and frightened, in a corner of the cab, and only glanced from time to time at her companion's pale face and troubled and distant eyes.

They were driven in to the station. Sheila got out, still seeming to know nothing of what was around her. The cabman took down Mairi's trunk and handed it to a porter.

"Where for, miss?" said the man. And she started.

"Where will you be going, Miss Sheila?" said Mairi timidly.

"It is no matter just now," said Sheila to the porter, "if you will be so kind as to take charge of the trunk. And how much must I pay the cabman from Notting Hill?"

She gave him the money and walked into the great stone-paved hall, with its lofty roof and sounding echoes.

"Mairi," she said, "I have gone away from my own home, and I have no home for you or myself either. What are we to do?"

"Are you quite sure, Miss Sheila," said the girl, dismayed beyond expression, "that you will not go back to your own house? It wass a bad day this day that I wass come to London to find you going away from your own house;" and Mairi began to cry. "Will we go back to the Lewis, Miss Sheila?" she said. "It is many a one there will be proud and pleased to see you again in sa Lewis, and there will be plenty of homes for you there—oh yes, ferry many that will be glad to see you! And it wass a bad day sa day you left the Lewis whatever; and if you will go back again, Miss Sheila, you will neffer hef to go away again, not any more."

Sheila looked at the girl—at the pretty pale face, the troubled light-blue eyes and the abundant fair-yellow hair. It was Mairi, sure enough, who was talking to her, and yet it was in a strange place. There was no sea dashing outside, no tide running in from the Atlantic. And where was old Scarlett, with her complaints[Pg 596] and her petulance and her motherly kindness?

"It is a pity you have come to London, Mairi," Sheila said wistfully; "for I have no house to take you into; and we must go now and find one."

"You will not go back to sa Lewis, Miss Sheila?"

"They would not know me in the Lewis any more, Mairi. I have been too long away, and I am quite changed. It is many a time I will think of going back; but when I left the Lewis I was married, and now—How could I go back to the Lewis, Mairi? They would look at me. They would ask questions. My father would come down to the quay, and he would say, 'Sheila, have you come back alone?' And all the story of it would go about the island, and every one would say I had been a bad wife, and my husband had gone away from me."

"There is not any one," said Mairi, with the tears starting to her eyes again—"not from one end of sa island to sa other—would say that of you, Miss Sheila; and there is no one would not come to meet you, and be glad sat you will come again to your own home. And as for going back, I will be ferry glad to go back whatever, for it was you I was come to see, and not any town; and I do not like this town, what I hef seen of it, and I will be ferry glad to go away wis you, Miss Sheila."

Sheila did not answer. She felt that it was impossible she could go back to her own people with this disgrace upon her, and did not even argue the question with herself. All her trouble now was to find some harbor of refuge into which she could flee, so that she might have quiet and solitude, and an opportunity of studying all that had befallen her. The noise around her—the arrival of travelers, the transference of luggage, the screaming of trains—stunned and confused her; and she could only vaguely think of all the people she knew in London, to see to whom she could go for advice and direction. They were not many. One after the other she went over the acquaintances she had made, and not one of them appeared to her in the light of a friend. One friend she had who would have rejoiced to be of the least assistance to her, but her husband had forbidden her to hold communication with him, and she felt a strange sort of pride, even at this moment, in resolving to obey that injunction. In all this great city that lay around her there was no other to whom she could frankly and readily go. That one friend she had possessed before she came to London: in London she had not made another.

And yet it was necessary to do something, for who could tell but that her husband might come to this station in search of her? Mairi's anxiety, too, was increasing every moment, insomuch that she was fairly trembling with excitement and fatigue. Sheila resolved that she would go down and throw herself on the tender mercies of that terrible old lady in Kensington Gore. For one thing, she instinctively sought the help of a woman in her present plight; and perhaps this harshly-spoken old lady would be gentle to her when all her story was told. Another thing that prompted this decision was a sort of secret wish to identify herself even yet with her husband's family—to prove to herself, as it were, that they had not cast her off as being unworthy of him. Nothing was farther from her mind at this moment than any desire to pave the way for reconciliation and reunion with her husband. Her whole anxiety was to get away from him, to put an end to a state of things which she had found to be more than she could bear. And yet, if she had had friends in London called respectively Mackenzie and Lavender, and if she had been equally intimate with both, she would at this moment have preferred to go for help to those bearing the name of Lavender.

There was doubtless something strangely inconsistent in this instinct of wifely loyalty and duty in a woman who had just voluntarily left her husband's house. Lavender had desired her not to hold communication with Edward Ingram: even now she would respect his wish. Lavender would prefer that she should,[Pg 597] in any great extremity, go to his aunt for assistance and counsel; and to his aunt, despite her own dislike of the woman, she would go. At this moment, when Sheila's proud spirit had risen up in revolt against a system of treatment that had become insufferable to her, when she had been forced to leave her home and incur the contemptuous compassion of friends and acquaintances, if Edward Ingram himself had happened to meet her, and had begun to say hard things of Lavender, she would have sharply recalled him to a sense of the discretion that one must use in speaking to a wife of her husband.

The two homeless girls got into another cab, and were driven down to Kensington Gore. Sheila asked if she could see Mrs. Lavender. She knew that the old lady had had another bad fit, but she was supposed to be recovering rapidly. Mrs. Lavender would see her in her bedroom, and so Sheila went up. The girl could not speak.

"Yes, I see it—something wrong about that precious husband of yours," said the old lady, watching her keenly. "I expected it. Go on. What is the matter?"

"I have left him," Sheila said with her face very pale, but no sign of emotion about the firm lips.

"Oh, good gracious, child! Left him? How many people know it?"

"No one but yourself and a young Highland girl who has come up to see me."

"You came to me first of all?"


"Have you no other friends to go to?"

"I considered that I ought to come to you."

There was no cunning in the speech: it was the simple truth. Mrs. Lavender looked at her hard for a second or two, and then said, in what she meant to be a kind way, "Come here and sit down, child, and tell me all about it. If no one else knows it there is no harm done. We can easily patch it up before it gets abroad."

"I did not come to you for that, Mrs. Lavender," said Sheila calmly. "That is impossible: that is all over. I have come to ask you where I may get lodgings for my friend and myself."

"Tell me all about it first, and then we'll see whether it can't be mended. Mind, I am ready to be on your side, though I am your husband's aunt. I think you're a good girl: a bit of a temper, you know, but you manage to keep it quiet ordinarily. You tell me all about it, and you'll see if I haven't means to bring him to reason. Oh yes, oh yes, I'm an old woman, but I can find some means to bring him to reason." And she laughed an odd, shrill laugh.

A hot flush came over Sheila's face. Had she come to this old woman only to make her husband's degradation more complete? Was he to be intimidated into making friends with her by a threat of the withdrawal of that money that Sheila had begun to detest? And this was what her notions of wifely duty had led to!

"Mrs. Lavender," she said, with the proud lips very proud indeed, "I must say this to you before I tell you anything. It is very good of you to say you will take my side, but I did not come to you to complain. And I would rather not have any sympathy from you if it only means that you will speak ill of my husband. And if you think you can make him do things because you give him money, perhaps that is true at present, but it may not always be true, and you cannot expect me to wish it to continue. I would rather have my present trouble twenty times over than see him being bought over to any woman's wishes."

Mrs. Lavender stared at her: "Why, you astonishing girl, I believe you are still in love with that man!"

Sheila said nothing.

"Is it true?" she said.

"I suppose a woman ought to love her husband," Sheila answered.

"Even if he turns her out of the house?"

"Perhaps it is she who is to blame," Sheila said humbly. "Perhaps her education was wrong, or she expects too[Pg 598] much that is unreasonable, or perhaps she has a bad temper. You think I have a bad temper, Mrs. Lavender, and might it not be that?"

"Well, I think you want your own way, and doubtless you expect to have it now. I suppose I am to listen to all your story, and I must not say a word about my own nephew. But sit down and tell me all about it, and then you can justify him afterward, if you like."

It was probably, however, the notion that Sheila would try to justify Lavender all through that put the old lady on her guard, and made her, indeed, regard Lavender's conduct in an unfairly bad light. Sheila told the story as simply as she could, putting everything down to her husband's advantage that was possible, and asking for no sympathy whatsoever. She only wanted to remain away from his house; and by what means could she and this young cousin of hers find cheap lodgings where they could live quietly and without much fear of detection?

Mrs. Lavender was in a rage, and as she was not allowed to vent it on the proper object, she turned upon Sheila herself. "The Highlanders are a proud race," she said sharply. "I should have thought that rooms in this house, even with the society of a cantankerous old woman, would have been tolerated for a time."

"It is very kind of you to make the offer," Sheila said, "but I do not wish to have to meet my husband or any of his friends. There is enough trouble without that. If you could tell me where to get lodgings not far from this neighborhood, I would come to see you sometimes at such hours as I know he cannot be here."

"But I don't understand what you mean. You won't go back to your husband, although I could manage that for you directly—you won't hear of negotiations, or of any prospect of your going back—and yet you won't go home to your father."

"I cannot do either," Sheila said.

"Do you mean to live in those lodgings always?"

"How can I tell?" said the girl piteously. "I only wish to be away, and I cannot go back to my papa, with all this story to tell him."

"Well, I didn't want to distress you," said the old woman. "You know your own affairs best. I think you are mad. If you would calmly reason with yourself, and show to yourself that, in a hundred years, or less than that, it won't matter whether you gratified your pride or no, you would see that the wisest thing you can do now is to take an easy and comfortable course. You are in an excited and nervous state at present, for example; and that is destroying so much of the vital portion of your frame. If you go into these lodgings and live like a rat in a hole, you will have nothing to do but nurse these sorrows of yours, and find them grow bigger and bigger while you grow more and more wretched. All that is mere pride and sentiment and folly. On the other hand, look at this. Your husband is sorry you are away from him: you may take that for granted. You say he was merely thoughtless: now he has got something to make him think, and would without doubt come and beg your pardon if you gave him a chance. I write to him, he comes down here, you kiss and make good friends again, and to-morrow morning you are comfortable and happy again."

"To-morrow morning!" said Sheila sadly. "Do you know how we should be situated to-morrow morning? The story of my going away would become known to his friends: he would go among them as though he had suffered some disgrace, and I the cause of it. And though he is a man, and would soon be careless of that, how could I go with him amongst his friends, and feel that I had shamed him? It would be worse than ever between us; and I have no wish to begin again what ended this morning—none at all, Mrs. Lavender."

"And do you mean to say that you intend to live permanently apart from your husband?"

"I do not know," said Sheila in a despairing tone. "I cannot tell you.[Pg 599] What I feel is that, with all this trouble, it is better that our life as it was in that house should come to an end."

Then she rose. There was a tired look about the face, as if she were too weary to care whether this old woman would help her or no. Mrs. Lavender regarded her for a moment, wondering, perhaps, that a girl so handsome, fine-colored and proud-eyed should be distressing herself with imaginary sentiments, instead of taking life cheerfully, enjoying the hour as it passed, and being quite assured of the interest and liking and homage of every one with whom she came in contact. Sheila turned to the bed once more, about to say that she had troubled Mrs. Lavender too much already, and that she would look after these lodgings. But the old woman apparently anticipated as much, and said with much deliberation that if Sheila and her companion would only remain one or two days in the house, proper rooms should be provided for them somewhere. Young girls could not venture into lodgings without strict inquiries being made. Sheila should have suitable rooms, and Mrs. Lavender would see that she was properly looked after and that she wanted for nothing. In the mean time she must have some money.

"It is kind of you," said the girl, blushing hotly, "but I do not require it."

