Project Gutenberg's Every Girl's Library, Volume 8 of 10, by Various

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Title: Every Girl's Library, Volume 8 of 10
       A Collection of Appropriate and Instructive Reading for
              Girls of All Ages from the Best Authors of All Time

Author: Various

Editor: Percy Keese Fitzhugh

Release Date: June 23, 2012 [EBook #40063]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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cover


W. MORGAN.

Anna Sewell


Copyright, 1910, by

THE PEARSON PUBLISHING CO.

Entered at Stationers' Hall London, England

Typography, Plates, Presswork and Binding by

The J. J. Little & Ives Co., New York.

[v]

CONTENTS

Bernardin De Saint Pierre
Paul and Virginia  1
Anna Sewell
Black Beauty's New Home(Black Beauty)  49
William Shakespeare
Portia and Shylock(The Merchant of Venice)  69
Romeo and Juliet  86
Percy Bysshe Shelley
To a Skylark  95
Robert Southey
The Battle of Blenheim  100
Robert Louis Stevenson
Will o' the Mill  104
An Apology for Idlers  141
The Wind  155
Keepsake Mill  155
The Moon  156
Looking-glass River  157
Winter-Time  158
My Shadow  159
Autumn Fires  160
Robert Story
The Whistler  161
Agnes Strickland
Henrietta Maria, Wife of Charles I  163
[vi] John Suckling
Why So Pale and Wan?  211
I Prithee, Send Me Back My Heart  212
Jonathan Swift
A Voyage to Lilliput (Gulliver's Travels)  214
Robert Tannahill
The Braes o' Balquhither  239
The Flower o' Dumblane   240
Alfred Tennyson
Lady Clare  242
Lady Clara Vere de Vere  246
Come Into the Garden, Maud  249
Break, Break, Break  251
The Miller's Daughter  252
St. Agnes  253
William Makepeace Thackeray
The Princess Angelica (The Rose and the Ring)  255
The Cane-bottom'd Chair  300
A Tragic Story  302
To Mary  303
Little Billee  304
Fairy Days  305
Mrs. Katherine's Lantern  307
Lucy's Birthday  309
Piscator and Piscatrix  310
Pocahontas  312

[1]

Bernardin De Saint Pierre

Saint Pierre, Bernardin De, was born in Havre, Jan., 1737, and died in Eragny-sur-Oise, Jan., 1814. His literary fame rests wholly on Paul and Virginia, one of the most beautiful works in romantic literature. He wrote much besides this celebrated tale, but his other works, though all of the first order of merit, are overshadowed by the little story which made him famous. Paul and Virginia has been translated into every civilized language and its popularity has never waned. It has been published in cheap and costly editions; it has suggested works of art, and, like Alice in Wonderland, it has been imitated scores of times.

PAUL AND VIRGINIA

Rarely, indeed, has such an attachment been seen as that which the two children already testified for each other. If Paul complained of anything, his mother pointed to Virginia: at her sight he smiled, and was appeased. If any accident befell Virginia, the cries of Paul gave notice of the disaster; but the dear little creature would suppress her complaints if she found that he was unhappy. When I came hither, I usually found them quite naked, as is the custom of the country, tottering in their walk, and holding each other by the hands and under the arms, as we see represented the constellation of the Twins. At night these infants often refused to be separated, and were found lying in the same cradle, their cheeks, their bosoms pressed close together, their hands thrown round each other's neck, and sleeping, locked in one another's arms.[2]

When they began to speak, the first name they learned to give each other were those of brother and sister, and childhood knows no softer appellation. Their education, by directing them ever to consider each other's wants, tended greatly to increase their affection. In a short time, all the household economy, the care of preparing their rural repasts, became the task of Virginia, whose labours were always crowned with the praises and kisses of her brother. As for Paul, always in motion, he dug the garden with Domingo, or followed him with a little hatchet into the woods; and if in his rambles he espied a beautiful flower, any delicious fruit, or a nest of birds, even at the top of the tree, he would climb up and bring the spoil to his sister. When you met one of these children, you might be sure the other was not far off.

One day as I was coming down that mountain, I saw Virginia at the end of the garden running towards the house with her petticoat thrown over her head, in order to screen herself from a shower of rain. At a distance, I thought she was alone; but as I hastened towards her in order to help her on, I perceived she held Paul by the arm, almost entirely enveloped in the same canopy, and both were laughing heartily at their being sheltered together under an umbrella of their own invention. Those two charming faces in the middle of a swelling petticoat, recalled to my mind the children of Leda, enclosed in the same shell.

Their sole study was how they could please and assist one another; for of all other things they were[3] ignorant, and indeed could neither read nor write. They were never disturbed by inquiries about past times, nor did their curiosity extend beyond the bounds of their mountain. They believed the world ended at the shores of their own island, and all their ideas and all their affections were confined within its limits. Their mutual tenderness, and that of their mothers, employed all the energies of their minds. Their tears had never been called forth by tedious application to useless sciences. Their minds had never been wearied by lessons of morality, superfluous to bosoms unconscious of ill. They had never been taught not to steal, because everything with them was in common: or not to be intemperate, because their simple food was left to their own discretion; or not to lie, because they had nothing to conceal. Their young imaginations had never been terrified by the idea that God has punishment in store for ungrateful children, since with them, filial affection arose naturally from maternal tenderness. All they had been taught of religion was to love it, and if they did not offer up long prayers in the church, wherever they were, in the house, in the fields, in the woods, they raised toward heaven their innocent hands, and hearts purified by virtuous affections.

All their early childhood passed thus, like a beautiful dawn, the prelude of a bright day. Already they assisted their mothers in the duties of the household. As soon as the crowing of the wakeful cock announced the first beam of the morning, Virginia arose, and hastened to draw water from a neigh[4]bouring spring: then returning to the house she prepared the breakfast. When the rising sun gilded the points of the rocks which overhang the inclosure in which they lived, Margaret and her child repaired to the dwelling of Madame de la Tour, where they offered up their morning prayer together. This sacrifice of thanksgiving always preceded their first repast, which they often took before the door of the cottage, seated upon the grass, under a canopy of plantain: and while the branches of that delicious tree afforded a grateful shade, its fruit furnished a substantial food ready prepared for them by nature, and its long glossy leaves, spread upon the table, supplied the place of linen. Plentiful and wholesome nourishment gave early growth and vigour to the persons of these children, and their countenances expressed the purity and peace of their souls. At twelve years of age the figure of Virginia was in some degree formed; a profusion of light hair shaded her face, to which her blue eyes and coral lips gave the most charming brilliancy. Her eyes sparkled with vivacity when she spoke; but when she was silent they were habitually turned upwards with an expression of extreme sensibility, or rather of tender melancholy. The figure of Paul began already to display the graces of youthful beauty. He was taller than Virginia: his skin was a darker tint; his nose more aquiline; and his black eyes would have been too piercing, if the long eyelashes by which they were shaded had not imparted to them an expression of softness. He was constantly in motion, except when his sister appeared, and then,[5] seated by her side, he became still. Their meals often passed without a word being spoken; and from their silence, the simple elegance of their attitudes, and the beauty of their naked feet, you might have fancied you beheld an antique group of white marble, representing some of the children of Niobe, but for the glances of their eyes, which were constantly seeking to meet, and their mutual soft and tender smiles, which suggested rather the idea of happy celestial spirits, whose nature is love, and who are not obliged to have recourse to words for the expression of their feelings.

In the mean time Madame de la Tour, perceiving every day some unfolding grace, some new beauty, in her daughter, felt her maternal anxiety increase with her tenderness. She often said to me, "If I were to die, what will become of Virginia without fortune?"

Madame de la Tour had an aunt in France, who was a woman of quality, rich, old, and a complete devotee. She had behaved with so much cruelty towards her niece upon her marriage, that Madame de la Tour had determined no extremity of distress should ever compel her to have recourse to her hard-hearted relation. But when she became a mother, the pride of resentment was overcome by the stronger feelings of maternal tenderness. She wrote to her aunt, informing her of the sudden death of her husband, and the birth of her daughter, and the difficulties in which she was involved, burdened as she was with an infant, and without means of support. She received no answer; but notwith[6]standing the high spirit natural to her character, she no longer feared exposing herself to mortification; and, although she knew her aunt would never pardon her for having married a man who was not of noble birth, however estimable, she continued to write to her, with the hope of awakening her compassion for Virginia. Many years, however, passed without receiving any token of her remembrance.

At length, in 1738, three years after the arrival of Monsieur de la Bourdonnais in this island, Madame de la Tour was informed that the Governor had a letter to give her from her aunt. She flew to Port Louis; maternal joy raised her mind above all trifling considerations, and she was careless on this occasion of appearing in her homely attire. Monsieur de la Bourdonnais gave her a letter from her aunt, in which she informed her, that she deserved her fate for marrying an adventurer and a libertine: that the passions brought with them their own punishment; that the premature death of her husband was a just visitation from Heaven; that she had done well in going to a distant island, rather than dishonour her family by remaining in France; and that, after all, in the colony where she had taken refuge, none but the idle failed to grow rich. Having thus censured her niece, she concluded by eulogizing herself. To avoid, she said, the almost inevitable evils of marriage, she had determined to remain single. In fact, as she was of a very ambitious disposition, she had resolved to marry none but a man of high rank; but although she was very rich, her fortune was not found a sufficient bribe,[7] even at court, to counterbalance the malignant dispositions of her mind, and the disagreeable qualities of her person.

After mature deliberations, she added, in a post-script, that she had strongly recommended her niece to Monsieur de la Bourdonnais. This she had indeed done, but in a manner of late too common, which renders a patron perhaps even more to be feared than a declared enemy; for, in order to justify herself for her harshness, she had cruelly slandered her niece, while she affected to pity her misfortunes.

Madame de la Tour, whom no unprejudiced person could have seen without feelings of sympathy and respect, was received with the utmost coolness by Monsieur de la Bourdonnais, biased as he was against her. When she painted to him her own situation and that of her child, he replied in abrupt sentences,—"We will see what can be done—there are so many to relieve—all in good time—why did you displease your aunt?—you have been much to blame."

Madame de la Tour returned to her cottage, her heart torn with grief, and filled with all the bitterness of disappointment. When she arrived she threw her aunt's letter on the table, and exclaimed to her friend, "There is the fruit of eleven years of patient expectation!" Madame de la Tour being the only person in the little circle who could read, she again took up the letter, and read it aloud. Scarcely had she finished, when Margaret exclaimed, "What have we to do with your relations?[8] Has God then forsaken us? He only is our father! Have we not hitherto been happy? Why then this regret? You have no courage." Seeing Madame de la Tour in tears, she threw herself upon her neck, and pressing her in her arms,—"My dear friend!" cried she, "my dear friend!"—but her emotion choked her utterance. At this sight Virginia burst into tears, and pressed her mother's and Margaret's hand alternately to her lips and heart; while Paul, his eyes inflamed with anger, cried, clasping his hands together, and stamping with his foot, not knowing whom to blame for this scene of misery. The noise soon brought Domingo and Mary to the spot, and the little habitation resounded with cries of distress,—"Ah, madam!—My good mistress!—My dear mother!—Do not weep!" These tender proofs of affection at length dispelled the grief of Madame de la Tour. She took Paul and Virginia in her arms, and, embracing them, said, "You are the cause of my affliction, my children, but you are also my only source of delight! Yes, my dear children, misfortune has reached me, but only from a distance: here I am surrounded with happiness." Paul and Virginia did not understand this reflection; but when they saw that she was calm, they smiled, and continued to caress her. Tranquillity was thus restored in this happy family, and all that had passed was but as a storm in the midst of fine weather, which disturbs the serenity of the atmosphere but for a short time, and then passes away.

The amiable disposition of these children unfolded itself daily. One Sunday, at daybreak, their[9] mothers having gone to mass at the church of the Shaddock Grove, the children perceived a negro woman beneath the plantains which surrounded their habitation. She appeared almost wasted to a skeleton, and had no other garment than a piece of coarse cloth thrown around her. She threw herself at the feet of Virginia, who was preparing the family breakfast, and said, "My good young lady, have pity on a poor runaway slave. For a whole month I have wandered among these mountains, half dead with hunger, and often pursued by the hunters and their dogs. I fled from my master, a rich planter of the Black River, who has used me as you see;" and she showed her body marked with scars from the lashes she had received. She added, "I was going to drown myself, but hearing you lived here, I said to myself, Since there are still some good white people in this country, I need not die yet." Virginia answered with emotion,—"Take courage, unfortunate creature! here is something to eat;" and she gave her the breakfast she had been preparing, which the slave in a few minutes devoured. When her hunger was appeased, Virginia said to her,—"Poor woman! I should like to go and ask forgiveness for you of your master. Surely the sight of you will touch him with pity. Will you show me the way?"—"Angel of heaven!" answered the poor negro woman. "I will follow you where you please!" Virginia called her brother and begged him to accompany her. The slave led the way, by winding and difficult paths, through the woods, over mountains, which they[10] climbed with difficulty, and across rivers, through which they were obliged to wade. At length, about the middle of the day, they reached the foot of a steep descent upon the borders of the Black River. There they perceived a well-built house, surrounded by extensive plantations, and a number of slaves employed in their various labours. Their master was walking among them with a pipe in his mouth, and a switch in his hand. He was a tall thin man, of a brown complexion; his eyes were sunk in his head, and his dark eyebrows were joined in one. Virginia, holding Paul by the hand, drew near, and with much emotion begged him, for the love of God, to pardon his poor slave, who stood trembling a few paces behind. The planter at first paid little attention to the children, who he saw, were meanly dressed. But when he observed the elegance of Virginia's form, and the profusion of her beautiful light tresses which had escaped from beneath her blue cap; when he heard the soft tone of her voice, which trembled, as well as her whole frame, while she implored his compassion; he took his pipe from his mouth, and lifting up his stick, swore with a terrible oath, that he pardoned his slave, not for the love of Heaven, but of her who asked his forgiveness. Virginia made a sign to the slave to approach her master; and instantly sprang away followed by Paul.

They climbed up the steep they had descended; and having gained the summit, seated themselves at the foot of a tree, overcome with fatigue, hunger, and thirst. They had left their home fasting, and walked five leagues since sunrise. Paul said to[11] Virginia,—"My dear sister, it is past noon, and I am sure you are thirsty and hungry: we shall find no dinner here; let us go down the mountain again, and ask the master of the poor slave for some food."—"Oh, no," answered Virginia, "he frightens me too much. Remember what mamma sometimes says, 'The bread of the wicked is like stones in the mouth.'"—"What shall we do then?" said Paul; "these trees produce no fruit fit to eat; and I shall not be able to find even a tamarind or a lemon to refresh you."—"God will take care of us," replied Virginia; "he listens to the cry even of the little birds when they ask him for food." Scarcely had she pronounced these words when they heard the noise of water falling from a neighbouring rock. They ran thither, and having quenched their thirst at this crystal spring, they gathered and ate a few cresses which grew on the border of the stream. Soon afterwards, while they were wandering backwards and forwards, in search of more solid nourishment, Virginia perceived in the thickest part of the forest, a young palm-tree. The kind of cabbage which is found at the top of the palm, enfolded within its leaves, is well adapted for food; but, although the stock of the tree is not thicker than a man's leg, it grows to above sixty feet in height. The wood of the tree, indeed, is composed only of very fine filaments; but the bark is so hard that it turns the edge of the hatchet, and Paul was not furnished even with a knife. At length he thought of setting fire to the palm-tree; but a new difficulty occurred: he had no steel with which to[12] strike fire; and although the whole island is covered with rocks, I do not believe it is possible to find a single flint. Necessity, however, is fertile in expedients, and the most useful inventions have arisen from men placed in the most destitute situations. Paul determined to kindle a fire after the manner of the negroes. With the sharp end of a stone he made a small hole in the branch of a tree that was quite dry, and which he held between his feet: he then, with the edge of the same stone, brought to a point another dry branch of a different sort of wood, and, afterwards, placing the piece of pointed wood in the small hole of the branch which he held with his feet and turning it rapidly between his hands, in a few minutes smoke and sparks of fire issued from the point of contact. Paul then heaped together dried grass and branches, and set fire to the foot of the palm-tree, which soon fell to the ground with a tremendous crash. The fire was further useful to him in stripping off the long, thick, and pointed leaves, within which the cabbage was inclosed. Having thus succeeded in obtaining this fruit, they ate part of it raw, and part dressed upon the ashes, which they found equally palatable. They made this frugal repast with delight, from the remembrance of the benevolent action they had performed in the morning: yet their joy was embittered by the thoughts of the uneasiness which their long absence from home would occasion their mothers. Virginia often recurred to this subject; but Paul, who felt his strength renewed by their meal, assured her that it would not[13] be long before they reached home, and, by the assurance of their safety, tranquillized the minds of their parents.

After dinner they were much embarrassed by the recollection that they had now no guide, and that they were ignorant of the way. Paul, whose spirit was not subdued by difficulties, said to Virginia,—"The sun shines full upon our huts at noon: we must pass, as we did this morning, over that mountain with its three points, which you see yonder. Come, let us be moving." This mountain was that of the Three Breasts, so called from the form of its three peaks. They then descended the steep bank of the Black River, on the northern side; and arrived, after an hour's walk, on the banks of a large river, which stopped their further progress. This large portion of the island, covered as it is with forests, is even now so little known that many of its rivers and mountains have not yet received a name. The stream, on the banks of which Paul and Virginia were now standing, rolls foaming over a bed of rocks. The noise of the water frightened Virginia, and she was afraid to wade through the current: Paul therefore took her up in his arms, and went thus loaded over the slippery rocks, which formed the bed of the river, careless of the tumultuous noise of its waters. "Do not be afraid," cried he to Virginia; "I feel very strong with you. If that planter at the Black River had refused you the pardon of his slave, I would have fought with him."—"What!" answered Virginia, "with that great wicked man? To what have I exposed you! Gra[14]cious heaven! how difficult it is to do good! and yet it is so easy to do wrong."

When Paul had crossed the river, he wished to continue the journey carrying his sister: and he flattered himself that he could ascend in that way the mountain of the Three Breasts, which was still at the distance of half a league; but his strength soon failed, and he was obliged to set down his burden, and to rest himself by her side. Virginia then said to him, "My dear brother the sun is going down; you have still some strength left, but mine has quite failed: do leave me here, and return home alone to ease the fears of our mothers."—"Oh no," said Paul, "I will not leave you; if night overtakes us in this wood I will light a fire, and bring down another palm-tree: you shall eat the cabbage, and I will form a covering of the leaves to shelter you." In the mean time, Virginia being a little rested, she gathered from the trunk of an old tree, which overhung the bank of the river some long leaves of the plant called hart's tongue, which grew near its root. Of these leaves she made a sort of buskin, with which she covered her feet, that were bleeding from the sharpness of the stony paths; for in her eager desire to do good, she had forgotten to put on her shoes. Feeling her feet cooled by the freshness of the leaves, she broke off a branch of bamboo, and continued her walk, leaning with one hand on the staff, and with the other on Paul.

They walked on in this manner slowly through the woods; but from the height of the trees, and the[15] thickness of their foliage, they soon lost sight of the mountain of the Three Breasts, by which they had hitherto directed their course, and also of the sun, which was now setting. At length they wandered, without perceiving it, from the beaten path in which they had hitherto walked, and found themselves in a labyrinth of trees, underwood, and rocks, whence there appeared to be no outlet. Paul made Virginia sit down, while he ran backwards and forwards, half frantic, in search of a path which might lead them out of this thick wood; but he fatigued himself to no purpose. He then climbed to the top of a lofty tree, whence he hoped at least to perceive the mountain of the Three Breasts: but he could discern nothing around him but the tops of trees, some of which were gilded with the last beams of the setting sun. Already the shadows of the mountains were spreading over the forests in the valleys. The wind lulled, as is usually the case at sunset. The most profound silence reigned in those awful solitudes, which was only interrupted by the cry of the deer, who came to their lairs in that unfrequented spot. Paul, in the hope that some hunter would hear his voice, called out as loud as he was able,—"Come, come to the help of Virginia." But the echoes of the forest alone answered his call, and repeated again and again, "Virginia—Virginia."

Paul at length descended from the tree, overcome with fatigue and vexation. He looked around in order to make some arrangement for passing the night in that desert; but he could find neither fountain, nor palm-tree, nor even a branch of dry wood[16] fit for kindling a fire. He was then impressed, by experience, with the sense of his own weakness, and began to weep. Virginia said to him,—"Do not weep, my dear brother, or I shall be overwhelmed with grief. I am the cause of all your sorrow, and of all that our mothers are suffering at this moment. I find we ought to do nothing, not even good, without consulting our parents. Oh, I have been very imprudent!"—and she began to shed tears. "Let us pray to God, my dear brother," she again said, "and he will hear us." They had scarcely finished their prayer, when they heard the barking of a dog. "It must be the dog of some hunter," said Paul, "who comes here at night, to lie in wait for the deer." Soon after, the dog began barking again with increased violence. "Surely," said Virginia, "it is Fidele, our own dog: yes,—now I know his bark. Are we then so near home?—at the foot of our own mountain?" A moment after Fidele was at their feet, barking, howling, moaning, and devouring them with caresses. Before they could recover from their surprise, they saw Domingo running towards them. At the sight of the good old negro, who wept for joy, they began to weep too, but had not the power to utter a syllable. When Domingo had recovered himself a little, "Oh, my dear children," said he, "how miserable have you made your mothers! How astonished they were when they returned with me from mass, on not finding you at home! Mary, who was at work at a little distance, could not tell us where you were gone. I ran backwards and forwards in[17] the plantation, not knowing where to look for you. At last I took some of your old clothes, and showing them to Fidele, the poor animal, as if he understood me, immediately began to scent your path; and conducted me, wagging his tail all the while, to the Black River. I there saw a planter, who told me you had brought back a Maroon negro woman, his slave, and that he had pardoned her at your request. But what a pardon; he showed her to me with her feet chained to a block of wood, and an iron collar with three hooks fastened round her neck! After that, Fidele, still on the scent, led me up the steep bank of the Black River, where he again stopped, and barked with all his might. This was on the brink of a spring, near which was a fallen palm-tree, and a fire, still smoking. At last he led me to this very spot. We are now at the foot of the mountain of the Three Breasts, and still four good leagues from home. Come eat, and recover your strength." Domingo then presented them with a cake, some fruit, and a large gourd full of beverage composed of wine, water, lemon-juice, sugar, and nutmeg, which their mothers had prepared to invigorate and refresh them. Virginia sighed at the recollection of the poor slave, and at the uneasiness they had given their mothers. She repeated several times, "Oh, how difficult it is to do good!" While she and Paul were taking refreshments, it being already night, Domingo kindled a fire: and having found among the rocks a particular kind of twisted wood, called bois de ronde, which burns when quite green, and throws out a great blaze, he made a torch of[18] it, which he lighted. But when they prepared to continue their journey, a new difficulty occurred; Paul and Virginia could no longer walk, their feet being violently swollen and inflamed. Domingo knew not what to do; whether to leave them and go in search of help, or remain and pass the night with them on that spot. "There was a time," said he, "when I could carry you both together in my arms! But now you are grown big, and I am grown old." While he was in this perplexity, a troop of Maroon negroes appeared at a short distance from them. The chief of the band, approaching Paul and Virginia, said to them,—"Good little white people, do not be afraid. We saw you pass this morning, with a negro woman of the Black River. You went to ask pardon for her of her wicked master; and we, in return for this, will carry you home upon our shoulders." He then made a sign, and four of the strongest negroes immediately formed a sort of litter with the branches of trees and lianas, and having seated Paul and Virginia on it, carried them upon their shoulders. Domingo marched in front with his lighted torch, and they proceeded amidst the rejoicings of the whole troop, who overwhelmed them with their benedictions. Virginia, affected by this scene, said to Paul, with emotion,—"Oh, my dear brother! God never leaves a good action unrewarded."

It was midnight when they arrived at the foot of their mountain, on the ridges of which several fires were lighted. As soon as they began to ascend, they heard voices exclaiming—"Is it you, my[19] children?" They answered immediately, and the negroes also,—"Yes, yes, it is." A moment after they could distinguish their mothers and Mary coming towards them with lighted sticks in their hands. "Unhappy children," cried Madame de la Tour, "where have you been? what agonies you have made us suffer!"—"We have been," said Virginia, "to the Black River, where we went to ask pardon for a poor Maroon slave, to whom I gave our breakfast this morning, because she seemed dying of hunger; and these Maroon negroes have brought us home." Madame de la Tour embraced her daughter, without being able to speak; and Virginia, who felt her face wet with her mother's tears, exclaimed, "Now I am repaid for all the hardships I have suffered." Margaret, in a transport of delight, pressed Paul in her arms, exclaiming, "And you also, my dear child, you have done a good action." When they reached the cottages with their children, they entertained all the negroes with a plentiful repast, after which the latter returned to the woods praying Heaven to shower down every description of blessing on those good white people.

Every day was to these families a day of happiness and tranquillity. Neither ambition nor envy disturbed their repose. They did not seek to obtain a useless reputation out of doors, which may be procured by artifice and lost by calumny; but were contented to be the sole witnesses and judges of their own actions. In this island, where, as is the case in most colonies, scandal forms the principal topic of conversation, their virtues, and even their names,[20] were unknown. The passer-by on the road to the Shaddock Grove, indeed, would sometimes ask the inhabitants of the plain, who lived in the cottages up there? and was always told, even by those who did not know them, "They are good people." The modest violet thus, concealed in thorny places, sheds all unseen its delightful fragrance around.

Slander, which, under an appearance of justice, naturally inclines the heart to falsehood or to hatred, was entirely banished from their conversation; for it is impossible not to hate men if we believe them to be wicked, or to live with the wicked without concealing that hatred under a false pretence of good feeling. Slander thus puts us ill at ease with others and with ourselves. In this little circle, therefore, the conduct of individuals was not discussed, but the best manner of doing good to all; and although they had but little in their power, their unceasing good-will and kindness of heart made them constantly ready to do what they could for others. Solitude, far from having blunted these benevolent feelings, had rendered their dispositions even more kindly. Although the petty scandals of the day furnished no subject of conversation to them, yet the contemplation of nature filled their minds with enthusiastic delight. They adored the bounty of that Providence, which, by their instrumentality, had spread abundance and beauty amid these barren rocks, and had enabled them to enjoy those pure and simple pleasures, which are ever grateful and ever new.

Paul, at twelve years of age, was stronger and[21] more intelligent than most European youths are at fifteen; and the plantations, which Domingo merely cultivated, were embellished by him. He would go with the old negro into the neighbouring woods, where he would root up the young plants of lemon, orange, and tamarind trees, the round heads of which are so fresh and green, together with date-palm trees, which produce fruit filled with a sweet cream, possessing the fine perfume of the orange flower. These trees, which had already attained to a considerable size, he planted round their little enclosure. He had also sown the seed of many trees which the second year bear flowers or fruit; such as the agathis, encircled with long clusters of white flowers which hang from it like the crystal pendants of a chandelier; the Persian lilac, which lifts high in the air its grey flax-coloured branches; the pappaw tree, the branchless trunk of which forms a column studded with green melons, surmounted by a capital of broad leaves similar to those of the fig-tree.

The seeds and kernels of the gum tree, terminalia, mango, alligator pear, the guava, the bread-fruit tree, and the narrow-leaved rose-apple, were also planted by him with profusion: and the greater number of these trees already afforded their young cultivator both shade and fruit. His industrious hands diffused the riches of nature over even the most barren parts of the plantation. Several species of aloes, the Indian fig, adorned with yellow flowers spotted with red, and the thorny torch thistle, grew upon the dark summits of the rocks, and[22] seemed to aim at reaching the long lianas, which, laden with blue or scarlet flowers, hung scattered over the steepest parts of the mountain.

I loved to trace the ingenuity he had exercised in the arrangement of these trees. He had so disposed them that the whole could be seen at a single glance. In the middle of the hollow he had planted shrubs of the lowest growth; behind grew the more lofty sorts; then trees of the ordinary height; and beyond and above all, the venerable and lofty groves which bordered the circumference. Thus this extensive inclosure appeared, from its centre, like a verdant amphitheatre decorated with fruits and flowers, containing a variety of vegetables, some strips of meadow land, and fields of rice and corn. But, in arranging these vegetable productions to his own taste, he wandered not too far from the designs of Nature. Guided by her suggestions, he had thrown upon the elevated spots such seeds as the winds would scatter about, and near the borders of the springs those which float upon the water. Every plant thus grew in its proper soil, and every spot seemed decorated by Nature's own hand. The streams which fell from the summits of the rocks formed in some parts of the valley sparkling cascades, and in others were spread into broad mirrors, in which were reflected, set in verdure, the flowering trees, the over-hanging rocks, and the azure heavens.

Notwithstanding the great irregularity of the ground, these plantations were, for the most part, easy of access. We had, indeed, all given him our[23] advice and assistance, in order to accomplish this end. He had conducted one path entirely round the valley, and various branches from it led from the circumference to the centre. He had drawn some advantage from the most rugged spots, and had blended, in harmonious union, level walks with the inequalities of the soil, and trees which grow wild with the cultivated varieties. With that immense quantity of large pebbles which now block up these paths, and which are scattered over most of the ground of this island, he formed pyramidal heaps here and there, at the base of which he laid mold, and planted rose-bushes, the Barbadoes flower-fence, and other shrubs which love to climb the rocks. In a short time the dark and shapeless heaps of stones he had constructed were covered with verdure, or with the glowing tints of the most beautiful flowers. Hollow recesses on the borders of the streams shaded by the overhanging boughs of aged trees, formed rural grottoes, impervious to the rays of the sun, in which you might enjoy a refreshing coolness during the mid day heat. One path led to a clump of forest trees, in the centre of which, sheltered from the wind, you found a fruit-tree, laden with produce. Here was a corn-field; there, an orchard; from one avenue you had a view of the cottages; from another, of the inaccessible summit of the mountain. Beneath one tufted bower of gum-trees, interwoven with lianas, no object whatever could be perceived: while the point of the adjoining rock, jutting out from the mountain, commanded a view of the whole inclosure, and of the[24] distant ocean, where, occasionally, we could discern the distant sail, arriving from Europe, or bound thither. On this rock the two families frequently met in the evening, and enjoyed in silence the freshness of the flowers, the gentle murmurs of the fountain, and the last blended harmonies of light and shade.

Nothing could be more charming than the names which were bestowed upon some of the delightful retreats of this labyrinth. The rock of which I have been speaking, whence they could discern my approach at a considerable distance, was called the Discovery of Friendship. Paul and Virginia had amused themselves by planting a bamboo on that spot; and whenever they saw me coming, they hoisted a little white handkerchief, by way of signal at my approach, as they had seen a flag hoisted on the neighbouring mountain on the sight of a vessel at sea. The idea struck me of engraving an inscription on the stalk of this reed; for I never, in the course of my travels, experienced anything like the pleasure in seeing a statue or other monument of ancient art, as in reading a well-written inscription. It seems to me as if a human voice issued from the stone, and, making itself heard after the lapse of ages, addressed man in the midst of a desert, to tell him that he is not alone, and that other men, on that very spot, had felt, and thought, and suffered like himself. If the inscription belongs to an ancient nation, which no longer exists, it leads the soul through infinite space, and strengthens the consciousness of its immortality, by demonstrating that[25] a thought has survived the ruins of an empire. I inscribed then, on the little staff of Paul and Virginia's flag, the following lines of Horace:—

Fratres HelenŠ, lucida sidera,
Ventorumque regat pater,
Obstrictis, aliis, prŠter Iapiga.

"May the brothers of Helen, bright stars like you, and the Father of the winds, guide you; and may you feel only the breath of the zephyr."

There was a gum-tree, under the shade of which Paul was accustomed to sit, to contemplate the sea when agitated by storms. On the bark of this tree, I engraved the following lines from Virgil:—

Fortunatus et ille deos qui novit agrestes!

"Happy art thou, my son, in knowing only the pastoral divinities."

And over the door of Madame de la Tour's cottage, where the families so frequently met, I placed this line:—

At secura quies, et nescia fallere vita.

"Here dwell a calm conscience, and a life that knows not deceit."

But Virginia did not approve of my Latin: she said, that what I had placed at the foot of her flagstaff was too long and too learned. "I should have liked better," added she, "to have seen inscribed, EVER AGITATED, YET CONSTANT."—"Such a motto," I answered, "would have been still more applicable to virtue." My reflection made her blush.

The delicacy of sentiment of these happy families was manifested in everything around them. They[26] gave the tenderest names to objects in appearance the most indifferent. A border of orange, plantain, and rose-apple trees, planted round a green sward where Virginia and Paul sometimes danced, received the name of Concord. An old tree, beneath the shade of which Madame de la Tour and Margaret used to recount their misfortunes, was called the Burial-place of Tears. They bestowed the names of Brittany and Normandy on two little plots of ground, where they had sown corn, strawberries, and peas. Domingo and Mary, wishing, in imitation of their mistresses, to recall to mind Angola and Foullepointe, the places of their birth in Africa, gave those names to the little fields where the grass was sown with which they wove their baskets, and where they had planted a calabash-tree. Thus by cultivating the productions of their respective climates, these exiled families cherished the dear illusions which bind us to our native country, and softened their regrets in a foreign land. Alas! I have seen these trees, these fountains, these heaps of stones, which are now so completely overthrown,—which now, like the desolated plains of Greece, present nothing but masses of ruin and affecting remembrances, all but called into life by the many charming appellations thus bestowed upon them!

But perhaps the most delightful spot of this inclosure was that called Virginia's resting-place. At the foot of the rock which bore the name of the Discovery of Friendship, is a small crevice, whence issues a fountain, forming, near its source, a little spot of marshy soil in the middle of a field of rich[27] grass. At the time of Paul's birth I had made Margaret a present of an Indian cocoa which had been given me, and which she planted on the border of this fenny ground, in order that the tree might one day serve to mark the epoch of her son's birth. Madame de la Tour planted another cocoa with the same view, at the birth of Virginia. These nuts produced two cocoa-trees, which formed the only records of the two families; one was called Paul's tree, the other, Virginia's. Their growth was in the same proportion as that of the two young persons, not exactly equal: but they rose, at the end of twelve years, above the roofs of the cottages. Already their tender stalks were interwoven, and clusters of young cocoas hung from them over the basin of the fountain. With the exception of these two trees, this nook of the rock was left as it had been decorated by nature. On its embrowned and moist sides broad plants of maiden-hair glistened with their green and dark stars; and tufts of wave-leaved hart's tongue, suspended like long ribbons of purpled green, floated on the wind. Near this grew a chain of the Madagascar periwinkle, the flowers of which resemble the red gilliflower; and the long-podded capsicum, the seed-vessels of which are of the color of blood, and more resplendent than coral. Near them, the herb balm, with its heart-shaped leaves, and the sweet basil, which has the odour of the clove, exhaled the most delicious perfumes. From the precipitous side of the mountain hung the graceful lianas, like floating draperies, forming magnificent canopies of verdure on the face of the[28] rocks. The sea-birds, allured by the stillness of these retreats, resorted here to pass the night. At the hour of sunset we could perceive the curlew and the stint skimming along the seashore; the frigate-bird poised high in air; and the white bird of the tropic, which abandons, with the star of day, the solitudes of the Indian ocean. Virginia took pleasure in resting herself upon the border of this fountain, decorated with wild and sublime magnificence. She often went thither to wash the linen of the family beneath the shade of the two cocoa-trees, and thither too she sometimes led her goats to graze. While she was making cheeses of their milk, she loved to see them browse on the maiden-hair fern which clothed the steep sides of the rock, and hung suspended by one of its cornices, as on a pedestal. Paul, observing that Virginia was fond of this spot, brought thither, from the neighbouring forest, a great variety of birds' nests. The old birds following their young, soon established themselves in this new colony. Virginia, at stated times, distributed amongst them grains of rice, millet, and maize. As soon as she appeared, the whistling blackbird, the amadavid bird, whose note is so soft, the cardinal, with its flame-coloured plumage, forsook their bushes; the paroquet, green as an emerald, descended from the neighbouring fan-palms, the partridge ran along the grass; all advanced promiscuously towards her, like a brood of chickens: and she and Paul found an exhaustless source of amusement in observing their sports, their repasts, and their loves.

[29]

Amiable children! thus passed your earlier days in innocence, and in obeying the impulses of kindness. How many times, on this very spot, have your mothers, pressing you in their arms, blessed Heaven for the consolation your unfolding virtues prepared for their declining years, while they at the same time enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing you begin life under the happiest auspices! How many times, beneath the shade of those rocks, have I partaken with them of your rural repasts, which never costs any animal its life! Gourds full of milk, fresh eggs, cakes of rice served up on plantain leaves, with baskets of mangoes, oranges, dates, pomegranates, pine-apples, furnished a wholesome repast, the most agreeable to the eye, as well as delicious to the taste, that can possibly be imagined.

Like the repast, the conversation was mild, and free from everything having a tendency to do harm. Paul often talked of the labours of the day and of the morrow. He was continually planning something for the accommodation of their little society. Here he discovered that the paths were rugged; there, that the seats were uncomfortable: sometimes the young arbours did not afford sufficient shade, and Virginia might be better pleased elsewhere.

During the rainy season the two families met together in the cottage, and employed themselves in weaving mats of grass, and baskets of bamboo. Rakes, spades, and hatchets were ranged along the walls in the most perfect order; and near these instruments of agriculture were heaped its products[30]—bags of rice, sheaves of corn, and baskets of plantains. Some degree of luxury usually accompanies abundance; and Virginia was taught by her mother and Margaret to prepare sherbet and cordials from the juice of the sugar-cane, the lemon and the citron.

When night came, they all supped together by the light of a lamp; after which Madame de la Tour or Margaret related some story of travellers benighted in those woods of Europe that are still infested by banditti; or told a dismal tale of some shipwrecked vessel, thrown by the tempest upon the rocks of a desert island. To these recitals the children listened with eager attention, and earnestly hoped that Heaven would one day grant them the joy of performing the rites of hospitality towards such unfortunate persons. When the time for repose arrived, the two families separated and retired for the night, eager to meet again the following morning. Sometimes they were lulled to repose by the beating of the rains, which fell in torrents upon the roofs of their cottages, and sometimes by the hollow winds, which brought to their ear the distant roar of the waves breaking upon the shore. They blessed God for their own safety, the feeling of which was brought home more forcibly to their minds by the sound of remote danger.

Madame de la Tour occasionally read aloud some affecting history of the Old or New Testament. Her auditors reasoned but little upon these sacred volumes, for their theology centered in a feeling of devotion towards the Supreme Being, like that of nature; and their morality was an active [31]principle, like that of the Gospel. These families had no particular days devoted to pleasure, and others to sadness. Every day was to them a holiday, and all that surrounded them one holy temple, in which they ever adored the Infinite Intelligence, the Almighty God, the friend of human kind. A feeling of confidence in his supreme power filled their minds with consolation for the past, with fortitude under present trials, and with hope in the future. Compelled by misfortune to return almost to a state of nature, these excellent women had thus developed in their own and their children's bosoms the feelings most natural to the human mind, and its best support under affliction.

But, as clouds sometimes arise, and cast a gloom over the best regulated tempers, so whenever any member of this little society appeared to be labouring under dejection, the rest assembled around, and endeavoured to banish her painful thoughts by amusing the mind rather than by grave arguments against them. Each performed this kind office in their own appropriate manner: Margaret, by her gayety; Madame de la Tour, by the gentle consolations of religion; Virginia, by her tender caresses; Paul, by his frank and engaging cordiality. Even Mary and Domingo hastened to offer their succour, and to weep with those that wept. Thus do weak plants interweave themselves with each other, in order to withstand the fury of the tempest.

During the fine season, they went every Sunday to the church of the Shaddock Grove, the steeple of which you see yonder upon the plain. Many wealthy[32] members of the congregation, who came to church in palanquins, sought the acquaintance of these united families, and invited them to parties of pleasure. But they always repelled these overtures with respectful politeness, as they were persuaded that the rich and powerful seek the society of persons in an inferior station only for the sake of surrounding themselves with flatterers, and that every flatterer must applaud alike all the actions of his patron, whether good or bad. On the other hand, they avoided, with equal care, too intimate an acquaintance with the lower class, who are ordinarily jealous, calumniating, and gross. They thus acquired, with some, the character of being timid, and with others, of pride: but their reserve was accompanied with so much obliging politeness, above all towards the unfortunate and the unhappy, that they insensibly acquired the respect of the rich and the confidence of the poor.

After service, some kind office was often required at their hands by their poor neighbours. Sometimes a person troubled in mind sought their advice; sometimes a child begged them to visit its sick mother, in one of the adjoining hamlets. They always took with them a few remedies for the ordinary diseases of the country, which they administered in that soothing manner which stamps a value upon the smallest favours. Above all, they met with singular success in administering to the disorders of the mind, so intolerable in solitude, and under the infirmities of a weakened frame. Madame de la Tour spoke with such sublime confidence of the[33] Divinity, that the sick, while listening to her, almost believed him present. Virginia often returned home with her eyes full of tears, and her heart overflowing with delight, at having had an opportunity of doing good; for to her generally was confided the task of preparing and administering the medicines—a task which she fulfilled with angelic sweetness. After these visits of charity, they sometimes extended their walk by the Sloping Mountain, till they reached my dwelling, where I used to prepare dinner for them on the banks of the little rivulet which glides near my cottage. I procured for these occasions a few bottles of old wine, in order to heighten the relish of our Oriental repast by the more genial productions of Europe. At other times we met on the seashore at the mouth of some little river, or rather mere brook. We brought from home the provisions furnished us by our gardens, to which we added those supplied us by the sea in abundant variety. We caught on these shores the mullet, the roach, and the sea-urchin, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, oysters, and all other kinds of shell-fish. In this way, we often enjoyed the most tranquil pleasures in situations the most terrific. Sometimes, seated upon a rock, under the shade of the velvet sunflower-tree, we saw the enormous waves of the Indian Ocean break beneath our feet with a tremendous noise. Paul, who could swim like a fish, would advance on the reefs to meet the coming billows; then, at their near approach, would run back to the beach, closely pursued by the foaming breakers, which threw themselves, with a roaring[34] noise, far on the sands. But Virginia, at this sight, uttered piercing cries, and said that such sports frightened her too much.

