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Title: Catholic World, Vol. XIII, April to September, 1871

Author: Various

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General Literature and Science.


9 Warren Street.









VOL. XIII., No. 73.—APRIL, 1871.[1]


The Hon. Henry Wilson, recently re-elected senator in Congress from Massachusetts, may not be distinguished as an original thinker or as a statesman of commanding ability, but no man is a surer index to his party or a more trustworthy exponent of its sentiments and tendencies, its aims and purposes. This gives to his article in The Atlantic Monthly, indicating the policy to be pursued by the Republican party, a weight it might not otherwise possess.

Mr. Wilson is a strong political partisan, but he is above all a fervent Evangelical, and his aim, we presume, is to bring his political party to coincide with his Evangelical party, and make each strengthen the other. We of course, as a Catholic organ, have nothing to say of questions in issue between different political parties so long as they do not involve the rights and interests of our religion, or leave untouched the fundamental principles and genius of the American system of government, although we may have more or less to say as American citizens; but when either party is so ill-advised as to aim a blow either at the freedom of our religion or at our federative system of government, we hold ourselves free, and in duty bound, to warn our fellow-citizens and our fellow-Catholics of the impending danger, and to do what we can to avert or arrest the blow. We cannot, without incurring grave censure, betray by our silence the cause of our religion or of our country, for fear that by speaking we may cross the purposes of one or another party, and seem to favor the views and policy of another.

Mr. Wilson's New Departure is unquestionably revolutionary, and therefore not lawful for any party in this country to adopt. It is expressed in two words, National Unification and National Education—that is, the consolidation of [2]all the powers of government in the general government, and the social and religious unification of the American people by means of a system of universal and uniform compulsory education, adopted and enforced by the authority of the united or consolidated states, not by the states severally each within its own jurisdiction and for its own people. The first is decidedly revolutionary and destructive of the American system of federative government, or the division of powers between a general government and particular state governments; the second, in the sense proposed, violates the rights of parents and annihilates the religious liberty secured by the constitution and laws both of the several states and of the United States.

The general government, in our American political system, is not the national government, or any more national than the several state governments. The national government with us is divided between a general government having charge of our relations with other powers and internal matters of a general nature and common to all the states, and particular state governments having charge of matters local and particular in their nature, and clothed with all the powers of supreme national governments not expressly delegated to the general government. In the draft of the federal constitution reported by the committee to the convention of 1787, the word national was used, but the convention finally struck it out, and inserted wherever it occurred the word general, as more appropriately designating the character and powers of the government they were creating. It takes under our actual system both the state governments and the general government to make one complete national government, invested with all the powers of government. By making the general government a supreme national government, we make it the source of all authority, subordinate the state governments to it, make them hold from it, and deprive them of all independent or undivided rights. This would completely subvert our system of government, according to which the states hold their powers immediately from the political people, and independently of any suzerain or overlord, and the general government from the states or the people organized as states united in convention. A more complete change of the government or destruction of the federative principle, which constitutes the chief excellence and glory of our system, it would be difficult to propose, or even to conceive, than is set forth in Mr. Wilson's programme.

Mr. Wilson, however, is hardly justified in calling the revolution he proposes a "New Departure." It has been the aim of a powerful party, under one name or another, ever since 1824, if not from the origin of the government itself. This party has been steadily pursuing it, and with increasing numbers and influence, ever since the anti-slavery agitation seriously commenced. At one time, and probably at all times, it has been moved chiefly by certain business interests which it could not advance according to its mind by state legislation, and for which it desired federal legislation and the whole power of a national government, but which it could not get because the constitution and the antagonistic interests created by slave labor were opposed to it. It then turned philanthropist and called in philanthropy to its aid—philanthropy which makes light of constitutions and mocks at state lines, and claims the right to go wherever it conceives the voice of humanity calls it. Under the pretext[3] of philanthropy, the party turned abolitionist, and sought to bring under the action of the general government the question of slavery manifestly reserved to the states severally, and which it belonged to each to settle for itself in its own way. A civil war followed. The slaves were emancipated, and slavery abolished, professedly under the war-power of the Union, as a military necessity, which nobody regrets. But the party did not stop here. Forgetful that the extraordinary war-power ceases with the war, and military necessity can no longer be pleaded, it has, under one pretext or another, such as protecting and providing for the freed-men and reconstructing the states that seceded, continued to exercise it ever since the war was over, and by constitutional amendments of doubtful validity, since ratified in part under military pressure by states not yet reconstructed or held to be duly organized states in the Union, it has sought to legitimate it, and to incorporate it into the constitution as one of the ordinary peace-powers of the government.

The party has sometimes coincided, and sometimes has not strictly coincided, with one or another of the great political parties that have divided the country, but it has always struggled for the consolidation of all the powers of government in the general government. Whether prompted by business interests or by philanthropy, its wishes and purposes have required it to get rid of all co-ordinate and independent bodies that might interfere with, arrest, or limit the power of Congress, or impose any limitation on the action of the general government not imposed by the arbitrary will of the majority of the people, irrespective of their state organization.

What the distinguished senator urges we submit, therefore, is simply the policy of consolidation or centralization which his party has steadily pursued from the first, and which it has already in good part consummated. It has abolished slavery, and unified the labor system of the Union; it has contracted a public debt, whether needlessly or not, large enough to secure to the consolidation of the powers of a national government in the general government the support of capitalists, bankers, railroad corporators, monopolists, speculators, projectors, and the business world generally. Under pretence of philanthropy, and of carrying out the abolition of slavery, and abolishing all civil and political distinctions of race or color, it has usurped for the general government the power to determine the question of suffrage and eligibility, under the constitution and by the genius of our government reserved to the states severally, and sends the military and swarms of federal inspectors into the states to control, or at least to look after, the elections, in supreme contempt of state authority. It has usurped for the general government the power of granting charters of incorporation for private business purposes elsewhere than in the District of Columbia, and induced it to establish national bureaus of agriculture and education, as if it was the only and unlimited government of the country, which it indeed is fast becoming.

The work of consolidation or unification is nearly completed, and there remains little to do except to effect the social and religious unification of the various religions, sects, and races that make up the vast and diversified population of the country; and it is clear from Mr. Wilson's programme that his party contemplate moulding the population of European and of African origin, Indians and Asiatics, Protestants and Catholics, Jews and[4] pagans, into one homogeneous people, after what may be called the New England Evangelical type. Neither his politics nor his philanthropy can tolerate any diversity of ranks, conditions, race, belief, or worship. A complete unification must be effected, and under the patronage and authority of the general government.

Mr. Wilson appears not to have recognized any distinction between unity and union. Union implies plurality or diversity; unity excludes both. Yet he cites, without the least apparent misgiving, the fathers of the republic—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jay, and Madison—who were strenuous for the union of the several states, as authorities in favor of their unity or consolidation in one supreme national government. There were points in which these great men differed among themselves—some of them wished to give more, some of them less, power to the general government—some of them would give more, some of them less, power to the executive, etc., but they all agreed in their efforts to establish the union of the states, and not one of them but would have opposed their unity or consolidation into a single supreme government. Mr. Wilson is equally out in trying, as he does, to make it appear that the strong popular sentiment of the American people, in favor of union, is a sentiment in favor of unity or unification.

But starting with the conception of unity or consolidation, and resolving republicanism into the absolute supremacy of the will of the people, irrespective of state organization, Mr. Wilson can find no stopping-place for his party short of the removal of all constitutional or organic limitations on the irresponsible will of the majority for the time, which he contends should in all things be supreme and unopposed. His republicanism, as he explains it, is therefore incompatible with a well-ordered state, and is either no government at all, but universal anarchy, or the unmitigated despotism of majorities—a despotism more oppressive and crushing to all true freedom and manly independence, than any autocracy that the world has ever seen. The fathers of the republic never understood republicanism in this sense. They studied to restrict the sphere of power, and to guard against the supremacy of mere will, whether of the monarch, the nobility, or the people.

But having reached the conclusion that true republicanism demands unification, and the removal of all restrictions on the popular will, Mr. Wilson relies on the attachment of the American people to the republican idea to carry out and realize his programme, however repugnant it may be to what they really desire and suppose they are supporting. He knows the people well enough to know that they do not usually discriminate with much niceness, and that they are easily caught and led away by a few high-sounding phrases and popular catchwords, uttered with due gravity and assurance—perhaps he does not discriminate very nicely, and is himself deceived by the very phrases and catchwords which deceive them. It is not impossible. At any rate, he persuades himself unification or consolidation can be carried forward and effected by appeals to the republican instincts and tendencies of the American people, and secured by aid of the colored vote and woman suffrage, soon to be adopted as an essential element in the revolutionary movement. The colored people, it is expected, will vote as their preachers direct, and their preachers will direct as they are directed by the[5] Evangelicals. The women who will vote, if woman suffrage is adopted, are evangelicals, philanthropists, or humanitarians, and are sure to follow their instincts and vote for the unification or centralization of power—the more unlimited, the better.

But the chief reliance for the permanence in power of the party of consolidation is universal and uniform compulsory education by the general government, which will, if adopted, complete and preserve the work of unification. Education is the American hobby—regarded, as uneducated or poorly educated people usually regard it, as a sort of panacea for all the ills that flesh is heir to. We ourselves, as Catholics, are as decidedly as any other class of American citizens in favor of universal education, as thorough and extensive as possible—if its quality suits us. We do not, indeed, prize so highly as some of our countrymen appear to do the simple ability to read, write, and cipher; nor do we believe it possible to educate a whole people so that every one, on attaining his majority, will understand the bearing of all political questions or comprehend the complexities of statesmanship, the effects at large of all measures of general or special legislation, the bearing on productive industry and national wealth of this or that financial policy, the respective merits of free trade and protection, or what in a given time or given country will the best secure individual freedom and the public good. This is more than we ourselves can understand, and we believe we are better educated than the average American. We do not believe that the great bulk of the people of any nation can ever be so educated as to understand the essential political, financial, and economical questions of government for themselves, and they will always have to follow blindly their leaders, natural or artificial. Consequently, the education of the leaders is of far greater importance than the education of those who are to be led. All men have equal natural rights, which every civil government should recognize and protect, but equality in other respects, whether sought by levelling downward or by levelling upward, is neither practicable nor desirable. Some men are born to be leaders, and the rest are born to be led. Go where we will in society, in the halls of legislation, the army, the navy, the university, the college, the district school, the family, we find the few lead, the many follow. It is the order of nature, and we cannot alter it if we would. Nothing can be worse than to try to educate all to be leaders. The most pitiable sight is a congressional body in which there is no leader, an army without a general, but all lead, all command—that is, nobody leads or commands. The best ordered and administered state is that in which the few are well educated and lead, and the many are trained to obedience, are willing to be directed, content to follow, and do not aspire to be leaders. In the early days of our republic, when the few were better educated than now and the many not so well, in the ordinary sense of the term, there was more dignity in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government, more wisdom and justice in legislation, and more honesty, fidelity, and capacity in the administration. In extending education and endeavoring to train all to be leaders, we have only extended presumption, pretension, conceit, indocility, and brought incapacity to the surface.

These, we grant, are unpopular truths, but they, nevertheless, are truths, which it is worse than idle to deny. Everybody sees it, feels it,[6] but few have the courage to avow it in face of an intolerant and tyrannical public opinion. For ourselves, we believe the peasantry in old Catholic countries, two centuries ago, were better educated, although for the most part unable to read or write, than are the great body of the American people to-day. They had faith, they had morality, they had a sense of religion, they were instructed in the great principles and essential truths of the Gospel, were trained to be wise unto salvation, and they had the virtues without which wise, stable, and efficient government is impracticable. We hear it said, or rather read in the journals, that the superiority the Prussian troops have shown to the French is due to their superior education. We do not believe a word of it. We have seen no evidence that the French common soldiers are not as well educated and as intelligent as the Prussian. The superiority is due to the fact that the Prussian officers were better educated in their profession, were less overweening in their confidence of victory, and maintained better and severer discipline in their armies, than the French officers. The Northern armies in our recent civil war had no advantage in the superior education of the rank and file over the Southern armies, where both were equally well officered and commanded. The morale of an army is no doubt the great thing, but it does not depend on the ability of the common soldier to read, write, and cipher; it depends somewhat on his previous habits and pursuits—chiefly on the officers. Under the first Napoleon, the Prussians were not superior to the French, though as well educated. Good officers, with an able general at their head, can make an efficient army out of almost any materials.

It is not, therefore, for political or military reasons that we demand universal education, whether by the general government or under the state governments. We demand it, as far as practicable, for other and far higher reasons. We want it for a spiritual or religious end. We want our children to be educated as thoroughly as they can be, but in relation to the great purpose of their existence, so as to be fitted to gain the end for which God creates them. For the great mass of the people, the education needed is not secular education, which simply sharpens the intellect and generates pride and presumption, but moral and religious education, which trains up children in the way they should go, which teaches them to be honest and loyal, modest and unpretending, docile and respectful to their superiors, open and ingenuous, obedient and submissive to rightful authority, parental or conjugal, civil or ecclesiastical; to know and keep the commandments of God and the precepts of the church; and to place the salvation of the soul before all else in life. This sort of education can be given only by the church or under her direction and control; and as there is for us Catholics only one church, there is and can be no proper education for us not given by or under the direction and control of the Catholic Church.

But it is precisely education by the Catholic Church that Mr. Wilson and his party do not want, do not believe in, and wish to prevent us from having even for our own children. It is therefore they demand a system of universal and uniform compulsory education by the authority and under the direction of the general government, which shall effect and maintain the national unification proposed, by compelling all the children of the land to be trained in national schools, under Evangelical control[7] and management. The end and aim of the New Departure, aside from certain business interests, is to suppress Catholic education, gradually extinguish Catholicity in the country, and to form one homogeneous American people after the New England Evangelical type. Of this there can be no reasonable doubt. The Evangelicals and their humanitarian allies, as all their organs show, are seriously alarmed at the growth of Catholicity in the United States. They supposed, at first, that the church could never take root in our Protestant soil, that she could not breathe the atmosphere of freedom and enlightenment, or thrive in a land of newspapers and free schools. They have been disappointed, and now see that they reckoned without their host, and that, if they really mean to prevent the American people from gradually becoming Catholic, they must change fundamentally the American form of government, suppress the freedom of religion hitherto enjoyed by Catholics, and take the training of all children and youth into their own hands. If they leave education to the wishes and judgment of parents, Catholic parents will bring up their children Catholics; if they leave it to the states separately, Catholics in several of them are already a powerful minority, daily increasing in strength and numbers, and will soon be strong enough to force the state legislatures to give them their proportion of the public schools supported at the public expense.

All this is clear enough. What, then, is to be done? Mr. Wilson, who is not remarkable for his reticence, tells us, if not with perfect frankness, yet frankly enough for all practical purposes. It is to follow out the tendency which has been so strengthened of late, and absorb the states in the Union, take away the independence of the state governments, and assume the control of education for the general government, already rendered practically the supreme national government;—then, by appealing to the popular sentiment in favor of education, and saying nothing of its quality, get Congress, which the Evangelicals, through the party in power, already control, to establish a system of compulsory education in national schools—and the work is done; for these schools will necessarily fall into Evangelical hands.

Such is what the distinguished Evangelical senator from Massachusetts calls a "New Departure," but which is really only carrying out a policy long since entered upon, and already more than half accomplished. While we are writing, Mr. Hoar, a representative in Congress from Massachusetts, has introduced into the House of Representatives a bill establishing a system of national education under the authority of the general government. Its fate is not yet known, but no doubt will be, before we go to press. The probabilities are that it will pass both Houses, and if it does, it will receive the signature of the President as a matter of course. The Evangelicals—under which name we include Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, Baptists, and Methodists, etc.—all the denominations united in the Evangelical Alliance—constitute, with their political and philanthropic allies, the majority in Congress, and the measure is advocated apparently by the whole Evangelical press and by the larger and more influential republican journals of the country, as any number of excerpts from them now before us will satisfy any one who has the curiosity to read them. We did think of selecting and publishing the more striking and authoritative among them, but we have concluded[8] to hold them in reserve, to be produced in case any one should be rash enough to question our general statement. There is a strong popular feeling in many parts of the country in favor of the measure, which is a pet measure also of the Evangelical ministers generally, who are sure to exert their powerful influence in its support, and we see no reason to doubt that the bill will pass.

But while we see ample cause for all citizens who are loyal to the system of government which Providence enabled our fathers to establish, and who wish to preserve it and the liberties it secures, to be vigilant and active, we see none for alarm. The bill, if it passes, will be manifestly unconstitutional, even counting the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as valid parts of the constitution; and there may be more difficulty in carrying it into effect than its framers anticipate. It is part and parcel of a New England policy, and New England is not omnipotent throughout the Union, nor very ardently loved; not all the members of the several evangelical denominations will, when they understand it, favor the revolution in the government Mr. Wilson would effect. There are in those denominations many men who belong not to the dominant party, and who will follow their political rather than their denominational affinities; also, there are in them a large number, we should hope, of honest men, who are not accustomed to act on the maxim, "the end justifies the means," loyal men and patriotic, who consider it no less disloyalty to seek to revolutionize our government against the states than against the Union, and who will give their votes and all their influence to preserve the fundamental principles and genius of our federative system of government, as left us by our fathers, and resist, if need be, to the death the disloyal policy of unification and education proposed by Mr. Wilson.

The Southern states are reconstructed and back now in their place in the Union, and will not be much longer represented by Northern adventurers, or men of little ability and less character, but very soon by genuine Southern men, who, while strictly loyal to the Union, will speak the genuine sentiments of the Southern people. The attempt to New-Englandize the Southern people has not succeeded, and will not succeed. When to the Southern people, who will never acquiesce in the policy of unification, we add the large number of people in the Northern states who from their political convictions and affinities, as well as from their conservative tendencies, will oppose consolidation, we may feel pretty sure that the policy Mr. Wilson presents as that of the Republican party will not be adopted, or if adopted will not be permitted to stand. As not wholly inexperienced in political matters, and looking at the present state of parties and temper of the nation, we should say that Mr. Wilson, as a party man, has committed a blunder, and that, if he has fancied that his New Departure is fitted to strengthen his party as a political party, and to give it a new lease of power, he has miscalculated. Nothing in our judgment would be more fatal to the continuance of his party in power than for it boldly and unequivocally to accept Mr. Wilson's programme. There is such a thing as reaction in human affairs, and reactions are sometimes very powerful.

The educational question ought not to present any serious difficulty, and would not if our Evangelicals and humanitarians did not wish to make education a means of preventing the growth of the church and[9] unmaking the children of Catholics, as Catholics; or if they seriously and in good faith would accept the religious equality before the state which the constitution and laws, both of the Union and the several states, as yet recognize and protect. No matter what we claim for the Catholic Church in the theological order—we claim for her in the civil order in this country only equality with the sects, and for Catholics only equal rights with citizens who are not Catholics. We demand the freedom of conscience and the liberty of our church, which is our conscience, enjoyed by Evangelicals. This much the country in its constitution and laws has promised us, and this much it cannot deny us without breaking its faith pledged before the world.

As American citizens, we object to the assumption of the control of education, or of any action in regard to it, by the general government; for it has no constitutional right to meddle with it, and so far as civil government has any authority in relation to it, it is, under our system of government, the authority of the states severally, not of the states united. We deny, of course, as Catholics, the right of the civil government to educate, for education is a function of the spiritual society, as much so as preaching and the administration of the sacraments; but we do not deny to the state the right to establish and maintain public schools. The state, if it chooses, may even endow religion, or pay the ministers of religion a salary for their support; but its endowments of religion, when made, are made to God, are sacred, and under the sole control and management of the spiritual authority, and the state has no further function in regard to them but to protect the spirituality in the free and full possession and enjoyment of them. If it chooses to pay the ministers of religion a salary, as has been done in France and Spain, though accepted by the Catholic clergy only as a small indemnification for the goods of the church seized by revolutionary governments and appropriated to secular uses, it acquires thereby no rights over them or liberty to supervise their discharge of their spiritual functions. We do not deny the same or an equal right in regard to schools and school-teachers. It may found and endow schools and pay the teachers, but it cannot dictate or interfere with the education or discipline of the school. That would imply a union of church and state, or, rather, the subjection of the spiritual order to the secular, which the Catholic Church and the American system of government both alike repudiate.

It is said, however, that the state needs education for its own protection, and to promote the public good or the good of the community, both of which are legitimate ends of its institution. What the state needs in relation to its legitimate ends, or the ends for which it is instituted, it has the right to ordain and control. This is the argument by which all public education by the state is defended. But it involves an assumption which is not admissible. The state, having no religious or spiritual function, can give only secular education, and secular education is not enough for the state's own protection or its promotion of the public good. Purely secular education, or education divorced from religion, endangers the safety of the state and the peace and security of the community, instead of protecting and insuring them. It is not in the power of the state to give the education it needs for its own sake, or for the sake of secular society. The fact is, though statesmen, and[10] especially politicians, are slow to learn it, and still slower to acknowledge it, the state, or secular society, does not and cannot suffice for itself, and is unable to discharge its own proper functions without the co-operation and aid of the spiritual society. Purely secular education creates no civic virtues, and instead of fitting unfits the people for the prompt and faithful discharge of their civic duties, as we may see in Young America, and indeed in the present active and ruling generation of the American people. Young America is impatient of restraint, regards father and mother as old-fogies, narrow-minded, behind the age, and disdains filial submission or obedience to them, has no respect for dignities, acknowledges no superior, mocks at law if he can escape the police, is conceited, proud, self-sufficient, indocile, heedless of the rights and interests of others—will be his own master, and follow his own instincts, passions, or headstrong will. Are these the characteristics of a people fitted to maintain a wise, well-ordered, stable, and beneficent republican government? Or can such a people be developed from such youngerlings? Yet with purely secular education, however far you carry it, experience proves that you can get nothing better.

The church herself, even if she had full control of the education of all the children in the land, with ample funds at her command, could not secure anything better, if, as the state, she educated for a secular end alone. The virtues needed for the protection of the state and the advancement of the public or common good, are and can be secured only by educating or training the children and youth of a nation not for this life as an end, but for the life to come. Hence our Lord says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." The church does not educate for the secular order as an end, but for God and heaven; and it is precisely in educating for God and heaven that she secures those very virtues on which the welfare and security of the secular order depend, and without which civil society tends inevitably to dissolution, and is sustained, if sustained at all, only by armed force, as we have seen in more than one European nation which has taken education into its own hand, and subordinated it to secular ends. The education needed by secular society can be obtained only from the spiritual society, which educates not for this world, but for the world to come. The virtues needed to secure this life are obtained only by seeking and promoting the virtues which fit us for eternal life.

This follows necessarily from the fact that man is created with a spiritual nature and for an immortal destiny. If he existed for this life only, if he were, as some sciolists pretend, merely a monkey or a gorilla developed, or were like the beasts that perish, this indeed would not and could not follow, and the reconciliation of the nature and destiny of man with uniform human experience would be impossible. We should be obliged, in order to secure the peace and good order of society, as some unbelieving statesmen do not blush to avow, to educate in view of a falsehood, and take care to keep up the delusion that man has a religious nature and destiny, or look to what is false and delusive for the virtues which can alone save us from anarchy and utter barbarism. Yet what would serve the delusion or the falsehood, if man differs not by nature from the dog or the pig? But if man has really a spiritual nature and an immortal destiny, then it must necessarily[11] follow that his real good can in no respect be obtained but in being educated and trained to live for a spiritual life, for an immortal destiny. Should not man be educated according to his spiritual nature and destiny, not as a pig or a monkey? If so, in his education should not the secular be subordinated to the spiritual, and the temporal to the eternal? We know well, experience proves it, that even the secular virtues are not secured when sought as the end of education and of life, but only in educating and living for that which is not secular, and in securing the virtues which have the promise of the life of the world to come.

All education, as all life, should be religious, and all education divorced from religion is an evil, not a good, and is sure in the long run to be ruinous to the secular order; but as a part of religious education, and included in it, secular education has its place, and even its necessity. Man is not all soul, nor all body, but the union of soul and body; and therefore his education should include in their union, not separation—for the separation of soul and body is the death of the body—both spiritual education and secular. It is not that we oppose secular education when given in the religious education, and therefore referred to the ultimate end of man, but when it is given alone and for its own sake. We deny the competency of the state to educate even for its own order, its right to establish purely secular schools, from which all religion is excluded, as Mr. Webster ably contended in his argument in the Girard will case; but we do not deny, we assert rather, its right to establish public schools under the internal control and management of the spiritual society, and to exact that a certain amount of secular instruction be given along with the religious education that society gives. This last right it has in consideration of the secular funds for the support of the schools it furnishes, and as a condition on which it furnishes them.

Let the state say distinctly how much secular education in the public schools it exacts, or judges to be necessary for its own ends, and so far as the Catholic Church has anything to do with the matter it can have it. The church will not refuse to give it in the schools under her control. She will not hesitate to teach along with her religion any amount of reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, music, and drawing, or the sciences and the fine arts, the state exacts and provides for; nor will she refuse to allow it to send, if it chooses, its own inspectors into her schools to ascertain if she actually gives the secular education required. Let it say, then, what amount of secular education it wants for all the children of the land, and is willing to pay for, and, so far as Catholics are concerned, it can have it, and of as good quality, to say the least, as it can get in purely secular schools, and along with it the religious education, the most essential to it as well as to the souls of all.

But the difficulty here, it is assumed, is that the spiritual society with us is divided into various denominations, each with its distinctive views of religion. That, no doubt, is a damage, but can be easily overcome by bearing in mind that the several divisions have equal rights, and by making the public schools denominational, as they are in Prussia, Austria, France, and to a certain extent in England, where denominational diversities obtain as well as with us. Where the community is divided between different religious denominations, all standing on a[12] footing of perfect equality before civil society, this is the only equitable system of public schools that is practicable. If the state does not adopt it, it must—1, let the whole business of education alone, and make no public provision for it; 2, establish purely secular, that is, godless schools, from which all religion is excluded, to which no religious people can be expected to consent, and which would ruin both public and private virtue, and defeat the very purpose of all education; or, 3, it must practically, if not theoretically, recognize some one of the several denominations as the state religion, and remit the education of childhood and youth to its management and control, as is virtually the case with our present public schools, but which would be manifestly unjust to all the others—to non-evangelicals, if evangelicalism is made the state religion, or to the Evangelicals, if a non-evangelical denomination be established as the religion of the state. The only way to be just to all is, as everybody can see, to recognize in practice as well as in profession the equal rights of all denominations in the civil order—make the public schools denominational, and give to each denomination that asks it for the sake of conscience its fair and honest proportion, to be as to their internal economy, education, and discipline under its sole control and management.

Mr. Wilson proposes for our admiration and imitation the Prussian system of public schools, and though we do not know that it is superior to the Austrian or even the French system, yet we think highly of it. But, what the Evangelical senator does not tell us, the Prussian system is strictly the denominational system, and each denomination is free and expected to educate in its own schools its own children, under the direction of its pastors and teachers, in its own religion. The Prussian system recognizes the fact that different communions do exist among the Prussian people, and does not aim to suppress them or at unification by state authority. It meets the fact as it is, without seeking to alter it. Give us the Prussian system of denominational schools, and we shall be satisfied, even if education is made compulsory. We, of course, protest against any law compelling us to send our children to schools in which our religion cannot be freely taught, in which no religion is taught, or in which is taught in any shape or degree a religion which we hold to be false or perilous to souls. Such a law would violate the rights of parents and the freedom of conscience; but with denominational schools compulsory education would violate no one's conscience and no parental right. Parents ought, if able, to have their children educated, and if they will not send their children to schools provided for them by the public, and in which their religion is respected, and made the basis of the education given, we can see no valid reason why the law should not compel them. The state has the right, perhaps the duty, in aid of the spiritual society and for its own safety and the public good, to compel parents to educate their children when public schools of their own religion, under the charge of their own pastors, are provided for them at the public expense. Let the public schools be denominational, give us our proportion of them, so that no violence will be done to parental rights or to the Catholic conscience, and we shall be quite willing to have education made compulsory, and even if such schools are made national, though we should object as American citizens to them, we should as Catholics accept them. We hold state authority[13] is the only constitutional authority under our system to establish schools and provide for them at the public expense; but we could manage to get along with national denominational schools as well as others could. We could educate in our share of the public schools our own children in our own way, and that is all we ask. We do not ask to educate the children of others, unless with the consent or at the request of parents and guardians.

The Prussian system of denominational schools could be introduced and established in all the states without the least difficulty, if it were not for Evangelicals, their Unitarian offshoots, and their humanitarian allies. These are religious and philanthropic busybodies, who fancy they are the Atlas who upholds the world, and that they are deputed to take charge of everybody's affairs, and put them to rights. But they forget that their neighbors have rights as well as themselves, and perhaps intentions as honest and enlightened, and as much real wisdom and practical sagacity. The only obstacle to the introduction and establishment of a just and equitable system of public schools comes from the intolerant zeal of these Evangelicals, who seek to make the public schools an instrument for securing the national, social, and religious unification they are resolved on effecting, and for carrying out their purpose of suppressing the church and extirpating Catholicity from American soil. They want to use them in training our children up in the way of Evangelicalism, and moulding the whole American population into one homogeneous people, modelled, as we have said, after the New England Evangelical type. Here is the difficulty, and the whole difficulty. The denominational system would defeat their darling hope, their pet project, and require them to live and let live. They talk much about freedom of conscience and religious liberty and equal rights; but the only equal rights they understand are all on their side, and they cherish such a tender regard for religious liberty, have so profound a respect for it, that they insist, like our Puritan forefathers, on keeping it all to themselves, and not to suffer it to be profaned or abused by being extended to others.

Prussia, though a Protestant country, does not dream of making the public schools a machine either for proselytism or unification. She is contented to recognize Catholics as an integral part of her population, and to leave them to profess and practise their own religion according to the law of their church. Our Evangelicals would do well to imitate her example. We Catholics are here, and here we intend to remain. We have as much right to be here as Evangelicals have. We are too many to be massacred or exiled, and too important and influential a portion of the American people to be of no account in the settlement of public affairs. We have votes, and they will count on whichever side we cast them; and we cannot reasonably be expected to cast them on the side of any party that is seeking to use its power as a political party to suppress our church and our religion, or even to destroy our federative system of government, and to leave all minorities at the mercy of the irresponsible majority for the time, with no other limit to its power than it sees proper to impose on itself; for we love liberty, and our church teaches us to be loyal to the constitution of our country.

The wisest course, since there are different religious denominations in the country, is to accept the situation, to recognize the fact, acquiesce in it,[14] and make the best of it. Any attempt to unmake, by the direct or indirect authority of the state, Catholics of their faith or any denomination of its belief, is sure to fail. Each denomination is free to use Scripture and reason, logic and tradition, all moral and intellectual weapons, against its rivals, and with that it should be contented. Whatever may be the rightful claims of the church in the theological order, she is contented with the civil protection of her equal rights in the political order. She asks—with the wealth, the fashion, the public opinion, the press, nine-tenths of the population of the country, and the seductions of the world against her—only "an open field and fair play." If she does not complain, her enemies ought to be satisfied with the advantages they have.

We have entered our protest against a party programme which threatens alike the genius of the American government and the freedom of religion, for so much was obviously our duty, both as Catholics and citizens. We are aware of the odds against us, but we have confidence in our countrymen that, though they may be momentarily deceived or misled, they will, when the real character of the programme we have exposed is once laid open to them, reject it with scorn and indignation, and hasten to do us justice.


In weary hours to lonely heights
When thou hast travelled sore,
A sorrowing man hath borne his cross
And gone thy way before.
Thine eyes cannot escape the sign
On every hand that is
Of him who bore the general woe,
Nor knew a common bliss.
But men, remembering his face,
Dreamed of him while they slept,
And the mother by the cradle side
Thought of his eye, and wept.
Now haunts the world his ghost whose fate
Made all men's fates his own;
So for the wrongs of modest hearts
A myriad hearts atone.
Oh! deeply shall thy spirit toil
To reach the height he trod,
And humbly strive thy soul to know
Its servant was its God.
Only earth's martyr is her lord;
Such is the gain of loss:
And, looking in all hearts, I see
The signal of the cross.




Under a thickly-branched tree in the northern part of one of the southern counties of Maine is a certain gray rock, matted over with dim green lichens that are spotted with dead gold. From under this rock springs a sparkling little stream. It is no storied fountain, rich with legends of splendor, poetry, and crime, but a dear, bright little Yankee brook, with the world all before it. That world it immediately proceeds to investigate. It creeps through thready grasses and russet pine-needles; it turns aside, with great respect, for a stone no larger than a rabbit; and when a glistening pitchy cone drops into it, the infant river labors under the burden. When the thirsty fawn comes there to drink, nearly the whole rivulet flows down its throat, and the cone is stranded high and dry; what there is left flows southward. A sunbeam pierces the scented gloom, creeps down a tree-trunk, steals over a knoll of green-and-brown tree-moss, which then looks like a tiny forest on fire, over yellow violets, which dissolve in its light, over a bank of rich dark mould veined with the golden powder of decayed pine-trees, moist and soft, and full of glistening white roots, where the flowers push down their pearly feet. Over the bank, into the water, goes the sunbeam, and the two frolic together, and the stream dives under the gnarled roots, so that its playmate would believe it lost but for that gurgle of laughter down in the cool, fresh dark. Then it leaps up, and spreads itself out in a mirror, and the elder-tree, leaning over to look at the reflection of its fan-like leaves and clusters of white flowers, gets very erroneous ideas concerning its own personal appearance; for the palpitating rings that chase each other over the surface of the water make the brown stems crinkle, the leaves come to pieces and unite again, and the many flowers in each round cluster melt all together, then twinkle out individually, only to melt again into that bloomy full moon. Over this shimmer of flowers and water big bees fly, buzzing terribly, dragon-flies dart, or hang, purple-mailed, glittering creatures, with gauzy wings, and comical insects dance there, throwing spots of sunshine instead of shadow down to the leafy bed. Then the brook flows awhile in a green tranquil shadow, till, reaching the interlaced roots of two immense trees that hold a bank between them, it makes a sudden, foamy plunge the height of a stag's front. She is a bride then, you may say—she is Undine, looking through that white veil, and thinking new thoughts.

Now the bear comes down to drink and look at his ugly face in the deepening wave, foxes switch their long tails about the banks, deer come, as light-footed as shadows, drink, and fling up their short tails, with a flit of white, and trot away with a little sniff, and their heads thrown back, hearing the howl or the long stride of the wolf in pursuit. Rabbits come there, and squirrels leap and nibble in the branches above. Besides, there are shoals of pretty, slim fishes.

So through the mellow gloom and[16] sunny sparkle of the old forest, the clear brook wanders, growing wiser, and talking to itself about many things.

Presently the wild creatures withdraw, sunburnt children wade across from bank to bank, grassy clearings abound, there are farm-houses, and cows with tinkling bells; and then comes a bridge, and boats dance upon the water, and the stream is a river! Alas for the Indian name it brought up out of the earth with it, and lisped and gurgled and laughed to itself all the way down—the name spiked with k's and choky-looking gh's, rough to the eye, but sweet in the mouth, like a hazel-nut in the burr. The white settlers have changed all that.

Now, indeed, the young river puts on state, and lets people see that it is not to be waded through; and when they build a dam across, it flows grandly over, in a smooth, wine-colored curve. Times are changed, indeed, since the little gray birds with speckled breasts looked with admiration at its first cascade, since the bear, setting down his great paw, clumsily splashed the whole stream up over his shaggy leg. There are farms to keep up appearances before, mill-wheels to turn, and ships to bear up. Pine-cones, indeed! Besides, a new and strange experience has come to it, and its bosom pulses daily with the swelling of the tides. And here one village street, with white houses, follows its course a mile or so, and another street with white houses comes down to its bank from the west, crosses over, and goes up eastward. This town, with its two principal streets forming a cross near the mouth of the river, a white cross at the end of a silver chain—shall we call it Seaton? It is a good enough name. And the river shall be Seaton River, and the bay into which it flows shall be Seaton Bay. But the ocean that makes the bay, and drinks the river, shall be Atlantic still.

We have spoken!

We follow the road that follows the stream on its eastern bank, cross West Street, get into a poor, dwindling neighborhood, leave the houses nearly all behind, go over two small, ill-conditioned hills, and find at our right a ship-yard with wharves, at our left a dingy little cottage, shaped like a travelling-trunk, and not much larger than some. It stands with its side toward the dusty road, a large, low chimney rises from the roof, there is a door with a window at each side of it. One can see at a glance from the outside how this house is divided. It has but two rooms below, with a tiny square entry between, and a low attic above. Each room has three windows, one on each of the three outer walls.

The kitchen looked toward the village through its north window. Opposite that was a large fireplace with an ill-tempered, crackling fire of spruce-wood, throwing out sparks and splinters. It was April weather, and not very warm yet. In the chimney-corner sat Mr. Rowan, sulkily smoking his pipe, his eyes fixed on the chimney-back. He was a large, slouching man, with an intelligent face brutalized by intemperance. Drunkard was written all over him, in the scorched black hair, not yet turning gray, in the dry lips, bloated features, and inflamed eyes. He sat in his shirt-sleeves, waiting impatiently while his wife put a patch in his one coat. Mrs. Rowan, a poor, faded, little frightened woman, whom her female acquaintances called "slack," sat near the south window, wrinkling her brows anxiously over the said patch, which was smaller than the hole it was destined to fill. The afternoon[17] sunshine spread a golden carpet close to her feet. In the light of it one could see the splinters in the much-scoured floor, and a few fraggles in the hem of Mrs. Rowan's calico gown.

At the eastern window sat Edith Yorke, eleven years of age, with a large book on her knees. Over this book, some illustrated work on natural history, she had been bending for an hour, her loose mop of tawny hair falling each side of the page. So cloistered, her profile was invisible; but, standing in front of her, one could see an oval face with regular features full of calm earnestness. Bright, arched lips, and a spirited curve in the nostrils, saved this face from the cold look which regular features often give. The large, drooping eyelids promised large eyes, the forehead was wide and not high, the brows long, slightly arched, and pale-brown in color, and the whole face, neck, hands, and wrists were tanned to a light quadroon tint. But where the coarse sleeve had slipped up was visible an arm of dazzling whiteness. Outside the window, and but two rods distant, hung a crumbling clay bank, higher than the house, with a group of frightened alder-bushes looking over the top, and holding on with all their roots. Some day, in spite of their grip—the sooner, perhaps, because of its stress—the last frail hold was to be loosed, and the bushes were to come sliding down the bank, faster and faster, to pitch headlong into the mire at the bottom, with a weak crackling of all their poor doomed branches.

Presently the child looked up, with lights coming and going in her agate-colored eyes. "How wonderful frogs are!" she exclaimed involuntarily.

There was no reply.

She glanced at her two companions, scarcely conscious of them, her mind full of something else. "But everything is wonderful, when you come to think of it," she pursued dreamily.

Mr. Rowan took the pipe from his mouth, turned his forbidding face, and glowered at the girl. "You're a wonderful fool!" he growled; then resumed his pipe, feeling better, apparently, for that expression of opinion. His wife glanced up, furtive and frightened, but said nothing.

Edith looked at the man unmoved, saw him an instant, then, still looking, saw him not. After a while she became aware, roused herself, and bent again over the book. Then there was silence, broken only by the snapping of the fire, the snip of Mrs. Rowan's scissors, and the lame, one-sided ticking of an old-fashioned clock on the mantelpiece.

After a while, as the child read, a new thought struck up. "That's just like! Don't you think"—addressing the company—"Major Cleaveland said yesterday that I had lightning-bugs in my eyes!"

Without removing his pipe, Mr. Rowan darted an angry look at his wife, whose face became still more frightened. "Dear me!" she said feebly, "that child is an idjut!"

This time the long, fading gaze dwelt on the woman before it went back to the book again. But the child was too closely ensphered in her own life to be much, if at all, hurt. Besides, she was none of theirs, nor of their kind. Her soul was no dying spark struggling through ashes, but a fire, "alive, and alive like to be," as children say when they wave the fire-brand, winding live ribbons in the air; and no drop of their blood flowed in her veins.

The clock limped over ten minutes more, and the patch was got into its place, after a fashion, botched somewhat, with the knots on the outside.[18] Mr. Rowan took the coat, grumbled at it, put it on, and went out, glancing back at the child as he opened the door. She was looking after him with an expression which he interpreted to mean aversion and contempt. Perhaps he mistook. May be she was wondering at him, what sort of strange being he was. Edith Yorke was very curious regarding the world she had got into. It seemed to her a queer place, and that she had at present not much concern in it.

Her husband out of the way, Mrs. Rowan took her knitting-work, and stood a moment at the north window, gazing up toward the town, with a far-away look of blunted expectancy, as if she had got in the habit of looking for help which never came. Then she drew a long sigh, that also a habit, and, resuming her chair, began to knit and to rock herself, letting her mind, what there was left of it, swing to and fro, unmeaningly and miserably, to the sound of the clock as it ticked. "O dear! O dear!"—that was what the ticking always said to this poor soul. As she sat, the afternoon sun, sinking lower, crept about her feet, climbed to her lap, got hold of her knitting, and ran in little bright flashes along the needles, and snapped off in sparks at the ends, so that she seemed to be knitting sunshine.

This woman was what remained at forty of a pretty, flaxen-haired girl of eighteen, who had captivated handsome Dick Rowan, for he had been handsome. A faded rag of a woman she was, without hope or spirit, all the color and life washed out of her in a bitter rain of tears. The pink cheeks had faded, and only the ghost remained of that dimple that had once seemed to give meaning to her smiles. The curly hair was dry and thin, and had an air of chronic untidiness. The blue-gray eyes were dim and heavy, the teeth were nearly all gone. The pretty, chirping ways that had been captivating when youth covered their silliness—oh! where had they gone? She was a weak, broken-hearted, shiftless little woman, and her husband hated her. He felt wronged and cheated by her. He was more disappointed than Ixion, for in this cloud there had never even been a goddess. If she had sometimes turned upon him, when he acted like a brute, and scorned him for it, he would have liked her better; but she shrank, and cowered, and trembled, made him feel himself ten times the brute she dared not call him, yet gave him nothing to resent. "Gentle, is she?" he cried out once in a rage. "She is not! She is weak and slavish. A person cannot be gentle who cannot be something else."

So the poor woman suffered, and got neither pity nor credit from the one who caused her suffering. It was hard; and yet, she was nobler in her misery than she would have been in happiness. For sorrow gave her now and then a touch of dignity; and when, stung with a sudden perception of her own nothingness, she flung her desperate hands upward, and called upon God to deliver her, a certain tragical power and beauty seemed to wrap her round. Mrs. Rowan happy would have been a trivial woman, meaning no great harm, because meaning no great anything; but the fiery furnace of pain had scorched her up, and what remained was pure.

When the two were alone, Edith dropped her book, and looked across the room at her companion. Mrs. Rowan, busy with her own sad thoughts, took no notice of her, and presently the child glanced past her, and out the window. The view was[19] not bad. First came the dusty road, then the ship-yard, then the river sparkling, but rather the worse for sawdust and lath-edgings that came down from the lumber-mills above the village. But here all that was sordid came to an end. The meanness and misery on the hitherward bank were like witches, who cannot cross running water. From the opposite bank rose a long, grassy hill, unmarred by road or fence. In summer-time you could see from far away the pinkness of the wild-roses that had seen fit to bind with a blooming cestus the dented waist of this hill. Behind them was a green spray of locust and laburnum trees, then dense round tops of maples, and elms in graceful groups, half-hiding the roofs and gables of Major Cleaveland's house—the great house of the village, as its owner was the great man. Behind that was a narrow rim of pines and spruces, making the profile of an enchanted city against the horizon, and above that a vast hollow of unobstructed sky. In that space the sunsets used to build their jasper walls, and calm airs stretch long lines of vapor across, till the whole west was a stringed instrument whereon a full symphony of colors played good-night to the sun. There the west wind blew up bubbles of wry cloud, and the new moon put forth her gleaming sickle to gather in the sheaf of days, a never-failing harvest, through storm and sunshine, hoar-frost and dew. There the pearly piles of cumuli used to slumber on summer afternoons, lightnings growing in their bosoms to flash forth at evening; and there, when a long storm ended with the day, rose the solid arch of cerulean blue. When it had reached a certain height, Edith Yorke would run into the south room, and look out to see the rainbow suspend its miraculous arch over the retreating storm. This little girl, to whom everything was so wonderful when she came to think of it, was a dear lover of beauty.

"O dear! O dear!" ticked the clock; and the barred sunshine turned slowly on the floor, as if the ugly little house were the hub of a huge, leisurely wheel of gold.

Edith dropped her book, and went to Mrs. Rowan's side, taking a stool with her, and sitting down in the midst of the sunshine.

"I'm afraid I shall forget my story, Mrs. Jane, unless I say it over again," she said. "And, you know, mamma told me never to forget."

Mrs. Rowan roused herself, glad of anything which could take her mind from her own troubles. "Well, tell it all over to me now," she said. "I haven't heard it this long time."

"Will you be sure to correct me if I am wrong?" the child asked anxiously.

"Yes, I will. But don't begin till I have taken up the heel of this stocking."

The stitches were counted and evened, half of them taken off on to a thread, and the other half, with the seam-stitch in the middle, knit backward once. Then Edith began to repeat the story confided to her by her dead mother.

"My grandpapa and grandmamma were Polish exiles. They had to leave Poland when Aunt Marie was only a year old, and before mamma was born. They couldn't take their property with them, but only jewels, and plate, and pictures. They went to Brussels, and there my mamma was born, and the queen was her godmother, and sent the christening-robe. Mamma kept the robe till she grew up; but when she was in America, and was poor, and wanted to go to a party, she cut it up to make the waist and sleeves of a dress. Poverty is[20] no disgrace, mamma said, but it is a great inconvenience. By-and-by, they left Brussels, and went to England. Grandpapa wanted some way to get money to live on, for they had sold nearly all their pictures and things. They stayed in England not very long. Countess Poniatowski called on grandmamma, and she had on a black velvet bonnet with red roses in it; so I suppose it was winter. Then one day grandpapa took mamma out to walk in a park; so I suppose that was summer. There were some gentlemen in the park that they talked to, and one of them, a gentleman with a hook nose, who was sitting down on a bench, took mamma on his knees, and started to kiss her. But mamma slapped his face. She said he had no right to kiss people who didn't want him to, not even if he were a king. His name was the Duke of Wellington. Then they all came to America, and people here were very polite to them, because they were Polish exiles, and of noble birth. But they couldn't eat nor drink nor wear politeness, mamma said, and so they grew poorer and poorer every day, and didn't know what they would do. Once they travelled with Henry Clay two weeks, and had quite a nice time, and they went to Ashland and stayed all night. When they went away the next day, Mr. Clay gave mamma and Aunt Marie the little mugs they had had to drink out of. But they didn't care much about 'em, and they broke 'em pretty soon. Mamma said she didn't know then that Mr. Clay was a great man. She thought that just a mister couldn't be great. She had always seen lords and counts, and grandpapa was a colonel in the army—Colonel Lubomirski his name was. But she said that in this country a man might be great, even if he wasn't anything but a mister, and that my papa was as great as a prince. Well, then they came to Boston, and Aunt Marie died, and they buried her, and mamma was almost nine years old. People used to pet and notice her, and everybody talked about her hair. It was thick and black, and it curled down to her waist. One day Doctor Somebody, I can never recollect his name, took her out walking on the Common, and they went into Mr. John Quincy Adams's house. And Mr. Adams took one of mamma's curls, and held it out, and said it was long enough and large enough to hang the Czar with. And she said that they might have it all if they'd hang him with it. And then poor grandpapa had to go to Washington, and teach dancing and fencing, because that was all he could do. And pretty soon grandmamma broke her heart and died. And then after a little while grandpapa died. And, after that, mamma had to go out sewing to support herself, and she went to Boston, and sewed in Mr. Yorke's family. And Mr. Yorke's youngest brother fell in love with her, and she fell in love with him, and they married each other in spite of everybody. So the family were awfully angry. My papa had been engaged ever since he was a little boy to Miss Alice Mills, and they had put off getting married because she was rich, and he hadn't anything, and was looking round to see how he should get a fortune. And the Millses all turned against him, and the Yorkes all turned against him, and he and mamma went off, and wandered about, and came down to Maine; and papa died. Then mamma had to sew again to support herself, and we were awfully poor. I remember that we lived in the same house with you; but it was a better house than this, and was up in the village. Then mamma's heart broke, and she died too. But I don't[21] mean to break my heart, Mrs. Jane. It's a poor thing to do."

"Yes!" sighed the listener; "it's a poor thing to do."

"Well," resumed the child, "then you kept me. It was four years ago when my mamma died, but I remember it all. She made me promise not to forget who my mother was, and promise, with both my hands held up, that I would be a Catholic, if I had to die for it. So I held up both my hands, and promised, and she looked at me, and then shut her eyes. It that all right?"

"Yes, dear!" Mrs. Rowan had dropped her knitting as the story went on, and was gazing dreamily out the window, recalling to mind her brief acquaintance with the fair young exile.

"Dick and I grew to be great friends," Edith continued rather timidly. "He used to take care of me, and fight for me. Poor Dick! He was mad nearly all the time, because his father drank rum, and because people twitted him, and looked down upon him."

Mrs. Rowan took up her work again, and knit tears in with the yarn.

"And Dick gave his father an awful talking-to, one day," Edith went on, still more timidly. "That was two years ago. He stood up and poured out words. His eyes were so flashing that they dazzled, and his cheeks were red, and he clinched his hands. He looked most splendid. When I go back to Poland, he shall be a general in the army. He will look just as he did then, if the Czar should come near us. Well, after that day he went off to sea, and he has not been back since."

Tears were running down the mother's cheeks as she thought of her son, the only child left her of three.

Edith leaned and clasped both her hands around Mrs. Rowan's arm, and laid her cheek to them. "But he is coming back rich, he said he would; and what Dick said he'd do he always did. He is going to take us away from here, and get a pretty house, and come and live with us."

A hysterical, half-laughing sob broke through the listener's quiet weeping. "He always did keep his word, Edith!" she cried. "Dick was a gallant lad. And I trust that the Lord will bring him back to me."

"Oh! he'll come back," said Edith confidently, and with a slight air of haughtiness. "He'll come back himself."

All the Christianity the child had seen had been such as to make the name of the Lord excite in her heart a feeling of antagonism. It is hard to believe that God means love when man means hate; and this child and her protectors had seen but little of the sunny side of humanity. Christians held aloof from the drunkard and his family, or approached them only to exhort or denounce. That they had any kinship with that miserable man, that in his circumstances they might have been what he was, never seemed to occur to them as possible. Dick fought with the boys who mocked his father, therefore he was a bad boy. Mrs. Rowan flamed up, and defended her husband, when the Rev. Dr. Martin denounced him, therefore she was almost as bad as he. So shallow are most judgments, arraigning effects without weighing causes.

Nor did Edith fare better at their hands. She was to them a sort of vagabond. Who believed the story of her mother's romantic misfortunes? She was some foreign adventuress, most likely. Mr. Charles Yorke, whom they respected, had married a native of Seaton, and had two or three times honored that town with a short visit. They knew that he had cast[22] off his own brother for marrying this child's mother. Therefore she had no claim on their respect.

Moreover, some of the ladies for whom young Mrs. Yorke had done sewing had not the pleasantest of recollections connected with her. A poor person has no right to be proud and high-spirited, and the widowed exile was a very fiery woman. She would not sit at table with their servants, she would not be delighted when they patronized her, and she would not be grateful for the scanty wages they gave her. She had even dared to break out upon Mrs. Cleaveland when that lady had sweetly requested her to enter her house by the side door, when she came to sew. "In Poland a person like you would scarcely have been allowed to tie my mother's shoes!" she cried. The lady answered suavely, "But we are not in Poland, madam;" but she never forgave the insolence—still less because her husband laughed at it, and rather liked Mrs. Yorke's spirit.

These were the ladies whom Edith had heard talk of religion; so she lifted her head, dropped her eyelids, and said defiantly, "Dick will come home himself!"

"Not unless the Lord lets him come," said the mother. "Oh! no good will come to us except by him. 'Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it.'"

"I don't think you have much to thank him for," remarked the child quietly.

"I will thank him!" the woman cried out in a passion. "I will trust him! He is all the hope I have!"

"Well, well, you may!" Edith said soothingly. "Don't let's talk about it any more. Give me the scissors, and I'll cut the fraggles off the hem of your gown. Suppose Dick should come home all of a sudden, and find us looking so! I hope he will let us know, don't you? so that we can put our best clothes on."

The best clothes in question were a black bombazine gown and shawl, and an old-fashioned crape bonnet and veil, all sewed up and hidden away under Edith's bed in the little dark attic, lest Mr. Rowan, in one of his drunken frenzies, should destroy them. These articles were the mourning which Mrs. Rowan had worn seven years before, when her last daughter died. With them was another bag, belonging to Edith, equally precious to its owner, but from other reasons. There was a scarlet merino cape, lined with silk of the same color, both a little faded, and a faded crape scarf that had once been gorgeous with red and gold. In the innermost fold of this scarf, wrapped in tissue-paper, and tucked inside an old kid glove of remarkable smallness, were two locks of hair—one a short, thick wave of yellow-brown, the other a long, serpentine tress of ebony blackness.