"Oh, I suppose we are too proud," said the old woman. "If we disapprove of our husband taking money, we must not do it either. Why, child, you have learnt nothing in London. You are a savage yet. You must let me give you something for your pocket, or what are you to do? You say you have left everything at home: do you think hair-brushes, for example, grow on trees, that you can go into Kensington Gardens and stock your rooms?"

"I have some money—a few pounds—that my papa gave me," Sheila said.

"And when that is done?"

"He will give me more."

"And yet you don't wish him to know you have left your husband's house! What will he make of these repeated demands for money?"

"My papa will give me anything I want without asking any questions."

"Then he is a bigger fool than I expected. Oh, don't get into a temper again. Those sudden shocks of color, child, show me that your heart is out of order. How can you expect to have a regular pulsation if you flare up at anything any one may say? Now go and fetch me your Highland cousin."

Mairi came into the room in a very timid fashion, and stared with her big, light-blue eyes into the dusky recess in which the little old woman sat up in bed. Sheila took her forward: "This is my cousin Mairi, Mrs. Lavender."

"And are you ferry well, ma'am?" said Mairi, holding out her hand very much as a boy pretends to hold out his hand to a tiger in the Zoological Gardens.

"Well, young lady," said Mrs. Lavender, staring at her, "and a pretty mess you have got us into!"

"Me!" said Mairi, almost with a cry of pain: she had not imagined before that she had anything to do with Sheila's trouble.

"No, no, Mairi," her companion said, taking her hand, "it was not you. Mrs. Lavender, Mairi does not understand our way of joking in London. Perhaps she will learn before she goes back to the Highlands."

"There is one thing," said Mrs. Lavender, observing that Mairi's eyes had filled the moment she was charged with bringing trouble on Sheila—"there is one thing you people from the Highlands seem never disposed to learn, and that is to have a little control over your passions. If one speaks to you a couple of words, you either begin to cry or go off into a flash of rage. Don't you know how bad that is for the health?"

"And yet," said Sheila with a smile—and it seemed so strange to Mairi to see her smile—"we will not compare badly in health with the people about us here."

Mrs. Lavender dropped the question, and began to explain to Sheila what she[Pg 600] advised her to do. In the mean time both the girls were to remain in her house. She would guarantee their being met by no one. When suitable rooms had been looked out by Paterson they were to remove thither. The whole situation of affairs was at once perceived by Mrs. Lavender's attendant, who was given to understand that no one was to know of young Mrs. Lavender's being in the house. Then the old woman, much contented with what she had done, resolved that she would reward herself with a joke, and sent for Edward Ingram.

When Sheila, as already described, came into the room, and found her old friend there, the resolution she had formed went clean out of her mind. She forgot entirely the ban that had been placed on Ingram by her husband. But after her first emotion on seeing him was over, and when he began to discuss what she ought to do, and even to advise her in a diffident sort of way, she remembered all that she had forgotten, and was ashamed to find herself sitting there and talking to him as if it were in her father's house at Borva. Indeed, when he proposed to take the management of her affairs into his own hands, and to go and look at certain apartments that Paterson had proposed, she was forced, with great heart-burning and pain, to hint to him that she could not avail herself of his kindness.

"But why?" he asked with a stare of surprise.

"You remember Brighton," she answered, looking down. "You had a bad return for your kindness to me then."

"Oh, I know," he said carelessly. "And I suppose Mr. Lavender wished you to cut me after my impertinent interference. But things are very much changed now. But for the time he went North, he has been with me nearly every hour since you left."

"Has Frank been to the Lewis?" she said suddenly, with a look of fear on her face.

"Oh no: he has only been to Glasgow to see if you had gone to catch the Clansman and go North from there."

"Did he take the trouble to do all that?" she asked slowly and wistfully.

"Trouble!" cried Ingram. "He appears to me neither to eat nor sleep day or night, but to go wandering about in search of you in every place where he fancies you may be. I never saw a man so beside himself with anxiety."

"I did not wish to make him anxious," said Sheila in a low voice. "Will you tell him that I am well?"

Mrs. Lavender began to smile. Were there not evident signs of softening? But Ingram, who knew the girl better, was not deceived by these appearances. He could see that Sheila merely wished that her husband should not suffer pain on her account: that was all.

"I was about to ask you," he said gently, "what I may say to him. He comes to me continually, for he has always fancied that you would communicate with me. What shall I say to him, Sheila?"

"You may tell him that I am well," she answered.

Mairi had by this time stepped out of the room. Sheila sat with her eyes fixed on the floor, her fingers working nervously with a paper-knife she held.

"Nothing more than that?" he said.

"Nothing more."

He saw by her face, and he could tell by the sound of her voice, that her decision was resolute.

"Don't be a fool, child!" said Mrs. Lavender emphatically. "Here is your husband's friend, who can make everything straight and comfortable for you in an hour or two, and you quietly put aside the chance of reconciliation and bring on yourself any amount of misery. I don't speak for Frank. Men can take care of themselves: they have clubs and friends, and amusements for the whole day long. But you!—what a pleasant life you would have, shut up in a couple of rooms, scarcely daring to show yourself at a window! Your fine sentiments are all very well, but they won't stand in the place of a husband to you; and you will soon find out the difference between living by yourself like that, and having some one in the[Pg 601] house to look after you. Am I right, Mr. Ingram, or am I wrong?"

Ingram paused for a moment, and said, "I have not the same courage that you have, Mrs. Lavender. I dare not advise Sheila one way or the other just at present. But if she feels in her own heart that she would rather return now to her husband, I can safely say that she would find him deeply grateful to her, and that he would try to do everything that she desired. That I know. He wants to see you, Sheila, if only for five minutes, to beg your forgiveness."

"I cannot see him," she said with the same sad and settled air.

"I am not to tell him where you are?"

"Oh no!" she cried with a sudden and startled emphasis. "You must not do that, Mr. Ingram. Promise me you will not do that?"

"I do promise you; but you put a painful duty on me, Sheila, for you know how he will believe that a short interview with you would put everything right, and he will look on me as preventing that."

"Do you think a short interview at present would put everything right?" she said, suddenly looking up and regarding him with her clear and steadfast eyes.

He dared not answer. He felt in his inmost heart that it would not.

"Ah, well," said Mrs. Lavender, "young people have much satisfaction in being proud: when they come to my age, they may find they would have been happier if they had been less disdainful."

"It is not disdain, Mrs. Lavender," said Sheila gently.

"Whatever it is," said the old woman, "I must remind you two people that I am an invalid. Go away and have luncheon: Paterson will look after you. Mr. Ingram, give me that book, that I may read myself into a nap, and don't forget what I expect of you."

Ingram suddenly remembered. He and Sheila and Mairi sat down to luncheon in the dining-room, and while he strove to get them to talk about Borva he was thinking all the time of the extraordinary position he was expected to assume toward Sheila. Not only was he to be the repository of the secret of her place of residence, and the message-carrier between herself and her husband, but he was also to take Mrs. Lavender's fortune, in the event of her dying, and hold it in trust for the young wife. Surely this old woman, with her suspicious ways and her worldly wisdom, would not be so foolish as to hand him over all her property, free of conditions, on the simple understanding that when he chose he could give what he chose to Sheila? And yet that was what she had vowed she would do, to Ingram's profound dismay.

He labored hard to lighten the spirits of those two girls. He talked of John the Piper, and said he would invite him up to London, and described his probable appearance in the Park. He told them stories of his adventures while he was camping out with some young artists in the Western Highlands, and told them anecdotes, old, recent and of his own invention, about the people he had met. Had they heard of the steward on board one of the Clyde steamers who had a percentage on the drink consumed in the cabin, and who would call out to the captain, "Why wass you going so fast? Dinna put her into the quay so fast! There is a gran' company down below, and they are drinking fine!" Had he ever told them of the porter at Arran who had demanded sixpence for carrying up some luggage, but who, after being sent to get a sovereign changed, came back with only eighteen shillings, saying, "Oh yes, it iss sexpence! Oh, ay, it iss sexpence! But it iss two shullens ta you!" Or of the other, who after being paid hung about the cottage-door for nearly an hour, until Ingram, coming out, asked him why he had waited; whereupon he said, with an air of perfect indifference, "Oo, ay, there was something said about a dram; but hoot toots! it is of no consequence whatever!" And was it true that the sheriff of Stornoway was so kind-hearted a man that he remitted the punishment of certain culprits, ordained by the statute to be[Pg 602] whipped with birch rods, on the ground that the island of Lewis produced no birch, and that he was not bound to import it? And had Mairi heard any more of the Black Horse of Loch Suainabhal? And where had she pulled those splendid bunches of bell-heather?

He suddenly stopped, and Sheila looked up with inquiring eyes. How did he know that Mairi had brought those things with her? Sheila saw that he must have gone up with her husband, and must have seen the room which she had decorated in imitation of the small parlor at Borvabost. She would rather not think of that room now.

"When are you going to the Lewis?" she asked of him with her eyes cast down.

"Well, I think I have changed my mind about that, Sheila. I don't think I shall go to the Lewis this autumn."

Her face became more and more embarrassed: how was she to thank him for his continued thoughtfulness and self-sacrifice?

"There is no necessity," he said lightly. "The man I am going with has no particular purpose in view. We shall merely go cruising about those wonderful lochs and islands, and I am sure to run against some of those young fellows I know, who are prowling about the fishing-villages with portable easels. They are good boys, those boys. They are very hospitable, if they have only a single bedroom in a small cottage as their studio and reception-room combined. I should not wonder, Sheila, if I went ashore somewhere, and put up my lot with those young fellows, and listened to their wicked stories, and lived on whisky and herrings for a month. Would you like to see me return to Whitehall in kilts? And I should go into the office and salute everybody with 'And are you ferry well?' just as Mairi does. But don't be downhearted, Mairi. You speak English a good deal better than many English folks I know; and by the time you go back to the Lewis we shall have you fit to become a school-mistress, not only in Borva, but in Stornoway itself."

"I wass told it is ferry good English they hef in Stornoway," said Mairi, not very sure whether Mr. Ingram was joking or not.

"My dear child," he cried, "I tell you it is the best English in the world. If the queen only knew, she would send her grandchildren to be educated there. But I must go now. Good-bye, Mairi. I mean to come and take you to a theatre some night soon."

Sheila accompanied him out into the hall. "When shall you see him?" she said with her eyes cast down.

"This evening," he answered.

"I should like you to tell him that I am well, and that he need not be anxious about me."

"And that is all?"

"Yes, that is all."

"Very well, Sheila. I wish you had given me a pleasanter message to carry, but when you think of doing that I shall be glad to take it."

Ingram left, and hastened in to his office. Sheila's affairs were considerably interfering with his attendance there—there could be no question of that—but he had the reputation of being able to get through his work thoroughly, whatever might be the hours he devoted to it, so that he did not greatly fear being rebuked for his present irregularities. Perhaps if a grave official warning had been probable, even that would not have interfered much with his determination to do what could be done for Sheila.

But this business of carrying a message to Lavender was the most serious he had as yet undertaken. He had to make sundry and solemn resolves to put a bold face on the matter at the outset, and declare that wild horses would not tear from him any further information. He feared the piteous appeals that might be made to him; the representations that, merely for the sake of an imprudent promise, he was delaying a reconciliation between these two until that might be impossible; the reasons that would be urged on him for considering Sheila's welfare as paramount to his own scruples. He went through the interview, as he foresaw it, a dozen times over,[Pg 603] and constructed replies to each argument and entreaty. Of course it would be simple enough to meet all Lavender's demands with a simple "No," but there are circumstances in which the heroic method of solving difficulties becomes a trifle inhuman.