Other amusements were not wanting on these festive occasions. Our repasts were generally followed by the songs and dances of the two young people. Virginia sang the happiness of pastoral life, and the misery of those who were impelled by avarice to cross the raging ocean, rather than cultivate the earth, and enjoy its bounties in peace. Sometimes she performed a pantomime with Paul, after the manner of the negroes. The first language of man is pantomime: it is known to all nations, and is so natural and expressive, that the children of the European inhabitants catch it with facility from the negroes. Virginia, recalling, from among the histories which her mother had read to her, those which had affected her most, represented the principal events in them with beautiful simplicity. Sometimes at the sound of Domingo's tan-tam she appeared upon the green sward, bearing a pitcher upon her head, and advanced with a timid step towards the source of a neighbouring fountain to draw water. Domingo and Mary, personating the shepherds of Midian, forbade her to approach, and repulsed her sternly. Upon this Paul flew to her succour, beat away the shepherds, filled Virginia's pitcher, and placing it upon her head, bound her brows at the same time with a wreath of the red flowers of the Madagascar periwinkle, which served to heighten the delicacy of her complexion. Then joining in their sports, I took upon myself[35] the part of Raguel, and bestowed upon Paul my daughter Zephora in marriage.

Another time Virginia would represent the unhappy Ruth, returning poor and widowed with her mother-in-law, who, after so prolonged an absence, found herself as unknown as in a foreign land. Domingo and Mary personated the reapers. The supposed daughter of Naomi followed their steps, gleaning here and there a few ears of corn. When interrogated by Paul,—a part which he performed with the gravity of a patriarch,—she answered his questions with a faltering voice. He then, touched with compassion, granted an asylum to innocence, and hospitality to misfortune. He filled her lap with plenty; and, leading her towards us as before the elders of the city, declared his purpose to take her in marriage. At this scene, Madame de la Tour, recalling the desolate situation in which she had been left by her relations, her widowhood, and the kind reception she had met with from Margaret, succeeded now by the soothing hope of a happy union between their children, could not forbear weeping; and these mixed recollections of good and evil caused us all to unite with her in shedding tears of sorrow and of joy.

These dramas were performed with such an air of reality that you might have fancied yourself transported to the plains of Syria or of Palestine. We were not unfurnished with decorations, lights, or an orchestra, suitable to the representation. The scene was generally placed in an open space of the forest, the diverging paths from which formed[36] around us numerous arcades of foliage, under which we were sheltered from the heat all the middle of the day; but when the sun descended towards the horizon, its rays, broken by the trunks of the trees, darted amongst the shadows of the forest in long lines of light, producing the most magnificent effect. Sometimes its broad disk appeared at the end of an avenue, lighting it up with insufferable brightness. The foliage of the trees, illuminated from beneath by its saffron beams, glowed with the lustre of the topaz and the emerald. Their brown and mossy trunks appeared transformed into columns of antique bronze; and the birds, which had retired in silence to their leafy shades to pass the night, surprised to see the radiance of the second morning, hailed the star of day all together with innumerable carols.

Night often overtook us during these rural entertainments; but the purity of the air and the warmth of the climate, admitted of our sleeping in the woods, without incurring any danger by exposure to the weather, and no less secure from the molestation of robbers. On our return the following day to our respective habitations, we found them in exactly the same state in which they had been left. In this island, then unsophisticated by the pursuits of commerce, such were the honesty and primitive manners of the population, that the doors of many houses were without a key, and even a lock itself was an object of curiosity to not a few of the native inhabitants.

There were, however, some days in the years[37] celebrated by Paul and Virginia in a more peculiar manner; these were the birthdays of their mothers. Virginia never failed the day before to prepare some wheaten cakes, which she distributed among a few poor white families, born in the island, who had never eaten European bread. These unfortunate people, uncared for by the blacks, were reduced to live on tapioca in the woods; and as they had neither the insensibility which is the result of slavery, nor the fortitude which springs from a liberal education, to enable them to support their poverty, their situation was deplorable. These cakes were all that Virginia had it in her power to give away, but she conferred the gift in so delicate a manner as to add tenfold to its value. In the first place, Paul was commissioned to take the cakes himself to these families, and get their promise to come and spend the next day at Madame de la Tour's. Accordingly, mothers of families, with two or three thin, yellow, miserable looking daughters, so timid that they dared not look up, made their appearance. Virginia soon put them at their ease; she waited upon them with refreshments, the excellence of which she endeavoured to heighten by relating some particular circumstance which, in her own estimation, vastly improved them. One beverage had been prepared by Margaret; another, by her mother: her brother himself had climbed some lofty tree for the very fruit she was presenting. She would then get Paul to dance with them, nor would she leave them till she saw that they were happy. She wished them to partake of[38] the joy of her own family. "It is only," she said, "by promoting the happiness of others, that we can secure our own." When they left, she generally presented them with some little article they seemed to fancy, enforcing their acceptance of it by some delicate pretext, that she might not appear to know they were in want. If she remarked that their clothes were much tattered, she obtained her mother's permission to give them some of her own, and then sent Paul to leave them secretly at their cottage doors. She thus followed the divine precept,—concealing the benefactor, and revealing only the benefit.

Your Europeans, whose minds are imbued from infancy with prejudices at variance with happiness, cannot imagine all the instruction and pleasure to be derived from nature. Your souls, confined to a small sphere of intelligence, soon reach the limit of its artificial enjoyments: but nature and the heart are inexhaustible. Paul and Virginia had neither clock, nor almanack, nor books of chronology, history or philosophy. The periods of their lives were regulated by those of the operations of nature, and their familiar conversation had a reference to the changes of the seasons. They knew the time of day by the shadows of the trees; the seasons, by the times when those trees bore flowers or fruit; and the years, by the number of their harvests. These soothing images diffused an inexpressible charm over their conversation. "It is time to dine," said Virginia, "the shadows of the plantain-trees are at their roots:" or, "Night approaches, the tamarinds[39] are closing their leaves." "When will you come and see us?" inquired some of her companions in the neighbourhood. "At the time of the sugar-canes," answered Virginia. "Your visit will be then still more delightful," resumed her young acquaintances. When she was asked what was her own age and that of Paul,—"My brother," said she, "is as old as the great cocoa-tree of the fountain; and I am as old as the little one: the mangoes have borne fruit twelve times, and the orange-trees have flowered four-and-twenty times, since I came into the world." Their lives seemed linked to that of the trees, like those of Fauns or Dryads. They knew no other historical epochs than those of the lives of their mothers, no other chronology than that of their orchards, and no other philosophy than that of doing good, and resigning themselves to the will of Heaven.

What need, indeed, had these young people of riches or learning such as ours? Even their necessities and their ignorance increased their happiness. No day passed in which they were not of some service to one another, or in which they did not mutually impart some instruction. Yes, instruction; for if errors mingled with it, they were, at least, not of a dangerous character. A pure-minded being has none of that description to fear. Thus grew these children of nature. No care had troubled their peace, no intemperance had corrupted their blood, no misplaced passion had depraved their hearts. Love, innocence, and piety, possessed their souls; and those intellectual graces were unfolding daily[40] in their features, their attitudes, and their movements. Still in the morning of life, they had all its blooming freshness: and surely such in the garden of Eden appeared our first parents, when coming from the hands of God, they first saw, and approached each other, and conversed together, like brother and sister. Virginia was gentle, modest, and confiding as Eve; and Paul, like Adam, united the stature of manhood with the simplicity of a child.

Sometimes, if alone with Virginia, he has a thousand times told me, he used to say to her, on his return from labor,—"When I am wearied, the sight of you refreshes me. If from the summit of the mountain I perceive you below in the valley, you appear to me in the midst of our orchard like a blooming rosebud. If you go towards our mother's house, the partridge, when it runs to meet its young, has a shape less beautiful, and a step less light. When I lose sight of you through the trees, I have no need to see you in order to find you again. Something of you, I know not how, remains for me in the air through which you have passed, on the grass whereon you have been seated. When I come near you, you delight all my senses. The azure of the sky is less charming than the blue of your eyes, and the song of the amadavid bird less soft than the sound of your voice. If I only touch you with the tip of my finger, my whole frame trembles with pleasure. Do you remember the day when we crossed over the great stones of the river of the Three Breasts? I was very tired before we[41] reached the bank: but, as soon as I had taken you in my arms, I seemed to have wings like a bird. Tell me by what charm you have thus enchanted me? Is it by your wisdom?—Our mothers have more than either of us. Is it by your caresses?—They embrace me much oftener than you. I think it must be by your goodness. I shall never forget how you walked barefooted to the Black River, to ask pardon for the poor runaway slave. Here, my beloved, take this flowering branch of a lemon-tree, which I have gathered in the forest: you will let it remain at night near your bed. Eat this honeycomb too, which I have taken for you from the top of a rock. But first lean on my bosom, and I shall be refreshed."

Virginia would answer him,—"Oh, my dear brother, the rays of the sun in the morning on the tops of the rocks give me less joy than the sight of you. I love my mother,—I love yours; but when they call you their son, I love them a thousand times more. When they caress you, I feel it more sensibly than when I am caressed myself. You ask me what makes you love me. Why, all creatures that are brought up together love one another. Look at our birds; reared up in the same nests, they love each other as we do; they are always together like us. Hark! how they call and answer from one tree to another. So when the echoes bring to my ears the air which you play on your flute on the top of the mountain, I repeat the words at the bottom of the valley. You are dear to me more especially since the day when you wanted to fight the master[42] of the slave for me. Since that time how often have I said to myself, 'Ah, my brother has a good heart; but for him, I should have died of terror.' I pray to God every day for my mother and for yours, and for our poor servants; but when I pronounce your name, my devotion seems to increase;—I ask so earnestly of God that no harm may befall you! Why do you go so far, and climb so high, to seek fruits and flowers for me? Have we not enough in our garden already? How much you are fatigued,—you look so warm!"—and with her little white handkerchief she would wipe the damp from his face, and then imprint a tender kiss on his forehead.

For some time past, however, Virginia had felt her heart agitated by new sensations. Her beautiful blue eyes lost their lustre, her cheek its freshness, and her frame was overpowered with a universal languor. Serenity no longer sat upon her brow, nor smiles played upon her lips. She would become all at once gay without cause for joy, and melancholy without any subject for grief. She fled her innocent amusements, her gentle toils, and even the society of her beloved family; wandering about the most unfrequented parts of the plantations, and seeking everywhere the rest which she could nowhere find. Sometimes, at the sight of Paul, she advanced sportively to meet him; but, when about to accost him, was overcome by a sudden confusion; her pale cheeks were covered with blushes, and her eyes no longer dared to meet those of her brother. Paul said to her,—"The rocks are covered with[43] verdure, our birds begin to sing when you approach, everything around you is gay, and you only are unhappy." He then endeavoured to soothe her by his embraces, but she turned away her head, and fled, trembling, towards her mother. The caresses of her brother excited too much emotion in her agitated heart, and she sought, in the arms of her mother, refuge from herself. Paul, unused to the secret windings of the female heart, vexed himself in vain in endeavouring to comprehend the meaning of these new and strange caprices. Misfortunes seldom come alone, and a serious calamity now impended over these families.

One of those summers, which sometimes desolate the countries situated between the tropics, now began to spread its ravages over this island. It was near the end of December, when the sun, in Capricorn, darts over the Mauritius, during the space of three weeks, its vertical fires. The southeast wind, which prevails throughout almost the whole year, no longer blew. Vast columns of dust arose from the highways, and hung suspended in the air; the ground was everywhere broken into clefts; the grass was burnt up; hot exhalations issued from the sides of the mountains, and their rivulets, for the most part, became dry. No refreshing cloud ever arose from the sea: fiery vapours, only, during the day, ascended from the plains, and appeared, at sunset, like the reflection of a vast conflagration. Night brought no coolness to the heated atmosphere; and the red moon rising in the misty horizon, appeared of supernatural magnitude. The[44] drooping cattle, on the sides of the hills, stretching out their necks towards heaven, and panting for breath, made the valleys re-echo with their melancholy lowings: even the Caffre by whom they were led, threw himself upon the earth, in search of some cooling moisture: but his hopes were vain; the scorching sun had penetrated the whole soil, and the stifling atmosphere everywhere resounded with the buzzing noise of insects, seeking to allay their thirst with the blood of men and of animals.

During this sultry season, Virginia's restlessness and disquietude were much increased. One night, in particular, being unable to sleep, she arose from her bed, sat down, and returned to rest again; but could find in no attitude either slumber or repose. At length she bent her way, by the light of the moon, towards her fountain, and gazed at its spring, which, notwithstanding the drought, still trickled, in silver threads down the brown sides of the rock. She flung herself into the basin: its coolness reanimated her spirits, and a thousand soothing remembrances came to her mind. She recollected that in her infancy her mother and Margaret had amused themselves by bathing her with Paul in this very spot; that he afterwards, reserving this bath for her sole use, had hollowed out its bed, covered the bottom with sand, and sown aromatic herbs around its borders. She saw in the water, upon her naked arms and bosom, the reflection of the two cocoa trees which were planted at her own and her brother's birth, and which interwove above her head their green branches and young fruit. She[45] thought of Paul's friendship, sweeter than the odour of the blossoms, purer than the waters of the fountain, stronger than the intertwining palm-tree, and she sighed. Reflecting on the hour of the night, and the profound solitude, her imagination became disturbed. Suddenly she flew, affrighted, from those dangerous shades, and those waters which seemed to her hotter than the tropical sunbeam, and ran to her mother for refuge. More than once, wishing to reveal her sufferings, she pressed her mother's hand within her own; more than once she was ready to pronounce the name of Paul: but her oppressed heart left her lips no power of utterance, and, leaning her head on her mother's bosom, she bathed it with her tears.

Madame de la Tour, though she easily discerned the source of her daughter's uneasiness, did not think proper to speak to her on the subject. "My dear child," said she, "offer up your supplications to God, who disposes at his will of health and of life. He subjects you to trial now, in order to recompense you hereafter. Remember that we are only placed upon earth for the exercise of virtue."

The excessive heat in the mean time raised vast masses of vapor from the ocean, which hung over the island like an immense parasol, and gathered round the summits of the mountains. Long flakes of fire issued from time to time from these mist-embosomed peaks. The most awful thunder soon after re-echoed through the woods, the plains, and the valleys; the rains fell from the skies in cataracts; foaming torrents rushed down the sides of[46] this mountain; the bottom of the valley became a sea, and the elevated platform on which the cottages were built, a little island. The accumulated waters, having no other outlet, rushed with violence through the narrow gorge which leads into the valley, tossing and roaring, and bearing along with them a mingled wreck of soil, trees and rocks.

The trembling families meantime addressed their prayers to God all together in the cottage of Madame de la Tour, the roof of which cracked fearfully from the force of the winds. So incessant and vivid were the lightnings, that although the doors and window-shutters were securely fastened, every object without could be distinctly seen through the joints in the woodwork! Paul, followed by Domingo, went with intrepidity from one cottage to another, notwithstanding the fury of the tempest; here supporting a partition with a buttress, there driving in a stake; and only returning to the family to calm their fears, by the expression of a hope that the storm was passing away. Accordingly, in the evening the rains ceased, the trade-winds of the southeast pursued their ordinary course, the tempestuous clouds were driven away to the northward, and the setting sun appeared in the horizon.

Virginia's first wish was to visit the spot called her Resting-place. Paul approached her with a timid air, and offered her the assistance of his arm; she accepted it with a smile, and they left the cottage together. The air was clear and fresh: white vapours arose from the ridges of the moun[47]tain, which was furrowed here and there by the courses of torrents, marked in foam, and now beginning to dry up on all sides. As for the garden, it was completely torn to pieces by deep water-courses, the roots of most of the fruit-trees were laid bare, and vast heaps of sand covered the borders of the meadows, and had choked up Virginia's bath. The two cocoa trees, however, were still erect, and still retained their freshness; but they were no longer surrounded by turf, or arbours, or birds, except a few amadavid birds, which, upon the points of the neighbouring rocks, were lamenting, in plaintive notes, the loss of their young.

At the sight of this general desolation, Virginia exclaimed to Paul,—"You brought birds hither, and the hurricane has killed them. You planted this garden, and it is now destroyed. Everything then upon earth perishes, and it is only Heaven that is not subject to change."—"Why," answered Paul, "cannot I give you something that belongs to heaven? but I have nothing of my own, even upon the earth." Virginia with a blush replied, "You have the picture of St. Paul." As soon as she had uttered the words, he flew in quest of it to his mother's cottage. This picture was a miniature of Paul the Hermit, which Margaret, who viewed it with feelings of great devotion, had worn at her neck while a girl, and which, after she became a mother, she had placed round her child's. It had even happened, that being, while pregnant, abandoned by all the world, and constantly occupied in contemplating the image of this benevolent recluse,[48] her offspring had contracted some resemblance to this revered object. She therefore bestowed upon him the name of Paul, giving him for his patron a saint who had passed his life far from mankind by whom he had been first deceived and then forsaken. Virginia, on receiving this little present from the hands of Paul, said to him, with emotion, "My dear brother, I will never part with this while I live; nor will I ever forget that you have given me the only thing you have in this world." At this tone of friendship,—this unhoped-for return of familiarity and tenderness, Paul attempted to embrace her; but, light as a bird, she escaped him, and fled away, leaving him astonished, and unable to account for conduct so extraordinary.


[49]

Anna Sewell

SEWELL, ANNA, was the daughter of Mary Sewell, an English authoress of Quaker family. She was born in 1820, and died in 1878. Considering the great fame of her book, Black Beauty, very little has been published in connection with Anna Sewell's life. She is said to have been of a retiring disposition, and to have shunned the literary fame which her charming story brought her. Black Beauty made its first appearance in 1877, and since then has been published in countless editions, some very costly, and others in extremely cheap form. Several editions have been gotten out for the purpose of gratuitous distribution by humane societies. The sale of the book has been enormous, and it has been appropriately called the Uncle Tom's Cabin of animal stories. That a story which purports to be the autobiography of a horse should win and retain such popularity as Black Beauty enjoys, leads one to seek (if any seeking be necessary), for the surviving quality in the book. For animal stories have been many, and among them Black Beauty stands alone. Probably the secret is this,—that its author, by reason of her love for and understanding of horses, was able, with the aid of a powerful imagination, to assume, as well as a human being might, the mental attitude of an intelligent horse. The following selection embodies one of the most interesting incidents of the tale.

BLACK BEAUTY'S NEW HOME

I had now lived in this happy place three years, but sad changes were about to come over us.

We heard from time to time that our mistress was ill. The Doctor was often at the house, and the master looked grave and anxious. Then we heard that she must leave her home at once, and go to a warm country for two or three years. The news fell upon the household like the tolling of a death-bell. Everybody was sorry; but the master began directly to make arrangements for breaking up his[50] establishment and leaving England. We used to hear it talked about in our stable; indeed, nothing else was talked about.

John went about his work, silent and sad, and Joe scarcely whistled. There was a great deal of coming and going; Ginger and I had full work.

The first of the party who went were Miss Jessie and Flora with their governess. They came to bid us good-bye. They hugged poor Merrylegs like an old friend, and so indeed he was. Then we heard what had been arranged for us. Master had sold Ginger and me to his old friend, the Earl of W——, for he thought we should have a good place there. Merrylegs he had given to the Vicar, who was wanting a pony for Mrs. Blomefield, but it was on the condition that he should never be sold, and that when he was past work he should be shot and buried.

Joe was engaged to take care of him and to help in the house, so I thought that Merrylegs was well off. John had the offer of several good places, but he said he should wait a little and look round.

The evening before they left, the master came into the stable to give some directions, and to give his horses the last pat. He seemed very low-spirited; I knew that by his voice. I believe we horses can tell more by the voice than many men can.

"Have you decided what to do, John?" he said. "I find you have not accepted either of those offers."

"No, sir; I have made up my mind that if I could get a situation with some first-rate colt-breaker and[51] horse-trainer, it would be the right thing for me. Many young animals are frightened and spoiled by wrong treatment, which need not be if the right man took them in hand. I always get on well with horses, and if I could help some of them to a fair start I should feel as if I was doing some good. What do you think of it, sir?"

"I don't know a man anywhere," said master, "that I should think so suitable for it as yourself. You understand horses, and somehow they understand you, and in time you might set up for yourself; I think you could not do better. If in any way I can help you, write to me. I shall speak to my agent in London, and leave your character with him."

Master gave John the name and address, and then he thanked him for his long and faithful service; but that was too much for John. "Pray, don't, sir, I can't bear it; you and my dear mistress have done so much for me that I could never repay it. But we shall never forget you, sir, and please God, we may some day see mistress back again like herself; we must keep up hope, sir." Master gave John his hand, but he did not speak, and they both left the stable.

The last sad day had come; the footman and the heavy luggage had gone off the day before, and there were only master and mistress and her maid. Ginger and I brought the carriage up to the Hall door for the last time. The servants brought out cushions and rugs and many other things; and when all were arranged, master came down the steps[52] carrying the mistress in his arms (I was on the side next the house, and could see all that went on); he placed her carefully in the carriage, while the house servants stood round crying.

"Good-bye again," he said; "we shall not forget any of you," and he got in. "Drive on, John."

Joe jumped up, and we trotted slowly through the park and through the village, where the people were standing at their doors to have a last look and to say, "God bless them."

When we reached the railway station, I think mistress walked from the carriage to the waiting-room. I heard her say in her own sweet voice, "Good-bye, John. God bless you." I felt the rein twitch, but John made no answer; perhaps he could not speak. As soon as Joe had taken the things out of the carriage, John called him to stand by the horses, while he went on the platform. Poor Joe! he stood close up to our heads to hide his tears. Very soon the train came puffing up into the station; then two or three minutes, and the doors were slammed to; the guard whistled and the train glided away, leaving behind it only clouds of white smoke and some very heavy hearts.

When it was quite out of sight, John came back.

"We shall never see her again," he said—"never." He took the reins, mounted the box, and with Joe drove slowly home; but it was not our home now.

The next morning after breakfast, Joe put Merrylegs into the mistress' low chaise to take him to the vicarage; he came first and said good-bye to us, and[53] Merrylegs neighed to us from the yard. Then John put the saddle on Ginger and the leading rein on me, and rode us across the country about fifteen miles to Earlshall Park, where the Earl of W——lived. There was a very fine house and a great deal of stabling. We went into the yard through a stone gateway and John asked for Mr. York. It was some time before he came. He was a fine-looking, middle-aged man, and his voice said at once that he expected to be obeyed. He was very friendly and polite to John, and after giving us a slight look he called a groom to take us to our boxes, and invited John to take some refreshment.

We were taken to a light, airy stable, and placed in boxes adjoining each other, where we were rubbed down and fed. In about half an hour John and Mr. York, who was to be our new coachman, came in to see us.

"Now, Mr. Manly," he said, after carefully looking at us both, "I can see no fault in these horses; but we all know that horses have their peculiarities as well as men, and that sometimes they need different treatment. I should like to know if there is anything particular in either of these that you would like to mention."

"Well," said John, "I don't believe there is a better pair of horses in the country, and right grieved I am to part with them, but they are not alike. The black one is the most perfect temper I ever knew; I suppose he has never known a hard word or blow since he was foaled, and all his pleasure seems to be to do what you wish; but the chest[54]nut, I fancy, must have had bad treatment; we heard as much from the dealer. She came to us snappish and suspicious, but when she found what sort of place ours was, it all went off by degrees; for three years I have never seen the smallest sign of temper, and if she is well treated there is not a better, more willing animal than she is. But she has naturally a more irritable constitution than the black horse; flies tease her more; anything wrong in the harness frets her more; and if she were ill-used or unfairly treated she would not be unlikely to give tit for tat. You know that many high-mettled horses will do so."

"Of course," said York, "I quite understand; but you know it is not easy in stables like these to have all the grooms just what they should be. I do my best, and there I must leave it. I'll remember what you have said about the mare."

They were going out of the stable, when John stopped, and said, "I had better mention that we have never used the check-rein with either of them; the black horse never had one on, and the dealer said it was the gag-bit that spoiled the other's temper."

"Well," said York, "if they come here, they must wear the check-rein. I prefer a loose rein myself, and his lordship is always very reasonable about horses; but, my lady—that's another thing; she will have style, and if her carriage horses are not reigned up tight she wouldn't look at them. I always stand out against the gag-bit, and shall do so, but it must be tight up when my lady rides!" [55]

"I am sorry for it, very sorry," said John; "but I must go now, or I shall lose the train."

He came round to each of us to pat and speak to us for the last time; his voice sounded very sad.

I held my face close to him; that was all I could do to say good-bye; and then he was gone, and I have never seen him since.

The next day Lord W——came to look at us; he seemed pleased with our appearance.

"I have great confidence in these horses," he said, "from the character my friend Mr. Gordon has given me of them. Of course they are not a match in colour, but my idea is that they will do very well for the carriage whilst we are in the country. Before we go to London I must try to match Baron; the black horse, I believe, is perfect for riding."

York then told him what John had said about us.

"Well," said he, "you must keep an eye to the mare, and put the check-rein easy; I dare say they will do very well with a little humouring at first. I'll mention it to your lady."

In the afternoon we were harnessed and put in the carriage, and as the stable clock struck three we were led round to the front of the house. It was all very grand, and three or four times as large as the old house at Birtwick, but not half so pleasant, if a horse may have an opinion. Two footmen were standing ready, dressed in drab livery, with scarlet breeches and white stockings. Presently we heard the rustling sound of silk as my lady came down the flight of stone steps. She stepped round to look at us; she was a tall, proud-looking woman,[56] and did not seem pleased about something, but she said nothing, and got into the carriage. This was the first time of wearing a check-rein, and I must say, though it certainly was a nuisance not to be able to get my head down now and then, it did not pull my head higher than I was accustomed to carry it. I felt anxious about Ginger, but she seemed to be quiet and content.

The next day at three o'clock we were again at the door, and the footmen as before; we heard the silk dress rustle, and the lady came down the steps, and in an imperious voice she said: "York, you must put those horses' heads higher; they are not fit to be seen."

York got down, and said very respectfully, "I beg your pardon, my lady, but these horses have not been reined up for three years, and my lord said it would be safer to bring them to it by degrees; but, if your ladyship pleases, I can take them up a little more."

"Do so," she said.

York came round to our heads and shortened the rein himself, one hole, I think; every little makes a difference, be it for better or worse, and that day we had a steep hill to go up. Then I began to understand what I had heard of. Of course I wanted to put my head forward and take the carriage up with a will as we had been used to do; but no, I had to pull with my head up now, and that took all the spirit out of me, and the strain came on my back and legs. When we came in, Ginger said, "Now you see what it is like; but this is not bad, and if it[57] does not get much worse than this I shall say nothing about it, for we are very well treated here; but if they strain me up tight, why, let 'em look out! I can't bear it, and I won't."

Day by day, hole by hole, our bearing-reins were shortened, and instead of looking forward with pleasure to having my harness put on, as I used to do, I began to dread it. Ginger too seemed restless, though she said very little. At last I thought the worst was over; for several days there was no more shortening, and I determined to make the best of it and do my duty, though it was now a constant harass instead of a pleasure; but the worst was not come.

One day my lady came down later than usual, and the silk rustled more than ever.

"Drive to the Duchess of B——'s," she said, and then after a pause, "Are you never going to get those horses' heads up, York? Raise them at once, and let us have no more of this humouring and nonsense."

York came to me first, whilst the groom stood at Ginger's head. He drew my head back and fixed the rein so tight that it was almost intolerable; then he went to Ginger, who was impatiently jerking her head up and down against the bit, as was her way now. She had a good idea of what was coming, and the moment York took the rein off the terret in order to shorten it, she took her opportunity, and reared up so suddenly that York had his nose roughly hit and his hat knocked off; the groom was nearly thrown off his legs. At once they both flew[58] to her head, but she was a match for them, and went on plunging, rearing, and kicking in a most desperate manner; at last she kicked right over the carriage pole and fell down, after giving me a severe blow on my near quarter. There is no knowing what further mischief she might have done, had not York promptly sat himself down flat on her head to prevent her struggling, at the same time calling out, "Unbuckle the black horse! Run for the winch and unscrew the carriage pole! Cut the trace here, somebody, if you can't unhitch it!" One of the footmen ran for the winch, and another brought a knife from the house. The groom soon set me free from Ginger and the carriage, and led me to my box. He just turned me in as I was, and ran back to York. I was much excited by what had happened, and if I had ever been used to kick or rear I am sure I should have done it then; but I never had, and there I stood, angry, sore in my leg, my head still strained up to the terret on the saddle, and no power to get it down. I was very miserable, and felt much inclined to kick the first person who came near me.

Before long, however, Ginger was led in by two grooms, a good deal knocked about and bruised. York came with her and gave his orders, and then came to look at me. In a moment he let down my head.

"Confound these check-reins!" he said to himself; "I thought we should have some mischief soon. Master will be sorely vexed. But here, if a woman's husband can't rule her, of course a ser[59]vant can't; so I wash my hands of it, and if she can't get to the Duchess's garden party I can't help it."

York did not say this before the men; he always spoke respectfully when they were by. Now he felt me all over, and soon found the place above my hock where I had been kicked. It was swelled and painful; he ordered it to be sponged with hot water, and then some lotion was put on.

Lord W——was much put out when he learned what had happened; he blamed York for giving way to his mistress, to which he replied that in future he would much prefer to receive his orders only from his lordship; but I think nothing came of it, for things went on the same as before. I thought York might have stood up better for his horses, but perhaps I am no judge.

Ginger was never put into the carriage again, but when she was well of her bruises one of Lord W——'s younger sons said he should like to have her; he was sure she would make a good hunter. As for me, I was obliged still to go in the carriage, and had a fresh partner called Max; he had always been used to the tight rein. I asked him how it was he bore it.

"Well," he said, "I bear it because I must; but it is shortening my life, and it will shorten yours too, if you have to stick to it."

"Do you think," I said, "that our masters know how bad it is for us?"

"I can't say," he replied, "but the dealers and the horse-doctors know it very well. I was at a dealer's[60] once, who was training me and another horse to go as a pair; he was getting our heads up, as he said, a little higher and a little higher every day. A gentleman who was there asked him why he did so. 'Because,' said he, 'people won't buy them unless we do. The London people always want their horses to carry their heads high and to step high. Of course it is very bad for the horses, but then it is good for trade. The horses soon wear up, or get diseased, and they come for another pair.' That," said Max, "is what he said in my hearing, and you can judge for yourself."

What I suffered with that rein for four long months in my lady's carriage would be hard to describe; but I am quite sure that, had it lasted much longer, either my health or my temper would have given way. Before that, I never knew what it was to foam at the mouth, but now the action of the sharp bit on my tongue and jaw, and the constrained position of my head and throat, always caused me to froth at the mouth more or less. Some people think it very fine to see this, and say, "What fine, spirited creatures!" But it is just as unnatural for horses as for men to foam at the mouth; it is a sure sign of some discomfort, and should be attended to. Besides this, there was a pressure on my windpipe, which often made my breathing very uncomfortable; when I returned from my work, my neck and chest were strained and painful, my mouth and tongue tender, and I felt worn and depressed.

In my old home I always knew that John and[61] my master were my friends; but here, although in many ways I was well treated, I had no friend. York might have known, and very likely did know, how that rein harassed me; but I suppose he took it as a matter of course that could not be helped; at any rate, nothing was done to relieve me.

Early in the spring Lord W——and part of his family went up to London, and took York with them. I and Ginger and some other horses were left at home for use, and the head groom was left in charge.

The Lady Harriet, who remained at the Hall, was a great invalid, and never went out in the carriage, and the Lady Anne preferred riding on horseback with her brother or cousins. She was a perfect horsewoman, and as gay and gentle as she was beautiful. She chose me for her horse, and named me "Black Auster." I enjoyed these rides very much in the clear cold air, sometimes with Ginger, sometimes with Lizzie. This Lizzie was a bright bay mare, almost thoroughbred, and a great favourite with the gentlemen, on account of her fine action and lively spirit; but Ginger, who knew more of her than I did, told me she was rather nervous.

There was a gentleman of the name of Blantyre staying at the Hall; he always rode Lizzie and praised her so much that one day Lady Anne ordered the side-saddle to be put on her, and the other saddle on me. When we came to the door, the gentleman seemed very uneasy.

"How is this?" he said. "Are you tired of your good Black Auster?"

[62]

"Oh, no, not at all," she replied, "but I am amiable enough to let you ride him for once, and I will try your charming Lizzie. You must confess that in size and appearance she is far more like a lady's horse than my own favourite."

"Do let me advise you not to mount her," he said; "she is a charming creature, but she is too nervous for a lady. I assure you, she is not perfectly safe; let me beg you to have the saddles changed."

"My dear cousin," said Lady Anne, laughing, "pray do not trouble your good careful head about me. I have been a horsewoman ever since I was a baby, and I have followed the hounds a great many times, though I know you do not approve of ladies hunting; but still that is the fact, and I intend to try this Lizzie that you gentlemen are all so fond of; so please help me to mount, like a good friend as you are."

There was no more to be said; he placed her carefully on the saddle, looked to the bit and curb, gave the reins gently into her hand, and then mounted me. Just as we were moving off, a footman came out with a slip of paper and message from the Lady Harriet. "Would they ask this question for her at Dr. Ashley's, and bring the answer?"

The village was about a mile off, and the doctor's house was the last in it. We went along gayly enough till we came to his gate. There was a short drive up to the house between tall evergreens. Blantyre alighted at the gate, and was going to open it for Lady Anne, but she said, "I will wait[63] for you here, and you can hang Auster's rein on the gate."

He looked at her doubtfully. "I will not be five minutes," he said.

"Oh, do not hurry yourself; Lizzie and I shall not run away from you."

He hung my rein on one of the iron spikes, and was soon hidden amongst the trees. Lizzie was standing quietly by the side of the road a few paces off, with her back to me. My young mistress was sitting easily with a loose rein, humming a little song. I listened to my rider's footsteps until they reached the house, and heard him knock at the door. There was a meadow on the opposite side of the road, the gate of which stood open; just then, some cart horses and several young colts came trotting out in a very disorderly manner, whilst a boy behind was cracking a great whip. The colts were wild and frolicsome, and one of them bolted across the road, and blundered up against Lizzie's hind legs; and whether it was the stupid colt, or the loud cracking of the whip, or both together, I cannot say, but she gave a violent kick, and dashed off into a head-long gallop. It was so sudden that Lady Anne was nearly unseated, but she soon recovered herself. I gave a loud, shrill neigh for help; again and again I neighed, pawing the ground impatiently, and tossing my head to get the rein loose. I had not long to wait. Blantyre came running to the gate; he looked anxiously about, and just caught sight of the flying figure, now far away on the road. In an instant he sprang to the saddle. I needed no whip,[64] no spur, for I was as eager as my rider; he saw it, and giving me a free rein, and leaning a little forward, we dashed after them.

For about a mile and a half the road ran straight, and then bent to the right, after which it divided into two roads. Long before we came to the bend, she was out of sight. Which way had she turned? A woman was standing at her garden gate, shading her eyes with her hand, and looking eagerly up the road. Scarcely drawing the rein, Blantyre shouted, "Which way?" "To the right!" cried the woman, pointing with her hand, and away we went up the right-hand road; then for a moment we caught sight of her; another bend and she was hidden again. Several times we caught glimpses, and then lost them. We scarcely seemed to gain ground upon them at all. An old road-mender was standing near a heap of stones, his shovel dropped and his hands raised. As we came near he made a sign to speak. Blantyre drew the rein a little. "To the common, to the common, sir; she has turned off there." I knew this common very well; it was for the most part very uneven ground, covered with heather and dark green furze bushes, with here and there a scrubby old thorn-tree; there were also open spaces of fine short grass, with ant-hills and mole-turns everywhere; the worst place I ever knew for a head-long gallop.

We had hardly turned on the common, when we caught sight again of the green habit flying on before us. My lady's hat was gone, and her long brown hair was streaming behind her. Her head[65] and body were thrown back, as if she were pulling with all her remaining strength and as if that strength were nearly exhausted. It was clear that the roughness of the ground had very much lessened Lizzie's speed, and there seemed a chance that we might overtake her.

Whilst we were on the high-road, Blantyre had given me my head; but now, with a light hand and a practiced eye, he guided me over the ground in such a masterly manner that my pace was scarcely slackened, and we were decidedly gaining on them.

About half-way across the heath there had been a wide dike recently cut, and the earth from the cutting was cast up roughly on the other side. Surely this would stop them! But no; with scarcely a pause Lizzie took the leap, stumbled among the rough clods, and fell. Blantyre groaned, "Now, Auster, do your best!" He gave me a steady rein. I gathered myself well together, and with one determined leap cleared both dike and bank.

Motionless among the heather, with her face to the earth, lay my poor young mistress. Blantyre kneeled down and called her name; there was no sound. Gently he turned her face upward; it was ghastly white, and the eyes were closed. "Annie, dear Annie, do speak!" But there was no answer. He unbuttoned her habit, loosened her collar, felt her hands and wrist, then started up and looked wildly round him for help.

At no great distance there were two men cutting turf, who, seeing Lizzie running wild without a rider, had left their work to catch her.

[66]

Blantyre's hallo soon brought them to the spot. The foremost man seemed much troubled at the sight, and asked what he could do.

"Can you ride?"

"Well, sir, I bean't much of a horseman, but I'd risk my neck for Lady Anne; she was uncommon good to my wife in the winter."

"Then mount this horse, my friend—your neck will be quite safe—and ride to the doctor's and ask him to come instantly; then on to the Hall; tell them all that you know, and bid them send me the carriage with Lady Anne's maid and help. I shall stay here."

"All right, sir, I'll do my best, and I pray God the dear young lady may open her eyes soon." Then seeing the other man, he called out, "Here, Joe, run for some water, and tell my missis to come as quick as she can to the Lady Anne."

He then somehow scrambled into the saddle, and with a "Gee up" and a clap on my sides with both his legs, he started on his journey, making a little circuit to avoid the dike. He had no whip, which seemed to trouble him; but my pace soon cured that difficulty, and he found the best thing he could do was to stick to the saddle; and hold me in, which he did manfully. I shook him as little as I could help, but once or twice on the rough ground he called out, "Steady! Woah! Steady!" On the high-road we were all right; and at the doctor's and the Hall he did his errand like a good man and true. They asked him in to take a drop of something. "No, no," he said, "I'll be back to 'em again by[67] a short cut through the fields, and be there afore the carriage."

There was a great deal of hurry and excitement after the news became known. I was just turned into my box; the saddle and bridle were taken off, and a cloth thrown over me.

Ginger was saddled and sent off in great haste for Lord George, and I soon heard the carriage roll out of the yard.

It seemed a long time before Ginger came back, and before we were left alone; and then she told me all that she had seen.

"I can't tell much," she said. "We went a gallop nearly all the way, and got there just as the doctor rode up. There was a woman sitting on the ground with the lady's head in her lap. The doctor poured something into her mouth, but all that I heard was, 'She is not dead.' Then I was led off by a man to a little distance. After a while she was taken to the carriage, and we came home together. I heard my master say to a gentleman who stopped him to inquire, that he hoped no bones were broken, but that she had not spoken yet."

When Lord George took Ginger for hunting, York shook his head; he said it ought to be a steady hand to train a horse for the first season, and not a random rider like Lord George.

Ginger used to like it very much, but sometimes when she came back I could see that she had been very much strained, and now and then she gave a short cough. She had too much spirit to complain, but I could not help feeling anxious about her.

[68]

Two days after the accident, Blantyre paid me a visit: he patted me and praised me very much; he told Lord George that he was sure the horse knew of Annie's danger as well as he did. "I could not have held him in if I would," said he. "She ought never to ride any other horse." I found by their conversation that my young mistress was now out of danger, and would soon be able to ride again. This was good news to me, and I looked forward to a happy life.


[69]

William Shakespeare

[70]

Shakespeare, William, dramatist and poet, was born at Stratford-on-Avon, in England, in April, 1564. Of his early life almost nothing is known. It is believed that he was a student in the Free School of Stratford, and that in his youth he assisted his father in the latter's business, but even of this we are not certain. Neither of his parents could read or write. At the age of eighteen he married Ann Hathaway, who was eight years his senior. Of this marriage only a vague report that it proved uncongenial has come down to us. At about 1587 Shakespeare seems to have gone to London, and two years later he appears as one of the proprietors of the Blackfriars Theatre. In the few years next following he became known as a playwright, and in 1593 he published his first poem. The dates of the publication of his plays are not settled beyond doubt, but the best authorities say that Henry the Sixth, was the first and The Tempest the last, all produced between the years 1589 and 1611. Shakespeare was an actor as well as a writer of plays, and was on the stage until 1603. Two years later, he bought a handsome house at Stratford, where he settled down, enjoying the friendship and respect of his neighbours until his death in 1616. This is practically all that the world knows of the most colossal genius that ever lived. A mist seems to have settled over him almost wholly obscuring his personality from posterity. We know a great deal of all the illustrious contemporaries that surrounded him, for he lived at a time of great men. Yet of Shakespeare nothing is known beyond the foregoing facts. In his works, however, he lives, and will continue to live while written records survive. The name of Shakespeare is so pre-eminently famous, standing out in the firmament of literature like the moon among the lesser stars, that no attempt to convey an idea of his greatness seems either wise or necessary. Volumes have been written about his immortal plays. Lord Macaulay pronounced him the greatest poet that ever lived, and esteemed Othello as the greatest literary work in the world. The following selections from Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice have been taken as coming within the scope of our editorial purpose, and the reader is advised to read in connection with them the stories of the plays from which they are taken, by Charles and Mary Lamb, which are to be found in a preceding volume of this set.

PORTIA AND SHYLOCK

(See Lamb's tale of the Merchant of Venice in a preceding volume.)

Scene I. Venice. A court of justice.

Enter the Duke, the Magnificoes, Antonio, Bassanio, Gratiano, Salerio, and others.

Duke. What, is Antonio here?