While they talked, the door of the room opened, and Mr. Rowan looked in. "Aren't we going to have any supper to-night?" he demanded.

Edith fixed a look on him that made him shrink out, and bang the door behind him. His wife started up, glanced at the clock, and went about her work.

"Let me help you, Mrs. Jane," the child said.

"No, dear. There isn't much to do, and I'd rather do it." Mrs. Rowan's voice had a sepulchral sound, her head being deep in the fireplace, where she was putting one hook into another on the crane, to let the tea-kettle down. She emerged with a smooch of soot on her hair and forehead, and began flying round bringing[23] a table into the middle of the floor, putting up the leaves, spreading the cloth, taking down the dishes, all with trembling haste. "If you want to knit a few times across the heel of that stocking, you may. But be careful not to knit too tightly, as you almost always do. You can begin to narrow when it's two of your forefingers long."

Edith took the knitting, and went to her favorite chair in the back window. The room had grown smoky in consequence of Mrs. Rowan's piling of soft wood on to the fire, and hurrying about past the fireplace, so she pushed up the window, and fastened it with a wooden button fixed there for the purpose. Then she began to knit and think, and, forgetting Mrs. Rowan's directions, pulled the yarn so tightly over her fingers that she worked a hard, stiff strip across the heel, into which the looser knitting puckered. The child was too much absorbed to be aware of her mistake, and it did not matter; for that stocking was never to be finished.

While she dreamed there, a deeper shadow than that of the clay bank fell over her. She looked up with a start, and saw Mr. Rowan standing outside the window. He had placed himself so as to avoid being seen by any one in the room, and was just turning his eyes away from her when she caught sight of him.

"Lean out here!" he said. "I want to speak to you."

She leaned out and waited.

"What makes you stare at me the way you sometimes do?" he asked angrily, but in a low voice, that his wife might not hear. "Why don't you say right out what you think?"

"I don't know what I do think," replied Edith, dropping her eyes.

"You think that I am a wretch!" he exclaimed. "You think I am a drunkard! You think I abuse my wife!"

She neither answered nor looked up.

He paused a moment, then went on fiercely. "If there is anything I hate, it is to have people look at me that way, and say nothing. If you scold a man, it looks as if you thought there was something in him that could tell black from white; and if you are impudent, you put yourself a little in the wrong, and that helps him. He isn't so much ashamed of himself. But when you just look, and say nothing, you shut him out. It is as much as to tell him that words would be thrown away on him."

"But," Edith objected, much at a loss, "if I answered you back, or said what I thought, there would be a quarrel right off."

"Did I fight when Dick gave me such a hauling-over before he went away?" the man questioned in a rough tone that did not hide how his voice broke, and his blood-shot eyes filled up with tears. "Didn't I hang my head, and take it like a dog? He said I had acted like a brute, but he didn't say I was one, and he didn't say but I could be a man yet, if I should try. Wasn't I sober for three months after he went away? Yes; and I would have kept sober right on if I had had some one to thorn and threaten me. But she gave up, and did nothing but whimper, and it maddened me. When I ordered her to mix my rum for me, she did it. I should have liked her better if she had thrown it, tumbler and all, into my face."

"You'd better not find fault with her," said Edith. "She's a great deal better than you are."

The child had a gentle, sincere way of saying audacious things sometimes that made one wonder if she knew how audacious they were.


The man stared at her a moment; then, looking away, answered without any appearance of anger, "I suppose she is; but I don't think much of that kind of goodness when there's a hard job to be done. You can't lift rocks with straws. I'm sorry for her; but, for all that, she aggravates me, poor thing!"

He leaned back against the house, with his hands in his pockets, and stared at the clay bank before him. Edith looked at him, but said nothing. Presently he turned so suddenly that she started. "Girl," he said, "never do you ridicule a man who has been drinking, no matter what he does! You may hate him, or be afraid of him, but never laugh at him! You might as well look down into hell and laugh! Do you know what it is to be in the power of rum? It is to have serpents twining round you, and binding you hand and foot. I've gone through the streets up there with devils on my back, pushing me down; wild beasts tearing my vitals; reptiles crawling round me; the earth rising up and quaking under my feet, and a horror in my soul that no words can describe, and the men and women and children have laughed at me. Perhaps they were such shallow fools that they didn't know; but I tell you, and you know now. Don't you ever dare to laugh at a drunkard!"

"I never will!" Edith cried out, in an agony of terror and pity. "O you poor man! I didn't know it was so awful. O you poor man!"

Mr. Rowan had stopped, gasping for breath, and, with his patched sleeve, wiped off the perspiration that was streaming down his face. Edith tore off her little calico apron with such haste as to break the strings. "Here, take this!" she said, reaching it out to him.

He took it with a shaking hand, and wiped his face again; wiped his eyes again and again, breathing heavily.

"Couldn't you be saved?" she asked, in a whisper. "Isn't there any way for you to get out of it?"

"No!" he said, and gave her back her apron. "No; and I wish that I were dead!"

"Don't say that!" the child entreated. "It is wicked; and perhaps you will die if you say it."

The drunkard raised his trembling hands, and looked upward. "I wish to God that I were dead!" he repeated.

Edith shrank back into the room. She was too much terrified to listen to any more. But after a moment he called her name, and she leaned out again. His face was calmer, and his voice more quiet. "Don't tell her what I have been talking about," he said, nodding toward the room. "I would sooner tear my tongue out by the roots than say anything to her."

"I won't tell," Edith promised.

"Supper's ready," Mrs. Rowan announced, coming towards the window. She had heard her husband's voice in conversation with Edith, and wondered greatly what was going on.

Mr. Rowan turned away, with a look of irritation, at sound of her timid voice, walked round the house, and came sulkily in to his supper.

Their meals had always been comfortless and silent; but now Edith tried to talk, at first with Mrs. Rowan; but when she saw that the woman's tremulous replies, as if she did not dare to speak in her husband's presence, were bringing an uglier frown to this face, and that he was changing from sullen to savage, she addressed her remarks and questions to him. Mr. Rowan was a surveyor, and a good one, when he was sober, and he was a man of some general information and reading.[25] When he could be got to talk, one was surprised to find in him the ruins of a gentleman. Now his answers were surly enough, but they were intelligent, and the child, no longer looking at him from the outside, questioned him fearlessly, and kept up a sort of conversation till they rose from table.

It was Mr. Rowan's custom to go out immediately after supper, and not come home till late in the evening, when he would stagger in, sometimes stupid, sometimes furious with liquor. But to-night he lingered about when he had left the table, lighted his pipe, kicked the fire, wound up the clock, and cursed it for stopping, and finally, as if ashamed of the proposal even while making it, said to Edith, "Come, get the checker-board, and see if you can beat me."

She was quick-witted enough, or sensitive enough, not to show any surprise, but quietly brought out the board, and arranged the chairs and stand. It was a square of board, rough at the edges, planed on one side, and marked off in checks with red chalk. The men were bits of tanned leather, one side white, the other side black. She placed them, smiled, and said, "Now, I'm ready!"

Mrs. Rowan's cheeks began to redden up with excitement as she went about clearing the table, and washing the dishes, but she said nothing. She had even tact enough to go away into the bedroom, when her work was done, and leave the two to play out their game unwatched. There she sat in the falling dusk, her hands clasped on her knees, listening to every sound, expecting every moment to hear her husband go out. The three curtains in the room were rolled up to the very tops of the windows, and, in their places, three pictures seemed to hang on the smoky walls, and illumine the place. One was a high clay bank, its raw front ruddy with evening light, its top crowned with a bush burning like that of Horeb. The second was a hill covered with spruce-trees, nothing else, from the little cone, not a foot high, to the towering spire that pierced the sky. Some faint rose-reflections yet warmed their sombre shadows, and each sharp top was silvered with the coming moonlight. The third window showed a deserted ship-yard, with the skeleton of a bark standing on the stocks. The shining river beyond seemed to flow through its ribs, and all about it the ground was covered with bright yellow chips and shavings. Above it, in the tender green of the southwestern sky, a cloud-bark freighted with crimson light sailed off southward, losing its treasure as it went. These strong, rich lights, meeting and crossing in the room, showed clearly the woman's nervous face full of suspense, the very attitude, too, showing suspense, as she only half-sat on the side of the bed, ready to start up at a sound. After a while she got up softly, and went to the fireplace to listen. All was still in the other room, but she heard distinctly the crackling of the fire. What had come over him? What did it mean?

Presently there was a slight movement, and Edith's voice spoke out brightly: "Oh! I've got another king. Now I have a chance!"

The listener trembled with doubt and fear. Her husband was actually sitting at home, and playing checkers with Edith, instead of going out to get drunk! He could not mean to go, or he would have gone at once. She longed to go and assure herself, to sit down in the room with him, but could scarcely find courage to do so. She held her breath as she went toward the door, and her hand faltered on the latch. But at last she summoned resolution, and went out.


The lamp was lighted, the checker-board placed on the table beside it, and the two were talking over the slackening game. Edith had a good head for a child of her age, but her opponent was an excellent player, and she could not interest him long. She was trying every lure to keep him, though, and made a new tack as Mrs. Rowan came in, relating an experience of her own, instead of questioning him concerning his. "I want to tell you something I saw last night in my chamber," she said.

Edith's chamber was the little dark attic, which was reached by a steep stairway at one side of the fireplace.

"I was in bed, wide awake, and it was pitch dark. You know you put the cover over the skylight when it rained, the other day, and it has not been taken off. Well, instead of shutting my eyes, I kept them wide open, and looked straight into the dark. I've heard that you can see spirits so, and so I thought I might see my mamma. Pretty soon there was a great hole in the dark, like a whirlpool, and after a minute there was a little light down at the bottom of it. I kept on looking, just as if I were looking down into a deep well, and then there came colors in clouds, sailing about, just like clouds in the sky. Some were red, others pink, others blue, and all colors. Sometimes there would be a pattern of colors, just like figures in a carpet, only they were blocks, not flowers. I didn't dream it. I saw it as plainly as I see the fire this minute. What do you suppose it was, Mr. Rowan?"

He had listened with interest, and did not appear to find anything surprising in the recital.

"I don't know much about optics," he answered; "but I suppose there is a scientific reason for this, whether it is known or not. I've seen those colors—that is, I did when I was a child; and De Quincey, in his Opium Confessions, tells the same story. I don't believe that grown people are likely to see them, for the reason that they shut their eyes, and their minds are more occupied. You have to stare a good while into the dark, and wait what comes, and not think much of anything."

"Yes," said Edith. "But what do you guess it is?"

Mr. Rowan leaned back in his chair, with his hands clasped behind his head, and considered the matter a moment, some finer intelligence than often showed there kindling behind his bloated face.

"I should guess it might be this," he said. "Though the place appears at first to be dark, there are really some particles of light there. And since there are too few of them to keep up a connection in their perfect state, they divide into their colors, and make the clouds you saw. I don't know why particles of light should not separate, when they have a great deal to do, and not much to do it with. Air does."

"But what made them move?" Edith asked. "They were never still."

"Perhaps they were alive."

She stared, with scintillating eyes.

Mr. Rowan gave a short, silent laugh. He knew that the child was only questioning in order to keep him. "No reason why not," he said. "According to Sir Humphry Davy, and some other folks, I believe, heat isn't caloric, but repulsive motion. It isn't matter, but it moves, goes where nothing else can, passes through stone and iron, and can't be stopped, and can't be seen. Now, a something that is not matter, and yet is powerful enough to overcome matter, must be spirit. Heat is the soul of light; and if heat is spirit, light is alive. Voilà tout!"


He had forgotten himself a moment in the pleasure of puzzling his questioner; but catching his wife looking at him with an expression of astonishment, he came back to the present. The smile died out of his face, and the frown came back.

"Don't you want to play solitaire?" Edith struck in desperately.

He made a slight motion of dissent, but it was not decided; so she brought out the pack of soiled cards, and laid them before him. There was a moment of hesitation, during which the heart of the wife throbbed tumultuously, and the nerves of the child tingled with an excitement that seemed to snap in sparks from her eyes. Then he took the cards, shuffled them, and began to play. Mrs. Rowan opened a book, and, holding it upside down, so as to hide her face, cried quietly behind the page. Her husband saw that she was crying, cast a savage glance at her, and seemed about to fling the cards down; but Edith made some remark on the game, leaned toward him, and laid her head lightly on his arm. It was the first time in all their acquaintance that she had voluntarily touched him. At the same time she reached her foot, and pushed Mrs. Rowan's under the table. Mrs. Rowan dropped her book, turned her face away quickly, and said, with an effort of self-control rare for her: "Why, it's nine o'clock! I'll go to bed, I think; I'm tired."

Nobody answering, or objecting, she went away, and left her husband still over his cards.

"Isn't it about your bedtime?" he said presently to Edith.

She got up slowly, unwilling to go, yet not daring to stay. Oh! if she were but wise enough to know the best thing that could be said—something which would strengthen his resolution, and keep him in. It was not yet too late for him to go out; for, when every safe and pitiful door is closed, and slumber seals all merciful eyes, the beacon of the grog-shop shines on through the night, and tells that the way to perdition still is open, and the eyes of the rum-seller yet on the watch.

"How glad I shall be when Dick comes home!" she said. "Then I hope we can all go away from here, and wipe out, and begin over."

She could not have said better, but, if she had known, she could have done better. What he needed was not an appeal to his sentiments, but physical help. Words make but little impression on a man while the torments of a burning, infernal thirst are gnawing at his vitals. The drunkard's body, already singed by the near flames of the bottomless pit, needed attending to at once; his soul was crushed and helpless under the ruins of it. If an older, wiser head and hand had been there, started up the failing fire, and made some strong, bitter draught for him to drink, it might have done good. But the child did not know, and the sole help she could give was an appeal to his heart.

It is as true of the finest and loftiest natures, as of the perverted, that they cannot always conquer the evil one by spiritual means alone. Only spirits can do that. And often the tempter must laugh to see the physical needs, which were made to play about our feet like children, unnoticed when the soul speaks, starved till they become demons whose clamorous voices drown the spirit's fainting cries.

But this man's demon was indulgence, and not denial. He was not hovering on the brink of ruin, he was at the bottom, and striving to rise, and he could not endure that any eye should look upon his struggles.


"D— you! will you go to bed?" he cried out fiercely.

Edith started back, and, without another word, climbed the narrow stair to her attic. Before closing the trap-door, she looked down once, and saw Mr. Rowan tearing and twisting the cards he had been playing with.

He stayed there the whole night, fighting desperately with such weapons as he had—a will broken at the hilt, the memory of his son, and the thought of that dear little girl's tender but ineffectual pity. As for God, he no longer named him, save in imprecation. The faith of his orphaned childhood had gone long ago. The glare of the world had scorched it up before it had fairly taken root. That there might be help and comfort in the church of his fathers never entered his mind. "Drink! drink!" that was his sole thought. "If I only had some opium!" he muttered, "or a cup of strong black coffee! I wonder if I could get either of 'em anywhere?"

The day was faintly dawning when he staggered to the window, tore down the paper curtain, and looked out for some sign of life. At the wharf opposite lay a vessel that had come up the evening before, and he knew by the smoke that the cook was getting breakfast there.

"I'll go over and see if I can get some coffee or opium," he muttered, and pulled his hat on as he went out the door.

"I'll ask for nothing but coffee or opium," he protested to himself, as he shut the door softly after him.

Alas! alas!


The next morning was a gloomy one for the two who had nursed that trembling hope overnight, but they did not say much about it. Mrs. Rowan's face showed the lassitude of long endurance. Edith's disappointment was poignant. She was no longer a looker-on merely, but an actor. The man had confided in her, had tacitly asked her sympathy, and his failure gave her a pang. She cast about in her thoughts what she should do, having a mind to put her own young shoulder to the wheel. Should she go in search of him, and give him one of those scoldings which he had acknowledged his need of? Should she lead him home, and protect him from abuse?

"Hadn't I better go up to the post-office?" she asked, after breakfast. "I haven't been there this good while, and there might be a letter from Dick."

Mrs. Rowan hesitated: "Well, yes." She disliked being left alone, and she had no expectation of a letter. But it seemed like slighting her son to make any other reply to such a request. Besides, the village boys might be hooting her husband through the streets, and, if they were, she would like to know it. So Edith prepared herself, and went out.

The ship-yard was full of business at this hour, and two men were at work close to the road, shaving a piece of timber. Edith looked at them, and hesitated. "I've a good mind to," she thought. She had never gone into the ship-yard when the men were there, and had never asked any one a question concerning Mr. Rowan. But now all was[29] changed, and she felt responsible. "Have you seen Mr. Rowan anywhere, this morning?" she asked, going up to the man nearest her.

He drew the shave slowly to him, slipped off a long curl of amber-colored wood from the blade, then looked up to see who spoke. "Mr. Rowan!" he repeated, as if he had never heard the name before. "Oh! Dick, you mean. No, I haven't seen him, this morning. He may be lying round behind the timbers somewhere."

The child's eyes sparkled. Child though she was, she knew that the drunkard was more worthy of the title of gentleman than this man was, for he was rude and harsh only when he suffered.

"Little girl," the other called out as she turned away, "your father is over there on board of the Annie Laurie. I saw him lying there half an hour ago, and I guess he hasn't stirred since."

"He isn't my father!" she flashed out.

The two burst into a rude laugh, which effectually checked the thanks she would have given for their information. She turned hastily away, and went up the road to the village.

Mrs. Rowan finished her work, and sat down in the west window to watch. She was too anxious and discouraged to knit, even, and so did not discover the tight little strip of work around the stocking-heel. It was employment enough to look out for Edith; not that she expected a letter, but because she wanted company. She was conscious of some strength in the child, on which she leaned at times. As for Dick, she had little hope of good news from him, if any. She had no part in Edith's rose-colored expectations. Dick in peril from storm, foe, or sin; Dick dying untended in foreign lands; Dick sinking down in cold, salt seas—these were the mother's fancies.

After half an hour, a small figure appeared over the hills between the house and the village. Mrs. Rowan watched it absently, and with a slight sense of relief. But soon she noticed that the child was running. It was not like Edith to run. She was noticeably quiet, and even dignified in her manners. Could she have seen or heard anything of Mr. Rowan at the village? The heart of the wife began to flutter feebly. Was he lying in the street? or engaged in a drunken quarrel? She leaned back in her chair, feeling sick, and tried to gather strength for whatever might come to her.

Edith was near the house, now running a few steps, then walking, to gather breath, and she held her arm above her head, and swung it, and in her hand was a letter!

Away went all thought of her husband. In two minutes Mrs. Rowan had the letter in her hand, had torn it open, and she and Edith were both bending over it, and reading it together. It had been lying in the post-office a week. It came from New York, and in a week from the date of it Dick would be at home! He was on board the ship Halcyon, Captain Cary, and they were to come down to Seaton, and load with lumber as soon as their East Indian freight should be disposed of. He had met Captain Cary in Calcutta, Dick wrote, and, having done him a service there, had been taken on board his ship, and now was second mate. Next voyage he would sail as first mate. The captain was his friend, would do anything for him, and owned half the ship, Major Cleaveland owning the other half; so Dick's fortune was made. But, he added, they must get out of that town. He had a month to spare, and should[30] take them all away. Let them be ready to start on short notice.

Having read this joyful letter through once, they began at the first word and read it all through again, dwelling here and there with exclamations of delight, stopped every minute by a large tear that splashed down from Mrs. Rowan's eyes, or a yellow avalanche of Edith's troublesome hair tumbling down as she bent eagerly over the letter. How many times they read that letter would be hard to say; still harder to say how many times they might have read it, had there been no interruption.

A crowd of men were approaching their door—close upon them, and darkening the light before they looked up. "Had Dick come, and were the neighbors welcoming him?" was the first thought.

In her haste, Edith had left the outer door ajar, and now heavy feet came tramping in without any leave being asked; the inner door was pushed open, and—not Dick, but Dick's father was brought in and laid on the floor. This was not the first time he had been brought home, but never before had he come with such a retinue and in such silence, and never before had these men taken off their hats to Mrs. Rowan.

"We've sent for the doctor, ma'am," one of them said; "but I guess it's no use."

"I wouldn't have ordered him off, if I hadn't thought he was steady enough to go," said another, who looked very pale. "The captain was expected on board every minute, and it would be as much as my life is worth if he found a man drunk there."

"He slipped on a plank, and fell," some one explained.

Their talk was, to the bewildered woman, like sounds heard in a dream. So were Edith's passionate words as she ordered the men away. The one who had refused the dead man any better title than "Dick" was just coming in at the door, staring right and left, not too pitiful even then to be curious regarding the place he was in. "Go out!" she said, pushing the door in his face.

Some way, still in a dream, they were got rid of, all but two. Then the doctor came, and looked, and nodded his decision—"All over!"

A dream! a dream!

The bedroom was set in order, the silent sleeper laid out there, every stranger sent out of the house and locked out, and then Mrs. Rowan woke up. It was a terrible awakening.

Madame Swetchine comments upon the fact that the thought of death is more terrible in an arid existence than in the extremes of joy and sorrow. It is true not only of those who die, but of the survivors. We go out more willingly on a difficult journey when we have been warmed and fed; we send our loved ones out with less pain when they have been thus fortified. It is the same, in a greater degree, when the journey is that one from which the traveller never returns. It adds a terrible pang to bereavement when we think that our lost one has never been happy; how much more terrible if he has never been honored!

Of her husband's future Mrs. Rowan refused to think or to hear, though she must have trembled in the shadow of it. It might be that which made her so wild. She would allow no one to come near or speak to her save Edith. Those who came with offers of help and sympathy she ordered away. "Go!" she cried. "I want nothing of you! I and mine have been a byword to you for years. Your help comes too late!"

She locked them out and pulled[31] the curtains close, and, though people continued to come to the door through the whole day, no one gained admittance or saw a sign of life about the house. Inside sat the widow and the child, scarcely aware of the passage of time. They only knew that it was still day by the rays of sunlight that came in through holes in the paper curtains, and pointed across the rooms like long fingers. When there was a knock at the door, they started, lifted their faces, and listened nervously till the knocking ceased, as if afraid that some one might force an entrance. One would have fancied, from their expression, that savages or wild beasts were seeking to enter. They never once looked out, nor knew who came.

Still less were they aware of Major Cleaveland standing in his cupola, spy-glass in hand, looking down the bay to see if that cloud of canvas coming up over the horizon was the good ship Halcyon coming home after her first voyage. Down-stairs he came again, three stairs at a jump, as joyful as a boy, in spite of his forty years, gave directions for the best dinner that the town would afford, ordered his carriage, and drove off down the river-road.

The Halcyon was the largest vessel that had ever been built at Seaton, and as its launching had been an event in the town, so its first arrival was an incident to take note of. When Major Cleaveland drove down to the wharf where Mr. Rowan had that morning lost his life, more than a hundred persons were assembled there waiting for the ship, and others were coming. He stepped over to the Rowans' door, and knocked twice, once with his knuckles, and again with his whip-handle, but received no answer. "I would force the door, but that Dick is coming," he said. "It is a shame to let the poor soul shut herself up alone."

Soon, while the crowd watched, around the near curve of the river, where a wooded point pushed out, appeared the tip, then the whole of a bowsprit garlanded with green wreaths, then the leaning lady in her gilded robes, with a bird just escaping from her hand, then the ship rode gracefully into sight on the incoming tide.

A ringing shout welcomed her, and a shout from all hands on board answered back.

Foremost of the little group on the deck stood a man of gigantic stature. His hair was coarse and black, he wore an enormous black beard, and his face, though scarcely middle-aged, was rough and scarred by the weather. Everybody knew Captain Cary, a sailor worthy of the old days of the Vikings, broad-shouldered, as strong as a lion, with a laugh that made the glasses ring when he sat at table. He was a plain, simple man, but grand in his simplicity. By his side stood a youth of twenty, who looked slight in comparison, though he was really manly and well grown. He had sea-blue eyes, quick, long-lashed, and as bright as diamonds; his face was finely moulded, ruddy, and spirited; his hair, that glistened in the sunlight, was chestnut-brown. A gallant lad he was, the very ideal sailor-boy. But his expression was defiant, rather than placid, and he did not join in the hurrahs. The welcoming applause was not for him, he well knew. They were no friends of his who crowded the wharf. He had some bitter recollections of slight or injury connected with nearly every one of them. But he was no longer in their power, and that gave him freedom and ease in meeting them. The time had gone by when he could look upon these country folks as final judges in any matter whatever, or as of any great consequence to him.[32] He had seen the world, had won friends, had proved that he could do something, that he was somebody. He was not ashamed of himself by any means, was young Dick Rowan. Still, it was no pleasure to him to see them, for it brought back the memory of sufferings which had not yet lost their sting.

All this shouting and rejoicing was as the idle wind to the mourners across the way. Their fears of intrusion set at rest, since no one had attempted to force an entrance to the house, they no longer took notice even of the knocking at the door. Both had fallen into a sort of stupor, induced by the exhaustion of long weeping, the silence and semi-darkness of their rooms, and the removal of what had been the daily tormenting fear of their lives. There was no longer any need to tremble when a step approached, lest some one should come in frenzied with drink, and terrify them with his ravings and violence. Mrs. Rowan sat by her husband's side, leaning back in her chair, with closed eyes and clasped hands, only half-alive. Edith lay on the kitchen-floor, where she had thrown herself in a passion of weeping, her arms above her head, her face hidden, and her long hair veiling her. The weeping was over, and she lay silent and motionless. Neither that shouting over on the wharf, nor Major Cleaveland's loud knocking with his whip-handle, had made the slightest impression on her.

But at sunset came one who would not be denied. He tried the lock, and, finding it fastened, knocked gently. There was no answer. He knocked loudly, and still there was no reply. Then he set his knee against the rickety panel, took the knob in a strong grasp, and wrenched the door open. Stepping quickly into the little entry, he looked to right and left, saw the girl lying, face down, on the floor, and the woman sitting beside her dead, both as still as the dead.

Something like a dream came into the half-swoon, half-sleep in which Edith Yorke lay. She heard a slight cry, then a stifled sob, and words hurriedly spoken in a low voice. Then there was a step that paused near her. She put her hair back with one hand, and turned her face listlessly. The curtain had been raised to let in the light, and there stood a young man looking down at her. His face was pale with the sudden shock of grief and distress, but a faint indication of a smile shone through as she looked up at him.

Her first glance was a blank one, her second flashed with delight. She sprang up as if electrified. "O Dick! O Dick! How glad I am!"

The world moved rightly at last! Order was coming out of chaos; for Dick had come home!

He shook hands with her rather awkwardly, somewhat embarrassed by the warmth of her welcome. "We're to go right off," he said. "Captain Cary will help us."

"Yes, Dick!" she replied, and asked no questions. He knew what was right. With him had come all help, and strength, and hope.

The next morning, long before dawn, they started. A boat was ready at the wharf, and Captain Cary and Dick carried out the dead in a rude coffin that had been privately made on board the Halcyon. "They shall not stare at our poor funeral, captain," Dick had said; "and I will not ask them for a coffin or a grave."

"All right!" his friend had answered heartily. "I'm your man. Whatever you want to do, I'll help you about."

So the watch on the Halcyon was conveniently deaf and blind, the boat[33] was ready in the dark of morning, the coffin carried out to it, and Mrs. Rowan and Edith helped in after. When they were in their places, and the captain seated, oars in hand, Dick went back to the house, and stayed there a little while. No questions were asked of him when he came away, bringing nothing with him, and he offered no explanation, only took the oars, and silently guided their boat out into the channel. The banks on either side were a solid blackness, and the sky was opaque and low, so that their forms were scarcely visible to each other as they sat there, Mrs. Rowan in the bows near her son, Edith beside Captain Cary, who loomed above her like a mountain of help.

Presently, as they floated around the point that stood between the village and the bay, a faint blush of light warmed the darkness through, and grew till the low-hung clouds sucked it up like a sponge and showed a crimson drapery over their heads. It was too early for morning light, too fierce, and, moreover, it came from the wrong direction. The east was before them; this sanguinary aurora followed in their wake. It shone angrily through the strip of woods, and sent a long, swift beam quivering over the water. This fiery messenger shot like an arrow into the boat, and reddened Mrs. Rowan's hands, clasped on the edge of the coffin. By the light of it, Dick saw all their faces turned toward him.

"The house was mine!" he said defiantly.

The captain nodded approval, and Edith leaned forward to whisper, "Yes, Dick!" But Mrs. Rowan said not a word, only sat looking steadily backward, the light in her face.

"I'm glad of it!" sighed Edith to herself. She had been thinking since they left the house how people would come and wander through it, and peer at everything, and know just how wretchedly they had lived. Now they could not, for it would all be burnt up. She sat and fancied the fire catching here and there in their poor little rooms, how the clock would tick till the last minute, even when its face was scorched and its glass shivered, and then fall with a sudden crash; how the flames would catch at the bed on which the dead man had lain, the mean paper curtains, the chair she had sat in, Mrs. Rowan's little rocking-chair, at the table where they had sat through so many dreary meals. The checker-board would go, and the cards with which Mr. Rowan had played the night before, and the knitting-work with the puckered heel, and her apron that the drunkard had wiped his ghastly face with. The shelves in the little closet would heat, and blacken, and redden, and flame, and down would come their miserable store of dishes, rattling into the yawning cellar. Fire would gnaw at the ceiling, bite its way into the attic, burn up her books, creep to the bed where she had lain and seen rainbow colors in the dark, spread a sheet of flame over the whole, rise, and burst through the roof. She saw it all. She even fancied that each long-used article of their scanty plenishing, worn away by human touch, constantly in the sight of human eyes, would perish with some human feeling, and send out a sharp cry after them. The crackling of flames was to her the cries of burning wood. But she was glad of it, for they were going to wipe out and begin anew. There seemed to her something very grand and exceedingly proper in it all.

When their boat glided from the river into the bay, others besides themselves[34] became aware of the conflagration, and the village bells rang out a tardy alarm. Dick laughed bitterly at the sound, but said nothing.

"They were sorry for you, Dick," the captain said. "I heard a good many speak of it. They would have been glad to do your family any kindness. I don't blame you for coming off; but you mustn't think there was no kind feeling for you among the folks there."

"Kindness may come too late, captain," the young man answered. "I would have thanked them for it years ago, when I had nowhere to turn to, and hadn't a friend in the world; now I don't thank them, and I don't want their kindness. Even if I would take it at last, neither they nor you have any right to expect that I will run to take the hand that has struck me so many blows the first time it is held out. I don't trust 'em. I want proofs of good-will when I've had proofs of ill-will."

"Dick is right, captain," his mother interposed in a weary tone. "You can't judge of such things if you haven't felt them. It's easier to hurt a sore heart than a sound one."

Within an hour they reached one of those desolate little sandy islands with which the bay was studded; and now the faint spring dawn was breaking, and the heavy masses of cloud lifting and contracting, pale reaches of sky visible between. By the cold glimmer they scooped out a grave, and placed the coffin in it. The water washed the shore, and a chilly, sighing wind came up from the east.

As the first shovelful of earth fell on the coffin, Mrs. Rowan caught back the captain's arm. "Don't cover him out of sight without some word spoken over him!" she implored. "He was once young, and ambitious, and kind, like you. He would have been a man if he hadn't had bad luck, and then got into bad company. He was more wretched than we were. O sir! don't cover him out of sight as if he were a dog."

The sailor looked both pained and embarrassed. "I'm not much used to praying, ma'am," he said. "I'm a Methodist, but I'm not a church-member. If there was a Bible here, I would read a chapter; but—there isn't."

Dick walked off a little way, turned his back, and stood looking at the water. Mrs. Rowan, kneeling on the sand-heap beside the grave, wept loudly. "His father was a Catholic," she cried. "I don't think much of Catholics; but, if poor Dick had stood by his religion, he could have had a priest to say some word over him. I wouldn't have minded having a priest here. He'd be better than nobody."

Captain Cary was a strict Methodist, and he felt that it would never answer to have the absence of a Catholic priest regretted. Something must be done. "I could sing a hymn, ma'am," he said hesitatingly; and, as no one objected, he straightened himself, dropped his spade, and sang, to the tune of the "Dead March in Saul,"

"Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb,
Take this new treasure to thy trust,
And give these sacred relics room
To slumber in the silent dust,"

singing the hymn through.

In a confined place the sailor's voice would have been too powerful, and, perhaps, would have sounded rough; but in open air, with no wall nearer than the distant hills, no ceiling but the sky, and with the complex low harmony of the ocean bearing it up and running through all its pauses, it was magnificent. He sang slowly and solemnly, his arms folded,[35] his face devoutly raised, and the clouds seemed to part before his voice.

When the hymn was ended, he remained a moment without motion or change of face, then stooped for his shovel, and began to fill in the grave.

While listening to him, Edith Yorke had stood in a solemn trance, looking far off seaward; but at sound of the dropping gravel, her quiet broke up, like ice in spring. She threw her arm, and her loose hair with it, up over her head, and sobbed behind that veil. But her tears were not for Mr. Rowan. Her soul had taken a wider range, and, without herself being aware of it, she was mourning for all the dead that ever had died or ever should die.

The first sunbeam that glanced across the water showed a feather of smoke from a steamer that came up through the Narrows into the bay, and the row-boat, a lessening speck, making for the wharf. Twice a week, passengers and freight were taken and left at this wharf, three miles below the town.



Saunterer (from Sainte Terre), a pilgrim to holy lands or places.—Thoreau.

"They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean," says Thoreau. I found the Holy Land in Paris, the city of fashion and gaiety, and where le suprême bonheur is said to be amusement. Every church is a station of the divine Passion, and to every votary therein could I say:

"I behold in thee
An image of him who died on the tree.
Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns."

Before these churches, consecrated to some sweet mystery of the Gospel or bearing the hallowed names of those who had put on the sacred stole of Christ's sufferings, I always stopped. I was like Duke Richard, in the Roman du Rau:

"Whene'er an open church he found,
He entered in with fervent means
To offer up his orisons;
And if the doors were closed each one,
He knelt upon the threshold stone."

And one might well kneel upon the threshold stone of these ancient churches, feeding mind and soul with sacred legends of the past embodying holy truths which are depicted on the outer walls, as at the north door of Notre Dame de Paris, the arch of which contains in many compartments representations of a diabolic pact and of a deliverance effected by our potent Lady, which is related in a metrical romance composed by Ruteboef, in the time of St. Louis. Saladin, a magician, wears a cap of pyramidal form. And what a mine of legendary and biblical lore all over these venerable walls! Sermons in stones come down to us from the stonen saints in their niches and the bas-reliefs which speak louder than human tongues. The first stone of this edifice was laid by Charlemagne, and the last by Philip Augustus. How much this fact alone tells! And there is the Porte Rouge, an[36] exquisite specimen of the Gothic style of the fifteenth century, the expiatory monument of Jean-sans-Peur after the assassination of the Duke of Orleans. In the arch are the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy, in the attitude of supplication, one on each side of our Saviour and the Blessed Virgin. It is an eternal Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus.

And then the Portail du Milieu, with the last judgment in the ogive, the angels sounding the last trump, the dead issuing forth from their graves, the separation of the righteous from the wicked, the great Judge with the emblems of the crucifixion, the Virgin and the loved apostle John, and, finally, a glimpse of the joys of heaven and the horrors of hell. Yes, one could linger here for days before this Biblia pauperum, were there no more powerful attractions within. And this is not the only church the very exterior of which is full of instruction.

In the porch of St. Germain de l'Auxerrois is the statue of a maiden holding in one hand a breviary and in the other a lighted taper. By her is a demon with a pair of bellows, vainly trying to blow out the light—symbol of faith and prayer. This is the statue of one who deserves to be ranked in history with Joan of Arc on account of her heroism, for twice she saved Paris by her courage and her prayers. Would that she might once more have intervened to save the capital of fair France from the invader! St. Genevieve is placed thus at the entrance of the church of St. Germain to remind us of his connection with her history.

When St. Germain, Bishop of Auxerre, and St. Lupus, the learned Bishop of Troyes and the intimate friend of Sidonius Apollinaris, were on their way to Britain to combat the heresy of Pelagianism, they passed through the village now called Nanterre, about two leagues from Paris. All the inhabitants of the place poured forth to meet them and obtain their benediction. St. Germain noticed in the crowd a little girl with a face as radiant as an angel's. His prophetic instinct told him she was destined to be a chosen vessel of God's grace, and, when she expressed a wish to be the spouse of Christ, he led her with him to the church, holding his apostolic hands upon her head during the chanting of the vesper service. He afterward suspended a bronze medal, on which was a cross, from her neck, in remembrance of her consecration to God, bidding her henceforth give up all ornaments of silver and gold. "Let them who live for this world have these," said he. "Do thou, who art become the spouse of Christ, desire only spiritual adorning." Dr. Newman says it was a custom, even among the early Christians, to wear on the neck some token of the mysteries of their religion. Long after, in memory of this event, the Canons of St. Genevieve, at Paris, distributed upon her festival a pain bénit on which was an impression of this coin.

Eighteen years after, St. Germain again passed through Nanterre, once more on his way to Britain. He had not forgotten Genevieve. At the age of fifteen, she had received the virgin's veil from the hands of the Bishop of Paris. Her parents dying, she went to Paris to reside with her godmother. Here she suffered that persecution so often the lot of those who live godly lives. Those who outstrip their fellows even on the path of piety are objects of envy, and they who leave the beaten track of everyday religion are derided. St. Genevieve was visited at Paris by the holy Bishop of Auxerre, who saluted her with respect as a[37] temple in which the divine Presence was manifest. Her life was one of prayer and penance. She used to water her couch with her tears, and when the adversary of our souls extinguished the taper that lighted her vigils she rekindled it with her prayers. When Attila, king of the Huns, threatened Paris, she besought the inhabitants not to leave their homes, declaring that Heaven would intervene to save them. The barbarians, in effect, were dispersed by a storm, and betook themselves toward Orleans. In the church of St. Germain there is a chapel dedicated to St. Genevieve, with a painting representing her haranguing the inhabitants of Paris.

When Childeric besieged Paris, and sickness and famine were carrying off the inhabitants, St. Genevieve laid aside her religious dress, took command of the boats that went up the Seine for succor, and brought back a supply of provisions. And when the city had to surrender, the conquerer treated her with marked respect, and Clovis loved to grant her petitions. The remains of paganism were rooted out of Paris through her influence over him and Clotilda, and the first church built on the spot that now bears her name, but then dedicated under the invocation of Sts. Peter and Paul. In that church was the shepherdess of Nanterre buried beside Clovis and Clotilda. St. Eloi wrought a magnificent shrine for her remains, but it was destroyed at the Revolution, and the contents publicly burned. A portion of her relics is now enshrined at the Pantheon. I found lights burning there, and flowers and wreaths, and votive offerings, and the sweet-smelling incense of prayer rising from a group of people praying around. But the magnificence of the Pantheon is miserably depressing, as Faber says. How much more I delighted in the interesting church of St. Etienne du Mont, where is the curious old tomb of St. Genevieve! There too were lights and ex-votos, and an old woman sat near the tomb to dispense tapers to those who wished to leave a little gleam of love and prayer behind them. Once what lights and jewels blazed around such shrines, and what crowds of devout pilgrims! Now, a few dim tapers, a few prayerful hearts, light up the place.

"Now it is much if here and there
One dreamer, by thy genial glare,
Trace the dim Past, and slowly climb
The steep of Faith's triumphant prime."

Now the world seems to begrudge the temple of the Most High the silver and the gold that belong to him. And jewels are not to be thought of. Such wealth must be kept in circulation, that is, on Prince Esterhazy's coat, I suppose, and by ladies of fashion. The world nowadays is like Julian the Apostate, who was displeased at the magnificence of the chalices used in the Christian churches. For me, I love these offerings from time to eternity, as Madame de Staël says. Let all that is most precious be poured out at the feet of the Saviour, and let no one murmur if such offerings are crystallized. I took pleasure in looking at some splendid vessels of the sanctuary at Notre Dame, and thought:

"Never was gold or silver graced thus
To bring this body and this blood to us
Is more
Than to crown kings,
Or be made rings
For star-like diamonds to glitter in.
When the great King offers to come to me
As food,
Shall I suppose his carriages can be
Too good?
No! stars to gold
Turned never could
Be rich enough to be employed so.
If I might wish, then, I would have this bread,
This wine,
Vesselled in what the sun might blush to shed
His shine
When he should see—
But till that be,
I'll rest contented with it as it is."

In my saunterings I frequently lingered before the tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, the highest in Paris, and the most perfect specimen of Gothic architecture. The remainder of the church was demolished at the Revolution. The tower was saved by the artifice of an architect, who besought the crowd to imitate the enlightened English revolutionists, who destroyed their churches, but preserved the towers to be converted into shot-houses! In this church crowds used to assemble to hear Bourdaloue thunder, as Madame de Sévigné expresses it. I fancy I can hear that uncompromising preacher ringing out like a trump in the presence of the Great Monarch, "Thou art the man!" This exclamation should have appealed to the heart of the people, and saved the church he loved from profanation.

This church was built by the alms of pious people. Nicholas Flamel built the portal in 1388, which he covered with devout images and devices, which were regarded, even by the antiquaries of the last century, as symbols of alchemy. This Flamel was a benefactor to many churches and hospitals of Paris, which he took pleasure in adorning with carvings in which he made all things tributary, as it were, to the worship of God. At first a simple scrivener, he became painter, architect, chemist, philosopher, and poet. He certainly had the fancy of a poet, and wrote in durable materials. He left by his will nineteen chalices of silver gilt to as many churches.

These churches and religious houses are all connected with the history of the city. Paris owed its extension on the north side of the Seine to the school in the Abbey of St. Germain de l'Auxerrois, which was famous at an early age. There were four great abbeys around Paris in the time of the third dynasty—St. Lawrence, St. Genevieve, St. Germain de l'Auxerrois, and St. Germain des Près. These were surrounded by their dependencies, forming villages which gradually extended till they united to enclose the city, then chiefly confined to the island. The poor loved to live near these abbeys. St. Germain des Près, besides providing for the poor in general, used privately to support several destitute families who were ashamed of their poverty. The old abbots of this monastery were both lords spiritual and temporal in the suburbs on that side of the city. This abbey was a monument of repentance. Digby says when it was rebuilt in the year 1000 the great tower and the portals were left as before. The statues of eight kings stood at the entrance, four on the right hand and four on the left. One of them held a scroll on which was written the tragical name of Clodomir. And another, with no beatific circle around his head, held an open tablet on which were the first and last letters of the name Clotaire. These were the statues of the murderer and his victim.

The square tower of the monastery, built in the time of Charlemagne, contributed greatly to the defence of the house against the Normans. A stout old monk, Abbon, conducted the defence, and proved himself on this occasion a valiant defender of the walls of Zion. Perhaps it was his skilful hand that wrote an Homeric poem on the siege of Paris by the Normans in the year 885. If not by him, it was by a monk of a similar name.


The Pré aux Clercs, now the Faubourg St. Germain, took its name from being a place of recreation for the students of this abbey. One of the scholars, Sylvester de Sacy, so learned in the Semitic languages, ascribed the bent of his mind to the aid and encouragement given him by one of the monks who took his constitutional in the abbey gardens at the same time as the boy, then only twelve years old.

The library belonging to this abbey was celebrated in the middle ages, and there were monks of literary eminence in the house. Dacherius was the librarian when he composed his Spicilegium. Usuard compiled a martyrology. They had a printing press set up immediately after the invention of printing, which gives one a favorable idea of their mental activity. Most of these old monastic libraries were accessible to all; that of the Abbey of St. Victor was open to the public three days in the week; and there were public libraries attached to some of the parish churches. In the time of Charles V., rightly named the Wise, he ordered the Royal Library of Paris to be illuminated with thirty portable lamps, and that a silver one should be suspended in the centre for the benefit of those students who prolonged their researches into the night. The numerous collections of books in Paris made that city very attractive to certain minds even in the middle ages. Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, in England, who established the first public library in that country, used to resort to Paris for fresh supplies. "O blessed God of gods in Sion!" he exclaims, "what a flood of pleasure rejoices our heart whenever we are at liberty to visit Paris, that paradise of the world, where the days always seem too short and too few through the immensity of our love! There are libraries more redolent of delight than all the shops of aromatics; there are the flowering meadows of all volumes that can be found anywhere. There, indeed, untying our purse-strings, and opening our treasures, we disperse money with a joyful heart (evidently the truth, for he paid the Abbot of St. Albans fifty pounds weight of silver for thirty or forty volumes), and ransom with dirt books that are beyond all price. But lo! how good and pleasant a thing it is to gather together in one place the arms of clerical warfare, that there may be a supply of them for us to use in the wars against heretics, should they ever rise up against us!"

What would this book-loving prelate have done had he foreseen that the church would one day be accused of being a foe to progress and to the diffusion of knowledge! This bishop, who lived in the thirteenth century, was the Chancellor and High Treasurer of England, and celebrated for his love and encouragement of literature. He had libraries in all his palaces, and the apartment he commonly occupied was so crammed with books that he was almost inaccessible. He was said to breathe books, so fond was he of being among them. None but a genuine lover of books would give such amusing directions for their preservation. "Not only do we serve God," says he, "by preparing new books, but also by preserving and treating with great care those we have already. Truly, after the vestments and vessels dedicated to our Lord's body, sacred books deserve to be treated with most reverence by clerks. In opening and shutting books, they should avoid all abruptness, not too hastily loosing the clasps, nor failing to shut them when they have finished reading, for it is far more important to preserve a book[40] than a shoe." He then goes on to speak of soiling books; of marking passages with the finger-nails, "like those of a giant;" of swelling the junctures of the binding with straws or flowers; and of eating over them, leaving the fragments in the book, as if the reader had no bag for alms. Waxing warm over the idea, he wishes such persons might have to sit over leather with a shoemaker! And then there are impudent youths, who presume to fill up the broad margins with their unchastened pens, noting down whatever frivolous thing occurs to their imagination! And "there are some thieves, too, who cut out leaves or letters, which kind of sacrilege ought to be prohibited under the penalty of anathema." The bishop had evidently had some sad experience with his cherished tomes. His testimony respecting the appreciation of books by the monks of his time is valuable. Remember the age, reader—that period of deepest darkness just before the dawn! "The monks who are so venerable," says he in his Philobiblion, "are accustomed to be solicitous in regard to books, and to be delighted in their company, as with all riches, and thence it is that we find in most monasteries such splendid treasures of erudition, giving a delectable light to the path of laics. Oh! that devout labor of their hands in writing books; how preferable to all georgic care! All things else fail with time. Saturn ceases not to devour his offspring, for oblivion covereth the glory of the world. But God hath provided a remedy for us in books, without which all that was ever great would have been without memory. Without shame we may lay bare to books the poverty of human ignorance. They are the masters who instruct us without rods, without anger, and without money. (The bishop had evidently forgotten those fifty pounds of silver, and many more besides!) O books! alone liberal and making liberal, who give to all, and seek to emancipate all who serve you. You are the tree of life and the river of Paradise, with which the human intelligence is irrigated and made fruitful."

But I did not always linger at the doors of churches, studying the walls and pondering on their history. The true Catholic knows that these magnificent churches are only vast shrines enclosing the great Object of his adoration and love. M. Olier, when travelling, never saw the spire of a church in the distance without calling upon all with him to repeat the Tantum Ergo. He used to say: "When I see a place where my Master reposes, I have a feeling of unutterable joy." This feeling comes over every one at the first glimpse of that undying lamp before the tabernacle, "that small flame which rises and falls like a dying pulse, flickering up and down, emblematic of our lives, which even now thus wastes and wanes."

The very first act on stepping into a church completely changes the current of one's thoughts. The holy water, the sign of the cross, dispel the remembrance of material things and recall devout thoughts of the Passion.

"Whene'er across this sinful flesh of mine
I draw the holy sign,
All good thoughts stir within me, and collect
Their slumbering strength divine."

The bénitiers at St. Sulpice are two immense shells, given to Francis the First by the Republic of Venice; but for all that, the eau bénite seemed just as holy, and I made the sign of the cross just as devoutly.

For devotion, I prefer the largest churches, because the seclusion is more perfect, as at Notre Dame. Behind some pillar or in the depths[41] of some dim chapel, one can find perfect solitude where he can be alone with God. Alone with God! that in itself is prayer. The world-weary soul finds it good simply to sit or kneel with clasped hands in the divine Presence.

"My spirit I love to compose,
In humble trust my eyelids close
With reverential resignation,
No wish conceived, no thought expressed,
Only a sense of supplication."

Joubert says the best prayers are those that have nothing distinct, and which thus partake of simple adoration; and Hawthorne asks: "Could I bring my heart in unison with those praying in yonder church with a fervor of supplication but no distinct request, would not that be the safest kind of prayer?" Surely every devout soul feels that "prayer is not necessarily petition," and what is technically known as the prayer of contemplation is the very inspiration of such churches. In this temple of silence, man seems to be brought back to his primeval relations with his Creator.

What mute eloquence in these walls! What an appeal to the imagination in the calmness! Earthly voices die away on the threshold, and peace, dovelike, broods over the very entrance. A daily visit to such a temple gives life a certain elevation. The very poor who come here to pray must acquire a certain dignity of character. How many generations have worshipped beneath these arches! The saints have passed over the very pavement I tread. I recall St. Louis, who, out of respect to our Lord, had laid off his shoes and divested himself of his royal robes, bearing solemnly into this church the holy Crown of Thorns. And great sinners, too, are in this long procession of the past. There is Count Raymond of Toulouse, barefoot, and clad only in the white tunic of a penitent, coming to receive absolution from the papal legate before the grand altar.

When one recalls the popes, cardinals, and other dignitaries of the church, the kings and queens and knights of the olden time who have been here, one almost shrinks from entering such a throng of the mighty ones of the earth. It seems as if he were elbowing the Great Monarch or the gallant Henry of Navarre.

On the galleries around the nave were formerly suspended the flags and standards taken in war, and it was in allusion to this custom that the Prince of Conti, after the victories of Fleurus, Steinkerque, and La Marsaille, made an opening in the crowd around the door of the church for the Marechal de Luxembourg, whom he held by the hand, by crying: "Place, place, messieurs, au tapissier de Notre Dame!"—"Room, room, gentlemen, for the upholsterer of Notre Dame!"

It is charming to see the birds flying about in the arches of this church, as if nature had taken its venerable walls to her bosom. It made me think of the old hermits of the middle ages, living with the sea-birds in their ocean caves. Like St. Francis, the canons of Notre Dame say the divine office with their "little sisters, the birds;" and the bird is the symbol of the soul rising heavenward on the wings of prayer. We, like the birds, build our nests here for a few days. Blessed are we if they are built within the influences of the sanctuary which temper the storms and severities of life. It is only in the clefts of the rocks that wall in the mystic garden of the church that there is safety for the dovelike soul.

In the transept is the altar of Our Lady, starry with lamps. Above her statue is one of her titles, appealing to every heart—Consolatrix afflictorum![42] To this church M. Olier came, in all his troubles, to the altar of Mary. There is also a fine statue of her over the grand altar, formerly at the Carmes. No church is complete without an altar of the Blessed Virgin. Wherever there is a cross, Mary must be at its foot, as at Calvary, directing our eyes, our thoughts, our hearts, to him who hangs thereon.

"O that silent, ceaseless mourning!
O those dim eyes! never turning
From that wondrous, suffering Son!
"Virgin holiest, virgin purest,
Of that anguish thou endurest
Make me bear with thee my part."

In traversing Paris, one passes many private residences of interest which have a certain consecration—the consecration of wit and genius. I cannot say I ever went so far as Horace Walpole, who never passed the Hôtel de Carnavalet, the residence of Madame de Sévigné, without saying his Ave before it, much as I admire her esprit, and though she was the granddaughter of St. Jane de Chantal, the foundress of the Nuns of the Visitation. Walpole thought the house had a foreign-looking air, and said it looked like an ex-voto raised in her honor by some of her foreign votaries. It was once an elegant residence, with its sculptured gateway and Ionic pilasters, and its court adorned with statues. In the day of the spirituelle letter-writer, it was the resort of the learned and the refined; now, O tempora! it is a boarding-school, and the salon of Madame de Sévigné (the temple of "Notre Dame de Livry," to quote Walpole again, if it be not profanity) is converted into a dormitory. Truly, as Bishop de Bury says, "all things pass away with time," but the wit and genius she embodied in her charming letters are eternal.

In one of the upper stories of a house in the Rue St. Honoré lived Joubert, the Coleridge of France. His keeping-room was flooded with the light he loved, and from it, as he said, he saw a great deal of sky and very little earth. There he passed his days among the books he had collected. He rigorously excluded from his library all the books he disapproved of; unwilling, as he said, to admit an unworthy friend to his constant companionship. To this room he attracted a brilliant circle of conspicuous authors and statesmen by his conversational talents, and there he wrote his immortal Pensées. He said he left Paris unwillingly, because then he had to part from his friends; and he left the country unwillingly, because he had to part from himself. Writing from that sunny room, he says: "In many things, I am like the butterfly; like him, I love the light; like him, I there consume my life; like him, I need, in order to spread my wings, that there be fair weather around me in society, and that my mind feel itself surrounded and as if penetrated by the mild temperature of indulgence." But he wrote graver and more profound things there. One of his friends said of him that he seemed to be a soul that by accident had met with a body, and was trying to make the best of it. And he, ever indulgent to the faults of others, said of his friends, "When they are blind of one eye, I look at them in profile."