He had promised to dine with Lavender that evening at his club. When he went along to St. James's street at the appointed hour his host had not arrived. He walked for about ten minutes, and then Lavender appeared, haggard and wornout with fatigue. "I have heard nothing—I can hear nothing—I have been everywhere," he said, leading the way at once into the dining-room. "I am sorry I have kept you waiting, Ingram."

They sat down at a small side-table: there were few men in the club at this late season, so that they could talk freely enough when the waiter had come and gone.

"Well, I have some news for you, Lavender," Ingram said.

"Do you know where she is?" said the other eagerly.


"Where?" he almost called aloud in his anxiety.

"Well," Ingram said slowly, "she is in London, and she is very well; and you need have no anxiety about her."

"But where is she?" demanded Lavender, taking no heed of the waiter who was standing by and uncorking a bottle.

"I promised her not to tell you."

"You have spoken with her, then?"


"What did she say? Where has she been? Good Heavens, Ingram! you don't mean to say you are going to keep it a secret?"

"Oh no," said the other: "I will tell you everything she said to me, if you like. Only I will not tell you where she is."

"I will not ask you," said Lavender at once, "if she does not wish me to know. But you can tell me about herself. What did she say? What was she looking like? Is Mairi with her?"

"Yes, Mairi is with her. And of course she is looking a little troubled and pale, and so forth; but she is very well, I should think, and quite comfortably situated. She said I was to tell you that she was well, and that you need not be anxious."

"She sent a message to me?"

"That is it."

"By Jove, Ingram! how can I ever thank you enough? I feel as glad just now as if she had really come home again. And how did you manage it?"

Lavender, in his excitement and gratitude, kept filling up his friend's glass the moment the least quantity had been taken out of it: the wonder was he did not fill all the glasses on that side of the table, and beseech Ingram to have two or three dinners all at once.

"Oh, you needn't give me any credit about it," Ingram said. "I stumbled against her by accident: at least, I did not find her out myself."

"Did she send for you?"

"No. But look here, Lavender, this sort of cross-examination will lead to but one thing; and you say yourself you won't try to find out where she is."

"Not from you, any way. But how can I help wanting to know where she is? And my aunt was saying just now that very likely she had gone right away to the other end of London—to Peckham or some such place."

"You have seen Mrs. Lavender, then?"

"I have just come from there. The old heathen thinks the whole affair rather a good joke; but perhaps that was only her way of showing her temper, for she was in a bit of a rage, to be sure. And so Sheila sent me that message?"


"Does she want money? Would you take her some money from me?" he said eagerly. Any bond of union between him and Sheila would be of some value.

"I don't think she needs money; and in any case I know she wouldn't take it from you."

"Well, now, Ingram, you have seen her and talked with her, what do you think she intends to do? What do you think she would have me do?"

"These are very dangerous questions[Pg 604] for me to answer," Ingram said. "I don't see how you can expect me to assume the responsibility."

"I don't ask you to do that at all. But I never found your advice to fail. And if you give me any hint as to what I should do, I will do it on my own responsibility."

"Then I won't. But this I will do: I will tell you as nearly as ever I can what she said, and you can judge for yourself."

Very cautiously indeed did Ingram set out on this perilous undertaking. It was no easy matter so to shut out all references to Sheila's surroundings that no hint should be given to this anxious listener as to her whereabouts. But Ingram got through it successfully; and when he had finished Lavender sat some time in silence, merely toying with his knife, for indeed he had eaten nothing. "If it is her wish," he said slowly, "that I should not go to see her, I will not try to do so. But I should like to know where she is. You say she is comfortable, and she has Mairi for a companion; and that is something. In the mean time, I suppose I must wait."

"I don't see, myself, how waiting is likely to do much good," said Ingram. "That won't alter your relations much."

"It may alter her determination. A woman is sure to soften into charity and forgiveness: she can't help it."

"If you were to ask Sheila now, she would say she had forgiven you already. But that is a different matter from getting her to resume her former method of life with you. To tell you the truth, I should strongly advise her, if I were to give advice at all, not to attempt anything of the sort. One failure is bad enough, and has wrought sufficient trouble."

"Then what am I to do, Ingram?"

"You must judge for yourself what is the most likely way of winning back Sheila's confidence in you, and the most likely conditions under which she might be induced to join you again. You need not expect to get her back into that square, I should fancy: that experiment has rather broken down."

"Well," said Lavender, "I sha'n't bore you any more just now about my affairs. Look after your dinner, old fellow: your starving yourself won't help me much."

"I don't mean to starve myself at all," said Ingram, steadily making his way through the abundant dishes his friend had ordered. "But I had a very good luncheon this morning with—"

"With Sheila," Lavender said quickly.

"Yes. Does it surprise you to find that she is in a place where she can get food? I wish the poor child had made better use of her opportunities."

"Ingram," he said after a minute, "could you take some money from me, without her knowing of it, and try to get her some of the little things she likes—some delicacies, you know: they might be smuggled in, as it were, without her knowing who had paid for them? There was ice-pudding, you know, with strawberries in it, that she was fond of—"

"My dear fellow, a woman in her position thinks of something else than ice-pudding in strawberries."

"But why shouldn't she have it all the same? I would give twenty pounds to get some little gratification of that sort conveyed to her; and if you could try, Ingram—"

"My dear fellow, she has got everything she can want: there was no ice-pudding at luncheon, but doubtless there will be at dinner."

So Sheila was staying in a house in which ices could be prepared? Lavender's suggestion had had no cunning intention in it, but here was an obvious piece of information. She was in no humble lodging-house, then. She was either staying with some friends—and she had no friends but Lavender's friends—or she was staying at a hotel. He remembered that she had once dined at the Langham, Mrs. Kavanagh having persuaded her to go to meet some American visitors. Might she have gone thither?

Lavender was somewhat silent during the rest of that meal, for he was thinking of other things besides the mere question as to where Sheila might be staying. He was trying to imagine what[Pg 605] she might have felt before she was driven to this step. He was trying to recall all manner of incidents of their daily life that he now saw might have appeared to her in a very different light from that in which he saw them. He was wondering, too, how all this could be altered, and a new life begun for them both, if that were still possible.

They had gone up stairs into the smoking-room when a card was brought to Lavender.

"Young Mosenberg is below," he said to Ingram. "He will be a livelier companion for you than I could be. Waiter, ask this gentleman to come up."

The handsome Jew-boy came eagerly into the room, with much excitement visible on his face.

"Oh, do you know," he said to Lavender, "I have found out where Mrs. Lavender is—yes? She is at your aunt's house. I saw her this afternoon for one moment—" He stopped, for he saw by the vexation on Ingram's face that he had done something wrong. "Is it a mistake?" he said. "Is it a secret?"

"It is not likely to be a secret if you have got hold of it," said Ingram sharply.

"I am very sorry," said the boy. "I thought you were all anxious to know—"

"It does not matter in the least," said Lavender quietly to both of them. "I shall not seek to disturb her. I am about to leave London."

"Where are you going?" said the boy.

"I don't know yet."

That, at least, had been part of the result of his meditations; and Ingram, looking at him, wondered whether he meant to go away without trying to say one word to Sheila.

"Look here, Lavender," he said, "you must not fancy we were trying to play any useless and impertinent trick. To-morrow or next day Sheila will leave your aunt's house, and then I should have told you that she had been there, and how the old lady received her. It was Sheila's own wish that the lodgings she is going to should not be known. She fancies that would save both of you a great deal of unnecessary and fruitless pain, do you see? That really is her only object in wishing to have any concealment about the matter."

"But there is no need for any such concealment," he said. "You may tell Sheila that if she likes to stay on with my aunt, so much the better; and I take it very kind of her that she went there, instead of going home or to a strange house."

"Am I to tell her that you mean to leave London?"


They went into the billiard-room. Mosenberg was not permitted to play, as he had not dined in the club, but Ingram and Lavender proceeded to have a game, the former being content to accept something like thirty in a hundred. It was speedily very clear that Lavender's heart was not in the contest. He kept forgetting which ball he had been playing, missing easy shots, playing a perversely wrong game, and so forth. And yet his spirits were not much downcast.

"Is Peter Hewetson still at Tarbert, do you know?" he asked of Ingram.

"I believe so. I heard of him lately. He and one or two more are there."

"I suppose you'll look in on them if you go North?"

"Certainly. The place is badly perfumed, but picturesque, and there is generally plenty of whisky about."

"When do you go North?"

"I don't know. In a week or two."

That was all that Lavender hinted of his plans. He went home early that night, and spent an hour or two in packing up some things, and in writing a long letter to his aunt, which was destined considerably to astonish that lady. Then he lay down and had a few hours' rest.

In the early morning he went out and walked across Kensington Gardens down to the Gore. He wished to have one look at the house in which Sheila was, or perhaps he might, from a distance, see her come out on a simple errand? He knew, for example, that she had a superstitious liking for posting her letters herself: in wet weather or dry she invariably carried her own correspondence[Pg 606] to the nearest pillar-post. Perhaps he might have one glimpse of her face, to see how she was looking, before he left London.

There were few people about: one or two well-known lawyers and merchants were riding by to have their morning canter in the Park; the shops were being opened. Over there was the house—with its dark front of bricks, its hard ivy, and its small windows with formal red curtains—in which Sheila was immured. That was certainly not the palace that a beautiful sea-princess should have inhabited. Where were the pine woods around it, and the lofty hills, and the wild beating of the waves on the sands below? And now it seemed strange and sad that just as he was about to go away to the North, and breathe the salt air again, and find the strong west winds blowing across the mountain-peaks and through the furze, Sheila, a daughter of the sea and the rocks, should be hiding herself in obscure lodgings in the heart of a great city. Perhaps—he could not but think at this time—if he had only the chance of speaking to her for a couple of moments, he could persuade her to forgive him everything that had happened, and go away with him—away from London and all the associations that had vexed her and almost broken her heart—to the free and open and joyous life on the far sea-coasts of the Hebrides.

Something caused him to turn his head for a second, and he knew that Sheila was coming along the pavement—not from, but toward the house. It was too late to think of getting out of her way, and yet he dared not go up to her and speak to her, as he had wished to do. She, too, had seen him. There was a quick, frightened look in her eyes, and then she came along, with her face pale and her head downcast. He did not seek to interrupt her. His eyes too were lowered as she passed him without taking any notice of his presence, although the sad face and the troubled lips told of the pain at her heart. He had hoped, perchance, for one word, for even a sign of recognition, but she went by him calmly, gravely and silently. She went into the house, and he turned away with a weight at his heart, as though the gates of heaven had been closed against him.



We were sitting on the sand looking off over the blue water veiled with the soft haze of Indian summer. A point covered with pine trees stretched boldly out into the lake, its rocky cliffs rising perpendicularly eighty feet above the beach, a sheer precipice from whose summit a pebble dropped would strike the water below. On the west a stream came rippling over the stones between bluffs high and massive enough for a deep rapid river—bluffs of wild majesty worn into varied outlines, as though a mighty torrent had once surged between them, forcing the very rocks to crumble before its headlong career. But now only a gentle stream wandered through the broad bed, here shallow over the sand, there darkling in a still pool, now making a green willow-shaded island, and now a deep rock-bordered channel, doing its best with the various graceful devices of a happy little stream to compensate for the absence of the river, to whose former existence the cliffs bore silent witness and the pines testified in sighing lamentations all the day long. On the east the lake swept inland in a gradual curve to the piers and wharves of a city with a cloud of smoke hanging[Pg 607] above its spires, and then outward again to a wooded point twelve miles away, the eastern boundary of the bay. Looking north, we could see only water, apparently as deep as the ocean: no land was visible on the Canadian horizon, no island to break the harmony—nothing but vessels sailing gayly toward the east or tacking patiently toward the west, some distinct and snowy, others dark in the distance, and all with the graceful rigging peculiar to the lake-craft. Although November was far advanced, the warm sunshine and soft breeze gave no indications of approaching winter: the leaves had fallen from the trees and lay in brilliant heaps upon the ground, and children running through the groves waded in their glowing masses and tossed them high in the air with many a shout and half-finished song. The bare branches basked motionless in the hazy warmth, and the brown and empty farm-lands expanded their broad breasts to the heat, the care of the crops well over, the last sheaf safely housed and their labors ended. Nature works hard in these Western fields, conquering them from the forest, redeeming them from the swamp and tending the delicate grain amid the rank growth of prairie-grass; but when the last load is driven home and the last leaf has fallen, then she rests, and the hazy atmosphere and peculiar stillness mark her repose. Indian summer! what is it? It is Nature's dolce far niente, her one holiday. Wise will he be who, working with her through the dreary winter, the budding spring, yes, and even the sultry summer, earns the right to rest with her in Indian summer, the vacation of the year.