Ant. Ready, so please your grace.

Duke. I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
Uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dream of mercy.

Ant.    I have heard
Your grace hath ta'en great pains to qualify
His rigorous course; but since he stands obdurate
And that no lawful means can carry me
Out of his envy's reach, I do oppose
My patience to his fury, and am arm'd
To suffer, with a quietness of spirit,
The very tyranny and rage of his.

Duke. Go one, and call the Jew into the court.

Saler. He is ready at the door: he comes, my lord.

Enter Shylock.

[71]

Duke. Make room, and let him stand before our face.
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but lead'st this fashion of thy maliceTo the last hour of act;v and then 'tis thought
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
And where thou now exact'st the penalty,
Which is a pound of this poor merchant's flesh,
Thou wilt not only loose the forfeiture,
But, touch'd with human gentleness and love,
Forgive a moiety of the principal;
Glancing an eye of pity on his losses,
That have of late so huddled on his back,
Enow to press a royal merchant down
And pluck commiseration of his state
From brassy bosoms and rough hearts of flint.
From stubborn Turks and Tartars, never train'd
To offices of tender courtesy.
We all expect a gentle answer, Jew.

Shy. I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose;
And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn
To have the due and forfeit of my bond:
If you deny it, let the danger light
Upon your charter and your city's freedom.
You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have
A weight of carrion flesh than to receive
Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that:
But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd?
What if my house be troubled with a rat
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet?
Some men there are love not a gaping pig;
Some, that are mad if they behold a cat:
And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose,
[72] Cannot contain their urine: for affection,
Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood
Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer:
As there is no firm reason to be render'd,
Why he cannot abide a gaping pig;
Why he, a harmless necessary cat;
Why he, a swollen bagpipe; but of force
Must yield to such inevitable shame
As to offend, himself being offended;
So can I give no reason, nor I will not,
More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing
I bear Antonio, that I follow thus
A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?

Bass. This is no answer, thou unfeeling man,
To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

Shy. I am not bound to please thee with my answers.

Bass. Do all men kill the things they do not love?

Shy. Hates any man the thing he would not kill?

Bass. Every offence is not a hate at first.

Shy. What, wouldst thou have a serpent sting thee twice?

Ant. I pray you, think you question with the Jew:
You may as well go stand upon the beach
And bid the main flood bate his usual height;
You may as well use question with the wolf
Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;
You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and to make no noise,
When they are fretten with the gusts of heaven;
You may as well do any thing most hard,
[73] As seek to soften that—than which what's harder?—
His Jewish heart; therefore, I do beseech you,
Make no more offers, use no farther means,
But with all brief and plain conveniency.
Let me have judgment and the Jew his will.

Bass. For thy three thousand ducats here is six.

Shy. If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them; I would have my bond.

Duke. How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?

Shy. What judgment shall I dread, doing no wrong?
You have among you many a purchased slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
Because you bought them: shall I say to you,
Let them be free, marry them to your heirs?
Why sweat they under burthens? let their beds
Be made as soft as yours, and let their palates
Be season'd with such viands? You will answer
"The slaves are ours:" so do I answer you:
The pound of flesh, which I demand of him,
Is dearly bought; 'tis mine and I will have it.
If you deny me, fie upon your law!
There is no force in the decrees of Venice.
I stand for judgment: answer; shall I have it?

Duke. Upon my power, I may dismiss this court,
Unless Bellario, a learned doctor,
Whom I have sent for to determine this,
Come here to-day.

Saler.    My lord, here stays without
[74] A messenger with letters from the doctor,
New come from Padua.

Duke. Bring us the letters: call the messenger.

Bass. Good cheer, Antonio! What, man, courage yet!
The Jew shall have my flesh, blood, bones and all,
Ere thou shalt lose for me one drop of blood.

Ant. I am a tainted wether of the flock,
Meetest for death; the weakest kind of fruit
Drops earliest to the ground; and so let me:
You cannot better be employ'd, Bassanio,
Than to live still and write mine epitaph.

Enter NERISSA, dressed like a lawyer's clerk.

Duke. Come you from Padua, from Bellario?

Ner. From both, my lord. Bellario greets your grace.

[Presenting a letter.

Bass. Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?

Shy. To cut the forfeiture from that bankrupt there.

Gra. Not on thy sole, but on thy soul, harsh Jew,
Thou makest thy knife keen; but no metal can,
No, not the hangman's axe, bear half the keenness
Of thy sharp envy. Can no prayer pierce thee?

Shy. No, none that thou hast wit enough to make.

Gra. O, be thou damn'd, inexecrable dog!
And for thy life let justice be accused.
Thou almost makest me waver in my faith
To hold opinion with Pythagoras,
That souls of animals infuse themselves
Into the trunks of men: thy currish spirit
Govern'd a wolf, who, hang'd for human slaughter,
[75]Even from the gallows did his fell soul fleet,
And, whilst thou lay'st in thy unhallow'd dam,
Infused itself in thee; for thy desires
Are wolfish, bloody, starved and ravenous.

Shy. Till thou canst rail the seal from off my bond,
Thou but offend'st thy lungs to speak so loud:
Repair thy wit, good youth, or it will fall
To cureless ruin. I stand here for law.

Duke. This letter from Bellario doth commend
A young and learned doctor to our court.
Where is he?

Ner.    He attendeth here hard by,
To know your answer, whether you'll admit him.

Duke. With all my heart. Some three or four of you
Go give him courteous conduct to this place.
Meantime the court shall hear Bellario's letter.

Clerk. [Reads] Your grace understands that
at the receipt of your letter I am very sick; but in
the instant that your messenger came, in loving visitation
was with me a young doctor of Rome; his
name is Balthasar. I acquainted him with the cause
in controversy between the Jew and Antonio the
merchant: we turned o'er many books together: he
is furnished with my opinion; which, bettered with
his own learning, the greatness whereof I cannot
enough commend, comes with him, at my importunity,
to fill up your grace's request in my stead.
I beseech you, let his lack of years be no impediment
to let him lack a reverend estimation; for I
never knew so young a body with so old a head. I
[76] leave him to your gracious acceptance, whose trial
shall better publish his commendation.

Duke. You hear the learn'd Bellario, what he writes:
And here, I take it, is the doctor come.

Enter PORTIA, dressed like a doctor of laws.

Give me your hand. Come you from old Bellario?

Por. I did, my lord.

Duke. You are welcome; take your place.
Are you acquainted with the difference
That holds this present question in the court?

Por. I am informed thoroughly of the cause.
Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?

Duke. Antonio and old Shylock, both stand forth.

Por. Is your name Shylock?

Shy. Shylock is my name.

Por. Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?

Ant. Ay, so he says.

Por. Do you confess the bond?

Ant. I do.

Por. Then must the Jew be merciful.

Shy. On what compulsion must I? tell me that.

Por. The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
[77] The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of Kings:
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself:
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoken thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

Shy. My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.

Por. Is he not able to discharge the money?

Bass. Yes, here I tender it for him in the court;
Yea, twice the sum: if that will not suffice,
I will be bound to pay it ten times o'er,
On forfeit of my hands, my head, my heart:
If this will not suffice, it must appear
That malice bears down truth. And I beseech you,
Wrest once the law to your authority:
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Por. It must not be: there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established:
'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
And many an error by the same example
Will rush into the state: it cannot be.
[78]

Shy. A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel!
O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!

Por. I pray you, let me look upon the bond.

Shy. Here 'tis, most reverend doctor, here it is.

Por. Shylock, there's thrice thy money offer'd thee.

Shy. An oath, an oath, I have an oath in heaven:
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
No, not for Venice.

Por. Why, this bond is forfeit:
And lawfully by this the Jew may claim
A pound of flesh, to be by him cut off
Nearest the merchant's heart. Be merciful:
Take thrice thy money: bid me tear the bond.

Shy. When it is paid according to the tenor.
It doth appear you are a worthy judge;
You know the law, your exposition
Hath been most sound: I charge you by the law,
Whereof you are a well-deserving pillar,
Proceed to judgment: by my soul I swear
There is no power in the tongue of man
To alter me: I stay here on my bond.

Ant. Most heartily I do beseech the court
To give the judgment.

Por. Why then, thus it is:
You must prepare your bosom for his knife.

Shy. O noble judge! O excellent young man!

Por. For the intent and purpose of the law
Hath full relation to the penalty,
Which here appeareth due upon the bond.

Shy. 'Tis very true: O wise and upright judge!
How much more elder art thou than thy looks!
[79]

Por. Therefore lay bare your bosom.

Shy. Ay, his breast:
So says the bond: doth it not, noble judge?
"Nearest his heart:" those are the very words.

Por. It is so. Are there balance here to weigh
The flesh?

Shy. I have them ready.

Por. Have by some surgeon, Shylock, on your charge,
To stop his wounds, lest he do bleed to death.

Shy. Is it so nominated in the bond?

Por. It is not so express'd: but what of that?
'Twere good you do so much for charity.v

Shy. I cannot find it; 'tis not in the bond.

Por. You, merchant, have you any thing to say?

Ant. But little: I am arm'd and well prepared.
Give me your hand, Bassanio: fare you well!
Grieve not that I am fallen to this for you:
For herein. Fortune shows herself more kind
Than is her custom: it is still her use
To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
An age of poverty; from which lingering penance
Of such misery doth she cut me off.
Commend me to your honourable wife:
Tell her the process of Antonio's end;
Say how I loved you, speak me fair in death;
And, when the tale is told, bid her be judge
Whether Bassanio had not once a love.
Repent not you that you shall lose your friend,
And he repents not that he pays your debt:
[80] For if the Jew do cut but deep enough,
I'll pay it presently with all my heart.

Bass. Antonio, I am married to a wife
Which is as dear to me as life itself;
But life itself, my wife, and all the world,
Are not with me esteem'd above thy life:
I would lose all, ay, sacrifice them all
Here to this devil, to deliver you.

Por. Your wife would give you little thanks for that,
If she were by, to hear you make the offer.

Gra. I have a wife, whom, I protest, I love:
I would she were in heaven, so she could
Entreat some power to change this currish Jew.

Ner. 'Tis well you offer it behind her back;
The wish would make else an unquiet house.

Shy. These be the Christian husbands. I have a daughter;
Would any of the stock of Barabbas
Had been her husband rather than a Christian!
   [Aside.]
We trifle time: I pray thee, pursue sentence.

Por. A pound of that same merchant's flesh is thine:
The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

Shy. Most rightful judge!

Por. And you must cut this flesh from off his breast:
The law allows it, and the court awards it.

Shy. Most learned judge! A sentence! Come prepare!

Por. Tarry a little; there is something else.
[81] This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are "a pound of flesh:"
Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy land and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice.

Gra. O upright judge! Mark, Jew: O learned judge!

Shy. Is that the law?

Por. Thyself shalt see the act:
For as thou urgest justice, be assured
Thou shalt have justice, more than thou desirest.

Gra. O learned judge! Mark, Jew: a learned judge!

Shy. I take this offer, then: pay the bond thrice,
And let the Christian go.

Bass. Here is the money.

Por. Soft!
The Jew shall have all justice; soft! no haste:
He shall have nothing but the penalty.

Gra. O Jew! an upright judge, a learned judge!

Por. Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh.
Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more
But just a pound of flesh: if thou cut'st more
Or less than a just pound, be it but so much
As makes it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest, and all thy goods are confiscate.
[82]

Gra. A second Daniel, a Daniel, Jew!
Now, infidel, I have you on the hip.

Por. Why doth the Jew pause? take thy forfeiture.

Shy. Give me my principal, and let me go.

Bass. I have it ready for thee: here it is.

Por. He hath refused it in the open court:
He shall have merely justice and his bond.

Gra. A Daniel, still say I, a second Daniel!
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.

Shy. Shall I not have barely my principal?

Por. Thou shalt have nothing but the forfeiture,
To be so taken at thy peril, Jew.

Shy. Why, then the devil give him good of it!
I'll stay no longer question.

Por. Tarry, Jew:
The law hath yet another hold on you.
It is enacted in the laws of Venice,
If it be proved against an alien
That by direct or indirect attempts
He seek the life of any citizen,
The party 'gainst the which he doth contrive
Shall seize one half his goods; the other half
Comes to the privy coffer of the state;
And the offender's life lies in the mercy
Of the duke only, 'gainst all other voice.
In which predicament, I say, thou stand'st;
For it appears, by manifest proceeding,
That indirectly and directly too
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
[83] The danger formerly by me rehearsed.
Down therefore, and beg mercy of the duke.

Gra. Beg that thou mayst have leave to hang thyself:
And yet, thy wealth being forfeit to the state,
Thou hast not left the value of a cord;
Therefore thou must be hang'd at the state's charge.

Duke. That thou shalt see the difference of our spirits,
I pardon thee thy life before thou ask it:
For half thy wealth, it is Antonio's;
The other half comes to the general state,
Which humbleness may drive unto a fine.

Por. Ay, for the state, not for Antonio.

Shy. Nay, take my life and all; pardon not that:
You take my house when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house; you take my life
When you do take the means whereby I live.

Por. What mercy can you render him, Antonio?

Gra. A halter gratis; nothing else, for God's sake.

Ant. So please my lord the duke and all the court
To quit the fine for one half of his goods,
I am content; so he will let me have
The other half in use, to render it,
Upon his death, unto the gentleman
That lately stole his daughter:
Two things provided more, that, for this favour,
He presently become a Christian;
The other, that he do record a gift,
Here in the court, of all he dies possess'd,
Unto his son Lorenzo and his daughter.
[84]

Duke. He shall do this, or else I do recant
The pardon that I late pronounced here.

Por. Art thou contented, Jew? what dost thou say?

Shy. I am content.

Por. Clerk, draw a deed of gift.

Shy. I pray you, give me leave to go from hence:
I am not well: send the deed after me,
And I will sign it.

Duke. Get thee gone, but do it.

Gra. In christening shalt thou have two god-fathers:
Had I been judge, thou shouldst have had ten more,
To bring thee to the gallows, not the font.

[Exit Shylock.

Duke. Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.

Por. I humbly do desire your grace of pardon!
I must away this night toward Padua.
And it is meet I presently set forth.

Duke. I am sorry that your leisure serves you not.
Antonio, gratify this gentleman,
For, in my mind, you are much bound to him.

[Exeunt Duke and his train.

Bass. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Have by your wisdom been this day acquitted
Of grievous penalties; in lieu whereof,
Three thousand ducats, due unto the Jew,
We freely cope your courteous pains withal.

Ant. And stand indebted, over and above,
In love and service to you evermore.

Por. He is well paid that is well satisfied;
[85] And I, delivering you, am satisfied,
And therein do account myself well paid:
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
I pray you, know me when we meet again:
I wish you well, and so I take my leave.

Bass. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further:
Take some remembrance of us, as a tribute,
Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you.
Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

Por. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.

[To Ant.] Give me your gloves, I'll wear them for your sake;

[To Bass.] And, for your love, I'll take this ring from you:
Do not draw back your hand: I'll take, no more;
And you in love shall not deny me this.

Bass. This ring, good sir, alas, it is a trifle!
I will not shame myself to give you this.

Por. I will have nothing else but only this;
And now methinks I have a mind to it.

Bass. There's more depends on this than on the value.
The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,
And find it out by proclamation:
Only for this, I pray you, pardon me.

Por. I see, sir, you are liberal in offers:
You taught me first to beg; and now methinks
You teach me how a beggar should be answer'd.

Bass. Good sir, this ring was given me by my wife;
[86] And when she put it on, she made me vow
That I should neither sell nor give nor lose it.

Por. That 'scuse serves many men to save their gifts.
And if your wife be not a mad-woman,
And know how well I have deserved the ring,
She would not hold out enemy forever,
For giving it to me. Well, peace be with you!

[Exeunt Portia and Nerissa.

Ant. My Lord Bassanio, let him have the ring:
Let his deservings and my love withal
Be valued 'gainst your wife's commandment.

Bass. Go, Gratiano, run and overtake him:
Give him the ring, and bring him, if thou canst,
Unto Antonio's house: away! make haste.
[Exit Gratiano.
Come, you and I will hither presently;
And in the morning early will we both
Fly toward Belmont: come, Antonio.    [Exeunt.

ROMEO AND JULIET

(See Lamb's tale of Romeo and Juliet in a preceding volume.)

Scene: Capulet's orchard.

Enter Romeo.

[87]

Rom. He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
[Juliet appears above at a window.
But, soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun,
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks, yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

Jul. Ah, me!

Rom. She speaks:
O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head,
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
[88]

Jul. O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name:
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Rom. [Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?

Jul. 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet:
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Rom. I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Jul. What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
So stumblest on my counsel?

Rom. By a name
I know not how to tell thee who I am:
My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself,
Because it is an enemy to thee;
Had I it written, I would tear the word.

Jul. My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
[89] Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?

Rom. Neither, fair saint, if either thee dislike.

Jul. How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

Rom. With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls;
For stony limits cannot hold love out,
And what love can do that dares love attempt;
Therefore thy kinsmen are no let to me.

Jul. If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

Rom. Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye
Than twenty of their swords: look thou but sweet,
And I am proof against their enmity.

Jul. I would not for the world they saw thee here.

Rom. I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight:
And but thou love me, let them find me here:
My life were better ended by their hate,
Than death prorogued, wanting of thy love.

Jul. By whose direction found'st thou out this place?

Rom. By love, who first did prompt me to inquire:
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the farthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.
[90]

Jul. Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night.
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say "Ay,"
And I will take thy word: yet, if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries,
They say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully;
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse and say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was 'ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Rom. Lady, by yonder blessed moon I swear
That tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops—

Jul. O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

Rom. What shall I swear by?

Jul. Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
[91] Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

Rom. If my heart's dear love—

Jul. Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee.
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say "It lightens." Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

Rom. O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?

Jul. What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

Rom. The exchange of thy love's faithful vow for mine.

Jul. I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

Rom. Wouldst thou withdraw it? for what purpose, love?

Jul. But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have;
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
[Nurse calls within.
I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true,
Stay but a little, I will come again.    [Exit above.

Rom. O blessed, blessed night! I am afeared,[92] Being in night, all this is but a dream, Too flattering sweet to be substantial.

Re-enter Juliet, above.

Jul. Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay,
And follow thee, my lord, throughout the world.

Nurse. [Within] Madam!

Jul. I come, anon.—But if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee—

Nurse. [Within] Madam!

Jul. By and by, I come:—
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:
To-morrow will I send.

Rom. So thrive my soul—

Jul. A thousand times good night!

[Exit above.

Rom. A thousand times the worse, to want thy light.
Love goes toward love, as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.

[Retiring.

Re-enter Juliet, above.

Jul. Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
[93] Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo's name.

Rom. It is my soul that calls upon my name;
How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night,v Like softest music to attending ears!

Jul. Romeo!

Rom. My dear?

Jul. At what o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?

Rom. At the hour of nine.

Jul. I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.

Rom. Let me stand here till thou remember it.

Jul. I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.

Rom. And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget,
Forgetting any other home but this.

Jul. 'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:
And yet no further than a wanton's bird:
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

Rom. I would I were thy bird.

Jul. Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

[Exit above.
[94]

Rom. Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast!
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet to rest!
Hence will I to my ghostly father's cell,
His help to crave, and my dear hap to tell. [Exit.


[95]

Percy Bysshe Shelley

SHELLEY, PERCY BYSSHE, an eminent English poet, was born in Sussex, August 4, 1792. He received his education at Eton and Oxford, but was expelled from the latter in 1811, because of a tract he had written in favour of atheism. Shortly afterward he married Harriet Westbrook, a girl but sixteen years of age. Their married happiness was short-lived, two years being the length of time which the young poet was able to remain true to this early love. On the death of his wife in 1816, he married Mary Wollstonecraft. In 1818 he left England for Italy, where he remained until his death by drowning in the Gulf of Spezia in 1822.

TO A SKYLARK

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher,
From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
[96]
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven
In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden,
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
[97]
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:

Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves:

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass:

Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine;
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
[98]
Chorus hymeneal,
Or triumphal chant,
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,—
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee;
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught:
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
[99]
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.

Better than all measures
Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground.

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

[100]

Robert Southey

Southey, Robert, was born at Bristol, England, in August, 1774. He was educated at Westminster School and at Balliol College, Oxford. After some years of wandering he took up his residence (1803) at Greta Hall, near Keswick, where he continued to live until his death in 1843. In 1813 he was made poet laureate. Although Southey wrote much prose, he is chiefly known as a poet, and his poems are innumerable. His little piece, The Battle of Blenheim, though one of the least pretentious of his works, has been very widely quoted, and is here given for the sake of younger readers.

THE BATTLE OF BLENHEIM

It was a summer's evening;
Old Kaspar's work was done;
And he before his cottage door,
Was sitting in the sun;
And near him sported on the green,
His little grandchild, Wilhelmine:

She saw her brother, Peterkin,
Roll something smooth and round,
Which he, beside the rivulet,
In playing there had found.
He came to ask what he had found,
Which looked so large, and smooth, and round.

[101]

Old Kaspar took it from the lad,
Who stood expecting by—
And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.

"I find them in the garden;
There are many hereabout;
And often, when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out;
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in the great victory."

"Now tell us what it was about,"
Young Peterkin he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looked up,
With wonder-waiting eyes—
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they killed each other for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
"Who put the French to rout;
But what they killed each other for,
I never could find out;
But things like this, you know, must be
In every famous victory.

"My father had a cottage then,
Yon little stream hard by,
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
And had not where to lay his head.
[102]
"They burnt the country all around,
And wasted far and wide,
And many a tender mother then
And new-born infant died;
But things like this, you know, must be,
At every famous victory.

"Great praise the Duke of Marlborough won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"But 'twas a very wicked thing,"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay, nay, my little girl," said he,
"It was a famous victory."
[103]

Robert Louis Stevenson

Stevenson, Robert Louis Balfour. An eminent poet, novelist, essayist, and miscellaneous writer; born in Edinburgh, November 13, 1850; died at Samoa, December 4, 1894. His father and grandfather were famous lighthouse engineers and he was at first intended for the family profession. But he soon gave up the idea and turned to law. After duly qualifying for this calling he was admitted to the bar, but his career as a lawyer was short. Soon he found his true calling in the craft of letters and rapidly found his way into the front rank of contemporary writers, by the beauty and perfection of his style, no less than by a most charming personality, which shone through all he wrote. Some experiences which supplied impulse and material were leisurely trips through Europe by canoe and on foot, a voyage across the Atlantic in an emigrant ship, and, following this, a journey across the American continent in an emigrant train. Four masterpieces of English style followed these experiences—Travels with a Donkey, An Inland Voyage, The Amateur Emigrant and Across the Plains. They are all models of graceful and perfect English. From his childhood, he had drunk deep at the richest wells of English, and from the first his writings showed a distinct individuality and a most subtle art. From early childhood his health was precarious, and having married an American lady (Mrs. Osborne), and sojourned in the Adirondack mountains a year or so in the hope of improving his health, he set sail with his wife and two stepchildren for an extended voyage in the tropical seas. After cruising about for some time, he finally settled in the island of Samoa, where he lived in great happiness and comparative health for five years. Here, among the simple natives who had grown to worship him, and who called him TUSITALA, which, in their language, meant "teller of tales," the greatest writer of his time, and one of the greatest of all time, died on the fourth of December, 1894, in the forty-fifth year of his age. But his books live. And through them shines one of the most winning personalities that mankind has known. If ever a writer was loved, that writer is Stevenson. If ever there was a literary model for young writers to study and emulate, that model is Stevenson. His work stands alone in literature as an illustration of what genius can do when reinforced by infinite pains. Money could not tempt him to write anything commonplace. He did not depend too much on his genius. He was a master of pathos but, like the true literary artist he was, he used it sparingly. There was something about his books which endeared their author to the world. This cannot be explained nor described. When you read Treasure Island or Kidnapped, you are amazed that you can so love an author whom you have never seen. And when you read Will o' the Mill, which is given here, you will feel the same way. Many have not the taste and training to appreciate Stevenson's technique, and to understand and be able to explain why he was such a master. These things can be left to the critics. But one does not need to know much of architecture to appreciate the beauty of a cathedral. And the general run of readers find the greatness of Stevenson in his personal charm. They care but little for the tools he used, and only see the structure which he reared. And leaving aside the question of "style," is it not wonderful that a sick man, far off in some savage island of the south Pacific ocean, could make the whole world love him and feel a personal bereavement in his loss?

[104]

WILL O' THE MILL

THE PLAIN AND THE STARS

The Mill where Will lived with his adopted parents stood in a falling valley between pine-woods and great mountains. Above, hill after hill, soared upwards until they soared out of the depth of the hardiest timber, and stood naked against the sky. Some way up, a long gray village lay like a seam or a rag of vapour on a wooded hillside; and when the wind was favourable, the sound of the church bells would drop down, thin and silvery, to Will. Below, the valley grew ever steeper and steeper, and at the same time widened out on either hand; and from an eminence beside the mill it was possible to see its whole length and away beyond it over a wide plain, where the river turned and shone, and moved on from city to city on its voyage towards the sea. It chanced that over this valley there lay a pass into a neighbouring kingdom; so that, quiet and rural as it was, the road that ran[105] along beside the river was a high thoroughfare between two splendid and powerful societies. All through the summer, travelling-carriages came crawling up, or went plunging briskly downwards past the mill; and as it happened that the other side was very much easier of ascent, the path was not much frequented, except by people going in one direction; and of all the carriages that Will saw go by, five-sixths were plunging briskly downwards and only one-sixth crawling up. Much more was this the case with foot-passengers. All the light-footed tourists, all the pedlars laden with strange wares, were tending downward like the river that accompanied their path. Nor was this all; for when Will was yet a child a disastrous war arose over a great part of the world. The newspapers were full of defeats and victories, the earth rang with cavalry hoofs, and often for days together and for miles around the coil of battle terrified good people from their labours in the field. Of all this, nothing was heard for a long time in the valley; but at last one of the commanders pushed an army over the pass by forced marches, and for three days horse and foot, cannon and tumbril, drum and standard, kept pouring downward past the mill. All day the child stood and watched them on their passage—the rhythmical stride, the pale, unshaven faces tanned about the eyes, the discoloured regimentals and the tattered flags, filled him with a sense of weariness, pity, and wonder; and all night long, after he was in bed, he could hear the cannon pounding and the feet trampling, and the great armament sweeping[106] onward and downward past the mill. No one in the valley ever heard the fate of the expedition, for they lay out of the way of gossip in those troublous times; but Will saw one thing plainly, that not a man returned. Whither had they all gone? Whither went all the tourists and pedlars with strange wares? whither all the brisk barouches with servants in the dicky? whither the water of the stream, ever coursing downward and ever renewed from above? Even the wind blew oftener down the valley, and carried the dead leaves along with it in the fall. It seemed like a great conspiracy of things animate and inanimate; they all went downward, fleetly and gaily downward, and only he, it seemed, remained behind, like a stock upon the wayside. It sometimes made him glad when he noticed how the fishes kept their heads up stream. They, at least, stood faithfully by him, while all else were posting downward to the unknown world.

One evening he asked the miller where the river went.

"It goes down the valley," answered he, "and turns a power of mills—six score mills, they say, from here to Unterdeck—and is none the wearier after all. And then it goes out into the lowlands, and waters the great corn country, and runs through a sight of fine cities (so they say) where kings live all alone in great palaces, with a sentry walking up and down before the door. And it goes under bridges with stone men upon them, looking down and smiling so curious at the water, and living folks leaning their elbows on the wall and looking over[107] too. And then it goes on and on, and down through marshes and sands, until at last it falls into the sea, where the ships are that bring parrots and tobacco from the Indies. Ay, it has a long trot before it as it goes singing over our weir, bless its heart!"

"And what is the sea?" asked Will.

"The sea!" cried the miller. "Lord help us all, it is the greatest thing God made. That is where all the water in the world runs down into a great salt lake. There it lies, as flat as my hand and as innocent-like as a child; but they do say when the wind blows it gets up into water-mountains bigger than any of ours, and swallows down great ships bigger than our mill, and makes such a roaring that you can hear it miles away upon the land. There are great fish in it five times bigger than a bull, and one old serpent as long as our river and as old as all the world, with whiskers like a man, and a crown of silver on her head."

Will thought he had never heard anything like this, and he kept on asking question after question about the world that lay away down the river, with all its perils and marvels, until the old miller became quite interested himself, and at last took him by the hand and led him to the hilltop that overlooks the valley and the plain. The sun was near setting, and hung low down in a cloudless sky. Everything was defined and glorified in golden light. Will had never seen so great an expanse of country in his life; he stood and gazed with all his eyes. He could see the cities, and the woods and fields, and[108] the bright curves of the river, and far away to where the rim of the plain trenched along the shining heavens. An over-mastering emotion seized upon the boy, soul and body; his heart beat so thickly that he could not breathe; the scene swam before his eyes; the sun seemed to wheel round and round, and throw off, as it turned, strange shapes which disappeared with the rapidity of thought, and were succeeded by others. Will covered his face with his hands, and burst into a violent fit of tears; and the poor miller, sadly disappointed and perplexed, saw nothing better for it than to take him up in his arms and carry him home in silence.

From that day forward Will was full of new hopes and longings. Something kept tugging at his heart-strings; the running water carried his desires along with it as he dreamed over its fleeting surface; the wind, as it ran over innumerable tree-tops, hailed him with encouraging words; branches beckoned downward; the open road, as it shouldered round the angles and went turning and vanishing fast and faster down the valley, tortured him with its solicitations. He spent long whiles on the eminence, looking down the river-shed and abroad on the flat low-lands, and watched the clouds that travelled forth upon the sluggish wind and trailed their purple shadows on the plain; or he would linger by the wayside, and follow the carriages with his eyes as they rattled downward by the river. It did not matter what it was; everything that went that way, were it cloud or carriage, bird or brown[109] water in the stream, he felt his heart flow out after it in an ecstasy of longing.

We are told by men of science that all the ventures of mariners on the sea, all that counter-marching of tribes and races that confounds old history with its dust and rumour, sprang from nothing more abstruse than the laws of supply and demand, and a certain natural instinct for cheap rations. To any one thinking deeply, this will seem a dull and pitiful explanation. The tribes that came swarming out of the North and East, if they were indeed pressed onward from behind by others, were drawn at the same time by the magnetic influence of the South and West. The fame of other lands had reached them; the name of the eternal city rang in their ears; they were not colonists, but pilgrims; they travelled towards wine and gold and sunshine, but their hearts were set on something higher. That divine unrest, that old stinging trouble of humanity that makes all high achievements and all miserable failures, the same that spread wings with Icarus, the same that sent Columbus into the desolate Atlantic, inspired and supported these barbarians on their perilous march. There is one legend which profoundly represents their spirit, of how a flying party of these wanderers encountered a very old man shod with iron. The old man asked them whither they were going; and they answered with one voice: "To the Eternal City!" He looked upon them gravely. "I have sought it," he said, "over the most part of the world. Three such pairs [110]as I now carry on my feet have I worn out upon this pilgrimage, and now the fourth is growing slender underneath my steps. And all this while I have not found the city." And he turned and went his own way alone, leaving them astonished.

And yet this would scarcely parallel the intensity of Will's feeling for the plain. If he could only go far enough out there, he felt as if his eyesight would be purged and clarified, as if his hearing would grow more delicate, and his very breath would come and go with luxury. He was transplanted and withering where he was; he lay in a strange country and was sick for home. Bit by bit, he pieced together broken notions of the world below: of the river, ever moving and growing until it sailed forth into the majestic ocean; of the cities, full of brisk and beautiful people, playing fountains, bands of music and marble palaces, and lighted up at night from end to end with artificial stars of gold; of the great churches, wise universities, brave armies, and untold money lying stored in vaults; of the high-flying vice that moved in the sunshine, and the stealth and swiftness of midnight murder. I have said he was sick as if for home: the figure halts. He was like some one lying in twilit, formless pre-existence, and stretching out his hands lovingly towards many-coloured, many-sounding life. It was no wonder he was unhappy, he would go and tell the fish: they were made for their life, wished for no more than worms and running water, and a hole below a falling bank; but he was differently designed, full of desires and aspirations, itching at the fingers, lusting with the eyes, whom the whole variegated world[111] could not satisfy with aspects. The true life, the true bright sunshine, lay far out upon the plain. And O! to see this sunlight once before he died! to move with a jocund spirit in a golden land! to hear the trained singers and sweet church bells, and see the holiday gardens! "And O fish!" he would cry, "if you would only turn your noses down stream, you could swim so easily into the fabled waters and see the vast ships passing over your head like clouds, and hear the great water-hills making music over you all day long!" But the fish kept looking patiently in their own direction, until Will hardly knew whether to laugh or cry.

Hitherto the traffic on the road had passed by Will, like something seen in a picture: he had perhaps exchanged salutations with a tourist, or caught sight of an old gentleman in a travelling cap at a carriage window; but for the most part it had been a mere symbol, which he contemplated from apart and with something of a superstitious feeling. A time came at last when this was to be changed. The miller, who was a greedy man in his way, and never forewent an opportunity of honest profit, turned the mill-house into a little wayside inn, and, several pieces of good fortune falling in opportunely, built stables and got the position of post-master on the road. It now became Will's duty to wait upon people, as they sat to break their fasts in the little arbour at the top of the mill garden; and you may be sure that he kept his ears open, and learned many new things about the outside[112] world as he brought the omelette or the wine. Nay, he would often get into conversation with single guests, and by adroit questions and polite attention, not only gratify his own curiosity, but win the good-will of the travellers. Many complimented the old couple on their serving-boy; and a professor was eager to take him away with him, and have him properly educated on the plain. The miller and his wife were mightily astonished and even more pleased. They thought it a very good thing that they should have opened their inn. "You see," the old man would remark, "he has a kind of talent for a publican; he never would have made anything else!" And so life wagged on in the valley, with high satisfaction to all concerned but Will. Every carriage that left the inn-door seemed to take a part of him away with it; and when people jestingly offered him a lift, he could with difficulty command his emotion. Night after night he would dream that he was awakened by flustered servants, and that a splendid equipage waited at the door to carry him down into the plain; night after night; until the dream, which had seemed all jollity to him at first, began to take on a colour of gravity, and the nocturnal summons and waiting equipage occupied a place in his mind as something to be both feared and hoped for.

One day, when Will was about sixteen, a fat young man arrived at sunset to pass the night. He was a contented-looking fellow, with a jolly eye, and carried a knapsack. While dinner was preparing, he sat in the arbour to read a book; but as soon as he had begun to observe Will, the book was laid[113] aside; he was plainly one of those who prefer living people to people made of ink and paper. Will, on his part, although he had not been much interested in the stranger at first sight, soon began to take a great deal of pleasure in his talk, which was full of good nature and good sense, and at last conceived a great respect for his character and wisdom. They sat far into the night; and about two in the morning Will opened his heart to the young man, and told him how he longed to leave the valley and what bright hopes he had connected with the cities of the plain. The young man whistled, and then broke into a smile.

"My young friend," he remarked, "you are a very curious little fellow to be sure, and wish a great many things which you will never get. Why, you would feel quite ashamed if you knew how the little fellows in these fairy cities of yours are all after the same sort of nonsense, and keep breaking their hearts to get up into the mountains. And let me tell you, those who go down into the plains are a very short while there before they wish themselves heartily back again. The air is not so light nor so pure; nor is the sun any brighter. As for the beautiful men and women, you would see many of them in rags and many of them deformed with horrible disorders; and a city is so hard a place for people who are poor and sensitive that many choose to die by their own hand."

"You must think me very simple," answered Will. "Although I have never been out of this valley, believe me, I have used my eyes. I know how one[114] thing lives on another; for instance, how the fish hangs in the eddy to catch his fellows; and the shepherd, who makes so pretty a picture carrying home the lamb, is only carrying it home for dinner. I do not expect to find all things right in your cities. That is not what troubles me; it might have been that once upon a time; but although I live here always, I have asked many questions and learned a great deal in these last years, and certainly enough to cure me of my old fancies. But you would not have me die like a dog and not see all that is to be seen, and do all that a man can do, let it be good or evil? you would not have me spend all my days between this road here and the river, and not so much as make a motion to be up and live my life?—I would rather die out of hand," he cried, "than linger on as I am doing."

"Thousands of people," said the young man, "live and die like you, and are none the less happy."

"Ah!" said Will, "if there are thousands who would like, why should not one of them have my place?"

It was quite dark; there was a hanging lamp in the arbour which lit up the table and the faces of the speakers; and along the arch, the leaves upon the trellis stood out illuminated against the night sky, a pattern of transparent green upon a dusky purple. The fat young man rose, and, taking Will by the arm, led him out under the open heavens.

"Did you ever look at the stars?" he asked, pointing upwards.

"Often and often," answered Will.

[115]

"And do you know what they are?"

"I have fancied many things."

"They are worlds like ours," said the young man. "Some of them less; many of them a million times greater; and some of the least sparkles that you see are not only worlds, but whole clusters of worlds turning about each other in the midst of space. We do not know what there may be in any of them; perhaps the answer to all our difficulties or the cure of all our sufferings: and yet we can never reach them; not all the skill of the craftiest of men can fit out a ship for the nearest of these our neighbours, nor would the life of the most aged suffice for such a journey. When a great battle has been lost or a dear friend is dead, when we are hipped or in high spirits, there they are unweariedly shining overhead. We may stand down here, a whole army of us together, and shout until we break our hearts, and not a whisper reaches them. We may climb the highest mountain, and we are no nearer them. All we can do is to stand down here in the garden and take off our hats; the starshine lights upon our heads, and where mine is a little bald, I dare say you can see it glisten in the darkness. The mountain and the mouse. That is like to be all we shall ever have to do with Arcturus or Aldebaran. Can you apply a parable?" he added, laying his hand upon Will's shoulder. "It is not the same thing as a reason, but usually vastly more convincing."

Will hung his head a little, and then raised it once more to heaven. The stars seemed to expand and emit a sharper brilliancy; and as he kept turn[116]ing his eyes higher and higher, they seemed to increase in multitude under his gaze.

"I see," he said, turning to the young man. "We are in a rat-trap."

"Something of that size. Did you ever see a squirrel turning in a cage? and another squirrel sitting philosophically over his nuts? I needn't ask you which of them looked more of a fool."

THE PARSON'S MARJORY

After some years the old people died, both in one winter, very carefully tended by their adopted son, and very quietly mourned when they were gone. People who had heard of his roving fancies supposed he would hasten to sell the property, and go down the river to push his fortunes. But there was never any sign of such an intention on the part of Will. On the contrary, he had the inn set on a better footing, and hired a couple of servants to assist him in carrying it on; and there he settled down, a kind, talkative, inscrutable young man, six feet three in his stockings, with an iron constitution and a friendly voice. He soon began to take rank in the district as a bit of an oddity: it was not much to be wondered at from the first, for he was always full of notions, and kept calling the plainest common-sense in question; but what most raised the report upon him was the odd circumstance of his courtship with the parson's Marjory.

The parson's Marjory was a lass about nineteen, when Will would be about thirty; well enough look[117]ing, and much better educated than any other girl in that part of the country, as became her parentage. She held her head very high, and had already refused several offers of marriage with a grand air, which had got her hard names among the neighbours. For all that she was a good girl, and one that would have made any man well contented.

Will had never seen much of her; for although the church and parsonage were only two miles from his own door, he was never known to go there but on Sundays. It chanced, however, that the parsonage fell into disrepair, and had to be dismantled; and the parson and his daughter took lodgings for a month or so, on very much reduced terms, at Will's inn.

Now, what with the inn, and the mill, and the old miller's savings, our friend was a man of substance; and besides that, he had a name for good temper and shrewdness, which make a capital portion in marriage; and so it was currently gossipped, among their ill-wishers, that the parson and his daughter had not chosen their temporary lodging with their eyes shut. Will was about the last man in the world to be cajoled or frightened into marriage. You had only to look into his eyes, limpid and still like pools of water, and yet with a sort of clear light that seemed to come from within, and you would understand at once that here was one who knew his own mind, and would stand to it immovably. Marjory herself was no weakling by her looks, with strong, steady eyes and a resolute and quiet bearing. It might be a question whether she[118] was not Will's match in steadfastness, after all, or which of them would rule the roast in marriage. But Marjory had never given it a thought, and accompanied her father with the most unshaken innocence and unconcern.

The season was still so early that Will's customers were few and far between; but the lilacs were already flowering, and the weather was so mild that the party took dinner under the trellice, with the noise of the river in their ears and the woods ringing about them with the songs of birds. Will soon began to take a particular pleasure in these dinners. The parson was rather a dull companion, with a habit of dozing at table; but nothing rude or cruel ever fell from his lips. And as for the parson's daughter, she suited her surroundings with the best grace imaginable; and whatever she said seemed so pat and pretty that Will conceived a great idea of her talents. He could see her face, as she leaned forward, against a background of rising pinewoods; her eyes shone peaceably; the light lay around her hair like a kerchief; something that was hardly a smile rippled her pale cheeks, and Will could not contain himself from gazing on her in an agreeable dismay. She looked, even in her quietest moments, so complete in herself, and so quick with life down to her finger tips and the very skirts of her dress, that the remainder of created things became no more than a blot by comparison; and if Will glanced away from her to her surroundings, the trees looked inanimate and senseless, the clouds hung in heaven like dead things,[119] and even the mountain tops were disenchanted. The whole valley could not compare in looks with this one girl.

Will was always observant in the society of his fellow-creatures; but his observation became almost painfully eager in the case of Marjory. He listened to all she uttered, and read her eyes, at the same time, for the unspoken commentary. Many kind, simple, and sincere speeches found an echo in his heart. He became conscious of a soul beautifully poised upon itself, nothing doubting, nothing desiring, clothed in peace. It was not possible to separate her thoughts from her appearance. The turn of her wrist, the still sound of her voice, the light in her eyes, the lines of her body, fell in tune with her grave and gentle words, like the accompaniment that sustains and harmonizes the voice of the singer. Her influence was one thing, not to be divided or discussed, only to be felt with gratitude and joy. To Will, her presence recalled something of his childhood, and the thought of her took its place in his mind beside that of dawn, of running water, and of the earliest violets and lilacs. It is the property of things seen for the first time, or for the first time after long, like the flowers in spring, to reawaken in us the sharp edge of sense and that impression of mystic strangeness which otherwise passes out of life with the coming of years; but the sight of a loved face is what renews a man's character from the fountain upwards.