The Abbaye aux Bois is interesting from its association with Madame Récamier and her circle. Her rooms were in the third story and paved with tiles, and they overlooked the pleasant garden of the monastery, and, when lit up with wit and genius, they needed no other attraction. Among her visitors there were Sir Humphry Davy, Maria Edgeworth, Humboldt, Lamartine, Delphine[43] Gay, Chateaubriand, etc. They must have been like the gods, speaking from peak to peak all around Olympus. Lamartine read his Méditations there before they were given to the public. Chateaubriand thus speaks of the room: "The windows overlooked the garden of the abbey, under the verdant shade of which the nuns paced up and down, and the pupils played. The top of an acacia was on a level with the eye, sharp spires pierced the sky, and in the distance rose the hills of Sèvres. The rays of the setting sun threw a golden light over the landscape and came in through the open windows. Some birds were settling themselves for the night on the top of the window-blinds. Here I found silence and solitude, far above the tumult and turmoil of a great city."

To the church of the abbey, a plain, unpretending structure, Eugénie de Guérin went every day to Mass during her first visit to Paris. There, too, were the bans of her brother Maurice published, and there he was married.

The house of Madame Swetchine, in the Rue St. Dominique, must be regarded with veneration. There was no austerity about the salon of this remarkable woman. It was adorned with pictures, bronzes, and flowers, and in the evening it was illuminated with a profusion of lamps and candles, giving it a festive air. And then the great lights of the church, always diffusing their radiance and aroma in that favored room, Lacordaire, De Ravignan, Dupanloup, De la Bouillerie, etc. To have found one's self among them must have seemed like being among the prophets on Mount Carmel. They all loved to officiate and preach in her beautiful private chapel, which was adorned with a multitude of precious stones from the Russian mines, gleaming around the ineffable presence of the Divinity. Mary, too, was there. On the base of her silver statue was her monogram in diamonds, which Madame Swetchine had worn as maid of honor to the Empress Mary of Russia.

These circles, and many others I could recall, are now broken up for ever. We have all heard and read so much of those who composed them that they seem like personal friends. We linger around the places to which they imparted a certain sacredness, and follow them in thought to the world of mystery and eternal reunion, thanking God that the great gulf from the finite to the infinite has been bridged over by the Incarnation.

One morning, I went to the church of the Carmelites. A tablet on the wall points out the spot where the heart of Monseigneur Affre was deposited—the heart of him who gave his life for his flock. Around it were suspended some wreaths. On one, of immortelles, was painted, in black letters, A mon Père, the offering of one of his spiritual children. Wishing to have some objects of devotion blessed, I went into the sacristy (I remembered Eugénie de Guérin speaks of going into that sacristy), where I found one of the monks prostrate in prayer, making his thanksgiving after Mass. Enveloped in his habit, his bald head covered by a cowl, he looked like a ghost from the dark ages. Not venturing to approach the ghostly father, I made known my errand to a good-natured-looking lay brother, who conveyed it to that part of the cowl where the right ear of the monk might reasonably be supposed to be, which brought back the holy man to earth, causing me some compunction of conscience. The brother spread out my articles, brought the ritual and the stole, and the father, throwing back his cowl,[44] murmured over them the prayers of holy church, and then disappeared into the monastery. Presently I heard the voices of the monks saying the office, which they do, like nuns, in choir and behind a curtained grate, so they are not seen from the church.

This monastery may be compared to the Roman amphitheatre where the early Christians were thrown to the wild beasts. Here indeed was fought the good fight, and the victors rose to heaven with palms in their hands. I know of nothing more sublime and thrilling in the annals of the church than the massacre of about two hundred priests that took place here on the second of September, 1792. I cannot refrain from giving a condensed account of it by one of the writers of the day: "For some weeks there had been assembled and heaped together two hundred priests, who had refused to take the schismatic oath, or had nobly recanted it. During the first day of their incarceration, these loyal priests had been inhumanly imprisoned in the church. The guards in their midst watched to prevent their having the consolation of even speaking to each other. Their only nourishment was bread and water. The stone floor was their bed. It was only later that a few were permitted to have straw beds. These priests, whom martyrdom was to render immortal, had at their head three prelates whose virtues recall the primitive days of the church. Their chief was the Archbishop of Arles, Monseigneur du Lau. He had been deputed to the states-general; his piety equalled his knowledge; and his humility even surpassed his merit. The day after the memorable 10th of August he had been sent to the Carmelite monastery (then converted into a prison) with sixty-two other priests. Notwithstanding his age (he was over eighty) and his infirmities, he refused all indulgences that were not also extended to his brother-captives. For several days a wooden arm-chair was his bed as well as his pontifical throne. Thence his persuasive words instilled into those around him the sentiments of ineffable charity that filled his own heart, and when his exhausted voice could no longer make itself heard, his very appearance expressed a sublime resignation.

"Two other bishops, brothers, bearing the name of De la Rochefoucauld, one the Bishop of Beauvais, and the other of Saintes, also encouraged their companions in misfortune by their words and by their example. The Bishop of Saintes had not been arrested, but, wishing to join his brother, he made himself a prisoner. There were members of every rank in the ecclesiastical hierarchy: M. Hébert, the confessor of the king who wrote to him at the beginning of August, 'I expect nothing more from man, bring me therefore the consolations of heaven;' the general of the Benedictines, the Abbé de Lubusac, several of the curés of Paris, Mr. Gros, called the modern Vincent of Paul, and priests brought from various places, holy victims whom the God of Calvary had chosen to associate with his sufferings, and judged worthy of the most glorious of all deaths—that of martyrdom.

"For more than two days, the wretches who hovered around their enclosure had filled the air with cries of blood, and predicting that the sacrifice was about to take place. One said to the Archbishop of Arles: 'My lord, on the morrow your grace is to be killed.' These derisive insults recalled to the holy captives the judgment-hall of their divine Master,[45] and like him they bore them in silence, forgiving and praying for their enemies.

"On the second of September they could no longer doubt that their last hour had arrived. The hurried movements of the troops, the cries in the neighboring streets, and the alarm-guns they heard made them somewhat aware of the sinister events that were passing without. At the dawn of day they had gathered together in the church. They made their confessions to each other, they blessed one another, and partook of the Holy Eucharist. They were singing the Benediction together at about five in the evening when the ominous cries came nearer. Then two holy hymns succeeded the prayers for the dying. All at once the jailers entered, and began calling the roll, which already had been done three times that day. The prisoners were then ordered into the garden, which they found occupied by guards armed with pikes and wearing the bonnet rouge. The murderers filled the courts, the halls, and the church, making the venerable arches re-echo to the noise of their weapons and their blasphemies. The priests, one hundred and eighty-five in number, were divided into two groups. About thirty, among whom were the bishops, rushed toward a little oratory at the extremity of the garden, where they threw themselves upon their knees, recommending themselves to God. They embraced each other for the last time, and began saying the vespers for the dead, when suddenly the gates were flung open, and the assassins rushed in from various directions.

"The sight of these holy priests upon their knees arrested their fury for an instant. The first who fell under their blows was Father Gerault, who was reciting his breviary regardless of their cries. That breviary, pierced with a ball and stained with blood, was discovered on the spot at the restoration of the Carmelites, and it is preserved as a precious relic. Then the Archbishop of Arles was demanded. While they were seeking him through the alleys, he was exhorting his companions to offer to God the sacrifice of their lives. Hearing his name called, he knelt down, and asked the most aged of the priests to give him absolution; then, rising, he advanced to meet the assassins. With his arms crossed upon his breast and his eyes raised toward heaven, he uttered in a calm voice the same words his divine Master addressed to his enemies: "I am he whom you seek." The first stroke of the sword was upon his forehead, but the venerable man remained standing; a second made the blood flow in torrents, but still he did not fall; the fifth laid him on the ground, when a pike was driven through his heart. Then he was trampled under the feet of the assassins, who exclaimed, 'Vive la nation!'

"The general massacre then ensued. While the unfortunate priests, with the instinct of self-preservation, were flying at random through the garden, some screening themselves behind the hedges and others climbing the trees, the murderers fired at them, and, when one of them fell, they would rush upon his body, prolong his agony, and exult over his sufferings. About forty perished in this manner. Some of the younger priests succeeded in scaling the walls and hiding themselves; but, remembering they were flying from martyrdom and that their escape might excite greater fury against their companions, they retraced their steps and received their reward! The Bishop of Beauvais and his brother were in the garden oratory with thirty[46] priests. A grating separated them from the murderers, who fired upon them, killing the greater number. The Bishop of Beauvais was not touched, but his brother had a leg broken by a ball.

"For an instant this horrid butchery was suspended. One of the leaders ordered all the priests into the church, whither they were driven—even the wounded and dying—at the sword's point. There they gathered around the altar, offering anew to their Saviour the sacrifice of their lives, whilst their executioners, calling them out two by two, finished their butchery more promptly and completely. To each one life was offered on condition of taking the revolutionary oath. They all refused, and not one escaped. Whilst these assassins added blasphemous shouts to their murderous strokes, whilst they demolished the crosses and the tabernacles, the holy phalanx of priests, which death was every moment lessening, kept praying for their murderers and their country. The two bishops were among the last executed. When it came to the turn of the Bishop of Beauvais, he left the altar upon which he had been leaning, and calmly advanced to meet his death. His brother, whose wound prevented his walking, asked for assistance, and was carried out to his execution. It was eight in the evening when the last execution took place. Over four hundred priests were massacred in different parts of Paris at this period, besides many isolated murders."

The constancy of these martyrs has made many do more than exclaim with Horace Walpole: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Catholic!" He says, in a letter dated October 14, 1792: "For the French priests, I own I honor them. They preferred beggary to perjury, and have died or fled to preserve the integrity of their consciences. It certainly was not the French clergy but the philosophers that have trained up their countrymen to be the most bloody men upon earth."

In 1854, this monastery, where flowed the blood of martyrs and which had echoed with their dying groans, resounded with the strains of O Salutaris Hostia! on the festival of Corpus Christi, and priests bore the divine Host through the alleys of the garden where, sixty years before, had rushed those who were swift to shed blood. An altar had been erected under the yew-tree where the Archbishop of Arles fell. Children scattered flowers over the place once covered with blood. Well might the pale-lipped clergy tearfully chant in such a spot:

"The white-robed army of martyrs praise thee!"

Every age has its martyrs. They are the glory of the church, and their blood is its seed. The church must ever suffer with its divine spouse. Sometimes its head—the Vicar of Christ-is crowned with thorns; sometimes its heart bleeds from a thrust in the very house of its friends; and, again, its feet and hands are nailed in the extremities of the earth.

And every follower of Christ crucified has his martyrdom—a martyrdom of the soul, if not of the body. The sacred stigmata are imprinted on every soul, that embraces the cross, and no one can look upon him who hangs thereon, with the eyes of faith, without catching something of his resemblance. Suffering is now, as when he was on earth, the glorious penalty of those who approach the nearest to his Divine Person.

"Three saints of old their lips upon the Incarnate Saviour laid,
And each with death or agony for the high rapture paid.
[47] His mother's holy kisses of the coming sword gave sign,
And Simeon's hymn full closely did with his last breath entwine;
And Magdalen's first tearful touch prepared her but to greet
With homage of a broken heart his pierced and lifeless feet.
The crown of thorns, the heavy cross, the nails and bleeding brows,
The pale and dying lips, are the portion of the spouse."


So little is known of Spanish American literature that any fresh report from its pages seems to have the nature of a revelation. Our acquaintance with Heredia, Placido, Milanes, Mendive, Carpio, Pesado, Galvan, Calderon, is slight or naught; yet these poets are most interesting on account of the countries, peoples, and causes for which they speak eloquently, even if we deny that they add greatly to the genuine substance of our literary possession. Less question, however, can be entertained of the importance of some older names whose fame made for itself a refuge in the Spanish churches and cloisters of the New World long before revolutionists took to shooting the Muses on the wing. In the seventeenth century lived and wrought Cabrera, Siguenza, and Sor or Sister Juana Ines. They belonged to a country which claimed for awhile as its scholars, though not as its natives, Doctor Valbuena, author of the very well-known epical fantasy called The Bernardo, and Mateo Alaman, who wrote the famous story of Guzman de Alfarache. Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, one of the most remarkable dramatic poets of a great dramatic age, was a native of that same country, Mexico. Siguenza, as mathematician, historian, antiquary, and poet, has been well esteemed by Humboldt and the scholars of his own race. It is much to say that the land which produced an artist as great as Cabrera also gave birth to a scholar and poet as renowned in her day and as appreciable in ours as Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. Among all these celebrities, who would have been eminent in any time among any people, this Mexican nun of the seventeenth century holds a place of her own. Looking back upon the past with all our modern light, we cannot but regard her as one of the most admirable characters of the New World.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz was born at San Miguel de Nepantla, twelve leagues from the city of Mexico, in the year 1651, and died at the age of forty-four. When but three years old, she was able to read, write, and "cipher," and at eight she wrote a prologue for the feast of the Holy Sacrament. Once she cut her hair, and would not allow it to grow till she had acquired the learning she proposed to herself, seeing no reason why a head should be covered with hair that was denuded of knowledge, its best ornament. After twenty lessons, it was said, she knew Latin, and so great was her desire to learn that she importuned her parents to send her to the University of Mexico in boy's clothes. When seventeen years of age, and a cherished inmate of the Viceroy Mancera's family, she amazed a large company[48] of the professors and scholars of the capital by tests of her various erudition and abilities. Notwithstanding her beauty and fortune, her rank and accomplishments, and the life of a gallant and brilliant court, she determined at that early age to retire to a cloister, and in a few years became known as Sor Juana of San Geronimo, a convent of the city of Mexico. After this appeared her poems, The Crisis and The Dream, in the latter of which she writes much of mythology, physics, medicine, and history, according to the scholastic manner of her time. With these and her subsequent poetic writings, such as her sonnets, loas, romances, and autos, she had rare fame, and won from some of her admirers the enthusiastic titles of "The Phœnix of Mexico," "Tenth Muse," and "Poetess of America." The writer has an old volume before him bearing literally this title-page: "Fama, y Obras Posthumas del Fenix de Mexico, y Dezima Musa, Poetisa de la America, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Religiosa Professa en el Convento de San Geronimo, de la Imperial Ciudad de Mexico. Recogidas y dadas a luz por el Doctor Don Juan Ignacio de Castorena y Ursua, Capellan de Honor de su Magestad, y Prebendado de la Santa Iglesia Metropolitana de Mexico. En Barcelona: Por Rafael Figuero. Año de MDCCI. Con todas las licencias necessarias." Thus it appears we owe to the Prebendary Castorena the edition of the posthumous works of Sor Juana given to the light in 1701, six years after her death.

But, whether as the sister or the mother of a convent, Juana Ines de la Cruz was more than a mistress of vain learning or unprofitable science. Her daily assiduous exercise was charity, which at last so controlled her life and thoughts that she gave all her musical and mathematical instruments, all the rich presents which her talents had attracted from illustrious people, and all her books, excepting those she left to her sisters, to be sold for the benefit of the poor. Though she had evidently prized science as the handmaid of religion, the time came when her verses upon the vanity of learning reflected a mind more and more withdrawn from the affairs of this world to the contemplation of the next. When an epidemic visited the Convent of San Geronimo, and but two out of every ten invalids were saved, the good, brave soul of Madre Juana shone transcendently. Spite of warnings and petitions, and though all the city prayed for her life, Madre Juana perished at her vigil of charity—the good angel as well as muse of Mexico.

Of the enthusiasm created by her genius, we have abundant and curious proofs. Don Alonzo Muxica, "perpetual Recorder of the City of Salamanca," wrote a sonnet upon her having learned to read at the age of three, when "what for all is but the break of morn in her was as the middle of the day." Excelentissimo Sir Felix Fernandez de Cordova Cordona y Aragon, Duke of Seffa, of Væna and Soma, Count of Cabra, Palomas, and Olivitas, and Grand Admiral and Captain-General of Naples, speaks of her in a lofty poetic encomium as for the third time applauded by two admiring worlds of readers, and praises her persuasive voice as that of a sweet siren of thought. Don Garcia Ribadeneyra, with the grandiose wit of his day, says in a decima that this extraordinary woman surpassed the sun, for her glorious genius rose where the sun set, that is to say, in the West; and Don Pedro Alfonso Moreno argues piously that St. John the Baptist's three crowns of Virgin, Martyr, and[49] Doctor were in measure those of Madre Juana, who was from early years chaste, poor in spirit, and obedient, according to the vow of religious women. Don Luis Verdejo declares that she transferred the lyceums of the Muses to Mexico, and that the light of her genius is poured upon two worlds. Padre Cabrera, chaplain of the Most Excellent Duke of Arcos, asserts that the Eternal Knowledge enlightened Juana in all learning. "Only her fame can define her," writes one of her own sex; and when the Poetess of the Cloister wrote with her own blood a protestation of faith, it was said of this "Swan of erudite plume" that she wrote like the martyr to whose ink of blood the earth was as paper. Her gift of books to be sold in order to relieve the poor inspired Señora Catalina de Fernandez de Cordova, nun in the Convent of the Holy Ghost in Alcara, to say thus thoughtfully:

"Without her books did Juana grow more wise,
As for their loss she studied deep content.
Know, then, that in this human school of ours,
He only is wise who knows to love his God."

At thought of her death, Don Luis Muñoz Venegas, of Granada, wonders that the sun shines, that ships sail, that earth is fair, that all things do not grieve her loss, whose happy soul in its beatitudes enjoys the riches of which death has robbed the world—sweetness, purity, felicity. Fray Juan de Rueda, professor of theology in the college of San Pablo; Licentiate Villalobos of San Ildefonso, and Señor Guerra, fellow of the same college; Advocate Pimienta, of the Royal Audience, and Bachelor Olivas, a presbyter; Syndic Torres, Catedratico or Professor Aviles, Cavalier Ulloa, have all something to say in Spanish or Latin on the death of our poetess. Doctor Aviles imagines the death of Sor Juana to be like that of the rose, which, having acquired in a brief age all its perfection, needed not to live longer. Don Diego Martinez suggests beautifully that the profit which other excellent minds will derive from the posthumous writings of the poetess will be like the clearness which the stars gain by the death of the sun. Mingled with these honest tributes of admiration is much extravagance of comparison; but they prove at least that Sor Juana was regarded by the learned of her day as a woman of astonishing powers.

Amid all her studies and labors, we read that Sister Juana was constant in her religious devotions, and faithful to the least rules of her order. But her conscientious spirit, moved by a letter of Bishop Fernandez of Puebla, determined her at length to renounce the exercise of her talents for the strictest and purest ascetism. Hence, one of her Mexican critics is led to say that we have only the echoes of her songs, only the shades of her images, inasmuch as her sex and state, and the reigning scholasticism, were not convenient for the true expression of her thoughts. The noble, ascetic literature of Spain, respecting which it is with reason boasted that the world contains nothing of the kind more valuable, discredits in good part this supposition. Moreover, the recognition of Sor Juana's work and genius was, as we have seen, not inconsiderable. The world is still in its infancy as regards religious ideality, and, spite of the highest evidences, often refuses to believe that thoughts fed from the divine source can fulfil the true poem of life, be it written or acted. What the thoughts of Sor Juana were like in her ordinary religious life we understand partly from a number of daily exercises and meditations which have come down to us. Here are specimens of these compositions:



On this day, at seeing the light come forth, bless its Author who made it so beautiful a creation, and praise him with a submissive heart; not only because he created it for our good, but because he made it a vassal to his mother and our mediatrix. Go to Mass with all possible devotion, and those who can, let them fast and give thanks to God. Thou shalt sing the canticle Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino and the verse Benedicite lux. Understand that not only the just ought to praise God, who are themselves as light, but the sinners who are as darkness. Consider yourselves such, every one of you, and mourn for having added to the original transgression, darkness upon darkness, sins upon sins. Resolve to correct thyself; and that Mary's purest light may reach you, recite a Salve, and nine times the Magnificat, face to the ground, and fly from all sin this day, even the shadow thereof. Abstain from all impatience, murmurings, repinings, and suffer with meekness those evils which are a repugnance to our nature. If it be a day of discipline of the community, that is enough, but if not, it shall be especially made so. Those who do not know how to read Latin shall recite nine Salves mouth to the ground, and shall fast if they are able, and if not, they shall make an act of contrition, so that the Lord may give them light for his timely service, even as he gave them material light by which to live.


If we look at the properties of the firmament, what more assimilates to the miraculous constancy of Mary, whom neither those steeped in original sin could make fall, nor the combats of temptation make stumble! But still, amid the torrents and tempests of human miseries, between the troubles of her life, and the painful passion and death of her most holy Son and our most beloved Saviour; amid the waves of incredulity in the doubts of his disciples; among the hidden rocks of the perfidy of Judas, and the uncertainty of so many timid souls—ever was her constancy preserved. Not only was she firm, but beautiful as the firmament, which (according to the mathematicians) hath this other excellence, that it is bordered by innumerable stars, but has only seven planets which are fixed and never move. Thus, holiest Mary was not only most pure in her conception, transparent and translucent, but afterwards the Lord adorned her with innumerable virtues which she acquired, even as the stars which border that most beautiful firmament; and she not only had them all, but had them fixed, all immovable, all in order and admirable concert: but if in the other children of Adam we see some virtues, they are errant—to-day we have them, to-morrow they are gone—to-day is light, to-morrow darkness. We will rejoice in her prerogative, and say unto her:


Honored Lady, and crown of our human being, divine firmament where the stars of virtue are fixed, give their benign influence to us, thy devoted ones, that by thy favor we may cure ourselves and acquire them; and that light which thou dost partake of the Sun of Righteousness, communicate it to our souls, and fix in them thy virtues, the love of thy precious Son, and thy sweetest and tenderest devotion, and of thy happy husband, our patron and advocate, St. Joseph.

These compositions doubtless give us a better idea of the interior thought of Mexican monasticism than some yellow-covered speculations. In that life grew the finest genius, the greatest woman, perhaps the most remarkable character in all respects that Mexico ever produced. Considering the time and place in which she wrote, the New World has scarcely produced her superior among women of genius. Up to the nineteenth century America had, doubtless, no, literary product comparable to the poems of Sor Juana Ines. What Cabrera, was to the art, Sor Juana seems to have been to the literature of her country; and both these workers of genius gave their powers to the service of religion. It is here worthy of remark that not only were the greatest painter and poet of Mexico studious servants of the church, but that its most celebrated scientist was the Jesuit Siguenza y Gongora, author of a funeral eulogy of Sor Juana[51] Ines, whom he knew and appreciated, for he, too, was a poet. Without social helps, without emulation, such as is ordinarily understood, such proofs of her high intelligence as we possess have come to light. Perplexed as it was with the mannered erudition of the schools, her poetry nevertheless reveals noble sensibility and thought in superior forms. Thus she sings in her verses entitled "Sentiments of Absence:"

"Hear me with eyes,
Now that so distant are thine ears;
Of absence my laments;
In echoes from my pen the groans;
And as can reach thee not my voice so rude,
Hear thou me deaf, since dumbly I complain."

This is like a voice of the Elizabethan age; but what woman even of that day has left us so rare a record of poetry and piety combined as the nun of San Geronimo, she who lived in 1670 in far-off, outlandish Mexico? What chapter of literature would seem too good to entertain this Tenth Muse, to whom we owe such sonnets as these:


If pencil, although grand in human wise,
Could make a picture thus most beautiful,
Where even clearest vision not refines
Thy light, O admirable—yet in vain:
How did the author of thy sovereign soul
Proportion space to his creation fair!
What grace he painted, and what loveliness!
The scope more ample, greater was the hand.
Was found within the sphere of purest light
The pencil, schooled within the morning-star,
When thou wert dawned, Aurora most divine?
Yea, thus indeed it was; but verily
The sky has not paid back thy cost to him
Who spent in thee more light than it has now.


Feliciano loves me, and I hate him;
Lizardo hates me, and I do adore him;
For him who does not want me, do I cry,
And him who yearns for me, I not desire.
To him who me disdains, my soul I offer,
And him who is my victim, I disdain.
Him I despise who would enrich my honor,
And him who doth contemn me, I'd enrich.
If with offence the first I have displeased,
The other doth displease by me offended—
And thus I come to suffer every way;
For both are but as torments to my feelings—
This one with asking that which I have not,
And that in not having what I'd ask.


Celia beheld a rose that in the walk
Flourished in pride of springtime loveliness,
And whose bright hues of carmine or of red
Bathed joyfully its delicate countenance—
And said: Enjoy without the fear of fate
The fleeting course of thy luxuriant age,
Since will not death be able on the morrow.
To take from thee what thou to-day enjoyest;
And though he come within a little while,
Still grieve thou not to die so young and fair:
Hear what experience may counsel thee—
That fortunate 'tis to die being beautiful,
And not to see the woe of being old.


This that thou seest, a deception painted,
Which of art's excellence makes display,
With curious counterfeit of coloring,
Is an insidious cheating of the sense.
This, wherewithin has flattery pretended
To excuse the grim deformity of age,
And vanquishing the rigor hard of time
To triumph o'er oblivion and decay;
Is but the shallow artifice of care,
Is as a fragile flower within the wind;
It is a useless guard 'gainst destiny;
It is a foolish and an erring toil;
'Tis labor imbecile, and, rightly scanned,
Is death, is dust, is shadow, and is naught.

These rude translations give but a poor idea of the poet's expression, but they allow the height and quality of her intellect to be understood. In one of her most thoughtful poems, the Romance on the Vanity of Science, she argues against self-seeking knowledge, and the perils to which genius exposes itself by too much seeking its own devices. This poem is so representative and remarkable that we must give it entire quotation:


Finjamos que soy feliz,
Triste pensamiento un rato;
Quizá podreis persuadirme,
Aunque yo sé lo contrario.
Feign we that I am happy,
Sad thought, a little while,
For, though 'twere but dissembling,
Would thou couldst me beguile!
Que, pues solo en la aprension
Dicen que estriban los daños;
Si os imaginais dichoso.
No sereis tan desdichado.
Yet since but in our terrors
They say our miseries grow,
If joy we can imagine,
The less will seem our woe.


Sirvame el entendimiento
Alguna vez de descanso;
Y no siempre esté el ingenio
Con el provecho encontrado.
Must our intelligences
Some time of quiet find;
Not always may our genius
With profit rule the mind.
Todo el mundo es opiniones,
De paraceres tan varios,
Que lo que el uno, que es negro,
El otro prueba que es blanco.
The world's full of opinions,
And these so different quite.
That what to one black seemeth
Another proves is white.
A unos sirve de atractivo
Lo que otro concibe enfado;
Y lo que este por alivio
Aquel tiene por trabajo.
To some appears attractive
What many deem a bore;
And that which thee delighted
Thy fellow labors o'er.
El que está triste, censura
Al alegre de liviano;
Y el que está alegre, se burla,
De ver al triste penando.
He who is sad condemneth
The gay one's gleeful tones;
He who is merry jesteth
Whene'er the sad one groans.
Los dos filosofos griegos
Bien esta verdad probaron,
Pues, lo que en el uno risa,
Causaba, en el otro llanto.
By two old Greek wiseacres
This truth well proved appears;
Since what in one caused laughter,
The other moved to tears.
Célebre su oposicion
Ha sido, por siglos tantos,
Sin que cúal acertó, esté
Hasta agora averiguado.
Renowned has been this contest
For ages, without fruit,
And what one age asserted
Till now is in dispute.
Antes en sus dos banderas
El mundo todo alistado,
Conforme el humor le dicta,
Sigue cada cúal su bando.
Into two lists divided
The world's opinions stand.
And as his humor leads him
Follows each one his band.
Uno dice, que de risa
Solo es digno el mundo vario;
Y otro, que sus infortunios
Son solo para llorarlos.
One says the world is worthy
Only of merriment;
Another, its distresses
Call for our loud lament.
Para todo se halla prueba
Y razon en que fundarlo;
Y no hay razon para nada,
De haber razon para tanto.
For all opinions various
Some proof or reason's brought,
And for so much there's reason
That reason is for naught.
Todos son iguales jueces
Y siendo iguales, y varios.
No hay quien pueda decidir
Cúal es lo mas acertado.
All, all are equal judges,
And all of different view,
And none can make decision
Of what is best or true.
¿Pues sino hay quien lo sentencie,
Por qué pensais vos, errado,
Que os cometió Dios á vos
La decision de los casos?
Then since can none determine,
Think'st thou, whose reason strays,
To thee hath God committed
The judgment of the case?
¿O por que, contra vos mismo,
Severamente inhumano,
Entre lo amargo, y lo dulce
Quereis elegir lo amargo?
O why, to thyself cruel,
Dost thou thy peace reject?
Between the sweet and bitter,
The bitter dost elect?
¿Si es mio mi entendimiento,
Por qué siempre he de encontrarlo
Tan torpe para el alivio,
Tan agudo para el daño?
If 'tis mine my understanding,
Why always must it be
So dull and slow to pleasure,
So keen for injury?
El discurso es un acero
Que sirve por ambos cabos;
De dar muerte por la punta,
Por el pomo de resguardo.
A sharp blade is our learning
Which serves us at both ends:
Death by the point it giveth,
By the handle, it defends.
¿Si vos sabiendo el peligro
Quereis por la punta usarlo,
Que culpa tiene el acero
Del mal uso de la mano?
And if, aware of peril,
Its point thou wilt demand,
How canst thou blame the weapon
For the folly of thy hand?


No es saber, saber hacer
Discursos sutiles, vanos,
Que el saber consiste solo
En elegir lo mas sano.
Not is true wisdom knowing
Most subtle speech and vain;
Best knowledge is in choosing
That which is safe and sane.
Especular las desdichas,
Y examinar los presagios,
Solo sirve de que el mal
Crezca con anticiparlo.
To speculate disaster,
To seek for presages,
Serves to increase affliction,
Anticipates distress.
En los trabajos futuros
La atencion sutilizando.
Mas formidable que el riesgo
Suele fingir el amago.
In the troubles of the future
The anxious mind is lost,
And more than any danger
Doth danger's menace cost.
¡Que feliz es la ignorancia
Del que indoctamente sabio,
Halla de lo que podece
En lo que ignora sagrado!
Of him the unschooled wise man
How happy is the chance!
He finds from suffering refuge
In simple ignorance.
No siempre suben seguros
Vuelos del ingenio osados,
Que buscan trono en el fuego,
Y hallan sepulcro en el llanto.
Not always safe aspire
The wings that genius bears,
Which seek a throne in fire,
And find a grave in tears.
Tambien es vicio el saber
Que si no se va atajando,
Cuanto menos se conoce
Es mas nocivo el estrago.
And vicious is the knowledge
That seeking swift its end
Is all the more unwary
Of the woe that doth impend.
Y si vuelo no le abaten
En sutilezas cebado,
Por cuidar de lo curioso
Olvida lo necesario.
And if its flight it stops not
In pampered, strange deceits,
Then for the curious searching
The needful it defeats.
Si culta mano no impide
Crecer al arbol copado,
Quitan la sustancia al fruto
La locura de los ramos.
If culture's hand not pruneth
The leafage of the tree,
Takes from the fruit's sustainment
The rank, wild greenery.
¿Si andar a nave ligera,
No estorba lastre pesado;
Sirve el vuelo de que sea
El precipicio mas alto?
If all its ballast heavy
Yon light ship not prevents,
Will it help the flight of pinions
From nature's battlements?
En amenidad inutil,
Que importa al florido campo.
Si no halla fruto el otoño
Que ostente flores el mayo.
In verdant beauty useless,
What profits the fair field
If the blooming growths of springtime
No autumn fruitage yield?
¿De que le sirve al ingenio
El producir muchos partos,
Si a la multitud le sigue
El malogro de abortarlo?
And of what use is genius
With all its work of might,
If are its toils rewarded
By failure and despite?
Yá esta desdicha, por fuerza
Ha de seguirle el fracaso
De quedar el que produce.
Si no muerto, lastimado.
And perforce to this misfortune
Must that despair succeed,
Which, if its arrow kills not,
Must make the bosom bleed.
El ingenio es como el fuego,
Que con la materia ingrato,
Tanto la consume mas,
Cuanto el se ostenta mas claro.
Like to a fire doth genius
In thankless matter grow;
The more that it consumeth,
It boasts the brighter glow.
Es de su proprio señor
Tan rebelado vasallo,
Que convierte en sus ofensas
Las armas de su resguardo.
It is of its own master
So rebellious a slave,
That to offence it turneth
The weapons that should save.
Este pesimo ejercicio,
Este duro afan pesado,
A los hijos de los hombres
Dió Dios para ejercitarlos.
Such exercise distressful,
Such hard anxiety,
To all the sad world's children
God gave their souls to try.


¿Que loca ambicion nos lleva
De nosotros olvidados,
Si es para vivir tan poco,
De que sirve saber tanto?
What mad ambition takes us
From self-forgetful state,
If 'tis to live so little
We make our knowledge great?
Oh! si como hay de saber,
Hubiera algun seminario,
O escuela, donde á ignorar
Se enseñara los trabajos!
Oh! if we must have knowledge,
I would there were some school
Wherein to teach not knowing
Life's woes, should be the rule.
¡Que felizmente viviera,
El que flotamente cauto;
Burlara las amenazas
Del influjo de los astros!
Happy shall be his living
Whose life no rashness mars;
He shall laugh at all the threatenings
Of the magic of the stars!
Aprendamos á ignorar
Pensamientos, pues hallamos,
Que cuanto añado al discurso,
Tanto le usurpo á los años.
Learn we the wise unknowing,
Since it so well appears
That what to learning's added
Is taken from our years.

We may dispute, in some respects, the drift of Sister Juana's philosophy; but we cannot question the poetic wisdom of many of her reflections. How true it is that in a multitude of reasons one finds no reason at all; that the rank overgrowth of knowledge does not bear the best fruit; that genius, allied with base substance, grows brighter, by a kind of self-consuming; that wisdom can sometimes find refuge in ignorance! No one, be his fame what it may, has stated a grand and touching truth with better force than appears in Sor Juana's grave misgiving with regard to the genius "which seeks a throne in fire, and finds a sepulchre in tears." Is not this the history, at once sublime and pathetic, of so many failures of the restless intellect? Sor Juana knew how to preach from such a text, for she was a rare scholar, and mistress of verse, and religious woman. The variety of her literary employments was considerable, in comparison with the bulk of Mexican verse and prose, notwithstanding the old-fashioned manners of her cloistered muse. She wrote, in addition to sonnets and romances, the dramatic religious pieces called loas and autos, among which we find dialogues and acts entitled "The Sceptre of St. Joseph," "San Hermengildo," and "The Divine Narciso." Her poetic moods were not, it appears, limited to hymns and to blank-verse; indeed, she had the qualities of a ripe poet—humor, fancy, imagination, able thought, and, if anything else should be added, doubtless the reader will find it in the ideality of a sonnet so superb as the one in praise of Our Lady. Of her religious tenderness we have a fine example in the following lines from "El Divino Narciso," which have been compared by a Mexican critic to the best mystical songs of St. John of the Cross and other Spanish ascetics. They convey the appeal which the Shepherd of Souls makes to a soul which has strayed from the flock:

O my lost lamb,
Thy master all forgetting,
Whither dost erring go?
Behold how now divided
From me, thou partest from thy life!
In my tender kindness,
Thou seest how always loving
I guard thee watchfully,
I free thee of all danger,
And that I give my life for thee.
Behold how that my beauty
Is of all things beloved,
And is of all things sought,
And by all creatures praised.
Still dost thou choose from me to go astray.
I go to seek thee yet,
Although thou art as lost;
But for thee now my life
I cannot still lay down
That once I wished to lose to find my sheep.
Do worthier than thou
Ask these my benefits,
The rivers flowing fair,
The pastures and green glades
Wherein my loving-kindness feedeth thee.
Within a barren field,
In desert land afar,
I found thee, ere the wolf
Had all thy life despoiled,
And prized thee as the apple of mine eye.
I led thee to the verdure
Of my most peaceful ways,
Where thou hast fed at will
Upon the honey sweet
And oil that flowed to thee from out the rock.
With generous crops of grain,
With marrowy substances,
I have sustained thy life,
Made thee most savory food,
And given to thee the juice of fragrant grapes.
Thou seekest other fields
With them that did not know
Thy fathers, honored not
Thy elders, and in this
Thou dost excite my own displeasure grave.
And for that thou hast sinned
I'll hide from thee my face,
Before whose light the sun
Its feeble glory pales;
From thee, ingrate, perverse, and most unfaithful one.
Shall my displeasure's scourge
Thy verdant fields destroy,
The herb that gives thee food;
And shall my fires lay waste,
Even from the top of highest mountains old.
My lightning arrows shall
Be drawn, and hunger sharp
Shall cut the threads of life,
And evil birds of prey
And fiercest beasts shall lie in wait for thee.
Shall grovelling serpents show
The venom of their rage,
By different ways of death
My rigors shall be wrought;
Without thee by the sword, within thee by thy fears.
Behold I am thy Sovereign,
And there is none more strong;
That I am life and death,
That I can slay and save,
And nothing can escape from out my hand.

Our last quotation from Sister Juana's poems will be one of those tributes which, in verse or prose, she so often paid to the Blessed Virgin. It is a song taken from her villancicos, or rhymes for festivals. The literary manners of her time seem to have obscured the native excellence of her thought, but the buoyant style of the following lines meets with little objection from her modern Mexican critic:

To her who in triumph, the beautiful queen,
Descends from the airs of the region serene;
To her who illumines its vaguest confine
With auroras of gold, and of pearl and carmine;
To her whom a myriad of voices confessed
The lady of angels, the queen of the blest:
Whose tresses celestial are lightly outborne
And goldenly float in the glory of morn,
And waving and rising would seek to o'erwhelm
Like the gulfs of the Tibar an ivory realm:
From whose graces the sunlight may learn how to shine,
And the stars of the night take a brilliance divine,
We sing thee rejoicing while praises ascend,
O sinless, O stainless! live, live without end.

The scarcity of the poems of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, even in her native land, is cause for wonder, but not if we first remark that still greater marvel—the long-continued discomposure of Mexican society. It is one hundred and seventy years since the parchment-bound book, from which we have drawn a number of facts in the life of the Poetisa, was published. Our impression of the rarity and age of her printed works, as derived from acquaintance with educated Mexicans in their own country, tempts us to doubt whether they have been issued in any complete shape during the present century. For a good portion of the extracts we have presented we are indebted to an intelligent and scholarly review prepared in Mexico, two years ago, by Don Francisco Prinentel, the author of a number of books on the races and languages of Mexico. Outside of the monastic or rich private libraries of that country, it is doubtless a task of much difficulty to find the poems of Sor Juana. For this reason we are disposed to excuse the able American historian of Spanish literature for omitting everything in relation to her except the mere mention of her name as a lyrical writer. It is hoped, however, that this notice of her life and works, probably the first which has[56] appeared in the United States, will supply the omission of what should be a chief fact in any American notice of Spanish literature. The claim which we make for Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, as regards the literature of the New World, is not short of the very highest.




At the golden gate of the Temple courtyard, a Roman legionary soldier (detailed as body-servant to the General Paulus) met him. The soldier was leading a small, wiry Tauric (or really Tartar) horse. Paulus, twisting a lock of the animal's mane in his left hand, and taking up with the little finger thereof the loop of the bridle, sprang into the ephippia. The soldier smiled, as the still handsome and youthful-looking legatus settled himself on the back of his steed.

"Why are you smiling, my man?" quoth Paulus good-humoredly.

"It was like the spring I saw you take years ago at Formiæ, when I was a boy, upon the back of the horse Sejanus, which no man, my general, ever rode save you," replied the soldier.

"Ah!" said Paulus, smiling sadly; "were you there? I fear I am not so agile now. We are all passing away."

"Just as agile still, my general," returned the legionary, in a cordial tone; "but about twice as strong."

"Away! begone!" cried Paulus, laughing; "I am growing old." And shaking the reins, he waved a salute to Longinus, turned his pony round, and rode away again into the valley westward, while the centurion entered the city by the golden gate, and repaired under the walls of the Temple to Fort Antonio, where he was detailed as officer of Pilate's guard that night.

Paulus, meanwhile, rode slowly on his way, between the Kedron Brook and the walls of Jerusalem, till he came to the Pool of Siloam. There, he turned south, galloped to a fort which was near, turned back again to his right, or northward, followed the valley of Hinnom at a walking pace, looking up at the white and dazzling buildings on Mount Zion.

As he slowly passed them, he speculated which could have been David's palace. He saw Herod's plainly enough. On his right he noticed the aqueduct from Solomon's Pool, and followed its course as far as the Tower of Hippicus northward. There he entered the city by the Gate of Gennath, and followed the valley of the Cheesemongers (or Tyropæon hollow) until he came to Ophal.

In the middle of a very narrow[57] street in this low and crowded quarter, where the Romans afterward under Titus were repulsed, he met a file of people, some mounted, some on foot, led by a richly-dressed, haughty-looking, burly man, riding a mule.

So narrow was the street that either Paulus would have had to go back as far as the Tower of Marianne, or the richly-dressed and haughty-looking man about one-quarter of the distance, to the bridge between the street of the Cheesemongers and the court of the Gentiles. Paulus, always full of courtesy, amenity, and sweetness, was in the very act of turning his small Tauric horse, when the burly man in rich dress, who led the opposing file, called out, "Back! low people! Back, and let Caiaphas go by!"

"And who is Caiaphas?" demanded Paulus, instantly facing round again and barring the way.

"The high-priest of Jerusalem," was the answer, thundered forth in rude and minatory tones.

"I respect," said Paulus, "and even revere that holy appellation; but he who uses it at this moment, for some present purpose, has flung against me, who am a Roman general, the mandate of Back, low people. Where are the low people? I do not believe that I am a low person. Where, then, are the low people?"

"Come on," cried the imperious voice of Caiaphas.

He himself, being the file leader, began then to move forward, till he came immediately in front of the traveller who had so courteously spoken to him.

"If you want," said Paulus, "to pass me at once, I must get into the ditch, or throw you into it; which do you prefer?"

"I prefer," quoth Caiaphas, "that you should throw me into the ditch, if you either dare or can."

"Sir," says Paulus, "I am sorry for the sentiment you express, or at least imply. But I will stand up against your challenge of throwing you into the ditch, because I both could do it, and dare do it, as a Roman soldier, only that there is One among you who has come to settle all our disputes, and who has a divine right to do so. For his sake I would rather be thrown into that drain by you—soldier, officer, general, and Roman as I am—than throw you into it."

"Let me pass," cried Caiaphas, purple with rage.

Paulus, whose behavior at Lake Benacus against the Germans, and previously at Formiæ, and afterward in the terrible Calpurnian House on the Viminal Hill, the reader remembers, made no answer, but, riding back to the Tower of Marianne, allowed the high-priest and his followers there to pass him; which they did with every token of scorn and act of contumely that the brief and sudden circumstances allowed. Caiaphas thus passed on to his country-house at the southwest-by-south of Jerusalem, where he usually spent the night.

Paulus then put his pony into a gallop, and soon reached the bridge across the Tyropæon into the courtyard of the Temple, commonly called the courtyard of the Gentiles. Such was the nervous excitement caused by his recent act of purely voluntary, gratuitous, and deliberate self-humiliation, that he laughed aloud as he rode through the Temple yard, coasting the western "cloisters," and so reaching Fort Antonio.

There his servant, the Roman legionary, who had before met him at the golden gate, and whose name was Marcus, was awaiting him.



That night the palace of Herod the tetrarch resounded with music, and all the persons of rank or distinction in Jerusalem were among the guests. The entertainment would have been remembered for years on account of its brilliancy; it was destined to be remembered for all ages, even till the day of doom, on account of its catastrophe, chronicled in the books of God, and graven in the horror of men.

Paulus, unusually grave, because experiencing unwonted sensations, and anxious calmly to analyze them, was assailed for the first time in his life by a feeling of nervous irritability, which originated (though he knew it not) in his having suppressed the natural desire to chastise the insolence of Caiaphas that morning. He sat abstracted and silent, not far from the semi-royal chair of Herod the tetrarch. His magnificent dress, well-earned military fame, and manly and grave beauty (never seen to greater advantage than at that period of life, though the gloss of youth was past) had drawn toward him during the evening an unusual amount of attention, of which he was unconscious, and to which he would have been indifferent.

The "beauty of the evening," as she was called (for in those days they used terms like those which we moderns use, to express our infatuation for the gleams of prettiness which are quenched almost as soon as they are seen), had repeatedly endeavored to attract his attention. She was royal; she was an unrivalled dancer. Herod, who began to feel dull, begged her to favor the company with a dance, sola. Thereupon the daughter of Herodias looked at Paulus, to whom her previous blandishments had been addressed in vain (he was well known to be unmarried), and heaved a fiery sigh. The mere noise of it ought to have awakened his notice, and yet failed to accomplish even that small result. Had it succeeded, he was exactly the person to have regarded this woman with a feeling akin to that which, some two-and-twenty years before, she herself (or was it Herodias? they age fast in the East) had waked in the bosom of his sister under the veranda in the bower of Crispus's inn, leading out of the fine old Latian garden near the banks of the Liris.

She proceeded to execute her ballet, her pas seul, her dance of immortal shame and fatal infamy. Cries of delight arose. The creature grew frantic. The court of Herod fell into two parties. One party proclaimed the performance a perfection of elegance and spirit. The other party said not a word, but glances of painful feeling passed among them. The clamorous eulogists formed the large majority. In the silent minority was numbered Paulus, who never in his life had felt such grave disgust or such settled indignation. He thought of his pure and innocent Esther—alas, not his! He thought that, had it been his sister Agatha who thus outraged every rudimentary principle of the tacit social compact, he could almost find it in his heart to relieve the earth of her.

Thus pondering, his glance fell upon Herod the tetrarch. The tetrarch seemed to have become delirious. He was laughing, and crying, and slobbering, and clapping his hands, and rolling his head, and rocking his body on the great state cushion under the canopy, where he "sat at table." While Paulus was contemplating him in wonder and shame, the wretched dancer came to an end of her bounds. Indecency, scientifically accidental, had been[59] the one simple principle of the exhibition. Herod called the practised female before him, and, in the hearing of several, bade her demand from him any reward she pleased, and declared upon oath that he would grant her demand. Paulus heard the answer. After consulting apart with her mother, she reapproached the tetrarch, and, with a flushed face, said that she desired the head of a prisoner upon a dish.

"What prisoner?"

"John," said she.

Paulus gazed at the miserable tetrarch, "the quarter of a king," not from the height of his rank as a Roman general, but from the still greater height which God had given him as one of the first, one of the earliest of European gentlemen. He knew not then who John was. But that any fellow-creature in prison, not otherwise to be put to death, should have his head hewn off and placed upon a dish, because a woman had tossed her limbs to and fro in a style which pleased a tetrarch while it disgraced human society, appeared to Paulus to be less than reasonable. What he had said, the tetrarch had said upon oath.

A little confusion, a slight murmuring and whispering ensued, but the courtly music soon recommenced. Paulus could not afterward tell how long it was before the most awful scene he had ever witnessed occurred.

A menial entered, bearing, on a large dish, a freshly-severed human head, bleeding at the neck.

"It was not a jest, then," said Paulus, in a low voice to his next neighbor, a very old man, whose face he remembered, but whose name he had all the evening been trying in vain to recall—"it was not a base jest, dictated by the hideous taste of worse than barbarians!"

"Truly," replied the aged man, "these Jews are worse than any barbarians I ever saw, and I have seen most of them."

Paulus recognized at these words the geographer Strabo, formerly his companion at the court of Augustus.

At a sign from Herod, the menial carrying the dish now approached the daughter of Herodias, and presented to her the bleeding and sacred head. She, in turn, took the dish and offered it to Herodias, who herself bore it out of the room with a kind of snorting laugh.

Paulus rose slowly and deliberately from his place near the tetrarch, at whom he steadily looked.

"This, then," said he, "is the entertainment to which you have invited a Roman legatus. You are vexed, people say, that Pilate, the Roman governor of this city, could not honor your birthday by his presence in your palace. Pilate's local authority is of course greater than mine, for I have none at all; but his real, permanent rank, and your own real, permanent importance, are contemptible by the side of those which a Roman soldier of such a family as the Æmilian has gained on the field of battle; and it was a high honor to yourself to succeed in bringing me hither. And now, while disgracing your own house, you have insulted your guests. What is the name of the man you have murdered because a woman dances like a goat? What is his name?"

The tetrarch, astonished and over-awed, replied with a bewildered look:

"What authority to rebuke me, because I took my brother's wife, had John?"

"John who?" asked Paulus, who from the outset had been struck by the name.

"He who was styled John the Baptist," said the tetrarch.

The words of another John rang[60] in Paulus's memory; and he exclaimed:

"What! John the Baptist? John the Baptist, yea, and more than a prophet—John the Angel of God! Is this he whom you have slain?"

"What had he to say to my marriage?" answered Herod, through whose purple face a livid under-color was penetrating to the surface.

"Why," exclaimed Paulus, "the holy books of your own nation forbade such a marriage, and John could not hear of it without rebuking you. I, although a Gentile, honor those books. Out upon you, impious assassin! I ask not, where was your mercy, or where your justice; but where has been your sense of common decency, this evening? I shall never cease to lament that I once stood under your roof. My presence was meant as an honor to you; but it has proved a disgrace to myself."

Taking his scarlet cloak, he flung it over his shoulders, and left the hall amid profound silence—a silence which continued after he had quitted the courtyard, and begun to descend from Mount Zion to the labyrinth of streets branching downward to the Tyropæon Valley. In one of these, under a bright moonlight, he met again that same beautiful youth whom he had seen in the morning when he was descending the Mount of Olives.

"Stay!" cried Paulus, suddenly stopping in his own rapid walk. "Said you not, this morning, that he who was called 'John the Baptist' was more than a prophet? Herod has this moment slain him, to please a vile woman. The tyrant has sent the holy prophet out of life."

"Nay; into life," replied the other John; "but, brave and noble Roman—for I see you are both—the Master, who knows all things, and rejoices that John has begun to live, grieves as well."

"Why grieves?" inquired Paulus, musing.

"Because," replied the other John, "the Master is verily man, no less than He is Who is."

"What, then, is he?" asked Paulus, with a look of awe.

"He is the Christ, whom John the Prophet, now a witness unto death, had announced."

Hereupon the two went their several ways, Paulus muttering: "The second name in the acrostic."

But, really, he had ceased to care for minor coincidences in a huge mass of convergent proofs all gaining possession of his soul, and taking alike his will and his understanding captive—captive to the irresistible truth and the equally irresistible beauty of the message which had come. The immortality of which he was an heir, the reader has seen him long since believing; and long since also rejecting both the pantheism of the philosophers and the polytheism of the vulgar. And here was a great new doctrine authoritatively establishing all that the genius of Dionysius had guessed, and infinitely more; truths awful and mysterious, which offered immediate peace to that stupendous universe that is within a man, while assuring him of power, joy, and honor to begin some day, and nevermore to end.

He had not been in Jerusalem long before he learnt much of the new teaching. He had secured for his mother, close to the Fortress Antonio, where he himself lodged, a small house belonging to a widow who, since her husband's death, had fallen into comparative poverty. The Lady Aglais, attended still by her old freedwoman, Melena, was allowed the best and coolest part of this house entirely to herself, with a staircase of their own leading to the flat roof. There they passed much of[61] their evenings after the sun had set, looking at the thickly-built opposite hills, the mansions on Zion, or down into the Tyropæon from which the hum of a great multitude came, mellowed by the distance, and disposing the mind to contemplation. Many wonderful things, from time to time, they heard of him who was now teaching—things some of which, nay, the greater part of which, as one of the sacred writers expressly declares, never were recorded, and the whole of which could not be contained in the libraries of the world. It may well, then, be imagined in what a situation Paulus and his mother were—having no interest in disbelieving, no chair of Moses to abdicate, no doctorial authority or pharisaic prestige inciting them to impugn the known truth—in what a situation they were, for accepting or declining what was then offered.

After twenty years of separation, a trace of Esther had been recovered by Paulus. One evening, his mother was on the flat roof of her residence awaiting his customary visit, when her son appeared and alarmed her by his pallor. He had seen Esther on foot in a group of women at the Gate of Gennath, going forth into the country, as he was entering the city on horseback. Aglais smiled sadly, saying: "Alas! dear son, is that all? I long since knew that she still lived; but I would not disturb your mind by the useless intelligence."

"Scarcely altered," murmured Paulus abstractedly, "while I am quite old. Yes, she must now be past thirty; yes, near thirty-five."