We had come from the East to visit friends at the West, from a venerable village on the Atlantic Ocean to a new city on the Western lake-shore; and although we acknowledged that the country was advancing with the strides of a giant, we also maintained that the charm of old associations, the mystery of the past, the interest of stirring events, were all wanting, and therefore the West, prosperous as it was, could not be compared to the rock-bound coasts of New England or the beautiful shores of New York Bay, so filled with legends and adventures, memories of the past, battles and shipwrecks, all dating back before the first axe resounded in the Western wilderness. Everything here was new. There were no houses with the marks of Revolutionary bullets, no families of unbroken aristocratic descent from over the ocean, no traditions of Colonial times, no stories of danger, no interesting relics: a few tales of pioneer life, a few encounters with the Indians, composed the annals of the town; and the prosaic reality of its life was as new and glaring as the white paint on its houses.

These thoughts we expressed to Uncle John as he joined us on the beach, bringing the baskets containing our picnic dinner: over the sandwiches, cakes and native Catawba we dilated upon the subject, and invited him to visit us at Winthrop, where the very atmosphere was redolent with old associations and the beach a treasure-house of strange relics. Our quiet uncle smiled as we talked, and when we had finished our lunch and climbed the cliff he took us to a pleasant stone house and introduced us to its owner, a silver-haired gentleman of the old school, whose personal appearance and courtly manners filled us with admiration and respect. Living thus quietly on the lake-shore, this man of learning and science had spent many years absorbed in natural history and its kindred pursuits, in close communion with Nature, loved by his neighbors and honored by the naturalists of the whole country for his persevering industry and valuable discoveries. Surrounded by his birds, bees and flowers, the beautiful old man received us with kindly courtesy, and from him we heard a story of the past, authenticated by records and old letters, and illustrated by relics found on the beach below, washed up by the waves or exposed to view by the shifting of the sands. Deeply interested in the narrative, we yet found it hard to believe that the peaceful hazy lake and the little stream rippling over the bar had ever been the scene of the raging tempest, desolation and death described in the[Pg 608] story. But as we drove homeward in the evening the sun went down in a lurid cloud, and a wind came driving up from the east, whirling the dry leaves in circles and blowing the dust in eddies at the corners of the streets. All night it raged over land and water, increasing to a gale as the pale dawn broke, lashing the lake into a sheet of foam, and growing colder and colder as the flying watery clouds obscured the sun and the dismal day waxed and waned. With our faces pressed against the window-panes we watched the fresh-water sea in its fury. Out in the offing several vessels were scudding under bare poles, and a steamer trying to make the harbor was blown over almost horizontally in the water before she reached the piers. Darkness fell and the wind howled over the city, changing to the north and bringing a storm of sleet and snow in its train, so that the ground was white when daylight broke, and the air so thick with the stinging hail that we could not see the lake. Anxiously we waited, but in vain: our thoughts were with the sailors out on the raging waters. Not until twilight did the atmosphere grow clear; and as an angry gleam of sunshine shot from under the heavy bank of clouds, we saw two schooners, one near the shore, the other out on the horizon, driving before the gale.

"Are they in danger, Uncle John?" we asked.

"Yes, I should say so, although I am no sailor."

"Why do not the tugs go out to help them?"

"Each one for himself, my two little nieces. The tugs could do nothing in such a sea."

Another night came, and after its long hours had passed the sky grew clearer and the gale abated: there was still a high wind and the dark lake looked threatening, but the worst was over, at least for the time. One of the schooners had disappeared, but the other was coming in under a rag of a sail, plunging and almost unmanageable. As she neared the shore a tug ventured out, and succeeded in reaching her safely, but close to the end of the pier a furious gust broke the fastenings and threw the vessel up on the stone foundation of an old wharf at the western side of the entrance, where she pounded to pieces in a few moments. The crew made desperate efforts to escape, and we could see their black forms clinging to the spars and the logs of the wharf between the waves. All possible aid was given, and all but one were saved: he, poor fellow! was washed out to sea and lost.

"A cruel lake!" exclaimed Ada. "Who would suppose that such a comparatively small body of water could rival the great ocean in danger?"

"In a storm navigation is more dangerous on our Western lakes than on the ocean," said Uncle John: "there is not space enough for safety, and the short waves and narrow channels require more skill than the broad sweep of the ocean. There is always a lee shore near, and you cannot run away from it, as you can at sea."

At noon the wind had somewhat subsided, and a faint sunshine gleamed through the ragged clouds. Driving out to the scene of our picnic a few days before, we stood on the edge of the cliff and watched the great waves come rolling in and dash against the rocks sixty feet in the air, so that our faces were wet with their spray. The little river was white with surf rushing in over the bar: not a leaf remained on the bare ground, the naked trees tossed their arms wildly to and fro, and the pines were coated with ice. A short distance to the west a boy pointed out some timbers floating in the surf. "Them's the schooner that come ashore last night," he explained. "This here beach is a bad place in a storm. The crew's all drownded: guess the bodies will be coming ashore in a few days." We turned away with a shudder. The story of the silver-haired professor came vividly back to our minds. We relate it in almost his own words, as it forms part of the unwritten history of ante-Revolutionary times, but vaguely known and appreciated by this busy generation.

In the spring of 1763 the great conspiracy[Pg 609] of the North-western Indians, headed by Pontiac, the celebrated chief, made its first demonstration against the whites. By the influence and wisdom of Pontiac the attack was simultaneous upon every fort and post in the West, and the result successful for the conqueror and disastrous for the conquered. Had the Indians possessed many chiefs endowed with the energy and prudence of this remarkable red man, their history would not be merely a monotonous repetition of defeat and extermination. But it was not to be: the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. After the massacre, the British, awakened to the power of their savage foes, endeavored to send troops across the country to the relief of the garrisons at Forts Pitt and Detroit, the only posts which had escaped destruction; and in the fall of the same year a number of batteaux loaded with troops and supplies started from Albany, by way of the Mohawk, and after stopping at the fort on the Niagara River, entered Lake Erie, intending to coast along the southern shore to Detroit. One can easily imagine the scene. Six hundred regulars with their officers, a train of artillery and supplies, and the boatmen, who were probably the hardy, merry voyageurs, sailing over the placid lake covered with the purple haze of the Indian summer, camping on the beach at night, their fires shining through the silent forest where now towns and cities dot the shore. They passed the mouth of the Cuyahoga in safety, and steered northward to clear the bold headland covered with evergreens known as the Point-aux-Pins, when suddenly a gale came upon them, darkness fell, and, tossing on the furious waves, they knew not where to steer, even if their frail boats had not become unmanageable in the storm. Separated from each other, shipping water at every plunge, they drifted toward the shore, and finding the mouth of Rocky River close upon them, they made a desperate effort to enter, hoping to find a harbor where they could obtain shelter. The channel is very narrow, and but few of the boats succeeded in entering, the rest being cast upon the rocks, engulfed in the surf or stranded on the bar, where the waves soon tore them to pieces. In the darkness, amid the roaring of the winds and waters, the survivors rushed wildly to and fro, seeking to climb the perpendicular rock wet with spray, and falling headlong in the seething waves below. The only route to the plateau above was through a ravine within the point, and when the stormy morning broke, through this gully the dispirited soldiers climbed to the summit of the cliff, and, making a fire, dried their clothing and cooked a scanty meal. Here they remained during the storm, probably for three days, crowded within a circle of boulders, and relieving each other in the watch on the beach as the bodies of their drowned comrades came ashore—seventy men and three officers, Lieutenant Davidson, Lieutenant Paynter, and the surgeon, Dr. Williams of the Eightieth Regiment. When the storm ceased, the dead were buried, the remaining boats repaired, and the forlorn band started back down the lake, unable to render any assistance to the besieged garrison at Detroit on account of the loss of their ammunition and arms.

In the fall of the next year, 1764, General Bradstreet with three thousand men opened a campaign against the Indians on Lake Erie, and after various successes and defeats started in batteaux from Sandusky Bay to coast down the lake, his forces consisting of British regulars, provincials and a large body of Indian allies. It is probable that the beautiful autumn weather peculiar to the Western lakes deceived him as it had deceived Major Wilkins in the preceding year, for when a sudden gale overtook him, surprised and confused, he ran the boats ashore on an open beach, where twenty-five were broken into fragments by the surf, and six cannon, together with most of the ammunition and baggage, were lost. This open beach was within a mile of the scene of the previous year's disaster. As before, the storm continued three days, and many of the men were lost, swept away by the waves and overcome with hunger and fatigue. When the skies cleared, Bradstreet reviewed[Pg 610] his diminished forces, and after burying the remaining cannon and ammunition, started onward with the regulars in the batteaux which had escaped the storm, leaving the provincials and Indians to make their way by land, on foot and without provisions, four hundred miles through the forest as best they could. These provincials came from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, and were commanded by Major Israel Putnam, afterward major-general in the United States army. The story of their terrible journey is unwritten, but it is known that many died of slow starvation and fatigue along the route, which led through swamps and thickets, with deep rivers barring their path; and not until the last of December did they reach the forts, after having been twelve weeks in the wilderness. The number of those who perished in the wreck or died on the journey is not recorded, but it was so large as to occasion petitions to the government—an unusual proceeding at that early date.

These are the narratives as compiled from authorities most vague and diverse, and yet, when taken together, most indisputable. At that time, before the Revolution, when, save a narrow belt on the Atlantic coast, the whole country was a forest, authentic news was rare, and records carelessly kept, if kept at all. Soldiers marching hundreds of miles through a wilderness had no time to compose elaborate journals, and had something else to think of than the curiosity of posterity. When a man lives in a state of uncertainty as to his scalp, we cannot expect from him systematic habits of writing; and therefore we are compelled to call upon the earth and sea for information concerning these early adventures. Generously have they responded, producing silent witnesses who tell the tale of disaster with a melancholy fidelity more real than the printed page.

From time to time after heavy storms portions of the old batteaux have been thrown up on the Rocky River beach. One of these fragments was a bow-stem chafed and water-soaked, the iron ring-bolt secured by a nut—both covered with rust. From its appearance it had evidently been for a long time buried in the sand. In ploughing a field on the bottom-lands the nails, rudder-hangings, bow-ring and other irons of a boat were discovered, together with a heap of ashes: having been cast high and dry upon the shore by the waves, no doubt this batteau was burned to keep it from falling into the enemy's hands.

In 1842, during a severe gale, the sand-bar shifted its position at the mouth of the river, and from the quantity of gun-flints, brass musket-guards, musket-barrels and bayonets washed ashore it became evident that one of the submerged boats had been uncovered and broken up, after having been in the sand nearly a century.