One day after dinner Will took a stroll among the firs; a grave beatitude possessed him from top[120] to toe, and he kept smiling to himself and the landscape as he went. The river ran between the stepping-stones with a pretty wimple; a bird sang loudly in the wood; the hill-tops looked immeasurably high, and as he glanced at them from time to time seemed to contemplate his movements with a beneficent but awful curiosity. His way took him to the eminence which overlooked the plain; and there he sat down upon a stone, and fell into deep and pleasant thought. The plain lay abroad with its cities and silver river; everything was asleep, except a great eddy of birds which kept rising and falling and going round and round in the blue air. He repeated Marjory's name aloud, and the sound of it gratified his ear. He shut his eyes, and her image sprang up before him, quietly luminous and attended with good thoughts. The river might run for ever; the birds fly higher and higher till they touched the stars. He saw it was empty bustle after all; for here, without stirring a foot, waiting patiently in his own narrow valley, he also had attained the better sunlight.

The next day Will made a sort of declaration across the dinner-table, while the parson was filling his pipe.

"Miss Marjory," he said, "I never knew any one I liked so well as you. I am mostly a cold, unkindly sort of man; not from want of heart, but out of strangeness in my way of thinking; and people seem far away from me. 'Tis as if there were a circle round me, which kept every one out but you; I can hear the others talking and laughing;[121] but you come quite close. Maybe, this is disagreeable to you?" he asked.

Marjory made no answer.

"Speak up, girl," said the parson.

"Nay, now," returned Will, "I wouldn't press her, parson. I feel tongue-tied myself, who am not used to it; and she's a woman, and little more than a child, when all is said. But for my part, as far as I can understand what people mean by it, I fancy I must be what they call in love. I do not wish to be held as committing myself; for I may be wrong; but that is how I believe things are with me. And if Miss Marjory should feel any otherwise on her part, mayhap she would be so kind as shake her head."

Marjory was silent, and gave no sign that she had heard.

"How is that, parson?" asked Will.

"The girl must speak," replied the parson, laying down his pipe. "Here's our neighbour who says he loves you, Madge. Do you love him, ay or no?"

"I think I do," said Marjory, faintly.

"Well then, that's all that could be wished!" cried Will, heartily. And he took her hand across the table, and held it a moment in both of his with great satisfaction.

"You must marry," observed the parson, replacing his pipe in his mouth.

"Is that the right thing to do, think you?" demanded Will.

"It is indispensable," said the parson.[122]

"Very well," replied the wooer.

Two or three days passed away with great delight to Will, although a bystander might scarce have found it out. He continued to take his meals opposite Marjory, and to talk with her and gaze upon her in her father's presence; but he made no attempt to see her alone, nor in any other way changed his conduct towards her from what it had been since the beginning. Perhaps the girl was a little disappointed, and perhaps not unjustly; and yet if it had been enough to be always in the thoughts of another person, and so pervade and alter his whole life, she might have been thoroughly contented. For she was never out of Will's mind for an instant. He sat over the stream, and watched the dust of the eddy, and the poised fish, and straining weeds; he wandered out alone into the purple even, with all the blackbirds piping round in the wood; he rose early in the morning, and saw the sky turn from gray to gold, and the light leap upon the hill-tops; and all the while he kept wondering if he had never seen such things before, or how it was that they should look so different now. The sound of his own mill-wheel, or of the wind among the trees, confounded and charmed his heart. The most enchanting thoughts presented themselves unbidden in his mind. He was so happy that he could not sleep at night, and so restless that he could hardly sit still out of her company. And yet it seemed as if he avoided her rather than sought her out.

One day, as he was coming home from a ramble, Will found Marjory in the garden picking[123] flowers, and as he came up with her, slackened his pace and continued walking by her side.

"You like flowers?" he said.

"Indeed I love them dearly," she replied. "Do you?"

"Why, no," said he, "not so much. They are a very small affair, when all is done. I can fancy people caring for them greatly, but not doing as you are just now."

"How?" she asked, pausing and looking up at him.

"Plucking them," said he. "They are a deal better off where they are, and look a deal prettier, if you go to that."

"I wish to have them for my own," she answered, "to carry them near my heart, and keep them in my room. They tempt me when they grow here; they seem to say, 'Come and do something with us,' but once I have cut them and put them by, the charm is laid, and I can look at them with quite an easy heart."

"You wish to possess them," replied Will, "in order to think no more about them. It's a bit like killing the goose with the golden eggs. It's a bit like what I wished to do when I was a boy. Because I had a fancy for looking out over the plain, I wished to go down there—where I couldn't look out over it any longer. Was not that fine reasoning? Dear, dear, if they only thought of it, all the world would do like me; and you would let your flowers alone, just as I stay up here in the mountains." Suddenly he broke off sharp. "By the[124] Lord!" he cried. And when she asked him what was wrong, he turned the question off, and walked away into the house with rather a humorous expression of face.

He was silent at table; and after the night had fallen and the stars had come out overhead, he walked up and down for hours in the courtyard and garden with an uneven pace. There was still a light in the window of Marjory's room: one little oblong patch of orange in a world of dark blue hills and silver starlight. Will's mind ran a great deal on the window; but his thoughts were not very lover-like. "There she is in her room," he thought, "and there are the stars overhead:—a blessing upon both!" Both were good influences in his life; both soothed and braced him in his profound contentment with the world. And what more should he desire with either? The fat young man and his councils were so present to his mind, that he threw back his head, and, putting his hands before his mouth, shouted aloud to the populous heavens. Whether from the position of his head or the sudden strain of the exertion, he seemed to see a momentary shock among the stars, and a diffusion of frosty light pass from one to another along the sky. At the same instant, a corner of the blind was lifted up and lowered again at once. He laughed a loud ho-ho! "One and another!" thought Will. "The stars tremble, and the blind goes up. Why, before Heaven, what a great magician I must be! Now if I were only a fool, should not I be in a pretty way?" And he went[125] off to bed, chuckling to himself: "If I were only a fool!"

The next morning, pretty early, he saw her once more in the garden, and sought her out.

"I have been thinking about getting married," he began abruptly; "and after having turned it all over, I have made up my mind it's not worth while."

She turned upon him for a single moment; but his radiant, kindly appearance would, under the circumstances, have disconcerted an angel, and she looked down again upon the ground in silence. He could see her tremble.

"I hope you don't mind," he went on, a little taken aback. "You ought not. I have turned it all over, and upon my soul there's nothing in it. We should never be one whit nearer than we are just now, and, if I am a wise man, nothing like so happy."

"It is unnecessary to go round about with me," she said. "I very well remember that you refused to commit yourself; and now that I see you were mistaken, and in reality have never cared for me, I can only feel sad that I have been so far misled."

"I ask your pardon," said Will stoutly; "you do not understand my meaning. As to whether I have ever loved you or not, I must leave that to others. But for one thing, my feeling is not changed; and for another, you may make it your boast that you have made my whole life and character something different from what they were. I mean what I say; no less. I do not think getting married is worth while. I would rather you went on living[126] with your father, so that I could walk over and see you once, or maybe twice a week, as people go to church, and then we should both be all the happier between whiles. That's my notion. But I'll marry you if you will," he added.

"Do you know that you are insulting me?" she broke out.

"Not I, Marjory," said he; "if there is anything in a clear conscience, not I. I offer all my heart's best affections; you can take it or want it, though I suspect it's beyond either your power or mine to change what has once been done, and set me fancy-free. I'll marry you, if you like; but I tell you again and again, it's not worth while, and we had best stay friends. Though I am a quiet man I have noticed a heap of things in my life. Trust in me, and take things as I propose; or, if you don't like that, say the word, and I'll marry you out of hand."

There was a considerable pause, and Will, who began to feel uneasy, began to grow angry in consequence.

"It seems you are too proud to say your mind," he said. "Believe me that's a pity. A clean shrift makes simple living. Can a man be more downright or honourable to a woman than I have been? I have said my say, and given you your choice. Do you want me to marry you? or will you take my friendship, as I think best? or have you had enough of me for good? Speak out for the dear God's sake! You know your father told you a girl should speak her mind in these affairs." [127]

She seemed to recover herself at that, turned without a word, walked rapidly through the garden, and disappeared into the house, leaving Will in some confusion as to the result. He walked up and down the garden, whistling softly to himself. Sometimes he stopped and contemplated the sky and hill-tops; sometimes he went down to the tail of the weir and sat there, looking foolishly in the water. All this dubiety and perturbation was so foreign to his nature and the life which he had resolutely chosen for himself, that he began to regret Marjory's arrival. "After all," he thought, "I was as happy as a man need be. I could come down here and watch my fishes all day long if I wanted: I was as settled and contented as my old mill."

Marjory came down to dinner, looking very trim and quiet; and no sooner were all three at table than she made her father a speech, with her eyes fixed upon her plate, but showing no other sign of embarrassment or distress.

"Father," she began, "Mr. Will and I have been talking things over. We see that we have each made a mistake about our feelings, and he has agreed, at my request, to give up all idea of marriage, and be no more than my very good friend, as in the past. You see, there is no shadow of a quarrel, and indeed I hope we shall see a great deal of him in the future, for his visits will always be welcome in our house. Of course, father, you will know best, but perhaps we should do better to leave Mr. Will's house for the present. I believe, after[128] what has passed, we should hardly be agreeable inmates for some days."

Will, who had commanded himself with difficulty from the first, broke out upon this into an inarticulate noise, and raised one hand with an appearance of real dismay, as if he were about to interfere and contradict. But she checked him at once, looking up at him with a swift glance and an angry flush upon her cheek.

"You will perhaps have the good grace," she said, "to let me explain these matters for myself."

Will was put entirely out of countenance by her expression and the ring of her voice. He held his peace, concluding that there were some things about this girl beyond his comprehension, in which he was exactly right.

The poor parson was quite crestfallen. He tried to prove that this was no more than a true lovers' tiff, which would pass off before night; and when he was dislodged from that position, he went on to argue that where there was no quarrel there could be no call for a separation; for the good man liked both his entertainment and his host. It was curious to see how the girl managed them, saying little all the time, and that very quietly, and yet twisting them round her finger and insensibly leading them wherever she would by feminine tact and generalship. It scarcely seemed to have been her doing—it seemed as if things had merely so fallen out—that she and her father took their departure that same afternoon in a farm-cart, and went farther down the valley, to wait, until their own house was ready[129] for them, in another hamlet. But Will had been observing closely, and was well aware of her dexterity and resolution. When he found himself alone he had a great many curious matters to turn over in his mind. He was very sad and solitary, to begin with. All the interest had gone out of his life, and he might look up at the stars as long as he pleased, he somehow failed to find support or consolation. And then he was in such turmoil of spirit about Marjory. He had been puzzled and irritated at her behaviour, and yet he could not keep himself from admiring it. He thought he recognized a fine, perverse angel in that still soul which he had never hitherto suspected; and though he saw it was an influence that would fit but ill with his own life of artificial calm, he could not keep himself from ardently desiring to possess it. Like a man who has lived among shadows and now meets the sun, he was both pained and delighted.

As the days went forward he passed from one extreme to another; now pluming himself on the strength of his determination, now despising his timid and silly caution. The former was, perhaps, the true thought of his heart, and represented the regular tenor of the man's reflections; but the latter burst forth from time to time with an unruly violence, and then he would forget all consideration, and go up and down his house and garden or walk among the firwoods like one who is beside himself with remorse. To equable, steady-minded Will this state of matters was intolerable; and he determined, at whatever cost, to bring it to an end. So,[130] one warm summer afternoon he put on his best clothes, took a thorn switch in his hand, and set out down the valley by the river. As soon as he had taken his determination, he had regained at a bound his customary peace of heart, and he enjoyed the bright weather and the variety of the scene without any admixture of alarm or unpleasant eagerness. It was nearly the same to him how the matter turned out. If she accepted him he would have to marry her this time, which perhaps was all for the best. If she refused him, he would have done his utmost, and might follow his own way in the future with an untroubled conscience. He hoped, on the whole, she would refuse him; and then, again, as he saw the brown roof which sheltered her, peeping through some willows at an angle of the stream, he was half inclined to reverse the wish, and more than half ashamed of himself for this infirmity of purpose.

Marjory seemed glad to see him, and gave him her hand without affectation or delay.

"I have been thinking about this marriage," he began.

"So have I," she answered. "And I respect you more and more for a very wise man. You understood me better than I understood myself; and I am now quite certain that things are all for the best as they are."

"At the same time——" ventured Will.

"You must be tired," she interrupted. "Take a seat and let me fetch you a glass of wine. The afternoon is so warm; and I wish you not to be[131] displeased with your visit. You must come quite often; once a week, if you can spare the time; I am always so glad to see my friends."

"O, very well," thought Will to himself. "It appears I was right after all." And he paid a very agreeable visit, walked home again in capital spirits, and gave himself no further concern about the matter.

For nearly three years Will and Marjory continued on these terms, seeing each other once or twice a week without any word of love between them; and for all that time I believe Will was nearly as happy as a man can be. He rather stinted himself the pleasure of seeing her; and he would often walk half-way over to the parsonage, and then back again, as if to whet his appetite. Indeed there was one corner of the road, whence he could see the church-spire wedged into a crevice of the valley between sloping fir woods, with a triangular snatch of plain by way of background, which he greatly affected as a place to sit and moralize in before returning homewards; and the peasants got so much into the habit of finding him there in the twilight that they gave it the name of "Will o' the Mill's Corner."

At the end of the three years Marjory played him a sad trick by suddenly marrying somebody else. Will kept his countenance bravely, and merely remarked that, for as little as he knew of women, he had acted very prudently in not marrying her himself three years before. She plainly knew very little of her own mind, and, in spite of a deceptive[132] manner, was as fickle and flighty as the rest of them. He had to congratulate himself on an escape, he said, and would take a high opinion of his own wisdom in consequence. But at heart, he was reasonably displeased, moped a good deal for a month or two, and fell away in flesh, to the astonishment of his serving-lads.

It was perhaps a year after this marriage that Will was awakened late one night by the sound of a horse galloping on the road, followed by precipitate knocking at the inn-door. He opened his window and saw a farm servant, mounted and holding a led horse by the bridle, who told him to make what haste he could and go along with him; for Marjory was dying, and had sent urgently to fetch him to her bedside. Will was no horseman, and made so little speed upon the way that the poor young wife was very near her end before he arrived. But they had some minutes' talk in private, and he was present and wept very bitterly while she breathed her last.

DEATH

Year after year went away into nothing, with great explosions and outcries in the cities on the plain; red revolt springing up and being suppressed in blood, battle swaying hither and thither, patient astronomers in observatory towers picking out and christening new stars, plays being performed in lighted theatres, people being carried into hospitals on stretchers, and all the usual turmoil and agitation of men's lives in crowded centres. Up in Will's[133] valley only the winds and seasons made an epoch; the fish hung in the swift stream, the birds circled overhead, the pine-tops rustled underneath the stars, the tall hills stood over all; and Will went to and fro, minding his wayside inn, until the snow began to thicken on his head. His heart was young and vigorous; and if his pulses kept a sober time, they still beat strong and steady in his wrists. He carried a ruddy stain on either cheek, like a ripe apple; he stooped a little, but his step was still firm; and his sinewy hands were reached out to all men with a friendly pressure. His face was covered with those wrinkles which are got in open air, and which, rightly looked at, are no more than a sort of permanent sunburning; such wrinkles heighten the stupidity of stupid faces; but to a person like Will, with his clear eyes and smiling mouth, only give another charm by testifying to a simple and easy life. His talk was full of wise sayings. He had a taste for other people; and other people had a taste for him. When the valley was full of tourists in the season, there were merry nights in Will's arbour; and his views, which seemed whimsical to his neighbours, were often enough admired by learned people out of towns and colleges. Indeed, he had a very noble old age, and grew daily better known; so that his fame was heard of in the cities of the plain; and young men who had been summer travellers spoke together in cafés of Will o' the Mill and his rough philosophy. Many and many an invitation, you may be sure, he had; but nothing could tempt him from his upland valley. He would[134] shake his head and smile over his tobacco-pipe with a deal of meaning. "You come too late," he would answer. "I am a dead man now: I have lived and died already. Fifty years ago you would have brought my heart into my mouth; and now you do not even tempt me. But that is the object of long living, that man should cease to care about life." And again: "There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last." Or once more: "When I was a boy, I was a bit puzzled, and hardly knew whether it was myself or the world that was curious and worth looking into. Now, I know it is myself, and stick to that."

He never showed any symptoms of frailty, but kept stalwart and firm to the last; but they say he grew less talkative towards the end, and would listen to other people by the hour in an amused and sympathetic silence. Only, when he did speak, it was more to the point and more charged with old experience. He drank a bottle of wine gladly; above all, at sunset on the hilltop or quite late at night under the stars in the arbour. The sight of something attractive and unattainable seasoned his enjoyment, he would say; and he professed he had lived long enough to admire a candle all the more when he could compare it with a planet.

One night, in his seventy-second year, he awoke in bed, in such uneasiness of body and mind that he arose and dressed himself and went out to meditate in the arbour. It was pitch dark, without a star; the river was swollen, and the wet woods and[135] meadows loaded the air with perfume. It had thundered during the day, and it promised more thunder for the morrow. A murky, stifling night for a man of seventy-two! Whether it was the weather or the wakefulness, or some little touch of fever in his old limbs, Will's mind was besieged by tumultuous and crying memories. His boyhood, the night with the fat young man, the death of his adopted parents, the summer days with Marjory, and many of those small circumstances, which seem nothing to another, and are yet the very gist of a man's own life to himself—things seen, words heard, looks misconstrued—arose from their forgotten corners and usurped his attention. The dead themselves were with him, not merely taking part in this thin show of memory that defiled before his brain, but revisiting his bodily senses as they do in profound and vivid dreams. The fat young man leaned his elbows on the table opposite; Marjory came and went with an apronful of flowers between the garden and the arbour; he could hear the old parson knocking out his pipe or blowing his resonant nose. The tide of his consciousness ebbed and flowed: he was sometimes half-asleep and drowned in his recollections of the past; and sometimes he was broad awake, wondering at himself. But about the middle of the night he was startled by the voice of the dead miller calling to him out of the house as he used to do on the arrival of custom. The hallucination was so perfect that Will sprang from his seat and stood listening for the summons to be repeated; and as he listened he became conscious of[136] another noise besides the brawling of the river and the ringing in his feverish ears. It was like the stir of the horses and the creaking of harness, as though a carriage with an impatient team had been brought up upon the road before the courtyard gate. At such an hour, upon this rough and dangerous pass, the supposition was no better than absurd; and Will dismissed it from his mind, and resumed his seat upon the arbour chair; and sleep closed over him again like running water. He was once again awakened by the dead miller's call, thinner and more spectral than before; and once again he heard the noise of an equipage upon the road. And so thrice and four times, the same dream, or the same fancy, presented itself to his senses: until at length, smiling to himself as when one humours a nervous child, he proceeded towards the gate to set his uncertainty at rest.

From the arbour to the gate was no great distance, and yet it took Will some time; it seemed as if the dead thickened around him in the court, and crossed his path at every step. For, first, he was suddenly surprised by an overpowering sweetness of heliotropes; it was as if his garden had been planted with this flower from end to end, and the hot, damp night had drawn forth all their perfumes in a breath. Now the heliotrope had been Marjory's favourite flower, and since her death not one of them had ever been planted in Will's ground.

"I must be going crazy," he thought. "Poor Marjory and her heliotropes!"

And with that he raised his eyes towards the win[137]dow that had once been hers. If he had been bewildered before, he was now almost terrified; for there was a light in the room; the window was an orange oblong as of yore; and the corner of the blind was lifted and let fall as on the night when he stood and shouted to the stars in his perplexity. The illusion only endured an instant; but it left him somewhat unmanned, rubbing his eyes and staring at the outline of the house and the black night behind it. While he thus stood, and it seemed as if he must have stood there quite a long time, there came a renewal of the noises on the road; and he turned in time to meet a stranger, who was advancing to meet him across the court. There was something like the outline of a great carriage discernible on the road behind the stranger, and, above that, a few black pine-tops, like so many plumes.

"Master Will?" asked the new-comer, in brief military fashion.

"That same, sir," answered Will. "Can I do anything to serve you?"

"I have heard you much spoken of, Master Will," returned the other; "much spoken of, and well. And though I have both hands full of business, I wish to drink a bottle of wine with you in your arbour. Before I go, I shall introduce myself."

Will led the way to the trellis, and got a lamp lighted and a bottle uncorked. He was not altogether unused to such complimentary interviews, and hoped little enough from this one, being schooled by many disappointments. A sort of cloud had settled on his wits and prevented him from re[138]membering the strangeness of the hour. He moved like a person in his sleep; and it seemed as if the lamp caught fire and the bottle came uncorked with the facility of thought. Still, he had some curiosity about the appearance of his visitor, and tried in vain to turn the light into his face; either he handled the lamp clumsily, or there was a dimness over his eyes, but he could make out little more than a shadow at table with him. He stared and stared at this shadow, as he wiped out the glasses, and began to feel cold and strange about the heart. The silence weighed upon him, for he could hear nothing now, not even the river, but the drumming of his own arteries in his ears.

"Here's to you," said the stranger roughly.

"Here is my service, sir," replied Will, sipping his wine, which somehow tasted oddly.

"I understand you are a very positive fellow," pursued the stranger.

Will made answer with a smile of some satisfaction and a little nod.

"So am I," continued the other; "and it is the delight of my heart to tramp on people's corns. I will have nobody positive but myself; not one. I have crossed the whims, in my time, of kings and generals and great artists. And what would you say," he went on, "if I had come up here on purpose to cross yours?"

Will had it on his tongue to make a sharp rejoinder; but the politeness of an old innkeeper prevailed; and he held his peace and made answer with a civil gesture of the hand.

[139]

"I have," said the stranger. "And if I did not hold you in a particular esteem I should make no words about the matter. It appears you pride yourself on staying where you are. You mean to stick by your inn. Now I mean you shall come for a turn with me in my barouche; and before this bottle's empty, so you shall."

"That would be an odd thing, to be sure," replied Will, with a chuckle. "Why, sir, I have grown here like an old oak-tree; the Devil himself could hardly root me up: and for all I perceive you are a very entertaining old gentleman, I would wager you another bottle you lose your pains with me."

The dimness of Will's eyesight had been increasing all this while; but he was somehow conscious of a sharp and chilling scrutiny which irritated and yet overmastered him.

"You need not think," he broke out suddenly, in an explosive, febrile manner that startled and alarmed himself, "that I am a stay-at-home, because I fear anything under God. God knows I am tired enough of it all; and when the times comes for a longer journey than ever you dream of, I reckon I shall find myself prepared."

The stranger emptied his glass and pushed it away from him. He looked down for a little, and then, leaning over the table, tapped Will three times upon the forearm with a single finger. "The time has come!" he said solemnly.

An ugly thrill spread from the spot he touched. The tones of his voice were dull and startling, and echoed strangely in Will's heart.

[140]

"I beg your pardon," he said, with some discomposure. "What do you mean?"

"Look at me, and you will find your eyesight swim. Raise your hand; it is dead-heavy. This is your last bottle of wine, Master Will, and your last night upon the earth."

"You are a doctor?" quavered Will.

"The best that ever was," replied the other; "for I cure both mind and body with the same prescription. I take away all pain and I forgive all sins; and where my patients have gone wrong in life, I smooth out all complications and set them free again upon their feet."

"I have no need of you," said Will.

"A time comes for all men, Master Will," replied the doctor, "when the helm is taken out of their hands. For you, because you were prudent and quiet, it has been long of coming, and you have had long to discipline yourself for its reception. You have seen what is to be seen about your mill; you have sat close all your days like a hare in its form; but now that is at an end; and," added the doctor, getting on his feet, "you must arise and come with me."

"You are a strange physician," said Will, looking steadfastly upon his guest.

"I am a natural law," he replied, "and people call me Death."

"Why did you not tell me so at first?" cried Will. "I have been waiting for you these many years. Give me your hand, and welcome."

"Lean upon my arm," said the stranger, "for[141] already your strength abates. Lean on me heavily as you need; for though I am old, I am very strong. It is but three steps to my carriage, and there all your trouble ends. Why, Will," he added, "I have been yearning for you as if you were my own son; and of all the men that ever I came for in my long days, I have come for you most gladly. I am caustic, and sometimes offend people at first sight; but I am a good friend at heart to such as you."

"Since Marjory was taken," returned Will, "I declare before God you were the only friend I had to look for."

So the pair went arm-in-arm across the courtyard.

One of the servants awoke about this time and heard the noise of horses pawing before he dropped asleep again; all down the valley that night there was a rushing as of a smooth and steady wind descending towards the plain; and when the world rose next morning, sure enough Will o' the Mill had gone at last upon his travels.

AN APOLOGY FOR IDLERS

"Boswell: We grow weary when idle,"
"Johnson: That is, because others being busy, we want company; but if we were idle, there would be no growing weary; we should all entertain one another."

Just now, when every one is bound, under pain of a decree in absence convicting them of lése-re[142]spectability, to enter on some lucrative profession, and labour therein with something not far short of enthusiasm, a cry from the opposite party who are content when they have enough, and like to look on and enjoy in the meanwhile, savours a little of bravado and gasconade. And yet this should not be. Idleness, so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognized in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself. It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do. A fine fellow (as we see so many) takes his determination, votes for the sixpences, and in the emphatic Americanism, "goes for" them. And while such an one is ploughing distressfully up the road, it is not hard to understand his resentment, when he perceives cool persons in the meadows by the wayside, lying with a handkerchief over their ears and a glass at their elbow. Alexander is touched in a very delicate place by the disregard of Diogenes. Where was the glory of having taken Rome for these tumultuous barbarians, who poured into the Senate house, and found the Fathers sitting silent and unmoved by their success? It is a sore thing to have laboured along and scaled the arduous hilltops, and when all is done, find humanity indifferent to your achievement.

Hence physicists condemn the unphysical; financiers have only a superficial toleration for those who know little of stocks; literary persons despise[143] the unlettered; and people of all pursuits combine to disparage those who have none.

But though this is one difficulty of the subject, it is not the greatest. You could not be put in prison for speaking against industry, but you can be sent to Coventry for speaking like a fool. The greatest difficulty with most subjects is to do them well; therefore, please to remember this is an apology. It is certain that much may be judiciously argued in favour of diligence; only there is something to be said against it, and that is what, on the present occasion, I have to say. To state one argument is not necessarily to be deaf to all others, and that a man has written a book of travels in Montenegro, is no reason why he should never have been to Richmond.

It is surely beyond a doubt that people should be a good deal idle in youth. For though here and there a Lord Macaulay may escape from school honours with all his wits about him, most boys pay so dear for their medals that they never afterwards have a shot in their locker, and begin the world bankrupt. And the same holds true during all the time a lad is educating himself, or suffering others to educate him. It must have been a very foolish old gentleman who addressed Johnson at Oxford in these words: "Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come upon you, you will find that poring upon books will be but an irksome task." The old gentleman seems to have been unaware that many other things besides reading grow irksome,[144] and not a few become impossible, by the time a man has to use spectacles and cannot walk without a stick. Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life. It seems a pity to sit, like the Lady of Shalott, peering into a mirror, with your back turned on all the bustle and glamour of reality. And if a man reads very hard, as the old anecdote reminds us, he will have little time for thought.

If you look back on your own education, I am sure it will not be the full, vivid, instructive hours of truantry that you regret; you would rather cancel some lack-lustre periods between sleep and waking in the class. For my own part I have attended a good many lectures in my time. I still remember that the spinning of a top is a case of Kinetic Stability. I still remember that Emphyteusis is not a disease, nor Stillicide a crime. But though I would not willingly part with such scraps of science, I do not set the same store by them as by certain other odds and ends that I came by in the open street while I was playing truant. This is not the moment to dilate on that mighty place of education, which was the favourite school of Dickens and of Balzac, and turns out yearly many inglorious masters in the Science of the Aspects of Life. Suffice it to say this: if a lad does not learn in the streets, it is because he has no faculty of learning. Nor is the truant always in the streets, for if he prefers, he may go out by the gardened suburbs into the country. He may pitch on some tuft of lilacs over a burn, and smoke innumerable pipes to the tune of[145] the water on the stones. A bird will sing in the thicket. And there he may fall into a vein of kindly thought, and see things in a new perspective. Why, if this be not education, what is? We may conceive Mr. Worldly Wiseman accosting such an one, and the conversation that should thereupon ensue:—

"How now, young fellow, what dost thou here?"

"Truly, sir, I take mine ease."

"Is not this the hour of the class? and should'st thou not be plying thy Book with diligence, to the end thou mayest obtain knowledge?"

"Nay, but thus also I follow after Learning, by your leave."

"Learning, quotha! After what fashion, I pray thee? Is it mathematics?"

"No, to be sure."

"Is it metaphysics?"

"Nor that."

"Is it some language?"

"Nay, it is no language."

"Is it a trade?"

"Nor a trade neither."

"Why, then, what is't?"

"Indeed, sir, as a time may soon come for me to go upon Pilgrimage, I am desirous to note what is commonly done by persons in my case, and where are the ugliest Sloughs and Thickets on the Road; as also, what manner of Staff is of the best service. Moreover, I lie here, by this water, to learn by root-of-heart a lesson which my master teaches me to call Peace, or Contentment."

Hereupon Mr. Worldly Wiseman was much com[146]moved with passion, and shaking his cane with a very threatful countenance, broke forth upon this wise: "Learning, quotha!" said he; "I would have all such rogues scourged by the Hangman!"

And so he would go his way, ruffling out his cravat with a crackle of starch, like a turkey when it spread its feathers.

Now this, of Mr. Wiseman's, is the common opinion. A fact is not called a fact, but a piece of gossip, if it does not fall into one of your scholastic categories. An inquiry must be in some acknowledged direction, with a name to go by; or else you are not inquiring at all, only lounging; and the workhouse is too good for you. It is supposed that all knowledge is at the bottom of a well, or the far end of a telescope. Sainte-Beuve, as he grew older, came to regard all experience as a single great book, in which to study for a few years ere we go hence; and it seemed all one to him whether you should read in Chapter XX., which is the differential calculus, or in Chapter XXXIX., which is hearing the band play in the gardens. As a matter of fact, an intelligent person, looking out of his eyes and hearkening in his ears, with a smile on his face all the time, will get more true education than many another in a life of heroic vigils. There is certainly some chill and arid knowledge to be found upon the summits of formal and laborious science; but it is all round about you, and for the trouble of looking, that you will acquire the warm and palpitating facts of life. While others are filling their memory with a lumber of words, one-half of which[147] they will forget before the week be out, your truant may learn some really useful art; to play the fiddle, to know a good cigar, or to speak with ease and opportunity to all varieties of men. Many who have "plied their book diligently," and know all about some one branch or another of accepted lore, come out of the study with an ancient and owl-like demeanour, and prove dry, stockish, and dyspeptic in all the better and brighter parts of life. Many make a large fortune, who remain underbred and pathetically stupid to the last. And meantime there goes the idler, who began life along with them—by your leave, a different picture. He has had time to take care of his health and his spirits; he has been a great deal in the open air, which is the most salutary of all things for both body and mind; and if he has never read the great Book in very recondite places, he has dipped into it and skimmed it over to excellent purpose. Might not the student afford some Hebrew roots, and the business man some of his half-crowns, for a share of the idler's knowledge of life at large, and Art of Living? Nay, and the idler has another and more important quality than these. I mean his wisdom. He who has much looked on at the childish satisfaction of other people in their hobbies, will regard his own with only a very ironical indulgence. He will not be heard among the dogmatists. He will have a great and cool allowance for all sorts of people and opinions. If he finds no out-of-the-way truths, he will identify himself with no very burning falsehood. His way takes him along a by-road, not much frequented,[148] but very even and pleasant, which is called Commonplace Lane, and leads to the Belvedere of Commonsense. Thence he shall command an agreeable, if no very noble prospect; and while others behold the East and West, the Devil and the Sunrise, he will be contentedly aware of a sort of morning hour upon all sublunary things, with an army of shadows running speedily and in many different directions into the great daylight of Eternity. The shadows and the generations, the shrill doctors and the plangent wars, go by into ultimate silence and emptiness; but underneath all this, a man may see, out of the Belvedere windows, much green and peaceful landscape; many firelit parlours; good people laughing, drinking, and making love as they did before the Flood or the French Revolution; and the old shepherd telling his tale under the hawthorn.

Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity. There is a sort of dead-alive, hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation. Bring these fellows into the country, or set them aboard ship, and you will see how they pine for their desk or their study. They have no curiosity; they cannot give themselves over to random provocations; they do not take pleasure in the exercise of their faculties for its own sake; and unless Necessity lays about them with a stick, they will even stand still. It is no good speaking to such folk: they cannot be idle,[149] their nature is not generous enough; and they pass those hours in a sort of coma, which are not dedicated to furious moiling in the gold-mill. When they do not require to go to the office, when they are not hungry and have no mind to drink, the whole breathing world is a blank to them. If they have to wait an hour or so for a train, they fall into a stupid trance with their eyes open. To see them, you would suppose there was nothing to look at and no one to speak with; you would imagine they were paralysed or alienated; and yet very possibly they are hard workers in their own way, and have good eyesight for a flaw in a deed or a turn of the market. They have been to school and college, but all the time they had their eye on the medal; they have gone about in the world and mixed with clever people, but all the time they were thinking of their own affairs. As if a man's soul were not too small to begin with, they have dwarfed and narrowed theirs by a life of all work and no play; until here they are at forty, with a listless attention, a mind vacant of all material of amusement, and not one thought to rub against another, while they wait for the train. Before he was breeched, he might have clambered on the boxes; when he was twenty, he would have stared at the girls; but now the pipe is smoked out, the snuff-box empty, and my gentleman sits bolt upright upon a bench, with lamentable eyes. This does not appear to me as being Success in Life.

But it is not only the person himself who suffers from his busy habits, but his wife and children, his[150] friends and relations, and down to the very people he sits with in a railway carriage or an omnibus. Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. And it is not by any means certain that a man's business is the most important thing he has to do. To an impartial estimate it will seem clear that many of the wisest, most virtuous, and most beneficent parts that are to be played upon the Theatre of Life are filled by gratuitous performers, and pass, among the world at large, as phases of idleness. For in that Theatre, not only the walking gentlemen, singing chambermaids, and diligent fiddlers in the orchestra, but those who look on and clap their hands from the benches, do really play a part and fulfil important offices towards the general result. You are no doubt very dependent on the care of your lawyer and stockbroker, of the guards and signalmen who convey you rapidly from place to place, and the policemen who walk the streets for your protection; but is there not a thought of gratitude in your heart for certain other benefactors who set you smiling when they fall in your way, or season your dinner with good company? Colonel Newcome helped to lose his friend's money; Fred Bayham had an ugly trick of borrowing shirts; and yet they were better people to fall among than Mr. Barnes. And though Falstaff was neither sober nor very honest, I think I could name one or two long-faced Barabbases whom the world could better have done without. Hazlitt mentions that he was more sensible of obligation to Northcote, who had never[151] done him anything he could call a service, than to his whole circle of ostentatious friends; for he thought a good companion emphatically the greatest benefactor. I know there are people in the world who cannot feel grateful unless the favour has been done them at the cost of pain and difficulty. But this is a churlish disposition. A man may send you six sheets of letter-paper covered with the most entertaining gossip, or you may pass half an hour pleasantly, perhaps profitably, over an article of his; do you think the service would be greater, if he had made the manuscript in his heart's blood, like a compact with the devil? Do you really fancy you should be more beholden to your correspondent, if he had been damning you all the while for your importunity? Pleasures are more beneficial than duties; like the quality of mercy, they are not strained, and they are twice blest. There must always be two to a kiss, and there may be a score in a jest; but wherever there is an element of sacrifice, the favour is conferred with pain, and, among generous people, received with confusion. There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world, which remain unknown even to ourselves, or when they are disclosed, surprise nobody so much as the benefactor. The other day, a ragged, barefoot boy ran down the street after a marble, with so jolly an air that he set every one he passed into a good humour; one of these persons, who had been delivered from more than usually black thoughts, stopped the little fellow and gave[152] him some money with this remark: "You see what sometimes comes of looking pleased." If he had looked pleased before, he had now to look both pleased and mystified. For my part, I justify this encouragement of smiling rather than tearful children; I do not wish to pay for tears anywhere but upon the stage; but I am prepared to deal largely in the opposite commodity. A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of good-will; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted. We need not care whether they could prove the forty-seventh proposition; they do a better thing than that, they practically demonstrate the great Theorem of the Liveableness of Life. Consequently, if a person cannot be happy without remaining idle, idle he should remain. It is a revolutionary precept; but thanks to hunger and the workhouse, one not easily to be abused; and within practical limits, it is one of the most incontestable truths in the whole Body of Mortality. Look at one of your industrious fellows for a moment, I beseech you. He sows hurry and reaps indigestion; he puts a vast deal of activity out to interest, and receives a large measure of nervous derangement in return. Either he absents himself entirely from all fellowship, and lives a recluse in a garret, with carpet slippers and a leaden inkpot; or he comes among people swiftly and bitterly, in a contraction of his whole nervous system, to discharge some temper before he returns to work. I do not care how much or how well he works, this fellow is an evil feature[153] in other people's lives. They would be happier if he were dead. They could easier do without his services in the Circumlocution Office, than they can tolerate his fractious spirits. He poisons life at the well-head. It is better to be beggared out of hand by a scapegrace nephew, than daily hag-ridden by a peevish uncle.

And what in God's name, is all this pother about? For what cause do they embitter their own and other people's lives? That a man should publish three or thirty articles a year, that he should finish or not finish his great allegorical picture, are questions of little interest to the world. The ranks of life are full; and although a thousand fall, there are always some to go into the breach. When they told Joan of Arc she should be at home minding women's work, she answered there were plenty to spin and wash. And so, even with your own rare gifts! When nature is "so careless of the single life," why should we coddle ourselves into the fancy that our own is of exceptional importance? Suppose Shakespeare had been knocked on the head some dark night in Sir Thomas Lucy's preserves, the world would have wagged on better or worse, the pitcher gone to the well, the scythe to the corn, and the student to his book; and no one been any the wiser of the loss. There are not many works extant, if you look the alternative all over, which are worth the price of a pound of tobacco to a man of limited means. This is a sobering reflection for the proudest of our earthly vanities. Even a tobacconist may, upon consideration, find no great cause for personal[154] vainglory in the phrase; for although tobacco is an admirable sedative, the qualities necessary for retailing it are neither rare nor precious in themselves. Alas and alas! you may take it how you will, but the services of no [155]single individual are indispensable. Atlas was just a gentleman with a protracted nightmare! And yet you see merchants who go and labour themselves into a great fortune and hence into the bankruptcy court; scribblers who keep scribbling at little articles until their temper is a cross to all who come about them, as though Pharaoh should set the Israelites to make a pin instead of a pyramid; and fine young men who work themselves into a decline, and are driven off in a hearse with white plumes upon it. Would you not suppose these persons had been whispered, by the Master of the Ceremonies, the promise of some momentous destiny? and that this lukewarm bullet on which they play their farces was the bull's-eye and centre-point of all the universe? And yet it is not so. The ends for which they give away their priceless youth, for all they know, may be chimerical or hurtful; the glory and riches they expect may never come, or may find them indifferent; and they and the world they inhabit are so inconsiderable that the mind freezes at the thought.

THE WIND

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all—
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

KEEPSAKE MILL

Over the borders, a sin without pardon,
Breaking the branches and crawling below,
Out through the breach in the wall of the garden,
Down by the banks of the river, we go.

[156]

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder,
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam,
Here is the sluice with the race running under—
Marvellous places, though handy to home!

Sounds of the village grow stiller and stiller,
Stiller the note of the birds on the hill;
Dusty and dim are the eyes of the miller,
Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill.

Years may go by, and the wheel in the river
Wheel as it wheels for us, children, to-day,
Wheel and keep roaring and foaming for ever
Long after all of the boys are away.

Home from the Indies and home from the ocean,
Heroes and soldiers we all shall come home;
Still we shall find the old mill wheel in motion,
Turning and churning that river to foam.

You with the bean that I gave when we quarrelled,
I with your marble of Saturday last,
Honoured and old and all gaily apparelled,
Here we shall meet and remember the past.

THE MOON

The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.
[157]
The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

But all of the things that belong to the day
Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
And flowers and children close their eyes
Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

LOOKING-GLASS RIVER

Smooth it slides upon its travel,
Here a wimple, there a gleam—
O the clean gravel!
O the smooth stream!

Sailing blossoms, silver fishes,
Paven pools as clear as air—
How a child wishes
To live down there!

We can see our coloured faces
Floating on the shaken pool
Down in cool places,
Dim and very cool;

Till a wind or water wrinkle,
Dipping marten, plumping trout,
Spreads in a twinkle
And blots all out.
[158]
See the rings pursue each other;
All below grows black as night,
Just as if mother
Had blown out the light!

Patience, children, just a minute—
See spreading circles die;
The stream and all in it
Will clear by-and-by.

WINTER-TIME

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.
[159]
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

MY SHADOW

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow—
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
[160]
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every butter-cup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

AUTUMN FIRES

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!
[161]

Robert Story

Story, Robert, the author of the following poem, was born in Scotland in 1790, and died there in 1859. The poem is much more famous than its author, having been reprinted time and again, and sometimes under the wrong author's name. It is one of those pieces that are called "fugitive," which means that it has no particular abiding place in type, but makes its home in collections, being, as it were, an only child. Simple as it is, it has stood the test of time and is here given for this reason, no less than for its appropriateness.

THE WHISTLER

"You have heard," said a youth to his sweetheart, who stood
While he sat on a corn-sheaf, at daylight's decline,—
"You have heard of the Danish boy's whistle of wood:
I wish that the Danish boy's whistle were mine."