"As to that," said the mother, "you are thirty-eight, and scarcely seem twenty-nine. Old Rebecca, the mistress of this house, who lives still in the ground-story, as you are aware, has told me much about Esther."

"She is married, I suppose," said Paulus, with a look of anxiety.

"No," replied Aglais. "She has had innumerable offers (spite of her comparative poverty), and has declined them all."

"But what boots it?" exclaimed Paulus.

"Old Josiah Maccabeus is dead," said Aglais. And here mother and son dropped the subject by mutual consent.

The dreadful days, closed by the most awful day the world has known—closed by the ever-memorable and tremendous Friday—came and went. On the Saturday, Paulus met Longinus, who said he had been on Mount Calvary that afternoon, and that he, Longinus, was now and ever henceforth a disciple of him who had been crucified. The Sunday came, and brought with it a prodigious rumor, which, instead of dying out, found additional believers every day. The disciples, most of whom had shown themselves as timid as they were known to be ignorant, now seemed transformed into new characters, who loudly affirmed that their Master had risen from the dead by his own power; and they were ready to face every torment and all terrors calmly in the maintenance of this fact, which they predicted would be received and acknowledged by the whole world. And, indeed, it was no longer a rumor, but a truth, attested by the only witnesses who could by possibility know anything about it, either for or against; and whose earthly interests it would have been to deny it, even while they knew it to be true—witnesses who, if they knew it to be false—and they certainly knew whether it were true or false (this much was granted, and is still granted, by all their opponents)—could have had no motive, either earthly or unearthly, for feigning that they believed it.


So pregnant is this simple reasoning, that a man might ponder it and study it for a whole month, and yet find fresh strength and an ever-increasing weight in the considerations which it suggests; not even find a flaw if he made the one month twelve. Paulus's mind was determined, and so was his mother's. The son sought that same beautiful youth whom he had seen twice before; told him the new desire, the new belief, which had made his mother's and his own heart glad; and by him they were baptized as Christians, disciples of him that had been crucified—by that fair youth, I say, who was to be known for ever among men as "Saint John the Evangelist."

"After all, mother," said Paulus, when they were returning together to her dwelling, "it is not so very mysterious; I mean that difficulty about the lowliness of our divine Teacher's chosen place among men. Because, see you, if the builder of those glorious stars and that sublime firmament was to come at all amongst us, he would be certain to take the lowest and smallest lot, lest we should deem there was any difference as before him. We are all low and small together—the earth itself, I am told, being but a sort of Bethlehem among the stars; but, anyhow, we are but mites and emmets on a blade of grass in his sight, and had he taken a great relative place amidst us, it might countenance the lie and the delusion of our silly pride. That part of it is to me not so mysterious, although I don't wonder at the Jewish notion that their Messiah was to have been a great conquering prince—that is probably what the Antichrist will be. It would suit the blindness of vanity better."

As he spoke the words, they heard a quick footstep behind, and were overtaken by Longinus, who, saying he had just heard of their reception, greeted them with every demonstration of rapturous affection.

"Now," pursued he, walking by their side, "good for evil to Master Paulus's family. Forgive the apparent intrusion, dear general, if I mention that I happen to know the story of your youthful love, as all the world have witnessed your fidelity to an unavailing attachment. But learn from poor Longinus that Esther Maccabeus is now a disciple; and the Christian maiden can wed, under a still holier law, the brave Gentile whom the Jewess was bound to refuse."

With this he turned into an alley under the court of the Gentiles, and disappeared.


One still and sultry evening, the decline of a brooding day in spring, two persons were sitting on the flat roof of a house in Jerusalem. They were the Athenian Lady Aglais and her son, the comparatively youthful Roman General Paulus—he who has so largely figured, even from his gallant boyhood, in the events and affairs we have been recording.

It was the 30th of March, and a Wednesday—the first of all Easter-Wednesdays—the first in that new and perpetual calendar by which, throughout the fairest regions of earth, among all enlightened nations and civilized races, till the crash of doom, time was for evermore to be measured.

A servant, carrying a skin-cask slung over his shoulders, was watering the flowers, faint with thirst; and these, arranged in fanciful vases, which made an artificial garden of the housetop, shook their drooping[63] heads under the fresh and grateful shower, and seemed to answer it with smiles of a thousand blooms and rays. As the man stole softly to and fro about the roof, now approaching the lady and her son, now receding, he seemed, in spite of the foreign language in which they spoke, and in spite of the low and hushed tone they observed, to follow, with intense and breathless though stealthy excitement, the tenor of their conversation; while his figure, in the last evening rays, cast a long, shifting shadow that streaked with black the yellow flood to its farthest limit, climbed the parapet, broke upon its grail-work of balusters, and then was beheaded, for it flung off its head out of sight into empty space, leaving the calm bright air unblotted above the stone guard-wall.

An occurrence took place of which (that Wednesday evening) Paulus and his mother were witnesses—an occurrence in dumb show, the significance of which they were destined, only after several years, to learn; yet the incident was so singular, so strange, so impressive—it was such a picture in such a quarter—that when, long subsequently, the explanation came, they seemed to be still actually assisting in person at the scene which, while they beheld it, they had no means of understanding. We are going, in one moment, to relate that occurrence; and we must here request the reader to grant us his full belief and his confidence when we remark that, in comparison of his amusement, his profit, and that mental gallery of pictures to be his henceforth (which we try to give to all who honor these pages with a perusal), we feel the sincerest contempt for any mere display of scholarship or learning. For this reason, and this reason alone, and certainly from no scantiness, and still less from any lack of authorities, we shall almost disencumber our narrative of references to the ancient writers and recondite documents (such as the Astronomic Formula of Philip Aridæus) which establish as positive historical facts the more striking of the occurrences still to be mentioned. In one instance the intelligent reader will discern that the most sacred of all evidence supports what we have to record. But if we were to show with what nicety of precision much profane, yet respectable and even venerable, testimony accords with the passage here meant in the Acts of the Apostles, and how abundantly such testimony corroborates and supplements the inspired account, this book would cease to be what it aims at being, and would become a historical treatise of the German criticism school.[3]

Satisfied, therefore, with the footnotes below (at which the reader will oblige us by just glancing, and which are appended, in perfect good faith and simple honesty, as implying no more than we could make good), we will avoid boring those who have a right to, and who expect, the conclusion of a straightforward story at our hands.[4]


Paulus and his mother were conversing, as has been described, in Greek, while the serving-man, despite his ignorance of that language, had the air of half-following the drift of what they said, and of catching the main purport of it with wonder and awe. There was, indeed, at that moment, only one topic in all Jerusalem. He who, less than a week ago, had been crucified, and with the time of whose coming (as much as with all the particulars of his life, teaching, works, and death) the old prophecies were found more and more startlingly, circumstantially, unmistakably, the more they were studied, questioned, and canvassed, to agree, point by point, down to what would seem even trivial details (indicated as if merely to emphasize the incommunicable identity of the Messiah)—he had himself stated, distinctly and publicly, that, by his own power, he would rise from the dead in three days; that, in three days after, he should be "lifted up" and be made "a spectacle for men and angels;" in three days after they should have destroyed it, he would rebuild the holy temple of his body. And now these rumors—these minute, these positive accounts—had he, then, really reappeared, according to his word and promise? Was it possible? Was it the fact?

Many had, on the previous Friday night, stated that, of a verity, they had seen their deceased parents and relatives. Again, on the Saturday, many declared, amid awe-stricken groups of listeners, that the unknown land had sent them its visitants, in various places, under various aspects, to startle the guilty city; which, after killing the King's messenger-servants, had just killed the King's Son, who had come, as had been a thousand times announced, in the very fulness, the exact maturity of days, to deliver the final embassy to men.

On that Wednesday evening, there was, in truth, but one theme of conversation, one subject of thought, all through Jerusalem, and already far beyond Jerusalem; among poor and rich, high and low, natives and strangers, the robbers of the Syrian hills and Arabian deserts, the dwellers in the city, the travellers on the roads and at the inns, among Sadducees, Pharisees, Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and barbarians.

No wonder, then, if the humble serving-man, as he watered the flowers, penetrated the drift of the mother's and the son's discussion. For him and such as he was the message. The poor Syrian had once, for a while, rendered occasional out-door service to the family of Lazarus; and he had known Lazarus in three states—had known him living, dead, again alive. After days of death in that fierce climate, where inanimate flesh putrefies fast, he had beheld Lazarus, at the call of one upon whose lineaments he gazed, at the time, with unconscious adoration, come forth, not merely from death, but from incipient decomposition, back into balmy life—back to the "vita serena."

Now, was he who, in that instance, had allowed it to be perceived and felt that he was really the Lord of life, whom death and rottenness were manifestly unable to disobey—was he himself, as his disciples declared he was, living again among them, since the morning of the last Sunday (the feria prima), according to his own public prediction and distinct promise? Was he not? Was he?

Aglais and Paulus had heard more than one circumstantial account of[65] this, his reappearance, according to that, his promise. By this one and by the other he had been met. They had gazed upon him, spoken to him, heard him in reply, touched him, in such a place, on that bridge, that road, in such a garden. He had walked conversing with them, had sat with them at meat, had broken bread with them, as was his wont, had then vanished.

Where was his body, over which the Pharisees had set their guard of soldiers? Not in the grave. No; but where? Had the Pharisees accounted for it? Could they tell what had become of it? Could the soldiers? The disciples could, and they did.

"Mother," said Paulus, "do you know what those soldiers say? One of them once served in a legion which I commanded. Do you know what they say?"

"You mean," replied Aglais, "about their inability to hinder the abstraction. What?"

"That an act to which they are the only witnesses could not be stopped by them, because of it they were not witnesses, being buried in sleep."

"Consistent," said the Greek lady. "Yes; but a much weightier fact is that expectation of the disciples, to prevent the realization of which the Pharisees set their guard."

"What expectation? And why weightier? What can be weightier?" asked the general.

"That their Master would keep his word, and fulfil his prediction of rising from the tomb on the third day. If they saw him again alive within the promised time, they and the people would worship him as God; but, if the Pharisees could show the body on the third day, or could even account for it, that belief would die."

"Clearly," answered Paulus, "the disciples expected to see him again on and after the third day, waiting for his word to be fulfilled."

"Now, Paulus," pursued Aglais, "suppose this expectation of theirs not fulfilled; suppose that not one of those waiting for his word was conscious of any reason for believing it to have been realized—"

Paulus interrupted his mother.

"There is only one possible way in which they could be induced to believe it realized—namely, that he should be seen again alive."

"Quite so," she resumed. "But suppose that he has not been seen; suppose that not one of those who expected to see him again has thus seen him. How would they then feel on this Wednesday morning?"

"They would feel that the expectation which he had solemnly and publicly authorized them to depend upon was idle and vain; they would not and could not by any possibility feel that they had, in this great particular, reason to consider his word to have been kept. They would be discouraged to the very last degree. They would, of course, hide themselves. I would do so myself, and I believe I am no coward. In short, they would feel no reason to hope in his protection, or to expect that his other and still mightier promises concerning their own future eternal life would by him be realized. They would not incur any inconvenience, or brave any danger, or take any trouble, or risk any loss—"

It was Aglais's turn to interrupt.

"Now, is this their attitude?" she inquired.

"The reverse, the opposite, the contradictory of their attitude."

The lady continued in a low tone: "If, expecting, upon his own assurance, that some among them should see him," she asked, "not one of them had seen him, would they, at[66] this moment, have any motive for bringing upon themselves the tortures, insults, shame, and death which he underwent, and all this in order to induce others to believe apparitions and a resurrection which in their own hearts they did not themselves believe, and for believing which they were, moreover, conscious that they possessed no ground, no reason, no pretext?"

A sweet, ringing, vibrant voice at their side here said:

"And in order by deliberate circumstantial lying, of an awful and blasphemous kind, to please the God of truth; and to compensate themselves by his protection above, in a future life, for the present and immediate destruction which they are incurring among the Pharisees and the men of power here below!"

Looking round, they beheld Esther of the Maccabees.

Never had she seemed to Paulus so beautiful; but there was a marked change; for, however intellectual had always been the translucent purity of that oval brow, through which, as through a lamp of alabaster, shone the vivid mind within, there was now the mysterious effluence of "that Essence increate" who had come to abide in, and had strangely transfigured the appearance of, the faithful-souled Hebrew maiden. And when Paulus, after she had embraced his mother, abstractedly took her hand, his heart was lifted upward with a species of wonder; and, without adverting to it, he was asking himself to what marvellous kingdom she had become heiress, in what supernal court of everlasting joy and unassailable prerogatives was this beautiful creature destined to live, loving and beloved, adorning almost the glories which she reflected, dispensed, and multiplied, as if from some holy, mysterious, and spiritual mirror.

"O dear Lady Aglais! and O legatus!" she said, with a gesture amazing in its expressiveness and pathetic fervor (she had brought the finger-tips of both hands together under the chin, and then lowered them with the palms outward toward her hearers, and so she stood in an attitude of the utmost grace and dignity combined, like one appealing to the candor and good faith of others)—"O dear friends! I was just now passing through my own garden on my way hither, when, under the fig-tree (where he used to sit poring over the holy books of our people), I beheld my dead father, but standing, and not in his old accustomed wicker-chair; and he gazed upon me with large, earnest eyes; and as he stood, his head almost touched the leaves of that hollow, embowering fig-tree; and he was pale, so extremely pale as he was never during life; and he called me: 'Esther,' he said, and his voice sounded far away. Ah! my God, from what a huge distance it seemed to come! And lo! lady, and thou, legatus, he said these words to me: 'I have been in the vast, dim house, and have seen our Father Abraham; and I have seen our great Lawgiver, and all our prophets, excepting only two, Elias and Enoch; and I asked, Where were they? And in all the dim, vast house none answered me, but the forefinger was pressed to the silent lips of those who there waited. And, suddenly, there was the noise of innumerable armies coming swiftly from afar—but your ears are mortal and your eyes veiled, and were I even permitted to tell you that which shook, beyond this little world, the large world and its eternal thrones, your mind would not at present understand my words. Enough, Esther, that I have been allowed to renew to you, in my own behalf, and that of others among our[67] people who have been called before you to the vast, dim, silent city, the exhortation which our ancestor Judas Maccabeus sent with offerings to the high-priest; namely, that you will pray for our spirits. Our innumerable company has just been thinned; the glorious Judas Maccabeus, our ancestor, and that holy mother of the Maccabees, and almost all who were waiting with me in the dim, vast kingdom of expectation, have gone for ever; and I, and a few, have been commanded to expect yet a little time; until the incense of holy prayer shall have further gone up in the presence of the Great White Throne.'"

Esther paused, her eyes dilated, and stood a moment with the hands again brought together; and so perfect a figure of truthfulness, and such an impersonation of sincerity, she looked, that the Jewish servant, who understood not a word of the tongue in which she addressed the Greek lady and her son, gazed at her; his work suspended, his cask held high in air, with all the marks of one who heard and accepted some sacred and unquestionable revelation.

"Go on, dear child," said Aglais. "What passed further?"

"I asked the pale image what this meant, that he should term the condition in which he is waiting and has yet to wait a little time—that vast, dim condition—'a house,' 'a city,' and 'a kingdom.' 'The dwellers,' he replied, 'are watched in that kingdom by silent protectors, mighty and beautiful, whose faces, full of a severe, sad love, are the torches and the only light those dwellers ever see; and the vast, dim city has a sunless and a starless sky for its roof, under which they wait; and that sky is the ceiling which echoes the sighs of their pain; and thus to them it has been a kingdom, and a city, and a house; and, until the ninth hour of last Friday, they were numerous as the nations of men!' 'And at the ninth hour of that day, I asked, 'O my father! what occurred when so many departed, and you and a small number were left still to wait?' And he gazed at me for an instant with a wan and wistful look; then, lo! I saw nothing where he had been standing under the fig-tree.

"But it was at the ninth hour of the last Friday the Master had expired by the side of the penitent who was that very day to be with him in paradise!" cried Aglais.

At Esther's arrival, Paulus and Aglais had both risen from a kind of semicircular wicker settle which occupied one of the corners of the roof; and they now, all three, when Esther had finished her strange, brief narrative, leaned silent and musing against the parapet; where, under the shade of a clustering rhododendron, they had a view westward (drawn, as people are who ponder, toward whatever object is most luminous) of the towers and palaces and pinnacles of the Holy City, then reddening in the sunset. One word respecting the spot where the little group was thus collected, and (among modern, and especially western, nations) concerning its peculiar scenic effects.

The roof was an irregular parallelogram, protected on all sides by a low, thick parapet, at two opposite corners of which, in the diagonals, were two doors of masonry, bolted with massive round bars of iron, or left open; thus excluding or admitting communication with the contiguous houses. The writer, many years ago, saw such parapet doors on the house-tops of modern Algiers; nor was the arrangement unknown in the more famous Eastern cities of antiquity, where the roofs glowed with plants[68] in vases. When, on some public occasion, the passages were opened, the richer inhabitants, far above the noise, dust, squalor, sultriness, and comparative darkness of the narrow and noisome streets, could stroll and lounge for miles, in mid-air, among flowers; could cross even flying and embowered bridges (of which a privileged number possessed the keys, like those who have keys to the gardens of our squares); and so Dives, unseen of Lazarus, but seeing far down all things little and supine, could wander through parterres of bloom, and perfumed alleys, and shrubberies of enchantment, with effects of sunlight sprinkled, so to speak, with coolness and with shadows, soothed out of the noonday fierceness into tints various and tender; unsoiled of the stains and pains that stained and pained the poor sordid world below; until the hearts of those who thus promenaded amid circumstances of such delicious refinement and luxury, bearing and hearing news, and exchanging civilities, were "lifted up," and became even like to the heart of Nabuchodonosor the king. Sometimes the pecten-beaten dulcimer, or the fingered lyre of six strings, made long-forgotten airs of music beguile the declining day, and linger for hours longer, ravishing the night under the stars of the Syrian sky. Such the scene.

But none of the roof-doors were open that Wednesday evening. Something ailed the Holy City. Out of the hushed heavens, mysteries and a stern doom were brooding over Jerusalem. Already the fermenting germ of those dreadful factions which were to tear to pieces, with intestine rage, the whole Jewish body, while the city was writhing in the vain death-struggle against Titus, a few years later, had begun to make itself sensible to the observant. A fierce hatred of the Romans and an insane eagerness to re-establish the old Jewish independence had taken possession of certain youthful fanatics; and "possessed" indeed they seemed. On the one side, the Roman officers of the garrison, from Pilate down, had received anonymous warnings, in the wildest style, requiring them to withdraw from Jerusalem within a given time, or they should be all executed in the streets, as opportunity might occur; on the other, the prefect of Syria had been earnestly requested by Pilate to strengthen the garrison; while in the city itself the soldiers were strictly admonished to keep to their quarters, to avoid late hours, and to hold no intercourse when off duty with the inhabitants. Leaves of absence were stopped. A few legionaries had been already murdered in the neighborhood of wine-shops, in the small winding alleys, and in places of evil repute, and no efforts succeeded in identifying the perpetrators.

But these were only the feeble and evanescent symptoms, destined to disappear and reappear, of a political and social phase which was not to become the predominant situation until another situation should have exhausted its first fury. This, the first, was to be the war of the Synagogue against the disciples of the Messiah, whom those disciples went about declaring to have risen from the tomb, according to his distinct promise; whom they went about declaring to have been already seen, and heard, and touched by themselves, again and again.

No wonder, then, if Aglais and Paulus and Esther had discussed in hushed tones and in Greek the wonders and various portents attendant upon the supreme and central fact—that Resurrection of the Master[69] which absorbed their whole hearts and minds, leaving no room for any other interest therein at this tremendous epoch—the grand turning-point of human destinies and of our whole planet's history.

From the parapet against which they were leaning, they now gazed in silence upon the splendid scenes below and opposite. Across a maze of narrow streets they saw the mansions, the pinnacles, the towers, and that great supernal "Temple of God," all so soon to perish violently, in a general, a complete, and an irreversible destruction. They saw the play of light and shadow upon one long tree-lined side of Herod's proud palace; they saw the ripple of quivering leaves reflected upon the white colonnades (and their tessellated, shady floors) of Pilate's fatal house; and, while revolving thoughts and questions of unspeakable importance and solemnity, they all three suddenly beheld an acted picture, a passing scene, voiceless to them, yet impressive, which blent itself into their recollection of other scenes, never to be effaced from the memory of mankind, which, not a week before, had been under those very colonnades enacted.

A woman in the attire of a Roman matron came quickly forth upon the first-story balcony in the house of Pontius Pilate, and, leaning over the rail, waved her hand with an imperative gesture to some one below.

She was followed into the balcony more slowly by a man wearing the grand costume of an ancient Roman military governor, who held in his hand a sealed and folded letter, tied with the usual silk string. The man was evidently Pilate himself. He looked long and gloomily at the letter, and seemed to be plunged in thought. He even let what he carried fall at his feet, and did not appear to be aware of this for some moments. It was the woman who picked up the letter, and gave it back into his hand. Then Pilate leaned over the balustrade, in his turn, and spoke to a man below in military costume, who was mounted on a powerful horse, and seemed to be equipped for travel. The soldier saluted, looking up, when he was addressed, and saluted again when his superior had ceased speaking; whereupon Pilate dropped the letter (a large and heavy dispatch), which the soldier caught and secured under his belt, inside the tunic, or "sagum," immediately afterward riding away at a canter. Our three friends saw Pilate, his head bent and his eyes on the ground, slowly and ponderingly re-enter the house by a screen-door, the same through which he had come out upon the balcony; but the lady, clasping her hands a little in front of her forehead, gazed into the heavens with a face ashy pale, and with eyes from which tears were streaming.

It is a well-known and for centuries universally received tradition, besides being a fact recorded by one most respectable and trustworthy author (who, besides, was not a Christian, but a Jew)—a fact without which the allusions to it in various ancient authorities, together with Phlegon the Chronologer's subsequent recital of Tiberius's extraordinary conduct, would be unintelligible and unaccountable—that Pontius Pilate, harassed by the unappeasable reproaches of his wife, and stung by something within his own bosom which allowed him peace no more, until (sleepless, and unable again, unable for ever, to sleep) he bequeathed, some years afterward, by an awful death, whether intentional or not, his name to a great Alpine hill, a hill not thenceforth named, or to be named, while time and mountains[70] last, by any name but "Pilate's" among distant and then barbarous nations—it is well known, I say, that Pilate sent to Tiberius Cæsar a long and minute relation concerning the life, the death, and the disappearance from the tomb of him whom he had scourged, and whom the Jews had crucified, together with a notice of the supernatural wonders wrought by him; his previous notorious announcement of his own intended resurrection; the directly consequent and equally notorious precautions taken to hinder it; the disappearance, in spite of this, of the body; the testimony of the soldiers that they were witnesses to the abstraction, which they were unable to stop, because they alleged that they were not witnesses of it (being buried in sleep); that, in fact, their testimony proved nothing save the body's disappearance from the massively-sealed tomb (which would have stood a small siege); the failure of the Synagogue to account for the body; the account of it by the disciples; and, finally, the admissions of the Pharisees that all their prophets had become unexplainable if this was not their Messiah, yet that such a conclusion was to them impossible, because he was to have been their king, and a conquering king, and to have founded an empire extending through all nations and tongues; their stern and ever-growing disaffection to the Roman rule; the universal amazement, excitement, and anxiety arising from the circumstance that, while neither the Synagogue nor the soldiers could throw any light upon what had become of the body, the disciples of him who had predicted his own resurrection explained the event openly and fearlessly by stating that they had again and again met him since the previous feria prima; that they cared for no protection except his alone; that the dead was once more among them—living, and henceforth immortal—their Master and God; the ultimate Judge of this world, and the foretold Founder of an everlasting kingdom! Pilate added several strange and astounding particulars.

This, in a general way, is known; and it is likewise known that Tiberius Cæsar was so deeply impressed by the dispatch of the Jerusalem governor, arriving in his hands about the same moment, as we shall find in the next chapter, when a strange incident (narrated by Plutarch) took place, that he suddenly convened the senate in a formal indiction, and proposed to them to raise a temple to Christ, and to rank him solemnly among the gods of the empire! But not such nor of such acknowledgments was to be the kingdom of the "jealous" and the only God.

Aglais, Paulus, and Esther had assisted at a memorable pantomime. They had beheld the mounted soldier who rode with a memorable letter to the sea-coast; they had seen the vain effort of him who had offered the people a choice between Barabbas and "the desired of nations," to call the great of the earth into his perplexities, to quiet his awakened conscience, to turn aside from the dread warnings whispered to his soul, to lull—by futile means—an all too late remorse.


In our last chapter, Paulus and his Athenian mother had obtained, through Esther's recital of her waking dream or vision, one little glimpse at that prison, that place of detention, which she had termed (as she herself had heard it termed) "the dim, vast house," "the vast, dim city," and the "dim, vast kingdom."

The vague notion she could give[71] of that scene of immurement cannot be expected to prove interesting to so large a number, as Mr. Pickwick has cause to feel an interest in his glimpses of the "Fleet Prison," once famous in London. But such interest as the former house of detention commands is of a different kind, and those who may experience it are a different class. Plato (as a great critic observes) has been translated from age to age into some dozen great modern languages, in order that he might be read by about a score of persons in each generation. But that score are the little fountains of the large rivers that bear to the sea the business of the world. Few are directly taught by Kant, Sir William Hamilton, John Stuart Mill, Cousin, or Balmez; but the millions are taught and think through those whom they have taught to think. Between the good and evil originators or conservators of ideas, and the huge masses who do all their mental processes at third hand, stand the interpreters; and these listen with bent heads, while they hold trumpets which are heard at the extremities of the earth.

Paulus lingered in Jerusalem. Weeks flew by. Spring passed into summer; summer was passing into autumn; and still, from time to time, as, in the evenings, mother and son sat among the flowers on the flat roof, Esther would join them.

One night, she had hardly appeared, when Longinus the centurion followed her, bearing a letter for Paulus, which, he said, had just arrived at Fort Antonio, by the hands of an orderly, from the governor. The letter was from Dionysius of Athens, now l'un des quarante, a member of that great Areopagus of which the French Academy is partly a modern image; and it was written immediately after his return from a tour in Egypt, and a cruise through the Ægean Sea, among the famous and beautiful Greek Islands, to resume his duties as a teacher of philosophy and a professor of the higher literature at Athens.

Paulus, after a word with his mother and Esther, desired Longinus to favor them with his company. Sherbets and other refreshments were brought. They all sat down on the semicircular wicker settle at the corner of the roof, under the bower-like branches of the large rhododendron; a small lamp was held for Paulus by the Jewish serving-man, and Paulus read the letter aloud to that sympathetic group. Extracts we will give, in the substance, concerning two occurrences. The first, as the reader sees, the listening circle learned from Dionysius; but we have it in reality from Plutarch, upon whose narrative Eusebius and many other weighty authorities and grave historians have commented.

The captain and owner (for he was both) of the vessel in which Dion sailed back from Egypt to Athens was an Egyptian of the name of Thramnus (some call him Thamus). He said that a very weird thing had happened to him in his immediately previous trip, which had been from Greece to Italy. Dion was at the time at Heliopolis, in Egypt, with his friend, the celebrated philosopher Apollophanes, who, though (like Dion himself) only between twenty and thirty, had already (in this also resembling Dion) obtained an almost world-wide fame for eloquence, astronomical science, and general learning. When Thramnus had neared the Echinades Islands, the wind fell, a sudden calm came, and they had to drop anchor near Paxos. The night was sultry; every one was on deck. Suddenly, from the lonely shore, a loud, strange[72] voice hailed the captain: "Thramnus!" it cried. None answered. Again, louder than human, came the cry, "Thramnus!" Still none answered. For the third time, "Thramnus!" was thundered from the lonely coast. Then Thramnus himself called out: "Who hails? What is it?" Shrill and far louder than before was the voice in reply: "When you reach the Lagoon of Palus, announce then that the Great Pan is dead."

Thereupon, everything became silent, save the sluggish wash of the waves under the vessel's side. A sort of council was at once held on board; and first they took a note of the exact date and the hour. They found that it was exactly the ninth hour of the sixth jeria, or day, in the month of March, in the fourth year (according with Phlegon's corrected and checked astronomical chronology) of the two hundred and second Olympiad: in other words, this, being translated into modern reckoning, means, six in the afternoon of Friday, the 25th of March, in the thirty-third year of our Lord.

Dion breaks off in his letter here to remark: "You will learn presently what happened to me and to Apollophanes, and to the whole renowned city of Heliopolis, at the same hour exactly of that same day; and it is the coincidence between the two occurrences which has fixed them so deeply in my mind."

Well; he proceeds to say that Thramnus, having asked his passengers, who happened to be unusually numerous, whether they considered he ought to obey this mysterious mandate, and having suggested himself that, if, on their reaching Palus, or Pelodes, the wind held fair, they should not lose time by stopping, but if the wind were there to fail, and they were forced to halt at that place, then it might be no harm to pay attention to the injunction, and see what came of it, they were all unanimously of his opinion. Thereupon, as though by some design, in the midst of a calm the breeze sprang up freshly again, and they proceeded on their way. When they came to the indicated spot, all were again on deck, unable to forget the strange incident at Paxos; and, on a sudden, the wind fell, and they were becalmed.

Thramnus, accordingly, after a pause, leaned over the ship's side, and, as loudly as he could, shouted that the great Pan was dead. No sooner had the words been pronounced than all round the vessel were heard a world of sighs issuing from the deep and in the air, with groans, and moanings, and long, wild, bitter wailings innumerable, as though from vast unseen multitudes and a host of creatures plunged in dismay and despair. Those on board were stricken with amazement and terror. When they arrived in Rome, and were recounting the adventures of their voyage, this wild story sent its rumor far and near, and made such an impression that it reached the ears of Tiberius Cæsar, who was then in the capital. He sent for Thramnus and several of the passengers, as Plutarch records for us, particularly one, Epitherses, who afterward, at Athens, with his son Æmilianus, and the traveller Philip, used often to tell the story till his death. Tiberius, after ascertaining the facts, summoned all the learned men who chanced then to be in Rome, and requested their opinion.

Their opinion, which is extant, matters little. The holy fathers who have investigated this occurrence are divided in their views. It must be remembered that Plutarch relates another truly wonderful fact universal in its range, as being notoriously simultaneous with the singular local adventure[73] above described—the sudden silence of Delphi, and all the other famous pagan oracles, from the 8th day before the Kalends of April, in the 202d Olympiad, at six P.M. At that hour, on that day (March 25, Friday, Anno Domini 33), those oracles were stricken dumb, and nevermore returned answers to their votaries. Coupling these phenomena together, in presence of a thousand other portents, the holy fathers think, one party of them, that the enemy of man and of God, and that enemy's legions, were grieving and wailing, at the hour which Plutarch specifies (the time of evening, and on the very day, when our Lord died), at the redemption just then consummated; others, that the Almighty permitted nature "to sigh through all her works," in sympathy with the voluntary sufferings of her expiring Lord.

"Now, hearken," proceeded Dion in his letter, "to how I was occupied, hundreds of miles away, in Heliopolis, at the time, the very hour of the very day, when so wild and weird a response came from the powers of the air and the recesses of the deep to those who shouted forth, amid a calm on the silent breast of the Ægean Sea, that the great Pan ('the great All,' 'the universal Lord,' as you, my friends, are aware it means in Greek) had died!

"I had gone out, shortly before the sixth hour on this sixth day, to take a stroll in the tree-shaded suburbs of Heliopolis, with my friend Apollophanes. Suddenly, the sun, in a horrible manner, withdrew its light so effectually that we saw the stars. It was the time of the Hebrew Pasch, and the season of the month when the moon is at the full, and the period of an eclipse, or of the moon's apparent conjunction with the sun, was well known not to be then; independently of which, two unexampled and unnatural portents, contrary to the laws of the heavenly bodies, occurred: first, the moon entered the sun's disc from the east; secondly, when she had covered the disc and touched the opposite diameter, instead of passing onward, she receded, and resumed her former position in the sky. All the astronomers will tell you that these two facts, and also the time of the eclipse itself, are equally in positive deviation from the otherwise everlasting laws of the sidereal or planetary movements. I felt that either this universal frame was perishing or the Lord and Pilot of nature was himself suffering; and I turned to Apollophanes, and, 'O light of philosophy, glass of science!' I said, 'explain to me what this means.'

"Before answering me, he required that we should together apply the astronomical rule, or formula, of Philip Aridæus; after doing which with the utmost care, he said: 'These changes are supernatural; there is some stupendous revolution or catastrophe occurring in divine affairs, affecting the whole of the Supreme Being's creation.'

"You may be sure, my friends, that we both took a careful note of the hour, the day, the week, month, year; and I intend to inquire everywhere whether in other lands any similar phenomena have appeared; and what overwhelming, unexampled event can have taken place on this little planet of ours to bring the heavens themselves into confusion, and coerce all the powers of nature into so awful a manifestation of sympathy or of horror."

He ended by conveying to Aglais and Paulus the loving remembrance of the Lady Damarais.

Aglais and her son and Esther were spell-bound with amazement[74] when this letter had been read; and Paulus exclaimed:

"What will Dion say when he hears that we also saw this very darkness at the same moment; that the veil of the Temple here has been rent in twain; and that he who expired amid these and so many other portents, Esther, and in the full culmination of the prophecies, is again living, speaking, acting, the Conqueror of death, as he was the Lord of life?"

"Let us go to Athens; let us bring our friends, the Lady Damarais and our dear Dion, to learn and understand what we have ourselves been mercifully taught."

So spoke Aglais, offering at the same time to Esther a mother's protection and love along the journey. Paulus was silent, but gazed pleadingly at Esther.

It was agreed. But in the political dangers of that reign, Paulus, owing to his fame itself, had to take so many precautions that much time was unavoidably lost.

Meanwhile, he had again asked the Jewish maiden to become his wife. Need we say that this time his suit was successful? Paulus and Esther were married.

Christianity in the interim grew from month to month and from year to year, and our wanderers had but just arrived at last in Athens in time to hear, near the statue of "the unknown God," while Damarais, the friend of Aglais, and Dion, the friend of them all, stood near, a majestic stranger, a Roman citizen, him who had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the glorious Apostle of the Gentiles, who had been "faithful to the heavenly Vision," though he had not seen the Resurrection, explain to the Athenians "him whom they had ignorantly worshipped." And when the sublime messenger of glad tidings related the circumstances of the Passion, the scenes which had been enacted in Pilate's house (so well remembered by them), the next day's dread event, and when he touched upon the preternatural accompaniments of that final catastrophe, and described the darkness which had overspread the earth from the sixth hour of that day, Dionysius, turning pale, drew out the tablets which he carried habitually, examined the date of which, at Heliopolis, he and Apollophanes had jointly made note, and showed symptoms of an emotion such as he had never before experienced.

He and Damarais, as is well known, were among the converts of Saint Paul on that great occasion. How our other characters felt we need not describe.

Yielding to the entreaties of their beloved Dionysius, they actually loitered in Greece for a few years, during which Christianity had outstripped them and penetrated to Rome, where it was soon welcomed with fire and sword, and where "the blood of martyrs became the seed of Christians." Esther shuddered as she heard names dear to her in the murmured accounts of dreadful torments.

Resuming their westward course, how Paulus rejoiced that he had in time sold everything in Italy, and was armed with opulence in the midst of new and strange trials! They gave Italy a wide offing, and passing round by the south of Germany, with an armed escort which Thellus (who had also become a Christian, and had, while they were in Greece, sent for Prudentia) commanded, they never ceased their travels till they reached the banks of the Seine; and there, undiscernible to the vision of Roman tyranny in the distance, they obtained, by means of the treasures they[75] had brought, hundreds of stout Gaulish hands to do their bidding, and soon founded a peaceful home amid a happy colony. Hence they sent letters to Agatha and Paterculus.

Two arrivals from the realms of civilization waked into excitement the peaceful tenor of their days. Paulus himself, hearing of the death of Paterculus, ventured quickly back to Italy, in the horrible, short reign of Caligula, and fetched his sister Agatha, now a widow, to live with them. Later still, they were surprised to behold arrive among them one whom they had often mourned as lost to them for ever. It was Dionysius. He came to found Christianity in Gaul, and settled, amidst the friends of his youth, on the banks of the Seine. Often they reverted, with a clear light, to the favorite themes of their boyhood; and often the principal personages who throughout this story have, we hope, interested the reader, gathered around that same Dionysius (who is, indeed, the St. Denis of France), and listened, near the place where Notre Dame now towers, to the first Bishop of Paris, correcting the theories which he had propounded to the Areopagus of Athens as the last of the great Greek philosophers.[5]

One other arrival greeted, indeed, the expatriated but happy settlement. Longinus found his way among them; and as the proud ideas of a social system upon which they had turned their back no longer tyrannized over Aglais or Paulus, the brave man, biding his time and watching opportunities, found no insurmountable obstacles in obtaining a fair reward for twenty years and more of patient and unalterable love. He and Agatha were married.





To be able to form a correct judgment regarding the future of Europe, there are several points and theories which must be previously considered. First on the list comes—


"The key to the success of the Prussian arms in the contest with France is found in the decadence of the Latin and the virility of the German race. The Latin peoples are corrupt; their star is waning; their moral vigor is gone; while the German nations are still young and fresh. German culture, German ideas, German muscle and energy, are taking the place of the decrepit French civilization. The German victories are but the outward expression of this historical process. We are on the threshold of a new epoch in the history of civilization—of a new period which we can appropriately call the German era." Such is the theory which now possesses the German mind, and is expressed in the newspapers, pamphlets, on the railroads, and in the inns all through Germany, with great national self-complacency. Even many Sclavonians and Italians adopt this view. The conquest of the Latin by the Germanic races; the downfall of the former; the world-wide sovereignty of the latter—these are high-sounding phrases which have a dramatic effect and are popular in Germany. But do they express a truth? Are they philosophically and historically correct in view of the actual condition of political and social life? In the first place, what and where are the Latin races about which we have been hearing so much during the past ten years? The southern inhabitants of the Italian peninsula can lay no claim to Latin origin; for it is well known that they were anciently Greek colonies, which have since intermarried with Romans, Spaniards, and Normans. The Lombards of the north of Italy are mostly of Celtic and not of Latin origin, since they inhabit the ancient Gallia Cisalpina. The old Iberians of Spain were not Latins; and they are now mixed with Gothic, Moorish, Celtic, and Basque blood. As for France, its very name imports that the Latins gave a very small contingent towards forming a nation which is certainly of Celtic and German origin, and many of whose provinces are purely of German race, as Alsace and Lorraine. Where, then, shall we find the Latin races?

There are none properly so-called. Looking at the origin of languages, we may, indeed, speak of Latin, or, rather, of Roman nations. In this regard, we may class the Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and French together, on account of the Roman element prevailing in their tongues, in opposition to the Scalavonic-German, the Celtic-Anglo-Saxon-Danish-Norman forming the world-wide English, the Scandinavian, and the pure Sclavonic families. Does this[77] theory mean that nations of the same tongue should all be politically and socially united, flourish for a period, and then perish together? Understood in this way, the race theory would have few defenders. It may be true that nations, like individuals, must live a definite period—rise, flourish, and decay. It is true, historically, that every nation has an era of prosperity and an era of decadence. But when we come to the question of universal sovereignty, we may ask, When did the Roman nations ever exercise it? Each of them has had its golden age of literature, art, science, and material prosperity; but none of them has had, for any length of time, the sovereignty of Europe. Not Italy, for instance, unless we go back to the days of old Rome, and then we have not an Italian but a specifically Roman supremacy. Not Spain, for although she exercised great power beyond the ocean, and for a time possessed a preponderating influence in Europe, from the reign of Charles V. to the first successor of Philip II., yet who could call the accidental union of so many crowns on the head of a Hapsburg prince a universal sovereignty for Spain? Lastly, France had her age of glory during the reign of Louis XIV., whose influence, or that of the Napoleonic era, cannot be denied. Yet what gaps separate the reign of the great King from that of the great Emperor! Great as was France under Louis XIV. and Bonaparte, she fell to the second rank of nations during the Restoration and under the July dynasty. As leader in the Revolutionary movement, she has always controlled Europe, even in her periods of political weakness, from the days of the encyclopædists to the present time. Even Germany acknowledges the sway of French literature, politeness, and taste. Victorious Berlin copies the fashions and manners of conquered France, as ancient Rome, after conquering Athens, became the slave of Athenian civilization.

Germany, too, must have already passed the period of her maturity, according to the race theory; for, under the Saxon Othos, under the Hohenstaufens, and Charles V., until the Thirty Years' War broke the strength of the empire, she was superior even to France. Does not German genius in its peculiar walks rule the world now? German science, German music? Does not England, usually considered as belonging to the German race, rule the commerce of the world? And was not her political influence on the Continent until recently all-powerful?

No! political sovereignty can be explained by no race theory. From the fall of the first Napoleon until 1848, England with the powers of the "Holy Alliance," or rather with Austria and Russia, held the first place in European politics. From the beginning of 1848 until the Crimean war, England and Russia were in the foreground; after that war it was France and England; now it is Prussia. These are but examples of the political fluctuations which follow each other in continual change, and are seldom of long duration.

And do not the champions of the German race theory see that there is a laughing heir behind them in the Sclavonic supremacy? Once admitting the race theory, we must confess that the Panslavist argues well when he says: "The Roman nations are dead; the German are on the point of dying. They once conquered the world; their present effort is the last flicker of the expiring light which points out the road to us. After them comes our race, with fresh vigor[78] on the world's scene. Europe's future is Panslavism."

The whole theory is radically false. There are no more primitive races to take the place of the old ones. The Germans are as old as the Romans; or, rather, the Romans were simply Germans civilized before their brethren. Russia alone is young in Europe, but she has nothing new to give us; and physical force, without a new social or moral system accompanying it to establish a conquest, never prevails long. We cannot, therefore, judge of Europe's future by this theory of races.

The power of regeneration must be sought for elsewhere.


One would have thought that the sanguinary war of 1870 should have dispelled the illusions of liberalism for ever. By liberalism, we mean that party which believes in the principles of 1789, whose ideal is to have the middle classes, or bourgeoisie, the ruling power, to have society equally divided, to have an atheistical state, and to obtain eternal peace through unlimited material progress, which would identify the interests of nations. Liberalism, rationalism, and materialism are different names for the same system. A state without God, sovereignty of capital, dissolution of society into individuals, united by no other bond than the force of a liberal parliament majority under the control of wealth; material prosperity of the middle classes, founded on gain and pleasure, with the removal of all historical traditions, all ecclesiastical precepts—such is the dream of this "shopkeepers' system." Has not the present war dispelled the dream of happiness arising from mere material prosperity? We doubt it. Notwithstanding the many hard lessons which the liberal school has received since the days of Mirabeau and the Girondins, from the lawyers of the July dynasty to Ollivier, it never seems to grow wiser. It is superficial, never looks into the essence of things. It is in vain to charge the present misfortunes of two great nations on the illiberalism of Napoleon and Bismarck, and thus exalt the merits of liberalism; for liberalism or mere material prosperity was at the bottom of all their plans. From 1789 to 1870, France, with few exceptions, was governed by liberalism; and the revolutions begat the natural consequences of this system in anarchy and military despotism. France during this period has made the most wonderful material progress.

We read lately in a liberal journal that the only remedy for the rejuvenation of states was "the inviolability of the individual, and respect for the popular will." Always the same emptiness of phraseology with these impracticable dabblers in philosophy. What will you do if the infallible "popular will" refuses to recognize the inviolability of individuals? Cannot these gentlemen see that their system merely opens the door for socialism? They take away religion, and teach the epicurean theory of enjoyment; they destroy constitutional forms of government, and base authority on the ever-shifting popular whim. Socialism comes after them, and says, "You say there is no God, and I must have pleasure. I have counted myself, and find that I am the majority; therefore, I make a law against capital and property. You must be satisfied, for you are my teacher, and I merely follow out your principles to their logical consequences."



A new era is dawning. Not a mere political period, but a complete social change, for the actual order of things is disorder, a compound of injustice and abuses. We must have fraternity and equality. Away with the nobles; away with the wealthy classes; away with property; all things must be in common. The happiness of Europe will never be realized until socialism reigns supreme. Such is the socialistic theory. But does not every one see that its realization is impossible, and brings us back to barbarism? The right of property is essential to society. It is contrary to nature to expect that mankind will give up this right to please a whim of drones—a system according to which the lazy and indolent would have as much right to property as the industrious and hard-working. If all is to be common property, who will work, who will strive to acquire, whose ambition will be aroused, whose interest excited for the attainment of something in which he will have no right or title? And in fact, both liberals and socialists use words which they do not mean; they are far more despotic when they get power than those whom they are continually attacking. At the Berne Congress of 1868, a socialist orator said: "We cannot admit that each man shall choose his own faith; man has not the right to choose error; liberty of conscience is our weapon, but not one of our principles!" By error he meant Christianity. In fact, ultra-radicalism is simply ultra-despotism. Men blamed the despotism of Napoleon III.; but look at the despotism of Gambetta, and remember the despotism of Robespierre and the "Reign of Terror." Destroy religion, and you have nothing left but egotism. Man becomes to his brother-man either a wolf or a fox.

Socialism may indeed have its day in Europe's future. The logic of liberalism leads to it; but it will be a fearful day of disorder and revolution; a sad day for the wealthier classes; but still only a day. Earthquakes are possible, and sometimes they engulf cities; but they pass away, and quiet returns. New vegetation springs up on the ruins. If socialism ever gains Europe, it will vanish in virtue of the reductio ad absurdum; therefore its mastery can never be permanent.


Since neither the race theory, nor liberalism, nor socialism, can enable us to solve the problem of Europe's future, let us pass to other considerations, glance rapidly over the past, study the present external and internal condition of the continent, in order to be able to form a judgment on the subject which we are discussing.

The French Revolution of 1789 had its effects all over Europe. In France since that date, liberalism, anarchy, and Byzantinism have held alternate sway. The Bonaparte invasions carried through the rest of Europe the liberal principle of secularization with the Code Napoléon. The writings of the philosophers and encyclopædists, and Josephism, had prepared the way. The reaction of 1815 was based on Masonic theories of philanthropism and religious indifferentism. The Emperor Alexander and the Holy Alliance were infected with these views. The revolutionary movement[80] in Germany, Italy, and Spain has since been simply against office-holders and the police. The influence of religion has been ignored. Palmerston was the coryphæus of the liberals, and during his time English diplomacy played into the hands of all the irreligious and revolutionary elements in Europe. This unprincipled system was finally represented by Napoleon III., in whose diplomacy the theory of "non-intervention," of "nationalities," of "sovereignty of the people," were put forward as the types of the perfection of modern society. In point of fact, they are mere words used as a cloak to cover up Macchiavellism.

The "balance of power" theory, of purely material import, ruled in 1815, but it soon gave way before the influences of the "liberal" doctrines of humanitarianism and the race system. Religious convictions and Christian institutions were ignored in politics, and a system of police substituted in their place. Greece received its king in consequence of this system which has prevailed in the external relations of Europe since 1830. In 1848, the revolutions and insurrections in Europe were merely premature appearances of the socialistic element in liberalism. Napoleon III., by his Macchiavellian policy, which Guizot has happily termed "moderation in evil-doing," coerced them. He gave all the sanction of French power to the principles of the liberal school which he was supposed to represent. On the principle of "non-intervention," he prevented the interference of Austria and Spain in favor of the Holy See. He protected the seizure of Naples and Sicily; approved the invasion of the Papal States, and substituted, in the place of dynastic right and popular right, the colossal delusion of the plébiscite. On the nationality theory, he allowed Austrian power to be destroyed, and founded, in opposition to all French interests, Italian and German unity.

Although very defective since it ignored the full claims of religion, still there was a fixed public law in Europe from 1815 to 1859. Respect for the minor powers; the sentiment of the solidarity of thrones against the efforts of Carbonarism and the cosmopolitan revolutionary party; and regard for treaties, characterize that period. The traditions of the people were respected; and treaties repressed avarice or ambition; and there was real peace in Europe—the peace of order, according to the beautiful expression of St. Augustine. It is true, far-seeing minds saw the threatening cloud on the horizon of the future, and knew that the system of 1815 did not rest on the right foundations. Still, even mere external forms are a protection.

But since 1859 law or treaties no longer seem to bind. There seems to be nothing fixed in the public law of Europe. All is whim; might instead of right, sentiment instead of principle. Powers can no longer unite, for they cannot trust each other. Instead of all being united to protect the individual state, now all are hostile to each other. Italy insists on unification in spite of law and right, and to gain her purpose depends to-day on Prussia; yesterday, it was on France. She hates Austria, and Austria acts as if she did not perceive the hatred, and will not interfere lest she might offend the liberals. Vienna is in dread of Berlin and St. Petersburg; St. Petersburg is in dread of Berlin. England looks jealously at Russia, who, meanwhile, is arming in grim silence, and with occasional manifestations of her old predilections. France counts now for nothing. Prussia, which fifteen years[81] ago was allowed merely by the favor of Austria to sit in the congress of the great powers, is now the only great military power in Europe. We say military, for it is not the real, the hidden power. As in the Greek mythology grim, inexorable fate ruled above all the gods, so the head lodge of the secret societies makes of the Prussian leaders its blind tools; Italy obeys it; Napoleon was its slave; Austria, its sacrifice; and now Prussia also must bend the knee. Such is Europe ten years after the Franco-Austrian war: the Europe of Metternich, Nesselrode, and Wellington.


The revolution has changed the internal policy of states as well as their external relations. Forty years ago, Donoso Cortes remarked that England was endeavoring to introduce its constitution into the Continent; and that the Continent would try to introduce its different governmental systems into England. We are now witnesses of the truth of this observation. Democratic ideas are gaining ground in Great Britain; and bureaucracy, with its centralizing tendencies, is replacing the English theory of self-government. Military conscriptions, along with universal suffrage, will come next. Owing to the extension of the franchise, the House of Commons is losing its aristocratic character, and the House of Lords its influence. England will go the way of France.

We see what the liberal system begotten of the revolution has caused in France. An enervated, un-self-reliant, disunited generation, without traditions, organization, consistency, faith, or true patriotism, is its result. The decrees of the Code Napoléon concerning inheritances have broken up families; the departmental system has destroyed the provincial peculiarities in which lies the people's strength; the system of common lodging-houses for the laboring classes has destroyed respect for authority, and afforded ready material for the purposes of despotism or secret societies.

In Italy and Spain, we see the same spectacle. The French, led into Italy by the first Napoleon, brought thither the principle of centralization and a revolutionary code. After Napoleon's downfall, the restored princes allowed too much of his system to remain. This arose from a want of judgment. The ancient municipalities were destroyed, even to some extent in the States of the Church; Piedmont receiving most of the poison, and thus becoming the hearth of the revolution. Constitutionalism, anarchy, and military governments in Spain prove the working of revolutionary doctrines. The old freedom of that Catholic country, the growth of centuries, gives way before a nominal liberty, but a real despotism.

In Germany, too, centralization carries the day. This country had the good fortune to be composed of several independent states, without any great central power, and the provincial spirit consequently remained strong. But now two un-German words, "unification" and "uniformity," expressing un-German tendencies, are carrying the Germans into despotism. Germany will be Prussianized, and Prussia Germanized, say the unificators; but all will, in the end, be compelled to give way before the republicans and socialists. The high schools of Germany are all infected with the revolutionary doctrines and Masonic ideas.

What shall we say of Austria?[82] Thanks to "liberalism," it has disappeared, and is now a dualism in its government and tri-parliamentary in its system.

The licentiousness of the press helps to destroy everything stable in governments. Journals without principle, honor, or religion, filled with scandals, edited by adventurers, whose only object is to make money and serve faithfully their owners, issue their thousands of copies daily to corrupt the public mind. Evil spreads more rapidly than good, and consequently the influence of the religious press is weak compared to that of the revolutionary papers, subsidized by the agents of secret societies or by the unprincipled men of wealth, who readily purchase the aid of corrupted minds to help on their ambition.


Governments have therefore ceased to be Christian, and have become "liberal," that is, infidel. According to liberalism, religion is the private affair of each individual. Civil society should recognize no dogma, no worship, no God. We know well that this principle, from its very intrinsic absurdity, cannot be practically carried out. For instance, God will be recognized when it is necessary to swear fidelity to a constitution, and the external forms of religion will be invoked at the opening of a new railroad or a session of parliament. But in principle the liberal state ignores all positive religious belief. Its only dogma is that a law passed by a majority of voters remains a law until the next majority abrogates it. This system is called "separation of church and state," or "a free church in a free state." Then follow broken concordats—in France and Bavaria, broken by organic articles; in Baden, Piedmont, Austria, and Spain, destroyed by the will of the prince and cabinet ministers. Then follows a usurped educational system, in which the rights of the family and church are disregarded. In all of these states, more or less, there is a public persecution of the church; a repression of her rights; enthrallment of her ministers; invasion of her privileges. God is in heaven, consequently the church should confine herself to the sanctuary; that is to say, God does not trouble himself about the conduct of nations, politics, legislation, or science. These are all neutral affairs, over which his authority does not extend, and therefore the church has nothing to do with public life. So say the liberals. They take from God and give it to Cæsar, the modern civil divinity, all that is his, except one thing which it is impossible for them to take from him, and that is conscience. They endeavor to estrange conscience from God more and more by education, by the press, and by public opinion manufactured by the leaders of the secret societies. Hence all the talk about "liberty of conscience." For the same end, they talk of toleration, but they mean simply indifference, which hence becomes the shibboleth of the party which the church unceasingly opposes.