The beach beyond Rock River, although a good fishing-ground, has been abandoned on account of the hidden obstacles which cut and break the nets: these are without doubt portions of Bradstreet's batteaux; and concealed in the same locality are probably some of the cannon, as six-pound cannon balls have been discovered there. Along this beach many relics have been found, and every storm washes up new ones: bayonets, muskets and bullets are to be seen in most of the houses of the neighborhood, preserved as curiosities. Silver teaspoons have been found in several places: they are of antique design, heavily moulded, and engraved with various initials. No doubt they belonged to the British officers. An ancient and elaborately finished sword was discovered on the beach, with the hilt terminating in a lion's head of solid silver: the guard was also of silver.

On the land, traces of the soldiers are numerous. In one of the ravines leading up from the narrow beach a bayonet was found firmly thrust into the clay about six feet from the bottom, which had evidently been used as a fixture by which the soldiers drew themselves up to the top of the bank; and on the plateau a circle of boulders with the ashes of a fire was found in ploughing, together with a case-knife. Near by the blade of a surgeon's amputating knife was discovered[Pg 611] in the soil; and this relic, perhaps the most indisputable one yet found, probably belonged to Surgeon Williams of Wilkins's expedition, lost on the point in 1763.

A mound not far from the locality of the camp-fire had long been avoided by the settlers on account of the human bones within it. Recent investigations have shown it to be composed of skeletons arranged in tiers, with earth thrown over the whole, and the skulls have been identified as those of Anglo-Saxons, with a few Indian skulls mixed among them. Here, then, the survivors buried their dead comrades, English soldiers left behind, cold and still, on the shores of the Western lake. No doubt as the boats started from the point there were some who looked back at the new mound with sad regret for such a burial-place. But what difference will it make when the earth and sea give up their dead? He who made us will keep us in safety, no matter where we lie.

The route of the provincials and Indians left by Bradstreet to find their way by land is marked by various objects dropped at the start or soon after. A stack of bayonets covered with soil and rubbish was found piled systematically at the foot of a tree, forgotten perhaps, or else left behind as too heavy for the long journey. A musket barrel was also found enclosed in a fork of a tree by the growth of the wood: it had been placed in an inclined position, and had remained undisturbed until the tree had completely enveloped it. A number of gun-flints, a peck or more, were ploughed up on the high ground back of the lake, also a sword and bayonets. Farther on, French and English coins bearing the date of 1714 were found, and in another locality a silver teaspoon and some pennies of 1749: these articles were probably thrown down in discarded clothing or knapsacks.

Every year discoveries are made of articles thrown up by the waves, washed out of the cliffs or ploughed up in the fields. Many of these relics are in the possession of the silver-haired professor, who has studied the localities and invested the point with a legendary interest rare in this busy West. When we recall the early date of these expeditions, the great loss of life, the tragic scenes on the shore, and the terrible journey of the provincials through the forest, we must feel that the story with its silent illustrations is as worthy of a place in American history as many other events of less interest, whose minutest details have been described over and over again in the current literature of the day.

In the words of the venerable professor: "The correctness of my conclusions will be confirmed by an examination of the peculiar and dangerous character of these localities during a storm, and of the manner in which these vestiges must have been lost; and a more complete comprehension of the terrific scenes attendant on those disasters would thereby be gained, together with a full conception of the horrors of the catastrophe. Few of the present generation know that either of these events have occurred: fewer still are aware of the pecuniary loss and human suffering they involved."

Constance Fenimore Woolson.

[Pg 612]



I suppose I must have pulled the bell very hard that day, for otherwise I don't think she would have kept me waiting twenty minutes, as she did. She was only my mother's servant-woman, whose duty was to wait upon the dinner-table and the door, the latter function being the more onerous one. Looking back at my conduct over the lapse of eighteen years, I am disposed to acknowledge that she was right in the abstract in punishing the inconsiderate impatience which made me keep the door-bell upon a continuous ring till I was let in. But how wrong did the event prove her! Scarcely was I warmed up to my work, when, turning my head, I saw a tall gentleman with broad shoulders and a round face, whose look, at first one of inquiry, and perhaps bewilderment as he tried to distinguish the house he was in search of from among a dozen, all characterized by that unity of design which in Philadelphia strikes forcibly the intelligent foreigner, suddenly changed to one of amusement, not, I thought then, unmixed with approval, as he caught sight of me at my reprehensible employment. And as I rang with a persistency which nothing can now call from me, he stood on the bottom step (for it was my mother whom he had come to see) with that expression in which I found so little discouragement, still looking forth from those great eyes of his, which had pierced deeply and sternly so many of the false and hollow things of this world, and which now, not, I am sure, for the first time, were bent kindly down upon a rude boy and his ruder pranks. How little did the latter know about the tall gentleman, and how little too would he have cared even if he had known all there was to know about him:—known that then the age was beginning to recognize its philosopher, whose lessons, sharp and bitter enough at first, were to make it better and truer and purer, if such a thing were possible of accomplishment.

But that he was tall I did know, and my standard of eminence was a purely physical one. Five feet eight I did not despise, but six feet alone commanded absolute and genuine respect; and he, I believe, stood six feet one. The presumption which could keep such a height of perfection waiting at the front door shocked me beyond expression. No, not beyond expression, for the triumphant yell with which the hapless servant-girl was greeted when at last she admitted me, and I burst in exclaiming, "You have kept the tall gentleman waiting half an hour!" must have given, I think, some adequate idea of my feelings. To that incident may I not justly look back with satisfaction? Am I not right in taking pride to myself for having amused for so long a time one whose momentary attention the witty and the wise have thought it no slight thing to have gained? And—who knows?—perhaps he himself did not altogether forget it, and with the two sturdy Buben on the Rhine-boat, and those little men he used to meet at Eton or on the play-ground of the Charterhouse, may not the American boy also have found a place in his kindly memory? But I wish it clearly understood that I did not force myself upon his acquaintance: no lion-hunting can be laid to my charge. On the contrary, after giving him a glance of approbation for proving such an effectual weapon to me in subduing my enemy in the gate—or rather the enemy whose offence was that she was anywhere but in the gate—I did not, I can truly say, bestow another thought upon him till I was sent for to afford him, at his own special request, the honor of knowing me. Were there no servants in the kitchen to be tormented? No cats in the back yard to be[Pg 613] chased with wild halloo? No rowdy boys in the alley with whom to fraternize over pies of communistic mud? No little sister up stairs much nicer than any tall gentleman, even though he might have come from across the ocean and be thought a great deal of by the grown-up people, that I should go out of my way to see him, and abandon my cherished pursuits to listen to him talking of what I did not understand, and did not believe was worth understanding? No: my position was a high one, and I kept to it, for, though I gave up my occupations a little while and went down to the parlor, it was simply because politeness and filial obedience were the ruling motives of my conduct. Of the first formal introduction to my friend I have but a shadowy recollection. He said, I think, that he wanted to know the impetuous little boy he had met outside; but nothing more which I can recall. My own share in the conversation has entirely faded from my memory: it is probable indeed that I had no share in it at all, being less at my ease in the conventional sphere of a drawing-room than in the more unconstrained atmosphere of a back alley. Yet in hours of depression, when, in spite of the most sincere desire to think favorably of mankind, I cannot fail to notice that I am not appreciated as I should be by the undiscerning world, and my soul seeks consolation and forgetfulness from higher sources, I half believe that when he went back to his own country, and spoke there, as I have heard he did very often, of the pleasant people he had met here, of the American friends he valued so much, it was perhaps not without an arrière-pensée of his noisy acquaintance of the doorstep in Locust street.

The intercourse so tempestuously begun was threatened with an early extinction, for my newly acquired friend returned soon after this to his home, where were the two little girls whom he was fond of describing while saying that he would not dare to bring them to this country, lest they should come to despise the simple muslin gowns with which they were then quite content; home to the toil of the hard-worked brain, the steady labor of the untiring pen, which was to give us before it rested for ever nothing indeed like his earlier works, but much which we shall not willingly let die; home to England, in truth, but only that, having written the story of certain of its kings, as he had before written the worthier history of some of its unsceptred monarchs, whose sovereign sway is over our spirits still, he might come again across the ocean to greet all who should wish to hear him tell of the Britain of a century past, when our own history had as yet scarcely seen the conclusion of its opening chapter; giving as he did, so minute, life-like details relating to the great men of that time, whose familiar names were to most of his hearers not much more than names, but which, thanks in great part to him, are now as household words. And so we met, and being two years older, I was accorded the honor of becoming one of his auditors, going with my mother to hear each of his lectures. We sat in a box on one side of the stage in Concert Hall, and at this moment I recall the tall, dignified figure standing before the desk on which were placed his notes, and the crowded room full of indistinguishable attentive faces. I sometimes fancy too that I cannot have forgotten what are now favorite passages from those lectures—passages read and re-read, and then read again, till they are known almost by heart. I cannot acknowledge to myself that I do not remember his voice and look, and the tribute of listening silence which waited upon him while he spoke.

One at least of these evenings is well remembered. Its distinguishing feature was my being tipped. My mother and I had gone on this occasion quite early to our places—half an hour or three-quarters before the time when the lecture should begin—and we found the lecturer already at his post. He, with head thrown back, had been walking with long strides up and down the little waiting-room, and talking in bright spirits to my mother, when a sudden thought seemed to strike him, and diving into[Pg 614] one of his pockets he brought out a sovereign—perhaps it was a five-dollar gold piece—and insisted upon giving it to me; but the proposal produced at once a most severe parental resistance, while I disinterestedly looked on—a resistance apparently quite unlooked for by "my illustrious friend," who had much trouble in explaining that this species of beneficence was a thing of course in England. But American pride was silenced at last, though not convinced, as will be seen, for it planned on the spot a compromise which should reconcile the differences of national feeling, though I was induced to suppose that the sovereign was as far out of my reach as ever; and being then, as I said before, above or below such things, I turned all my attention to the lecture, which began soon afterward, and whose subject, the royal bugbear of patriotic schoolboys of that time, I imagined I knew all about. It was therefore with astonished awe that I heard the peroration, when the speaker said, appealing directly to us all: "O brothers speaking the same dear mother-tongue! O comrades! enemies no more, let us take a mournful hand together as we stand by this royal corpse and call a truce to battle! Low he lies to whom the proudest used to kneel once, and who was cast lower than the poorest—dead whom millions prayed for in vain. Driven off his throne, buffeted by rude hands, with his children in revolt, the darling of his old age killed before him untimely—our Lear hangs over her breathless lips and cries, Cordelia! Cordelia! stay a little!

Vex not his ghost: oh, let him pass! He hates him
That would upon the rack of this tough world
Stretch him out longer.

Hush, strife and quarrel, over the solemn grave! Sound, trumpets, a mournful march. Fall, dark curtain, upon his pageant, his pride, his grief, his awful tragedy." This view of the subject was altogether new.

The compromise just spoken of—and I must bring to an end my story, already too long—consisted in the expenditure of the five-dollar piece in two of the books written by the bestower of that inflammatory coin. I open the volumes of Pendennis and Vanity Fair which have been lying at my elbow, and across the title-page of each I see written, in curiously small and delicate hand, "—— ——, with W. M. Thackeray's kind regards. April, 1856." These were the books.

H. R.


If any one, on a rainy day or a lonely evening, wishes to drive away the blue devils by the perusal of some laughter-compelling volume, we can recommend for the purpose no better reading than the tragedy of Hamlet done into French verse by the Chevalier de Chatelain, a gentleman well known as a very successful translator of English poetry. With singular good sense and feeling he has selected, not the play as Shakespeare wrote it, but the stage-version thereof, as the foundation of his work. For which Heaven be praised! for what he has done is sufficient, in all conscience. Not that his translation is totally devoid of merit. On the contrary, some passages are admirably rendered, and give the sense and sound of the original in a manner really remarkable when the difference between the two languages is considered. But there is such a calm conviction on M. de Chatelain's part that he is doing his work faultlessly, that, in view of the ludicrous errors, additions and variations with which his text abounds, the effect is irresistible.