"And what would you do with it? Tell me," she said,
While an arch smile played over her beautiful face.
"I would blow it," he answered, "and then my fair maid
Would fly to my side and would there take her place."

"Is that all you wish for? Why, that may be yours
Without any magic," the fair maiden cried:
"A favor so slight one's good nature secures;"
And she playfully seated herself by his side.
[162]
"I would blow it again," said the youth; "and the charm
Would work so that not even modesty's check
Would be able to keep from my neck your white arm."
She smiled, and she laid her white arm round his neck.

"Yet once more I would blow; and the music divine
Would bring me a third time an exquisite bliss,—
You would lay your fair cheek to this brown one of mine
And your lips stealing past it would give me a kiss."

The maiden laughed out in her innocent glee,—
"What a fool of yourself with the whistle you'd make!
For only consider how silly 'twould be
To sit there and whistle for what you might take."
[163]

Agnes Strickland

Strickland, Agnes, an English historical writer; born in London, August, 1796, and died at Southwold, July, 1874. Her best and most celebrated work is Lives of the Queens of England, from which the following biographical account is taken.

THE STORY OF HENRIETTA MARIA, WIFE OF CHARLES I. OF ENGLAND

Henrietta Maria was the sixth child and youngest daughter of Henry IV. of France, by his second wife, Marie de Medicis. She was born at the Louvre, November 25, 1609. Great as Henry was, he suffered his mind to be swayed by predictions. He had been told that he should die the day after his queen was crowned. To her great mortification, he would not permit that ceremony to be performed until after the birth of his youngest daughter. The queen prevailed on him to give orders for her coronation at St. Denis, where it took place, when Henriette, who was only five months old, was present, held in her nurse's arms, on one side of her mother's throne, surrounded by her brothers and sisters—a group of very beautiful children—the dauphin, too soon to be Louis XIII., Gaston, Elizabeth, and Christine. The next day Henry IV. was assassinated by Ravillac in the streets of Paris, May 13, 1610.

The royal children were barricaded all that dreary night in the guard-room at the Louvre, next to the[164] chamber where the king's bleeding corpse lay. No one slept in the palace excepting the infant Henriette, whose peaceful slumbers in her nurse's arms were in strange contrast to the grief and terror of all around, for it was believed that an insurrection would follow the regicidal act. Again the infant princess appeared in her nurse's arms, at the funeral of the royal hero of France, and once more, at the coronation of her young brother at Rheims, when she was only ten months old. Her governess was Mademoiselle de Monglat, whom she used to call Mamanga. She received her education from her brother Gaston's school-master, M. de Bevis: she was the constant companion of Duke Gaston, who was only eighteen months older than herself.

Henriette was the darling of her mother, perhaps her spoiled darling, for Maria de Medicis, queen-regent of France, was neither wise nor judicious. When the queen was deprived of the regency and her liberty, Henriette was permitted to share her royal mother's captivity.

When the queen-mother recovered her liberty, the young Henriette, not then fifteen, became the ornament of the court. Anne of Austria, the young queen-consort of Louis XIII., cherished love and friendship for her sister-in-law, of which Henriette found the benefit in her worst fortunes.

When Henriette was only in her fourteenth year, she and her future consort, Charles, Prince of Wales, unknown to each other, met at a ball in the palace of the king her brother, early in February, 1623. The Prince of Wales and his father's favour[165]ite minister, George Villiers, Earl of Buckingham, were travelling incognito to Madrid, under the homely names of Tom Smith and Jack Smith. The object of the Prince of Wales was to see the infanta Donna Maria (with whom he was engaged by the king his father in a treaty of marriage), and to make acquaintance with her before they should be irrevocably bound in wedlock. The prince and his companion halted at Paris, and went like others to see the Louvre, and look at the royal family of France on the night of the ball. Struck by their personal appearance, the Duke de Montbazan gave the handsome and distinguished-looking strangers advantageous places in the hall of the Louvre, where Charles saw the beautiful Henriette dance. The circumstance was afterward mentioned to Henriette, who sighed, and said, "Ah! the Prince of Wales needed not have gone so far as Spain to look for a wife." She had not noticed Jack Smith in the gallery of the Louvre, yet she had seen portraits of Charles, who was the most graceful prince in Europe.

The Spanish match was broken off. Donna Maria afterward married the Emperor of Germany. James I. demanded the hand of the beautiful Henriette for his heir.

The English people preferred having a daughter of the Protestant hero, Henry the Great, for their queen, to the grand-daughter of the cruel Philip II. of Spain. Unfortunately, Henriette had been brought up in the most ignorant bigotry by her mother. We have read a letter, very much worn[166] with often unfolding, of advice and instruction from this queen to her daughter, regarding her conduct in England, in which she mentions the belief of the English in the same terms as if they were Jews. Such imputation the creed of the Anglican Church no more deserved than her own. Unfortunately, her young daughter was utterly ignorant of all history but that from prejudiced sources, as she afterward deeply regretted to her friend Madame de Motteville.

The marriage articles were very tedious, and much disputed; a clause was left by the council of James I., giving his son's consort power in the education of her children until their thirteenth year; a clause regretted by Charles, and which his determination to break afterward, occasioned the only real unhappiness in his married life. When all was ready for the betrothal, James I. died, March, 1624-5.

Some anxiety was shown lest the young king, Charles I., should not ratify his father's treaty; but the wooing ambassadors, the Earls of Carlisle and Holland, had described the young princess in such favourable terms that Charles was eager to complete the agreement. In one of Holland's letters to Charles she is thus mentioned: "In truth, she is the sweetest creature in France, and the loveliest thing in nature. I heard her the other day discourse with her mother and her ladies with wondrous discretion. She dances—the which I am witness of—as well as I ever saw. They say she sings most sweetly; I am sure she looks as if she did!" In the[167] course of a few days the Earl of Holland heard this wonderful voice. "I had been told much of it," he wrote; "but I find it true that neither her singing-master, nor any man or woman in Europe, singeth as she doth; her voice is beyond all imagination!" The musical and vocal powers of the queen-mother of France, Marie de Medicis, were likewise of the finest order; and her youngest daughter had inherited from her, gifts lavishly bestowed by nature on the children of Italy.

Pope Urban VIII. was exceedingly adverse to the English marriage: he had been Henrietta's god-father when he was cardinal legate in France. He was unwilling to grant a dispensation for his god-child wedding out of their Church; putting his objection on his duty to guard her happiness, rather than the usual polemic wranglings. No one can deny that his historical acumen was right in what he said—"If the Stuart king relaxed the bloody penal laws against the Roman Catholics, the English would not suffer him to live long. If they were continued, what happiness could the French princess have in her wedlock?" These were the words of wisdom, and ought to have been heeded. But the unwise prejudice against placing a princess on the English throne of lower rank than the royalties of France or Spain, unduly influenced James I., or rather his English council, since he did not act thus in his own case.

[168]Charles I. and Louis XIII. resolved to proceed with the betrothal without Urban's dispensation, which, of course, caused it to be sent very quickly. Henriette and Charles I. were betrothed, May 8, 1625, by proxy. She was dressed in a magnificent robe woven with gold and silver, and flowered with French lilies in gems and diamonds. The marriage took place three days afterward. The palace of the Archbishop of Paris (but lately destroyed) stood just behind Notre Dame; a gallery-bridge connected it with that cathedral, hung with violet satin, figured with gold fleur-de-lis; the marriage procession passed over it from the palace to Notre Dame. The bride was led by her young brother Gaston, and was given away by the king, Louis XIII.

The Duke de Chevreuse, a near kinsman of Charles I., was his proxy; he was attired in black velvet; but over this plain attire wore a scarf flowered with diamond roses; the queen-mother shone like a pillar of precious stones; her long train was borne by two princesses of the blood, Condè and Conti. The marriage took place in the porch of Notre Dame; the English ambassadors, and even the proxy of England, out of respect to the religious feelings of Charles I., withdrew from Notre Dame during the concluding mass.

The Duke of Buckingham, ambassador-extraordinary from England, arrived at the conclusion of the ceremony. He was angry because he was too late—and certainly behaved in a most extraordinary manner while in France. Subsequently, he was on ill terms with the young Queen of England.

The Duke of Buckingham caused many delays by his flighty conduct. At last the cortége of the bride approached Boulogne. Charles I. came to[169] Dover Castle to meet and welcome his queen. Her passage was dangerous. The king had that Sunday retired to Canterbury, thinking the bride could not embark in the storm. However, she landed at Dover, June 23, 1625, at seven in the evening. At ten, next day, the king arrived while she was at breakfast; he wished to wait, for she had been very ill with sea-sickness. Yet the bride rose hastily from table, hasted down a pair of stairs to meet the king, then offered to kneel and kiss his hand; but he wrapped her up in his arms with many kisses. "Sir, I have come to your majesty's country to be commanded by you," were the set words the poor bride had prepared for her first speech to Charles, but her voice failed, and ended with a gush of tears. Charles kindly led her apart, kissed off her tears, and said he should do so while they fell. His tenderness soon soothed the weeping girl, and she entered into familiar discourse with the royal lover. Charles seemed pleased that she was taller than he had heard; and, finding she reached the height of his shoulder, he glanced downward at her feet. Her quickness caught his meaning, and she said to him, in French, "I stand on my own feet; I have no help from art; thus tall am I, neither higher nor lower."

The young queen then presented all her French attendants to Charles, beginning with her cousin, the beautiful Madame de St. George, formerly her governess, now her first lady of the bed-chamber. To her the king very early took an antipathy.

The same eventful day, the bride, the king, and court set out for Canterbury, where the marriage[170] was to be celebrated. On a beautiful extent of greensward, called Barham downs, a banquet was prepared; and in the pavilions the bride-queen was introduced to the ladies of her English household, and the noblemen and gentlemen appointed to her service. That evening, Charles and Henrietta were married in the noble hall of St. Augustine, Canterbury.

Next morning they embarked at Gravesend, the king choosing to enter his capital by the grand highway of the Thames, that he might show his bride the stately shipping of his noble navy, which greeted the royal procession as it passed on its progress up the stream with thundering salutes, while the river was covered with thousands of boats and beautiful barges belonging to the nobility and merchants of London. A violent thunder-shower came on as the procession neared the landing-place at Whitehall; the queen, however, waved her hand repeatedly to the people. She was splendidly dressed; like the king, the colour she wore was green.

Even in the first days of his marriage, Charles I. saw strong reason to lament he had admitted the Roman Catholic colony with his young queen. His position was extremely difficult; he foresaw all its dangers, and came early to the resolution of neutralizing the worst features of the case. The queen was childish in years; her reason totally uncultivated; she was, moreover, alike ignorant of the language and history of the country. Her confessor and her bishop were probably not less bigoted than herself; and the king knew that their celebration[171] of rites, of which they would abate not one jot, was the greatest offence in the eyes of his people. It was his ruin, as the natural good sense of Henrietta afterward acknowledged, in her confessions of passionate penitence to her friend, Madame de Motteville.

Charles I. found great cause to regret the establishment of his queen's Roman Catholic train of priests and attendants, besides other injurious stipulations in the marriage treaty his dying father's council had ratified. The queen was but an unreasoning girl of sixteen, entirely guided by the unusually large train she had about her. She would not learn English, and was encouraged by her French attendants to pay little regard to the customs and prejudices of the nation over which her consort reigned. Thus, she would not be crowned, February 2, 1626, lest she should join in the rites of the Church of England; she was the only Queen of England who ever refused her coronation; this deeply grieved her husband and incensed his people, who never forgave the offence, as she found afterward to her cost.

Charles was crowned solus. Henrietta viewed the coronation procession from the palace gate-way by King Street. Her French officials were accused of capering irreverently during the solemnity—as they were not in the abbey, that was no great crime; yet the next time Charles I. caught them capering he made it an excuse for a general clearance. He thus got rid of six ecclesiastics, many French ladies, especially of Madame St. George, who claimed the privilege of occupying a seat in the royal carriage[172] wherever the king and queen went, to the great annoyance of Charles. Her place, as the queen's first lady, was filled by the Protestant Madame de la Tremouille. Only Pére Gamache and another very quiet humble priest were allowed for the service of his queen's chapel by Charles I. Such innovations enraged the young queen greatly; she threw herself into agonies of rage at the departure of her French attendants; and in her fury contrived to break the windows of the king's closet or private apartment at Whitehall, although he restrained her by keeping the casement shut, and holding both her wrists, because he forbade her to bid them farewell when they embarked at Whitehall stairs. The king did not send them empty away; 22,000l. was distributed among them; nevertheless, the French women of the royal bed-chamber carried off all the queen's clothes, as lawful perquisites, leaving, besides the dress she wore, only an old gown and three chemises—not good for much. The king tenderly soothed his afflicted consort, who seemed to be reconciled; but before the close of the year, 1626, she manifested such temper that Louis XIII. sent his father's old friend, the Duke de Bassompierre, as ambassador-extraordinary, to inquire into his sister's conjugal unhappiness.

Mischief had been made by the king's prime minister, the Duke of Buckingham, as plainly may be seen by the royal letters extant.[1] Since the times [173]of Henry VIII. the boundaries of the royal parks of Whitehall and St. James had been decorated with gallows, and many of them loaded with human heads and quarters. In the first month of Henrietta's arrival in London, it was said that her priests had caused her to make a pilgrimage to the gallows where the last Roman Catholic priests had been put to death for their faith, that she went barefoot, and knelt there praying. Bassompierre, who talked until he lost his voice, and after great exertions, made out this accusation, which the young queen utterly denied. "She never was near the gallows," she said, "never at that time knew where it was, until lately when she was walking with the king in Hyde Park." A fine terminus to the evening walk of a fair young queen under eighteen! Another tale was embodied in council-minutes, "that the queen's priest had made her, for penance, eat off wooden trenchers." When Bassompierre asked her, "How about the wooden platters?" the queen disdained to reply.

[1] These letters of entertaining facts of Bassompierre's doings are to be found in the "Lives of the Queens of England," by Agnes Strickland.

Henrietta could not express herself in English, and Bassompierre, her countryman, who knew not one word of it, certainly argued her defence at a great disadvantage. However, he privately gave Henrietta the good advice to humble her high spirit to her husband, and endeavour to conciliate his friend. The perverse Henrietta then quarrelled with him, defied Buckingham, and behaved worse than ever to Charles. But the brave Frenchman, who had fought through the Huguenot wars by her heroic father's side, and had known her from her[174] babyhood, of course looked upon her as on any other spoiled girl of seventeen. He soon told her his mind, and induced better behaviour. Finally he left the royal pair much better friends than he found them.

War soon after ensued between England and France. King Charles supported the independence of Holland, which Cardinal Richelieu had vainly tried to make him crush. He likewise fitted out a navy, and sent it to the relief of the French Protestants. It was under the command of Buckingham, no seaman, though brave enough. Of course the naval war was unsuccessful. Before another expedition sailed, Buckingham was assassinated at Portsmouth, August, 1628, by Felton the fanatic. And with him ceased all Henrietta's married infelicity.

The Parliament of Charles refused all supplies for the war in behalf of the Protestants, unless he consented to put to a death of torture every Catholic priest exercising the rights of his religion, and gave his veto for confiscating the property of all Roman Catholics in his realm. Charles was more tormented by the Roman Catholics than any man in his dominions, and they would have done all they could against him; yet he was too good in heart and spirit to authorize such wholesale robbery and murder. He thought the penal law already cruel enough, and perhaps he wished them to be put on the same footing as the great Henry, his queen's father, had left the French Protestants. [175] From this period may be dated the disunion between king and Parliament. He ceased to summon it. If we may believe Sir William Temple, the chief agitators against Charles in the House of Commons were the bribed tools of his avowed enemy, the powerful and unscrupulous French minister, Cardinal Richelieu.

The queen had given birth to her first-born, a prince that died as soon as christened. She next brought into the world, May 29, 1630, another son, a fine babe, having the brown complexion and strong features of the Queen of Navarre, Henrietta's grandmother. The child was named Charles by Dr. Laud, in St. James's Chapel. It is amusing to read the young mother's opinion of the solemn ugliness of her first-born in the following letter, written by her to her dear friend, Madame St. George, then in France, and state governess of Henrietta's niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier.

"Mamie St. George:—The husband of the nurse of my son going to France about some business, I write you this letter, believing you will be very glad to ask him news of my son, of whom I think you have seen the portrait I sent to the queen, my mother. He is so ugly that I am ashamed of him; but his size and fatness atone for his want of beauty. I wish you could see the gentleman, for he has no ordinary mien. He is so serious that I cannot help deeming him wiser than myself.

"Send me a dozen pair of sweet chamois gloves, also one pair of doe's skin, a game of poule, and the rules of any games now in vogue. I assure you that if I did not write to you often, it is not because I have left off loving you, but because—I must confess it—I am very idle.... Adieu! the man must have the letter."

The queen gave birth to her eldest daughter, November 4, 1631, at St. James's Palace. The babe was baptized Mary by Dr. Laud.

The king could not longer delay his coronation as[176] King of Scotland; as for the queen, she refused investiture with the crown-matrimonial of that realm even more pertinaciously than she had done that of England. Within a few weeks of her consort's return, she presented him with another son, born at St. James's, October 14, 1633, named James, in memory of his grandfather, James I. Charles devoted his second son to the marine service of his country, and caused his education to tend to every thing naval. He became one of the greatest admirals and marine legislators in the world, but one of the most unfortunate of our kings. The birth of the Princess Elizabeth occurred January 28, 1635.

Queen Henrietta was a fond mother, and bestowed all the time she could on her nursery. Occasionally, her divine voice was heard singing to her infant, as she lulled it in her arms, filling the galleries of her palace with its rich cadences. Royal etiquette forbade her gratifying unqualified listeners with its enchanting melody.

At this period of her life Henrietta was heard to declare herself the happiest woman in the world; happy as wife, mother, and queen. Henrietta Maria was not only the queen, but the beauty of the British court; she had about the year 1633 attained the perfection of her charms, in face and figure; she was the theme of every poet, the star of all beholders. The moral life of Charles I., his conjugal attachment to his queen, and the refined tastes of both, gave the court a degree of elegance till then unknown.

In Vandyke's painting of Henrietta she is represented as evidently very young; the features are[177] delicate and pretty, with a pale clear complexion, beautiful dark eyes and chestnut hair. Her form is slight and exquisitely graceful. She is dressed in white satin; the bodice of the dress is nearly high, with a large falling collar trimmed with points. The bodice is made tight to the form, closed in front with bows of cherry ribbon, and is finished from the waist with several large tabs, richly embroidered. The sleeves are very full and descend to the elbows, where they are confined by ruffles. One arm is encircled with a narrow black bracelet, the other with one of costly gems. She wears a string of pear-shaped pearls about her neck; a red ribbon twisted with pearls is placed carelessly in her hair at the back of her head. She stands by a table, and her hand rests on two red roses, which are placed near the crown.

[178]All was peaceful at this juncture; the discontents of the English people while Charles I. governed without a parliament were hushed in grim repose, like the tropical winds before the burst of the typhoon. Prynne, in his abusive libel called Histrio-mastrix, first interrupted this peace. He attacked Henrietta for performing in masques played only in her own family. He was condemned to the pillory by the Star Chamber conclave. Henrietta, to her honour be it recorded, did everything in her power to save him from the infliction of his cruel sentence; but even her intercession was fruitless. Yet Prynne himself said, after the civil wars that ensued, "King Charles when he took my ears should have taken my head."

Henrietta, though a very fond mother, did not indulge her children in any thing which was foolish or improper. The following letter from her to her eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, written at the request of his governor, the Marquis of Newcastle—who had been unable to induce the young prince to swallow the physic which it was considered necessary for him to take—is still preserved in the British Museum:

The Queen To Her Son Charles, Prince Of Wales.

"Charles:—I am sorry that I must begin my first letter with chiding you, because I hear that you will not take physic. I hope it was only for this day, and that tomorrow you will do it; for if you will not, I must come to you and make you take it; for it is for your health. I have given orders to my Lord of Newcastle to send me word tonight whether you will or not; therefore I hope you will not give me the pains to go. And so I rest your affectionate mother,  Henrietta Marie."

"To my dear son, the prince, 1638."

The young prince, who was then only eight years old, felt the propriety of submitting to the maternal command, and swallowed the dose; but amused himself with writing this sprightly little billet to his governor, dryly stating the reason of his declining the potion:

Charles, Prince Of Wales, To His Governor, Lord Newcastle.

"MY LORD:—I would not have you take too much physic, for it doth always make me worse; and I think it will do the like with you. I ride every day, and am ready to follow any other directions from you. Make haste back to him that loves you.

"CHARLES P."

This letter is written between double-ruled lines in a round text hand.

[179]

Some months after this the Princess Anne, the youngest daughter of Charles I. and Queen Henrietta, a sweet, well-trained infant of four years old, was stricken with mortal sickness; and being required to say her prayers, as the hour of death was at hand, said, "she did not think she could repeat her long prayer," meaning the Lord's Prayer, "then; but she would say her short prayer;" and then lisped out, "Lighten mine eyes, O Lord, that I sleep not the sleep of death," and expired with these words on her innocent lips.

It is possible that Charles I. might have contended successfully with the inimical party that was arraying itself against him, if he and his queen had not incurred the enmity of Cardinal Richelieu by granting an asylum in England to the queen-dowager of France, Marie de Medicis, Henrietta's mother, the object of that vindictive ecclesiastic's malice, whom he had exiled from France, and pursued with unappeasable hatred from every place in Europe where she sought shelter in her adversity. Charles not only received her with unbounded courtesy and respect, but travelled to meet the royal fugitive at Harwich, where she landed, and conducted her in state to London. When the royal carriage in which Charles and his guest were seated arrived at the great quadrangle of St. James's Palace, Queen Henrietta, accompanied by her children, Charles, Prince of Wales, the little Duke of York, and the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth, descended the stairs to receive her royal mother. She even attempted to open the carriage door with her own hands; and the moment[180] her mother alighted she sunk on her knees to receive her blessing, and her example was followed by her children, who all knelt round her.

Marie de Medicis was a woman of weak judgment, and proved a troublesome visitor. Charles and Henrietta, whose affairs were in a very difficult position, had great cause to regret her visit, which lasted nearly two years.

The queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, was given forty grand apartments in St. James's Palace. She brought a great number of priests with her, which added to the rage of the people; and the king's affairs went from bad to worse. Charles was compelled to give up his great minister Strafford to the axe, who was condemned by Parliament for having served him too faithfully. Henrietta exerted herself to support him; she often wanted judgment, but her courage never failed.

In the midst of the awful scenes of Strafford's impeachment, trial, and death, the princess-royal was espoused to the young Prince of Orange; he was but eleven, and the bride ten years old. Henrietta made no opposition to this Protestant alliance. She had hoped that the proof of the king's attachment to the Protestants would silence the cries of popery against him; but those cries were got up for party purposes by those intent on plunder, to whom all creeds were indifferent. After her mother had quitted England, and the king had departed, with the attempt to pacify Scotland, the royal family assembled round her were of tender ages. They were soon separated, some of them never to meet[181] again. Charles, Prince of Wales, was eleven years of age, Mary the young bride of Orange, ten, James, Duke of York, seven, Elizabeth six, and Henry, Duke of Gloucester, a babe in arms. When alarms occurred at night, the queen more than once armed her household, and herself headed their patrole about Oatlands Park; thus personally guarding her slumbering little ones.

The king had received such proofs in Scotland of Richelieu's bribery of the five members of Parliament, that he went to arrest Mr. Pym and his colleagues in person. Unfortunately, he had confided to the queen his intent, and told her at such an hour all his regal perplexities would cease. The queen put misplaced confidence in one of her attendants, Lady Carlisle, a spy leagued with the agitators; to this treacherous person she told her royal husband's intentions. Lady Carlisle sent instantly word to the factious members, who escaped. As Whitehall was close to the House of Commons, the affair was easy, the king being delayed awhile by poor persons' petitions on the way. Long after, Henrietta related this event to her biographer with the most passionate penitence. "Not a reproach," she said, "did Charles give me when I threw myself into his arms, and confessed my fault of tattling."

Such was the state of affairs when Henrietta proposed to escort her young daughter, the bride of Orange, to Holland. Her real object was to sell some valuable jewels, and obtain arms for defence there. The king attended his wife and daughter to Dover, where they embarked, February 24, 1642.[182]

As the wind was favourable for coasting, the king rode many miles, following the vessel along the winding of the shores, his tearful eyes gazing after those dear ones he feared he never should behold again. The royal standard was raised at Nottingham, and civil war occurred as soon as the queen departed.


Henrietta met her mother again in Holland, and stayed nearly twelve months, during which time her business was performed with no little skill and sagacity. The Dutch mynheers, grateful both to the King of England, and to the exiled queen-mother of France for their political existence, did not send Henrietta empty away. She embarked for return February 2, 1643, in a fine ship called the Princess Royal; but fierce tempests arose, and the northeast gales, after many days, threw the queen back from whence she came on the wild Scheveling coast. Henrietta bore the terrors of the storm with high courage, replying to her ladies, when they were screaming and lamenting round her, "Queens of England are never drowned."

After a few days' rest and refreshment the undaunted Henrietta again set sail, followed by Admiral Van Tromp's Dutch fleet, which kept out of sight of the English shores, when she and her armed transports arrived in Burlington Bay, Yorkshire. A troop of two hundred cavaliers appeared on the hills, and under that protection the queen's transports safely landed their ammunition and stores.

The sleep of the queen was broken at dawn next[183] day by the parliamentary Admiral Batten bombarding the town of Burlington. The queen had been voted guilty of high treason; so this hero was trying to take her life. She fled as soon as dressed; but directly she was in a place of shelter, remembering that an old dog named Mitte, which had guarded her chamber for years, was left at the mercy of the parliamentary admiral, despite of her attendants, she ran back through Burlington to her sleeping-chamber, caught up Mitte in her arms, and fled back to the dry ditch where she could crouch while the balls flew over her head. Van Tromp came up with the tide to the rescue, but his ships were too big to enter Burlington quay. Nevertheless, he mauled Batten in the rear. Meantime the queen, with Mitte and her ladies, obtained hospitality at Boynton Hall, close by, the seat of Sir William Strickland.

The cavaliers of Yorkshire and Lancashire poured in to swell her forces. Prince Rupert met her at the head of his victorious cavalry; and she was welcomed by her king on his own victorious field of Keinton, near Edgehill.

For a few months the beautiful city of Oxford was the seat of the English court, over which Queen Henrietta presided. Hope existed among the cavaliers that the discontents of the people would be finally silenced by force of arms. The queen afterward reproached herself that she was too much flushed with success to plead with earnestness for the peace which the whole people now desired. Her triumphs had been dearly bought; chronic rheumatic fever had seized on her delicate frame, owing to[184] the hardships of her campaign. The king's fortunes changed; the year 1644 opened disastrously, and the poor queen had to seek a safer shelter than Oxford, as she was near her accouchement. Charles I. escorted his beloved consort to Abingdon; and there, on April 3, 1644, with streaming tears and dark forebodings, this loving pair parted. The queen sought relief from the fever at Bath, but there she could not stay; it was an abode of horror; the dreadful civil war had filled the bright city full of decaying corpses.

Henrietta took shelter in loyal Exeter, and there gave birth to her daughter, afterward Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans. The queen-regent of France, her sister-in-law, generously sent her 50,000 pistoles. Henrietta reserved very little for her own needs, but sent the bulk of the sum to her husband. In less than ten days the Earl of Essex commenced his march, intending to drag the sick queen from her childbed, to be tried before his masters of the Parliament for levying war in England. His approach on this manly errand caused the sick queen to rise and fly, leaving her babe in Exeter, to the care of Lady Morton. The queen went through great dangers by the way,[2] but at last embarked with her faithful ladies (who joined her in various disguises) on board a little bark bound for Dieppe. It was chased and even cannonaded by a parliamentary cruiser. Her ladies sent forth piercing shrieks as a shot struck the vessel. The daughter of Henry the Great compressed her lips, and uttered [185]not a cry. At the moment all seemed lost, a little fleet of Dieppe vessels issued out of the port of loyal Jersey, when the enemy made off. Then a storm sprang up, which drove the queen on the coast of Bretagne, where she landed at Chastel.

[2] See "Lives of the Queens of England."

Great was the love with which Henrietta was received by the queen-regent and her young sons and all the French people. Anne of Austria gave her distressed sister-in-law 12,000 crowns per month, and inducted her into the royal apartments of the Louvre, the young king leading her to them by the hand. All the money Henrietta received she sent to the king her husband, reserving the smallest modicum for her own use. The fever hanging on her in France, in order that she might be near the baths of Bourbon for its cure, the queen-regent lent her the castle and park of Nevers. Her convalescence was stopped by an accident that grieved her. One of her most efficient aids in her misfortunes was her dwarf, Geoffrey Hudson. He had lately saved her life in her desperate retreat from Exeter; and she had found him faithful in all her fortunes, ever since the little man had stepped out of a cold pie to the side of her plate at Nonsuch; he was at that time eighteen years old, and eighteen inches high. He had grown four or five inches since he had been in royal service, and done heroic deeds. During the retirement at Nevers one of the queen's gentlemen of the household tormented and mocked Geoffrey, until the brave little man, who contrived to manage his steed better than many horsemen four feet taller, challenged Croft to fight[186] him in the park at Nevers. The joking cavalier armed himself with a huge squirt, but Geoffrey took a pistol; and, as his hand was as unerring as his heart was bold, his persecutor fell at the first fire. Croft only met with his deserts; yet Queen Henrietta had to write very humbly to the all-powerful prime minister, Mazarine, that "Le Jofroy," as she called the little man, might not be put to death.

Letters perpetually passed between the sick queen and her husband. Love-letters they were, in the truest sense of the term. The heart of Henrietta yearned for the little babe she had left at Exeter. When the king had raised the siege of that city the infant was presented to him, and he caused her to be baptized by the name of her absent mother, Henrietta; but he was compelled to leave her under the care of his loyal lieges in the west. When all was lost on the king's side, Lady Morton escaped with this little one to France, in the disguise of a pedlar-woman, taking the royal infant of two years old on her back, disguised as a beggar-boy. Often the little princess, who did not approve of the change, tried to tell the wayfarers on the Dover road that "she was not Pierre the beggar-child, but the princess." No one understood her babble but her loving guardian, who succeeded in getting her charge safe to Paris and the queen. "Oh, the joy of that moment," wrote Pére Gamache, who saw the meeting between the royal mother and the babe, lost and again found. "How many times we saw her clasp her, kiss her, and then kiss her over again. The queen called her the child of benediction, and[187] charged me to teach her the Roman Catholic faith." And this, of course, was turned against King Charles, then enduring the worst malice of his enemies in England.

The flames of civil war spread from England to France; and Paris was, before the close of 1647, involved in the war of the Fronde. It was occasioned by quarrels concerning taxation. Anne the queen-regent and her children retired to St. Germains; but the extreme love the citizens of Paris bore to Queen Henrietta made her stay at the Louvre, where she could obtain earlier intelligence of King Charles, who after enduring imprisonment in various places, was soon to be put on what his enemies called a trial.

Meantime winter in its most terrific form had set in. Famine reigned, as it usually does in civil war. Queen Henrietta had sent all her money to her distressed husband. Her officers had none to buy food, and had dispersed themselves in Paris to save her the cost of feeding them. Fierce battles were fought hourly in the streets. In the broils Queen Henrietta and her little daughter were forgotten. She was then writing to the French ambassador at London concerning the impending fate of her husband. She felt neither hunger nor the freezing atmosphere in this absorbing occupation. Providence guided M. de Retz, who was all-powerful with the Paris Parliament, to visit the hapless queen. She was sitting by the bed side of her little child. "You find me," said the queen, calmly, "keeping company with my Henrietta. I would not let the poor child rise to-day, for we have no fire." De Retz [188]immediately sent the queen relief from his own resources, which she thankfully accepted, and then exerted his eloquence so successfully in the Parliament, by mentioning the distresses of the daughter of Henry the Great and her child, that a bountiful supply was accorded.

We must leave Henrietta for a while in Paris, to follow her hapless husband to the close of his tragic fate. The king had heard, from time to time, of the preparation of a court to try him. Murder he expected. He was brought prisoner to London, January 15, 1648-9, and taken to St. James's Palace, where, for the first time, he was deprived of royal attendance, and left alone with his faithful Herbert, who fortunately was sufficiently literary to be the historian of his master's progress to his untimely tomb.

Violent expulsions had taken place from the intimidated House of Commons, until only sixty-nine members remained, who thought themselves fitted for the task of king-killing. Yet some found themselves mistaken as to the hardness of their hearts, when they saw their king face to face, and heard him speak.

This small junta met privately in the Painted Chamber, January 20. Cromwell's purple face was seen to turn very pale; he ran to the window, where he saw his captive king advancing between two ranks of soldiers from Cotton House. "Here he is! here he is!" exclaimed he, with great animation; "the hour of the great affair approaches. Decide speedily what answer you will give him, for he will immedi[189]ately ask by what authority you pretend to judge him." The mere sight of the scanty number of the commons, with the army choking every avenue to Westminster, up to the door of the hall, offered forcible answers to the illegality of this arraignment; but brute force is not obliged to be logical. Bradshawe, a serjeant-at-law of no practice, was the president, wearing a high Puritan hat lined inside with iron. The regicidal junta entered the hall, its great gate was set open, and the populace rushed into all the vacant spaces. While the king was on his way to Westminster Hall, his anxious people crowded as near to his person as possible, crying, "God save your majesty!" The soldiers beat them back with their partisans, and some of the men in Colonel Axtel's regiment raised the cry of "Justice—justice! execution!" But as their commander was bestowing on them vigorous canings, the cry was ambiguous. The king entered, conducted under the guard of Colonel Hacker and thirty-two officers. His eyes were bright and powerful; his features calm and composed, yet bearing the traces of care and sorrow, which had scattered early snows on his hair. He regarded the tribunal with a searching look, never moved his hat, but seated himself with calm majesty.

An argument ensued between the royal prisoner and Bradshawe, on the point of whether the monarchy of England was elective or not; and when the man of law was worsted in the dispute, he hastily adjourned the court. The king was taken from the hall amid the irrepressible cries of "God bless your[190] majesty! God save you from your enemies!" Such was the only part that the people of England took in the trial of Charles the First.

The king's conduct caused perplexing discussions among his destroyers; they sat in council during the intervening day of his trial, devising petty schemes for breaking his moral courage, and impairing that innate majesty which is beyond the power of brute force to depose. Some base spirits among them proposed that his hat should be pulled off, and that two men should hold his head between them; and that he should be dressed up in his robes and crown, meaning to divest him ignominiously of them. As far as mere bodily means went, Charles was utterly helpless, yet the calm power of his demeanour preserved him from the personal obloquy their malice had contrived: they butchered him, but could not succeed in degrading him.

Seven agitated days passed away, during which the king had appeared thrice before his self-constituted judges, when, on the 27th of January, alarmed by the defection of their numbers, the regicides resolved to doom their victim without farther mockery of justice. The king, for the fourth time, was brought before the remnant of the regicidal junta. Bradshawe was robed in red, a circumstance from which the king drew an intimation of the conclusion. When the list of the members was read over, few of them answered: but they proceeded with the miserable remnant. As the clerk pronounced the name of Fairfax, a voice cried out, "Not such a fool as to come here to-day." When the name of[191] Cromwell was called, the voice exclaimed, "Oliver Cromwell is a rogue and a traitor." When Bradshawe mentioned "The Commons of England assembled in Parliament," "It is false," again responded the voice; "not one-half quarter of them." The voice was a female one, and issued from amid some masked ladies. The oaths and execrations of the ruffian commander Axtel were heard above an uproar raised by the populace, commanding his soldiers, "Fire—fire into the box where she sits!" A lady arose and quitted the gallery. She was Lady Fairfax. Her husband was still in power: the ruffian Axtel dared not harm her. This lofty protest against a public falsehood will remain as an instance of moral and personal female courage, till history shall be no more. The earnest letter the queen had written, entreating the Parliament and army to permit her to share her royal husband's prison, may be remembered. It is known that she wrote to Fairfax on the same subject. The conduct of the general's wife was probably the result of Henrietta's tender appeal.

Bradshawe was proceeding to pass sentence on the king, who demanded the whole of the members of the House of Commons, and the lords who were in England, to be assembled to hear it, when one of the regicides, Colonel Downes, rose in tears, exclaiming, "Have we hearts of stone? are we men?"—"You will ruin us, and yourself too," whispered Mr. Cawley, one of the members, pulling him down on one side, while his friend Colonel Walton held him down on the other. "If I die for it," said Colo[192]nel Downes, "no matter,"—"Colonel!" exclaimed Cromwell, who sat just beneath him, turning suddenly round, "are you mad? Can't you sit still?"—"No," answered Downes, "I cannot, and will not sit still." Then rising, he declared that his conscience would not permit him to refuse the king's request. "I move that we adjourn to deliberate." Bradshawe complied, probably lest Downes's passionate remorse should become infectious, and the junta retired. Cromwell angrily exclaimed, in reference to Downes, "He wants to save his old master; but make an end of it, and return to your duty." Colonel Harvey supported Downes's endeavours, but all they obtained was one-half hour added to the king's agony. The dark conclave returned amid a tumult of piteous prayers of the people, of "God save the king! God keep you from your enemies!" The sentence was passed in the midst of confusion; the king, who in vain endeavoured to remonstrate, was dragged away by the soldiers who surrounded him. As he was forced down the stairs, the grossest personal insults were offered him. Some of the troopers blew tobacco-smoke in his face; some spat on him; all yelled in his ears "Justice—execution!" The real bitterness of death to a man of Charles the First's exquisite sensitiveness occurred in that transit; the block, the axe, the scaffold, and all their ghastly adjuncts, could be met, and were met, with calmness; the spittings and buffetings of the brutal mob were harder to be borne.

The king recovered his serenity before he arrived at the place where his sedan stood. How could it[193] be otherwise? The voices of his affectionate people, in earnest prayers for his deliverance, rose high. One, and a soldier, close to him, echoed the cry of the people—"God help and save your majesty!" His commander struck him to the earth. "Poor fellow!" said the king; "it is a heavy blow for a small offence." As the royal victim approached his chair, his bearers pulled off their hats, and stood in reverential attitudes to receive him. This unbought homage again roused the wrath of Axtel, who, with blows of his indefatigable cudgel, vainly endeavoured to prevail on the poor men to cover their heads.

He bade Herbert refuse admittance to his friends if they came. The night of his condemnation he was deprived of rest by the knocking of the workmen, who were commencing the scaffold for his execution. In the restless watches of that perturbed night, Charles finished his best devotional verses.

[194]

The king was removed from Whitehall, Sunday, January 28, to St. James's Palace, where he heard Bishop Juxon preach in the private chapel. "I wanted to preach to the poor wretch," said the zealous fanatic, Hugh Peters, in great indignation, "but the poor wretch would not hear me." When Bishop Juxon entered the presence of his captive sovereign, he gave way to the most violent burst of sorrow. "Compose yourself, my lord," said the king, "we have no time to waste on grief; let us, rather, think of the great matter. I must prepare to appear before God, to whom, in a few hours, I have to render my account. I hope to meet death with calmness. Do not let us speak of the men in whose hands I have fallen. They thirst for my blood—they shall have it. God's will be done; I give him thanks. I forgive them all sincerely; but let us say no more about them." It was with the greatest difficulty that the two sentinels appointed by the regicidal junta could be kept on the other side of the door while his majesty was engaged in his devotions.

The next day the royal children arrived from Sion House to see their parent for the last time. He had not been indulged with a sight of them since his captivity to the army, and on the morrow he was to die! The Princess Elizabeth burst into a passion of tears at the sight of her father, and her brother, the little Duke of Gloucester, wept as fast for company. The royal father consoled and soothed them, and, when he had solemnly blessed them, drew them to his bosom. The young princess, who was but twelve, has left her reminiscences of this touching interview in manuscript: "He told me that he was glad I was come, for, though he had not time to say much, yet somewhat he wished to say to me which he could not to another, and he feared 'the cruelty' was too great to permit his writing. 'But, sweetheart,' he added, 'thou wilt forget what I tell thee.' Then, shedding abundance of tears," continues the princess, "I told him that I would write down all he said to me. 'He wished me,' he said, 'not to grieve and torment myself for him, for it was a glorious death he should die, it being for the laws and religion of the land.' He told me what books to read against popery. He said 'that he had[195] forgiven all his enemies, and he hoped God would forgive them also; and he commanded us, and all the rest of my brothers and sisters, to forgive them also.' Above all, he bade me tell my mother, 'that his thoughts had never strayed from her, and that his love for her would be the same to the last;' withal he commanded me (and my brother) to love her, and be obedient to her. He desired me 'not to grieve for him, for he should die a martyr, and that he doubted not but God would restore the throne to his son; and that then we should be all happier than we could possibly have been if he had lived.' Then, taking my brother Gloucester on his knee, he said, 'Sweetheart, now will they cut off thy father's head.' Upon which the child looked very steadfastly upon him. 'Heed, my child, what I say: they will cut off my head, and perhaps make thee a king. But mark what I say: you must not be a king as long as your brothers Charles and James live; therefore, I charge you, do not be made a king by them.' At which the child, sighing deeply, replied, 'I will be torn in pieces first.' And these words, coming so unexpectedly from so young a child, rejoiced my father exceedingly. And his majesty spoke to him of the welfare of his soul, and to keep his religion, commanding him to fear God, and he would provide for him. All which the young child earnestly promised." The king fervently kissed and blessed his children, and called to Bishop Juxon to take them away: they sobbed aloud. The king leaned his head against the window, trying to repress his tears, when, catching a view of them as[196] they went through the door, he hastily came from the window, snatched them again to his breast, kissed and blessed them once more; then, tearing himself from their tears and caresses, he fell on his knees, and strove to calm, by prayer, the agony of that parting.

It ought not to be forgotten that the king had previously waited several days before that appointed for his execution, and had had the satisfaction of receiving a letter from his son Charles, by Mr. Seymour, a special messenger, enclosing a carte blanche with his signature, to be filled up at pleasure. In this paper the prince bound himself to any terms, if his royal father's life might be spared. It must have proved a cordial to the king's heart to find, in that dire hour, how far family affection prevailed over ambition. The king carefully burnt the carte blanche, lest an evil use might be made of it, and did not attempt to bargain for his life by means of concession from his heir.