This is, in a few words, the actual condition of the church in European society. It is an unnatural condition. Even Macchiavelli says: "Princes and republics which would remain sound must, before all things, guard the ceremonies of religion and keep them ever in honor. Therefore, there is no surer sign of the decay of a state than when it sees the worship of[83] the Most High disregarded." Macchiavelli spoke from the lessons of experience and as a mere utilitarian. Our modern utilitarian politicians have not his capacity or penetration. They are mere superficial observers of fact, and cannot see that the summum utile is the summum jus. This fault lies in ignoring the assistance of the supernatural order—in their erroneous opinion that there is no absolute truth. The church is not a hospital for diseased souls; Christianity is not a mere specific for individual maladies; but as our Lord has taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come ... on earth as it is in heaven," so must revealed truth pervade the earth; percolate through civil society, not merely in its individual members, but in all its natural relations, family, municipal, and state. This is what the church has taught Europe, and only by conforming with this teaching can Europe stand. Since Christianity came into the world, the Christian state is the normal condition of political governments, and not an ideal impossible of realization. Undoubtedly, human weakness will always cause many aberrations from the rule. But the question is not regarding this point, but as to the recognition of the rule. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the most grievous of all sins. Our Lord, always so mild and forbearing toward human passions, is unflinchingly stern against malicious resistance to truth, and this has been precisely the great evil of our time ever since 1789. In the early ages, individuals and nations fell into many errors, but they never touched the sacred principles of religion. Liberalism and Freemasonry have caused the denial of truth itself.

"Must we, then, fall back into the darkness of the middle ages?" Such a question, while it shows little knowledge of the middle ages, exhibits likewise a spirit of unfairness in discussion. For our purpose, it suffices to show the latter. What would we think of a man who, on being told that our faith should be childlike, should say to the priest, "Must I, then, become a child again?" Plainly, we would say to him: Good friend, you talk nonsense; for you know well that you cannot get again your infant body, nor blot out the knowledge and experience acquired in a life of thirty years. But was not the sun the same four years ago as it is now? Do not two and two make four now as long ago? Did you not eat and drink when you were a child as you do now? Some things are always true in all places and times; and therefore we do not want to bring you back into the middle ages merely because we want to give the church that position which God has assigned to her.

"Then you want to saddle a theocracy on the back of the nineteenth century?" Let us understand each other. In a certain sense, a theocracy must be the aim of every rational being. God has appointed two orders to govern men: they are church and state, neither of which must absorb the other. Theocracy is not a government of priests, as those imagine who have before their eyes the Hindoo civil systems. Let us for a moment forget these catchwords, "middle ages" and "theocracy," and go to the marrow of the subject.

The church is the guide of consciences; not the arbitrary teacher of men, but the interpreter of revelation for them. St. Thomas likens the office of the Vicar of Christ to that of the flag-ship of a fleet, which the other vessels, that is, the secular governments must follow on the open sea in order to reach the common haven of safety. Each vessel has its own sails[84] moves in its own way, and is managed by its own mariners. The church never interferes in the appropriate sphere of the secular power. But she warns; she advises; she corrects all civil authority when it deviates from the truth and opposes the revealed order. Her authority over the state is not direct, but indirect; she teaches, but she cannot coerce; she must teach, for political and social questions necessarily have relations with dogmatic and moral subjects. The church must condemn wrongs, no matter by whom perpetrated, whether by states or individuals. This is all the theocratic power the church claims. A Christian state will respectfully hear her warning voice, and thus avoid the danger; while a pagan state shuts its ears, despises the church's admonitions, and plunges into the abyss.

Modern paganism in civil governments has brought Europe into her present miserable condition. Can she get out of it, or is European society hopelessly lost?


The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 is one of the most important events in the history of Europe. The prostration of France is no indication that she will never rise again, for in 1807 Prussia was in a worse condition than France is now. In 1815, and until the past few years, Prussia was last in the list of the great powers, though now she is the first. France, then, in a few years may rise again to her full power. There are no more fresh, uncivilized races to come into Europe to take the place of those which are now said to be decaying. We have shown that liberalism has reached its acme, been found wanting, and is dying. Its efforts in Italy, Spain, Germany, Vienna, and Pesth are but the last convulsions of an expiring system. The natural child of liberalism—socialism—must also disappear before the common sense of mankind. What remains? Will there be in Europe the alternate anarchy and despotism of the Central American republics without any end? Must we despair of Europe's future? No, a thousand times no! We look to the future with hope and consolation.

Common sense and religion will win the day; Christianity has still the regenerating power which she showed in civilizing the barbarians. Christianity has been the principle of national life since the Redeemer established it as a world religion. The spiritual life must be renovated by truth and morality. Christianity is both. We Christians hope, therefore, for the conversion of the popular mind; we begin even now to perceive signs of regeneration, renovation, renewed energy, and vigor in mental convictions and civic virtues.

God's punishments are proofs of his mercy. He chastises to convert. The first punishment of France, in 1789, was not enough to teach her to repent. Louis XVIII. came to the throne a free-thinker instead of a Christian. The prostrate armies of Metz and Sedan are the result of corrupting and enervating infidelity. God chastises ambition and pride in nations as well as in individuals. The Republic has shown itself incapable, because it possessed neither honor, principle, nor religion. The victories of Prussia are a blessing of God for France. The Prussian army is but the instrument which God has used to punish a culprit nation—a revolutionary, irreligious, and frivolous system of government. Victorious Germany,[85] too, will be taught to reflect when it sees the blood of its thousands of slaughtered sons, and the miseries which the war has entailed on its once happy families. Wars teach unruly nations to reflect. Will the present war suffice to humble Europe, and cause her to reflect? We know not; but God will send other chastisements if this one avails nothing. Dark clouds are already rising in the East, which may soon burst over Austria and Germany. The rod of God's anger will be felt by Austria again, for her lessons of 1859 and 1866 have been forgotten. They have only made her throw herself more fondly into the arms of the devil. In Italy, the secret societies will yet avenge on the house of Savoy the blood of the defenders of the Vicar of Christ.

But the German empire has been re-established under a Prussian emperor. Yes, but this is only an episode in the actual crisis of the world. A Protestant emperor of Germany is entirely different from a German emperor. The old German emperors represented the idea of the Christian monarchy; the Protestant emperor in Berlin represents modern Cæsarism. His empire cannot last long, for history tells us that empires of sudden and accidental growth lose rapidly the power which they as rapidly acquired. But is not Prussia's triumph the triumph of Protestantism in Europe? Such a question is easily answered: Protestantism as a positive religion no longer exists in Prussia or elsewhere; and Protestantism as a negation exists everywhere, perhaps more in some Catholic lands than in Prussia. On the battle-fields of Wörth and Gravelotte, the Catholic Church was not represented by France, and Lutheranism by Prussia. Catholic Bavarians, Westphalians, and Rhinelanders fought for Prussia, and would be astounded to hear that they were fighting for heresy. Priests and Sisters of Charity accompanied them to battle. Who, on the other hand, would call the Turcos Catholics? Or the French officers, who never heard Mass, and who curtailed the number of Catholic chaplains to the minimum? Were the French soldiers, who drilled on Sundays instead of going to church, on whose barracks, in some cases, was written, "No admission for policemen, dogs, or priests"—were they the Catholic champions? No; the Christian soldier in France first appeared, in this war, with Charette and Cathelineau in the Loire army, demoralized and destroyed, however, by the mad-cap radical, Gambetta, and his infidel associates. In fact, the Prussian army was more Catholic than the French. The latter must be won back to religion from the enervating influences of Freemasonry and Voltairianism before it can regain its prestige. The only hope for France is in her zealous clergy, in the vigor of the old Catholic provinces, and in her humiliations, which ought to bring repentance.

The rustling of Catholic renovation is heard all over Europe. The rising generation will bring Italy back to the church. The spirit of the Tyrol and of Westphalia is spreading through Germany. The Ultramontanes in Saxony, Bohemia, Steyermark, show the energy of this renovation. The peasantry of Austria and of a large portion of Germany are still uncorrupted. Hungary is steadfast in the faith. The seizure of Rome by the Sardinian robbers has roused the Catholic heart of the world and helped on the cause of regeneration. Where the Catholic faith was supposed to be crushed, lo! it has raised its head defiantly.

The deceived nations want peace,[86] freedom, order, and authority. These blessings infidelity and liberalism have taken away. The people are beginning to see that the old yet ever young Apostolic Church alone can guarantee them. They will turn to Rome, where lives the Vicar of Him who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life;" to Rome freed again from the barbarians; to Rome become Roman again when it has ceased to be Sardinian; to Rome will the people look for peace and order. It is Rome that tells men that Christ is Lord of the world; that he conquers; that he governs. The social dominion of Christ will again be established. We shall see again Christian states founded on Christian principles and traditions, with Christian laws and rulers. Whether these rulers will be kings or presidents we know not; but they will in either case consider themselves as mere delegates of Jesus Christ, and of his people, not as Byzantine despots or representatives of mob tyranny. They will understand that statesmanship does not consist in giving license to the wicked[6] and forging chains for the good. We shall have Christian schools, Christian universities, Christian statesmen. Ye liberals in name, well may ye grow pale! The future of the world belongs to the principles of the Syllabus, and this future is not far off. We conclude with the words of Count de Maistre: "In the year 1789, the rights of man were proclaimed; in the year 1889, man will proclaim the rights of God!"


We hope the day may come before many years when historians will see in the records of the struggles, misfortunes, and triumphs of the church a theme for the employment of brilliant pens as tempting as they now find in the clash of armies and the intrigues of statesmen. Scholars have devoted to our records the patient investigation of years; the general history of the church has been summarized for popular reading in most of the principal modern languages; and for the use of theologians and students there are elaborate and costly collections. Individual biographies of saints and preachers innumerable have been written for the edification of the devout. Sketches of local church history, more or less complete, have occasionally appeared—sketches, for instance, like The Catholic Church in the United States, by De Courcy and Shea; Shea's History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian tribes of America, and Bishop Bayley's little volume on the history of the church in New York. But a work of a different kind, broader in its design than some of these excellent and useful publications, more limited in scope than the dry and [87]costly general histories, still awaits the hand of a polished and enthusiastic man of letters. Why should not the same eloquence and learning be devoted to the religious history of the great countries of the globe that Macaulay, and Motley, and Froude have expended upon the political revolutions of states and the intricate dramas of diplomacy? Why should not some glowing pen do for the pioneers of the cross what Prescott did for the pioneers of Spanish conquest in the new hemisphere? Properly told, the church history of almost any country of the world, of almost any period in Christian times, would be a narrative not only of religious significance, but of thrilling interest. No men ever passed through more extraordinary adventures, considered even from a human point of view, than the missionaries who penetrated into unknown lands or first went among unbelieving nations. No contest between hostile kingdoms or rival dynasties ever offered a more tempting theme for dramatic narrative and glowing description than the contest which has raged for eighteen centuries and a half, between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, in all the different quarters of the civilized world. Think what a brilliant writer might make of such a subject as the church history of Germany! Think what has yet to be done for the churches of England and Ireland and France, when the coming historian rescues their chronicles from the dusty archives of state and the gloom of monastic libraries, and causes the old stories to glow with a new light, such as Gibbon threw upon the records of the declining empire!

We doubt not the literary alchemist will come in time, and melt down the dull metals in his crucible, and pour out from it the shining compound which shall possess a popular value a hundredfold beyond that of the untransmuted materials. Nowhere, perhaps, will the labor be more amply repaid than in America. Nowhere will the collection of materials be less arduous and the result more brilliant. Our church history begins just when that of Europe is most perplexing, and to an investigator with time, patience, and a moderate revenue at his command, it offers no appalling difficulties. In a great part of America, the introduction of the Catholic religion is an event within the memory of men still living. The pioneers of many of the states are still at work. The first missionaries of some of the most important sees are but just passing to their reward. There are no monumental slanders upon our history to be removed; no Protestant writers have seriously encumbered the field with misrepresentations. Industrious students of our own faith have already prepared the way; scattered chapters have been written with more or less literary skill; the store-houses of information have been discovered and partly explored; and every year the facilities for the historian are multiplied. And certainly the theme is rich in romantic interest and variety. From the time of the monks and friars who came over with the first discoverers of the country down to the present year of our Lord, when missionaries are perilling their lives among the Indians of the great West, and priests are fighting for the faith against the cultivated Protestants of the Atlantic cities, the Catholic history of the United States has been a series of bold adventures, startling incidents, and contests of the most dramatic character. In the whole story there is not a really dull chapter. The Catholic annals of America abound also with that variety which the historian needs to render[88] his pages really attractive; and among the great men who would naturally be the central figures of such a work, there is the widest difference of character, the most picturesque divergence of pursuits and personal peculiarities. Group together the most distinguished of the Christian heroes who have illustrated our chronicles, and you have what an artist might call a wonderfully rich variety of coloring. There are the simple-minded, enthusiastic Spanish Franciscans, following the armies of Cortez and Pizarro, and exploring the strange realms of the Aztecs and the Incas. There is the French Jesuit, building up his Christian empire among the Indians of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. There is the gentle Marquette, floating in his bark canoe down the mighty river with whose discovery his name will ever be associated, and breathing his last in the midst of the primeval wilderness. There are Jogues and Brebœuf, suffering unheard-of torments among the Iroquois; Cheverus, the polished and fascinating cardinal, winning the affection of the New England Puritans; England, conciliating the Huguenots and Anglicans of the South. The saintly Bruté, most amiable of scholars, most devout of savans, is a quaint but beautiful character around whom cluster some of our most touching associations. Bishop Dubois, the "Little Bonaparte" of the Mountain; Gallitzin, the Russian prince who hid the lustre of his rank among the log-cabins of the Alleghanies; Hughes, the great fighting archbishop, swinging his battle-axe over the heads of the parsons; De Smet, the mild-mannered but indomitable missionary of the Rocky Mountains—these are specimens of our leaders whose place in history has yet to be described by the true literary artist. Several have been made the subject of special biographies, but none have yet appeared in their true light as the central figures of an American church history.

The book which suggests these remarks is a contribution of materials for the future historian, and as such we give it a cordial welcome. Mr. Deuther, it is true, is not a practised writer, and is not entirely at his ease in the use of our language. But he has shown great industry in the collection of facts, and has rescued from oblivion many interesting particulars of the early career of Bishop Timon in a part of the United States whose missionary history is very imperfectly known. Thus he has rendered an important service to Catholic literature, and earned full forgiveness for the literary offences which impair the value of his book as a biography. The episcopacy of the estimable man whose life is here told was not an especially eventful one, and except in one instance attracted comparatively little public notice. The most conspicuous men, however, are not always the most useful. Bishop Timon had a great work to perform in the organization and settlement of his new diocese, and he did it none the less efficiently because he labored quietly. The best known incident of his official life—the lamentable contest with the trustees of the Church of St. Louis in Buffalo—is not one which Catholics can take any satisfaction in recalling; but it had a serious bearing upon the future of the American Church, and its lessons even now may be reviewed with profit. Bishop Kenrick in Philadelphia, Bishop Hughes in New York, and Bishop Timon in Buffalo have between them the honor, if not of destroying a system which had done the church incalculable injury, at least of extracting its evil principle. Mr. Deuther gives the history of this[89] warfare at considerable length, and with an affluence of documents which, though not very entertaining to read, will be found convenient some time or another for reference. We presume that most people will be interested rather in the earlier chapters of the biography, and to these we shall consequently give our principal attention.

John Timon was of American birth but Irish parentage. His father, James, emigrated from the county Cavan in the latter part of 1796 or the beginning of 1797, and settled at Conewago,[8] in Adams County, Pennsylvania, where, in a rude log-house, the subject of this biography was born on the 12th of February, 1797, the second of a family of ten children. The father and mother seem to have been remarkably devout people, and from an anecdote related by Mr. Deuther we can fancy that the lavish beneficence which characterized the bishop was an hereditary virtue in the family. Mr. James Timon called, one day, upon a priest whom he had known in Ireland, and, taking it for granted that the reverend gentleman must be in want of money, he slipped into his hand at parting a $100 bill, and hurried away. The priest, supposing Mr. Timon had made a mistake, ran after him, and overtook him in the street. "My dear friend," said the generous Irishman, "it was no mistake. I intended it for you." "But," said the clergyman, "I assure you I am not in want; I do not need it." "Never mind; there are many who do. If you have no use for the money yourself, give it to the poor." The Timon family removed to Baltimore in 1802, and there John received his school education, such as it was. As soon as he was old enough, he became a clerk in a dry-goods shop kept by his father; and Mr. Deuther prints a very foolish story to the effect that he was so much liked by everybody that by the time he was nineteen "he had become a toast for all aged mothers with marriageable daughters," and had refused "many eligible and grand offers of marriage," which we take the liberty of doubting. From Baltimore the family removed, in 1818, to Louisville, and thence in the following spring to St. Louis. Here prosperity at last rewarded Mr. Timon's industry, and he accumulated a considerable fortune, only to lose it, however, in the commercial crisis of 1823. In the midst of these pecuniary misfortunes, John Timon suffered a still heavier loss in the death of a young lady to whom he was engaged to be married. Mr. Deuther's apology for mentioning this incident—which he strangely characterizes as an "undeveloped frivolity" in the life of a bishop of the church—is entirely superfluous; he would have been a faithless biographer if he had not mentioned it. We may look upon it as a manifestation of the kindness of divine Providence, which called the young man to a higher and more useful life, and designed first to break off his attachment to all the things of this world. He heard and obeyed the call, and, in the month of April, 1823, became a student of the Lazarists at their preparatory seminary of St. Mary's of the Barrens, in Perry County, Missouri, about eighty miles below St. Louis.

The Lazarists, or Priests of the Mission, had been introduced into the United States only six years before, and their institutions, founded, with great difficulty, in the midst of a poor and scattered population, were still struggling with debt and discouragement. The little establishment at the Barrens[90] was for many years in a pitiable condition of destitution. When Mr. Timon entered as a candidate not only for the priesthood, but for admission to the congregation, it was governed by the Rev. Joseph Rosati, who became, a year later, the first Bishop of St. Louis. The buildings consisted of a few log-houses. The largest of them, a one-story cabin, contained in one corner the theological department, in another the schools of philosophy and general literature, in a third the tailor's shop, and in the fourth the shoemaker's. The refectory was a detached log-house; and, in very bad weather, the seminarians often went to bed supperless rather than make the journey thither in search of their very scanty fare. It was no uncommon thing for them, of a winter's morning, to rise from their mattresses, spread upon the floor, and find over their blankets a covering of snow which had drifted through the crevices of the logs. The system upon which the seminary was supported was the same that prevails at Mount St. Mary's. For three hours in the day the students of divinity were expected to teach in the secular college connected with the seminary, and for out-of-door exercise they cut fuel and worked on the farm. Mr. Timon, in spite of these labors, made such rapid progress in his studies that, in 1824, he was ordained sub-deacon, and began to accompany his superiors occasionally in their missionary excursions.

They lived in the midst of spiritual destitution. The French pioneers of the Western country had planted the faith at St. Louis and some other prominent points, but they had left few or no traces in the vast tracts of territory surrounding the earlier settlements, and to most of the country people the Roman Catholic Church was no better than a sort of aggravated pagan imposture. Protestant preachers used to show themselves at the very doors of the churches and challenge the priests to come out and be confuted. Wherever the Lazarists travelled, they were looked at with the most intense curiosity. Very few of the settlers had ever seen a priest before. The Catholics, scattered here and there, had generally been deprived, for years, of Mass and the sacraments, and their children were growing up utterly ignorant of religion. Mr. Timon was accustomed to make a regular missionary circuit of fifteen or twenty miles around the Barrens in company with Father Odin, afterward Archbishop of New Orleans. The duty of the sub-deacon was to preach, catechise, and instruct. Sometimes they had no other shelter than the woods, and no other food than wild berries. At a settlement called Apple Creek, they made a chapel out of a large pig-pen, cleaning it out with their own hands, building an altar, and so decorating the poor little place with fresh boughs that it became the wonder of the neighborhood. In 1824, Messrs. Odin and Timon made a long missionary tour on horseback. Mr. Deuther says they went to "New Madrid, Texas," and thence as far as "the Port of Arkansas." New Madrid, of course, is in Missouri, and the Port of Arkansas undoubtedly means Arkansas Post, in the State of Arkansas, which could not very well be reached by the way of Texas. Along the route they travelled—where they had to swim rivers, flounder through morasses, and sleep in the swamps—no priest had been seen for more than thirty-five years. Their zeal, intelligence, graceful and impassioned speech, and modest manners, seem to have made a great impression on the settlers. They had the satisfaction of disarming much prejudice,[91] receiving some converts, and administering the sacraments; and, after an interesting visit to an Indian tribe on the Arkansas River, they returned to the Barrens. About this time (in 1825), Mr. Timon was promoted to the priesthood and appointed a professor at the seminary. His missionary labors were now greatly increased. Mr. Deuther tells some interesting anecdotes of his tours, which curiously illustrate the state of religion at that time in the West. One day, Father Timon was summoned to Jackson, Missouri, to visit a murderer under sentence of death. With some difficulty he got admission to the jail, but a crowd of men, led by a Baptist minister named Green, who was also editor of the village newspaper, entered with him. The prisoner was found lying on a heap of straw and chained to a post. The hostile mob refused to leave the priest alone with him; but, in spite of their interference, Father Timon succeeded in touching the man's heart and preparing him for the sacraments. While they were repeating the Apostles' Creed together, the minister pushed forward and exclaimed, "Do not make the poor man lose his soul by teaching him the commandments of men!" and this interruption was followed by a violent invective against Romish corruptions.

"Mr. Green," said the priest, "not long ago, I refuted all these charges before a public meeting in the court-house of this village, and challenged anybody who could answer me to stand forth and do so. You were present, but you made no answer. Surely this is no time for you to interfere—when I am preparing a man for death!"

Mr. Green's only reply was a challenge to a public controversy next day, which Father Timon immediately accepted. The minister then insisted upon making a rancorous polemical prayer, in the course of which he said: "O God of mercy! save this man from the fangs of Antichrist, who now seeks to teach him idolatry and the vain traditions of men."

"Gentlemen," exclaimed the priest to the crowd which now filled the dungeon, "is it right that, in a prayer to the God of charity and truth, this man should introduce a calumny against the majority of Christians?"

How far the extraordinary discussion might have gone it would be hard to guess, had not the sheriff turned everybody out and locked the jail for the night. The next morning, the debate took place according to agreement, the district judge being appointed moderator. After about three or four hours' speaking, Mr. Green gave up the battle and withdrew. Father Timon kept on for an hour and a half longer, and the result is said to have been a great Catholic revival in the community. The prisoner, who had steadily refused to accept the ministrations of any but a Catholic clergyman, was baptized immediately after the debate.

On another occasion, Father Timon carried on a debate with a Protestant clergyman—apparently a Methodist—in the court-house at Perryville. The Methodist was easily worsted, but there was soon to be a conference meeting some eighteen miles off, and there he felt sure the priest would meet his match.

"Do you mean this as a challenge?"

"No; I don't invite you. I only say you can go if you choose."

Father Timon refused to go under these circumstances; but, learning afterward that a rumor was in circulation that he had pledged himself to be on the ground, he changed his mind, and reached the scene of the[92] meeting—which was in the open air—just after one of the preachers had finished a discourse on Transubstantiation and the Real Presence. "There is a Romish priest present," this orator had said, "and, if he dares to come forward, the error of his ways will be pointed out to him." So Father Timon mounted a stump, and announced that in a quarter of an hour he would begin a discourse on the Real Presence. This was more than the ministers had bargained for. They had been confident he would not attend. They surrounded him, in considerable excitement, and declared that he should not preach. Father Timon appealed to the people, and they decided that he should be heard. He borrowed a Bible from one of his adversaries, and with the aid of numerous texts explained and supported the Catholic doctrine. The discussion was long and earnest. The preachers at last were silenced, and Father Timon continued for some time to exhort the crowd and urge them to return to the true church. Which was, to say the least, a curious termination for a Methodist conference meeting.

One of the most serious difficulties which the pioneer missionaries had to encounter was the want of opportunities of private converse with people whose hearts had been stirred by the first motions of divine grace. The log-dwellings of the settlers rarely contained more than one room, and that often held a pretty large family. Many anecdotes are told of confessions made among the cornstalks in the garden, or under the shadow of the forest, or on horseback in the lonely roads. On one occasion Father Timon had been summoned a long distance to visit a dying man. The cabin consisted of a single room. When all was over, the wife of the dead man knelt beside the body and made her confession, the rest of the family and the neighbors, meanwhile, standing out-doors in the rain. Then the widow was baptized into the church, and, as the storm was violent and the hour past midnight, Father Timon slept on the bed with the corpse, while the rest of the company disposed themselves on the floor.

Ten years had been passed in labors of this kind, when, in 1835, letters arrived from Paris, erecting the American mission of the Lazarists into a province, and appointing Father Timon visitor. He accepted the charge with great reluctance and only after long hesitation. It was indeed a heavy burden. The affairs of the congregation were far from prosperous. The institution at the Barrens was deeply in debt. The revenues were uncertain. The relations between the seminary and the bishop were not entirely harmonious. Several priests had left the community, and were serving parishes without the permission of their superiors. To restore discipline would be an invidious task on many accounts. But, having undertaken the office, Father Timon did not shrink. He saved the college and seminary from threatened extinction; he brought back his truant brethren; he revived the spirit of zeal and self-sacrifice; he restored harmony; he greatly improved the finances. In a short time, he made a visit to France, and returned with a small supply of money and a company of priests. On Christmas Eve, in 1838, he sailed for Galveston, in order to make a report to the Holy See upon the condition of religion in the republic of Texas. He found the country in a sad state of spiritual destitution. The only priests were two Mexicans at San Antonio, who lived in open concubinage. There were no churches. There were[93] no sacraments. Even marriage was a rite about which the settlers were not over-particular. Father Timon did what little he could, on a hurried tour, to remedy these evils; but a year or two later he came back as prefect apostolic, accompanied by M. Odin, and now he was able to introduce great reforms. Congregations were collected, churches begun in all the largest settlements, and the scandals at San Antonio abated. Firm in correction, but gracious in manner, untiring in labors, insensible to fear, making long journeys with a single companion through dangerous Indian countries, struggling through swamps, swimming broad rivers—the prefect and his assistant, M. Odin, travelled, foot-sore, hungry, and in rags, through this rude wilderness, and wherever they passed they planted the good seed and made ready the soil for the husbandmen who were to come after them. In the principal towns and settlements they were invariably received with honor. The court-houses or other public rooms were placed at their disposal for religious services, and the educated Protestant inhabitants took pains to meet them socially and learn from them something about the faith. We find in the account of these tours no trace of the acrimonious polemical discussions which used to enliven the labors of the missionaries at the Barrens. There was little or no controversy, and the priests were invited to explain religious truth rather over the dinner-table than on the rostrum. At the request of Mr. Timon, M. Odin was soon afterward appointed vicar apostolic of Texas, and sent to continue the work thus happily begun.

It was in 1847 that Mr. Timon was removed from the Western field and consecrated first Bishop of Buffalo. When he had disposed all his affairs and made ready for his departure, his worldly goods consisted of a small trunk about half-full of scanty clothing. He had to borrow money enough to pay his way to New York. But meanwhile some friends, having heard of his poverty, replenished his wardrobe, and made up a purse of $400 for his immediate needs. He was consecrated in the cathedral of New York by Bishops Hughes, Walsh, and McCloskey, on the 17th of October, and reached Buffalo five days afterward. It was evening when he arrived. An immense crowd of people—it is said as many as 10,000—were in waiting for him at the railway station. There were bands of music, banners, and flambeaux, a four-horse carriage for the bishop, and a long torchlight procession to escort him home. It is reported—but the biographer gives the story with some reserve—that, after the cortége had gone some distance, the humble bishop was discovered, valise in hand, trudging afoot through the rain and mud, behind the coach in which he was supposed to be riding. In after-times he must have sadly compared the cordial greeting of his flock on this night with the trials, the insults, the persecutions, which he had to bear from some of the very same people during almost the whole of his episcopate. We shall not enlarge upon the history of these sad years. The scandals which arose from the factious and schismatical spirit of the trustees of the Church of St. Louis in Buffalo are too recent to have been forgotten by our readers. The troubles began while Bishop Timon was still a humble missionary in Missouri. They had been quelled by the firmness of Bishop Hughes, but they broke out again very soon after the creation of the new diocese, and Bishop Timon suffered from them to the end of his life. Having no cathedral and no[94] house, he lodged when he first arrived with the pastor of St. Louis's, but he had been there only a few weeks when the trustees, in their mad jealousy of possible invasion of their imaginary rights, requested him to find a home somewhere else. This brutal behavior was the beginning of a long warfare. Those who may care about studying it will find the necessary documents in Mr. Deuther's book. Let us rather devote the short space remaining at our disposal to a description of some of the charming traits of character of the holy man who crowned a life of incessant labor with an old age of suffering. From the moment of his elevation to the episcopal dignity, the sacred simplicity of his disposition seems to have daily increased. If the anecdote of his behavior at the torchlight reception is not true, it is at any rate consistent with his character. Bishop Hughes declared that the Bishop of Buffalo was the humblest man he had ever known. Though he was very neat and precise in everything relating to the service of the sanctuary, rags of any kind seemed to him "good enough for the old bishop," and it was only by stealth, so to speak, that his friends could keep his wardrobe tolerably well supplied. In his visits to the seminary it was his delight to talk familiarly with the young men. At the orphan asylum the children used to ride on his back. Visiting strange churches, he would kneel in the confessional like any other penitent. In his private and official intercourse with his clergy, it was not unusual for him to beg pardon with the utmost humility for fancied acts of injustice. On one occasion he had slightly rebuked a priest for some irregularity. Satisfied afterward that the rebuke had not been deserved, he invited the priest to dinner, placed him at the head of the table, treated him with marked distinction, and afterward, taking him to his own room, in the presence of another bishop, threw himself upon his knees and begged to be forgiven. In the course of a visitation to a disturbed parish, a member of the congregation he was addressing publicly spat in the bishop's face. He took no notice of the occurrence, but went on with his remarks. "Never shall I forget," wrote the late distinguished Jesuit, Father Smarius, "the days of the missions for the laity and of the retreats for the clergy which I had the pleasure to conduct in the cathedral of Buffalo during the three or four years previous to his holy demise. The first to rise in the morning and to ring the bell for meditation and for prayer, he would totter from door to door along the corridors of the episcopal residence, with a lighted candle in his hand, to see whether all had responded to the call of the bell and betaken themselves to the spot marked out for the performance of that sacred and wholesome duty.... And then, that more than fatherly heart, that forgiving kindness to repentant sinners, even such as had again and again deservedly incurred his displeasure and the penalties of ecclesiastical censures or excommunications. 'Father,' he would say, 'I leave this case in your hands. I give you all power, only save his soul.' And then, that simple, child-like humility, which seemed wounded by even the performance of acts which the excellence and dignity of the episcopacy naturally force from its subjects and inferiors. How often have I seen him fall on his aged knees, face to face with one or other of my clerical brethren, who had fallen on theirs to[95] receive his saintly blessing!" He took great pains to cultivate the virtue of humility in his clergy. A proud priest he had little hope for. To those who complained of the hardships of the mission, he would answer, "Why did you become a priest? It was to suffer, to be persecuted, according to the example laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ." In the strictness with which he tried to watch over the spiritual welfare of his clergy, and changed their positions when he thought the good of their souls required it, his rule was like that of the superior of a monastery rather than the head of a diocese. He was filled to a remarkable decree with the spirit of prayer. He began no labor, decided no question, without long and fervent supplication for the divine assistance. On occasions of festivity or ceremony, he loved to steal away to the quiet of the sanctuary, and under the shadow of a column in the cathedral to pass long hours in meditation. In travelling he was often seen kneeling in his seat in the cars. His household was always ordered like a religious community. The day began and ended with prayer and meditation in common. The bishop rose at five, and in the evening retired early to his room—not to sleep, but to pass most of the night in devotion, study, and writing. Up to the very close of his life he used to set out in the depth of winter to visit distant parishes unannounced, starting from the house before any one else was awake, and trudging painfully through the snow with his bag in his hand. Religious communities, when they assembled for morning devotions, were often surprised to find the bishop on his knees waiting for them. By these sudden visits he was sometimes enabled to correct irregularities, which he never suffered to pass unrebuked; but he used to say that in dealing with others he would rather be too lax than too severe, as he hoped to be judged mercifully by Almighty God.

Mr. Deuther, in attempting to show that the bishop had to conquer a naturally quick temper, has created an impression, we fear, that this saintly man was irascible if not violent in his disposition. It is most earnestly to be hoped that no one will conceive such an utterly wrong idea. Mr. Deuther himself corrects his own unguarded language, and it is only necessary to read the book carefully to see that he does not mean what at first glance he seems not to say, but to imply. Nobody who knew Bishop Timon will hesitate to call him one of the kindest and most amiable of men; whatever faults he may have had, nobody will think of mentioning a hot temper as one of them. The sweetness of his disposition was in correspondence with the tenderness of his heart. The patience with which he bore the sorrows of his episcopate was equalled by the keenness with which he felt them. Toward the close of his life several anonymous communications, accusing him of cruelty, avarice, injustice, and many other faults—of cruelty, this man whose heart was as soft as a woman's—of avarice, this charitable soul, who gave away everything he had, and left himself at times not even a change of linen—of injustice, this bishop who pardoned every one but himself—were sent him in the form of printed circulars. So deeply was he wounded that his biographer is assured that the incident hastened his death; he never was the same man afterward. At the end of the next diocesan synod he knelt before his priests, and, in a voice broken by tears, asked pardon of every one present[96] whom he might have in any manner treated unjustly. He died on the 16th of April, 1867, after a rapid but gradual decay whose termination he himself was the first to foresee, and his last hours were as beautiful and inspiring as his years of holy labor.


A mountain-pass, so narrow that a man
Riding that way to Florence, stooping, can
Touch with his hand the rocks on either side,
And pluck the flowers that in the crannies hide—
Here, on Good Friday, centuries ago,
Mounted and armed, John Gualbert met his foe,
Mounted and armed as well, but riding down
To the fair city from the woodland brown,
This way and that swinging his jewell'd whip,
A gay old love-song on his careless lip.
An accidental meeting—yet the sun
Burned on their brows as if it had been one
Of deep design, so deadly was the look
Of mutual hate their olive faces took,
As (knightly courtesy forgot in wrath)
Neither would yield his enemy the path.
"Back!" cried Gaulberto. "Never!" yelled his foe.
And on the instant, sword in hand, they throw
Them from their saddles, nothing loth,
And fall to fighting with a smothered oath.
A pair of shapely, stalwart cavaliers,
Well-matched in stature, weapons, weight, and years,
Theirs was a long, fierce struggle on the grass,
Thrusting and parrying up and down the pass,
Swaying from left to right, till blood-drops oozed
Upon the rocks, and head and hands were bruised;
But at its close, when Gualbert stopped to rest,
His heel was planted on his foeman's breast;
And, looking up, the fallen courtier sees,
As in a dream, gray rocks and waving trees
Before his glazing eyes begin to float,
While Gualbert's sabre glitters at his throat.
"Now die, base wretch!" the victor fiercely cries,
His heart of hate outflashing from his eyes.
"Never again, by the all-righteous Lord,
Shalt thou with life escape this trusty sword!
[97] Revenge is sweet!" And upward flash'd the steel,
But e'er it fell—dear Lord! a silvery peal
Of voices, chanting in the town below,
Rose, like a fountain's spray, from spires of snow,
And chimed, and chimed, to die in echoes slow.
In the sweet silence following the sound,
Gualberto and the man upon the ground
Glared at each other with bewildered eyes.
And then the latter, struggling to rise,
Made one last effort, while his face grew dark
With pleading agony: "Gualberto! hark!
The chant—the hour—you know the olden fashion—
The monks below intone Our Lord's dear Passion.
Oh! by this cross"—and here he caught the hilt
Of Gualbert's sword—"and by the blood once spilt
Upon it for us both long years ago,
Forgive—forget—and spare your fallen foe!"
The face that bent above grew white and set,
The lips were drawn, the brow bedew'd with sweat,
But on the grass the harmless sword was flung,
And, stooping down, the generous hero wrung
The outstretched hand. Then, lest he lose control
Of the but half-tamed passions of his soul,
Fled up the pathway, tearing casque and coat,
To ease the throbbing tempest at his throat—
Fled up the crags, as if a fiend pursued,
Nor paused until he reached the chapel rude.
There, in the cool, dim stillness, on his knees,
Trembling, he flings himself, and, startled, sees
Set in the rock a crucifix antique,
From which the wounded Christ bends down to speak:
"Thou hast done well, Gualberto. For my sake
Thou didst forgive thine enemy; now take
My gracious pardon for thy years of sin,
And from this day a better life begin."
White flash'd the angels' wings above his head,
Rare subtile perfumes thro' the place were shed;
And golden harps and sweetest voices pour'd
Their glorious hosannas to the Lord,
Who, in that hour and in that chapel quaint,
Changed, by his power, by his sweet love's constraint,
Gualbert the sinner into John the saint.





The enemies of "superstition" had lost a good deal of ground in their desperate struggle against the events which for the last ten or twelve weeks had scandalized their distressed philosophy. As it had become impossible to deny the existence of the fountain whose pure streams were flowing before the eyes of the amazed people, so it was becoming impossible to continue denying the reality of the cures which were being worked, continually and in many places, by the use of this mysterious water.

At first the incredulous had shrugged their shoulders at the report of these cures, taking the simple course of denying them out-and-out, and refusing to make any examination. Then some skilful persons had invented several false miracles, to enjoy an easy triumph in refuting them. But they had very soon been confounded by the multiplicity of these wonderful cures, of which a few have been mentioned. The facts were evident. They became so numerous and so striking that it was necessary, however painful it might be, either to acknowledge their miraculous nature or find some natural explanation for them.

The free-thinkers, then, understood that, unless they were willing either to surrender or to deny in the face of complete evidence, it was absolutely necessary to take up some new line of tactics.

The most intelligent of the clique, indeed, saw that things had already gone too far, and perceived the grave error which they had committed at the outset in denying prematurely and without examination facts which had afterward become patent and perfectly well established, such as the appearance of the fountain, and the cures of a great number of many who were notoriously incurable by natural means, and who were now to be seen going about the streets of the town in perfect health. What made the mistake worse and almost irreparable was that these unfortunate denials of the most well-attested events were authentically and officially recorded in all the newspapers of the department.


The greater part of the cures effected by the Massabielle water had a character of rapidity, nay, even of instantaneousness, which clearly showed the immediate action of sovereign power. There were some, however, which did not present this evidently supernatural appearance, being accomplished after baths or draughts repeated a few or many times, and in a slow and gradual manner—resembling somewhat in their mode the ordinary course of natural cures, though in reality different.

In a village called Gez, near Lourdes, a little child of seven years had been the subject of one of these cures, of a mixed character, which, according to one's natural inclination, might be attributed to a special grace of God or to the unaided forces of[99] nature. This child, named Lasbareilles, had been born entirely deformed, with a double curvature of the back and breast-bone. His thin and almost withered legs were useless from their extreme weakness; the poor little boy had never been able to walk, but was always either sitting or lying down. When he had to move, his mother carried him in her arms. Sometimes, indeed, the child, resting on the edge of the table or helped by his mother's hand, could manage to keep himself up and to take a few steps; but it was at the cost of violent efforts and immense fatigue. The physician of the place had professed himself unable to cure him; and the disease being organic, no remedy had ever been resorted to.

The parents of this unfortunate child, having heard of the miracles of Lourdes, had procured some of the water from the grotto; and in the course of a fortnight had applied it on three different occasions to the body of the little fellow without obtaining any effect. But their faith was not discouraged on that account; if hope was banished from the world, it would still remain in the hearts of mothers. A fourth application was made on Holy Thursday, the first of April, 1858. That day the child took several steps without assistance.

The bathings from that time became more and more efficacious, and the health of the patient gradually improved. After three or four weeks, he became strong enough to walk almost as well as other people. We say "almost," for there was still in his gait a certain awkwardness, which seemed like a reminiscence of his original infirmity. The thinness of his legs had slowly disappeared together with their weakness, and the deformity of his chest was almost entirely gone. All the people of the village of Gez, knowing his previous condition, said that it was a miracle. Were they right or wrong? Whatever our own opinion may be, there is certainly much to be said on both sides of the question.

Another child, Denys Bouchet, of the town of Lamarque, in the canton of Ossun, had also been cured of a general paralysis in very much the same way. A young man of twenty-seven years, Jean Louis Amaré, who was subject to epileptic fits, had been completely though gradually cured of his terrible malady solely by the use of the water of Massabielle.

Some other similar cases had also occurred.[9]


If we were not acquainted with the wonderfully varied forms which supernatural cures have assumed since the Christian era, we might perhaps be inclined to believe that Providence had thus disposed things at this moment to cause proud human philosophy to catch itself in its own nets, and to destroy itself with its own hands. But let us not think that there was in this case such a snare on the part of God. He lies in ambush for no one. But truth in its normal and regular developments, the logic of which is unknown to human philosophy, is of itself an eternal snare for error.


However this may be, the savants and physicians of the country hastened to find in these various cures, the cause of which was doubtful, though their reality and progressive nature were well ascertained, an admirable opportunity and an excellent pretext to effect that change of base which the increasing evidence of facts made absolutely necessary.

Ceasing, therefore, to ascribe these cures to such a commonplace cause as imagination, they loudly attributed them to the natural virtues which this remarkable water, which had been discovered by the merest chance, undoubtedly possessed. To give this explanation was of course equivalent to recognizing the cures.

Let the reader recall the beginning of this story, when a little shepherdess, going out to gather some dead wood, claimed to have seen a shining apparition. Let him remember the sneers of the great men of Lourdes, the shrugging of shoulders at the club, the supreme contempt with which these strong-minded individuals received this childish nonsense; what progress the supernatural had made; and how much incredulity, science, and philosophy had lost, since the first events which had so suddenly occurred at the lonely grotto on the banks of the Gave.

The miraculous had, if we may use such an expression, taken the offensive. Free thought, lately so proud and confident in its attacks, was now pursued by facts and obliged to defend itself.

The representatives of philosophy and science were none the less positive, however, and showed as much disdain as ever for the popular superstition.

"Well, be it so," said they, affecting a tone of good humor and the air of good faith. "We acknowledge that the water of the grotto cures certain maladies. What can be more simple? What need is there of having recourse to miracles, supernatural graces, and divine intervention to explain effects similar to, if not even exactly the same as, those of the thousand springs which, from Vichy or Baden-Baden to Luchon, act with such efficacy on the human system? The Massabielle water has merely some very powerful mineral qualities, like those which are found in the springs of Barèges or Cauterets, a little higher up in the mountains. The grotto of Lourdes has no connection with religion, but comes within the province of medical science."

A letter, which we take at random from our documents, presents better than we could the attitude of the savants of the neighborhood regarding the wonders worked by the Massabielle water. This letter, written by an eminent physician of that region, Dr. Lary, who had no faith whatever in the miraculous explanations of the cures, was addressed by him to a member of the faculty:

"Ossun, April 28, 1858.

"I hasten, my dear sir, to send you the details which you ask of me in regard to the case of the woman Galop of our commune.

"This woman, in consequence of rheumatism in the left hand, had lost the power of holding anything with it. Hence, if she wished to wash or carry a glass with this hand, she was very apt to drop it, and she was obliged to give up drawing water from the well, because this hand was unable to hold the rope. For more than eight months she had not made her bed and had not spun a single skein of thread.

"Now, after a single journey to Lourdes, where she made use of the water internally and externally, she spins with ease, makes her bed, draws water, washes and carries the glasses and dishes, and, in short, uses this hand as well as the other.

"The movements of the left hand are not yet quite as free as before the illness, but 90 per cent. of the power that had[101] been lost before the use of the water from the grotto at Lourdes has been restored. The woman proposes, however, to go again to the grotto. I shall ask her to pass your way that you may see her, and convince yourself of all that I have said.

"You will find, in examining her case, an incomplete anchylosis of the lower joint of the forefinger. If the repeated use of the water of the grotto destroys this morbid condition, it will be an additional proof of its alkaline properties.[10]

"In conclusion, I beg you to believe me yours very faithfully,

"Lary, M.D."

This explanation, once admitted and considered as certain in advance, the doctors were less unwilling to accept the cures worked by the water of the grotto; and from this period they set to work to generalize their thesis, and to apply it almost without any distinction to all cases, even to those which were marked by the most amazing rapidity, which could by no means be ascribed to the ordinary action of mineral waters. The learned personages of the place got out of this difficulty by attributing to the water of the grotto extremely powerful properties, such as had been previously unknown. It mattered little that they discarded all the laws of nature in their theories, provided that heaven got no profit thence. They willingly admitted the preternatural in order to get rid of the supernatural.

There were among the faithful some perverse and troublesome persons, who by impertinent remarks interfered with the profound conclusions of the scientific coterie.

"How," they said, "is it that this mineral spring, so extraordinarily powerful that it works instantaneous cures, was found by Bernadette when in a state of ecstasy, and came after her accounts of certain celestial visions, and apparently in support of them? How did it happen that the fountain sprang out precisely at the moment when Bernadette believed herself to hear a heavenly voice telling her to drink and bathe? And how is it that this fountain, which appeared suddenly under the eyes of all the people in such very unusual circumstances, yields not ordinary water, but a water which, as you yourselves acknowledge, has already cured so many sick persons whose cases had been abandoned as hopeless, and who have used it without medical advice, and merely in the spirit of religious faith?"

These objections, repeated under many different forms, provoked the free-thinkers, philosophers, and savants exceedingly. They tried to evade them by answers which were really so poor and miserable that they ought, one would think, to have hardly presented a good appearance even in their authors' eyes; but then, to find any others was no doubt very difficult.

"Why not?" said they. "Coffee was discovered by a goat. A shepherd found by chance the waters of Luchon. It was also by accident that the ruins of Pompeii were brought to light by the pickaxe of a laborer. Why should we be so much surprised that this little girl, while amusing herself by digging in the ground during her hallucination, should have come upon a spring, and that the water of this spring should be mineral and alkaline? That she imagined at the moment that the Blessed Virgin was before her, and that she heard a voice directing her to the fountain, is merely a coincidence, entirely accidental, but of which superstition tries to make a miracle. On this occasion, as on the others, chance has done everything, and has been the real discoverer."


The faithful were not, however, moved by this sort of argument. They had the bad taste to think that to explain everything by accidental coincidence was to do violence to reason under the pretext of defending it. This irritated the free-thinkers, who, though acknowledging at last the reality of the cures, deplored more than ever the religious and supernatural character which the common people insisted upon giving to these strange events; and, as was natural under the circumstances, they were inclined to resort to force to stop the popular movement. "If these waters are mineral," they began to say, "they belong to the state or to the municipality; people should not use them except by the advice of a doctor; and an establishment for baths should be built at the spot, not a chapel."

The science of Lourdes, forced to assent to the facts in this case, had arrived at the state of mind just described when the measures of the prefect, relative to the objects deposited in the grotto, and the attempt to imprison Bernadette under the pretext of insanity, were announced—this attempt, as we have seen, having been defeated by the unexpected intervention of the curé, M. Peyramale.


A certain and official basis for all these theses of the desperate adherents of the medical theory was still a desideratum. M. Massy had already bethought himself of asking such a basis from one of the most wonderful and indubitable sciences of the age—namely, that of chemistry. With this view, he had applied, through the mayor of Lourdes, to a chemist of some distinction in the department—M. Latour de Trie.

To show, not in detail by the examination of each special case, but once for all, that these cures which were rising up as formidable objections were naturally explained by the chemical constitution of the new spring, seemed to him a masterstroke; and he considered that, in accomplishing it, he would lay science and philosophy under obligation, not to mention also the administration, represented by the minister, M. Rouland.

Seeing that it was impossible to have Bernadette arrested as insane, he urged the analysis, which was to show officially the mineral and healing qualities of the water. It was becoming imperatively necessary to get rid of the intrusive supernatural power which, after having produced the fountain, was now curing the sick people, and threatening to pass all bounds. Though its abominable influence should continue strong in many quarters, a really official analysis might be of great service.

The chemist of the prefecture, therefore, set to work to make this precious investigation of the water from Massabielle, and, with a good conscience, if not with perfect science, he found at the bottom of his crucibles a solution perfectly agreeing with the explanations of the doctors, the reasonings of the philosophers, and the desires of the prefect. But was truth also as well satisfied with it as the prefecture, the philosophers, and the faculty? At first, perhaps, this question was not proposed, but it lay in store for a future occasion. But, not to consider this for the present, let us see what was this analysis which M. Latour de Trie, chemist of the administration, addressed officially, on the 6th of May, to the mayor of Lourdes, and which the latter immediately forwarded to the Baron Massy:



"The water of the grotto of Lourdes is very clear, without smell or decided taste. Its specific gravity is very nearly that of distilled water. Its temperature at the spring is 15° Cent. (59° Fahr.)

"It contains the following elements:

"1st. Chlorides of sodium, calcium and magnesium in abundance.[11]

"2d. Carbonates of lime and of magnesia.

"3d. Silicates of lime and of alumina.

"4th. Oxide of iron.

"5th. Sulphate and carbonate of soda.

"6th. Phosphate (traces).

"7th. Organic matter—ulmine.

"The complete absence of sulphate of lime in this water is also established by this analysis.

"This remarkable peculiarity is entirely to its advantage, and entitles it to be considered as very favorable to digestion, and as giving to the animal economy a disposition favorable to the equilibrium of the vital action.

"We do not think it imprudent to say, in consideration of the number and quality of the substances which compose it, that medical science will, perhaps, soon recognize in it special curative properties which will entitle it to be classed among the waters which constitute the mineral wealth of our department.

"Be pleased to accept, etc.

"A. Latour de Trie."

The civil order is not so well disciplined as the military, and, through misunderstanding, false steps are occasionally taken in it. The prefect, in the multitude of his avocations, had omitted to give his orders to the editors of the official newspaper of the department, the Ere Impériale, so that, while the chemist of the prefecture said white, its journalist said black; while the former was recognizing in the spring at Lourdes one of the future medical and mineral treasures of the Pyrenees, the latter was calling it dirty water, and joking about the cures which had been obtained.

"It is needless to say," he wrote on the precise day on which M. Latour de Trie sent in his report—that is, on the 6th of May—"that the famous grotto turns out miracles in abundance, and that our department is inundated with them. At every corner you will meet with people who tell you of a thousand cures obtained by the use of some dirty water.

"The doctors will soon have nothing to do, and the rheumatic and consumptive people will have disappeared from the department," etc.

Notwithstanding these discrepancies, which might have been avoided, it must be acknowledged that Baron Massy was, on the whole, attentive to his business. On the 4th of May, at about noon, he had delivered his address to the mayors of the canton of Lourdes, and given his orders. On the 4th of May, in the evening, the grotto had been stripped of the offerings and ex-votos. On the morning of the 5th, he had ascertained the impossibility of having Bernadette arrested, and had abandoned this measure. On the 6th, in the evening, he received the analysis of his chemist. Fortified with this important document, he waited the course of events.

What was about to take place at Lourdes? What would happen at the grotto? What would be done by Bernadette, whose every movement was watched by the Argus eyes of Jacomet and of his agents? Would not the fountain at the grotto disappear in the coming hot weather, and thus put an end to the whole business? What attitude would the people assume? Such were the hopes and anxieties of the Baron Massy, imperial prefect.



At the grotto the miraculous fountain continued to flow, abundant and clear, with that character of quiet perpetuity which is generally found in springs coming from the rock.

The supernatural apparition did not cease to assert its existence, and to prove it by benefits conferred.

The grace of God continued to descend visibly and invisibly upon the people, sometimes quick as the lightning which flashes through the clouds, sometimes gradual like the light of dawn.

We can only speak of those graces which were external and manifest.

At six or seven kilometres (four miles) from Lourdes, at Loubajac, lived a good woman, a peasant, who had formerly been accustomed to labor, but whom an accident had for eighteen months past reduced to a most painful inaction. Her name was Catherine Latapie-Chouat. In October, 1856, having climbed an oak to knock down some acorns, she had lost her balance, and suffered a violent fall, which caused a severe dislocation of the right arm and hand. The reduction—as is stated in the report and the official statement, which are now before us—though performed immediately by an able surgeon, and though it nearly restored the arm to its normal state, had nevertheless not prevented an extreme weakness in it. The most intelligent and continuous treatment had been ineffectual in removing the stiffness of the three most important fingers of the hand. The thumb and first two fingers remained obstinately bent and paralyzed, so that it was impossible either to straighten them or to enable them to move in the least. The unfortunate peasant, still young enough for much labor, for she was hardly thirty-eight, could not sew, spin, knit, or take care of the house. The doctor, after having treated her case for a long time without success, had told her that it was incurable, and that she must resign herself to give up the use of that hand. This sentence, from such a reliable authority, was for the poor woman the announcement of an irreparable misfortune. The poor have no resource but work; for them compulsory inaction is inevitable misery.