For instance, to begin at the beginning, the phrase

Looks it not like the king?

is translated

C'est le roi tout craché.

And in the same scene—

Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,

is rendered—

Si, prévaricateur, tu volas des trésors
Par ton ordre enfouis dans le sein de la terre,
De tels fails vous font faire école buissonière
À vous autres esprits.

In the next scene we are treated to a small specimen of M. de Chatelain's genius as an emendator of Shakespeare.[Pg 615] For no one can consider this passage a translation of the text:

Venez, Dame, venez. Ce J'y consens si doux,
Si spontané de Hamlet m'enchante et m'enivre.
C'est pour moi le charmant feuillet d'un charmant livre.

That charming page of a delightful book will, we think, be sought for in the original in vain. Still more delicious is the interpellation into Hamlet's first soliloquy of the following lines, referring to the "unweeded garden":

Ces jours qu'on nous montre superbes
Sont un vilain jardin, rempli de folles herbes,
Qui donnent de l'ivraie et certes rien de plus,
Si ce n'est les engins du choléra morbus.

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us! When did Hamlet talk about the cholera morbus?

Passing over some minor variations, we come to the brief closing soliloquy of the scene:

My father's spirit in arms! all is not well;
I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!

Thus Shakespeare, and thus M. de Chatelain:

Le spectre de mon père—armé! Vraiment ça cloche!
Je flaire, je le crains, quelqu' anguille sous roche!

Doubtless Hamlet did "smell a rat," but this is the first intimation we have had of his scenting an eel.

Thus Hamlet addresses the ghost:

Mais oh dis moi, pourquoi tes ossemens par chance
Déposés dans la tombe, out brisé leurs liens,
Pour te jeter ici comme une langue aux chiens.

Probably the "ponderous and marble jaws" suggested this extraordinary comparison.

In the next, act, evidently thinking that poor Ophelia has been neglected by her creator, M. de Chatelain makes Polonius speak of her to the king and queen as "un vrai morceau de roi"—a gentle method of suggesting that she is worthy of the distinguished honor of a royal alliance. But the fair Ophelia is destined to suffer nearly as unkind treatment from the hands of her French usher as she endures from her princely lover. We give entire the translation of her beautiful lament, which begins—

O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!

and which M. de Chatelain thus renders:

Oh! quelle triste fin pour si grande épopée
Le soldat, l'érudit, l'[oe]il, la langue et l'épée,
Tout cela culbuté—perdu. Le noble espoir,
La fleur de ce pays—le plus riant miroir
De la mode toujours;—le plus parfait modèle
De gout;—des observes la plus fine dentelle
Entièrement à bas! oui, sans ressource à bas!
Et moi qui dans ses v[oe]ux trouvais tant de soulas,
Qui du miel de ses vers ai sucé la musique,
De sa raison je vois descendre la tunique
Sur moi, malheur!... C'est comme au lointain le tin-tin
De la cloche ... de près qui se change en tocsin.
De tout ce que j'ai vu conserver souvenance
Et voir ce que je vois! Quelle désespérance!

We are at a loss which to admire most—Ophelia sucking the music from Hamlet's honeyed verses, or the "sweet bells" whose tin-tin changes to a tocsin, or the comparison of Hamlet to fine lace, or the "melancholy ending to a grand epic."

The passage—

We shall obey, were she ten times our mother,

is thus translated:

Nous obeirons, plutôt dix fois qu'une. N'est elle pas notre mere?

M. de Chatelain confesses in a note that his translation is not in accordance with the text, but he adds: "Nous ne concevons pas la penée ainsi exprimée." It is a good thing for Shakespeare that he has found a French commentator who understands what he meant to say better than he did himself.

Ophelia's first exclamation in the mad scene, "Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?" is translated,

De Danemarck où donc est la reine jolie?

Such an epithet applied to the middle-aged and matronly Gertrude, the mother of the thirty-years'-old Hamlet, is pretty—very pretty, indeed. A few pages farther on the "bonny-sweet Robin" of Ophelia's song is supposed by the translator to be a bird, as he thus renders the passage:

Car le gentil Robin n'est un oiseau de proie,
Il fait tout ma joie!

It is also exceedingly amusing to note how the old adjective "whoreson" bothers M. de Chatelain, who seems to consider it a word of weight and meaning. The "whoreson dead body" of the gravediggers' scene is turned into "le cadavre des enfants de nos mères;" and in like manner that "whoreson mad fellow Yorick" is presented to us[Pg 616] as "un fou né d'une fille à la morale elastique."

The tragedy of Hamlet by Ducis does no wrong to the manes of Shakespeare, for though the title-page declares that it is "imitated from the English," nothing is left of Shakespeare's play save the names and the fact that Hamlet's father had been murdered before the action of the drama begins. Hamlet is the reigning king of Denmark, Claudius is first prince of the blood and father of Ophelia, and Polonius is an ordinary conspirator. There is no ghost and no gravedigger. Ophelia does not go mad, there is no fencing-scene, and Hamlet, after declaiming through innumerable pages in the set style of French classic tragedy, solemnly stabs Claudius, and then declares that as he is a king he must consent to live for the good of his people.

L. H. H.


George Washington. One day, in a fit of abstraction the juvenile George cut down Bushrod's favorite cherry tree with a hatchet. His purpose was to cut—and run.

But the old gentleman came sailing round the corner of the barn just as the future Father of his Country had started on the retreat.

"Look here, sonny," thundered the stern old Virginian, "who cut that tree down?"

George reflected a moment. There wasn't another boy or another hatchet within fifteen miles. Besides, it occurred to him that to be virtuous is to be happy. Just as Washington senior turned to go in and get his horsewhip, our little hero burst into tears, and, nestling among his father's coat-tails, exclaimed, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. It must have been a frost."

"My son, my son," stammered the fond parent as he made a pass for his off-spring, "when you get to be first in war and first in peace, just cover your back-pay into the Treasury, and the newspaper press will respect you!"

Abraham Lincoln. Early in the war a party of distinguished gentlemen from New England called on Mr. Lincoln to urge the appointment of a certain Mr. Brown to the post of quarter-master. The President, who was amusing himself by splitting portions of the staircase of the White House into rails, received them cordially. They stated their errand in an earnest but respectful tone, and calmly awaited his answer. Mr. Lincoln, drawing himself up to his full height and clapping the spokesman of the party on the shoulder, began to tell a story about a dog-fight he once saw in Kentucky.

By and by it had gradually grown dark: several hours had passed away, and neither dog appeared to get killed or to gain any advantage over the other. One by one the party had dropped out, till the leader (who did not wish to disturb Mr. Lincoln's hold on his shoulder) was left alone, trying to conceal a yawn and to look interested. Suddenly, Mr. Lincoln, with that peculiar smile on his countenance which Mr. Carpenter can talk about, but can't paint, remarked, "By the way, my friend, I'm sorry for Brown, but I gave that appointment to the other man yesterday."

Daniel Webster. The following anecdote of the great Massachusetts statesman has never before appeared in print:

One day, Clay, Webster and Calhoun met upon the steps of the Capitol. Mr. Clay ventured to remark, in his most affable style, that it looked like rain. Calhoun looked wise, but said nothing. Evidently he took in the whole situation at a glance. It was a crisis for Webster. Carefully laying his thumb behind the third brass button of his blue coat, he gazed from out of those cavernous eyes and grandly uttered these prophetic words: "No, gentlemen, the American people will never forsake the Constitution. We shall have fair weather."

And so it proved.

Alonzo Savage. This time it was the pupil who put the question. The Sabbath-school teacher encouraged her children to bring each a Scripture question to be propounded to the class. Alonzo Savage said he would like to be told why St. Stephen was like a thanksgiving[Pg 617] raisin? He allowed it was because they stoned him.

That boy has grown up and entered on a career of usefulness. He gets steady wages as a railroad brakeman, and last week he celebrated his golden wedding. All because Alonzo was faithful at Sabbath-school.

Sarsfield Young.


A New York oracle, discoursing lately upon Canadian affairs, concludes that American ideas are pervading that region because the people speak of "baggage" and take the right hand in driving on the road. Having traveled somewhat in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and "the Island," I have never heard the term "baggage" used there except by Americans, as they call people from the States. The word is invariably "luggage" in hotels, steamers and stage-wagons. On the road all the people in those provinces whom I met took the left hand, and if any one should attempt to deviate from this old custom of England, he would surely come to grief. When Canadians take greenbacks at par, or make their morning porridge of corn instead of oats, perhaps they may be ready for those other innovations.

What causes the curious difference between the people on the two sides of the boundary-line? for a difference exists in customs, in appearance and in the tones of the voice. It has been a favorite theory that the New England thinness of fibre and sharpness of voice came from the harsh climate and piercing winds; but in Canada the climate is more severe, and the winds are as piercing, yet the faces and forms of the people are rounder and more robust, and their voices, especially those of the women, have a soft and mellow intonation very different from those of their cousins in New England. The customs and habits are also different. In Canada one sees little of the hurried life of the States, always at high pressure. The people take life more easily than we do, and look less anxious. Do these differences arise from different political institutions, and are the burdens of life greater in a republic than under a monarchy?



Self-deception and superstition nowhere reign more supremely, at least in civilized communities, than among the wretched devotees of the gaming-table, who are ever promising themselves to quit the mad pursuit, ever flattering themselves that the next coup will be their last, and always expecting that some quite supernatural piece of luck in that final coup will secure the long-sought fortune. Some time ago we referred in a "Note" to the fanciful combinations which the gamesters of Europe had been making, in their play, on the numerals connected with the death of Napoleon III. M. de Villemessant in his last work gives a very ludicrous instance of the extent to which a superstitious gambler can carry his belief in presentiments, in theories of luck and in prognostications. He tells us that a certain Paris vaudevillist was persuaded that if a man unexpectedly found a piece of money when destitute, it would bring him good luck. Accordingly, before setting foot in a gambling-house he never failed to hide—from himself—a coin in the bottom of a pocket, where he was fully determined to forget it. When he had lost his all (except, of course, the aforesaid lucky piece) he would put on his overcoat, tie up his comforter, seize his umbrella, and open the door, when, all of a sudden, his hand happening to be thrust by mere chance into his watch-fob, would, wonderful to relate! hit upon the very piece whose existence he had pledged himself never to suspect save in the case of direst need. "What a streak of luck!" he then regularly exclaimed. "I can't be mistaken, can I? It isn't a louis, any way? By George, it is! Well, if this isn't luck alive!" Then our good vaudevillist would hurry back, deposit his umbrella, unroll his muffler, shed his overcoat, throw his lucky louis on the cloth—and lose it! After all, incredible as this story seems, M. Villemessant's vaudevillist is but a type of a great class of men who deceive themselves by devices[Pg 618] which in others they would pronounce monstrosities of silliness, and who hug their delusions with a gravity none the less profound from their own half consciousness of the sham.