On the night preceding the awful day, Charles I. was blessed with calm and refreshing sleep. He awoke before daybreak, undrew his curtain, and said to Herbert, "I will rise; I have a great work to do this day." Herbert's hands trembled while combing the king's hair. Charles, observing that it was not arranged so well as usual, said, "Nay, though my head be not to stand long on my shoulders, take the same pains with it that you were wont to do. Herbert, this is my second marriage-day; I would be as trim to-day as may be." The cold was intense at that season, and the king desired[197] to have a warm additional shirt. "For," continued he, "the weather is sharp, and probably may make me shake. I would have no imputation of fear, for death is not terrible to me. I bless my God I am prepared. Let the rogues come whenever they please." He observed that he was glad he had slept at St. James's, for the walk through the park would circulate his blood, and counteract the numbness of the cold. Bishop Juxon arrived by the dawn of day. He prayed with the king, and read to him the twenty-seventh chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew.

At ten o'clock the summons came to conduct the king to Whitehall, and he went down into the park, through which he was to pass. Ten companies of infantry formed a double line on each side of his path. The detachment of halberdiers preceded him, with banners flying and drums beating. On the king's right hand was the bishop; on the left, with head uncovered, walked Colonel Tomlinson. The king walked through the park, as was his wont, at a quick, lively pace. He wondered at the slowness of his guard, and called out pleasantly, "Come, my good fellows, step on apace." One of the officers asked him, "If it was true that he had concurred with the Duke of Buckingham in causing his father's death?" "My friend," replied Charles, with gentle contempt, "if I had no other sin than that, as God knows, I should have little need to beg his forgiveness at this hour." The question has been cited as an instance of premeditated cruelty and audacity on the part of the officer. But this was[198] the falsehood that had injured him most among the common people.

As the king drew near Whitehall Palace, he pointed to a tree in the park, and said to either Juxon or Tomlinson, "That tree was planted by my brother Henry." There was a broad flight of stairs from the park, by which access was gained to the ancient palace of Whitehall. The king entered the palace that way; he ascended the stairs with a light step, passed through the long gallery, and gained his own bedroom, where he was left with Bishop Juxon, who administered the sacrament to him. Nye and Godwin, two Independent ministers, knocked at the door, and tendered their spiritual assistance. "Say to them frankly," said the king, "that they have so often prayed against me, that they shall not pray with me in mine agony. But if they will pray for me now, tell them that I shall be thankful." Dinner had been prepared for the king at Whitehall; he refused to eat. "Sir," said Juxon, "you have fasted long to-day; the weather is so cold, that faintness may occur." "You are right," replied the king. He therefore took a piece of bread and a glass of wine. "Now," said the king, cheerfully, "let the rascals come. I have forgiven them, and am quite ready." But "the rascals" were not ready.

A series of contests had taken place regarding the executioner and the warrant. Moreover, the military commanders, Huncks and Phayer, appointed to superintend the bloody work, resisted alike the scoffings, the jests, and threats of Cromwell, and[199] had their names scratched out of the warrant; as to Huncks, he refused to write or sign the order to the executioner. This dispute occurred just before the execution took place. Huncks was one of the officers who guarded the king on his trial, and had been chosen for that purpose as the most furious of his foes; he had, like Tomlinson, become wholly altered from the result of his personal observations. Colonel Axtel and Colonel Hewson had, the preceding night, convened a meeting of thirty-eight stout sergeants of the army, to whom they proposed, that whosoever among them would aid the [200]hangman in disguise, should have 100l. and rapid promotion in the army. Each one refused, with disgust. Late in the morning of the execution, Colonel Hewson prevailed on a sergeant in his regiment, one Hulet, to undertake the detestable office; and while this business was in progress, Elisha Axtel, brother of the colonel, went by water to Rosemary Lane, beyond the Tower, and dragged from thence the reluctant hangman, Gregory Brandon, who was, by threats and the promise of 30l. in half-crowns, induced to strike the blow. The disguises of the executioners were hideous, and must have been imposed for the purpose of trying the firmness of the royal victim. They were coarse woollen garbs buttoned close to the body, which was the costume of butchers at that era. Hulet added a long grey peruke, and a black mask, with a large grey beard affixed to it. Gregory Brandon wore a black mask, a black peruke, and a large flapped black hat, looped up in front.

[201]

It was past one o'clock before the grisly attendants and apparatus of the scaffold were ready. Colonel Hacker led the king through his former banqueting-hall, one of the windows of which had originally been contrived to support stands for public pageantries; it had been taken out, and led to the platform raised in the street. The noble bearing of the king as he stepped on the scaffold, his beaming eyes and high expression, were noticed by all who saw him. He looked on all sides for his people, but dense masses of soldiery only presented themselves far and near. He was out of hearing of any persons but Juxon and Herbert, save those who were interested in his destruction. The soldiers preserved a dead silence; this time they did not insult him. The distant populace wept, and occasionally raised mournful cries in blessings and prayers for him. The king uttered a short speech, to point out that every institute of the original constitution of England had been subverted with the sovereign power. While he was speaking, some one touched the axe, which laid enveloped in black crape on the block. The king turned round hastily, and exclaimed, "Have a care of the axe. If the edge is spoiled, it will be the worse for me." The executioner, Gregory Brandon, drew near, and kneeling before him, entreated his forgiveness. "No!" said the king; "I forgive no subject of mine who comes deliberately to shed my blood." The king spoke as became his duty as chief magistrate and the source of the laws, which were violated in his murder.

The king put up his flowing hair under a cap; then, turning to the executioner, asked, "Is any of my hair in the way?"—"I beg your majesty to push it more under your cap," replied the man, bowing. The bishop assisted his royal master to do so, and observed to him, "There is but one stage more, which, though turbulent and troublesome, is yet a very short one. Consider, it will carry you a great way—even from earth to heaven."—"I go," replied the king, "from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown." He unfastened his cloak, and took off the medallion of the order of the Garter. The latter he gave to Juxon, saying, with emphasis, "Remember!" Beneath the medallion of St. George was a secret spring which removed a plate ornamented with lilies, under which was a beautiful miniature of his Henrietta. The warning word, which has caused many historical surmises, evidently referred to the fact that he only had parted with the portrait of his beloved wife at the last moment of his existence. He then took off his coat, and put on his cloak; and pointing to the block, said to the executioner, "Place it so that it will not shake."—"It is firm, sir," replied the man. "I shall say a short prayer," said the king; "and when I hold out my hand thus, strike." The king stood in profound meditation, said a few words to himself, looked upward on the heavens, then knelt, and laid his head on the block. In about a minute he stretched out his hands, and his head was severed at one blow.

A simultaneous groan of agony arose from the assembled multitude at the moment when the fatal[202] blow fell on the neck of Charles I. It was the protest of an outraged people, suffering, equally with their monarch, under military tyranny, and those who heard that cry remembered it with horror to their deaths. When the king's head fell, Hulet, the gray-beard mask, came forward to earn his bribe and subsequent promotion. He held up the bleeding head, and vociferated, "This is the head of a traitor!" A deep and angry murmur from the people followed the announcement. Two troops of horse, advancing in different directions, dispersed the indignant crowd. Hulet, in his anxiety to gain his stipulated reward, did more than was required, for he dashed down the dissevered head of the king, yet warm with life, and bruised one cheek grievously—an outrage noted with sorrow. The king was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor; the burial service was not permitted. The body was, when it was conveyed for interment to Windsor, followed by Bishop Juxon and the six attached gentlemen who had attended on the king in all his wanderings. The king had expressed a wish to be interred by his father in the royal chapel in Westminster Abbey, but Cromwell forbade it, having, from an absurd species of ambition, reserved that place for himself.

The trial, death, and burial of Charles I. had taken place before Queen Henrietta, besieged as Paris was from without, and her place of abode, the Louvre, beset from within, could receive the least intelligence concerning him. Meantime, her second son James, the young Duke of York, who had escaped from the custody of the republican English, was brought to[203] her through the beleaguering lines of Paris. His arrival raised her spirits very high, too soon to be crushed. Whispers of the dire events in England had transpired through her circle at the Louvre; her English household gazed aghast on the unconscious widow, marveling how the tidings were to be told her. Such awe-struck looks caused her inquiries, but the answers she received almost stopped the springs of her life; when at last the queen comprehended her loss with all its frightful facts, she stood motionless as a statue, without words and without tears. "To all we could say our queen was deaf—frozen in her grief," writes Pére Gamache, "at last, awed by her appalling grief, we became silent, with tearful looks bent on her. So passed the time till night-fall. When her aunt, the Duchess de Vendôme, whom she loved much and we had sent to in fear for the queen's life, came, she gently took the hand of the royal widow, kissed it, remained silent, and wept. Then Henrietta felt the relief of tears. She was able to sigh and weep when her little daughter, then four years old, was brought to her; and though she felt it hard to part with her, yet she longed to retire to some quiet place where she might, as she said, 'weep at will.'" The convent of the Carmelites, St. Jacques, was the place to which she retreated, with one or two of her ladies.

The queen-regent of France sent Madame de Motteville to her afflicted sister of England. The sympathy felt for the afflicted daughter of their great Henry, induced the Frondoneers to let this lady pass their lines. "I was," she says, "admitted to[204] her bedside. The queen, Henrietta, gave me her hand while sobs choked her speech. 'I have lost a crown,' she cried, 'but that I have long ceased to regret; it is the husband for whom I grieve; good, just, wise, virtuous as he was, most worthy of my love and that of his subjects; the future time must be for me but one succession of torture.'" Henrietta then sent important messages of advice to her sister-queen on her affairs, implored her to seek and hear the truth before it was too late, which, if her Charles or herself had ever been told, affairs needed not have taken the fatal turn that she should ever mourn. Queen Henrietta then asked that her newly-arrived son, the Duke of York, might be given the same allowance as his brother, now called by all her exiled court Charles II.

Before the violence of grief was abated, it became needful that Queen Henrietta should leave Paris for St. Germains, where the court of France then was. The transit was dangerous, but it is from the superabundant spite of the English republican news-letters the fact is revealed that the young King of England, in his deep mourning for his father, rode by the side of his mother's carriage, guarding her from the infuriated rabble. The queen-regent of France and her sons were waiting at Chatou to comfort them by every kindness after this terrible journey. Henrietta's next trouble was parting from her son Charles II. for his adventurous attempts in Scotland and England. After the failure of the royal cause at the hard-fought battle of Worcester, the young king retired into exile at Cologne. Queen[205] Henrietta had to weep alone over the sad death of her beautiful daughter Elizabeth, who died broken-hearted in her cruel imprisonment, at Carisbrook Castle. The indignation of all Europe obliged the English republicans to send the young Duke of Gloucester to Paris. The last interview of Charles I. with these children had made every feeling heart sympathize with them. It must be owned that the worst action Queen Henrietta ever committed was the persecution she raised against her son Henry, Duke of Gloucester, to make him change his religion. Not out of fanatic bigotry, which though troublesome may possibly be sincere, but from the sordid motive of providing for him as a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic. The boy, at the tender age of eight years, had earnestly promised his sire, as he sat on his knee, never to forsake the faith of the Church of England, or to supersede his elder brothers, and now he kept his word as sturdily as if he had been thirty.[3] Charles II. stopped his mother's tampering with the faith of his younger brother, ordering, as their sovereign, that Gloucester should be sent to his loving sister Mary, Princess of Orange, then at Breda.

[3] For the details of this event, see "Lives of the Queens of England," vol. v.

[206]

In another attempt to mend adverse fortune Henrietta was signally disappointed; she tried in vain to induce her rich and beautiful niece, Mademoiselle de Montpensier, the second lady in France, to accept the hand of her eldest son, the expatriated Charles II. To her subsequent regret, the princess scorned the young king for his poverty.

Time and death at last did their work, and the royal family was restored, not by foreign force, but by acclamation. England, having for twenty years experienced anarchy, was glad to welcome her king home again, all people know, with his two brothers York and Gloucester, at Dover, on his birthday, May 29, 1660.

The queen-mother, as Henrietta was now called, did not witness the delirious joy of the Restoration. She was busy with the marriage-treaty of her beautiful darling, the Princess Henrietta, with her youngest nephew, Philippe, Duke d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIV. About five months after she came with the princess to obtain her dowry from the now loving Parliament of England, likewise her own arrears, which had been scornfully refused by the republic, with the remark "that she had not been crowned, therefore they ignored her as queen." Surely she deserved no great pity on that point, considering her perverse conduct to her husband concerning it.

Of her three sons who had returned to England, Henrietta was destined to meet but two. The small-pox, so fatal in that country, deprived her of young Gloucester, whom she had never met since endeavouring to force him into the Roman Catholic faith. The marriage that the Duke of York had avowed with Anne Hyde, Clarendon's daughter, not only enraged but grieved her more than the early death of poor Gloucester. She wrote to her daughter, the Princess of Orange, then visiting Charles II. in England, that she came to break the disgraceful[207] marriage of James; but before Christmas was turned Henrietta had mourned over the death-bed of her beloved eldest daughter, who had been the greatest benefactress to her and her exiled family when in Holland. Moreover Queen Henrietta found that neither her own dower or her young princess's marriage-portion would be very quick in coming to hand, without the assistance of Clarendon; so she did exactly contrary to her avowed intentions, and acknowledged Anne Hyde as her second son's wife, which she certainly was, by every law of God and man. On New Year's Day, 1661, the Duke of York brought his wife in state to Whitehall. As the queen passed to dine in public, the Duchess of York knelt to her; the queen raised her, kissed her, and placed her at table. The Earl of Clarendon and the queen came to an understanding on business that same evening. There was the utmost difficulty regarding the lands she held as queen-dowager; but the parliament gave her 30,000l. compensation and a large annuity. But as the English law did not allow queen-dowagers to be absentees, her establishment was settled at Somerset House, which she altered with great taste. As London was infected with the small-pox, the queen was desirous of withdrawing her lovely Henrietta from its dangers before her beauty was injured.

Charles II. attended his mother to Portsmouth, where she embarked with her young princess, who was seized with eruptive illness next day, supposed to be the small-pox. The captain ran the ship aground; and all had to disembark at Portsmouth,[208] where the princess remained till convalescent. At last they arrived safely at Havre, February 26, 1661, and were escorted in great triumph by the French nobility to Paris, where the marriage of the young princess with Philippe, Duke of Orleans, took place, at the chapel of the Palais Royal. The marriage was not happy; the bridegroom was odd-tempered and totally uneducated.

When Somerset House was repaired and beautified, the queen came to take up her residence in England, where she first was introduced to the bride of Charles II., Catharine of Braganza. And in England she lived three years, her health gradually giving way before the climate—always inimical to her. She saw her second son and his duchess, Anne Hyde, with promising children about them. The Lady Mary, afterward queen-regnant, was born while Henrietta was in England.

[209]

Charles II. and his queen accompanied the invalid queen-mother to the Nore, when she returned to France, where she went direct to her favourite château of Colombe, on the river Seine, between Paris and St. Germain-en-Laye. Its park and groups of trees are still visible from the railway. The château was destroyed at the revolution of France. Henrietta lived a sweet, easy life in her pleasant château, troubled only by the fluctuations of the asthmatic cough she had never lost since her Yorkshire campaign. Her charity was very extensive; in England she had distributed from her chapel at Somerset House thousands of pounds among the poor suffering from the plague, in the year 1666.

She paid visits to the baths of Bourbon, for increasing illness, during the three next years. Toward the close of 1669, she had been agitated with impending war between France and England, which she strove to avert. M. Valot, the first physician to Louis XIV., held a consultation at Colombe with her own medical man. The new remedy of opium was then the fashionable medicine. It was vain her own physician declared it was most inimical to Queen Henrietta. M. Valot left the prescription, positively asserting that it would allay her tearing cough. On the evening of August 30, she was better than usual, sat up later, and chatted pleasantly with her ladies. That night she was sleeping sweetly, when the lady in waiting awoke her, to administer the sleeping-draught. Could any thing be more absurd than to wake a patient to administer a sleeping-potion? At dawn, the lady came with another draught, but the first had been fatal; Henrietta was cold and speechless, and never woke again, though she respired for some time. A messenger hurried to St. Germains, and her son-in-law, the Duke of Orleans, came directly; but Henrietta had ceased to breathe, August 31, 1669. Her little grand-daughter, afterward our queen-regnant, Anne, was staying at Colombe for her health at that time.

[210]

Queen Henrietta was embalmed, and buried at St. Denis, in the royal vault of the Kings of France, her ancestors. Her daughter, the Duchess of Orleans, was too ill and utterly cast down with grief to follow her mother to the grave; but her niece, Mademoiselle Montpensier, attended as chief mourner. Forty days after, a much grander service was performed to her memory, by the nuns of the Visitation, at Chaillot, whose convent she had founded. There her daughter and her husband, the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, attended, in the deepest grief and mourning; and there Bossuet preached that beautiful biographical oration, which has deservedly taken place among the classics of France. Our limits in this edition will not permit more than one passage, which is illustrative of the true character of the queen, though not of that set forth in general English history. "Batten, the captain who cannonaded her at Burlington, was taken prisoner afterward, and condemned to death, without the queen's knowledge; but, seeing him led to execution past her window, full of horror at his impending fate, the queen cried out she had pardoned him long ago, and insisted on his liberation. Batten was not ungrateful, for he helped in the revolt of part of the English fleet to the young king." Pepys, in his diary, often names him as in favour with the Duke of York, when lord admiral, after the Restoration.

[211]

Henrietta Maria had been the mother of four sons and four daughters; she outlived all her children but Charles II., who left no legitimate offspring; James, Duke of York, afterward the unfortunate James II., and Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, who survived her some months.

Sir John Suckling

Suckling, Sir John. An English poet, born at Whitton, Middlesex, in 1608; died in Paris about 1642.

WHY SO PALE AND WAN?

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee, why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
Saying nothing do't?
Prithee, why so mute?

Quit, quit, for shame, this will not move,
This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
Nothing can make her.
The devil take her!
[212]

I PRITHEE, SEND ME BACK MY HEART

I prithee, send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine;
For, if from yours you will not part,
Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?

Yet now I think on't, let it lie,
To find it were in vain;
For thou'st a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.

Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
O Love, where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?

[213]

Jonathan Swift

Swift, Jonathan, commonly known as Dean Swift, was born in Dublin, in November, 1667, and died in October, 1745. He was not proud of his native land, but emphatically declared that his birth in Ireland was "a perfect accident," and lost no opportunity of reviling that country. It is doubtful whether great literary talent has ever, before or since, been found in company with such a wholly unpleasant personality as that of Dean Swift. At Dublin University, where he was educated. Swift distinguished himself by his contempt for college laws, and neglect of his studies; and wholly by special grace did he receive his degree. He entered the family of Sir William Temple in the capacity of secretary; in the same household "Stella," immortalized in Swift's books, was a waiting-maid. King William took a fancy to Swift because the latter made him acquainted with asparagus, and offered him the command of a troop of horse. The favour was declined. In 1694, Swift was admitted to Deacon's orders and a few years later went to Ireland as Chaplain to Lord Berkeley. In 1713 he was made dean of St. Patrick's. He began his career in literature as a writer of political tracts, and was secretly employed by the Government to write on its behalf. In 1726 appeared Gulliver's Travels, his most famous work, and at frequent intervals thereafter, his other writings, prose and poetry. In 1740, he evinced the first symptoms of the madness which clouded his closing years. The story of his life is a sad one and goes far to encourage the belief that sometimes, if not always, retribution comes in this life upon the wrong-doer. Swift's career was supremely selfish; nothing was suffered to stand in the way of his interest and gratification, and nobody, save the three women whose names he has linked with his own, and whose unfailing affection he requited so brutally,—with these exceptions, nobody loved him. As a writer, his originality was remarkable; no writer of his time, probably, borrowed so little from his predecessors; and his versatility—for he succeeded in every department of literature that he attempted—is not less wonderful. All things considered, his Gulliver's Travels must be regarded as his greatest work. A selection from this book is here given, illustrating his best manner as a satirist.

[214]

A VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT

My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire, and I was the third of four sons. He sent me to Cambridge at fourteen years old, and after studying there three years I was bound apprentice to Mr. Bates, a famous surgeon in London. There, as my father now and then sent me small sums of money, I spent them in learning navigation and other arts useful to those who travel, as I always believed it would be some time or other my fortune to do.

Three years after leaving him my good master, Mr. Bates, recommended me as ship's surgeon to the Swallow, on which I voyaged three years. When I came back I settled in London, and having taken part of a small house, I married Miss Mary Burton, daughter of Mr. Edmund Burton, hosier. [215] But my good master Bates died two years after, and as I had few friends my business began to fail, and I determined to go again to sea. After several voyages I accepted an offer from Captain W. Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the South Sea. We set sail from Bristol on May 4, 1699, and our voyage at first was very prosperous.

But in our passage to the East Indies we were driven by a violent storm to the northwest of Van Diemen's Land. Twelve of our crew died from hard labor and bad food, and the rest were in a very weak condition. On November 5, the weather being very hazy, the seamen spied a rock within one hundred and twenty yards of the ship; but the wind was so strong that we were driven straight upon it, and immediately split. Six of the crew, of whom I was one, letting down the boat, got clear of the ship, and we rowed about three leagues, till we could work no longer. We therefore trusted ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in about an hour the boat was upset by a sudden squall. What became of my companions in the boat or those who escaped on the rock or were left in the vessel I cannot tell, but I conclude they were all lost. For my part, I swam as fortune directed me and was pushed forward by wind and tide; but when I was able to struggle no longer I found myself within my depth. By this time the storm was much abated.

[216]I reached the shore at last, about eight o'clock in the evening, and advanced nearly half a mile inland, but could not discover any sign of inhabitants. I was extremely tired, and with the heat of the weather I found myself much inclined to sleep. I lay down on the grass, which was very short and soft, and slept sounder than ever I did in my life for about nine hours. When I awoke it was just daylight. I attempted to rise, but could not; for as I happened to be lying on my back, I found my arms and legs were fastened on each side to the ground, and my hair, which was long and thick, tied down in the same manner. I could only look upward. The sun began to grow hot, and the light hurt my eyes. I heard a confused noise about me, but could see nothing except the sky.

In a little time I felt something alive moving on my left leg, which, advancing gently over my breast, came almost up to my chin, when, bending my eyes downward, I perceived it to be a human creature, not six inches high, with a bow and arrow in his hands and a quiver at his back. In the mean time I felt at least forty more following the first. I was in the utmost astonishment, and roared so loud that they all ran back in a fright; and some of them were hurt with the falls they got by leaping from my sides upon the ground. However, they soon returned, and one of them, who ventured so far as to get a full sight of my face, lifted up his hands in admiration. I lay all this while in great uneasiness; but at length, struggling to get loose, I succeeded in breaking the strings that fastened my left arm to the ground, and at the same time, with a violent pull that gave me extreme pain, I a little loosened the strings that tied down my hair, so that I was just able to turn my head about two inches.

But the creatures ran off a second time before I could seize them, whereupon there was a great shout, and in an instant I felt above a hundred arrows discharged on my left hand, which pricked me like so many needles. Moreover, they shot another flight into the air, of which some fell on my face, which I immediately covered with my left hand. When the shower of arrows was over I groaned with grief and pain, and then, striving again to get loose, they discharged another flight of arrows, larger than the first, and some of them tried to stab me with their spears; but by good luck I had on a leather[217] jacket, which they could not pierce. By this time I thought it most prudent to lie still till night, when, my left hand being already loose, I could easily free myself; and as for the inhabitants, I thought I might be a match for the greatest army they could bring against me if they were all of the same size with him I saw.

When the people observed that I was quiet they discharged no more arrows, but by the noise I knew that their number was increased, and about four yards from me, for more than an hour, there was a knocking, like people at work. Then, turning my head that way as well as the pegs and strings would let me I saw a stage set up, about a foot and a half from the ground, with two or three ladders to mount it. From this, one of them, who seemed to be a person of quality, made me a long speech, of which I could not understand a word, though I could tell from his manner that he sometimes threatened me and sometimes spoke with pity and kindness. I answered in few words, but in the most submissive manner, and being almost famished with hunger, I could not help showing my impatience by putting my finger frequently to my mouth, to signify that I wanted food.

He understood me very well, and descending from the stage commanded that several ladders should be set against my sides, on which more than a hundred of the inhabitants mounted and walked toward my mouth with baskets full of food, which had been sent by the king's orders when he first received tidings of me. There were legs and shoulders like[218] mutton, but smaller than the wings of a lark. I ate them two or three at a mouthful and took three loaves at a time. They supplied me as fast as they could, with a thousand marks of wonder at my appetite. I then made a sign that I wanted something to drink. They guessed that a small quantity would not suffice me, and being a most ingenious people, they slung up one of their largest hogsheads, then rolled it toward my hand, and beat out the top. I drank it off at a draught, which I might well do, for it did not hold half a pint. They brought me a second hogshead, which I drank and made signs for more; but they had none to give me. However, I could not wonder enough at the daring of these tiny mortals who ventured to mount and walk upon my body while one of my hands was free without trembling at the very sight of so huge a creature as I must have seemed to them.

After some time there appeared before me a person of high rank from his imperial majesty. His excellency having mounted my right leg, advanced to my face with about a dozen of his retinue, and spoke about ten minutes, often pointing forward, which, as I afterward found, was toward the capital city, about half a mile distant, whither it was commanded by his majesty that I should be conveyed. I made a sign with my hand that was loose, putting it to the other (but over his excellency's head, for fear of hurting him or his train), to show that I desired my liberty. He seemed to understand me well enough, for he shook his head, though he made other signs to let me know that I[219] should have meat and drink enough and very good treatment.

Then I once more thought of attempting to escape, but when I felt the smart of their arrows on my face and hands, which were all in blisters, and observed likewise that the number of my enemies increased, I gave tokens to let them know that they might do with me what they pleased. Then they daubed my face and hands with a sweet-smelling ointment, which in a few minutes removed all the smart of the arrows. The relief from pain and hunger made me drowsy, and presently I fell asleep. I slept about eight hours, as I was told afterward; and it was no wonder, for the physicians, by the emperor's order, had mingled a sleeping-draught in the hogshead of wine.

It seems that when I was discovered sleeping on the ground after my landing the emperor had early notice of it, and determined that I should be tied in the manner I have related (which was done in the night while I slept), that plenty of meat and drink should be sent to me, and a machine prepared to carry me to the capital city. Five hundred carpenters and engineers were immediately set to work to prepare the engine. It was a frame of wood, raised three inches from the ground, about seven feet long and four wide, moving upon twenty-two wheels. But the difficulty was to place me on it. Eighty poles were erected for this purpose, and very strong cords fastened to bandages which the workmen tied round my neck, hands, body, and legs. Nine hundred of the strongest men were employed[220] to draw up these cords by pulleys fastened on the poles, and in less than three hours I was raised and slung into the engine and there tied fast. Fifteen hundred of the emperor's largest horses, each about four inches and a half high, were then employed to draw me toward the capital. But while all this was done I still lay in a deep sleep, and I did not wake till four hours after we began our journey.

The emperor and all his court came out to meet us when we reached the capital, but his great officials would not suffer his majesty to risk his person by mounting on my body. Where the carriage stopped there stood an ancient temple, supposed to be the largest in the whole kingdom, and here it was determined that I should lodge. Near the great gate, through which I could easily creep, they fixed ninety-one chains like those which hang to a lady's watch, which were locked to my left leg with thirty-six padlocks; and when the workmen found it was impossible for me to break loose, they cut all the strings that bound me. Then I rose up, feeling as melancholy as ever I did in my life. But the noise and astonishment of the people on seeing me rise and walk were inexpressible. The chains that held my left leg were about two yards long, and gave me not only freedom to walk backward and forward in a semicircle, but to creep in and lie at full length inside the temple.

The emperor, advancing toward me from among his courtiers, all most magnificently clad, surveyed me with great admiration, but kept beyond the length of my chain. He was taller by about the[221] breadth of my nail than any of his court, which alone was enough to strike awe into the beholders, and graceful and majestic. The better to behold him I lay down on my side, so that my face was level with his, and he stood three yards off. However, I have had him since many times in my hand, and therefore cannot be deceived. His dress was very simple, but he wore a light helmet of gold adorned with jewels and a plume. He held his sword in his hand, to defend himself if I should break loose; it was almost three inches long, and the hilt was of gold, enriched with diamonds. His voice was shrill, but very clear. His imperial majesty spoke often to me, and I answered; but neither of us could understand a word.

[222]After about two hours the court retired, and I was left with a strong guard to keep away the crowd, some of whom had the impudence to shoot their arrows at me as I sat by the door of my house. But the colonel ordered six of them to be seized and delivered bound into my hands. I put five of them into my coat pocket; and as to the sixth, I made a face as if I would eat him alive. The poor man screamed terribly, and the colonel and his officers were much distressed, especially when they saw me take out my penknife. But I soon set them at ease, for, cutting the strings he was bound with, I put him gently on the ground, and away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking them one by one out of my pocket; and I saw that both the soldiers and people were highly delighted at this mark of my kindness.

Toward night I got with some difficulty into my house, where I lay on the ground, as I had to do for a fortnight, till a bed was prepared for me out of six hundred beds of the ordinary measure.

Six hundred servants were appointed me and three hundred tailors made me a suit of clothes, moreover, six of his majesty's greatest scholars were employed to teach me their language, so that soon I was able to converse after a fashion with the emperor, who often honoured me with his visits. The first words I learned were to desire that he would please to give me my liberty, which I every day repeated on my knees; but he answered that this must be a work of time, and that first I must swear a peace with him and his kingdom. He told me also that by the laws of the nation I must be searched by two of the officers, and that as this could not be done without my help, he trusted them in my hands, and whatever they took from me should be returned when I left the country. I took up the two officers and put them into my coat pockets. These gentlemen, having pen, ink, and paper about them, made an exact list of everything they saw, which I afterward translated into English and which ran as follows:

"In the right coat pocket of the great man-mountain we found only one great piece of coarse cloth, large enough to cover the carpet of your majesty's chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge silver chest, with a silver cover, which we could not lift. We desired that it should be opened, and one of us stepping into it found himself up to[223] the mid-leg in a sort of dust, some of which flying into our faces sent us both into a fit of sneezing. In his right waistcoat pocket we found a number of white thin substances, folded one over another, about the size of three men, tied with a strong cable, and marked with black figures, which we humbly conceive to be writings. In the left there was a sort of engine, from the back of which extended twenty long poles, with which we conjecture the man-mountain combs his head. In the smaller pocket on the right side were several round flat pieces of white and red metal, of different sizes. Some of the white, which appeared to be silver, were so large and heavy that my comrades and I could hardly lift them. From another pocket hung a huge silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine fastened to it, a globe half silver and half of some transparent metal; for on the transparent side we saw certain strange figures, and thought we could touch them till we found our fingers stopped by the shining substance. This engine made an incessant noise, like a water-mill, and we conjecture it is either some unknown animal or the god he worships, but probably the latter, for he has told us that he seldom did anything without consulting it. This is a list of what we found about the body of the man-mountain, who treated us with great civility."

[224]I had one private pocket which escaped their search, containing a pair of spectacles and a small spy-glass, which, being of no consequence to the emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour to discover.

My gentleness and good behaviour gained so far on the emperor and his court, and, indeed, on the people in general, that I began to have hopes of getting my liberty in a short time. The natives came by degrees to be less fearful of danger from me. I would sometimes lie down and let five or six of them dance on my hand, and at last the boys and girls ventured to come and play at hide-and-seek in my hair.

[225]The horses of the army and of the royal stables were no longer shy, having been daily led before me; and one of the emperor's huntsmen, on a large courser, took my foot, shoe and all, which was indeed a prodigious leap. I amused the emperor one day in a very extraordinary manner. I took nine sticks and fixed them firmly in the ground in a square. Then I took four other sticks and tied them parallel at each corner, about two feet from the ground. I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks that stood erect and extended it on all sides till it was as tight as the top of a drum; and I desired the emperor to let a troop of his best horse, twenty-four in number, come and exercise upon this plain. His majesty approved of the proposal, and I took them up one by one, with the proper officers to exercise them. As soon as they got into order they divided into two parties, discharged blunt arrows, drew their swords, fled and pursued, and, in short, showed the best military discipline I ever beheld. The parallel sticks secured them and their horses from falling off the stage, and the emperor was so much delighted that he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several days and persuaded the empress herself to let me hold her in her chair within two yards of the stage, whence she could view the whole performance. Fortunately no accident happened, only once a fiery horse, pawing with his hoof, struck a hole in my handkerchief and overthrew his rider and himself. But I immediately relieved them both, and covering the hole with one hand, I set down the troop with the other as I had taken them up. The horse that fell was strained in the shoulder, but the rider was not hurt, and I repaired my handkerchief as well as I could. However, I would not trust to the strength of it any more in such dangerous enterprises.

I had sent so many petitions for my liberty that his majesty at length mentioned the matter in a full council, where it was opposed by none except Skyresh Bolgolam, admiral of the realm, who was pleased without any provocation to be my mortal enemy. He agreed at length, though he succeeded in himself drawing up the conditions on which I should be set free. After they were read I was requested to swear to perform them in the method prescribed by their laws, which was to hold my right foot in my left hand, to place the middle finger of my right hand on the crown of my head, and my thumb on the top of my right ear. But I have made a translation of the conditions, which I here offer to the public:

"Golbaste Momarem Evlame Gurdile Shefin Mully Ully Gue, Most Mighty Emperor of Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe, whose dimen[226]sions extend to the ends of the globe, monarch of all monarchs, taller than the sons of men, whose feet press down to the centre and whose head strikes against the sun, at whose nod the princes of the earth shake their knees, pleasant as the spring, comfortable as the summer, fruitful as autumn, dreadful as winter: his most sublime majesty proposeth to the man-mountain, lately arrived at our celestial dominions, the following articles, which by a solemn oath he shall be obliged to perform:

"First. The man-mountain shall not depart from our dominions without our license under the great seal.

"Second. He shall not presume to come into our metropolis without our express order, at which time the inhabitants shall have two hours' warning to keep within doors.

"Third. The said man-mountain shall confine his walks to our principal high-roads, and not offer to walk or lie down in a meadow or field of corn.

"Fourth. As he walks the said road he shall take the utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our loving subjects, their horses or carriages, nor take any of our subjects into his hands without their own consent.

"Fifth. If an express requires extraordinary speed the man-mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket the messenger and horse a six days' journey, and return the said messenger (if so required) safe to our imperial presence.

"Sixth. He shall be our ally against our enemies[227] in the island of Blefuscu and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, which is now preparing to invade us.

"Lastly. Upon his solemn oath to observe all the above articles, the said man-mountain shall have a daily allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of seventeen hundred and twenty-four of our subjects, with free access to our royal person and other marks of our favour.

"Given at our palace at Belfaborac, the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our reign."

I swore to these articles with great cheerfulness, whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked and I was at full liberty.

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my freedom, Reldresal, the emperor's secretary for private affairs, came to my house, attended only by one servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance and desired that I would give him an hour's audience. I offered to lie down that he might the more conveniently reach my ear, but he chose rather to let me hold him in my hand during our conversation. He began with compliments on my liberty, but he added that, save for the present state of things at court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so soon.

"For," he said, "however flourishing we may seem to foreigners, we are in danger of an invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other great empire of the universe, almost as large and as powerful as this of his majesty. For as to what we have heard you say, that there are other king[228]doms in the world, inhabited by human creatures as large as yourself, our philosophers are very doubtful, and rather conjecture that you dropped from the moon or one of the stars, because a hundred mortals of your size would soon destroy all the fruit and cattle of his majesty's dominions. Besides, our histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions than the two mighty empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu, which, as I was going to tell you, are engaged in a most obstinate war, which began in the following manner: It is allowed on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs was upon the larger end; but his present majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the emperor, his father, made a law commanding all his subjects to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law that there have been six rebellions raised on that account, wherein one emperor lost his life and another his crown. It is calculated that eleven hundred persons have at different times suffered death rather than break their eggs at the smaller end. But these rebels, the Bigendians, have found so much encouragement at the Emperor of Blefuscu's court, to which they always fled for refuge, that a bloody war, as I said, has been carried on between the two empires for thirty-six moons; and now the Blefuscudians have equipped a large fleet and are preparing to descend upon us. Therefore his imperial majesty, placing great con[229]fidence in your valour and strength, has commanded me to set the case before you."

I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to the emperor, and to let him know that I was ready, at the risk of my life, to defend him against all invaders.

It was not long before I communicated to his majesty the plan I formed for seizing the enemy's whole fleet. The empire of Blefuscu is an island parted from Lilliput only by a channel eight hundred yards wide. I consulted the most experienced seamen on the depth of the channel, and they told me that in the middle, at high water, it was seventy glumgluffs (about six feet of European measure). I walked toward the coast, where, lying down behind a hillock, I took out my spy-glass and viewed the enemy's fleet at anchor—about fifty men-of-war and other vessels. I then came back to my house and gave orders for a great quantity of the strongest cables and bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as pack-thread and the bars of the length and size of a knitting-needle. I trebled the cable to make it stronger, and for the same reason twisted three of the iron bars together, bending the ends into a hook.

Having thus fixed fifty hooks to as many cables I went back to the coast, and taking off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the sea in my leather jacket about half an hour before high water. I waded with what haste I could, swimming in the middle about thirty yards, till I felt ground, and thus arrived at the fleet in less than half an hour. The[230] enemy were so frightened when they saw me that they leaped out of their ships and swam ashore, where there could not be fewer than thirty thousand. Then, fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each ship, I tied all the cords together at the end.

Meanwhile the enemy discharged several thousand arrows, many of which stuck in my hands and face. My greatest fear was for my eyes, which I should have lost if I had not suddenly thought of the pair of spectacles which had escaped the emperor's searchers. These I took out and fastened upon my nose, and thus armed went on with my work in spite of the arrows, many of which struck against the glasses of my spectacles, but without any other effect than slightly disturbing them. Then, taking the knot in my hand, I began to pull, but not a ship would stir, for they were too fast held by their anchors. Thus the boldest part of my enterprise remained. Letting go the cord, I resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened the anchors, receiving more than two hundred shots in my face and hands. Then I took up again the knotted end of the cables to which my hooks were tied, and with great ease drew fifty of the enemy's largest men-of-war after me.

When the Blefuscudians saw the fleet moving in order and me pulling at the end, they set up a scream of grief and despair that it is impossible to describe. When I had got out of danger I stopped awhile to pick out the arrows that stuck in my hands and face, and rubbed on some of the same ointment that was given me at my arrival. I then took off my spec[231]tacles, and after waiting an hour till the tide was a little fallen, I waded on to the royal port of Lilliput.

The emperor and his whole court stood on the shore awaiting me. They saw the ships move forward in a large half-moon, but could not discern me, who, in the middle of the channel, was under water up to my neck. The emperor concluded that I was drowned and that the enemy's fleet was approaching in a hostile manner. But he was soon set at ease, for, the channel growing shallower every step I made, I came in a short time within hearing, and holding up the end of the cable by which the fleet was fastened, I cried in a loud voice: "Long live the most puissant Emperor of Lilliput!" The prince received me at my landing with all possible joy and made me a nardal on the spot, which is the highest title of honour among them. His majesty desired that I would take some opportunity to bring all the rest of his enemy's ships into his ports, and seemed to think of nothing less than conquering the whole empire of Blefuscu and becoming the sole monarch of the world. But I plainly protested that I would never be the means of bringing a free and brave people into slavery; and though the wisest of the ministers were of my opinion, my open refusal was so opposed to his majesty's ambition that he could never forgive me. And from this time a plot began between himself and those of his ministers who were my enemies that nearly ended in my utter destruction.

About three weeks after this exploit there arrived an embassy from Blefuscu, with humble offers of[232] peace, which was soon concluded, on terms very advantageous to our emperor. There were six ambassadors, with a train of about five hundred persons, all very magnificent. Having been privately told that I had befriended them, they made me a visit, and paying me many compliments on my valour and generosity, invited me to their kingdom in the emperor their master's name. I asked them to present my most humble respects to the emperor their master, whose royal person I resolved to attend before I returned to my own country. Accordingly, the next time I had the honour to see our emperor I desired his general permission to visit the Blefuscudian monarch. This he granted me, but in a very cold manner, of which I afterward learned the reason.

When I was just preparing to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, a distinguished person at court, to whom I had once done a great service, came to my house very privately at night, and without sending his name desired admission. I put his lordship into my coat pocket, and giving orders to a trusty servant to admit no one, I fastened the door, placed my visitor on the table, and sat down by it. His lordship's face was full of trouble, and he asked me to hear him with patience in a matter that highly concerned my honour and my life. "You are aware," he said, "that Skyresh Bolgolam has been your mortal enemy ever since your arrival, and his hatred is increased since your great success against Blefuscu, by which his glory as admiral is obscured. This lord and others have accused you of treason,[233] and several councils have been called in the most private manner on your account. Out of gratitude for your favours I procured information of the whole proceedings, venturing my head for your service, and this was the charge against you:

"First, that you having brought the imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the royal port, were commanded by his majesty to seize all the other ships and to put to death all the Bigendian exiles, and also all the people of the empire who would not immediately consent to break their eggs at the smaller end. And that, like a false traitor to his most serene majesty, you excused yourself from the service on pretence of unwillingness to force the consciences and destroy the liberties and lives of an innocent people.

"Again, when ambassadors arrived from the court of Blefuscu, like a false traitor you aided and entertained them, though you knew them to be servants of a prince lately in open war against his imperial majesty.

"Moreover, you are now preparing, contrary to the duty of a faithful subject, to voyage to the court of Blefuscu.