Catherine had become pregnant nine or ten months after the accident, and her time was approaching at the date of our narrative. One night she awaked with a sudden thought or inspiration. "An interior spirit," to quote her own words to myself, "said to me as it were with irresistible force, 'Go to the grotto! go to the grotto, and you will be cured!'" Who this mysterious being was who spoke thus, and whom this ignorant peasant—ignorant at least as far as human knowledge is concerned—called a "spirit," is no doubt known by her angel guardian.

It was three o'clock in the morning. Catherine called two of her children who were large enough to accompany her.

"Do you remain to work," said she to her husband. "I am going to the grotto."

"In your present condition it is impossible," replied he; "to go to Lourdes and return is full three leagues."

"Nothing is impossible. I am going to get cured."

No objection had the least effect upon her, and she set out with her two children. It was a fine moonlight night; but the awful silence, occasionally broken by strange and mysterious sounds, the solitude of the plains only dimly visible, and seemingly peopled by vague forms, terrified the children. They trembled,[105] and would have stopped at every step had not Catherine reassured them. She had no fear, and felt that she was going to the fountain of life.

She arrived at Lourdes at daybreak, and happened to meet Bernadette. Some one telling her who it was, Catherine, without saying anything, approached the child blessed by the Lord and beloved by Mary, and touched her dress humbly. Then she continued her journey to the rocks of Massabielle, where, in spite of the early hour, a great many pilgrims were already assembled and were on their knees.

Catherine and her children also knelt and prayed. Then she rose, and quietly bathed her hand in the marvellous water.

Her fingers immediately straightened, became flexible, and under her control. The Blessed Virgin had cured the incurable.

What did Catherine do? She was not surprised. She did not utter a cry, but again fell on her knees, and gave thanks to God and to Mary. For the first time for eighteen months, she prayed with her hands joined, and clasped the resuscitated fingers with the others.

She remained thus for a long time, absorbed in an act of thanksgiving. Such moments are sweet; the soul is glad to forget itself, and thinks that it is in Paradise.

But violent sufferings recalled Catherine to the earth—this earth of sighs and tears, where the curse pronounced upon the guilty mother of the human race has never ceased to be felt by her innumerable posterity. We have said that Catherine was very near her confinement, and as she was still upon her knees she found herself suddenly seized by the terrible pains of childbirth. She shuddered, seeing that there would be no time to go even to Lourdes, and that her delivery was about to occur in the presence of the surrounding multitude. And for a moment she looked around with terror and anguish.

But this terror did not last long.

Catherine returned to the Queen whom nature obeys.

"Good Mother," said she simply, "you have just shown me so great a favor, I know you will spare me the shame of being delivered before all these people, and at least grant that I may return home before giving birth to my child."

Immediately all her pains ceased, and the interior spirit of whom she spoke to us, and who, we believe, was her angel guardian, said to her:

"Do not be alarmed. Set out with confidence; you will arrive safely."

"Let us go home now," said Catherine to her two children.

Accordingly she took the road to Loubajac, holding them by the hand, without intimating to any one her critical state, and without showing any uneasiness, even to the midwife of her own village, who happened to be there in the midst of the crowd of pilgrims. With inexpressible happiness she quietly traversed the long and rough road which separated her from home. The two children were not afraid of it now; the sun was risen, and their mother was cured.

As soon as she returned, she wished still to pray; but immediately her pains returned. In a quarter of an hour she was the mother of a third son.[12]


At the same time, a woman of Lamarque, Marianne Garrot, had been relieved in less than ten days, merely by lotions with the water from the grotto, of a white eruption which had covered her whole face, and which for two years had resisted all treatment. Dr. Amadou, of Pontacq, her physician, was satisfied of the fact, and was an incontestable witness of it subsequently before the episcopal commission.[13]

At Bordères, near Nay, the widow Marie Lanou-Domengé, eighty years old, had been for three years a sufferer from an incomplete paralysis in the whole left side. She could not take a step without assistance, and was unable to do any work.

Dr. Poueymiroo, of Mirepoix, after having ineffectually used some remedies to restore life in the palsied parts, though continuing his visits, had abandoned medical treatment of the case.

Hope, however, is with difficulty extinguished in the hearts of the sick.

"When shall I get well?" the good woman would say to Dr. Poueymiroo, every time that he came.

"You will get well when the good God sees fit," was the invariable reply of the doctor, who was far from suspecting the prophetic nature of his words.

"Why should I not believe what[107] he says, and throw myself directly on the divine goodness?" said the old peasant woman one day to herself, when she heard people talking of the fountain of Massabielle.

Accordingly, she sent some one to Lourdes to get at the spring itself a little of this healing water.

When it was brought to her, she was much excited.

"Take me out of bed," said she, "and hold me up."

They took her out, and dressed her hurriedly. Both the actors and spectators in this scene were somewhat disturbed.

Two persons held her up, placing their hands under her shoulders.

A glass of water from the grotto was presented to her.

She extended her trembling hand toward the quickening water and dipped her fingers in it. Then she made a great sign of the cross on herself, raised the glass to her lips, and slowly drank the contents, no doubt absorbed in fervent and silent prayer.

She became so pale that they thought for the moment that she was going to faint.

But while they were exerting themselves to prevent her from falling, she rose with a quick and joyful movement and looked around. Then she cried out with a voice of triumph:

"Let me go—quick! I am cured."

Those who were holding her withdrew their arms partially and with some hesitation. She immediately freed herself from them, and walked with as much confidence as if she had never been ill.

Some one, however, who still had some fear of the result, offered her a stick to lean on.

She looked at it with a smile; then took it and contemptuously threw it far away, as a thing which was no longer of use. And from that day, she employed herself as before in hard out-door work.

Some visitors, who came to see her and to convince themselves of the fact, asked her to walk in their presence.

"Walk, did you say? I will run for you!" And, true to her word, she began to run.

This occurred in the month of May. In the following July, the people pointed out the vigorous octogenarian as a curiosity, as she mowed the grain, and was by no means the last in the hard labors of the harvest.

Her physician, the excellent Dr. Poueymiroo, praised God for this evident miracle, and subsequently, with the examining commission, signed the procès-verbal on the extraordinary events which we have just related, in which he did not hesitate to recognize "the direct and evident action of divine power."[14]




In the adjustment of differences to which conflicting interests or a spirit of rivalry may give birth, governments, like individuals, are prone to satisfy themselves with conventions limited to matters immediately in dispute. They are like medical doctors, who treat symptoms as the malady to be cured, and, satisfied with alleviating present pain, leave its causes to war against mortal life, until disease becomes chronic and incurable.

Whether the labors of the Joint High Commission, now sitting in Washington, will be of this description, remains to be seen; but such, it appears to us, has been the character of treaties or conventions affecting commercial relations with our Canadian and provincial neighbors. They seem not to have been founded upon any intelligent consideration of the wants of contracting parties, but, presupposing that there must be conflicting interests, are devised to prevent rival industries from merging in unfriendliness and strife. We ask, then, whether these rival interests have legitimate existence. The answer to this question will be derived from an examination of the statistics of the two countries—their agricultural and other products—their climatic and social conditions, and the commercial relations actually subsisting between them, as well as those which both sustain to other countries and peoples.

The productions of a country are properly classified according to the sources whence they are derived.

We have, then, five distinct classes of products, namely: The natural productions of the sea, the earth, the forest, and the results of industry applied to agriculture and manufactures.

Let us now turn to the map of British America. Beginning at the east, the waters of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are rich in fisheries. They yield salmon, mackerel, codfish, haddock, ling, herring, and oysters, in great abundance. Newfoundland has not enough of agriculture to save its own population from absolute suffering when there is a failure in the catch of fish along its shores. It possesses rich though undeveloped deposits of copper, iron, and other ores. Prince Edward Island, in the centre of the mackerel fisheries, is, perhaps, more favored by nature than the other maritime provinces. Every acre of its surface may be reckoned as arable land. Its agriculture, always limited to the growth of hay, oats, potatoes, and turnips, is only partially developed, though even now yielding a considerable surplus for export. Its forests are exhausted of timber. And though, from habit, its people still continue to build wooden ships to send "home" for sale, they are obliged to import the material for their construction. The southern part of Nova Scotia contains a considerable portion of good farm lands; yielding the invariable crops of hay, oats, potatoes, and turnips. In some districts, apples and pears, of excellent quality, are grown in abundance. The eastern portion, especially the island of Cape Breton, is rich in coal, lime, freestone, and marble; all so placed as to be easily accessible to commerce. Even[109] now, despite protective duties on colonial products, the streets of some of our Atlantic cities are lighted with gas from Nova Scotia coal.

Gold has been found in sufficient quantity to afford opportunity for speculation, but not for profit. The yield for 1867 was 27,583 oz. = $413,745; for 1868, 20,541 oz. = $308,115. The same amount of capital applied to the growing of potatoes would doubtless afford a much larger return. Coal is the most important mineral product; and its chief market is found in the United States. The net amount mined in one year was 418,313 tons; sold for home consumption and to neighboring colonies, 176,392 tons; sent to the United States, 241,921 tons.

New Brunswick offers the same agricultural products as the neighboring provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. A great part of its territory, like the northern part of Maine, is cold, rocky, and inarable. But its forests yield large quantities of pine lumber, oak, beech, maple, and other valuable woods, and bark for tanning leather. This source of wealth is, however, rapidly failing. The forests begin to give evidence of exhaustion. St. John already asks what shall be her resource when the lumber is gone. Formerly, ship-building was a large interest in these lower provinces. But from the growing scarcity of ship timber, as well as from the more general use of iron vessels, it has been declining from year to year.

We see, then, what these provinces can now contribute to commerce; and we also see their prime deficiency. They cannot supply their people with bread. That comes from Canada and the United States. But Canada does not want their mackerel or other fish, their oats, potatoes, turnips, or hay. She wants money; and for want of a nearer market, the surplus oats must be sent upon a very doubtful venture across the ocean, the mackerel to the United States, and the dried fish to the West Indies and Brazil, to get money to pay for Canadian bread. But time is money. It is more than money—it is life. And when we take into account the loss of time in going to and fro across the ocean, and the great expenditure of unproductive labor that is required by this selling to Peter on one side of the world to pay Paul on the other, we cannot help believing that the poor provincial pays a high price for bread to eat and clothes to wear, as well as for the various products of other lands which, from being only conveniences, have become the necessaries of life.

We come now to the Province of Quebec—prior to the Dominion, called Canada East. Nearly all her territory lies north of the forty-sixth parallel of latitude. Need we say that agriculture, save for the few and slender productions of cold climates, is here impossible? For nearly seven months of the year the greater part of her rivers and harbors are closed to commerce by bars of impenetrable ice. The soil, and every industry relating to it, is under the dominion of frost.

The forests of timber may be accessible despite the snows of winter, and in the early spring her people may hunt seals along the coasts of Labrador; but during the long period of actual winter, her agriculturists, nearly her whole industrial population, must be employed upon indoor labor, or be left to hibernate in positive idleness. It is simply impossible that agriculture can ever be a successful industry in so rigorous a climate as that of Quebec.

Going westward through what[110] was once called Canada West, now the Province of Ontario, we find a peninsula bounded by the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie, on the south and east; and by Lakes St. Clair and Huron, with their connecting straits, on the west. This peninsula, south of 45° N., comprises the wheat-growing lands of Canada east of Lake Winnipeg. Its area is something less than that of the State of New York. It produces good crops of wheat and other cereals, and nearly all vegetables and fruits grown in our northern and northwestern states. Farther west, we have the valleys of the Saskatchewan and its tributaries, capable of producing cereals, grasses, potatoes, and other vegetables. But our information, derived from missionaries and others long resident in that region, induces the belief that it is mere folly to regard a country in whose streams the fish lie torpid, and where the snow-fall is not enough to protect the land from killing frosts, in winter, as suited to the growth of cereals for export, or as capable of giving bread to any considerable population.

Much has been said and written concerning the territory lying on the Pacific coast. We believe it is well ascertained that the climate of British Columbia west of the mountains—we might well add the southeast coast of Alaska—is as mild as that of the state of New York. Unfortunately, it is very much more moist; so much more that it never can become a good agricultural country. The reason is so obvious that one is hardly disposed to question the assertion. The vast accumulations of ice and snow in and immediately north of Behring Strait, and on the high mountain range lying on the east side of this territory, must produce intense cold when the wind blows from the north and east. When the warm air comes from the southwest, the whole atmosphere must resemble a vapor-bath. Seeds may readily germinate, but can they produce ripe crops?

We have recently discussed this subject with a friend who has had intimate personal acquaintance with this coast for more than ten years, and we but reiterate his assertion in saying that, north of Oregon, agriculture is not a safe reliance for the support of a colony. We do not doubt that hay, oats, and potatoes will grow there. It is well known that they may grow where the sub-soil is everlasting ice. But we know that agriculture cannot be profitable either there or where the heats of summer last just long enough to melt the snows on adjacent mountains and convert the soil to mud. There must always be an excess of moisture to contend with in maturing crops. Our information as to the fact is positive. But suppose that, in process of time, by the clearing of forest lands, and other causes incident to the peopling and cultivation of the soil, these difficulties were overcome. Does any one believe that the products of the land could be carried by rail and inland waters through a distance of three thousand miles, and two or three thousand more by sea, and, after successive reshipments, at last pay the producer—save in cumulation of expenses added to the original cost of goods received in return? If, then, this far western country should ever have an excess of food or other commodities, they must find a readier market than either the far-off country of eastern Canada or more distant lands can afford. Its trade must be with the neighboring states of Washington, Oregon, and California. Will the people, on either side, long consent to pay tribute to government officials for the privilege[111] of exchanging the fruits of their toil?

Were they really of different races—distinct in language, manners, and customs beyond the degree that always makes the dwellers in one village imagine its "excellent society" a little superior to that of the neighboring hamlet—we might say, yes! But knowing, as we do, that they are by race, by conditions of soil and climate, and by reason of mutual interests, but one people, we do not believe it.

Let us now glance at the map of the United States. Leaving out Maine, northern New Hampshire, and Vermont, in the northeast; the narrow belt north of the 48th parallel, between Lake Superior and the Pacific Ocean, in the northwest; Florida, Louisiana, and Southern Texas in the south; the whole vast area between the 32d and 46th parallels of latitude, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean—in extent equivalent to three-fourths of all Europe—is suited to the production of wheat, rye, barley, Indian corn, oats, hay, potatoes, and every fruit found in temperate climates. There are no frosts to render agriculture a mere speculative enterprise; no bonds of ice to close the ports to commerce. Seed-time and harvest may be counted upon as certainly as the succession of seasons. Can there be a doubt that here the material interest forming the basis of all others is agriculture? We have no exact data for a comparison of the several products of the United States and British America; but for our immediate purpose it is quite unnecessary to present tables of statistics. We refer only to chief products. First—of those common to both countries, the productions of the United States are to the productions of Canada and the Lower Provinces as 13 to 1. The whole agricultural products of the United States, excluding those of orchards, vineyards, and gardens—which would present a still wider difference—are to those of Canada as 15 to 1. The annual yield of Indian corn in the United States is worth upwards of $800,000,000, or about five times the entire value of the agricultural product of British America. If we include in the comparison the values of animals and animal products, orchards, vineyards, and gardens, the proportion is something nearer 30 to 1, while the breadth of improved land is not as 10 to 1. And this while the breadth of our improved land is not more than one-thirteenth of our territory—though double the whole area of Great Britain and Ireland—and while any great expansion of agriculture in Canada is forbidden by the conditions of soil and climate. Are not these considerations sufficient to show the absurdity of persistence in the development of rivalry in agricultural and commercial interests? Do we not see that in the United States agriculture is legitimately the greatest industrial interest, and that in Canada it is not? And we may well ask why the industrial population of Canada should not be employed in utilizing its timber and other products of the forest and the mine, or, where material is more readily found in the neighboring country, using the forces so abundantly provided by their inland waters and mines of coal, as well as by the muscle half-wasted for want of use, in supplying fabrics which they now import, and pay for by the scanty labors of just half the time that God has given them? These considerations are in some degree applicable to New England. The difference is, that New England knows it, and acts upon the knowledge.


Manufacturing is the appropriate industry of cold climates. When this is acknowledged, hibernation ceases. The people are no longer forced to eke out a meagre existence in winter upon the slender profits of toil spent in contention with chilling winds and frosts. True, Canada—a small part of it—produces bread for export. We know it: and we also know that every loaf costs twice as much, in human toil, as the better loaf yielded by the more generous soils and genial suns of Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and California. Canada produces good beef, mutton, pork, and, of course, the raw materials for manufactures incident to these products. But the herdsmen on the plains of Illinois, Iowa, Florida, and Texas would grow rich in selling beeves, swine, and sheep for the cost of their keeping through a Canadian winter!

On the other hand, we see, in some parts of our own country, whole communities of people engaged in mechanical industries, while the earth calls for tillage. Even in our more populous territories, enough of what should be fruitful lands to yield subsistence to a larger population than Canada will ever contain, lies fallow and neglected. But our commercial relations are adverse to the proper adjustment of industrial pursuits.

The Canadians dare not rely upon their neighbors for bread to eat, any more than those neighbors would venture to build their workshops and factories in Canada. The more venturesome try to obviate the difficulty, to some extent, by illicit trade; but all the obstacles to legitimate commerce—to the conveniences of living—remain; and they must remain as long as the American and Canadian producers have to pay tribute to Cæsar on exchanging the fruits of their labors. Reciprocity treaties may modify, but they cannot remove, this great obstacle to prosperous trade.

Treaties regulating trade cannot so change the industries of the two countries as to confine large agricultural enterprises to the soil and climate that would insure success, nor send the artisan, now living on rich uncultivated lands, to till the earth. What means the extraordinary emigration from Canada to the States? And how can we account for the sudden expansion of manufacturing industries in Montreal and other Canadian towns? It means that, while governments are discussing treaties for reciprocal trade, their people are practising reciprocal emigration—but with a difference. The Canadian becomes an American citizen—the American very rarely a British subject. We recollect two incidents in our own experience apropos to the matter under consideration.

Some two years ago we passed a summer in the "Lower Provinces." In the parlor of our hotel, we fell into conversation with an intelligent man of business who proved to be a commercial traveller from Canada. His specialty was boots and shoes. On mentioning that Lynn, in Massachusetts, was the great shoe factory of "the States," his reply was, "Yes! the head of our firm is from Lynn." Lynn had gone to Montreal to employ Canadian hands in turning Canadian leather into boots and shoes to supply colonial markets. "The head of our firm," like other heads of firms, had solved the problem of appropriate industry as far as he was concerned. He had learned where material, and hands to work it, were cheapest, and he was utilizing them. He had emigrated to employ the cheap labor that could not emigrate. At another time, we met a well-dressed mechanic who was not at home.[113] His home was in "the States." He was only visiting his birthplace and kindred. In reply to the remark that the high wages which had enticed him to the States were only high in sound, since greenbacks were at a great discount, and food, clothing, and rent at inflated prices, his reply evinced a perfect understanding of the whole question, as it affected him and the class to which he belonged.

"True," said he, "I am paid in greenbacks; but I have a better house, better food, and better clothes than I ever had before. And at the end of the year, my surplus greenbacks are worth more, in gold, than I could get for a year's labor in this colony."

Here are two parties whose interests are reciprocal, whose social conditions are essentially the same, who live in juxtaposition to each other, but with broad ocean between them and other countries and peoples, frittering away material interests, wasting revenues that of right should be employed for their advancement in social life, to gratify a spirit of antagonism where even rivalry should be deemed insane. But is there no remedy for these disorders in our political economy? We think there is a very obvious one; and if we may not say, "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder," because the parties are not agreed, we can and do say, the sooner they are agreed, the better for both. We would say to Canada, do not waste your time and strength in trying to effect impossibilities. Let us see your many rivers alive with the artisans who can send to the market something else than ship-timber and deals. Let us see the smoke of the forge and the foundry rise in proximity to your mines of coal. We want all that you can make, and have no fear that you will in any degree impair the prosperity of our own industrial people. And we will pay you in bread, better and cheaper than you can get from your colder and less fruitful lands. And when your coarser materials are wrought into shape for export, we have skilled labor, nearer than Britain, to receive your surplus products and fashion them into the thousand fabrics which only skilled labor can supply.

We have no desire to see your wheat-fields fail or to decry their products in the market. We only say that they are too limited for dangerous competition with ours. And we further say, that if you will but develop other and more legitimate industries, so that your wheat-growing districts cannot feed your people, we will be sure to have bread enough and to spare. And you may be also sure that all your efforts will not so overstock the markets we can offer as to make trade languish, when the thousands now peopling this continent shall become millions, though the Old World should want nothing that you can give. And, then, you have but a doubtful road to the markets of the Old World. For half the year your highway to the ocean and to other lands must be across our territory. Intercolonial railways through unsettled and unproductive countries will not answer the demands of commerce. They will not pay; and, if they would, the interests served ought not to be so burdened where access may be had to readier and cheaper lines of communication.

Does all this imply annexation? Call it what you will. As one of your Canadian statesmen said to the people of a lesser province, "If you do not want us to annex you, we are willing that you should annex us." If you are more conservative than we are, a little conservatism will do[114] us no harm; and the interests you would conserve would be quite as safe under the eagle's beak as under the lion's paw. If one be a bird, the other is surely a beast of prey; and we believe that harmless folk have less to apprehend from one alone than from the jealous rivalries of both.

Of one thing we feel assured: the time is not far distant when the people of this northern half of America will have to adopt a policy so distinct from that of the older nations of Europe that self-preservation will demand a union of power where there is now an evident identity of interests.

It were well that this union should be preceded by such guarantees of existing rights and privileges as might, without specific and just conventions, be open to subsequent question and dispute. And it were also well for governments to direct the march which necessity compels their people to make, rather than incur the risk of finding themselves at variance with those for whose greater good civil government is designed. We do not purpose to discuss the origin or foundation of civil government. It is enough for us to know that man requires and God wills it; and that, in the absence of other and higher sanctions, the best evidence of his will is found in the intelligent, honest consent of the governed. Does any one doubt what the more intelligent and honest people of Canada and the United States require? We do not ask what may be the rôle of the political adventurer, the office-seeker, the government speculator or tuft-hunter. We always know that the end of all their loyalty or patriotism is self. But we ask what is needed for the greater good of the people. Not alone the people of to-day or to-morrow, but of the future as well. How the people of to-day esteem the policy of their lawgivers, may be known by their conduct under it. And the army of government revenue officers and detectives on either side along the frontiers of Canada and "the States" offers sufficient evidence of the esteem in which the laws of trade are held. We know not which is the more corrupt—the law-breakers or the agents of the law; but we do know, from the notoriety of the fact, that the commercial relations now existing between the Canadas and the States are, in effect, so demoralizing, to commercial people and commercial interests, that the laws which propose to govern them were better abrogated than left to offer a premium to chicanery and fraud.

We are neither alarmists nor political propagandists. We have no greedy desire for our neighbor's goods, no fanatical wish to impose our political dogmas or theories upon the people of other states. We but behold and see what is before and around us—and, seeing it, we only give utterance to belief that has grown and strengthened, until scarcely a doubt remains, when we say that we believe the ultimate union of the United States and British America to be inevitable. The time may be more or less distant, the occasion and the means may be as yet undreamed of; but the event seems as certain as the coming of the morrow's sun while the shades of evening gather over and around us. If, unfortunately, war should take the place of peaceful union, the calamity would hardly be less to us than to Canada.

By peaceful union, existing rights of the weaker party are made secure. By war, they are jeopardized and may be lost. But to us, as well as to them, war would be a calamity of such fearful magnitude, that we are[115] constrained to look with hope to the time when the conflicting interests of the Old World shall have no power to disturb the peaceful relations that should always exist between ourselves and our neighbors.


The whole scope of the subject properly comprised under the title "Higher Education" obviously includes all that belongs to every kind of institute of learning above common schools. We have selected this title in order to leave freedom to ourselves to discourse upon any part of the subject we might think proper, although in our first article we limited our remarks to a class of schools intended for that which is more strictly to be designated as intermediate education. We have a few additional remarks to offer upon the same part of our subject, after which we will proceed to throw out a few suggestions upon some of its remaining and still more important portions. We are not attempting to treat these topics fully and minutely, and our observations will be, therefore, brief and desultory.

In regard to the course of studies to be pursued in intermediate schools, it is a question of great practical moment how to arrange the several branches to be taught to the pupils in such a way as to prepare them most efficiently for the future occupations of their lives. The course common to all ought to be made up of those studies which are alike necessary or important to all. In addition to these common studies, certain special branches should be taught, or the distinct branches of the common course more extensively carried out, for distinct classes of pupils, varying these optional studies according to the different occupations for which they are preparing. For instance, a moderate quantity of mathematics and a rudimental, general course of instruction in physical sciences are sufficient for all, except those who will need greater knowledge and practice in them for use in their profession. It is useless to attempt, in these days, education on the encyclopædic principle. The common and solid basis of all education once laid, the more specific it becomes, the better; and for want of good sense and skill in selecting studies, apportioning the relative time and labor given to them, and directing them to a definite end, very great waste and loss are incurred in education.

One other most important point, which we merely notice, is the propriety of providing the most thorough instruction in the modern languages, especially the French, which can more easily be done, as we suppose, in the schools of which we are speaking, that no time whatever, or at most but a moderate amount, is given to the ancient languages. Without going further into details, it is obvious that schools of the intermediate class have an unlimited[116] sphere in which they can give any kind and degree of instruction belonging to the most extensive and liberal education, deducting the classics, and stopping short of the university, properly so called. Nor is there any reason why, if we had universities in the highest sense of the term, the pupils of these schools should not afterward enjoy all the privileges they offer which do not require a knowledge of the ancient languages. We will not say anything on the vexed classical question. Did it seem to be practicable, we should strongly favor making the study of Latin a part of the education of all who go beyond the common rudiments, as well girls as boys, to such an extent that they could understand the divine offices of the church. For all other uses or advantages, we are inclined to think that many pupils who occupy a great deal of time in gaining a very imperfect smattering of Latin and Greek, might better spare it for other studies.[15]

However the question may be eventually settled in regard to the classics as a part of general education, it is certain that they must retain their place in the education of the clergy, and of at least a select portion of those who are destined for other learned pursuits and professions. We shall speak more fully about this part of the subject a little further on. Before leaving the topic of English education, however, we have one or two supplementary observations to make, suggested by the remarks of other writers which we have come across since we began writing the present article.

F. Dalgairns, in an article which he has published in the Contemporary Review, has expressed himself in a manner quite similar to our own respecting the necessity of a return to the scholastic philosophy. His remarks have given us great pleasure, and they furnish one more proof of the tendency toward unity in philosophical doctrine among Catholics which is daily spreading and gaining strength. One observation of his on this head is specially worthy of attention. He says that it is necessary, if we desire to teach the scholastic philosophy to those who have received or are receiving a modern or English education, to translate and explain its terms in the best and most intelligible English. A mere literal translation from Latin text-books will not answer the purpose. This is very true, and we cannot refrain from expressing the wish that the health and occupations of F. Dalgairns may permit him to write an entire series of philosophical essays, like the one he has just published on the Soul, to which we have just referred. Indeed, we know of no one better fitted by intellectual aptitude for metaphysical reasoning and mastery of the requisite art as a writer, to prepare a manual of philosophy for English students.

The Dublin Review has repeated and sanctioned the observations of F. Dalgairns, and has added something to them equally worthy to be noticed—to wit, that our Catholic text-books of logic need to be improved by incorporating into them the results of the more careful and thorough analysis of the laws of logic which has been made by several English writers. It is very true that, although the English metaphysic is a sorry affair, there have been several very acute logicians among modern English thinkers; as, for instance, Mr. Mill, Mr. De Morgan,[117] and Sir William Hamilton. We suppose that the Dublin Review intends to designate the doctrine of what is technically called the "quantification of the predicate" made known by the two authors last mentioned, simultaneously and independently of each other, as a real discovery in logical science, and an addition to Aristotle's laws. We hope the matter will be further discussed, and that not only English and American writers interested in the subject of philosophical teaching will give it their attention, but Continental scholars also. For our own part, our rôle at present is the modest one of giving hints and provoking discussion, and we therefore abstain from going any deeper than a mere scratch of the rich soil we hope to see well dug and planted before long.

From another and very different quarter, we have found within a day or two a corroboration of several opinions we expressed in our first article. Prof. Seeley, of the University of Cambridge, England, in a little volume of essays, noticed by us in another place, advocates the teaching of logic in English schools, dwells on the importance of teaching history after a better method, and sketches out a plan of improving the instruction given in medium schools and universities, which is well worthy of being read and thought over by those who have the direction of education.

But we will turn now to another and still higher department of education, which embraces the courses of study proper to the university and the schools which are preparatory to it. Beginning with that branch of study which must undoubtedly still continue to form an essential and principal branch of the strictly collegiate education, the classics, we do not hesitate to say that this branch, instead of being less, ought to be more thoroughly and completely cultivated. In so far as Latin is concerned, it is evident that those who aim at anything more than the degree of knowledge requisite for understanding better the modern languages, and the terms which are in common use derived from Latin, or, perhaps, for a more intelligent appreciation of church offices, ought to master the language fully, together with its classical literature. The reasons which prove this statement apply with tenfold force to ecclesiastics, for whom Latin ought to be a second mother-tongue. It is not necessary to give these reasons, for they are well known and fully appreciated by all who are concerned with the collegiate or ecclesiastical education of Catholic youth.

The question of Greek is a distinct one. For those who study the classics for the sake of their intrinsic value as works of art, Greek has the precedence of Latin in importance. It is evident, therefore, that a most thorough and extensive course of Greek is necessary for students of this class. Whether such a course ought to be made a part of the obligatory collegiate curriculum of studies, or merely provided for a select class who may choose to enter upon it, we leave to the discretion and judgment of the learned. Undoubtedly, we ought to have a certain number of accomplished Grecians among our men of letters. It is necessary in the interests of ecclesiastical learning that we should have thorough Greek scholars among our clergy. For all useful purposes, however, the value of the amount of Greek actually learned by the majority is exceedingly small, and not to be compared with the practical utility of a knowledge of any one of several modern languages, for example, the German.[118] A clergyman, for instance, who does not aspire to become a learned philologist, but only to make himself acquainted with the labors of the best commentators on the Scripture, will not find it very necessary to be able to read the Septuagint or the Greek New Testament. As for Hebrew, whatever can be learned by a short and superficial course will be almost useless. If he desires to read Aristotle, Plato, or the Greek fathers, for the sake of their sense and ideas, he can do so in the Latin translations without any fear of being led into any erroneous interpretation. The point we are driving at is, that the thorough study of Latin is the most essential thing to be secured in a classical course. Philosophy; a moderate course of mathematics; the English language and literature; the physical sciences, and the modern languages, especially the French, are the other essentials of a complete collegiate course. Whatever time remains will be most usefully employed in the study of history and of modern political and social questions, branches which are certainly essential to a complete liberal education, though for many, or perhaps most, students their thorough cultivation may have to be postponed until after their college course is finished. The improvement of the collegiate education in all these branches, requires, of course, a corresponding improvement in the preparatory schools, since the school and college depend on each other. It is our opinion, in which we are sure that the men most experienced in these matters concur, that those who begin their schooling at the earliest suitable age need to be well trained in an excellent preparatory school until the age of seventeen, before they are fit to profit fully by a high collegiate course. Those who begin later must enter college at a more advanced age, unless they can make up by diligence for lost time, or be content with a shorter course of study. The raising of the conditions for entering college, which can be done gradually, must improve the preparatory schools, and the improvement of these schools will in turn benefit the colleges, by furnishing them with subjects fitted for a higher course of studies.

In saying this, we beg to disavow any intention of undervaluing or finding fault with the colleges and schools at present existing, or the learned and laborious corps of teachers employed in them. They deserve the highest meed of praise and gratitude, and we may well congratulate ourselves on the truly vast work which has been accomplished, at great cost and by dint of great efforts, in the cause of Catholic education in this country. But our motto should ever be, like that of the past generations of laborers in this great cause, "Upward and onward!" We trust, therefore, that all we may say in favor of improvement will be taken as an encouragement and not as a fault-finding criticism—as a friendly suggestion, and not as a presumptuous attempt at dictation.

We have now reached the proper place for speaking of the great necessity of a Catholic University in the United States. A well-conducted college for undergraduates is not a university, though it is often dignified with that name; but is merely one of the principal constituent parts of a university. In regard to the proper constitution, nature, and conduct of a university, much has been written, of late, both in Europe and America. In Europe, those who write on the subject either consider the subject of improvement or reform in universities already existing, or the demands existing in various[119] quarters for the foundation of new ones. These last are chiefly among Catholics, who are extremely alive to this necessity in several countries, but especially in Germany and England. The foundation of a great Catholic University for Germany at the spot which is most appropriate for such a grand undertaking, on account of its hallowed and scholastic memories, Fulda, has been determined. We hope that the efforts to make the Catholic University of Dublin completely successful, and to found another in England, may speedily produce their desired result. In this country, the heads of the older Protestant colleges are considering what measures can be taken to raise these institutions to the level of the universities of Europe. Among the papers which we have read from different quarters on this subject, those of Professor Seeley, of Cambridge, and of one or two professors of Yale College, writing in the New Englander, have especially attracted our attention; and we may have occasion to reproduce some of their remarks or suggestions in the present article. Among the Catholics of the United States, the Germans have manifested what looks like the most serious disposition which has yet shown itself for taking the actual initiative in the movement. We rejoice to see it, and hope they may go on. They are a most respectable body; their energy, wealth, and power of organized action are great. Germany is full of young ecclesiastics of the best education, who are sighing for employment, and competent to fill chairs in all the departments except that of English literature. We have but one precaution to suggest, in case this enterprise is undertaken, which is: that proper care be taken to secure the entire subordination of the corps of governors and teachers to the hierarchy and the Holy See, and to ascertain the strict orthodoxy of the persons called to fill the professorial chairs. We want no followers of Hermes, Döllinger, or any other leader of a German sect in philosophy or theology; and persons of that class whose rôle is played out at home, might be the very first to look out for a new field in which to practise their manœuvres, in a German University in the United States, if they saw a chance of securing in it the desirable position of professors—a position which has special attractions for the German mind.

The Advocate of Louisville has recently spoken out very strongly on the need of a Catholic University in this country; and the topic is frequently broached in conversation, as, indeed, it has been for the last fifteen years. Let the Germans go forward and take the lead if they are able and willing; but this will not lessen the necessity of the same action on the part of the other Catholics of the country, who, we may hope, will be stimulated by the example of a body of men so much smaller in number than themselves. When the time comes for action in this matter, the direction of it will be in higher hands than ours; but, meanwhile, we will indulge ourselves in the at least harmless amusement of sketching an ideal plan of the university as it lies in our own imagination, and of the possible method of making it a reality.

A university is a corporation of learned and studious men who are devoted to the acquisition and communication of science and art in all their higher branches. It may be more or less complete and extensive. In its greatest extension it ought to comprise one or more colleges for undergraduates, schools of all the[120] special professional studies, and a school of the higher and more profound studies in every department of literature and science. It must have a permanent body of learned men residing within its precincts, whose lives are entirely devoted to study and instruction. It must have a vast library; museums of science and antiquities; a gallery of painting, sculpture, and all kinds of artistic works; a complete scientific apparatus, a botanical garden, magnificent buildings, beautiful chapels, and a grand collegiate church, with its chapter of clergymen and perfectly trained choir. It should have, also, a great publishing-house, and issue regularly its periodical reviews and magazines, as well as books, of the first class of excellence in the several distinct departments of science and letters. It must be richly endowed, and well governed, under the supreme control and direction of the hierarchy and the Holy See. A plan combining the chief distinctive features of the Roman University, Oxford, Louvain, and the best universities of France and Germany, with some improvements, would represent the full and complete idea we have in our mind.

When we come to the practical question. What could be done now, at once, toward the beginning of such a colossal undertaking? it is by no means so easy to solve it as it is to sketch the plan of our ideal university. We do not fancy, of course, that such a grand institution as this we have described, or even one similar to the best existing European universities, can be created in a hurry by any speedy or summary process. But if it is commenced now, can it not be brought to completion by the beginning of the twentieth century? It seems to us that in the year 1900 or 1925 we shall need not one only, but three grand Catholic universities in the United States. That we can and ought to begin the work of founding one without delay, we have no doubt. The difficulty is, however, in pointing out a sensible and feasible method of doing well what many or most of us are ready to acknowledge ought to be done quickly. Let us suppose that the requisite authority and the necessary funds are confided to the hands of the proper commission, who are to lay the first stones in the foundation of a university. How should they proceed, and what should they first undertake? As these high powers exist only potentially and in our own imagination, we can be certain that they will not take offence if we presume to offer them our opinion and advice.

What is the first and most obvious want which we seek to satisfy by founding a university? It is the want of a collegiate system of education and discipline superior to the one already existing in our colleges, and equal to any existing elsewhere. The first thing to be done, then, is to select some already existing college, or to establish a new one, as the nucleus of the future university. We will suppose that some one of our best colleges can be found which has the requisite advantages of location, etc., making it an eligible place for a great university. Let measures be taken to place the grade of education and instruction in this college at the highest mark. The first of these measures must be to give it a corps of professors and tutors fully equal to their task, and to make the position of these professors a dignified, honorable, and permanent one. Another measure of immediate necessity would be the total separation of the college from the grammar-school, and the establishment of a system of[121] discipline suitable not for boys but for young men. The mere announcement by sufficiently high authority that such a system would be inaugurated in a college, would draw at once within its walls students enough eager to begin a thorough course of study, to secure the success of the experiment. At first, the course of study already in vogue might be carried on, merely adding to it such branches as would not presuppose a previous preparation not actually possessed by the students. For admission to the class of the next year to come, the conditions might be raised one grade higher, and thus by successive changes, previously made known, the maximum standard might be reached without inconvenience or injustice to any; and the grammar-schools would be enabled and obliged to prepare their pupils expressly for the examination they would have to pass for admittance into the college. The college thus properly planted and cultivated would grow of itself in due time to maturity and perfection. Nothing more is wanted than a good system, fit men to administer it, plenty of money, and a body of youth fit and desirous to be instructed and educated in the best manner. The library, the scientific cabinets, the philosophical apparatus, the buildings, grounds, and other exterior means and appliances, should be provided for as speedily and amply as circumstances would permit.

The second great want, in our opinion, is the provision for ecclesiastical students of the advantages for education which can only be completely furnished by a university, and which cannot, therefore, be fully enjoyed at separate ecclesiastical seminaries. The Little Seminary is only a superior kind of grammar-school, even though it gives instruction in the ancient languages and some other branches to the same extent with a college. The Grand Seminary is, strictly speaking, a college for instruction in theology, although it includes a year or two of that study of philosophy which is only introductory to the theological course. A thorough university course, in which all the instruction preparatory to theology should be finished, would give a more complete and thorough education to young ecclesiastics, fit them much better for their professional studies, and prepare them much more efficaciously for the high position which belongs, by all divine and human right, to the priesthood. This is the way in which the clergy, both secular and regular, were trained during the Middle Ages. The system of separate training came in afterward, and has been kept up by a sort of necessity, chiefly because the universities have become so secularized as to be dangerous places. We have touched, in these last words, the tender spot, which we well know must be handled delicately. The great argument for secluding young ecclesiastics in seminaries entirely separate from secular colleges is, that their morals, their piety, their vocation, are otherwise endangered. We reply to this by a suggestion intended to do away with the objection to a university life, and at the same time to show how its advantages may be secured. Let both systems be combined. Let there be a college exclusively intended for young ecclesiastics, in which they shall be kept under the discipline of the Little Seminary, at the university. The Little Seminary will then take its place as a separate grammar-school for boys who are intended for the ecclesiastical state. From this school they can pass, not before their seventeenth year, to the college at the university,[122] and they will have seven years still remaining in which to finish their education, before they arrive at the canonical age for ordination to the priesthood. It seems to us that the separate college is a sufficient security for the morals, piety, and vocation of any young man above seventeen years of age who is fit to be a priest in this country outside of the walls of a monastery. Moreover, we are speaking about a model Catholic university, which, we should hope, would not be so extremely dangerous a place for young men. We have never heard that Louvain is considered in that light by the clergy of Belgium, and the glimpse we had of a large body of the Louvain students at Malines during the session of the Congress of 1867, gave us the most favorable impression of their virtuous character.

The university should also be the seat of the principal Grand Seminary, and of a school of Higher Theology. The reasons for locating the place of education for ecclesiastics at a university apply to all the grades of their distinct schools above that of the grammar-school with nearly equal force, and they are very weighty in their nature. They concern in part the professors and in part the students. So far as the former are concerned, it is evident that they would derive the greatest advantage from the facilities for study and intercourse with learned men afforded by the university, and would exercise the most salutary influence over the professors in the departments of philosophy and secular science. One great end of the university is to collect together a great body of learned men devoted to the pursuit of universal science; and it is obvious that this cannot be successfully accomplished unless the ecclesiastical colleges are included within the corporation.

In regard to the students, it seems plain enough that all that part of their course which precedes theology can be much more thoroughly carried on at a university of the highest class than at a Little Seminary, especially if these seminaries are numerous and therefore necessarily limited in numbers and all kinds of means for improvement. A concentration of the endowments, the instructors, and the pupils in one grand institution, makes it possible to give a much better and higher kind of education, and saves a great deal of labor besides. It is especially, however, in relation to the lectures on physical science, and the cultivation of other general branches distinct from the routine of class recitations, that the university has the advantage over the seminary. The students of theology, moreover, can receive great benefit from lectures of this kind, and from the libraries, museums, cabinets, etc., which a great university will possess, as well as from the greater ability and learning which men chosen to fill the chairs of sacred science in such an institution are likely to have, in comparison with those who can be made available for giving instruction in many of the smaller seminaries. Over and above all these advantages for actually gaining a greater amount of knowledge, there is the immense advantage to be gained of bringing up together and binding into one intellectual brotherhood our most highly educated Catholic youth. There is something in the atmosphere and the surroundings of a great university which quickens and enlarges the intellectual life; brightens the faculties; trains the mind for its future career, and fits it to act in society and upon men. The alma mater is a centre of influences and associations lasting[123] through life. The learned men residing there, and their pupils in all professions, are bound together by sacred ties, which are not only a cause of pleasure to them in future years, but of great power for good in the community. Such a university as we have described would in twenty-five years produce a body of alumni who would intellectually exert a great influence over the Catholic community throughout the United States, and make themselves respected by all classes of educated men. The clergy ought to retain the first place and a commanding influence among this body of educated Catholics. For this purpose, it seems to us that they ought to be educated with them, and look to the same university as their alma mater.

We see no reason, moreover, why the religious orders and congregations should not share and co-operate in the labors and advantages of this great enterprise. The smaller congregations find the suitable education of their postulants a difficult task. One or more colleges at a university, where these students could reside by themselves, under their own rule and superior, but receiving their instruction from the university professors, would solve this difficulty. The older and more numerous religious societies have greater facilities for educating their students, and are governed by their own old and peculiar traditions. We will not presume so far as to give them any suggestions from our modern brain in regard to matters in which they have the experience of from one to six centuries. It strikes us, however, as a very pleasing and quite mediæval idea, that our proposed grand university, which we may as well make as splendid as possible while it remains purely ideal, should have its Dominican, Jesuit, Sulpician, and Lazarist colleges. There is no reason why such colleges should not make constituent parts of the university, each one having its own laws and regulating its own internal affairs according to its own standards.

We will say nothing about the law, medical, scientific, and artistic schools which a university ought to have to make it complete.

We have only attempted to show how a university might be started on its career. Once really alive and in motion, the rest would be more easily provided for. Undoubtedly, a vast sum of money would be requisite for such an undertaking. Our wealthy Catholics would have to exercise a princely liberality, and the whole mass of the people would be obliged to contribute generously for many years in succession. We must admire the remarkable instances of princely liberality in the cause of general education recently given by Mr. Peabody, Mr. Cornell, and a considerable number of other wealthy gentlemen in the United States, whose benefactions to colleges and schools have been frequent and munificent. Let us have one-twentieth part of the money expended on education by other religious or learned societies, and we will show again what we did in former ages, when we founded Oxford, Cambridge, St. Gall, Bec, Paris, Salamanca, Fulda, Louvain, Cologne, Pavia, Padua, Bologna, and the other famous schools of the middle ages. What more important or more glorious work can be proposed to the Catholics of the United States than this? We know what our Catholic youth are, for we have spent much time in giving them both scholastic and religious instruction. What can be more ingenuous, bright, and promising than their character—more capable of being moulded[124] and formed to everything that is virtuous and noble? They contain the material which only needs the proper formation to produce a new and better age, which we fervently hope is already beginning to dawn. As the Alcuins, Lanfrancs, and other illustrious fathers of education in former times were among the principal agents in producing epochs of new life, so those who take up their work now in our own country, and throughout Christendom, will be among the principal benefactors of the church and the human race, and deserve for themselves a most honorable crown.

Our topic in the present article has led us to present almost exclusively and in strong light the advantages to be derived from a university and from university education, in relation both to the ecclesiastical state and secular professions. To prevent mistake, we add in conclusion, that we do not desire or anticipate the suppression or merging into one institution of all our colleges and seminaries. It is scarcely possible that all the students of this vast country should be educated in one place. The necessity for other colleges and seminaries will of itself create or continue them. The university will give them an example and model to follow, will furnish those not already amply provided for from the bosom of old and learned religious orders with professors, will give those who desire it a chance to complete their studies after leaving college by residing for a time within its walls, and will reign as a queen among lesser institutions, giving tone, character, and uniformity to the scientific and literary community of Catholic scholars throughout the country. There are doubtless certain respects in which the universities of Europe must always have an advantage over any institution we can hope to found in this new country. Some, or even many, will always have a longing for a residence abroad in these ancient seats of learning, which they may and ought to gratify, when it lies in their power to do so. Above all other places, Rome must ever draw to her those who desire to drink faith, piety, and knowledge from their fountain-head. And, if a better age is really coming, not only will the Pope necessarily be secured in a more tranquil and firm possession of his temporal kingdom in all the extent which he justly claims, that he may govern the church with all the plenitude of his supremacy, but also that the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Church may give to her institutions of learning an amplitude and splendor which they have never yet attained. Planets are nevertheless necessary as well as a sun in a system, and so also are satellites. However ample and extensive the provisions made at Rome may be for educating a select portion of the clergy of all countries, they can never make it unnecessary to provide also in every country for the best and highest education of its own clergy. So far as we can see, every reason and consideration cries out imperatively for the speedy foundation of a Catholic University in the United States.



Ye nations of earth, give ear, give ear,
From Holy Writ comes the warning true,
The voice of the ancient captive seer
Through the dim-aisled centuries reaches you.
Thus saith the seer: "Ye have lifted high
Against his altar your impious hand;
From the Lord's spoiled house is heard the cry,
'Destruction swift to this guilty land.'"
But a deeper than Belshazzar's wrong
Veils the light of these mournful years,
And many an eye in the saintly throng
Turns from the earth bedimmed with tears.
The Holy City by promise given,
A precious dower to the spotless bride,
Is trodden by feet outlawed, unshriven,
And her streets with martyrs' blood are dyed.
The crown that ever has fallen as light
On holy brows, from the Hand above,
Has been torn away by sinful might
From him whose rule was a father's love.
The deed was by one; the sin by all;
By ay, or by silence, ye gave assent;
Ye saw the shrine to the spoiler fall,
Nor hand ye lifted, nor aid ye lent.
O nations of earth! give ear, give ear,
From Holy Writ comes the warning true,
The voice of the ancient captive seer,
From the far-off ages, speaks to you!



It is curious to remark the various and apparently incongruous substances which men, in their efforts to preserve knowledge or transmit ideas, have used as writing materials. The animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms have each and all been laid under contribution. In every land and in every age, stone and marble have been employed to perpetuate the remembrance of the great deeds of history. Inscriptions cut in jasper, cornelian, and agate are to be met with in every collection of antiquities. A cone of basalt covered with cuneiform characters was found some years since in the river Euphrates, and is now preserved in the Imperial Library of Paris, side by side with the sun-baked bricks on which the Babylonian astronomers were wont during seven centuries to inscribe their observations on the starry heavens.

The Romans made books of bronze, in which they engraved the concessions granted to their colonies; and they preserved on tablets and pillars of the same durable material the decrees and treaties of the senate, and sometimes, even, the speeches of their emperors.

"The Bœotians," says the learned Greek geographer Pausanias, "showed me a roll of lead on which was inscribed the whole work of Hesiod, but in characters that time had nearly effaced."

"Who will grant me," cries Job, "that my words may be written? who will grant me that they may be marked down in a book? With an iron pen and in a plate of lead, or else be graven with an instrument in flintstone?" (xix. 23 24.)

Tanned skins were likewise employed for writing purposes by the Asiatics, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Celts. In the Brussels library there is to be seen a manuscript of the Pentateuch, believed to be anterior to the ninth century, written on fifty-seven skins sewed together, and forming a roll more than thirty-six yards long.

The custom of writing on leathern garments appears to have been prevalent during the middle ages. The great Italian poet, Petrarch, used to wear a leathern vest, on which, while sitting or sauntering near the shaded margin of the fountain of Vaucluse, he would note each passing thought, each poetic fancy. This precious relic, covered with erasures, still existed in 1527.

We read, too, of a certain abbot who strictly enjoined his monks, if they happened to meet with any of the works of St. Athanasius, to transcribe the precious volumes on their clothes, should paper be unattainable.

The use of prepared sheep-skin, that is, parchment, dates from about a hundred and fifty years before the Christian era; its Latin name, pergamena, is very evidently derived from Pergamos, but whether because invented there, or because it was more perfectly prepared in that city than elsewhere, is a question not yet decided. Besides white and yellow parchment, the ancients employed purple, blue, and violet. These dark shades were intended to be written on with gold and silver ink. Several very beautiful manuscripts of this description are to be seen in the Imperial Library of Paris. Parchment manuscripts were sometimes of great[127] size; thus, the roll containing the inquiry concerning the Knights Templars, which is still preserved in the archives of France, is full twenty-three yards long.

Parchment became very scarce during the invasions of the barbarians, and this scarcity gave rise to the custom of effacing the characters of ancient manuscripts in order to write a second time on the skin. This unfortunate practice, most prevalent among the Romans, and which was continued until the invention of rag paper, has occasioned the loss of many literary and scientific treasures. The primitive characters of some few of these doubly-written manuscripts, or palimpsests, as they are called, have been restored by chemical science, and several valuable works recovered; among others, for instance, Cicero's admirable treatise on the Republic.

Even the intestines of animals have been used as writing material. The magnificent library of Constantinople, burnt under the Emperor of the East, Basiliscus, is said to have contained, among its other curiosities, the Iliad and the Odyssey, traced in letters of gold on the intestine of a serpent. This rare specimen of caligraphy measured one hundred and twenty feet.

The most ancient inscribed characters we possess are upon wood. A sycamore tablet containing an engraved inscription was discovered, about thirty years since, in one of the Memphis pyramids; the learned Egyptologist who deciphered it pronounced it to have been in existence some five thousand nine hundred years! The Chinese, also, before they invented paper two thousand years ago, wrote upon wood and bamboo. Many oriental nations still make books of palm-leaves, on which the characters are scratched with a sharp-pointed instrument. The Syracusans of bygone times used to write their votes on an olive-leaf. The modern Maldivians trace their hopes, fears, and wishes on the gigantic foliage of their favorite tree, the makareko, of which each leaf is a yard long and half a yard wide. The Imperial Library of Paris, rich in all that is rare and interesting, possesses several ancient leaf manuscripts, some beautifully varnished and gilt.

In Rome, before the use of bronze tables and columns, the laws were engraven on oak boards. "The annals of the pagan high-priests," says a French writer, "which related day by day the principal events of the year, were probably written with black ink on an album, that is, a wooden plank whitened with white-lead. These annals ceased a hundred and twenty years before Christ, but the use of the album was kept up some time longer." The Romans also wrote their wills on wood.

Linen cloth covered with writing has been found in most of the mummy-cases that have been opened. The Egyptian Museum in the Louvre contains several rituals on cloth. The Sibylline Oracles were traced on cloth. The first copy of the Emperor Aurelian's journal that was made after his death was written on cloth, and is still preserved in the Library of the Vatican. On cloth were written also some of the edicts of the first Christian emperors.

No certain epoch can be ascribed to the fabrication of paper from the papyrus reed. The celebrated French savant, Champollion the younger, discovered during his travels in Egypt several contracts written on papyrus, which by their date must have been drawn up seventeen hundred years B.C.