It was a theory, we believe, of that profound philosopher, Mr. Weller senior, that turnpike-keepers were confirmed misanthropes, who, after a bitter experience in life, had sought that occupation as a means of venting their spleen against everybody who should come their way. We have never observed in our own experience—more limited, it is true, than the meditative Tony's—that the milk of human kindness is specially sour in the breasts of tollgate-keepers; nevertheless, there are few occupations in which a man delighting to worry his fellow-creatures in a small way could more effectually do so. The pike-keeper inflicts daily a legion of infinitesimal annoyances. He stops people who are in a hurry, and forces them to find change for the toll—stops them in the fierce sun, in the drenching rain, in the thick of a snow-storm or at dead of night. He puts an ignoble end to the excited trotting-match on the road: he alike mercilessly pulls up Paterfamilias hurrying for the doctor and the city man struggling to catch the train. Often, though the toll itself is a trifle, yet the loss of those two minutes which would have saved the appointment or caught the train, nay, even the bore of pulling off one's gloves and pulling out one's wallet with the mercury below zero, tries the traveler's temper. The emancipation of highways from all taxes levied upon wayfarers is a mark of modern civilization. The mediæval plan was to extort a toll from every luckless traveler in the name of baron or bandit. In our day Algerine corsairs, Italian brigands, Chinese pirates and Mexican guerillas have continued the thievish custom of "tributes," and not long ago even Montana Indians established themselves on the leading roads and levied tolls from the passers-by. The civilized differs from the savage or feudal practice in rendering an equivalent for the contributions exacted—that is, it provides from their proceeds a stout bridge or a smooth turnpike, and keeps it steadily in repair. But the county or State should take care of highways and bridges without putting an impost on travel. Especially in the suburbs of cities is the preservation of tolls a relic of commercial barbarism. In New England they have gradually become almost extinct, cities or counties having bought the franchises originally granted to private companies. These petty exactions upon the freedom of travel ought to cease everywhere.

It is well known that many persons who scrupulously refrain from perusing Lord Byron's Don Juan, yet enjoy witnessing Mozart's opera of Don Giovanni, following the libretto with assiduity, and laughing with special heartiness at Leporello's song as it rehearses the adventures of his master. In the same way, many who are rather shocked at Camille, find no trouble in listening to La Traviata, and weep for the woes of Favorita when that opera thrown into the form of an English novel excites their censure or disgust. The fact is, that the Italian language, like the cloak of charity, covereth a multitude of sins. Never did it cover them more strikingly than in an instance recounted by L'Eclipse. The present French government, according to that paper, lately prohibited the theatre of La Porte Saint-Martin from playing Le Roi s'amuse of Victor Hugo, a piece familiar to Frenchmen in its reading edition for two-score years. The edict seems to have been rather arbitrary, since, whatever its morality, at least the play could give no political offence, there being but the remotest kind of comparison possible between the court of Francis I. and the government of Marshal MacMahon. But be this as it may, on the very day after its prohibition of Le Roi s'amuse the government inserted in its budget a subvention of a hundred thousand francs for the Théâtre Italien, whose favorite performance is Rigoletto. Now, Rigoletto is only a bad Italian translation of Le Roi s'amuse; so that the droll[Pg 619] spectacle was offered of the government prohibiting one theatre, at a great loss, from playing the very same piece which next day it offered another theatre twenty thousand dollars for playing in Italian! The Eclipse satirically suggests that the secret must be that "entrer par la fenêtre" becomes harmless as entrare per la finestra, and "donner la main" is innocent as "donare la mano" and that Italian purifies everything. If this be so, could not the Paris journalists borrow a useful hint from the affair, and avoid suspension by the government through the simple device of turning into Italian verses, of the operatic sort, those passages of the editorial articles which if printed in French would provoke the censor's ire?

During the recent disgraceful squabble and riot of the monks around Jerusalem there was one incident that should especially pain all lovers of art. This was the destruction of the two pictures by Murillo in the Bethlehem church that fell a victim to ecclesiastical fury. They were true Murillos, and masterpieces; and, what is worse, having been despatched to the church immediately on their execution, and there retained, it is believed that they have never been engraved. They were unusually well preserved, too, for, on being placed in the oratory of La Crèche, both canvases had been covered with glass to protect them from candle-smoke. One of the subjects was the Nativity, the other the Adoration of the Magi. In reading with involuntary indignation and disgust of this barbarous instance of iconoclasm, one is reminded of what Thackeray wrote on the same scene and topic nearly thirty years ago. In his Journey from Cornhill to Cairo, speaking of the leading Christian sects in and around Jerusalem, he says: "These three main sects hate each other; their quarrels are interminable; each bribes and intrigues with the heathen lords of the soil to the prejudice of his neighbor. Now it is the Latins who interfere, and allow the common church to go to ruin, because the Greeks purpose to roof it; now the Greeks demolish a monastery on Mount Olivet, and leave the ground to the Turks, rather than allow the Armenians to possess it. On another occasion, the Greeks having mended the Armenian steps which lead to the (so-called) Cave of the Nativity at Bethlehem, the latter asked for permission to destroy the work of the Greeks, and did so. And so round this sacred spot, the centre of Christendom, the representatives of the three great sects worship under one roof, and hate each other!" The church of La Crèche is, as its name implies, the church of "The Manger" (i. e., the reputed place of the nativity of Christ); and to this spot, and the furious wrangles of which it has been the scene, we may therefore apply the exclamation which Thackeray makes regarding the tomb of Christ: "What a place to choose for imposture, good God!—to sully with brutal struggles for self-aggrandizement or shameful schemes of gain!" The Germans had the grace to try to spare with their bombs the spire of Strasburg cathedral; religious fanaticism in the Middle Ages directed itself to the destruction of "pagan" art, no matter how beautiful; but in these enlightened days for ecclesiastical fury to take up the barbarous rôle of destruction, which even savage war discards, is pitiable indeed.

Comeliness becomes every day more and more an affair of chemistry. Science has now found what bids fair to be a very "glass of fashion"—not a metaphorical, but a literal glass, at least for lean people. The chemical properties of each color in the solar spectrum have long been known, and of late years it has also been discovered that plants may be made to thrive wonderfully in green-houses constructed of blue or violet panes, the production of such nurseries being sometimes doubled or trebled by this device. But the experiment has been pushed further, for some English chemists maintain that rooms provided with violet windows, or even with hangings of that color, will fatten the occupants! Shakespeare's "glass[Pg 620] wherein the noble youth did dress themselves" was not so practical a possession as this. Surely, hereafter those who would divest themselves of their lean and hungry look may grow obese at will, and turn the scale at the very pound required; and this, too, by no such regimen as the Oriental one of rice and indolence, but merely by passing a season under a violet dome or a blue crystal green-house. Such a remedy is good tidings for all the wan, the haggard and the wizened of society, and for those "whom sharp misery has worn to the bone." Henceforth there need be no "starvelings," "elf-skins" or "dried neat's tongues" of leanness for the Falstaffs to mock. And the fat men, too, the "huge hills of flesh," shall they not have their complementary color in their windows to make them thin? Let the compassionate Bantings look to it.


A Simpleton: A Story of the Day. By Charles Reade. New York: Harper & Brothers.

In a preface to the English edition of this book Mr. Reade grapples with the charge of plagiarism so often urged against his stories, and, justifying his habitual course by precedents, forestalls the search of the detectives in the present case by proclaiming the sources from which incidents and descriptions have been gathered. Having treated of many matters beyond the range of his personal knowledge and experience, he has necessarily had recourse to the writings of other men, and by citing his authorities he not only clears himself of the suspicion of surreptitious borrowing, but establishes the truthfulness, or at least the plausibility, of what might otherwise have been considered improbable inventions. This frankness, which, after all, sheds no new light upon his method of composition, seems to have had the happy, if undesigned, effect of throwing his critics off the true scent. The real plagiarism in A Simpleton lies not in the details, but in the conception. The "situation" which leads to all the embroilments and developments is the apparently ill-assorted union of a man of science and genius, absorbed in the labors of investigation and discovery, practical in his views of life and upright in all his actions, with an ill-trained and unintellectual beauty, whose perfections of form and face, pretty coquetry, studied artlessness and sweet recognition of the value of masculine knowledge and strength as the proper stay of feminine weakness and the proper organ of the feminine will, assail the superior being just at that point where his perceptions are weakest, and lead him an easy captive. When we add that this Samson is a young medical man, marked out for the highest honors of his profession, and that his career is temporarily blighted at the outset through the extravagance, silliness and deception of his wife, we have given an outline which no reader of Middlemarch will require to have paralleled. Dr. Christopher Staines is matched and contrasted with Rosa Lusignan, precisely as Lydgate is matched and contrasted with Rosamond Vincy. There is even a further resemblance in the minor pairing and natural dissonance of Phebe Dale and Reginald Falcon in the one book and of Mary Garth and Fred Vincy in its predecessor; while Lady Cicely Treherne, though her simplicity, unlike that of Dorothea, is merely assumed, is almost as unworldly as that heroine, makes a similar use of her wealth and social advantages, stands in much the same relation to the other characters, serves them in the same manner, and ends by marrying her Will Ladislaw under the designation of a "mercurial Irish gentleman" not further introduced to the reader. It will be understood that it is not the characters, in the proper sense of the word, that Mr. Reade has borrowed. In fact, George Eliot's characters are too intimately associated with their surroundings, the circumstances in which they are placed[Pg 621] enter too largely as elements into their nature, to allow of their being transplanted without losing all identity. And on the other hand, Mr. Reade, for a reason to be mentioned hereafter, is quite incapable of borrowing characters—still using the word in its most rigid meaning: the characters in his books are always in an emphatic sense his own. The plot, too, and the action of the one book, bear as little resemblance to those of the other as an exhibition of fireworks bears to the "after-glow" of an Alpine sunset. It is, as we have said, the "situation" which Mr. Reade has taken, and this with a palpable purpose, as if, after reading Middlemarch, he had said: "Ha! here is a good idea; but George Eliot, with her commonplace, humdrum way of treating things, has missed the effects of which it was capable. I, Charles Reade, who see beneath the surface, besides being a master of pyrotechnics, will work up the theme in that flashing, whizzing, startling, dazzling way which shall reveal its full proportions as well as my own transcendent powers." Accordingly, while Rosamond continues to be Rosamond throughout, each fresh exhibition of her traits only showing their natural growth or furthering the reader's knowledge of them, Rosa passes through the swift transformations which a "Hey, presto!" is quite sufficient to announce. In the early part of the book she is an embodiment of silliness, levity and selfishness—in the latter part she is reason, self-devotion and passionate love personified. As for Dr. Staines, there is no need of any apotheosis in his case: as the hero of the book he must perforce be that renowned prestidigitateur whom Mr. Reade long since presented to an admiring audience as the principal performer in his troupe. It is needless, therefore, to say that he goes through the programme with the highest dexterity and éclat, displaying the marvelous knowledge, encountering the terrific dangers, achieving the prodigies which belong to his part, without the least falling off in vivacity or suppleness. When he finally hurls his treacherous friend from a cottage window and impales him on the garden railings, who can withhold the well-merited applause?

It may seem paradoxical to say of a very successful novel-writer that he has mistaken his vocation, yet such, we think, is Mr. Reade's case. For the novelist, as for the dramatist, an essential combination is that of a strong individuality with an equal endowment of the imitative faculty. This union is found, perhaps, in its perfection only in Shakespeare. Shakespeare's personages bear the double stamp of their own individuality and of their creator's. In their appropriate diversity their origin is still apparent. Their fidelity to Nature is never that of literal copies. When Lear says, "Undo this button," we are thrilled with the reality of the trait, but we do not suspect it of having been borrowed from real life. On the contrary, it glows with the heat of that imaginative power whose office it is to transfuse reality—to seize truth in its essence and idealize it in form. Descending to two writers in whom this combination is also strong, we may notice how, nevertheless, the balance inclines to one side or the other. There are many passages of Jane Austen which read like transcripts of actual conversations: one might suppose them to have been done by a skillful reporter. In George Eliot's books, on the other hand, the spontaneity of the actors is checked by the brooding, analytical spirit of the author: their verisimilitude is perfect, but their dramatic capabilities do not always have the free play necessary to their complete exhibition and appropriate effect. Turning now to Mr. Reade, we find that in him one element of this combination—the power of impersonation—is utterly lacking. His own individuality protrudes itself at every point. His characters are all identical in essence—all imbued with the confidence, the unflagging ardor, the impetuosity and extravagance of the same ideal. It is in vain that he labels them with different designations: no sooner do they begin to speak and move than every tone and gesture reveals the familiar type. The poor, mean-spirited creature intended to contrast with the hero turns out to be only his pale reflection. Distinctions of sex and age, of race and education, are merely superficial. High or low, good or bad, they are all equally knowing and equally self-willed. The women may talk of bonnets, but their lofty and fiery souls glow through the twaddle. The children have an infantile prattle, but the schoolmaster, overhearing it, would at once remark that it was only that boy Reade holding one of his strange colloquies with himself.