"In the debate on this charge," my friend continued, "his majesty often urged the services you had done him, while the admiral and treasurer insisted that you should be put to a shameful death. But Reldresal, secretary for private affairs, who has always proved himself your friend, suggested that if his majesty would please to spare your life and only give orders to put out both your eyes, justice might in some measure be satisfied. At this Bolgolam rose[234] up in a fury, wondering how the secretary dared desire to preserve the life of a traitor; and the treasurer, pointing out the expense of keeping you, also urged your death. But his majesty was graciously pleased to say that since the council thought the loss of your eyes too easy a punishment, some other might afterward be inflicted. And the secretary, humbly desiring to be heard again, said that as to expense your allowance might be gradually lessened, so that for want of sufficient food you should grow weak and faint and die in a few months, when his majesty's subjects might cut your flesh from your bones and bury it, leaving the skeleton for the admiration of posterity.

"Thus, through the great friendship of the secretary, the affair was arranged. It was commanded that the plan of starving you by degrees should be kept a secret, but the sentence of putting out your eyes was entered on the books. In three days your friend the secretary will come to your house and read the accusation before you and point out the great mercy of his majesty, that only condemns you to the loss of your eyes—which, he does not doubt, you will submit to humbly and gratefully. Twenty of his majesty's surgeons will attend, to see the operation well performed, by discharging very sharp-pointed arrows into the balls of your eyes as you lie on the ground.

"I leave you," said my friend, "to consider what measures you will take; and, to escape suspicion, I must immediately return as secretly as I came."

His lordship did so, and I remained alone in great[235] perplexity. At first I was bent on resistance, for while I had liberty I could easily with stones pelt the metropolis to pieces; but I soon rejected that idea with horror, remembering the oath I had made to the emperor and the favours I had received from him. At last, having his majesty's leave to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, I resolved to take this opportunity. Before the three days had passed I wrote a letter to my friend the secretary telling him of my resolution, and without waiting for an answer went to the coast, and entering the channel, between wading and swimming reached the port of Blefuscu, where the people, who had long expected me, led me to the capital.

His majesty, with the royal family and great officers of the court, came out to receive me, and they entertained me in a manner suited to the generosity of so great a prince. I did not, however, mention my disgrace with the Emperor of Lilliput, since I did not suppose that prince would disclose the secret while I was out of his power. But in this, it soon appeared, I was deceived.

Three days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to the northeast coast of the island, I observed at some distance in the sea something that looked like a boat overturned. I pulled off my shoes and stockings, and wading two or three hundred yards, I plainly saw it to be a real boat, which I supposed might by some tempest have been driven from a ship. I returned immediately to the city for help, and after a huge amount of labour I managed to get my boat to the royal port of Blefuscu, where a[236] great crowd of people appeared full of wonder at the sight of so prodigious a vessel. I told the emperor that my "good fortune had thrown this boat in my way to carry me to some place where I might return to my native country," and begged his orders for materials to fit it up and leave to depart—which, after many kindly speeches, he was pleased to grant.

Meanwhile the Emperor of Lilliput, uneasy at my long absence (but never imagining that I had the least notice of his designs), sent a person of rank to inform the Emperor of Blefuscu of my disgrace. This messenger had orders to represent the great mercy of his master, who was content to punish me with the loss of my eyes, and who expected that his brother of Blefuscu would have me sent back to Lilliput, bound hand and foot, to be punished as a traitor. The Emperor of Blefuscu answered with many civil excuses. He said that as for sending me bound, his brother knew it was impossible. Moreover, though I had taken away his fleet, he was grateful to me for many good offices I had done him in making the peace. But that both their majesties would soon be made easy, for I had found a prodigious vessel on the shore, able to carry me on the sea, which he had given orders to fit up, and he hoped in a few weeks both empires would be free from me.

[237]

With this answer the messenger returned to Lilliput, and I (though the monarch of Blefuscu secretly offered me his gracious protection if I would continue in his service) hastened my departure, resolving never more to put confidence in princes.

In about a month I was ready to take leave. The Emperor of Blefuscu, with the empress and the royal family, came out of the palace, and I lay down on my face to kiss their hands, which they graciously gave me. His majesty presented me with fifty purses of sprugs (their greatest gold coin) and his picture at full length, which I put immediately into one of my gloves, to keep it from being hurt. Many other ceremonies took place at my departure.

I stored the boat with meat and drink and took six cows and two bulls alive, with as many ewes and rams, intending to carry them into my own country; and to feed them on board. I had a good bundle of hay and a bag of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the natives, but this was a thing the emperor would by no means permit, and besides a diligent search into my pockets, his majesty pledged my honour not to carry away any of his subjects, though with their own consent and desire.

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, I set sail. When I had made twenty-four leagues, by my reckoning, from the island of Blefuscu, I saw a sail steering to northeast. I hailed her, but could get no answer; yet I found I gained upon her, for the wind slackened, and in half an hour she spied me and discharged a gun. I came up with her between five and six in the evening on the 26th of September, 1701, but my heart leaped within me to see her English colours. I put my cows and sheep into my pockets and got on board with all my little cargo. The captain received me with kindness and asked me to tell him what place I came from last,[238] but at my answer he thought I was raving. However, I took my black cattle and sheep out of my pocket, which, after great astonishment, clearly convinced him.

[239]

We arrived in England on the 13th of April, 1702. I stayed two months with my wife and family, but my eager desire to see foreign countries would suffer me to remain no longer. While in England I made great profit by showing my cattle to persons of quality and others, and before I began my second voyage I sold them for six hundred pounds. I left one thousand five hundred pounds with my wife and fixed her in a good house; then, taking leave of her and my boy and girl, with tears on both sides, I sailed on board the Adventure.

Robert Tannahill

Tannahill, Robert, a Scottish poet, born at Paisley, in June, 1774; drowned himself near there, in May, 1810. He was a weaver, working at the loom all his life, and occasionally writing for the periodicals. In 1807 he published The Soldier's Return, with Other Poems, which made him famous. Several of these became popular favourites, and have always remained so. A statue to the poet was erected at Paisley in 1883.

THE BRAES O' BALQUHITHER

Let us go, lassie, go,
To the braes o' Balquhither,
Where the blae-berries grow
'Mang the bonnie Highland heather;
Where the deer and the roe,
Lightly bounding together,
Sport the lang summer day
On the braes o' Balquhither.

I will twine thee a bower
By the clear siller fountain,
And I'll cover it o'er
Wi' the flowers of the mountain;
I will range through the wilds,
And the deep glens sae drearie,
And return wi' the spoils
To the bower o' my dearie.
[240]

When the rude wintry win'
Idly raves round our dwelling,
And the roar of the linn
On the night breeze is swelling,
So merrily we'll sing,
As the storm rattles o'er us,
Till the dear shieling ring
Wi' the light lilting chorus.

Now the summer's in prime
Wi' the flowers richly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
A' the moorlands perfuming:
To our dear native scenes
Let us journey together,
Where glad innocence reigns
'Mang the braes o' Balquhither.

THE FLOWER O' DUMBLANE

The sun has gane down o'er the lofty Benlomond,
And left the red clouds to preside o'er the scene,
While lanely I stray in the calm summer gloamin',
To muse on sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
How sweet is the brier, wi' its saft fauldin' blossom!
And sweet is the birk, wi' its mantle o' green;
Yet sweeter and fairer, and dear to this bosom,
Is lovely young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
[241]
She's modest as ony, and blithe as she's bonnie;
For guileless simplicity marks her its ain:
And far be the villain, divested of feeling,
Wha'd blight in its bloom the sweet flower o' Dumblane.
Sing on, thou sweet mavis, thy hymn to the e'ening;
Thou'rt dear to the echoes of Calderwood glen:
Sae dear to this bosom, sae artless and winning,
Is charming young Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.

How lost were my days till I met wi' my Jessie!
The sports o' the city seem'd foolish and vain;
I ne'er saw a nymph I would ca' my dear lassie,
Till charm'd wi' sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.
Though mine were the station o' loftiest grandeur,
Amidst its profusion I'd languish in pain,
And reckon as naething the height o' its splendour,
[242]If wanting sweet Jessie, the flower o' Dumblane.

Alfred Tennyson

Tennyson, Alfred (Lord), the great English poet, and poet laureate, was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire, in August, 1809, and died at Aldworth, in October, 1892. He was unquestionably the greatest English poet of his time and one of the greatest poets of all time. He was the youngest of three brothers, all of whom were educated at Cambridge, and gave promise of marked intellectual gifts. Alfred Tennyson's first volume, Poems, Chiefly Lyrical, was published in 1830, and met with a favourable reception, though its merits hardly warranted the expectation of his later masterpieces. Other volumes followed rapidly, exhibiting his powers as a poet. In 1850 Tennyson gave to the world a poem which instantly quieted all doubts, of which there had been some, as to his title to the highest rank among contemporary poets, and which was universally received as an ample warrant for his appointment to the poet-laureateship which was made in the same year. This was his famous poem, In Memoriam. Maud, published in 1855 added to the author's fame, and the same may be said of the many shorter poems from his pen which preceded the publication of the Idyls of the King, in 1859. The great charm of Tennyson's poetry lies in his unequalled felicity of diction; his choice and arrangement of words and adjustment of epithets almost seem to be the result of inspiration, so happy are they. The most striking characteristic of his verse is refinement,—a delicacy of sentiment and expression that has rarely, if ever, been attained by any poet. His influence upon the poetical spirit of the age has been very potent, and to the purity of his muse is due, in great degree, the comparative health of our poetical literature.

LADY CLARE

It was the time when lilies blow,
And clouds are highest up in air,
Lord Roland had brought a lily-white doe
To give his cousin, Lady Clare.

I trow they did not part in scorn:
Lovers long betrothed were they:
They two will wed the morrow morn:
God's blessing on the day!
[243]
"He does not love me for my birth,
Nor for my lands so broad and fair,
He loves me for my own true worth,
And that is well," said Lady Clare.

In there came old Alice the nurse,
Said, "Who was this that went from thee?"
"It was my cousin," said Lady Clare,
"To-morrow he weds with me."

"O God be thanked," said Alice, the nurse,
"That all comes round so just and fair;
Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands,
And you are not the Lady Clare."

"Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse?"
Said Lady Clare, "that ye speak so wild?"
"As God's above," said Alice the nurse,
"I speak the truth; you are my child.

"The old Earl's daughter died at my breast;
I speak the truth as I live by bread!
I buried her like my own sweet child,
And put my child in her stead."

"Falsely, falsely, have ye done,
O Mother," she said, "if this be true,
To keep the best man under the sun
So many years from his due."
[244]
"Nay, now, my child," said Alice the nurse,
"But keep the secret for your life,
And all you have will be Lord Ronald's,
When you are man and wife."

"If I'm a beggar born," she said,
"I will speak out, for I dare not lie.
Pull off, pull off the brooch of gold,
And fling the diamond necklace by."

"Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse,
"But keep the secret all ye can."
She said, "Not so, but I will know
If there be any faith in man."

"Nay now, what faith?" said Alice the nurse,
"The man will cleave unto his right."
"And he shall have it," the lady replied,
"Though I should die to-night."

"Yet give one kiss to your mother dear!
Alas, my child, I sinned for thee."
"O mother, mother, mother," she said,
"So strange it seems to me."

"Yet here's a kiss for my mother dear,
My mother dear, if this be so,
And lay your hand upon my head,
And bless me, mother, ere I go."

She clad herself in a russet gown,
She was no longer Lady Clare:
[245]She went by dale, and she went by down,
With a single rose in her hair.

The lily-white doe Lord Ronald had brought
Leapt up from where she lay,
Dropped her head in the maiden's hand,
And followed her all the way.

Down stept Lord Ronald from his tower:
"O Lady Clare, you shame your worth!
Why come you drest like a village maid,
That are the flower of the earth?"

"If I come drest like a village maid,
I am but as my fortunes are;
I am a beggar born," she said,
"And not the Lady Clare."

"Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,
"For I am yours in word and deed.
Play me no tricks," said Lord Ronald,
"Your riddle is hard to read."

"O," and proudly stood she up!
Her heart within her did not fail:
She looked into Lord Ronald's eyes,
And told him all her nurse's tale.

He laughed a laugh of merry scorn;
He turned and kissed her where she stood;
"If you are not the heiress born,
And I," said he, "the next in blood—
[246]
"If you are not the heiress born,
And I," said he, "the lawful heir,
We two will wed to-morrow morn,
And you shall still be Lady Clare."

LADY CLARA VERE DE VERE

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
Of me you shall not win renown:
You thought to break a country heart
For pastime, ere you went to town.
At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
I saw the snare, and I retired:
The daughter of a hundred Earls,
You are not one to be desired.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
I know you proud to bear your name.
Your pride is yet no mate for mine,
Too proud to care from whence I came.
Nor would I break for your sweet sake
A heart that dotes on truer charms.
A simple maiden in her flower
Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
Some meeker pupil you must find,
For were you queen of all that is,
[247]I could not stoop to such a mind.
You sought to prove how I could love,
And my disdain is my reply.
The lion on your old stone gates
Is not more cold to you than I.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
You put strange memories in my head.
Not thrice your branching limes have blown
Since I beheld young Laurence dead.
Oh your sweet eyes, your low replies:
A great enchantress you may be;
But there was that across his throat
Which you had hardly cared to see.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
When thus he met his mother's view,
She had the passions of her kind,
She spake some certain truths of you.
Indeed I heard one bitter word
That scarce is fit for you to hear;
Her manners had not that repose
Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
There stands a spectre in your hall:
The guilt of blood is at your door:
You changed a wholesome heart to gall.
You held your course without remorse,
To make him trust his modest worth,
And, last, you fix'd a vacant stare,
And slew him with your noble birth.
[248]
Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
From yon blue heavens above us bent
The grand old gardener and his wife
Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
'Tis only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.

I know you, Clara Vere de Vere:
You pine among your halls and towers:
The languid light of your proud eyes
Is wearied of the rolling hours.
In glowing health, with boundless wealth,
But sickening of a vague disease,
You know so ill to deal with time,
You needs must play such pranks as these.

Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,
If Time be heavy on your hands,
Are there no beggars at your gate,
Nor any poor about your lands?
Oh! teach the orphan-boy to read,
Or teach the orphan-girl to sew,
Pray Heaven for a human heart,
[249]And let the foolish yeoman go.

COME INTO THE GARDEN, MAUD

Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the roses blown.

For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

I said to the lily, "There is but one
With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone?
She is weary of dance and play."
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
And half to the rising day;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.
[250]
I said to the rose, "The brief night goes
In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine?
But mine, but mine," so I sware to the rose,
"For ever and ever, mine."

And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clash'd in the hall;
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and onto the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all;

From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.

The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake,
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sigh'd for the dawn and thee.

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
[251]In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near";
And the white rose weeps, "She is late";
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear";
And the lily whispers, "I wait."

She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.

BREAK, BREAK, BREAK

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.
[252]
O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER

It is the miller's daughter,
And she is grown so dear, so dear,
That I would be the jewel
That trembles at her ear:
For hid in ringlets day and night,
I'd touch her neck so warm and white.

And I would be the girdle
About her dainty, dainty waist,
And her heart would beat against me,
In sorrow and in rest:
And I should know if it beat right,
I'd clasp it round so close and tight.
[253]
And I would be the necklace,
And all day long to fall and rise
Upon her balmy bosom,
With her laughter or her sighs,
And I would lie so light, so light,
I scarce should be unclasp'd at night.

ST. AGNES

Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapour goes:
May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers
Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours
That lead me to my Lord:
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soiled and dark,
To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,
To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,
My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
To that I hope to be.
[254]Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far,
Thro' all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
In raiment white and clean.

He lifts me to the golden doors;
The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
And strews her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
To make me pure of sin.
The sabbaths of Eternity,
One sabbath deep and wide—
A light upon the shining sea—
[255]The Bridegroom with his bride!

William Makepeace Thackeray

Thackeray, William Makepeace, one of the greatest writers of fiction in the nineteenth century, was born in Calcutta, in 1811, but was sent to England while a child and educated in the Charterhouse School, which he has immortalized in his great story, The Newcomes. On the death of his parents, he found himself in possession of a handsome fortune, but it soon vanished and he was compelled to earn his subsistence. He dallied with law, courted art, and finally—a resolution which for the lovers of high fiction will never cease to be grateful—resolved to devote himself to literature. Then came from his pen the series of books which made him famous. It is a remarkable fact, however, that while Thackeray's writings were comparatively neglected in England, they enjoyed an extensive popularity in the United States, where they are still read with eagerness and delight by all who look beneath the surface of novels into the soul which animates them. It is impossible to do justice to the characteristics of Thackeray as a writer within the limits of this brief notice, but one or two of them may be briefly mentioned. He was a cynic, though a kindly one; he was a keen student of human nature, quick to recognize and denounce its weaknesses; yet he apparently found his deepest pleasure in depicting its features and recording its noblest manifestations. Nor is Thackeray an author from whose greater works an appropriate and satisfactory selection may be taken for a work of this kind. It has been thought wiser, therefore, to give a selection from his Rose and the Ring, as being suitable for younger readers and at the same time exhibiting his humour. Several of his charming ballads are also given.

THE PRINCESS ANGELICA

(From "The Rose and the Ring")

When the Princess Angelica was born, her parents not only did not ask the Fairy Blackstick to the christening party, but gave orders to their porter absolutely to refuse her if she called. This porter's name was Gruffanuff, and he had been selected for the post by their Royal[256] Highnesses because he was a very tall, fierce man, who could say "Not at home" to a tradesman or an unwelcome visitor with a rudeness which frightened most such persons away. He was the husband of that Countess whose picture we have just seen, and as long as they were together they quarrelled from morning till night. Now this fellow tried his rudeness once too often, as you shall hear. For the Fairy Blackstick coming to call upon the Prince and Princess, who were actually sitting at the open drawing-room window, Gruffanuff not only denied them, but made the most odious, vulgar sign as he was going to slam the door in the Fairy's face! "Git away, bold Blackstick!" said he. "I tell you, Master and Missis ain't at home to you:" and he was, as we have said, going to slam the door.

But the Fairy, with her wand, prevented the door being shut; and Gruffanuff came out again in a fury, swearing in the most abominable way, and asking the Fairy "whether she thought he was a going to stay at that there door all day?"

"You are going to stay at that door all day and all night, and for many a long year," the Fairy said, very majestically; and Gruffanuff, coming out of the door, straddling before it with his great calves, burst out laughing, and cried, "Ha, ha, ha! that is a good 'un! Ha—ah—what's this? Let me down—oh—o—h'm!" and then he was dumb!

For, as the Fairy waved her wand over him, he felt himself rising off the ground and fluttering up against the door, and then, as if a screw ran into his stomach, he felt a dreadful pain there, and was[257] pinned to the door; and then his arms flew up over his head; and his legs, after writhing about wildly, twisted under his body; and he felt cold, cold growing over him, as if he was turning into metal; and he said, "Oh—o—h'm!" and could say no more, because he was dumb.

He was turned into metal! He was from being brazen, brass! He was neither more nor less than a knocker! And there he was, nailed to the door in the blazing summer day, till he burned almost red hot; and there he was nailed to the door all the bitter winter nights, till his brass nose was dropping with icicles. And the postman came and rapped at him, and the vulgarest boy with a letter came and hit him up against the door. And the King and Queen (Princess and Prince they were then) coming home from a walk that evening, the King said, "Hullo, my dear! you have had a new knocker put on the door. Why, it's rather like our Porter in the face! What has become of that bozzy vagabond?" And the housemaid came and scrubbed his nose with sand-paper; and once, when the Princess Angelica's little sister was born, he was tied up in an old kid glove; and another night, some larking young men tried to wrench him off, and put him to the most excruciating agony with a turn-screw. And then the Queen had a fancy to have the colour of the door altered, and the painters dabbed him over the mouth and eyes, and nearly choked him, as they painted him pea-green. I warrant he had leisure to repent of having been rude to the Fairy Blackstick!

And for his wife, she did not miss him; and as he[258] was always guzzling beer at the public-house, and notoriously quarrelling with his wife, and in debt to the tradesmen, it was supposed he had run away from all these evils, and emigrated to Australia or America. And when the Prince and Princess chose to become King and Queen, they left their old house, and nobody thought of the Porter any more.


One day, when the Princess Angelica was quite a little girl, she was walking in the garden of the palace, with Mrs. Gruffanuff, the governess, holding a parasol over her head, to keep her sweet complexion from the freckles, and Angelica was carrying a bun, to feed the swans and ducks in the royal pond.

They had not reached the duck-pond, when there came toddling up to them such a funny little girl. She had a great quantity of hair blowing about her chubby little cheeks, and looked as if she had not been washed or combed for ever so long. She wore a ragged bit of a cloak, and had only one shoe on.

"You little wretch, who let you in here?" asked Gruffanuff.

"Dive me dat bun," said the little girl, "me vely hungry."

"Hungry! what is that?" asked Princess Angelica, and gave the child the bun.

"Oh, Princess!" says Gruffanuff, "how good, how kind, how truly angelical you are! See, your Majesties," she said to the King and Queen, who now came up, along with their nephew, Prince Giglio, "how kind the Princess is! She met this little dirty wretch in the garden—I can't tell how[259] she came in here, or why the guards did not shoot her dead at the gate!—and the dear darling of a Princess has given her the whole of her bun!"

"I didn't want it," said Angelica.

"But you are a darling little angel all the same," says the governess.

"Yes, I know I am," said Angelica. "Dirty little girl, don't you think I am very pretty?" Indeed, she had on the finest of little dresses and hats; and, as her hair was carefully curled, she really looked very well.

"Oh, pooty, pooty!" says the little girl, capering about, laughing and dancing, and munching her bun; and as she ate it she began to sing: "O what fun to have a plum bun! how I wis it never was done!" At which, and her funny accent Angelica, Giglio and the King and Queen began to laugh very merrily.

"I can dance as well as sing," says the little girl. "I can dance, and I can sing, and I can do all sorts of ting." And she ran to a flower-bed, and, pulling a few polyanthuses, rhododendrons, and other flowers, made herself a little wreath, and danced before the King and Queen so drolly and prettily, that everybody was delighted.

"Who was your mother—who were your relations, little girl?" said the Queen.

The little girl said, "Little lion was my brudder; great big lioness my mudder; neber heard of any udder." And she capered away on her one shoe, and everybody was exceedingly diverted.

So Angelica said to the Queen, "Mamma, my[260] parrot flew away yesterday out of its cage, and I don't care any more for any of my toys; and I think this funny little dirty child will amuse me. I will take her home, and give her some of my old frocks—"

"Oh, the generous darling!" says Gruffanuff.

"—Which I have worn ever so many times, and am quite tired of," Angelica went on; "and she shall be my little maid. Will you come home with me, little dirty girl?"

The child clapped her hands and said, "Go home with you—yes! You pooty Princess! Have a nice dinner, and wear a new dress!"

And they all laughed again, and took home the child to the palace; where, when she was washed and combed, and had one of the Princess' frocks given to her, she looked as handsome as Angelica, almost. Not that Angelica ever thought so; for this little lady never imagined that anybody in the world could be as pretty, as good, or as clever as herself. In order that the little girl should not become too proud and conceited, Mrs. Gruffanuff took her old ragged mantle and one shoe, and put them into a glass box, with a card laid upon them, upon which was written, "These were the old clothes in which little BETSINDA was found when the great goodness and admirable kindness of her Royal Highness the Princess Angelica, received this little outcast." And the date was added, and the box locked up.

For a while little Betsinda was a great favourite with the Princess, and she danced, and sang, and[261] made her little rhymes to amuse her mistress. But then the princess got a monkey, and afterward a little dog, and afterward a doll, and did not care for Betsinda any more, who became very very melancholy and quiet, and sang no more funny songs, because nobody cared to hear her. And, as she grew older, she was made a little lady's maid to the Princess; and though she had no wages, she worked and mended and put Angelica's hair in papers, and was never cross when scolded, and was always eager to please her mistress, and was always up early and to bed late, and at hand when wanted, and in fact became a perfect little maid. So the two girls grew up, and when the Princess came out, Betsinda was never tired of waiting on her, and made her dresses better than the best milliner, and was useful in a hundred ways. Whilst the Princess was having her masters, Betsinda would sit and watch them; and in this way she picked up a great deal of learning; for she was always awake, though her mistress was not, and listened to the wise professors when Angelica was yawning or thinking of the next ball. And when the dancing-master came, Betsinda learned along with Angelica; and when the music-master came, she watched him and practiced the Princess' pieces when Angelica was away at balls and parties; and when the drawing-master came, she took note of all he said and did; and the same with French, Italian, and all other languages—she learned them from the teacher who came to Angelica. When the Princess was going out of an evening she would say, "My good Betsinda, you may as[262] well finish what I have begun." "Yes, Miss," Betsinda would say, and sit down very cheerful, not to finish what Angelica began, but to do it.

And Angelica actually believed that she did these things herself, and received all the flattery of the Court as if every word of it was true. Thus she began to think that there was no young woman in all the world equal to herself, and that no young man was good enough for her. As for Betsinda as she heard none of these praises, she was not puffed up by them, and being a most graceful, good-natured girl, she was only too anxious to do everything which might give her mistress pleasure. Now you begin to perceive that Angelica had faults of her own, and was by no means such a wonder of wonders as people represented her Royal Highness to be.


And now let us speak about Prince Giglio, the nephew of the reigning monarch of Paflagonia. It has already been stated, in Chapter II, that as long as he had a smart coat to wear, a good horse to ride, and money in his pocket—or rather to take out of his pocket, for he was very good-natured—my young Prince did not care for the loss of his crown and sceptre, being a thoughtless youth, not much inclined to politics or any kind of learning. So his tutor had a sinecure. Giglio would not learn classics or mathematics, and the Lord Chancellor of Paflagonia, SQUARETOSO, pulled a very long face because the Prince could not be got to study the Paflagonian laws and constitution; but, on the other hand, the King's gamekeepers and huntsmen found the Prince[263] an apt pupil; the dancing-master pronounced that he was a most elegant and assiduous scholar; the First Lord of the Billiard Table gave the most flattering reports of the Prince's skill: so did the Groom of the Tennis Court; and as for the Captain of the Guard and Fencing-master, the valiant and veteran Count Kutasoff Hedzoff, he avowed that since he ran the General of Crim Tartary, the dreadful Grumbuskin, through the body, he never had encountered so expert a swordsman as Prince Giglio.

I hope you do not imagine that there was any impropriety in the Prince and Princess walking together in the palace garden, and because Giglio kissed Angelica's hand in a polite manner. In the first place they are cousins; next, the Queen is walking in the garden too (you cannot see her, for she happens to be behind that tree), and her Majesty always wished that Angelica and Giglio would marry: so did Giglio: so did Angelica sometimes, for she thought her cousin very handsome, brave, and good-natured; but then you know she was so clever and knew so many things, and poor Giglio knew nothing, and had no conversation. When they looked at the stars, what did Giglio know of the heavenly bodies? Once when on a sweet night in a balcony where they were standing, Angelica said, "There is the Bear"—"Where?" says Giglio. "Don't be afraid, Angelica! if a dozen bears come, I will kill them rather than they shall hurt you." "Oh, you silly creature!" says she; "you are very good, but you are not very wise." When they looked at the flowers, Giglio was utterly unacquainted with botany, and had never heard of LinnŠus. When [264] the butterflies passed, Giglio knew nothing about them, being as ignorant of entomology as I am of algebra. So you see, Angelica, though she liked Giglio pretty well, despised him on account of his ignorance. I think she probably valued her own learning rather too much; but to think too well of one's self is the fault of people of all ages and both sexes. Finally, when nobody else was there, Angelica liked her cousin well enough.

King Valoroso was very delicate in health, and withal so fond of good dinners (which were prepared for him by his French cook, Marmitonio), that it was supposed he could not live long. Now the idea of anything happening to the King struck the artful Prime Minister and the designing old lady-in-waiting with terror. For, thought Glumboso and the Countess, "when Prince Giglio marries his cousin and comes to the throne, what a pretty position we will be in, whom he dislikes, and who have always been unkind to him. We shall lose our places in a trice; Gruffanuff will have to give up all the jewels, laces, snuff-boxes, rings, and watches which belong to the Queen, Giglio's mother; and Glumboso will be forced to refund two hundred and seventeen thousand millions, nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand, four hundred and thirty-nine pounds thirteen shillings and sixpence halfpenny, money left to Prince Giglio by his poor dear father." So the Lady of Honor and the Prime Minister hated Giglio because they had done him a wrong; and these unprincipled people invented a hundred cruel[265] stories about poor Giglio, in order to influence the King, Queen and Princess against him: how he was so ignorant that he could not spell the commonest words, and actually wrote Valoroso Valloroso, and spelt Angelica with two l's; how he drank a great deal too much wine at dinner, and was always idling in the stable with the grooms; how he owed ever so much money at the pastry-cook's and the haberdasher's; how he used to go to sleep at church; how he was fond of playing cards with the pages. So did the Queen like playing cards; so did the King go to sleep at church, and eat and drink too much; and if Giglio owed a trifle for tarts, who owed him two hundred and seventeen thousand millions, nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand, four hundred and thirty-nine pounds thirteen shillings and sixpence halfpenny, I should like to know? Detractors and tale-bearers (in my humble opinion) had much better look at home. All this backbiting and slandering had effect upon Princess Angelica, who began to look coldly upon her cousin, then to laugh at him and scorn him for being so stupid, and then to sneer at him for having vulgar associates; and at Court balls, dinners, and so forth, to treat him so unkindly that poor Giglio became quite ill, took to his bed, and sent for the doctor.

His Majesty, King Valoroso, as we have seen, had his own reasons for disliking his nephew; and as for those innocent readers who ask why?—I beg (with the permission of their dear parents) to refer them to Shakespeare's pages, where they will read why King John disliked Prince Arthur. With the[266] Queen, his royal but weak-minded aunt, when Giglio was out of sight he was out of mind. While she had her whist and her evening-parties, she cared for little else.

I dare say two villains, who shall be nameless, wished Doctor Pildrafto, the Court physician, had killed Giglio right out, but he only bled and physicked him so severely that the Prince was kept to his room for several months, and grew as thin as a post.

Whilst he was lying sick in this way, there came to the Court of Paflagonia a famous painter, whose name was Tomaso Lorenzo, and who was Painter in Ordinary to the King of Crim Tartary, Paflagonia's neighbour. Tomazo Lorenzo painted all the Court, who were delighted with his work; for even Countess Gruffanuff looked young and Glumboso good-humoured in his pictures. "He flatters very much," some people said. "Nay!" says Princess Angelica, "I am above flattery, and I think he did not make my picture handsome enough. I can't bear to hear a man of genius unjustly cried down, and I hope my dear papa will make Lorenzo a knight of his Order of the Cucumber."

The Princess Angelica, although the courtiers vowed her Royal Highness could draw so beautifully that the idea of her taking lessons was absurd, yet chose to have Lorenzo for a teacher, and it was wonderful, as long as she painted in his studio, what beautiful pictures she made! Some of the performances were engraved for the "Book of Beauty:" others were sold for enormous sums at Charity Ba[267]zaars. She wrote the signatures under the drawing no doubt, but I think I know who did the pictures—this artful painter, who had come with other designs on Angelica than merely to teach her to draw.

One day Lorenzo showed the Princess a portrait of a young man in armour, with fair hair and the loveliest blue eyes, and an expression at once melancholy and interesting.

"Dear Signor Lorenzo, who is this?" asked the Princess. "I never saw any one so handsome," says Countess Gruffanuff (the old humbug).

"That," said the Painter, "that, madam, is the portrait of my august young master, his Royal Highness Bulbo, Crown Prince of Crim Tartary, Duke of Acroceraunia, Marquis of Poluphloisboio, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Pumpkin. That is the Order of the Pumpkin glittering on his manly breast and received by his Royal Highness from his august father, his Majesty King PADELLA I., for his gallantry at the battle of Rimbombamento, when he slew with his own princely hand the King of Ograria and two hundred and eleven giants of the two hundred and eighteen who formed the King's body-guard. The remainder were destroyed by the brave Crim Tartar army after an obstinate combat, in which the Crim Tartars suffered severely."

"What a Prince!" thought Angelica: "so brave—so calm-looking—so young—what a hero!"

"He is as accomplished as he is brave," continued the Painter. "He knows all languages perfectly: sings deliciously: plays every instrument:[268] composes operas which have been acted a thousand nights running at the Imperial Theatre of Crim Tartary, and danced in a ballet there before the King and Queen; in which he looked so beautiful, that his cousin, the lovely daughter of the King of Circassia, died for love of him."

"Why did he not marry the poor Princess?" asked Angelica, with a sigh.

"Because they were first-cousins, madam, and the clergy forbids these unions," said the Painter. "And, besides, the young Prince had given his royal heart elsewhere."

"And to whom?" asked her Royal Highness.

"I am not at liberty to mention the Princess' name," answered the Painter.

"But you may tell me the first letter of it," gasped out the Princess.

"That your Royal Highness is at liberty to guess," says Lorenzo.

"Does it begin with a Z?" asked Angelica.

The Painter said it wasn't a Z; then she tried a Y; then an X; then a W, and went so backward through almost the whole alphabet.

When she came to D, and it wasn't D, she grew very much excited: when she came to C, and it wasn't C, she was still more nervous; when she came to B, and it wasn't B, "Oh, dearest Gruffanuff," she said, "lend me your smelling-bottle!" and hiding her head in the Countess' shoulder, she faintly whispered, "Ah, Signor, can it be A?"

"It was A; and though I may not, by my Royal Master's orders, tell your Royal Highness the Prin[269]cess' name, whom he fondly, madly, devotedly, rapturously loves, I may show you her portrait," says the sly-boots; and, leading the Princess up to a gilt frame, he drew a curtain which was before it.

Oh goodness! the frame contained a LOOKING-GLASS! and Angelica saw her own face!


The Court Painter of his Majesty the King of Crim Tartary returned to that monarch's dominions, carrying away a number of sketches which he had made in the Paflagonian capital (you know, of course, my dears, that the name of that capital is Blombodinga); but the most charming of all his pieces was a portrait of the Princess Angelica, which all the Crim Tartar nobles came to see. With this work the King was so delighted, that he decorated the Painter with his Order of the Pumpkin (sixth class), and the artist became Sir Tomaso Lorenzo, K. P., thenceforth.

King Valoroso also sent Sir Tomaso his Order of the Cucumber, besides a handsome order for money; for he painted the King, Queen, and principal nobility while at Blombodinga, and became all the fashion, to the perfect rage of all the artists in Paflagonia, where the King used to point to the picture of Prince Bulbo, which Sir Tomaso had left behind him, and say, "Which among you can paint a picture like that?"

It hung in the royal parlour over the royal side-board, and Princess Angelica could always look at it as she sat making the tea. Each day it seemed to grow handsomer and handsomer, and the Princess[270] grew so fond of looking at it, that she would often spill the tea over the cloth, at which her father and mother would wink and wag their heads; and say to each other, "Aha! we see how things are going."

In the meanwhile poor Giglio lay upstairs very sick in his chamber, though he took all the doctor's horrible medicines like a good young lad: as I hope you do, my dears, when you are ill and mamma sends for the medical man. And the only person who visited Giglio (beside his friend the Captain of the Guard, who was almost always busy or on parade) was little Betsinda the housemaid, who used to do his bedroom and sitting-room out, bring him his gruel, and warm his bed.

When the little housemaid came to him in the morning and evening, Prince Giglio used to say, "Betsinda, Betsinda, how is the Princess Angelica?"

And Betsinda used to answer, "The Princess is very well, thank you, my lord." And Giglio would heave a sigh and think, "If Angelica were sick, I am sure I should not be very well."

Then Giglio would say, "Betsinda, has the Princess Angelica asked for me to-day?" And Betsinda would answer, "No, my lord, not to-day"; or, "She was very busy practicing the piano when I saw her"; or "She was writing invitations for an evening-party, and did not speak to me"; or make some excuse or other, not strictly consonant with truth: for Betsinda was such a good-natured creature, that she strove to do everything to prevent annoyance to Prince Giglio, and even brought him up roast-chicken and jellies from the kitchen when[271] the doctor allowed them, and Giglio was getting better, saying "that the princess had made the jelly, or the bread-sauce, with her own hands, on purpose for Giglio."

When Giglio heard this he took heart, and began to mend immediately; and gobbled up all the jelly, and picked the last bone of the chicken—drum-sticks, merry thought, sides' bones, back, pope's nose, and all—thanking his dear Angelica: and he felt so much better the next day, that he dressed and went down-stairs—where whom should he meet but Angelica going into the drawing-room? All the covers were off the chairs, the chandeliers taken out of the bags, the damask curtains uncovered, the work and things carried away, and the handsomest albums on the tables. Angelica had her hair in papers. In a word it was evident there was going to be a party.

"Heavens, Giglio!" cried Angelica; "you here in such a dress! What a figure you are!"

"Yes, dear Angelica, I am come down-stairs, and feel so well to-day, thanks to the fowl and the jelly."

"What do I know about fowls and jellies, that you allude to them in that rude way?" says Angelica.

"Why, didn't—didn't you send them, Angelica dear?" says Giglio.

"I send them indeed! Angelica dear! No, Giglio dear," says she, mocking him. "I was engaged in getting the rooms ready for his Royal Highness the Prince of Crim Tartary, who is coming to pay my papa's court a visit." [272]

"The—Prince—of—Crim—Tartary!" Giglio said, aghast.

"Yes, the Prince of Crim Tartary," said Angelica, mocking him. "I dare say you never heard of such a country. What did you ever hear of? You don't know whether Crim Tartary is on the Red Sea, or on the Black Sea, I dare say."

"Yes, I do; it's on the Red Sea," says Giglio; at which the Princess burst out laughing at him, and said, "Oh, you ninny! You are so ignorant, you are really not fit for society! You know nothing but about horses and dogs, and are only fit to dine in a mess-room with my Royal Father's heaviest dragoons. Don't look so surprised at me, sir; go and put your best clothes on to receive the Prince, and let me get the drawing-room ready."

Giglio said, "Oh, Angelica, I didn't think this of you. This wasn't your language to me when you gave me this ring, and I gave you mine in the garden, and you gave me that—k—"

But what that k—was we never shall know, for Angelica in a rage cried, "Get out, you saucy, rude creature! How dare you to remind me of your rudeness! As for your little trumpery two-penny ring, there, sir—there!" And she flung it out of the window.

"It was my mother's marriage-ring," cried Giglio.

"I don't care whose marriage-ring it was," cries Angelica. "Marry the person who picks it up if she's a woman; you shan't marry me. And give me back my ring. I have no patience with people who boast about the things they give away. I know[273] who'll give me much finer things than you ever gave me. A beggarly ring indeed, not worth five shillings!"

Now Angelica little knew that the ring which Giglio had given her was a fairy ring; if a man wore it, it made all the women in love with him; if a woman, all the gentlemen. The Queen, Giglio's mother, quite an ordinary-looking person, was admired immensely whilst she wore this ring, and her husband was frantic when she was ill. But when she called her little Giglio to her, and put the ring on his finger, King Savio did not seem to care for his wife so much any more, but transferred all his love to little Giglio. So did everybody love him as long as he had the ring; but then, as quite a child, he gave it to Angelica, people began to love and admire her; and Giglio, as the saying is, played only second fiddle.

"Yes," said Angelica, going on in her foolish ungrateful way, "I know who'll give me much finer things than your beggarly little pearl nonsense."

"Very good, miss! You may take back your ring, too!" says Giglio, his eyes flashing fire at her; and then, as if his eyes had been suddenly opened, he cried out, "Ha! what does this mean? Is this the woman I have been in love with all my life? Have I been such a ninny as to throw away my regard upon you? Why—actually—yes—you are—a little crooked!"

"Oh, you wretch!" cries Angelica.

"And, upon my conscience, you—you squint a little."

"Eh!" cries Angelica.

[274]

"And your hair is red—and you are marked with the small-pox—and what? you have three false teeth—and one leg shorter than the other!"

"You brute, you brute you!" Angelica screamed out: and as she seized the ring with one hand, she dealt Giglio one, two, three smacks on the face, and would have pulled the hair off his head had he not started laughing, and crying,—

"Oh, dear me, Angelica! don't pull out my hair, it hurts! You might remove a great deal of your own, as I perceive, without scissors or pulling at all. Oh, ho, ho! ha, ha, ha! he, he, he!"

And he nearly choked himself with laughing, and she with rage; when with a low bow, and dressed in his Court habit, Count Gambabella, the first lord-in-waiting, entered and said, "Royal Highness! Their Majesties expect you in the Pink Throne-room, where they await the arrival of the Prince of Crim Tartary."

Prince Bulbo's arrival had set all the court in a flutter; everybody was ordered to put his or her best clothes on: the footmen had their gala liveries; the Lord Chancellor his new wig; the Guards their last new tunics; and Countess Gruffanuff, you may be sure, was glad of an opportunity of decorating her old person with her finest things. She was walking through the court of the palace on her way to wait upon their Majesties, when she spied something glittering on the pavement, and bade the boy in buttons, who was holding up her train, to go and pick up the article shining yonder. He was an ugly little wretch, in some of the late groom-porter's old[275] clothes cut down, and much too tight for him; and yet, when he had taken up the ring (as it turned out to be), and was carrying it to his mistress she thought he looked like a little Cupid. He gave the ring to her; it was a trumpery little thing enough, but too small for any of her old knuckles, so she put it into her pocket.

"Oh, mum!" says the boy, looking at her, "how—how beyoutiful you do look, mum, to-day, mum!"

"And you, too, Jacky," she was going to say; but, looking down at him—no, he was no longer good-looking at all—but only the carrotty-haired little Jacky of the morning. However, praise is welcome from the ugliest of men or boys, and Gruffanuff, bidding the boy hold up her train, walked on in high good-humour. The Guards saluted her with peculiar respect. Captain Hedzoff, in the anteroom said, "My dear madam, you look like an angel to-day." And so, bowing and smirking, Gruffanuff went in and took her place behind her Royal Master and Mistress, who were in the throne-room, awaiting the Prince of Crim Tartary. Princess Angelica sat at their feet, and behind the King's chair stood Prince Giglio, looking very savage.