Egypt appears to have kept the monopoly[128] of the papyrus paper trade. The principal manufactories of it were situated at Alexandria, and so important an article of commerce did it become that a dearth of papyrus was the cause of several popular disturbances in some of the great cities of Italy and Greece. Under the Emperor Tiberius, a scarcity in the supply produced so formidable a riot in Rome, that the senate was compelled to take measures similar to those necessary in years of famine, and actually had to name commissaries, whose duty it was to distribute to each citizen the quantity of writing-paper he absolutely required.

The papyrus reed seems indeed to have been ancient Egypt's greatest material blessing, for not only was it the principal article of foreign commerce and source of immense wealth in the form of paper, but it was also of the most extraordinary utility to the poorer classes. Household utensils of every description were fabricated from its roots; boats were constructed of its stem; roofing, sail-cloth, ropes, and clothes were made of its bark; and from the appellation of "eaters of papyrus," often applied to the Egyptians by the Greeks, some have thought that it was a common article of food. How extraordinary does it then seem that a plant of such inestimable value should ever have disappeared from a land which derived such benefits from it. Nevertheless, it is a singular fact that the papyrus is no longer to be found in Egypt; recent travellers assure us that not a stalk is to be seen at the present day in the Delta. Sicily alone now possesses the beautiful reed.

We are ignorant of the exact period of the introduction of the papyrus paper into Greece and Italy, but Pliny has left us copious details concerning the manipulations it underwent among the Romans. Sizing was then, as it is now, one of the most important operations in paper-making. The membranous covering of the stem of the papyrus reed was far from being of a firm, compact texture, and the Alexandrian factories probably sent it forth very imperfectly prepared. The best quality of paper was made by gluing together, with starch and vinegar, two sheets of papyrus, one transversely to the other, and then sizing them. These sheets were sometimes of considerable dimensions; documents have been discovered written on paper three yards in length.

Those true lovers of literature, art, and science, the Athenians, raised a statue to Philtatius—to him who first taught them the secret of sizing paper!

It is a curious fact that, about thirty years since, the vegetable size used by the ancient Egyptians was introduced, with some slight improvement, as a new discovery, into the paper manufactories of France, and has now almost entirely abolished the use of animal size in that country for all purposes connected with the fabrication of paper.

About the fourth century, the Arabs made Europe acquainted with cotton paper, just then invented in Damascus, thereby causing a great diminution in the papyrus trade. A long struggle ensued between the rival productions, which was only put an end to at the commencement of the twelfth century, by the invention of paper manufactured from flaxen and hempen refuse. The papyrus disappeared at once and completely; soon forgotten by commerce, but immortal in the remembrance of poets and sages—immortal as the pages of Cicero and Virgil, whose sweet and eloquent thoughts were first traced on Egypt's reed.

Until the present time, this flaxen[129] and hempen rag paper has been produced in sufficient quantities for the necessities of our civilization, but as civilization increases, and as education becomes more general, especially among the masses of Europe, it is evident that the supply of rags will be inadequate to the demand, and wood will most probably again be brought into requisition, as in the age of Pericles.

Not, however, in the form of the ancient tablets, but transformed by mechanical and chemical science into sheets of white and pliant paper; or the numerous fibrous plants of Algeria, Cuba, and other tropical countries will be turned to account, and no longer permitted to waste their usefulness on the desert air. Even now, in France, among the Vosges Mountains, there is a paper manufactory where wood is manipulated with the most complete success. And some few years since, a newspaper paragraph informed the civilized world that a process of making paper from marble had been discovered by a canny Scotchman of Glasgow! It is not, indeed, impossible that the marble painfully hewn and engraven by our forefathers to perpetuate the memory of a bloody struggle or of some vain triumph, may in time to come, by the magic power of modern science, become a sheet of snowy tissue, whereon the fair, slight hand of beauty shall trace the dainty nothings of fashionable life!

The tablets so continually mentioned by ancient writers must be noted. They were made of parchment, thin boards, ivory, or metal, prepared to receive ink, or coated with wax and written on with a stylus, or sharp-pointed pencil. In the Fourth Book of Kings we read: "I will efface Jerusalem as tables are wont to be effaced, and I will erase and turn it, and draw the pencil over the face thereof." Herodotus and Demosthenes speak of their tablets. In Rome, they were used not only as note-books and journals, but also for correspondence in the city and its environs, while the papyrus served for letters intended to be sent to a distance. The receiver of one of these notes not unfrequently returned his answer on the same tablet. Made of African cypress and highly ornamented and inlaid, they were given as presents, precisely as portfolios, souvenirs, and note-books are nowadays. On the wax-covered tablets was generally traced the first rough copy of any document, to be afterward neatly written out either on papyrus or parchment. These wax-covered tablets were used in France until the beginning of the last century.

Two-leaved tablets were called diptychs, and were sometimes of extraordinary cost and beauty. The Roman consuls and high magistrates were accustomed, on their first appointment to office, to present their friends with ivory diptychs, exquisitely engraved and carved, and ornamented with gold.

Ancient ink was composed of lamp-black and gum-water. Pliny says that the addition of a little vinegar rendered it ineffaceable, and that a little wormwood infused in it preserved the manuscript from mice. This ink was used until the twelfth century, when our present common ink was invented.

Not only black, but also red, blue, green, and yellow inks were employed in antiquity. Sepia ink and Indian ink are mentioned by Pliny. Red ink, made from a murex, was especially esteemed, and reserved for the emperor's exclusive use, under pain of death to all infringers of the privilege. Gold and silver inks, principally[130] used from the eighth to the tenth centuries, were also prized; writers in gold, termed chrysographers, formed a class apart among writers in general. The Imperial Library of Paris possesses several Greek Gospels, and the Livre des Heures of Charles the Bold, entirely written in gold. Few manuscripts are extant written in silver; the most celebrated are the Gospels, preserved in the Upsal Library.

The stylus, a dangerous weapon when made in iron, and proscribed by Roman law, which required it to be of bone; the painting brush, used still by the Chinese; the reed, which was cut and shaped like our modern pen, and with which some oriental nations write even now; and the feather pen, which is mentioned by an anonymous writer of the fifth century, were the general writing implements of antiquity and the middle ages. Metallic pens are also supposed to have been known; the Patriarchs of Constantinople were accustomed to sign their official acts with a silver reed, probably of the form of a pen.

Some paintings found in Herculaneum give evidence that the ancients were accustomed to make use of most, if not of all the various conveniences with which modern writers surround themselves. The writing-desk, the inkstand, the penknife, the eraser, the hone, and the powder-box were well-known. They do not seem, however, to have had the habit of sitting up to a table to write, but rested their tablet or paper on their knee, or on their left hand, as the orientals do at the present day.



Well, sirs, Doña Fortuna and Don Dinero were so in love that you never saw one without the other. The bucket follows the rope, and Don Dinero followed Doña Fortuna till folks began to talk scandal. Then they made up their minds to get married.

Don Dinero was a big swollen fellow, with a head of Peruvian gold, a belly of Mexican silver, legs of the copper of Segovia, and shoes of paper from the great factory of Madrid.[17]

Doña Fortuna was a mad-cap, without faith or law, very slippery, uncertain, and queer, and blinder than a mole.

The pair were at cross purposes before they had finished the wedding-cake. The woman wanted to take the command, but this did not suit Don Dinero, who was of an overbearing and haughty disposition. Why, sirs! my father (may glory be his rest!) used to say that if the sea were to get married he would lose his fierceness. But Don Dinero was more proud than the sea and did not lose his presumption.

As both wished to be first and best, and neither would consent to be last or least, they determined to [131]decide by a trial which of the two had the more power.

"Look," said the wife to the husband, "do you see, down there in the hollow of that olive-tree, that poor man so discouraged and chop-fallen? Let's try whether you or I can do more for him."

The husband agreed, and they went right away, he croaking, and she with a jump, and took up their quarters by the tree.

The man, who was a wretch that had never in his whole life seen either of them, opened eyes like a pair of great olives when the two appeared suddenly in front of him.

"God be with you!" said Don Dinero.

"And with his grace's worship also," replied the poor man.

"Don't you know me?"

"I only know his highness to serve him."

"You have never seen my face?"

"Never since God made me."

"How is that—have you nothing?"

"Yes, sir; I have six children as naked as colts, with throats like old stocking-legs; but, as to property, I have only grab and swallow, and often not that."

"Why don't you work?"

"Why? Because I can't find work, and I'm so unlucky that everything I undertake turns out as crooked as a goat's horn. Since I married, it appears as though a frost had fallen on me. I'm the fag of ill-hap. Now, here—a master set us to dig him a well for a price, promising doubloons when it should be finished, but giving not a single maravedi[18] beforehand."

"The master was wise," remarked Don Dinero. "'Money taken, arms broken,' is a good saying. Go on, my man."

"I put my soul in the work; for, notwithstanding your worship sees me looking so forlorn, I am a man, sir."

"Yes," said Don Dinero, "I had perceived that."

"But there are four kinds of men, señor. There are men that are men; there are good-for-naughts; and contemptible monkeys; and men that are below monkeys, and not worth the water they drink. But, as I was telling you, the deeper we dug, the lower down we went, but the fewer signs we found of water. It appeared as if the centre of the world had been dried. Lastly, and finally, we found nothing, señor, but a cobbler."

"In the bowels of the earth!" exclaimed Don Dinero, indignant at hearing that his ancestral palace was so meanly inhabited.

"No, señor!" said the man deprecatingly; "not in the bowels; further on, in the country of the other tribe."

"What tribe, man?"

"The antipodes, señor."

"My friend, I am going to do you a favor," said Don Dinero pompously; and he put a dollar in the man's hand.

The man hardly credited his eyes; joy lent wings to his feet, he was not long in arriving at a baker's shop and buying bread, but, when he went to take out his money, he found nothing in his pocket but the hole through which his dollar had gone without saying good-by.

The poor fellow was in despair; he looked for it, but when did one of his sort ever find anything? No; St. Anthony guards the pig that is destined for the wolf. After the money he lost time, and after time patience, and, that lost, he fell to casting[132] after his bad luck every curse that ever opened lips.

Doña Fortuna strained herself with laughing. Don Dinero's face turned yellower with bile, but he had no remedy except to put his hand in his pocket and bring out an onza[19] to give the man.

The poor fellow was so full of joy that it leaped out of his eyes. He did not go for bread this time, but hurried to a dry-goods store to buy a few clothes for his wife and children. When he handed the onza to pay for what he had bought, the dealer said, and stuck to it, that the piece was bad; that no doubt its owner was a coiner of false money, and that he was going to give him up to justice. On hearing this, the poor man was confounded, and his face became so hot that you might have toasted beans on it; but he took to his heels and ran to tell Don Dinero what had happened, weeping the while with shame and disappointment.

Doña Fortuna nearly burst herself with laughing, and Don Dinero felt the mustard rising in his nose.[20] "Here," said he to the poor man, "take these two thousand reals; your luck is truly bad; but if I don't mend it, my power is less than I think."

The man set off so delighted that he saw nothing until he flattened his nose against some robbers. They left him as his mother brought him into the world.

When his wife chucked him under the chin and said it was her turn, and it would soon be seen which had the more power, the petticoats or the breeches, Don Dinero looked more shame-faced than a clown.

She then went to the poor man, who had thrown himself on the ground and was tearing his hair, and blew on him. At the instant the lost dollar lay under his hand. "Something is something," he said to himself; "I'll buy bread for my children, for they have gone three days on half a ration, and their stomachs must be as empty as a charity-box."

As he passed before the shop where he had bought the clothes, the dealer called him in, and begged of him to overlook his previous rudeness; said that he had really believed the onza to be a bad one, but that the assayer, who happened to stop as he passed that way, had assured him that it was one of the very best, rather over than under weight, in fact. He asked leave to return the piece, and the clothes besides, which he begged him to accept as an expression of sorrow for the annoyance he had caused him.

The poor man declared himself satisfied, loaded his arms with the things; and, if you will believe me, as he was crossing the plaza, some soldiers of the civil guard were bringing in the highwaymen that had robbed him. Immediately, the judge, who was one of the judges God sends, made them restore the two thousand reals without costs or waste. The poor man, in partnership with a neighbor of his, put his money in a mine. Before they had dug down six feet they struck a vein of gold, another of lead, and another of iron. Right away people began to call him Don, then "You Sir," then Your Excellency. Since that time Doña Fortuna has had her husband humbled and shut up in her shoe, and she, more addle-pated and indiscriminating than ever, goes on distributing her favors without rhyme or reason,[133] without judgment or discretion—madly, foolishly, generously, hit or miss, like the blows of the blind stick; and one of them will reach the writer, if the reader is pleased with the tale.


My brothers, ye are sad, and my sisters, ye are poor,
But once was holy poverty the cloak that angels wore;
My fathers, ye are lame, and my children, pale ye be,
But in every face, by his dear grace, that blessed Lord I see
Who brother is and father is, and all things, unto me.
In the sigh of sick men's prayers, in the woeful leper's eye,
In the pangs of wicked men, in the groans of them that die,
Thy voice I hear, thine eye I see, thy thought doth hedge me in.
Oh! may thy sinner bear thy stripes for them that toil in sin,
And with thy ransomed suffering ones find me my choicest kin.
For, whether down to pious rest on these bare stones I lie,
Or if at last upon thy cross triumphantly I die,
The joy of thee, the praise of thee, is more than all reward;
For holy misery doth most with heavenly bliss accord:
All ways are sweet, all wounds are dear, to them that seek the Lord.
I made a harp to praise the Lord with ever-glorious strain;
I tuned a harp to praise my God, and all its strings were pain:
Its song was like to fire, but sweet its keenest agony,
And thus in every tune and tear its burden seemed to be,
"So great is the joy that I expect, all pain is joy to me."
Through all the weary world do I an exiled orphan roam,
Yet for thy sake were desert cave a palace and a home;
And birds, and flowers, and stars are lights to read thy Scripture by,
And earth is but a comment rude unto thy wondrous sky,
The which to reach, my soul must teach earth's body how to die.
With thy wayfaring ones my crust I've broken by the brooks,
When flowers were as our children fair, our comrades were the oaks,
And wildest forests for thy praise were churches, choirs, and clarks—
Such house and kindred doth he find who to thy wisdom harks.
Praise ye the Lord, ye spirits small—my sisters sweet, the larks!
The untented air is home for me who in thy promise sleep,
Or wake to find thee ever nigh, and still my sins to weep;
[134] And holy poverty's disguise is pleasant to thine eye;
Yea, richer garb was never worn, that treasures may not buy,
Since thou hast clad me with thy love, and clothed me with the sky.
Oh! could I for one moment's light thy heavenly body see,
All joy were pain, all pain were joy, all toil were bliss to me.
I would give mine eyes for weeping, and my blood should flow like wine,
To purchase in that sight of bliss one blessed look of thine,
Who hath ransomed with a crown of pain this sinful soul of mine!
My brethren, ye are poor, but as children ye are wise,
Who wander through the wilderness in quest of paradise.
O little children! seek the Lord, wherever he may be,
Whose blessed face by his dear grace on every side I see,
Who brother is, who father is, and all things, unto ye.


Rome, Jan. 21, 1871.

Four months have gone by since the Italian troops entered Rome through the breach made by the cannon of Cadorna, four months since a new light dawned upon the Eternal City, and its regenerators set about the accomplishment of their aspirations. What has been the development of this third life of Rome—la terza vita, as Terenzio Mamiani has been pleased to style it—in this its primal stage? The child is father to the man—the seed produces the tree and its fruit. So, too, do the beginnings of a political state give an index of its future, fix the causes that are to produce the results of the future. The history of these four months, then, must be looked on with interest, and pondered with care.

The present century is universally considered an age of progress, and it was in the name of progress that the forces of Victor Emmanuel entered the capital of Christianity. Progress implies motion from one state or condition to another more perfect: the simplicity of this statement cannot be gainsaid, and we shall assume it as uncontested. The party of progress took possession of Rome in the interest of progress. Has Rome progressed during these months since the 20th of September? Has she gone from her past state to one more perfect? Facts must speak; and facts we give. One thing at a time.

Abundance and cheapness of food are the first essentials in the well-being of a state, and necessarily connected with this is the facility of obtaining it. We cannot say that food is scarce in Rome; but the absolute and the relative cheapness have undergone a decided change, to the disadvantage of the poorer as well as the wealthier classes, since the 20th of September. The mocinato, or so-called grist-tax, extending even to the grinding of dried vegetables, chestnuts, and acorns, has sent up[135] the price of bread. Salt has risen at least a cent per pound. The further application of the system of heavy taxation is not likely to make other articles of prime necessity cheaper. And while this state of things exists, the facility of obtaining food has become much less for the poorer classes. The causes of this are to be sought in the want of employers. It is the universal complaint that there is no work. Before the coming of the present rulers, the army of the Pope, composed in great part of young men of some means, spent a great deal among the people. This source of gain ceased with the disbandment of the Papal troops, for it is notorious lippis et tonsoribus, that the men of the present contingent have barely enough daily allowance to keep body and soul together. Besides this, ecclesiastics spent their revenues, fixed by law and sure, with a liberal hand. Now, when they find difficulty in getting even what they cannot be deprived of; now that confiscation hangs over their heads with menacing aspect; now that religious orders are called on to make immense outlays to send their young men to places of safety—in one case to the extent of six thousand dollars—it would be foolish to expect them to sacrifice what is necessary for themselves; though, to do them justice, they are always willing to share their little with the poor. Dearth of foreign ecclesiastics, and of foreigners in general, is another source of distress, and this is directly a consequence of the invasion. The result of all this is that there is more misery in the city of Rome than has been seen for many a day—beggars are more numerous in the streets, and needy families, ashamed to beg, suffer in silence or pour their tale of woe into the ear of the clergy, who always are honored with the confidence of the poor and afflicted. Surely this state of things is not an improvement on the plenty which characterized the rule of the pontiffs. We cannot say Rome in this respect has moved into a better sphere—that she has progressed.

Security of person and property is another essential object of the attention of every state. No state that cannot guarantee this is deserving of the name of having a good government. Under the Papal rule, it is well known that not only in Rome did good order prevail, as the immense multitude present at the Œcumenical Council can attest, but that also on the frontiers of the territories governed by the Pope, after the withdrawal of the French troops from Veroli and Anagni, the energy displayed by the Roman delegate was such as to liberate completely the provinces from the bands sprung from the civil strifes of southern Italy. The city of Rome itself was a model of good order and of personal safety. Now things are changed. Only a few days ago, a "guardia di pubblica sicurezza" was stopped in the streets and robbed of his watch and revolver. There is not a day that has not in the daily papers its record of thefts and acts of personal violence. Only a few days ago, there was a sacrilegious robbery in the Church of St. Andrea della Valle. On the 8th of December there was rioting with bloodshed in Rome. A band of young students under the charge of a religious were stoned on Sunday, January 15. On the 16th, the Very Rev. Rector of the "Ospizio degli Orfanelli" was struck with a stone. It would be easy to multiply examples, but those we have given are quite enough to show that progress in security of person and property has not been attained since the 20th of September, 1870.

Then public morality in the centre of Christianity could not fail to be at a far higher standard, now that the regeneration of the city of Rome has been accomplished. What bitter illusions fortune delights in dispensing to those that trust her! Before the entrance of Italian statesmen into Rome, vice and immorality did not dare raise their heads—they could[136] not flaunt themselves on the public ways. Now there is a change, and the moral order of Italy has entered through the breach at the Porta Pia. We say no more, the subject is a delicate one, and we therefore refrain from penning facts notorious in Rome. Surely, none who has received even an elementary training in virtue will deem this state of things progress—an elevation to a higher and more perfect state.

But the King of Italy came to Rome to protect the independence of the Sovereign Pontiff, to save him from the bondage of foreign hordes. Now, as the Pope is principally a spiritual sovereign, it is his spiritual power that most needs protection; consequently, the King of Italy and his faithful servants have been most zealous in preventing acts or publications that would tend to diminish the respect due to the Holy Father.

Incomprehensible, but true—the very opposite has taken place! We have at hand the satirical paper, the Don Pirlone Figlio, of January 19. On its first page is a ridiculous adaptation of the heading used by the cardinal vicar in his official notifications to the faithful. The same page has an article grossly disrespectful to the Sovereign Pontiff, and insulting to the Belgian deputation, who have just come on to present the protest of their countrymen, and their contributions. The Holy Father is styled Giovanni Mastai detto Colui ex-disponibile anche lui; the members of the deputation are given ridiculous names; and the contributors of Peter Pence are blackbirds caught in a cage; finally, a ridiculous discourse is put in the mouth of the Pope, concluding with a benediction. The illustration represents Pius IX. with a boot in his hand, in the act of giving it to the Emperor of Germany, who figures as a cobbler. Such are the illustrations and articles one sees exposed to the public day by day. When we who have seen Rome under far different circumstances witness these things, is it at all strange that we refuse to see "the general respect shown to ecclesiastics in the exercise of their sacred functions," even though on the faith of a Lamarmora it be asserted to exist? Can we be blamed for thinking that anything but progress in veneration of religion has been the result of the taking of Rome?

After this, any of the advantages arising from the occupation of Rome can have no weight sufficient to warrant much attention—for they must be, as they are, material and of a low order—chiefly regarding facility of communication and despatch in business matters, things desirable in themselves, but, it would seem, purchased at a fearful sacrifice.

Is this state of things to continue? Is the Italian kingdom on such a permanent basis that the Papacy has no hope of a change that may give it back its possessions? Or can the kingdom of Italy be brought to make restitution of what it has seized, without itself undergoing destruction? A word in reply to each of these queries. And first, is this state of things to continue?

When we consider who the Sovereign Pontiff is, and consult the opinions of men famed for their foresight and statesmanship, it is difficult to deny that the restoration of the Pontiff to his rights is very possible. Napoleon Bonaparte, although he afterwards made Pius VII. his prisoner, left recorded his opinion that it was impossible that the Pope should be the subject of any one sovereign, and that it was providential the head of the church had been given the possession of a small state to secure his independence. M. Thiers, in commendation of whom we need say nothing, as his reputation is world-wide, has clearly and forcibly proclaimed this very opinion. In the debates on the temporal power in the French Senate, in 1867, his voice was heard calling on France to protect Rome, and it was his energy forced from the hypocritical[137] government of his country the famous word, uttered by Rouher, that struck terror into Italy—"Jamais." One would imagine that now Rome has fallen, and France is reduced to the verge of desperation, no man of "liberal" political views would be foolhardy enough to risk his reputation by reiterating an opinion like this. Yet, strange to say, there is one who has been willing to run the risk, and that in the very Chamber of Deputies at Florence. Only a few weeks ago, the Deputy Toscanelli, a liberal, and, we learn, a free-thinker, with a courage, a strength of argument, and flow of wit that gained the respect and attention of the house, almost in the words of M. Thiers gave the same opinion. In the days of the last of the Medici, said the distinguished deputy, there was a court-jester riding a spirited horse down the Via Calzaioli, in Florence. The horse got the better of his rider, and started off at full speed. "Ho! Sor Fagioli," cried out one of the crowd, "where are you going to fall?" "No one knows or can know," was the jester's answer, as he held on with both hands. Just so is it with the government; it has mounted a policy that is running away with it, and neither it nor any one else knows where it is going to fall. The government has gone to Rome, and in Rome it cannot stay; it cannot hold its own face to face with the Pope. "I give you, then, this advice: leave Rome, declare it a free city under the protection of the kingdom of Italy." So much for the opinions of political men of eminence; we will examine the question for a moment on its intrinsic merits.

We know the Sovereign Pontiff in his official capacity of teacher of the whole church is infallible in declarations regarding faith or morals. But in other matters of policy, of fact, he has no guarantee against error beyond what is afforded him by the use of the means which he has at hand, the information of his advisers, and especially of the Sacred College of Cardinals. Suppose for a moment this means of information is done away with, or made a vehicle of untrue statements. Suppose unworthy men are artfully intruded on the Pope, and act in accordance with instructions received from the rulers of Italy. Imagine Italy at war or on bad terms with the United States or England. A crafty statesman sees an opportunity of putting in a position to aid him in one or the other country an able man, through the influence of some high ecclesiastic, whose good opinion will have great weight with men of standing or with the people. The whole matter is artfully carried out. There is an understanding between the Italian statesman and his American or English friend; both act cautiously and avoid alarming susceptibilities. The affair works well. Persons around the Pope are made to drop a word incidentally in praise of the virtue and ability of the one whom it is intended to raise to power. The Pope in his relations with the bishops of foreign countries, speaking of the prospects of the church in good faith, speaks also to the ecclesiastic of whom we have made mention, and in favorable terms, of the person in question. Who that knows human nature can fail to see the thorough nature of the influence thus used? The crafty originators are the ones to blame, and the harm done is effected in perfect good faith by the unconscious instruments of their design. To show we are not building on our fancy, we turn to the pages of a man whose name all revere—Cardinal Wiseman. In his Recollections of the Last Four Popes, he speaks of the character of Pius VII.:

"When no longer a monarch, but a captive—when bereft of all advice and sympathy, but pressed on close by those who, themselves probably deceived, thoroughly deceived him, he committed the one error of his life and pontificate, in 1813. For there came to him men 'of the seed of Aaron,' who could not be expected to mislead him, themselves free and[138] moving in the busiest of the world, who showed him, through the loopholes of his prison, that world from which he was shut out, as though agitated on its surface, and to its lowest depths, through his unbendingness; the church torn to schism, and religion weakened to destruction, from what they termed his obstinacy. He who had but prayed and bent his neck to suffering was made to appear in his own eyes a harsh and cruel master, who would rather see all perish than loose his grasp on unrelenting but impotent jurisdiction.

"He yielded for a moment of conscientious alarm; he consented, though conditionally, under false but virtuous impressions, to the terms proposed to him for a new concordat. But no sooner had his upright mind discovered the error, than it nobly and successfully repaired it." (Chap. IV.)

Such are the words of a man writing after years of intercourse with the first men of Europe. They are instructive words—for human nature is ever the same. There are men still in Italy who follow out closely the principles of Macchiavelli—to whom everything sacred or profane, no matter what veneration may have surrounded it, is but the means to self-aggrandizement and the satisfaction of ambition. It is for the nations of the world to say whether they are willing to allow the existence of the permanent danger to themselves, arising from the subjection of the spiritual head of the church to any crowned head or even republic whatsoever. Perhaps, of the two, the latter would be the more to be dreaded. The Roman mobs that drove Eugenius IV. from Rome, and pelted him as he went down the Tiber, or made many another Pope seek safety in flight, could be easily gotten together again, as the present residents of the Eternal City know only too well.

We answer, then, our first query, and say that this state of things cannot last. Time, the great remedy of human ills, will solve this question, and establish the See of Peter on a perfectly independent basis—independent of all sovereign control, even if this be not done shortly through the armed interference of European powers.

It is hardly necessary to inquire whether the Italian kingdom is so firmly constituted that no hope of restoration of the Pope is to be seen. For ourselves, we think there are indications that point to a speedy dissolution of this state on the first breaking out of a war between Italy and any great power. Her policy is to avoid entangling alliances, and this she is following out, striving to propitiate the Emperor of Germany for her leaning towards France. The first army that will enter the peninsula to aid the Pope will shiver Italy to fragments. The southern provinces have too lively a recollection of the days of plenty under their kings, and too painful an impression of heavy taxation and proconsular domination of the Piedmontese race, to hesitate between submission to them and the regaining their own autonomy, which will make Naples again one of the queenly capitals of the world.

One index of the general discontent or indifference is the small number of those who vote at the elections in proportion to those who are inscribed on the electoral lists. The motto proposed by the Unità Cattolica, the foremost Catholic journal of Italy—"Neither elected nor electors"—has been adopted and acted upon by very many throughout the country. We feel no difficulty in saying that the majority of the Italians are not with the House of Savoy, nor are they in favor of United Italy. The ruling power has the government and the command of the army, a fact that quite accounts for the existing state of things.

Our third question, whether the kingdom of Italy can be brought to make restitution of the territories it has seized, without itself undergoing destruction, remains to be answered. We believe it cannot, unless[139] half-measures—always more or less dangerous—be adopted. The late spoliation is not more criminal than the first, and no amount of plébiscite can make it legitimate, no more than—to use the words of the able editor of the Unità Cattolica—the popular approbation of the condemnation of Jesus Christ legitimized the crucifixion. The claim, then, to restitution extends to the whole of the former provinces, justly held by the Popes to supply them with the revenue needed to make them independent of the precarious contributions of the Peter Pence, and which was none too large for that purpose.

Whatever may come, we know the future of the church is in the hands of One in whose holding are the hearts of princes and peoples. What we have to do is to pray earnestly for our spiritual head, aid him by our means, console him with our sympathy, and give him whatever support, moral or other, it be in our power to offer. And while we do so, it is a joy to us to know we have lessened the grief of his hardships by what we have done hitherto, even gladdened the hours of his captivity. A few days ago, speaking to the Belgian deputation, Pius IX. said: "Belgium gives me very often proofs of her fidelity. Continue in the way in which you are walking; do not allow your courage to fail. What is happening to-day is only a trial, and the church came into existence in the midst of trials, lived always amid them, and amid them she will end her earthly career. It is our duty to battle and stand firm in the face of danger.... We have an Italian proverb which says: It is one thing to talk of dying; quite another to die. People speak very resignedly of persecutions, but sometimes it is hard to bear them. The world offers to-day a very sad spectacle, and particularly this our city of Rome, in which we see things to which our eyes have not been accustomed. Let us all pray together that God may soon deliver his church, and re-establish public order, so deeply shaken. Your efforts, your prayers, your pious pilgrimages, all tend to this end, and I therefore bless them with all my heart." May the words of the Holy Father find an echo in our hearts; let us not lose courage, but keep up our efforts, so happily begun, and never rest till wrong be righted, until we see the most sublime dignity and power on earth freed from the surroundings that would seek to make it as little as themselves.


Mechanism in Thought and Morals. An Address delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard University, June 29, 1870. With Notes and Afterthoughts. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co. 1871.

Dr. Holmes is a Benvenuto Cellini in literature, and everything he produces is of precious metal, skilfully enchased, and adorned with gems of art. The present address is no exception to the general rule, but rather an unusually good illustration of it. It is a remarkably curious piece of work, containing many interesting facts and speculations derived from the author's scientific studies on the mechanism of the brain. There is nothing in it positively[140] affirmed which is necessarily materialistic, as far as we can see; rather, we should say that its doctrine stands on one side of both materialism and spiritualism, and can be reconciled with either. It can be explained, if we have understood it correctly, in conformity with the Aristotelian and scholastic philosophy, in such a way as not to prejudice the truth of the distinct and spiritual nature of the soul. The author, indeed, appears more inclined to that belief than the opposite, although we are sorry to find him expressing himself in so hesitating and dubious a manner. When he passes from thought to morals, he gets out of his element, and displays a flippancy and levity which may pass very well in humorous poetry, but are out of place in treating of graver topics. His remarks on some points of Catholic doctrine are so completely at fault as to show his entire incompetency to meddle with the subject at all. His language in regard to the Council of the Vatican and Pius IX. is more like that of a pert and vulgar student of Calvinistic divinity than that of an elegant and refined Cambridge professor. "But political freedom inevitably generates a new type of religious character, as the conclave that contemplates endowing a dotard with infallibility has found out, we trust, before this time" (p. 95). Dr. Holmes has apparently profited by his close observations among that class of the female population of Boston who are wont to thrust their bodies half out of their windows, and "exhaust the vocabulary, to each other's detriment." We congratulate him, and the learned Society of Phi Beta Kappa, on the choice sentence we have quoted above. We trust those Catholics who are disposed to think that we can make use of Harvard University as a place of education for our youth, will take note of this sample of the language they may expect to hear in that and similar institutions, and open their eyes to the necessity of providing some better instruction for their sons than can be had at such sources. Notwithstanding our high appreciation of Dr. Holmes's genius, and the great pleasure we have derived from his works, we regret to say that we must consider his influence on young people grievously detrimental. In virtue of a reaction from Calvinism, he has swung into an extreme of rationalism the effect of which is checked in his own person by the influence of an unusually good heart and an early religious education, but in itself is sure to overthrow all reverence, faith, and moral principle. The whole effect of this address on the minds of young men tends to a most pernicious result, and encourages them, with a kind of thoughtless gaiety, to rush forward in a career of mental and moral lawlessness.

Jesus and Jerusalem; or, The Way Home. Books for Spiritual Reading. First Series. Boston: Patrick Donahoe. 1871.

Here we have a plain, practical, but very attractively and charmingly written book of spiritual reading for everybody. It emanates from the Convent of Poor Clares, Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland, who are anything but poor in intellectual gifts and religious zeal. We suppose it is from the pen of the gifted authoress of the History of Ireland and several other works of the highest literary merit. The idea of the volume is apparently taken from the "Parable of a Pilgrim" in F. Baker's Sancta Sophia, of which it is a minute paraphrase and commentary. Its minuteness, diffuseness, and fluency of style are, in our opinion, great merits, considering the end and object of the book. It is easy reading, explains and enlarges on each topic at length and in detail with great tact and discretion, and is eminently fitted to help a person in the acquisition and practice of the homely, everyday Christian virtues. Its bread is of fine quality, broken up fine. It is[141] eminently adapted for the young and simple, timid beginners, and persons living an everyday busy life, and also for the sick, the suffering, and the afflicted. At the same time, a professor of theology, or even a bishop, may read it with great profit and satisfaction. We recommend this book with more than usual earnestness, and we trust the good Sisters of Kenmare will keep on with their series, which must certainly produce an extraordinary amount of good.

Elia; or, Spain Fifty Years Ago. Translated from the Spanish of Fernan Caballero. New York: Catholic Publication Society.

Fernan Caballero is the nom de plume of Madame de Baer, who is now an aged lady, though still in the full possession of her intellectual powers. We admire the old Spanish character, customs, faith, and chivalry. Mme. de Baer is their champion, and the enemy of the revolution which has desolated that grand old Catholic country. This is one of her stories written to that point, and we trust it will find even here many a reader who will sympathize with the author, and help to neutralize the poison, too widely spread, of modern liberalism—the deadly epidemic of Spain and all Europe. It is a very suitable book for school premiums, and ought to be in every library. Other persons, also, will find it a lively and entertaining book, with a strong dash of the peculiar quaintness usually found in Spanish stories.

Roman Imperialism, and other Lectures and Essays. By J. R. Seelye, M.D., Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge. (Author of "Ecce Homo.") Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1871.

These essays are cleverly and agreeably written. Their topics are very miscellaneous, but all of them important and interesting. Those on "Liberal Education in Universities," "English in Schools," "The Church as a Teacher of Morality," and the "Teaching of Politics," are especially worthy of attention. Some of the writers of the "Broad Church," to which Prof. Seelye belongs, are quite remarkable for their honorable candor, largeness of mind, originality of thought, and, in certain respects, approximation to Catholic views. We like to read them better than most other Protestant writers, and often find their writings instructive. We have seldom seen a book written by a Protestant in which a Catholic can find so many things to approve of and be pleased with, and so few in which he is obliged to differ from the author, as the present volume.

Life and Select Writings of the Ven. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. Translated from the French by a Secular Priest. London: Richardson. 1870.

The Ven. Grignon de Montfort was a priest of noble birth, who lived and labored in France as a missionary, and became the founder of two religious congregations, during the eighteenth century. He was a person of great individuality of character and many peculiar gifts and traits, which made his life quite a salient one, if we may be allowed the expression. His talents for poetry, music, and the arts of design, and a marked poetic fervor in his temperament, gave a certain zest and raciness to his career as a missionary, and were a great help to his success. His character was chivalrous and daring, and his sanctity shows a kind of exaltation, a sort of gay mockery of danger, contempt, privation, and suffering, which it almost takes one's breath away to contemplate. His life was very short, but his labors, persecutions, and services were very great. He is best known in modern times by his extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Virgin. It is altogether probable that ere long the process of his canonization will be completed, and a decree of the Vicar of Christ enroll[142] his name among the saints. Those who are capable of profiting by an example, and by writings of such sublime spirituality, will find something in this book seldom to be met with even in the Lives of Saints.

A Text-Book of Elementary Chemistry, Theoretical and Inorganic. By George F. Barker, M.D., Professor of Physiological Chemistry in Yale College, New Haven, Conn. Charles C. Chatfield & Co. 1870.

Chemical science, as Prof. Barker remarks in his preface, has indeed undergone a remarkable revolution in the last few years; and the text-books which were excellent not long ago are now almost useless, as far as the theoretical part of the subject is concerned. And though, in all probability, more brilliant discoveries as to the internal constitution of matter, the formation of molecules, and the nature of the chemical adhesion of atoms are in store than any yet made, still the conclusions recently attained on these points maybe considered as well established, and can by no means be considered as crude speculations, to be overthrown to-morrow by others of no greater weight. Chemistry seems, at present, to promise better than ever before to solve the problem of the arrangement of the ultimate material elements, though, perhaps, the laws of the forces which connect them, and the nature of the molecular movements, will be rather obtained from other sources.

Prof. Barker's book is an admirable exponent of the science in its present state. The first quarter of it is devoted to an explanation of the principles of theoretical chemistry, and it is this, of course, which is specially interesting and important at present, though the remainder will be found much easier reading. The work is one, however, which is meant to be studied, rather than merely read, containing a great deal of information, and giving much material for mental exercise throughout. It would not have been easy to put more valuable matter in its few pages, and its merits as a text-book are very great. The type is very clear, and the illustrations numerous and excellent.

Varieties of Irish History. By James J. Gaskin. Dublin: W. B. Kelly. New York: The Catholic Publication Society, 9 Warren Street. 1871.

If Mr. Gaskin had not stated in his preface that "the present work is, in great part, based on a lecture delivered by the author before a highly influential, intelligent, and fashionable audience," we would have anticipated, from the title of his book, something not only interesting but instructive relating to Irish history. But knowing very well what pleases a highly fashionable audience in the dwarfed and provincialized capital of Ireland, this announcement was enough to satisfy us that his conception of what makes history was neither very lucid nor comprehensive. It is unnecessary to say that, within the shadow of Dublin Castle, any rash man who would be unthinking enough to write or speak seriously about the history of Ireland—that protracted tragedy upon which the curtain has not yet fallen—would soon be voted a bore, or something worse, by the fashionable people who are privileged once or twice a year to kiss the hand of the representative of royalty. But the author is evidently too well bred to commit such a solecism, and accordingly, under a very attractive exterior, he treats us to all sorts of gossip, from the doings of Gra na' Uile, a sort of western Viqueen, to the murder of Captain Glas, a Scotch privateersman. The intervals between these two great historical events is filled up with the mock regal ceremonies that used to be observed annually on the island of Dalkey; reminiscences of Swift, Dr. Delaney, Curran, and other distinguished men of the last century, which, though not new, are pleasant to read; and some correct and elaborate[143] descriptions of scenery in the suburbs of Dublin, which will not be without interest to those who have visited that part of Ireland. The Varieties is not a book which will find much favor with historical students, but for railroad and steamboat travellers, who wish to read as they run, and as a book for the drawing-room, being light in style and handsomely illustrated, it will be found entertaining and agreeable.

A Hand-Book of Legendary and Mythological Art. By Clara Erskine Clement. With Descriptive Illustrations. New York: Hurd & Houghton.

The best thing we can say about this book is that it affords another striking proof that the Catholic Church is the genius of all true poetry and art. One-half of the volume is devoted to sketches of the lives of Catholic saints, the other half being equally divided between legends of German localities and the gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome. We look in vain for some notice of works of art or poetic legend to which Protestantism, with its heroes, or modern Rationalism, with no heroes, has given inspiration. The authoress, however, is not a Catholic, for she calls us "Romanists," a vulgar term, the use of which, she ought to know, we consider as impertinent and insulting.

False legends and true biographies of our saints are strung together without discrimination. This we would not complain of so much, if, as she would seem to imply, they are both illustrated by art; but the instances in which these apocryphal and unworthy stories have been chosen by the painter or sculptor as fitting subjects are exceedingly rare, and where they are, as in the case of Durer's painting of "St. John Chrysostom's Penance," which is reproduced by the authoress (shall we say with her in the preface, "to interest and instruct her children"?), they bear evidence of an art degraded in inspiration and debased in morals.

Sarsfield; or, The Last Great Struggle for Ireland. By D. P. Conyngham. Boston: Patrick Donahoe.

This short historical novel has been written for two purposes—to disprove the correctness of the saying, attributed to Voltaire, that the Irish always fought badly at home, and to illustrate, in a popular manner, the struggle between James II. and his son-in-law, the Prince of Orange. With due respect to the author, we submit that too much importance has already been attached to Voltaire's ipse dixit with regard to the fighting qualities of the Irish. It is of little importance, indeed, what that gifted infidel has said about anything or anybody, as it is pretty well understood in our day that among his numerous failings veracity was not very conspicuous. Mr. Conyngham has, however, succeeded very creditably in accomplishing his main object, and presents us with a succinct and truthful view of the rival forces which, for three years, contested for the English crown on the soil of Ireland. There is very little plot in the story, the principal interest centring in the acts of Sarsfield and other well-known historical personages; but the narrative of the war is well sustained, and the author's conception of the inner life of his principal characters is in the main correct and natural.

Arthur Brown. By Rev. Elijah Kellogg. Boston: Lee & Shepard.

This is one of that class of books for boys full of hair-breadth escapes and improbable incidents. It is the first of The Pleasant Cove Series, which means five more just like this. The fact that the characters have been introduced in a former "series," and are to be carried forward through the coming five volumes, renders the story a little obscure at times. This, however, will not prevent[144] boys who enjoy tales of perilous sea voyages and marvellous encounters from finding this volume interesting and amusing.

Prayers and Ceremonies of the Mass; or, Moral, Doctrinal, and Liturgical Explanations of the Prayers and Ceremonies of the Mass. By Very Rev. John T. Sullivan, V.G. Diocese of Wheeling, W. Va. New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 12mo. 1870.

The subject and nature of this little book are sufficiently expressed in its title. The position of the Very Reverend author, and approbations by the Archbishop of New York and the Right Reverend Bishop of Wheeling, testify to its sound doctrine and usefulness as a book of instruction.

Little Pussy Willow. By Harriet Beecher Stowe. Boston: Fields, Osgood & Co.

Pussy Willow is a charming girl and a charming woman, but we think that it is not often that nature accomplishes so much even with the aid of country air and simple, healthful habits and pleasures. However, we must not forget the fairy's gift, of always looking at the bright side of things. Pity we had not more of us this gift! But the girls must read for themselves.

Folia Ecclesiastica, ad notandum Missas persolvendas et persolutas, pro clero ordinata et disposita. Neo-Eboraci et Cincinnatii: sumptibus et typis Friderici Pustet.

This little memorandum book will be found quite useful for the purpose designed. Besides the pages appropriated to the record of Masses, there are also "Indices Neo-Communicantium, Confirmandorum, Confraternitatum," etc., etc.

Synchronology of the Principal Events in Sacred and Profane History, from the Creation of Man to the Present Time. Third edition. Revised. Boston: Lee & Shepard. New York: Lee, Shepard & Dillingham. 1 vol. 8vo.

Before its republication, this work should have been placed in the hands of a competent editor. As it is now, it is very objectionable, and loses all its value. Here is one quotation, taken at random. Under the year 1362, we read: "Pope Urban V. at Avignon; beautifies the city of Rome; presents the right arm of Thomas Aquinas to Charles V. of France as an object of worship."

Poems. By Bret Harte. Boston: Fields, Osgood & Co. 1871.

We have read this unpretending little volume with much interest. The author is a true poet, and has the merit of originality quite as much as of descriptive power. His more serious poems display a high appreciation of the beautiful and the romantic, and there is a Catholic tone about them. Those in dialect, with the other humorous pieces, are equally pleasing in their way. The former, particularly, reflect a side of life which is generally supposed the least poetical of all. Mr. Bret Harte has "gathered honey from the weed."

Corrigendum.—In the article "Which is the School of Religious Fraudulence," in our last number, p. 791, col. 2, near the middle, the sentence beginning, "It is no mark of falsity, therefore, in any document," should be thus concluded: "that it occurs there, unless it occurs there alone and nowhere else."


From Jno. Murphy & Co., Baltimore: A Circular Letter on the Temporal Power of the Popes; addressed to the clergy and laity of the Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina. By the Right Rev. James Gibbons, D.D.

From the Young Crusader Office, Boston: Protests of the Pope and People against the Usurpation of the Sovereignty of Rome by the Piedmontese Government.

From P. J. Kenedy. New York: The Life of St. Mary of Egypt. To which is added the Life of St. Cecilia and the Life of St. Bridget.

From Peter F. Cunningham, Philadelphia: The Acts of the Early Martyrs. By J. H. M. Fastré, S.J.

From Leypoldt & Holt, New York: Across America and Asia. By Raphael Pumpelly. Fifth edition. Revised.—Art in the Netherlands. By H. Taine. Translated by J. Durand.

From Patrick Donahoe, Boston: The "Our Father." Being illustrations of the several petitions of the Lord's Prayer. Translated from the German of the Rev. Dr. J. Emanuel Veith, by the Rev. Edward Cox, D.D.

From Roberts Brothers, Boston: Ad Clerum: Advice to a Young Preacher. By Joseph Parker, D.D.



VOL. XIII., No. 74.—MAY, 1871.[21]


Archbishop Manning's pastoral letter to his clergy on the first council, The Vatican and its Definitions, to which are appended the two constitutions the council adopted—the one the Constitutio de Fide Catholica, and the other the Constitutio Dogmatica Prima de Ecclesia—the case of Honorius, and the Letter of the German bishops on the council, though containing little that is new to our readers, is a volume which is highly valuable in itself, and most convenient to every Catholic who would know the real character of the council and what is the purport of its definitions. Few members of the council were more assiduous in their attendance on its sessions or took a more active part in its deliberations than the illustrious Archbishop of Westminster, and no one can give a more trustworthy account of its dispositions or of its acts. We are glad, therefore, that the volume has been republished in this country, and hope it will be widely read both by Catholics and non-Catholics.

The character of the book and of the documents it contains renders any attempt by us either to review it or to explain it alike unnecessary and impertinent. The pastoral is addressed officially by the Archbishop to his clergy; the constitutions or definitions adopted by the Holy Synod declare, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, what is, and always has been, and always will be the Catholic faith on the matters defined; and we need not say that we cordially accept it as the word of God, and as the faith which all must accept ex animo, and without which it is impossible to please God. What the council has defined is the law of God, and binds us as if spoken to us directly by God himself in a voice from heaven. He speaks to us by his church, his organ, and her voice is in fact his voice, and what we take on her authority we take on his authority, for he assists her, vouches for her, and commands us to believe and obey her.

There are, indeed, enemies of the faith who pretend that Catholics believe[146] solely on the authority of the church as an organic body; but this is a misapprehension. We believe what is revealed on the veracity of God alone, because it is his word, and it is impossible for his word to be false; and we believe that it is his word on the authority or testimony of the church, with whom the word is deposited, and who is its divinely commissioned keeper, guardian, witness, and interpreter. The word of God is and must be true, and there is and can be no higher ground of faith or even of knowledge than the fact that God says it. Nothing can be more consonant to reason than to believe God on his word. Certainly, it is answered, if we have his word; but how do I know that what is proposed to me as his word is his word? We take the fact that it is his word on the authority of the Catholic Church; we believe it is his word because she declares it to be his word. It is permitted no one to doubt the word of God is conceded; but whence from that fact does it follow that I am not permitted to doubt the word of the church? Or why should I believe her testimony or her declaration rather than that of any one else?

To this question the general answer is, that she has been divinely instituted, and is protected and assisted to bear true witness to the revelation which it has pleased God to make, to proclaim it, declare its sense, and condemn whatever impugns or tends to obscure it. Supposing she has been instituted and commissioned by our Lord himself, for this very purpose, her authority is sufficient for believing whatever she teaches and declares or defines to be the word of God is his word or the truth he has revealed; for the divine commission is the divine word pledged for her veracity and infallibility. This is plain enough and indubitable; but how am I to know or to be assured that she has been so instituted or commissioned, and is so assisted?

There are several answers to this question; but we would remark, before proceeding to give any answer, that the church is in possession, has from the moment of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost claimed to be in possession of the authority in question, and has had her claim acknowledged by the whole body of the faithful, and denied by none except those who deny or impugn authority itself. Being in possession, it is for those who question her right to show that she is wrongfully in possession. They are, to use a legal term, the plaintiffs in action, and must make out their case. Every one is presumed in law to be innocent till proven guilty. The church must be presumed to be rightfully in possession till the contrary is shown. They who question her possession must, then, adduce at least prima facie evidence for ousting her before she can be called upon to produce her title-deeds. This has never been done, and never can be done; for, if it could be done, some of our able and learned Protestant divines would, in the course of the last three hundred years and over, have done it. There is, then, in reality no need, in order to justify the faith of Catholics, to prove by extrinsic testimony the divine institution and commission of the church to teach all men and nations all things whatsoever God has revealed and commanded to be believed.

But we have no disposition to avail ourselves just now of what some may regard as a mere legal technicality. We answer the question by saying the church is herself the witness in the case, and accredits herself,[147] or her existence itself proves her divine institution, commission, and assistance or guidance.

The church was founded by our Lord on the prophets and apostles, being himself the chief corner-stone. This is asserted here as a simple historical fact. Historically, the church has existed, without any break or defect of continuity, from the apostles down to our times. Its unbroken existence from that time to this cannot be questioned. It has been a fact during all that period in the world's history, and too momentous a fact to escape observation. Indeed, it has been the one great fact of history for over eighteen hundred years; the central fact around which all the facts of history have revolved, and without which they would be inexplicable and meaningless. This assumed or granted, it must be conceded that she unites as one continuous fact, in one body, the apostles and the believers of to-day. She is a continuous fact; a present fact during all the period of time that has elapsed between the apostles and us, and therefore is alike present to them and to us. Her existence being unbroken, she has never fallen into the past; never been a past fact; but has always been and is a present fact; and therefore as present with the apostles to-day as she was on the day of Pentecost, when they received the Holy Ghost; and therefore presents us not simply what they taught, but what they teach her now and here. She bridges over the abyss of time between our Lord himself and us, and makes us and the apostles, so to speak, contemporaries; so that, as it is our Lord himself we hear in the apostles, so it is the apostles themselves that we hear in her.

This continuity or unity of the church in time is a simple historical fact, and as certain as any other historical fact, and even more so, for it is a fact that has never fallen into the past, and to be established only by trustworthy witnesses or documents. By it the church to-day is and must be as apostolic and as authoritative as in the days of the apostles Peter, James, and John. Individuals die, but the church dies not; individuals are changed, as are the particles of our bodies, but the church changes not. As in the human race individuals pass off, but the race remains always the same; so in the church individuals pass away, but the church remains unchanged in all its integrity; for the individuals die not all at once, and the new individuals born in their places are born into the one identical body, that does not die, but remains ever the same. No matter, then, how many generations succeed one another in their birth and death, the body of the church is subject to no law of succession, and remains not only one and the same church, but always the one and the same present church. The church of to-day is identically the church of yesterday, the church of yesterday is identically the church of the day before, and thus step by step back to the apostles; on the other hand, the church in the time of the apostles is identically the church of their successors down through all succeeding generations of individuals to us. There has never been an interval of time when it was not, or when it lost its identity as one and the same body. The church is precisely as apostolic now as it was in the beginning, or as were the apostles themselves.

Now, if we suppose our Lord communicated the whole revelation to the apostles either by his personal teaching or by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, then he communicated[148] it to her, and she is an eye and ear witness to the fact of revelation in the same sense that the apostles were, and her historical identity with the apostles makes her a perpetual and contemporary witness to the fact of revelation and to what is revealed. What misleads not a few on this point is that they regard the church as a mere aggregation of individuals, born and dying with them, or succeeding to herself with the succession of each new generation of individuals. But this is no more the case with the church than with the human race itself, or with any particular nation that has an historical existence through several generations. In all historical bodies the generations overlap one another, and no generation of individuals is either aggregated to the body or segregated from it all at once. The body does not die with the receding nor is it born anew with the acceding generation. The church, indeed, is an organism, not a mere aggregation of individuals, but even if it were the conclusion would not follow; for though the individuals are successively aggregated or affiliated, they are aggregated or affiliated to her as a persistent body, and though they pass off successively, they leave the body standing, one and identical. This is the simple historical fact. The church, as an ever-present body, remains one and the same identical body amid all the successive changes of individuals, and is just as much the depositary of the revelation and an eye-witness of the facts recorded in the Gospels, as were the apostles themselves.