With this incapacity to understand the diverse springs of human action, Mr. Reade[Pg 622] is clearly no novelist in the true sense of the term. He is, however, an admirable describer and a capital story-teller. He is consequently always entertaining and secure of his reader. Yet, inasmuch as he professes to relate and describe only actual facts, we cannot but regret that he should have adopted a form which is ill suited to this object, and which makes him a mere retailer of other people's observations. In the book before us he paints the interior of Africa from somebody else's information: had he gone thither himself his picture would have had great value. So, too, he is continually instructing us about the processes used in the arts and manufactures; but his knowledge being gained at second hand and crammed for the occasion, we mistrust the teacher. If he would apply himself to such matters, and give us the results of his experience, our gain would be great. He could not, of course, as now, traverse the whole field; but what his teaching might lose in superficial extent would be more than made good by its greater accuracy and reliability. He might select, for instance, the useful art of coopering. We know his powers, we appreciate his genius. It is safe to say that a cask made in accordance with his directions, after he had served a short apprenticeship, would not only be fair to see and easy to handle, but would also hold water. This is more than we should venture to affirm of the plot of any of his novels.

The Fishing Tourist. By Charles Hallock. New York: Harper & Brothers.

I Go A-Fishing. By W. C. Prime. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Mr. Hallock tells us in his preface that his province is to write an anglers' guide without embellishment. It would have been well if he had adhered to this plan. After some pages of high-flown periods he informs us that twenty-six years ago fly-fishing was in its infancy, being scarcely known in America, and but little practiced in England. If he had asserted that fly-fishing was scarcely known among his "green hills" at that period, and but little practiced in Hampshire county, the statement need not have been impugned; but hundreds of books have been written upon this art in England since the time of Dame Juliana Berners, and in America fifty years ago there existed many such practitioners as Fay, Eckley and Bethune.

When Mr. Hallock treats of the natural history of his favorite fishes he is equally unfortunate; which is the less remarkable since he gets his science from W. H. Herbert, a writer who knew little of American ichthyology. As a specimen of the methods of that "cautious student," as our author calls him, Herbert, pretending to quote from Agassiz, who in his Tour to Lake Superior described a new salmon of that lake under the name of Salmo Siskowet, calls it Salmo Siskowitz, and this mistake Hallock repeats. Again, Herbert writing of the great northern pickerel, calls it "Esox lucioides, Agassiz;" the fact being that Professor Agassiz describes it in his Lake Superior as Esox boreas. This mistake of Herbert has been perpetuated by most of the popular writers, Norris, Roosevelt, etc. Mr. Hallock calls the sea-trout Salmo trutta, again copying Herbert, while all naturalists now give it the name bestowed upon it by Hamilton Smith, Salmo Canadensis, it being very distinct from Salmo trutta, which is a European species. Mr. Hallock writes of the "toag of Lakes Pepin, Moosehead and St. Croix." Now, Lake Pepin contains no large gray trout; in fact, with the exception of Salmo fontinalis, its fishes are all of the Western type. He also mentions "the common lake-trout of New York and New England, Salmo confinis, DeKay," which is identical with the toag, just mentioned. Dr. A. L. Adams of the British army, in a recent work on the Natural History of New Brunswick, calls it "the togue or toladi, Salmo confinis, DeKay, the gray-spotted lake-trout." Mr. Hallock asserts that Salmo Sebago is a monster brook-trout, like those of the Rangely lakes. Dr. Adams states that this name, Salmo Sebago, was applied to the Schoodic salmon, Salmo Gloveri, by Girard, in 1853; the species being first observed in that lake, where it is now said to be extinct.

As a guide-book, The Fishing Tourist is not without value, for a work on this plan was needed. An unfortunate spirit of exaggeration seems, however, to pervade the narrative. What remarkable good luck a man must have who kills a four-pound trout at Bartlett's! How fortunate is he who can make an average of two-pound trout in a New Hampshire river! Our experience teaches us that it is dangerous to guarantee that no trout under ten ounces will be found in the Tabasintoc, though one might say that[Pg 623] of the Novelle, another New Brunswick river. When Mr. Hallock states that the trout in the "Big Woods" of Wisconsin are lamentably ignorant of the angler's wiles, he must be referring to a remote period: we find them now very wide awake, and meet almost as many anglers on Rush River as on the Raquette.

Mr. Prime's book is a very pleasant one. Evidently the work of a scholar, it indulges in none of those spasmodic efforts of eloquence which are the joy of the newspaper correspondent. Perhaps there is something too much of the Iskander Effendi and the Sea of Galilee to be congruous with the St. Regis and Franconia Notch, but the dialogue is natural, the fishing adventures are painted with a modest brush, the trout are not incredibly large or numerous, and the whole tone of the book is well suited to summer reading, when, on your return from a long tramp by the river-side, you wish to take your ease in the society of a sympathizing author. Mr. Prime treats of well-known resorts, the much-whipped St. Regis lakes and the depleted streams of Connecticut and New Hampshire, but even among these familiar scenes he is able to find something new, or at least they are described in a fresh and lively way. The book is worthy to rest on the same shelf with Walton, Davy, Wilson, and the other classics of the angler's library. There are some sketches of fly-fishing in European waters which will be interesting to American anglers, and there is much pleasant talk about old books.

Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market. By Walter Bagehot. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co.

In England, as in America, notes are a legal tender, the Bank of England notes corresponding in that respect to our greenbacks. An American banker is safe if he have enough greenbacks to pay all probable demands, though the value of these changes as our government chooses to enlarge or contract the issue. The number of attainable bank-notes is not so elastic, however, in England as with us: the issue department of the Bank of England is limited, by an act of Parliament passed in 1844, to fifteen millions of pounds. For the last few years that bank, in addition to its fifteen millions in notes, has retained something like twenty millions in coin. It has not uniformly, though, been so rich: three times since 1847 its banking department has been reduced to a figure of three million pounds or under. On these occasions "Peel's Act" has been suspended to tide over the affairs of the embarrassed bank, and its business could not have survived if the law had not been broken. The bank which has thus three times practically given out in a quarter of a century is, however, so thoroughly protected by prestige, by national and international confidence, that it is the custodian of the reserves belonging to all Lombard street and to all the country banks of England, as well as those of Scotch and Irish bankers. And "since the Franco-German war," says Mr. Bagehot, "we may be said to keep the European reserve also." All great communities have at times to pay large sums in cash, and of that cash a great store must be kept somewhere. Formerly, there were two such stores in Europe: one was the Bank of France, and the other the Bank of England. But since the suspension of specie payments by the Bank of France its use as a reservoir of specie is at an end: no one can draw a cheque on it and be sure of getting gold for it. Accordingly, the whole liability for such international payments in cash is thrown on the Bank of England. The accumulations secured ultimately by this bank represent a remarkable share of the national wealth. England is the only European country where small savers commit their money to custody: France has never recovered from the timidity consequent on Law's failure, and still hoards its petty sums in stockings; Holland and Germany have never felt secure from invasion. England alone trusts its whole gain to a bank, and demands interest for it. The vast amount of idle gold distributed through the homes of France and Germany is not tangible, is not money "of the money market." The hoards of France can only be tempted from their torpor by a vast national misfortune and by a great loan in French securities. But the English money is borrowable money. The British are bold lenders, and even if they were not so, the mere fact that their money lies in a bank makes it far more obtainable. Millions in the hand of a banker are a power, whereas distributed through a nation they cannot be asked for, and are no power at all. It is thus that Lombard street stands ready to lend to all civilized or partly civilized governments at different rates, and builds railways[Pg 624] in indigent states all over the world. For, though "English bankers are not themselves very great lenders to foreign countries, they are great lenders to those who lend." Rude and poor countries and undeveloped! colonies find in Lombard street a fund into which they may dip at a suitable premium, and thus possess a chance of material felicity which was never the privilege of any previous epoch. This vast machine, however, the legacy of unnumbered years, is not an ideally perfect custodian of the wealth entrusted to it. The reforms called for by a long experience are what the most important part of Mr. Bagehot's volume is devoted to. Some permanent and skilled authority to rule the bank is the principal novelty suggested; but the French plan will not do for England. The direct appointment of a governor by the Crown would not lessen the difficulty. The American law, saying that each national bank shall have a fixed proportion of cash to its liabilities, Mr. Bagehot considers one of many reforms which the English could not adopt if they would: "in a sensitive state of the British money-market the near approach to the legal limit of reserve would be a sure incentive to panic." The difficulties of remodeling such an institution as the Bank of England are the most curiously developed portion of Mr. Bagehot's treatise, where all is curiously and intelligently handled. The book is interesting to outsiders as well as to professionals.

Wau-Ban: The Early Day in the North-west. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

This is a reprint, in a condensed and convenient form, of a work written some twenty years ago by Mrs. John H. Kinzie of Chicago. It is a real contribution to the early history of the North-west, and contains enough of romantic adventure to form the basis of half a dozen novels. The story of the massacre of Chicago in 1812 is one of the most thrilling in American history, and it is here told by an eye-witness. Still, it is difficult to realize that sixty years ago a wagon-load of children were tomahawked by Indians in what is now the heart of the great City of the Lakes.

The family of Kinzie had certainly a remarkable history, beginning with the female ancestor who was captured by savages in the early history of the country, through that generation who were the founders of Chicago, down to the living representative of the family, who in 1830 entered one hundred and sixty acres of the present town at the government price, one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and only paid for one hundred, thinking, as he said, that that quantity of land would be all he should ever want or could find a use for. The rejected portion is now worth from two to three millions of dollars. A hundred years hence, when Chicago will perhaps contain a million or two of inhabitants, the name of this family of pioneers will be as memorable as that of Winthrop in Boston or Stuyvesant in New York.

Books Received.

De Witt's Acting Plays: No. 142. Dollars and Cents: A Comedy. By L. J. Hollenius.—No. 145. First Love: A Comedy. From the French of Eugene Scribe. By L. J. Hollenius. New York: R. M. De Witt.

Memoirs of the Founding and Progress of the United States Naval Observatory. By Professor J. E. Nourse, U.S.N. Washington Government Printing-Office.

America Picturesque: A Visit to the Academy. By Henry Blackburn, late editor of "London Society." New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Expression: Its Anatomy and Philosophy. By Sir Charles Bell, K. H. Illustrated. New York: S.R. Wells.

The Mystery of Metropolisville. By Edward Eggleston. Illustrated. New York: Orange Judd & Co.

Bits of Talk about Home Matters, By H. H., author of "Bits of Travel." Boston: Roberts Brothers.

The Lawrences: A Twenty-Years' History. By Charlotte Turnbull. New York: American News Co.

The Forty-five Guardsmen. By Alexandre Dumas. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

Lars: A Pastoral of Norway. By Bayard Taylor. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co.

The New York City "Ring." By S. J. Tilden. New York: Press of John Polhemus.

Poems of the Plains. By William Darwin Crabb. Cambridge: Riverside Press.

Woman's Wrong. By Mrs. Eiloart. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

Adventures of Kwei, the Chinese Girl. By Myra. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular
Literature and Science, Vol. 12, No. 32, November, 1873, by Various


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