The Prince of Crim Tartary made his appearance, attended by Baron Sleibootz, his chamberlain, and followed by a black page, carrying the most beautiful crown you ever saw! He was dressed in his travelling costume, and his hair was a little in disorder. "I have ridden three hundred miles since breakfast," said he, "so eager was I to behold the Prin—the Court and august family of Paflagonia,[276] and I could not wait one minute before appearing in your Majesties' presences."

Giglio, from behind the throne, burst out into a roar of contemptuous laughter; but all the Royal party, in fact, were so flurried, that they did not hear this little outbreak. "Your R. H. is welcome in any dress," says the King. "Glumboso, a chair for his Royal Highness."

"Any dress his Royal Highness wears is a Court-dress," says Princess Angelica, smiling graciously.

"Ah! but you should see my other clothes," said the Prince. "I should have had them on, but that stupid carrier has not brought them. Who's that laughing?"

It was Giglio laughing. "I was laughing," he said, "because you said just now that you were in such a hurry to see the Princess, that you could not wait to change your dress; and now you say you come in those clothes because you have no others."

"And who are you?" says Prince Bulbo, very fiercely.

"My father was King of this country, and I am his only son, Prince!" replies Giglio, with equal haughtiness.

"Ha," said the King and Glumboso, looking very flurried; but the former, collecting himself, said, "Dear Prince Bulbo, I forgot to introduce to your Royal Highness my dear nephew, his Royal Highness Prince Giglio! Know each other! Embrace each other! Giglio, give His Royal Highness your hand!" And Giglio, giving his hand, squeezed poor[277] Bulbo's until the tears ran out of his eyes. Glumboso now brought a chair for the Royal visitor, and placed it on the platform on which the King, Queen, and Prince were seated; but the chair was on the edge of the platform, and as Bulbo sat down, it toppled over, and he with it, rolling over and over, and bellowing like a bull. Giglio roared still louder at this disaster, but it was with laughter, so did all the Court when Prince Bulbo got up; for though when he entered the room he appeared not very ridiculous, as he stood up from his fall, for a moment, he looked so exceedingly plain and foolish that nobody could help laughing at him. When he had entered the room, he was observed to carry a rose in his hand, which fell out of it as he tumbled.

"My rose! my rose!" cried Bulbo, and his chamberlain dashed forward and picked it up, and gave it to the Prince, who put it in his waistcoat. Then people wondered why they had laughed; there was nothing particularly ridiculous in him. He was rather short, rather stout, rather redhaired, but, in fine, for a prince not so bad.

So they sat and talked, the royal personages together, the Crim Tartar officers with those of Paflagonia—Giglio very comfortable with Gruffanuff behind the throne. He looked at her with such tender eyes, that her heart was all in a flutter. "Oh, dear Prince," she said, "how could you speak so haughtily in presence of their Majesties? I protest, I thought I should have fainted."

"I should have caught you in my arms," said Giglio, looking raptures.

[278]

"Why were you so cruel to Prince Bulbo, dear Prince?" says Gruff.

"Because I hate him," says Giglio.

"You are jealous of him, and still love poor Angelica," cries Gruffanuff, putting her handkerchief to her eyes.

"I did, but I love her no more!" Giglio cries. "I despise her! Were she heiress to twenty thousand thrones, I would despise her and scorn her. But why speak of thrones? I have lost mine, I am too weak to recover it—I am alone, and have no friend."

"Oh, say not so, dear Prince!" says Gruffanuff.

"Beside," says he, "I am so happy here behind the throne, that I would not change my place, no, not for the throne of the world!"

"What are you two people chattering about there?" says the Queen, who was rather good-natured, though not overburdened with wisdom. "It is time to dress for dinner. Giglio, show Prince Bulbo to his room. Prince, if your clothes have not come, we shall be very happy to see you as you are." But when Prince Bulbo got to his bed-room, his luggage was there and unpacked; and the hair-dresser coming in, cut and curled him entirely to his own satisfaction; and when the dinner-bell rang, the royal company had not to wait above five-and-twenty minutes until Bulbo appeared, during which time the King, who could not bear to wait, grew as sulky as possible. As for Giglio, he never left Madam Gruffanuff all this time, but stood with her in the embrasure of a window, paying her compli[279]ments. At length the groom of the chambers announced his Royal Highness the Prince of Crim Tartary! and the noble company went into the royal dining-room. It was quite a small party; only the King and Queen, the Princess, whom Bulbo took out, the two Princes, Countess Gruffanuff, Glumboso the Prime Minister and Prince Bulbo's Chamberlain. You may be sure they had a very good dinner—let every boy or girl think of what he or she likes best, and fancy it on the table.[4]

[4] Here a very pretty game may be played by all the children saying what they like best for dinner.

The Princess talked incessantly all dinner-time to the Prince of Crimea who ate an immense deal too much, and never took his eyes off his plate, except when Giglio, who was carving a goose, sent a quantity of stuffing and onion-sauce into one of them. Giglio only burst out a-laughing as the Crimean Prince wiped his shirt-front and face with his scented pocket-handkerchief. He did not make Prince Bulbo any apology. When the Prince looked at him, Giglio would not look that way. When Prince Bulbo said, "Prince Giglio, may I have the honour of taking a glass of wine with you?" Giglio wouldn't answer. All his talk and his eyes were for Countess Gruffanuff, who, you may be sure, was pleased with Giglio's attentions—the vain old creature! When he was not complimenting her, he was making fun of Prince Bulbo, so loud that Gruffanuff was always tapping him with her fan and saying, "Oh, you satirical Prince! Oh, fie the Prince will hear!" "Well, I don't mind," says Giglio, [280]louder still. The King and Queen luckily did not hear for her Majesty was a little deaf, and the King thought so much about his own dinner, and, beside, made such a dreadful noise, hob-gobbling in eating it, that he heard nothing else. After dinner, his Majesty and the Queen went to sleep in their arm-chairs.

This was the time when Giglio began his tricks with Prince Bulbo, plying that young gentleman with port, sherry, madeira, champagne, marsala, cherry-brandy, and pale ale, of all of which Master Bulbo drank without stint. But in plying his guest, Giglio was obliged to drink himself, and I am sorry to say, took more than was good for him, so that the young men were very noisy, rude, and foolish when they joined the ladies after dinner: and dearly did they pay for that imprudence, as now, my darlings, you shall hear!

Bulbo went and sat by the piano, where Angelica was playing and singing, and he sang out of tune, and he upset the coffee when the footman brought it, and he laughed out of place, and talked absurdly, and fell asleep and snored horridly. Booh, the nasty pig! But as he lay there stretched on the pink satin sofa, Angelica still persisted in thinking him the most beautiful of human beings. No doubt the magic rose which Bulbo wore caused this infatuation on Angelica's part; but is she the first young woman who has thought a silly fellow charming?

Giglio must go and sit by Gruffanuff, whose old face he, too, every moment began to find more[281] lovely. He paid the most outrageous compliments to her:—There never was such a darling. Older than he was?—Fiddle-de-dee! He would marry her—he would have nothing but her!

To marry the heir to the throne! Here was a chance! The artful hussy actually got a sheet of paper and wrote upon it, "This is to give notice that I, Giglio, only son of Savio, King of Paflagonia, hereby promise to marry the charming and virtuous Barbara Griselda Countess Gruffanuff, and widow of the late Jenkins Gruffanuff, Esq."

"What is it you are writing, you dear Gruffy?" says Giglio, who was lolling on the sofa by the writing-table.

"Only an order for you to sign, dear Prince, for giving coals and blankets to the poor, this cold weather. Look! the King and Queen are both asleep, and your Royal Highness' order will do."

[282]

So Giglio, who was very good-natured as Gruffy well knew, signed the order immediately: and, when she had it in her pocket, you may fancy what airs she gave herself. She was ready to flounce out of the room before the Queen herself, as now she was the wife of the rightful King of Paflagonia! She would not speak to Glumboso, whom she thought a brute, for depriving her dear husband of the crown! And when candles came, and she had helped to undress the Queen and Princess, she went into her own room, and actually practiced, on a sheet of paper, "Griselda Paflagonia," "Barbara Regina," "Griselda Barbara, Paf. Reg.," and I don't know what signatures beside, against the day when she should be Queen forsooth!

Little Betsinda came in to put Gruffanuff's hair in papers, and the Countess was so pleased, that, for a wonder, she complimented Betsinda. "Betsinda!" she said, "you dressed my hair very nicely to-day; I promised you a little present. Here are five sh—no, here is a pretty little ring that I picked—that I have had some time." And she gave Betsinda the ring she had picked up in the court. It fitted Betsinda exactly.

"It's like the ring the Princess used to wear," says the maid.

"No such thing," says Gruffanuff; "I have had it ever so long. There—tuck me up quite comfortable: and now, as it's a very cold night" (the snow was beating in at the window), "you may go and warm dear Prince Giglio's bed, like a good girl, and then you may unrip my green silk, and then you can just do me up a little cap for the morning, and then you can mend that hole in my silk stocking, and then you can go to bed, Betsinda. Mind, I shall want my cup of tea at five o'clock in the morning."

"I suppose I had best warm both the young gentlemen's beds, ma'am?" says Betsinda.

Gruffanuff for reply said, "Hau-au-ho!—Grau-haw-hoo! Hong-hrho!" In fact, she was snoring sound asleep.

Her room, you know, is next to the King and Queen, and the Princess is next to them. So pretty Betsinda went away for the coals to the kitchen, and filled the Royal warming-pan.

Now she was a very kind, merry, civil pretty girl;[283] but there must have been something very captivating about her this evening, for all the women in the servants'-hall began to scold and abuse her. The housekeeper said she was a pert, stuck-up thing: the upper-housemaid asked, how dare she wear such ringlets and ribbons, it was quite improper! The cook (for there was a woman-cook as well as a man-cook) said to the kitchen-maid, that she never could see anything in that creetur: but as for the men, every one of them, Coachman, John, Buttons, the page, and Monsieur the Prince of Crim Tartary's valet, started up and said—

"My eyes!}
"O mussy!} what a pretty girl
"O jemmany!} Betsinda is!"
"O ciel!}

"Hands off; none of your impertinence, you vulgar, low people!" says Betsinda, walking off with her pan of coals. She heard the young gentlemen playing at billiards as she went upstairs: first to Prince Giglio's bed, which she warmed, and then to Prince Bulbo's room.

He came in just as she had done; and as soon as he saw her, "O! O! O! O! O! O! what a beyou—oo—ootiful creature you are! You angel—you Peri—you rosebud, let me be thy Bulbul—thy Bulbo, too! Fly to the desert, fly with me! I never saw a young gazelle to glad me with its dark blue eyes that had eyes like thine. Thou nymph of beauty, take, take this young heart. A truer never did itself sustain within a soldier's waistcoat. Be[284] mine! Be mine! Be Princess of Crim Tartary! My Royal Father will approve our union: and as for that carrotty-haired Angelica, I do not care a fig for her any more."

"Go away, your Royal Highness, and go to bed, please," said Betsinda, with the warming-pan.

But Bulbo said, "No, never, till thou swearest to be mine, thou lovely, blushing chambermaid divine! Here, at thy feet the royal Bulbo lies, the trembling captive of Betsinda's eyes."

And he went on making himself so absurd and ridiculous, that Betsinda, who was full of fun, gave him a touch with the warming-pan, which, I promise you, made him cry "O-o-o-o!" in a very different manner.

Prince Bulbo made such a noise that Prince Giglio, who heard him from the next room, came in to see what was the matter. As soon as he saw what was taking place, Giglio, in a fury, rushed on Bulbo, kicked him in the rudest manner up to the ceiling, and went on kicking him till his hair was quite out of curl.

Poor Betsinda did not know whether to laugh or to cry; the kicking must certainly have hurt the Prince, but then he looked so droll! When Giglio had done knocking him up and down to the ground, and whilst he went into a corner rubbing himself, what do you think Giglio does? He goes down on his own knees to Betsinda, takes her hand, begs her to accept his heart, and offers to marry her that moment. Fancy Betsinda's condition, who had been in love with the Prince ever since she first[285] saw him in the palace garden, when she was quite a little child.

"Oh, divine Betsinda!" says the Prince, "how have I lived fifteen years in thy company without seeing thy perfections? What woman in all Europe, Asia, Africa, and America—nay, in Australia, only it is not yet discovered—can presume to be thy equal? Angelica? Pisch! Gruffanuff? Phoo! The Queen? Ha, ha! Thou art my queen. Thou art the real Angelica, because thou art really angelic."

"Oh, Prince! I am but a poor chambermaid," says Betsinda, looking, however, very much pleased.

"Didst thou not tend me in my sickness, when all forsook me?" continues Giglio. "Did not thy gentle hand smooth my pillow, and bring me jelly and roast-chicken?"

"Yes, dear Prince, I did," says Betsinda, "and I sewed your Royal Highness's shirt-buttons on too, if you please, your Royal Highness," cries this artless maiden.

When poor Prince Bulbo, who was now madly in love with Betsinda, heard this declaration, when he saw the unmistakable glances which she flung upon Giglio, Bulbo began to cry bitterly, and tore quantities of his hair out of his head, till it all covered the room like so much tow.

Betsinda had left the warming-pan on the floor while the Princes were going on with the conversation, and as they began now to quarrel and be very fierce with one another, she thought proper to run away.

[286]

"You great big blubbering booby, tearing your hair in the corner there! of course you will give me satisfaction for insulting Betsinda. You dare to kneel down at Princess Giglio's knees, and kiss her hand!"

"She's not Princess Giglio," roars out Bulbo. "She shall be Princess Bulbo, no other shall be Princess Bulbo."

"You are engaged to my cousin!" bellows out Giglio.

"I hate your cousin," says Bulbo.

"You shall give me satisfaction for insulting her!" cries Giglio in a fury.

"I'll have your life."

"I'll run you through."

"I'll cut your throat."

"I'll blow your brains out."

"I'll knock your head off."

"I'll send a friend to you in the morning."

"I'll send a bullet into you in the afternoon."

"We'll meet again," says Giglio, shaking his fist in Bulbo's face; and seizing up the warming-pan, he kissed it, because, forsooth, Betsinda had carried it, and rushed down-stairs. What should he see on the landing but his Majesty talking to Betsinda, whom he called by all sorts of fond names. His Majesty had heard the row in the building, so he stated, and smelling something burning, had come out to see what the matter was.

"It's the young gentlemen smoking perhaps, sir," says Betsinda.

"Charming chambermaid," says the King (like[287] all the rest of them), "never mind the young men! Turn thy eyes on a middle-aged autocrat, who has been considered not ill-looking in his time."

"Oh, sir! what will her Majesty say?" cries Betsinda.

"Her Majesty!" laughs the monarch. "Her Majesty be hanged! Am I not Autocrat of Paflagonia? Have I not blocks, ropes, axes, hangmen—ha? Runs not a river by my palace wall? Have I not sacks to sew up wives withal? Say but the word, that thou wilt be mine own,—your mistress straightway in a sack is sewn, and thou the sharer of my heart and throne."

When Giglio heard these atrocious sentiments he forgot the respect usually paid to Royalty, lifted up the warming-pan, and knocked down the King as flat as a pancake; after which, Master Giglio took to his heels and ran away, and Betsinda went off screaming, and the Queen, Gruffanuff, and the Princess, all came out of their rooms. Fancy their feelings on beholding husband, father, sovereign, in this posture.

As soon as the coals began to burn him, the King came to himself and stood up. "Ho! my Captain of the Guards!" his Majesty exclaimed, stamping his royal foot with rage. O piteous spectacle! the King's nose was bent quite crooked by the blow of Prince Giglio! His Majesty ground his teeth with rage. "Hedzoff," he said, taking a death-warrant out of his dressing-gown pocket,—"Hedzoff, good Hedzoff, seize upon the Prince. Thou'lt find him in his chamber two pair up. But now he dared,[288] with sacrilegious hand, to strike the sacred night-cap of a king—Hedzoff, and floor me with a warming-pan! Away, no more demur, the villain dies! See it be done, or else—h'm!—h'm—h'm! mind thine own eyes!" And followed by the ladies, and lifting up the tails of his dressing-gown, the King entered his own apartment.

Captain Hedzoff was very much affected, having a sincere love for Giglio. "Poor, poor Giglio!" he said, the tears rolling over his manly face, and dripping down his moustaches. "My noble young Prince, is it my hand must lead thee to death?"

"Lead him to fiddlestick, Hedzoff," said a female voice. It was Gruffanuff, who had come out in her dressing-gown when she heard the noise. "The King said you were to hang the Prince. Well, hang the Prince."

"I don't understand you," said Hedzoff, who was not a very clever man.

"You Gaby! he didn't say which Prince," said Gruffanuff.

"No; he didn't say which, certainly," says Hedzoff.

"Well, then, take Bulbo, and hang him!"

When Captain Hedzoff heard this, he began to dance about for joy. "Obedience is a soldier's honour," says he. "Prince Bulbo's head will do capitally;" and he went to arrest the Prince the very first thing, next morning.

He knocked at the door. "Who's there?" says Bulbo. "Captain Hedzoff? Step in, pray, my[289] good Captain; I'm delighted to see you; I have been expecting you."

"Have you?" says Hedzoff.

"Sleibootz, my Chamberlain, will act for me," says the Prince.

"I beg your Royal Highness' pardon, but you will have to act for yourself, and it's a pity to wake Baron Sleibootz."

The Prince Bulbo still seemed to take the matter very coolly. "Of course, Captain," says he, "you are come about that affair with Prince Giglio?"

"Precisely," says Hedzoff, "that affair of Prince Giglio."

"Is it to be pistols, or swords, Captain?" asks Bulbo. "I'm a pretty good hand with both, and I'll do for Prince Giglio as sure as my name is my Royal Highness Prince Bulbo."

"There's some mistake, my lord," says the Captain. "The business is done with axes among us."

"Axes? That's sharp work," says Bulbo. "Call my Chamberlain, he'll be my second, and in ten minutes I flatter myself you'll see Master Giglio's head off his impertinent shoulders. I'm hungry for his blood. Hoo-oo-aw!" and he looked as savage as an ogre.

"I beg your pardon, sir, but by this warrant I am to take you prisoner, and hand you over to—to the executioner."

"Pooh, pooh, my good man!—Stop, I say,—ho!—hulloa!" was all that this luckless Prince was enabled to say: for Hedzoff's guards seizing him[290] tied a handkerchief over his mouth and face, and carried him to the place of execution.

The King, who happened to be talking to Glumboso, saw him pass, and took a pinch of snuff, and said, "So much for Giglio. Now let's go to breakfast."

The Captain of the Guard handed over his prisoner to the Sheriff, with the fatal order,

"At Sight Cut Off The Bearer's Head.
"Valoroso XXIV."

"It's a mistake," says Bulbo, who did not seem to understand the business in the least.

"Poo—poo—pooh," says the Sheriff. "Fetch Jack Ketch instantly. Jack Ketch!"

And poor Bulbo was led to the scaffold, where an executioner with a block and a tremendous axe was always ready in case he should be wanted.

But we must now revert to Giglio and Betsinda.

Gruffanuff, who had seen what had happened with the King, and knew that Giglio must come to grief, got up very early the next morning, and went to devise some plans for rescuing her darling husband, as the silly old thing insisted on calling him. She found him walking up and down the garden, thinking of a rhyme for Betsinda (tinder and winda were all he could find), and indeed having forgotten all about the past evening, except that Betsinda was the most lovely of beings.

"Well, dear Giglio?" says Gruff.

"Well, dear Gruffy?" says Giglio, only he was quite satirical.

[291]

"I have been thinking, darling, what you must do in this scrape. You must fly the country for awhile."

"What scrape?—fly the country? Never without her I love, Countess," says Giglio.

"No, she will accompany you, dear Prince," she says in her most coaxing accents. "First, we must get the jewels belonging to our royal parents, and those of her and his present Majesty. Here is the key, duck; they are all yours, you know, by right, for you are the rightful King of Paflagonia, and your wife will be the rightful Queen of Paflagonia."

"Will she?" says Giglio.

"Yes, and having got the jewels, go to Glumboso's apartment, where, under his bed, you will find sacks containing money to the amount of ú217,000,000,987,439 13s. 6-1/2d, all belonging to you, for he took it out of your royal father's room on the day of his death. With this we will fly."

"We will fly?" says Giglio.

"Yes, you and your bride—your affianced love—your Gruffy!" says the Countess, with a languishing leer.

"You my bride!" says Giglio. "You, you hideous old woman!"

"Oh, you—you wretch! didn't you give me this paper promising marriage?" cries Gruff.

"Get away, you old goose! I love Betsinda, and Betsinda only!" And in a fit of terror he ran from her as quickly as he could.

"He! he! he!" shrieks out Gruff: "a promise is a promise, if there are laws in Paflagonia! And[292] as for that monster, that wretch, that fiend, that ugly little vixen—as for that upstart, that ingrate, that beast Betsinda, Master Giglio will have no little difficulty in discovering her whereabouts. He may look very long before finding her, I warrant. He little knows that Miss Betsinda is——"

Is—what? Now, you shall hear. Poor Betsinda got up at five in winter morning to bring her cruel mistress her tea; and instead of finding her in a good-humour, found Gruffy as cross as two sticks. The Countess boxed Betsinda's ears half a dozen times whilst she was dressing; but as poor little Betsinda was used to this kind of treatment, she did not feel any special alarm. "And now," says she, "when her Majesty rings her bell twice, I'll trouble you, miss, to attend."

So when the Queen's bell rang twice, Betsinda came to her Majesty and made a pretty little courtesy. The Queen, the Princess, and Gruffanuff were all three in the room. As soon as they saw her they began.

"You wretch!" says the Queen.

"You little vulgar thing!" says the Princess.

"You beast!" says Gruffanuff.

"Get out of my sight!" says the Queen.

"Go away with you, do!" says the Princess.

"Quit the premises!" says Gruffanuff.

Alas! and woe is me! very lamentable events had occurred to Betsinda that morning, and all in consequence of that fatal warming-pan business of the previous night. The King had offered to marry her; of course her Majesty the Queen was jealous:[293] Bulbo had fallen in love with her; of course Angelica was furious; Giglio was in love with her, and oh, what a fury Gruffy was in!

"Give her the rags she wore when she came into the house, and turn her out of it!" cries the Queen.

"Mind she does not go with my shoes on, which I lent her so kindly," says the Princess; and indeed the Princess' shoes were a great deal too big for Betsinda.

"Come with me, you filthy hussy!" and taking up the Queen's poker the cruel Gruffanuff drove Betsinda into her room.

The Countess went to the glass box in which she had kept Betsinda's old cloak, and shoes this ever so long, and said, "Take those rags, you little beggar creature, and strip off everything belonging to honest people, and go about your business." And she actually tore off the poor little delicate thing's back almost all her things, and told her to be off out of the house.

Poor Betsinda huddled the cloak round her back, on which were embroidered the letters Prin ... Rosal ... and then came a great rent.

As for the shoe, what was she to do with one poor little tootsey sandal?

The string was still to it, so she hung it round her neck.

"Won't you give me a pair of shoes to go out in the snow, mum, if you please, mum?" cried the poor child.

"No, you wicked beast!" says Gruffanuff, driving her along with the poker—driving her down[294] the cold stairs—driving her through the cold hall—flinging her out into the cold street, so that the knocker itself shed tears to see her!

But a kind Fairy made the soft snow warm for her little feet, and she wrapped herself up in the ermine of her mantle, and was gone!

"And now let us think about breakfast," says the greedy Queen.

"What dress shall I put on, mamma? the pink or the pea-green?" says Angelica. "Which do you think the dear Prince will like best?"

"Mrs. V.!" sings out the King from his dressing-room, "let us have sausages for breakfast! Remember we have Prince Bulbo staying with us!"

And they all went to get ready.

Nine o'clock came, and they were all in the breakfast room, and no Prince Bulbo as yet. The urn was hissing and humming: the muffins were smoking—such a heap of muffins! the eggs were done; there was a pot of raspberry jam, and coffee, and a beautiful chicken and tongue on the side-table. Marmatonio the cook brought in the sausages. Oh, how nice they smelt!

"Where is Bulbo?" said the King.

"John, where is his Royal Highness?"

John said he had a took up his Roilighnessesses shaving-water, and his clothes and things, and he wasn't in his room, which he sposed his Royliness was just stepped hout.

"Stepped out before breakfast in the snow! Impossible!" says the King sticking his fork into a sausage. "My dear, take one. Angelica, won't[295] you have a saveloy?" The Princess took one, being very fond of them; and at this moment Glumboso entered with Captain Hedzoff, both looking very much disturbed. "I am afraid your Majesty——" cries Glumboso. "No business before breakfast, Glum!" says the King. "Breakfast first, business next. Mrs. V., some more sugar!"

"Sire, I am afraid if we wait till after breakfast it will be too late," says Glumboso. "He—he—he'll be hanged half-past nine."

"Don't talk about hanging and spoil my breakfast, you unkind, vulgar man you," cries the Princess. "John, some mustard. Pray who is it to be hanged?"

"Sire, it is the Prince," whispers Glumboso to the King.

"Talk about business after breakfast, I tell you!" says His Majesty quite sulky.

"We shall have a war, sire, depend on it," says the Minister. "His father, King Padella...."

"His father, King who?" says the King. "King Padella is not Giglio's father. My brother, King Savio, was Giglio's father."

"It's Prince Bulbo they are hanging, Sire, not Prince Giglio," says the Prime Minister.

"You told me to hang the Prince, and I took the ugly one," says Hedzoff. "I didn't, of course, think your Majesty intended to murder your own flesh and blood!"

The King for reply flung the plate of sausages at Hedzoff's head. The Princess cried out, "Hee-karee-ka-ree!" and fell down in a fainting-fit.[296]

"Turn the cock of the urn upon her Royal Highness," said the King, and the boiling water gradually revived her. His Majesty looked at his watch, compared it by the clock in the parlor, and by that of the church in the square opposite; then he wound it up; then he looked at it again. "The great question is," says he, "am I fast or am I slow? If I'm slow, we may as well go on with breakfast. If I'm fast, why, there is just the possibility of saving Prince Bulbo. It's a doosid awkward mistake, and upon my word, Hedzoff, I have the greatest mind to have you hanged too."

"Sire, I did but my duty: a soldier has but his orders. I didn't expect, after forty-seven years of faithful service, that my sovereign would think of putting me to a felon's death!"

"A hundred thousand plagues upon you! Can't you see that while you are talking my Bulbo is being hung?" screamed the Princess.

"By Jove! she's always right, that girl, and I'm so absent," says the King, looking at his watch again. "Ha! Hark, there goes the drums! What a doosid awkward thing, though!"

"O Papa, you goose! Write the reprieve, and let me run with it," cries the Princess—and she got a sheet of paper, and pen and ink, and laid them before the King.

"Confound it! Where are my spectacles?" the Monarch exclaimed. "Angelica! Go up into my bedroom, look under my pillow, not your mamma's; there you'll see my keys. Bring them down to me, and—Well, well! what impetuous things these girls[297] are!" Angelica was gone and had run up panting to the bedroom and found the keys, and was back again before the King had finished a muffin. "Now, love," says he, "you must go all the way back for my desk, in which my spectacles are. If you would but have heard me out.... Be hanged to her! There she is off again. Angelica! ANGELICA!" When his Majesty called in his loud voice, she knew she must obey and come back.

"My dear, when you go out of a room, how often have I told you, shut the door! That's a darling. That's all." At last the keys and the desk and the spectacles were got, and the King mended his pen, and signed his name to a reprieve, and Angelica ran with it as swift as the wind. "You'd better stay, my love, and finish the muffins. There's no use going. Be sure it's too late. Hand me over that raspberry jam, please," said the Monarch. "Bong! Bawong! There goes the half-hour. I knew it was."

Angelica ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. She ran up Fore street, and down High street and through the Marketplace and down to the left, and over the bridge and up the blind alley, and back again, and around by the Castle, and so along by the haberdasher's on the right, opposite the lamp-post, and around the square, and she came—she came to the Execution place, where she saw Bulbo laying his head on the block!!!! The executioneer raised his axe, but at that moment the Princess came panting up and cried Reprieve. "Reprieve!" screamed the Princess. "Reprieve!" shouted all the people. Up the scaffold stairs she sprang, [298] with the agility of a lighter of lamps; and flinging herself in Bulbo's arms regardless of all ceremony, she cried out, "O my Prince! my lord! my love! my Bulbo! Thine Angelica has been in time to save thy precious existence, sweet rosebud; to prevent thy being nipped in thy young bloom! Had aught befallen thee, Angelica too had died, and welcomed death that joined her to her Bulbo."

"H'm! there's no accounting for taste," said Bulbo, looking so very much puzzled and uncomfortable, that the Princess, in tones of tenderest strain, asked the cause of his disquiet.

"I tell you what it is, Angelica," said he: "since I came here yesterday, there has been such a row, and disturbance, and quarrelling, and fighting, and chopping of heads off, and the deuce to pay, that I am inclined to go back to Crim Tartary."

"But with me as thy bride, my Bulbo! Though wherever thou art is Crim Tartary to me, my bold, my beautiful, my Bulbo!"

"Well, well, I suppose we must be married," says Bulbo. "Doctor, you came to read the funeral service—read the marriage service, will you? What must be, must. That will satisfy Angelica, and then in the name of peace and quietness, do let us go back to breakfast."

Bulbo had carried a rose in his mouth all the time of the dismal ceremony. It was a fairy rose, and he was told by his mother that he ought never to part with it. So he had kept it between his teeth, even when he laid his poor head upon the block,[299] hoping vaguely that some chance would turn up in his favour. As he began to speak to Angelica, he forgot about the rose, and of course it dropped out of his mouth. The romantic Princess instantly stooped and seized it. "Sweet Rose!" she exclaimed, "that bloomed upon my Bulbo's lip, never, never will I part from thee!" and she placed it in her bosom. And you know Bulbo couldn't ask her to give the rose back again. And they went to breakfast; and as they walked it seemed to Bulbo that Angelica became more exquisitely lovely every moment.

He was frantic until they were married; and now, strange to say, it was Angelica who didn't care about him! He knelt down, he kissed her hand, he prayed and begged; he cried with admiration; while she for her part said she really thought they might wait; it seemed to her that he was not handsome any more—no, not at all, quite the reverse; and not clever, no very stupid; and not well-bred, like Giglio; no, on the contrary, dreadfully vul——

What, I cannot say, for King Valoroso roared out "Pooh, stuff!" in a terrible voice. "We will have no more of this shilly-shallying! Call the Archbishop and let the Prince and Princess be married off-hand!"

[300]

So, married they were, and I am sure for my part I trust they will be happy.

THE CANE-BOTTOM'D CHAIR

In tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
And a ragged old jacket perfumed with cigars,
Away from the world and its toils and its cares,
I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.

To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
But the fire there is bright and the air rather pure;
And the view I behold on a sunshiny day
Is grand through the chimney pots-over the way.

This snug little chamber is cramm'd in all nooks
With worthless old knick-knacks and silly old books,
And foolish old odds and foolish old ends,
Crack'd bargains from brokers, cheap keep-sakes from friends.

Old armour, prints, pictures, pipes, china, (all crack'd,)
Old rickety tables, and chairs broken-backed;
A twopenny treasury, wondrous to see;
What matters? 'tis pleasant to you, friend, and me.

No better divan need the Sultan require,
Than the creaking old sofa that basks by the fire;
And 'tis wonderful, surely, what music you get
From the rickety, ramshackle, wheezy spinet.

That praying-rug came from a Turcoman's camp;
By Tiber once twinkled that brazen old lamp;
[301]A mameluke fierce yonder dagger has drawn;
'Tis a murderous knife to toast muffins upon.

Long, long through the hours, and the night and the chimes,
Here we talk of old books, and old friends and old times
As we sit in a fog made out of rich Letakie
This chamber is pleasant to you, friend, and me.

But of all the cheap treasures that garnish my nest,
There's one that I love and I cherish the best:
For the finest of coaches that's padded with hair
I never would change thee, my cane-bottom'd chair.

'Tis a bandy-legg'd, high-shoulder'd worm-eaten seat,
With a creaking old back and twisted old feet;
But since the fair morning when Fanny sat there,
I bless thee and love thee, old cane-bottom'd chair.

If chairs have but feeling, in holding such charms,
A thrill must have pass'd through your wither'd old arms!
I look'd and I long'd and I wish'd in despair;
I wish'd myself turn'd to a cane-bottom'd chair.

It was but a moment she sat in this place,
She'd a scarf on her neck, and a smile on her face!
A smile on her face, and a rose in her hair,
And she sat there and bloom'd in my cane-bottom'd chair.
[302]
And so I have valued my chair ever since,
Like the shrine of a saint, or the throne of a prince;
Saint Fanny, my patroness sweet I declare,
The queen of my heart and my cane-bottom'd chair.

When the candles burn low, and the company's gone,
In the silence of night as I sit here alone—
I sit here alone, but we yet are a pair—
My Fanny I see in my cane-bottom'd chair.

She comes from the past and revisits my room;
She looked as she did, all beauty and bloom;
So smiling and tender, so fresh and so fair,
And yonder she sits in my cane-bottom'd chair.

A TRAGIC STORY

There lived a sage in days of yore
And he a handsome pigtail wore;
But wondered much and sorrowed more
Because it hung behind him.

He mused upon this curious case,
And swore he'd change the pigtail's place,
And have it hanging at his face,
Not dangling there behind him.

Says he, "The mystery I've found,—
I'll turn me round,"—he turned him round,
But still it hung behind him.
[303]
Then round and round, and out and in,
All day the puzzled sage did spin
In vain—it mattered not a pin—,
The pigtail hung behind him.

And right, and left, and round about,
And up, and down, and in and out,
He turned; but still the pigtail stout
Hung steadily behind him.

And though his efforts never slack,
And though he twist, and twirl, and tack,
Alas! still faithful to his back
The pigtail hangs behind him.

TO MARY

I seem, in the midst of the crowd,
The lightest of all;
My laughter rings cheery and loud,
In banquet and ball.
My lip hath its smiles and its sneers,
For all men to see;
But my soul, and my truth, and my tears,
Are for thee, are for thee!

Around me they flatter and fawn—
The young and the old.
The fairest are ready to pawn
Their hearts for my gold.
[304]They sue me—I laugh as I spurn
The slaves at my knee;
But in faith and in fondness I turn
Unto thee, unto thee!

LITTLE BILLEE

AIR—"Il y avait un petit navire."

There were three sailors of Bristol city
Who took a boat and went to sea.
But first with beef and captain's biscuits,
And pickled pork they loaded she.

There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,
And the youngest he was little Billee.
Now when they got as far as the Equator
They'd nothing left but one split pea.

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"I am extremely hungaree."
To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
"We've nothing left, us must eat we."

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"With one another we shouldn't agree!
There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
We're old and tough, so let's eat he.

"Oh! Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,
So undo the button of your chemie."
[305]When Bill received this information
He used his pocket handkerchie.

"First let me say my catechism,
Which my poor mammy taught to me."
"Make haste, make haste," says guzzling Jimmy,
While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.

So Billy went up to the main-top gallant mast,
And down he fell on his bended knee.
He scarce had come to the twelfth commandment
When up he jumps. "There's land I see:

"Jerusalem and Madagascar,
And North and South Amerikee:
There's the British flag a riding at anchor,
With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."

So when they got aboard of the Admiral's
He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee;
But as for little Bill he made him
The Captain of a Seventy-three.

FAIRY DAYS

Beside the old hall-fire, upon my nurse's knee,
Of happy fairy days what tales were told to me!
I thought the world was once all peopled with princesses,
And my heart would beat to hear their loves and
their distresses;
[306]And many a quiet night, in slumber sweet and deep,
The pretty fairy people would visit me in sleep.

I saw them in my dreams come flying east and west,
With wondrous fairy gifts the new-born babe they bless'd;
One has brought a jewel and one a crown of gold,
And one has brought a curse—but she is wrinkled and old.
The gentle queen turns pale to hear those words of sin,
But the king he only laughs and bids the dance begin.

The babe has grown to be the fairest of the land,
And rides the forest green, a hawk upon her hand;
An ambling palfrey white, a golden robe and crown,
I've seen her in my dreams, riding up and down,
And heard the ogre laugh, as she fell into his snare,
At the little tender creature who wept and tore her hair.

But ever when it seemed her need was at the sorest,
A prince in shining mail comes prancing through the forest,
A waving ostrich-plume, a buckler burnished bright;
I've seen him in my dreams—good sooth! a gallant knight.
His lips are coral-red beneath a dark moustache;
See how he waves his hand and how his blue eyes flash!
[307]
"Come forth, thou Paynim knight!" he shouts in accents clear.
The giant and the maid both tremble his voice to hear.
Saint Mary guard him well!—he draws his falchion keen,
The giant and the knight are fighting on the green.
I see them in my dreams, his blade gives stroke on stroke.
The giant pants and reels, and tumbles like an oak!

With what a blushing grace he falls upon his knee
And takes the lady's hand and whispers, "You are free!"
Ah! happy childish tales of knight and faërie!
I waken from my dreams, but there's ne'er a knight for me;
I waken from my dreams and wish that I could be
A child by the old hall-fire upon my nurse's knee!

MRS. KATHERINE'S LANTERN

WRITTEN IN A LADY'S ALBUM

"Coming from a gloomy court,
Place of Israelite resort,
This old lamp I've brought with me.
Madam, on its panes you'll see
The initials K. and E."
[308]
"An old lantern brought to me?
Ugly, dingy, battered, black!"
(Here a lady I suppose
Turning up a pretty nose)—
"Pray, sir, take the old thing back,
I've no taste for bric-à-brac."

"Please to mark the letters twain"—
(I'm supposed to speak again)—
"Graven on the lantern pane.
Can you tell me who was she,
Mistress of the flowery wreath,
And the anagram beneath—
The mysterious K. E.?

"Full a hundred years are gone
Since the little beacon shone
From a Venice balcony:
There, on summer nights, it hung,
And her lovers came and sung
To their beautiful K. E.

"Hush! in the canal below
Don't you hear the splash of oars
Underneath the lantern's glow,
And a thrilling voice begins
To the sound of mandolins?—
Begins singing of amore,
And delire and dolore—
O the ravishing tenore!
[309]
"Lady, do you know the tune?
Ah, we all of us have hummed it!
I've an old guitar has thrummed it,
Under many a changing moon.
Shall I try it? Do re Mi * * * * *
What is this? Ma foi, the fact is,
That my hand is out of practice,
And my poor old fiddle cracked is,
And a man—I let the truth out—
Who's had almost every tooth out,
Cannot sing as once he sung,
When he was young as you are young,
When he was young and lutes were strung,
And love-lamps in the casement hung."

LUCY'S BIRTHDAY

Seventeen rose-buds in a ring,
Thick with sister flowers beset,
In a fragrant coronet,
Lucy's servants this day bring.
Be it the birthday wreath she wears
Fresh and fair, and symbolling
The young number of her years,
The sweet blushes of her spring.

Types of youth and love and hope!
Friendly hearts your mistress greet,
Be you ever fair and sweet,
And grow lovelier as you ope!
[310]Gentle nursling, fenced about
With fond care, and guarded so,
Scarce you've heard of storms without,
Frosts that bite, or winds that blow!

Kindly has your life begun,
And we pray that heaven may send
To our floweret a warm sun,
A calm summer, a sweet end.
And where'er shall be her home,
May she decorate the place;
Still expending into bloom,
And developing in grace.

PISCATOR AND PISCATRIX

LINES WRITTEN TO AN ALBUM PRINT

As on this pictured page I look,
This pretty tale of line and hook
As though it were a novel-book
Amuses and engages:
I know them both, the boy and girl;
She is the daughter of the Earl,
The lad (that has his hair in curl)
My lord the County's page is.

A pleasant place for such a pair!
The fields lie basking in the glare;
No breath of wind the heavy air
Of lazy summer quickens.
[311]Hard by you see the castle tall;
The village nestles round the wall,
As round about the hen its small
Young progeny of chickens.

It is too hot the pace to keep;
To climb the turret is too steep;
My lord the earl is dozing deep,
His noonday dinner over.
The postern-warder is asleep
(Perhaps they've bribed him not to peep);
And so from out the gate they creep,
And cross the fields of clover.

Their lines into the brook they launch;
He lays his cloak upon a branch,
To guarantee his Lady Blanche
's delicate complexion:
He takes his rapier from his haunch,
That beardless doughty champion staunch;
He'd drill it through the rival's paunch
That question'd his affection!

O heedless pair of sportsmen slack!
You never mark, though trout or jack,
Or little foolish stickleback,
Your baited snares may capture.
What care has she for line or hook?
She turns her back upon the brook,
Upon her lover's eyes to look
In sentimental rapture.
[312]
O loving pair! as thus I gaze
Upon the girl who smiles always,
The little hand that ever plays
Upon the lover's shoulder;
In looking at your pretty shapes,
A sort of envious wish escapes
(Such as the Fox had for the Grapes)
The Poet your beholder.

To be brave, handsome, twenty-two;
With nothing else on earth to do.
But all day long to bill and coo:
It were a pleasant calling.
And had I such a partner sweet;
A tender heart for mine to beat,
A gentle hand my clasp to meet;
I'd let the world flow at my feet,
And never heed its brawling.

POCAHONTAS

Wearied arm and broken sword
Wage in vain the desperate fight:
Round him press a countless horde,
He is but a single knight.
Hark! a cry of triumph shrill
Through the wilderness resounds,
As, with twenty bleeding wounds,
Sinks the warrior, fighting still.
[313]
Now they heap the fatal pyre,
And the torch of death they light
Oh! 'tis hard to die of fire!
Who will shield the captive knight?
Round the stake with fiendish cry
Wheel and dance the savage crowd,
Cold the victim's mien, and proud,
And his breast is bared to die.

Who will shield the fearless heart?
Who avert the murderous blade?
From the throng, with sudden start,
See there springs an Indian maid!
Quick she stands before the knight,
"Loose the chain, unbind the ring,
I am daughter of the king,
And I claim the Indian right!"

Dauntless aside she flings
Lifted axe and thirsty knife;
Fondly to his heart she clings,
And her bosom guards his life!
In the woods of Powhattan,
Still 'tis told by Indian fires,
How a daughter of their sires
Saved the captive Englishman.






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