We say, then, the church is herself the witness, and a competent and credible witness, to her own divine commission to teach and declare the word of God which he has revealed, and no better, no more competent or credible witness is needed or, in fact, conceivable. She is competent because she is the identical apostolical body, the contemporary and the eye-witness through the successive ages of the facts to which she testifies. She is a credible witness, because even as a human body it would be hardly possible for her either to mistake or to misrepresent the facts to which she testifies, since they are always present before her eyes, since, however her individual members may change, she herself knows no change with lapse of time, and no succession. She could not forget the faith, change it, or corrupt it, because there is at all times in her communion an innumerable body of living witnesses to its unity, purity, and integrity, who would detect the change or alteration and expose it. It is not with her as it would be with a book having a limited circulation. Copies of the book could easily be altered or interpolated without detection; but the living testimony of the church, spread over the whole world and teaching all nations, cannot be interpolated or corrupted. It is on the fidelity of the church, her vigilant guardianship, and uniform testimony that we depend for our confidence in the genuineness and authenticity of our copies of the sacred writings, and it is worthy of note that in proportion as men throw off the authority of the church, and reject her traditions, they lose that confidence, and fail to agree among themselves what books, if any, are inspired; so that without the testimony of the church the Holy Scriptures themselves cease to be an authority in matters of faith.

In human tribunals the supreme court is presumed to know the law which constitutes it, and it defines its own jurisdiction and powers. It declares the law of which it is the[149] depositary and guardian, and though the judges have only their human wisdom, learning, and sagacity, it is remarkable how few mistakes through a long series of ages they commit as to what is or is not the law they are appointed to administer, and nearly all the mistakes they do commit are due to the changes the legislature makes in the law or in the constitution of the court. Why should the church be less competent to judge of the law under which she is constituted, and to define her jurisdiction and powers? And since her constitution, as well as the law she administers, changes not, why should she be less exempt, even as a human court, from mistakes in interpreting and declaring the law, than the supreme court of England or the United States? What higher authority can there be to judge of her own constitution and the law given her to administer than the church herself?

The church received her constitution in the commission given to the apostolic body with whom she is one and identical, and the law or revealed word in the reception of it by the apostles. Being one and identical body with them, she has received what they received, and knows what they knew, is taught what they were taught, understands it in the same sense that they did, and has the same authority to interpret and declare it that they had. If they were commissioned to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever our Lord commanded them, she is commissioned in their commission to do the same. If he promised them his efficacious presence and assistance to the consummation of the world, he made the promise to her; if he made Peter the prince of the apostles, the father and teacher of all Christians, and gave him plenary authority to feed, rule, and govern the universal church, he made the successor of Peter the visible head of the church, and gave him the same authority. The church, being the apostolic body persisting through all times, knows what the apostles received, knows therefore both her own constitution and the law deposited with her, and is as competent to judge of them as the apostles were, and has full authority to interpret and declare both, and it is to her, as to the supreme court of a nation, to judge what they are, and to define her constitution, jurisdiction, and powers.

The objection which many make to this conclusion arises from their confounding the authority of the church to interpret and define the law—and, as a part of the law, her own constitution, jurisdiction, and powers or functions—with the authority to make the law: a mistake like that of confounding the supreme court of the United States with Congress. The church, like the court or the supreme executive, may make her own rules and orders—what are called the orders and rules of court, for the purpose of carrying out the intent of the law—but she no more makes the law than does the civil court make the law under which it is constituted, and which it administers. God alone is the lawgiver or lawmaker, and his revealed word is the law—the law for the human reason and will, and which binds all men in thought, word, and deed. We want no church, as the supreme judge of the law, to tell us this, for it is a dictamen of reason itself. It is the revealed word of God, which again is only his will, the will of the supreme Lawgiver—that is the law under which the church is constituted, and which she guards, interprets, and declares, whenever a question of law arises. She does not make the law;[150] she keeps, interprets, declares, and defends or vindicates it. Even with only human wisdom, she can no more make the law, or declare that to be law which is not, than the supreme civil court can declare that to be civil law which is not civil law. The objection, therefore, is not well taken.

The law, it is agreed on all hands—that is, the revelation, whether written or unwritten—was deposited with the apostles, then it was deposited, as we have seen, with the church identical with the apostolic body. Now, she knows, as the apostles knew, what she received, the law committed to her charge, and, as she is constituted by the law she has received, she knows, and cannot but know, her own constitution and powers, also what promises, if any, she has received from her divine Lawgiver and Founder. The promises of God cannot fail; and if he has promised her his assistance as an immunity from error she knows it, and knows that her judgments of law, or in matters of faith, are through that assistance infallible. Of all these questions she is the divinely constituted judge. She is the judge of the law constituting her, of her own appointment and commission, and of her rights, powers, and jurisdiction, no less than of the law or revelation committed to her charge, for all this is included in the law. If she defines that in her commission is included the promise of the divine assistance to protect her from error in interpreting and declaring the law—that is, the faith, the revealed word of God—then of all this she judges infallibly, and she is the infallible authority, not for believing what God has revealed—for that is believed on the veracity of God alone—but for believing that what she teaches as his revealed word is his revealed word, and therefore the law we are to obey in thought, word, deed, as the supreme court is the authority for defining its own constitution and powers, and what is or is not the law of the state. Say we not, then, truly that the church is her own witness and accredits herself? Say we not truly, also, that she is the faithful and infallible witness to the fact of revelation, and teacher and judge of what God has or has not revealed? The fact, then, that the church defines that she is the divinely appointed guardian and infallible teacher and judge of revelation, is all we need to know in order to know that it is God we believe in believing her.

None of the sects can apply this argument to themselves; for no one of them can pretend to be the identical apostolical body, or to span the distance of time from the apostles to us, so as to be at once their contemporary and ours. They all have either originated too late or have died too soon for that. Not one of them can pretend to have originated in the apostolic communion, and to have existed as one continuous body down to us. There were sectaries in the lifetime of the apostles, but they were not in the apostolic communion, but separated from it; and there is, as far as we know, no sect in existence that originated in apostolic times. Some of the Gnostic sects sprang up at a very early day, but they have all disappeared, though many of their errors are revived in our day. The Nestorian and Jacobite sects still subsist in the East, but they were born too late to be of apostolic origin, and our modern Unitarians are not the old Arians continued in one unbroken body. The Lutheran and Calvinistic sects are of yesterday, and they and their numerous offshoots are out of the question. The poor Anglicans talk of apostolic succession indeed, but they separated or were cut off from the apostolic[151] body in the sixteenth century, and, with all the pretensions of a few of them, are only a Protestant sect, born of the Reformation, as the greater part of them strenuously contend. There is something in people's instincts; and it is worthy of note that no people who have cast off the authority of the Holy See have ever ventured to assume as their official name the title of APOSTOLIC. Even the schismatic Greeks, while they claim to be orthodox, do not officially call their church apostolic; and the American Anglicans assume only the name of Protestant Episcopal. Protestant apostolic would strike the whole world as incongruous, and very much as a contradiction in terms.

Let the argument be worth little or much, the only body claiming to be the church of Christ that has or has had an uninterrupted historical existence from the apostles to us, is the body that is in communion with the See of Rome, and recognizes the successor of Peter in that see as the Vicar of Christ, the teacher of the nations, supreme pastor of the faithful, with plenary authority from our Lord himself to feed, rule, and govern the universal church. The fact is too plain on the very face of history for any one who knows history at all to deny it. Nor, in fact, does any one deny it. All in reality concede it; and the pretence is that to be in communion with that see is not necessary in order to be in communion with Christ, or with the universal church.

But this is a question of law or of its interpretation, and can itself be determined only by the supreme court instituted to keep, interpret, and declare the law. The court of last resort has already decided the question. It is res adjudicata, and no longer an open question. The court has decided that extra ecclesiam, nulla salus, or, that out of communion with the church there is no communion with Christ; and that out of communion with the Holy See there is no communion with the universal church, for there is no such church. Do you appeal from the decision of the court? To what tribunal? To a higher tribunal? But there is no higher tribunal than the court of last resort. None of the sects are higher than the church, or competent to set aside or overrule her decisions. Do you appeal to the Bible? But this were only appealing from the law as expounded by the church or the supreme court to the law as expounded by yourself or your sect. Such an appeal cannot be entertained, for it is an appeal, not from an inferior court to a superior, but from the highest court to the lowest. The law expounded by the individual or the sect is below, not above, the law expounded and declared by the church. The sect has confessedly no authority, and the law expounded and applied by the sect is no more than the law expounded and applied by the private individual; and no private individual is allowed to expound and apply the law for himself, but must take it as expounded and applied by the court, and the judgment as to what the law is of the court of last resort is final, and from it, as every lawyer knows, there lies no appeal. To be able to set aside or overrule the judgment of the church, it is necessary, then, to have a court of superior jurisdiction, competent to revise her judgments and to confirm or to overrule them. But, unhappily for those who are dissatisfied with her judgments, there is and can be no such court to which they can appeal.

There might be some plausibility in the pretended appeal from the church to the Bible, if the church had[152] not the Bible, or if she avowedly rejected its divine authority; but as the case stands, such an appeal is irregular, illegal, and absurd. The church has and always has had the Bible ever since it was written. It was, as we have seen, originally deposited with her, and it is only from her that those outside of her communion have obtained it or their knowledge of it. She has always held and taught it to be the divinely inspired and authoritative written word of God, which none of her children are allowed to deny or question. There is no opposition possible between her teaching and the Bible, for the Bible is included in her teaching, and consequently no appeal from her teaching to the Bible. It would be only an appeal from herself to herself. The only appeal conceivable in the case is from her understanding of the sacred Scriptures or the revealed word of God to—your own; but as you at best have confessedly no authority to expound, interpret, or declare the law, your understanding of the written word can in no case override or set aside hers.

The Reformers, when they pretended to appeal from the church to the Bible, mistook the question and proceeded on a false assumption. There never was any question between the church and the Bible; the only question there was or could be was between her understanding of the Bible and theirs, or, as we have said, between the Bible as expounded by the church and the Bible as expounded by private individuals. This the Reformers did not or would not see, and this their followers do not or will not see to this day. Now, count the authority of the church for as little as possible, her understanding cannot be below that of private individuals, and the understanding of private individuals can never override it, or be a sufficient reason for setting it aside. The Reformers had recognized the church as the supreme authority in matters of faith, and the question was not on admitting her authority as something hitherto unrecognized, but on rejecting an authority they had hitherto acknowledged as divine. They could not legally reject it except on a higher authority, or by the judgment of a superior court. But there was no superior court, no higher authority, and they could oppose to her not the authority of the Bible, as they pretended, but at best only their private opinion or views of what it teaches, which in no case could count for more than her judgment, and therefore could not overrule it or authorize its rejection.

It is all very well to deny the divine commission and authority of the church to expound the word and declare the law of God; but a denial, to serve any purpose, or to be worth anything, must have a reason, and a higher reason than has the affirmation denied. One can deny only by an authority sufficient to warrant an affirmation. It needs as much reason to deny as to affirm. The authority of the church can really be denied only by opposing to her a truth that disproves it. A simple negation is nothing, and proves or disproves nothing. Yet the Reformers opposed to the church only a simple negation. They opposed to her no authority, no affirmative truth, and consequently gave no reason for denying or unchurching her. Indeed, no individual or sect ever opposes either to the church or to her teaching anything but simple negation, and no one ever makes an affirmation or affirms any truth or positive doctrine which she does not herself affirm or hold and teach. Every known heresy, from that of the Docetæ down[153] to the latest development of Protestantism, simply denies what the church teaches, and affirms nothing which she does not herself affirm, as Catholics have shown over and over again. These denials, based as they are on no principle or affirmative truth, are gratuitous, and count for nothing against the church or her teaching. Who would count the denial by a madman that the sun shines in a clear sky at noonday?

The simple fact is that whoever denies the church or her judgments does it without any authority or reason but his own private opinion or caprice, and that is simply no authority or reason at all. It is not possible to allege any authority against her or her teaching. Men may cavil at the truth, may by their sophistries and subtleties obscure the truth or involve themselves in a dense mental fog, so that they are unable to see anything distinctly, or to tell where they are or in what direction they are moving. They may thus imagine that they have some reason for their denials, and even persuade others that such is the fact; but whenever the fog is cleared away, and they have easted themselves, they cannot, if they have ordinary intelligence, fail to discover that the truth which in their own minds they opposed to her or her teaching is a truth which she herself holds and teaches as an integral part of her doctrine, or as included in the depositum of faith she has received. Do you say there is truth outside of the church; truth in all religions; in all superstitions, even? Be it so; but there is no truth outside of her in any religion or superstition that she denies or does not recognize and hold, and hold in its unity and catholicity. There may be facts in natural history, in physics, chemistry, in all the special sciences, as in the several handicrafts, that she does not teach; but there is no principle of science of any sort that she does not hold and apply whenever an occasion for its application occurs. None of the special sciences have their principles in themselves, or do or can demonstrate the principles on which they depend, and from which they derive their scientific character. They all depend for their scientific character on a higher science, the science of sciences, which the church and the church alone teaches. The principles of ethics, and therefore of politics as a branch of ethics, all lie in the theological order, and without theology there is and can be no science of ethics or politics; and hence we see that both, with those who reject theology, are purely empirical, without any scientific basis. An atheist may be moral in his conduct, but if there were no God there could be no morality; so may an atheist be a geometrician, but if there were no God there could be no geometry. Deny God, and what becomes of lines that may be infinitely projected, or of space shading off into immensity, on which so much in the science of geometry depends? Nay, deny God, and what would become even of finite space? Yet without the conception of space, which is in truth only the power of God to externize his acts, geometry would be impossible. All the special sciences are secondary, and are really science only when carried up to their first principles and explained by them. What more absurd, then, than the attempt of scientists to prove by science there is no God, or to oppose science to the theology of the church, without which no science is possible?

We need but look at the present state of men's minds to see how the world gets on without the church. Never were men more active or indefatigable in their researches: they send[154] their piercing glances into all subjects, sacred and profane; they investigate the heavens and the earth, the present and the past, and leave no nook or corner of nature unexplored, and yet there is not a principle of ethics, politics, or science that is not denied or called in question. In the moral and political world nothing is fixed or settled, and moral and intellectual science, as well as statesmanship, disappears. Doubt and uncertainty hang over all questions, and the distinctions between right and wrong, just and unjust, as well as between good and evil, are obscured and well-nigh obliterated. The utmost confusion reigns in the whole world of thought, and "men," as a distinguished prelate said to us the other day, "are trying the experiment of governing the world without conscience." All this proves what we maintain, that they who deny the church, or reject her teaching, have no truth to oppose to her, no reason for their denial, and no principle on which they base their rejection of her authority. Their rejection of the church and her teaching is purely gratuitous, and therefore, if not sinful, is at least baseless.

This much is certain, that it is either the church or nothing. There is no other alternative. Nothing is more absurd than for those who reject the church and her teaching to pretend to be Christian teachers or believers. They cannot believe the revelation God has made on the veracity of God alone, for they have no witness, not even an unassisted human witness, of the fact of revelation, of what God has revealed, or that he has or has not revealed anything, since they have no witness who was the contemporary of our Lord and his apostles—they were none of them born then—and they have no institution that dates from apostolic times, and that has continued without break down to the present. In fact, what they profess to believe, in so far as they believe it at all, they believe on the authority of the church, or of that very tradition which they reject and deny to be authority. They agree among themselves in their doctrinal belief only when and where they agree with the church; whenever and wherever they break from Catholic tradition, preserved and handed down by her, they disagree and fight with one another, are all at sea, and have neither chart nor compass. Do they tell us that they agree in the essentials of the Christian faith? Yet it is only so far as they follow Catholic tradition that they know or can agree among themselves as to what are or are not essentials. There is a wide difference between what Dr. Pusey holds to be essential and what is held to be essential by Dr. Bellows. Nearly the only point in which the two agree is in rejecting the infallible authority of the successor of Peter; and, in rejecting that authority, neither has any authority for believing what he believes, or for denying what he denies. Deny the church, and you have no authority for asserting divine revelation at all, as your rationalists and radicals conclusively prove.

But, happily, the other alternative saves us from all these logical inconsistencies. The church meets every demand, removes every embarrassment, and affords us the precise authority we need for faith, for she is in every age and every land a living witness to the fact of revelation, and an ever-present judge competent to declare what God reveals, and to teach us what we have, and what we have not, the veracity of God for believing. She can assure us of the divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures, which without[155] her tradition is not provable; for she has received them through the apostles from our Lord himself. She can enable us to read them aright, and can unfold to us by her teaching their real sense; for the Holy Ghost has deposited with her the whole revelation of God, whether written or unwritten. Outside of her, men, if they have the book called the Bible, can make little or nothing of it, can come to no agreement as to its sense, except so far as they inconsistently and surreptitiously avail themselves of her interpretation of it. They have no key to its sense. But she has the key to its meaning in her possession and knowledge of all that God reveals, or in the divine instruction she has received in the beginning. The whole word of God, and the word of God as a whole, is included in the depositum she has received, and therefore she is able at all times and in all places to give the true sense of the whole, and of the relation to the whole of each and every part. In her tradition the Bible is a book of divine instruction, of living truth, of inestimable value, and entitled to the profoundest reverence, which we know it is not in the hands of those who wrest it from her tradition, and have no clue to its meaning but grammar and lexicon.

The notion that a man who knows nothing of the Christian faith, and is a stranger to the whole order of Christian thought and life, can take up the Bible, even when correctly translated into his mother-tongue, and from reading and studying it arrive at an adequate knowledge, or any real knowledge at all, of Christian truth or the revelation which God has made to man, is preposterous, and contradicted by every day's experience. Just in proportion as men depart from the tradition of faith preserved by the church, the Bible becomes an unintelligible book, ceases to be of any use to the mind, and, if reverenced at all, becomes, except in a few plain moral precepts, a source of error much more frequently than of truth. One of the most precious gifts of God to man becomes instead of a benefit a real injury to the individual and to society. Our school-boards may, then, easily understand why we Catholics object to the reading of the Bible in schools where the church cannot be present to enlighten the pupil's mind as to its real and true sense. It is the court that keeps the statute-books, and interprets and applies the law, whether the lex scripta or the lex non scripta.

The church, existing in all ages and in all nations as one identical body, is a living witness in all times and places, as we have said, of the fact that God has revealed what she believes and teaches, and is through his assistance a competent and sufficient authority for that fact, and to interpret and declare the revealed law, as much so, to say the least, as the supreme court of a nation is to declare what is the law of the state. The objection made by rationalists and others to believing on the authority of the church, or to recognizing her authority to declare the faith, is founded on the false assumption that the church makes the faith, and can make anything of faith she pleases, whether God has revealed it or not. We have already answered this objection. The church bears witness to the fact of revelation, and declares what is or is not the faith God has revealed, as the supreme court declares what is or is not the law of the state; but she can declare nothing to be of faith that is not of faith, or that God has not revealed and commanded all men to believe, for through the divine assistance she is[156] infallible, and therefore cannot err in matters of faith, or in any matters pertaining in any respect to faith and morals. Since she cannot err in declaring what God has revealed and commanded, we are assured that what she declares to be revealed is revealed, or to be commanded is commanded, and therefore we know that whatever we are required to believe as of faith, or to do as commanded of God, we have the authority of God himself for believing and doing, the highest possible reason for faith, since God is truth itself, and can neither deceive nor be deceived; and the highest possible law, for God is the Supreme Lawgiver. It is they who reject the church or deny her authority that have only an arbitrary and capricious human authority, and who abdicate their reason and their freedom, and make themselves slaves, and slaves of human passion, arrogance, and ignorance. The Catholic is the only man who has true mental freedom, or a reason for his faith. His faith makes him free. It is the truth that liberates; and therefore our Lord says, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Who can be freer than he who is held to believe and obey only God? They whom the truth does not make free may fancy they are free, but they are not; they are in bondage, and abject slaves.

The church in affirming herself is not making herself the judge in her own cause, is not one of the litigants, as some pretend, for the cause in which she judges is not hers, but that of God himself. She is the court instituted by the Supreme Lawgiver to keep, interpret, and declare his law, and therefore to judge between him and the subjects his law binds. She, in determining a case of faith or morals, no more judges in her own cause than the supreme court of a nation does in defining its own jurisdiction, and in determining a case arising under the law of which it is constituted by the national authority the judge. She has, of course, the right, as has every civil court, to punish contempt, whether of her orders or her jurisdiction, for he who contemns her contemns him who has instituted her; but the questions to be decided are questions of law, which she does not make, and is therefore no more a party to the cause litigated, and no more interested or less impartial, than is a civil court in a civil action. Indeed, we see not, if it pleases Almighty God to make a revelation, and to set up his kingdom on earth with that revelation for its law, how he can provide for its due administration without such a body as the church affirms herself to be, nor how it would be possible to institute a higher or more satisfactory method of determining what the law of his kingdom is, than by the decision of a court instituted and assisted by him for that very purpose. In our judgment, no better way is practicable, and no other way of attaining the end desired is possible. We repeat, therefore, that the church meets every demand of the case, and removes every real difficulty in ascertaining what is the faith God has revealed, as well as what is opposed to it, or tends to obscure or impair it.

It is agreed on all hands, by all who hold that our heavenly Father has made us a revelation and instituted a church, that the Church of Rome, founded by Saints Peter and Paul, was in the beginning catholic and apostolic. If she was so in the beginning, she is so now; for she has not changed, and claims no authority which she has not claimed and exercised, as the occasion arose, from the first. She is the same identical body as she has been from the beginning.[157] All the sectarian and schismatical bodies that oppose or refuse to submit to her authority acknowledged her authority prior to rejecting it, and were in communion with her. The change is not hers, but theirs. They have changed and gone out from her, because they were not of her, but she has remained ever the same. Take the schismatic Greeks. They originally were one body with her, and held the successor of Peter in the Roman See as primate or head of the whole visible church. They got angry or were perverted, and rejected the authority of the Roman Pontiff, and have never even to this day ventured to call themselves officially the Catholic or the Apostolic church. The men who founded the Reformed Churches so-called—Anglican among the rest—were brought up in the communion of the Catholic Church, and acknowledged the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff, and the Church of Rome as the mother and mistress of all the churches. The separation was caused by their change, not by hers. She held and taught at the time of the separation what she had always held and taught, and claimed no authority which she had not claimed from the first. Evidently, then, it was they and not she that changed and denied what they had previously believed. She lost individuals and nations from her communion, but she lost not her identity, or any portion of her rights and authority, as the one and only church of Christ, for she holds from God, not from the faithful. She has continued to be what she was at first, while they have gone from one change to another, have fallen into a confusion of tongues, as their prototypes did at Babel; and Luther and Calvin could hardly recognize their followers in those who go by their name to-day.

In the very existence of the church through so many changes in the world around her, the rise and fall of states and empires, assailed as she has been on every hand, and by all sorts of enemies, is a standing miracle, and a sufficient proof of her divinity. She was assailed by the Jews, who crucified her Lord and stirred up, wherever they went, the hostility of the people against his holy apostles and missionaries; she was assailed by the relentless persecution of the Roman Empire, the strongest organization the world has ever seen, and the greatest political power of which history gives any hint—an empire which wielded the whole power of organized paganism; she was driven to the catacombs, and obliged to offer up the holy sacrifice under the earth, for there was no place for her altars on its surface. Yet she survived the empire; emerged from the catacombs and planted the cross on the Capitol of the pagan world. She had then to encounter a hardly less formidable enemy in the Arian heresy, sustained by the civil power; then came her struggle with the barbarian invaders and conquerors from the fifth to the tenth century—the revolt of the East, or the Greek schism; the great schism of the West; the Northern revolt, or the so-called Reformation of the sixteenth century; and the hostility since of the greatest and most powerful states of the modern world; yet she stands erect where she did nearly twenty centuries ago, maintaining herself against all opposition; against the power, wealth, learning, and refinement of this world; against Jew, pagan, barbarian, heretic, and schismatic, and preserving her identity and her faith unchanged through all the vicissitudes of the world in the midst of which she is placed. She never could have done it if she had been sustained only by human virtue,[158] human wisdom, and human sagacity; she could not have survived unchanged if she had not been under the divine protection, and upheld by the arm of Almighty God. The fact that she has lived on and preserved her identity, especially if we add to the opposition from without the scandals that have occurred within, is conclusive proof that under her human form she lives a divine and supernatural life; therefore that she is the church of God, and is what she affirms herself to be.

Believing the church to be what she affirms herself to be; believing the Roman Pontiff to be the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth, the father and teacher of all Christians, we have no fear that she will not survive the persecution which now rages against her, and that the Pope will not see his enemies prostrate at his feet. Through all history, we have seen that the successes of her enemies have been short-lived, and the terrible losses they have occasioned have been theirs, not hers. It will always be so. Kings, emperors, potentates, states, and empires may destroy themselves by opposing her, but her they cannot harm. See we not how the wrongs done to the Holy Father by Italian robbers, obeying the dictates of the secret societies, some of which, like the Madre Natura, date almost from apostolic times, are quickening the faith and fervor of Catholics throughout the world? Not for centuries has the Holy Father been so strong in the love and devotion of his faithful children as to-day. Never is the church stronger or nearer a victory than when abandoned by all the powers of this world, and thrown back on the support of her divine Spouse alone.


One of the first objects that strikes the mariner ascending the Garonne towards Bordeaux is the ancient tower of St. Michel. I visited it the very morning after my arrival in that city. It is the belfry of a church of the same name, but is separated from it, being about forty yards distant. It was built in 1472, and is two hundred and fifty feet high. Formerly, it was over three hundred feet in height, but the steeple was blown down by a hurricane on the 8th of September, 1768. The view from the top is superb. Before you, like a map, lies the whole city—a noted commercial centre from the time of the Cæsars—encircling a great bend of the river. The eye is at first confused by the mass of roofs, spires, and streets, but in a moment singles out the great cruciform churches of St. André, Ste. Croix, and St. Michel. They lie beneath like immense crosses with arms stretched out—a perpetual appeal to heaven. Such remembrances of Calvary must ever stand between a sinful world and the justice of Almighty God. How can he look down upon all the iniquity of a great city, and not feel the silent Parce nobis of these sacred arms extended over it, repeating silently, as it were, the divine prayer, "Father,[159] forgive them, for they know not what they do!" Oh! what a love for the Passion dwelt in the heart of the middle ages which built these churches. Absorbed in the thought, I lost sight of the city. Its activity, its historical associations, the fine buildings and extensive view, all disappear before the cross. Bordeaux is generally thought of only as a wine-mart, but it also has holier associations. "Every foot-path on this planet may lead to the door of a hero," it is said, and very few paths there are in this Old World that do not bring us upon the traces of the saints—the most heroic of men, who have triumphed over themselves, which is better than the taking of a strong city. They it was that made these great signs of the cross on the breast of this fair city, hallowing it for ever.

Beneath the tower of St. Michel is a caveau, around which are ranged ninety mummies in a state of preservation said to be owing to the nature of the soil. Why is it that every one is enticed down to witness so horrid a spectacle? Dust to dust and ashes to ashes is far preferable to these withered bodies, and a quiet resting-place, deep, deep in the bosom of mother earth till the resurrection. Edmond About says the twelfth century would have embroidered many a charming legend to throw around these bodies, but the moderns have less imagination, and the guardian of the tower, who displays them by the light of his poor candle, is totally deficient in poesy. Had this writer been at Bordeaux on the eve of All Souls' day, he would have been invited at the midnight hour, "when spirits have power," to listen to the lugubrious cries and chants that come up from the caveau, where, as the popular voice declares, these ninety forms are having their yearly dance—the dance of death! I wonder if the mummy next the door, as you gladly pass out into the upper air, has his hand still extended like an au revoir.... Yes, there is one place where we shall meet, but not in this repulsive form. May we all be found there with glorified bodies!

The church of St. Michel is older than the tower, having been built in the twelfth century. It is of the Gothic style, and one of those antique churches that speak so loudly to the heart of the traveller from the New World—one in which we are penetrated with

"An inward stillness,
That perfect silence when the lips and heart
Are still, and we no longer entertain
Our own imperfect thoughts and vain opinions,
But God alone speaks in us, and we wait
In singleness of heart that we may know
His will, and in the silence of our spirits
That he may do his will, and do that only."

The ancients had a deep meaning when they represented the veiled Isis with her finger on her hushed lips. The soul profoundly impressed by the Divine Presence is speechless.

In one of the side chapels is the tomb of an old bishop of the middle ages, in a niche of the wall. On it he lies carven in stone, with the mitre on his head, and clad in his pontifical vestments, and his hands folded in prayer.

"Still praying in thy sleep
With lifted hands and face supine,
Meet attitude of calm and reverence deep,
Keeping thy marble watch in hallowed shrine."

The cathedral of St. André is another of these venerable monuments of the past. Founded in the fourth century, destroyed by the barbarians, restored by Charlemagne, and again ruined by the Normans, it was rebuilt in the eleventh century, and consecrated by Pope Urban II., in 1096. I went there at an early hour[160] to offer up my thanksgiving for the happy end of this stage of my journey. The canons were just chanting the hours, which reverberated among the light arches with fine effect. Masses were being offered in various chapels, and there were worshippers everywhere. I was particularly struck with the devout appearance of a venerable old man in one of the dimmest and most remote chapels, enveloped in a hooded cloak, with the capuche drawn over his head. He looked as if his soul, as well as his body, was almost done with time.

Through all these aisles and oratories, which whispering lips filled with the perfume of prayer streaming through the old windows came the morning sun,

"Whose beams, thus hallowed by the scenes they pass,
Tell round the floor each parable of glass."

I can still see the purple light filling the chapel of the Sacred Heart and ensanguining the uplifted Host.

"A sweet religious sadness, like a dove,
Broods o'er this place. The clustered pillars high
Are roséd o'er by the morning sky:
And from the heaven-hued windows far above,
Intense as adoration, warm as love,
A purple glory deep is seen to lie.
Turn, poet, Christian, now the serious eye,
Where, in white vests, a meek and holy band,
Chanting God's praise in solemn order, stand.
O hear that music swell far up and die!
Old temple, thy vast centuries seem but years,
Where wise and holy men lie glorified!
Our hearts are full, our souls are occupied,
And piety has birth in quiet tears!"

And all the worshippers in this church were turned toward the holy East, whence cometh the Son of Man. The glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the East. I like this orientation of churches now too much neglected. The old symbolic usages of the church should be perpetuated. This turning to the East in prayer was at one age the mark of a true believer, distinguishing him from those who had separated from the church. True, some of the old basilicas at Rome and elsewhere have their altars at the west, but, according to the ritual of such churches, the priest turns toward the people, thus looking to the East. Cassiodorus and others say that our Lord on the cross had his face toward the west. So, in directing our thoughts and hearts to Calvary, it is almost instinctive to look to the East.

"With hands outstretched, bleeding and bare,
He doth in death his innocent head recline,
Turning to the west. Descending from his height,
The sun beheld, and veiled him from the sight.
Thither, while from the serpent's wound we pine,
To thee, remembering that baptismal sign,
We turn and drink anew thy healing might."

Let us, then, place, as Wordsworth says,

"Like men of elder days,
Our Christian altar faithful to the east,
Whence the tall window drinks the morning rays."

While I was lingering with peculiar interest before a monument to the memory of Cardinal de Cheverus, the first Bishop of Boston, and afterward Archbishop of Bordeaux, whose memory is revered in the Old World and the New, I heard a chanting afar off, and, looking around, saw through the open door a funeral procession coming hastily along the street toward the church, and singing the Miserere—coming, not with mournful step and slow, as with us, but like the followers of Islam, who believe the soul is in torment between death and burial, and so lay aside their usual dignified deportment and hurry the body to the grave. But in France the funeral cortége does not necessarily include the relatives, and I felt this very haste might be typical of their eagerness to commence the Office of the Dead. Anyhow, I forgave them when, in the chapel draped in black, I saw them devoutly betake themselves to prayer[161] during the Holy Sacrifice. I, too, dropped my little bead of prayer for the eternal rest of one whose name I know not, but which is known to God.

"Help, Lord, the souls which thou hast made,
The souls to thee so dear;
In prison for the debt unpaid,
Of sins committed here."

The confessionals seemed to be greatly frequented the day I was at St. André's—those sepulchres into which rolls the great burden of our sins. There

"The great Absolver with relief
Stands by the door, and bears the key,
O'er penitence on bended knee."

What non-Catholic has not felt, at least once in his life, as if he would give worlds for the moral courage to lay down the burden of memory at the feet of some holy man endowed with the power of absolving from sin! Almighty God has made his church the interpreter between himself and his creatures; hence the peculiar grace a holy confessor has to meet the wants of the human heart laid bare before him. Zoroaster told his disciples that the wings of the soul, lost by sin, might be regained by bedewing them with the waters of life found in the garden of God. It is only the consecrated priest who has the power of unsealing this fountain to each one of us. These confessionals are distributed in the various chapels, everywhere meeting the eye of the parched and sin-worn traveller who would

"Kneel down, and take the word divine,
Absolvo te."

Of course there is a Ladye Chapel in this church, as in all others. Jesus and Mary, whose names are ever mingled on Catholic lips, the first they learn and the last they murmur, are never separated in our churches. Devotion to the Virgin has grown up through the church, beautifying and perfuming it like the famous rose-bush in the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany—the oldest of all known rose-bushes. It takes root under the choir in the crypt. Its age is unknown, but a document proves that nearly a thousand years ago Bishop Hezilo had it protected by a stone roof still to be seen. So with devotion to our Mystical Rose—quasi plantatio rosæ in Jericho—its roots go down deep among the foundations of the church; saints have protected and nourished it, and all nations come to sit under its vine and inhale its perfume.

"Blossom for ever, blossoming rod!
Thou didst not blossom once to die:
That life which, issuing forth from God,
Thy life enkindled, runs not dry.
"Without a root in sin-stained earth,
'Twas thine to bud salvation's flower,
No single soul the church brings forth
But blooms from thee, and is thy dower."

What a safeguard to man is devotion to Mary Most Pure! It is like the Pridwin—the shield of King Arthur—on which was emblazoned the Holy Virgin, warding off the strokes of the great enemy of souls.

There are some poetical associations connected with Bordeaux: among others, the memory of the troubadours who enriched and perfected the Romance tongue, but whose songs at last died away in the sad discord of the Albigensian wars. Here the gay and beautiful Eleanor of Aquitaine held her court of love, gathering around her all the famous troubadours of her time, and deciding upon the merits of their songs. Among these was her favorite, Bernard de Ventadour, chiefly known to fame by being mentioned by Petrarch. Eleanor herself was a musician and a lover of poetry—tastes she inherited from her grandfather, William, Duke of Aquitaine, generally called the Count de Poitiers, one[162] of the earliest of the troubadours whose songs have come down to us. Around this charming queen of love and song gathered the admiring votaries of la gaia sciencia, like nightingales singing around the rose, all vowing, as in duty bound, that their hearts were bleeding on the horns!

Poor maligned Eleanor was too gay a butterfly for the gloomy court of Louis VII. She wanted the bright sun of her own province in which to float, and the incense of admiring voices to waft her along. She herself was a composer of chansons, and is reckoned among the authors of France. She dearly loved Bordeaux, her capital, and was adored by its people. Here she was married with great pomp to Louis, after which the Duke of Aquitaine laid aside his insignia of power, and, assuming the garb of a hermit, went on a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella, and devoted the remainder of his life to prayer and penance in hermitage on Montserrat, by way of preparation for death. It is well to pause awhile before plunging into the great ocean of eternity.

These pilgrimages to Compostella were exceedingly popular in that age, and hospices for the pilgrims to that shrine were to be found in all the large cities and towns. There was one at Auch, and another at Paris in the Rue du Temple, which was particularly celebrated and served by Augustinian nuns. And here at Bordeaux was the Hospice of St. André for the reception of the weary votary of St. Jago.

"Here comes a pilgrim," says one of Shakespeare's characters. "God save you, pilgrim. Where are you bound?"

"To St. Jacques le Grand. Where do the palmers lodge, I beseech you?"

"Eftsoones unto an holy hospitall
That was forby the way, she did him bring,
In which seven bead-men that had vowed all
Their life to service of high heaven's King,
Did spend their daies in doing godly thing;
Their gates to all were open evermore,
That by the wearie way were travelling,
And one sate wayting ever them before
To call in comers-by, that needy were and pore."

Digby says the hospitality and charity of these hospices had their origin in the bishops' houses. Fortunatus thus speaks of Leontius II., Archbishop of Bordeaux, who, in accordance with the apostle's injunction, was given to hospitality:

"Susceptor peregrum distribuendo cibum.
Longius extremo si quis properasset ab orbe,
Advena mox vidit, hunc ait esse patrem."

That the devotion of the middle ages is yet alive in the church is proved by the influx of pilgrims at the shrine of St. Germaine of Pibrac, at Notre Dame de Lourdes, and a thousand other places of popular devotion. So great is the number of pilgrims to Lourdes, drawn by the brightness of Mary's radiant form, that the railway between Tarbes and Pau was turned from its intended direct line in order to pass through Lourdes. In one day the train from Bayonne brought nine hundred, and at another time over a thousand pilgrims. And as for the continued charity and hospitality of the church, witness the monks of St. Bernard and of Palestine, known to all the world. How disinterested is genuine Catholic charity, done unto the Lord and not unto man! Some suppose the good works practised among us is by way of barter for heaven, but they little know the spirit of the church. Charity is one expression of its piety, which, in its highest manifestations, is devoid of self-interest. Listen to John of Bordeaux, a holy Franciscan friar, who, after quoting a saying of Epictetus, that we generally find piety where there is utility,[163] says: "He does not come up to the standard of pure Christianity: he pretends that piety takes its birth in utility, so that it is interest that gives rise to devotion. Yes, among the profane, but not among Christians, who, acquainted with the maxims of our holy religion, have no other end but to serve God for his love and for his glory; forgetting all considerations of their own advantage, they aspire to attain to that devotion which is agreeable to him without any view to their own interest."

And in these practical times another holy writer, Dr. Newman, says in the same spirit: "They who seek religion for culture's sake, are æsthetic, not religious, and will never gain that grace which religion adds to culture, because they can never have the religion. To seek religion for the present elevation, or even the social improvement it brings, is really to fall from faith which rests in God, and the knowledge of him as the ultimate good, and has no by-ends to serve."

But to return to the romantic associations of this land of the vine, we recall the celebrated old romance of Huon of Bordeaux, which contains some delightful pictures of the age of chivalry. Here is one which I have abridged, showing how the religious spirit was inwoven with the impulses of the knightly heart. The Emperor Thierry, furious because his nephews and followers had been slain by Huon, seized upon Esclarmonde (Huon's wife) and her attendants, and threw them into a dungeon, there to await death. Huon, greatly afflicted at this, disguised himself as a pilgrim from the Holy Land, and set out for Mayence, where the emperor lived. He arrived on Maunday-Thursday, and learned that it was the custom of the emperor to grant the petitions of him who first presented himself after the office of Good Friday morning. Huon was so overjoyed at this information that he could not sleep all that night, but betook himself to his orisons, imploring God to inspire and aid him so he might again behold his wife. When morning came, he took his pilgrim staff and repaired to the chapel. As soon as the office was ended, he contrived to be the first to attract attention. He told the emperor he was there to avail himself of the custom of the day in order to obtain a grace. The emperor replied that, should he even demand fourteen of his finest cities, they would be given him, for he would rather have one of his fists cut off than recede from his oath; therefore to make known his petition, which would not be refused. Then Huon requested pardon for himself and for all of his who might have committed some offence. The emperor replied: "Pilgrim, doubt not that what I have just promised, I will fulfil, but I beg you right humbly to tell me what manner of man you are, and to what country and race you belong, that you request such grace from me." Huon then made himself known. The emperor's face blanched while listening to him, and for a long time he was unable to speak. At last he said: "Are you, then, Huon of Bordeaux, from whom I have received such ills—the slayer of my nephews and followers? I cannot cease wondering at your boldness in presenting yourself before me. I would rather have lost four of my best cities, have had my whole dominions laid waste and burned, and I and my people banished for three years, than find you thus before me. But since you have thus taken me by surprise, know in truth that what I have promised and vowed I will hold good, and, in honor of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and[164] the blessed day which now is, on which he was crucified and dead, I pardon you all hatred and evil-doing, and God forbid that I should hold your wife, or lands, or men, which I will restore to your hands." Then Huon threw himself on his knees, beseeching the emperor to forgive the injury he had done him. "God pardon you," said the emperor. "As for me, I forgive you with right good will," and taking Huon by the hand, he gave him the kiss of peace. Huon then said: "May it please our Lord Jesus Christ that this guerdon be returned to you twofold." Then the prisoners were released, and, after a sumptuous entertainment, the emperor accompanied Huon and his noble lady on their way back to Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is interesting to the English race, because, among other reasons, it was for about three hundred years a dependency of the English crown, being the dowry of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married Henry II. after her divorce from Louis le Jeune. We associate the city, too, with Froissart and the Black Prince, who held his court here. Richard II. was born hard by at the Château de Lormont. And Henry III. came here to receive his son's bride, Eleanor of Castile, and gave her so extravagant a marriage feast as to excite the remonstrances of his nobles. The country prospered under the English government. The merchants had especial privileges granted them by Eleanor, and their wines then, as now, found a ready market in London. Bordeaux in particular increased wonderfully, and outgrew its defensive walls. The church of St. Michel dates from the time of English domination, and in that quarter of the city may be seen old houses, one story projecting beyond the other, and the whole surmounted by a pyramidal roof, said to be of English origin, and such as are to be seen in some of the oldest streets of London.

Eleanor always used her influence for the benefit of her people. The most ancient charter of privileges granted the Gascon merchants was given by her on the first of July, 1189.

The English seem to have taken their war-cry from the old dukes of Aquitaine who charged to the sound of "St. George for the puissant duke." A devotion to St. George was brought from the East by the Crusaders. Richard I. placed himself and his army under the special protection of this saint, who, the redoubted slayer of the dragon and the redresser of woman's wrongs, appealed to the tenderest instincts of the chivalric heart. St. George's remains were brought from Asia by the Crusaders, and a large part is enshrined at Toulouse, in the great basilica of St. Sernin. The crest of the dukes of Aquitaine was a leopard, which the kings of England bore for a long time on their shields. Edward III. is called a valiant pard in his epitaph.

These old dukes of Aquitaine seem always to have gone to extremes either as sinners or saints. Eleanor's grandfather, as I have said, was one of the earliest of the troubadours. He was distinguished for his bravery, his musical voice, and his manly beauty. His early life was such as to incur the censure of the bishop, but he ended his career in penitence, and the last of his poems is a farewell á la chevalerie qu'il a tant aimée for the sake of the cross. He was one of the first to join the crusades at the head of sixty thousand warriors, but he lost his troops and gained neither glory nor renown.

The term Aquitaine was given this country by Julius Cæsar on account[165] of its numerous rivers and ports. The ancient province of this name extended from the Loire to the Pyrenees. In the time of the Roman dominion, Bordeaux was its capital under the name of Burdigala. The origin of the city is uncertain. Strabo, who lived in the first century, mentions it as a celebrated emporium. Some suppose its first inhabitants to have been of Iberian origin. The real history of the city commences about the middle of the third century, when Tetricus, governor of Aquitaine, assumed the purple and was proclaimed emperor. About the same time St. Martial preached in this region. But the pagan divinities were still invoked in the time of Ausonius. In the annals of the Council of Arles, in 314, Orientalis, Bishop of Bordeaux, is mentioned.

The intellectual superiority of the Romans was always even more potent than the force of their arms. Barbarism disappeared before the splendor of their civilization. Burdigala under their dominion felt the influence of this superiority, and rose to such a degree of magnificence and luxury as to be a theme for Ausonius, St. Jerome, and Sidonius Apollinaris. The remains of buildings at Bordeaux belonging to this epoch give an idea of its prosperity and importance. There is still an arena in ruins, commonly called the Palais-Gallien, but the most remarkable Roman monument of the city was a temple called Piliers de Tutelle, which, partly ruined, was demolished in 1677, by the order of Louis XIV., for the construction of a quay. Schools were established at Bordeaux at an early day. We learn from St. Jerome that in his time the liberal arts were in the most flourishing condition here. In the time of the Roman dominion, there were universities at Bordeaux, Auch, Toulouse, Marseilles, Trèves, etc. The edicts issued for their benefit showed the importance attached to their prosperity by the government. The college of Bordeaux furnished professors for Rome and Constantinople. Valentinian I. chose Ausonius, a native of Bordeaux, to superintend the education of his son Gratian. When the latter became emperor, he made his old tutor a Roman consul (A.D. 379). The poems of Ausonius are still admired, but there is much in them that is reprehensible. They were translated into French by M. Jaubert, a priest at Bordeaux, who lived in the last century.

That the wines of Aquitaine were already celebrated in the fourth century is shown by the writings of Ausonius

Non laudata minus, nostri quam gloria vini."

St. Paulinus, bishop of Nola, lived at this time. He was born at Bordeaux in the year 353, and was descended from a long line of illustrious senators. One of the several estates he owned near the city still bears the name of Le Puy Paulin, puy being a word from the langue Romaine, perhaps synonymous with the Latin word podium. One of the public squares of Bordeaux also bears the same name. Paulinus possessed great elevation of mind and a poetical genius, which he cultivated under Ausonius, for whose care he expresses his gratitude in verse. But Ausonius was magnanimous enough to acknowledge that Paulinus excelled him as a poet and that no modern Roman could vie with him.

In his early life Paulinus held dignified offices under government, but his intercourse with St. Delphinus, bishop of Bordeaux, inspired him with a love for retirement, in which his wife, a Spanish lady of wealth, participated. They passed over into[166] Spain, and spent four years there in the retirement of the country, but not as anchorites. He seemed to have given up all of life but its sweetness when he composed the following prayer: "O Supreme Master of all things, grant my wishes, if they are righteous. Let none of my days be sad, and no anxiety trouble the repose of my nights. Let the good things of another never tempt me, and may my own suffice to those who ask my aid. Let joy dwell in my house. Let the slave born on my hearth enjoy the abundance of my stores. May I live surrounded by faithful servants, a cherished wife, and the children she will bring me."

While in Spain they lost their only son, whom they buried at Alcala, near the bodies of the holy martyrs Justus and Pastor. This loss weaned them completely from the world. Their Spanish solitude had been a garden of roses, but now they chose the lily as their emblem, and resolved to lead a monastic life. Paulinus received holy orders, and they both sold all they possessed and gave the money to the poor. This drew upon Paulinus the contempt of the world. Even his own relatives and former slaves rose up against him, but to all their invectives he only replied: "O beata injuria displicere cum Christo." "O blessed scorn that is shared with Christ." Ausonius, in particular, was grieved to see the extensive patrimony of Paulinus cut up among a hundred possessors, and reproached him in bitter terms for his madness. But if the world rejected him, he was received with open arms by such men as St. Ambrose, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine. His devotion to St. Felix, whose tomb he had visited in his childhood, induced him to fix his residence near Nola in Campania. Here he lived close by the church where his favorite saint was enshrined. He had put on the livery of Christ's poor ones, and contented himself with his cell and garden-plot. And his meekness and sanctity, joined to his talents as a writer, drew upon him the admiration of the world. Persons of the highest rank from all parts went to see him in his retreat, as St. Jerome and St. Augustine testify. In his seclusion he writes poems that have all the delicacy and grace of Petrarch. He describes the church of his loved saint, whose life and miracles he is never weary of dwelling on, as hung with white draperies and gleaming with aromatic lamps and tapers; the porch is wreathed with fresh flowers, and the cloisters strewn with blossoms; and pilgrims come down from the mountains, marching even at night by the light of their torches, bringing their children in sacks, and their sick on litters, to be healed at the tomb; for all the world, a picture of an Italian shrine of these days.

He loved the humblest duties of the sanctuary. "Suffer me to remain at thy gates," he says. "Let me cleanse thy courts every morning, and watch every night for their protection. Suffer me to end my days amid the employments I love. We take refuge within your hallowed pale and make our nest in your bosom. It is herein that we are cherished, and expand into a better life. Casting off the earthly burden, we feel something divine springing up within us, and the unfolding of the wings which are to make us equal to the angels." These words sound as if coming from the cloistered votary of the middle ages, or even of the nineteenth century; the same is the spirit of the church in all ages.

The writings of St. Paulinus show his devotion to the saints and their relics, a belief in the efficacy of prayers for the dead, and in the doctrine[167] of the Real Presence. What can be more explicit, for instance, than these lines on the Holy Eucharist?

"In cruce fixa caro est, quâ pascor; de cruce sanguis
Ille fluit, vitam quo bibo, corda lavo."

He adorned the walls of his church with paintings and composed inscriptions for the altar, under which were deposited the relics of St. Andrew, St. Luke, St. Nazarius, and others, and sings thus:

"In regal shrines with purple marble graced,
Their bones are 'neath illumined altars placed.
This pious band's contained in one small chest
That holds such mighty names within its tiny breast."

After fifteen years of retirement, St. Paulinus was made bishop of Nola. Shortly before he died, as the lamps were being lighted for the Vesper service, he murmured,

"I have trimmed my lamp for Christ."

The prosperity of Bordeaux under the Romans was interrupted by the invasion of the barbarians that swept down from the north, bringing ruin and desolation to the land. For nearly a century the city remained in the power of the Visigoths, who, being Arians, persecuted the Catholic inhabitants. Sidonius Apollinaris deplores the injury done to learning by their invasion, but perhaps the decline of learning was partly owing to a growing distaste for pagan literature among Christians. The barbarians were finally routed by Clovis in 507, and he took possession of Bordeaux. Charlemagne made Aquitaine a kingdom for his son Louis le Débonnaire. Louis, son of Charles le Chauve, was the last king of Aquitaine. When he ascended the throne of France, it resumed its former rank as a duchy.

The college of Guienne was founded here in the middle ages. In the sixteenth century, it had, at one time, twenty-five hundred pupils. The famous George Buchanan, whom everybody knows, because his head adorns the cover of Blackwood's Magazine, but who is more spoken of than read, taught in this college three years. He came here in 1539. Among his pupils was the great Montaigne, who passed most of his life at Bordeaux and is buried in the church of the Feuillants. As Buchanan was somewhat given to hilarity and loved the flavor of Gascon wines, this city probably had its attractions for him. In his Maiæ Calendæ, full of gaiety and merry-making, he speaks of the grapes of the sandy soil of Gascony:

"Nec tenebris claudat generosum cella Lyæum,
Quem dat arenoso Vasconis uva solo."

One vintage season, Buchanan went to Agen to enjoy it at the residence of his friend, the celebrated Julius Scaliger, who had been a professor at the college of Guienne, but was now settled as a physician at Agen.

Among the other literary celebrities of Bordeaux is Arnaud Berquin, whose charming writings are still popular. His Ami des Enfants was crowned by the French Academy in 1784. And Montesquieu was born at the château of La Brède near Bordeaux, whence he took his title of Baron de la Brède.

Bordeaux is now the finest city in France after Paris, and it ranks next to Lyons in importance. Perhaps I cannot do better than quote what a popular French author of the day says of it:

"Bordeaux is five miles long and has one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants:[168] plenty of room for few people. But the entire population does not breathe at its ease. If the grass be growing in the streets and squares of the new town, there is some stifling felt in the old districts. The Jews, chapmen, brokers, and marine store men live in a dirty and unhealthy hive, and their shops form no straight line along the narrow and unpaved streets. You may still see a quantity of those paunchy, hunchbacked, and decrepit houses, which form the delight of romantic archæology, and you need only go to Bordeaux to form an accurate idea of old Paris. In the new town all is vast, rectilinear, and monumental: the streets, squares, avenues, esplanades and buildings rival the splendor of what we are taught to admire in Paris. The Grand Thèâtre, containing only twelve hundred persons, has the imposing aspect of a Colosseum and a staircase which might be transferred with advantage to our Opera. The cafés are truly monuments, and I saw a bathing establishment which bore a strong resemblance to a necropolis. All this grandeur dates from Louis XV. and Louis XVI. The population of Bordeaux is one of the prettiest specimens of the French nation. The women possess more expression than freshness, but with good hair, good eyes, and white teeth, a woman cannot but look well. The men have a sharp look, a lively mind, and brilliancy of language."

One of the glories of Bordeaux is the bridge across the Garonne built by order of Napoleon the Great. It has seventeen arches, and there is an interior gallery communicating from one arch to another which is accessible.

There are some fine pictures in the Musée des Tableaux—a Perugino, and others by Titian, Vandyke, Rubens, etc. Some excellent artists have been formed in the School of Design, among whom is Rosa Bonheur. But the people in general are more fond of music and the drama than the other fine arts.

The commerce of Bordeaux is extensive, but is surpassed by that of Havre, perhaps because there is too much of the laisser-aller in a more southern temperament. Nevertheless, the city is progressing. The port, says the author already quoted, is a third edition of the Thames at London and the Golden Horn at Constantinople.



Blind with old age, went Beda forth to preach
The blessed Gospel to the world, and teach
The listening crowd of village and of town.
A peasant school-boy led him up and down,
Proclaiming aye God's word with youthful fire.
Rather in childish folly than in scorn,
The lad the trusting graybeard led, one morn,
Down to a vale where massive stones around
Were strewed. "A congregation fills the ground,"
He said, "and, lo, they wait to hear thee, sire."
Up rose the aged pilgrim, took the text,
Turned it, explained it, and applied it next,
[169] Implored, exhorted, prayed, and, ending, bowed his head,
And to the listening crowd the Pater Noster said.
When he had ended, from the circling stones
The cry went forth, as if in human tones,
"Amen, most reverend father!" and again
The circling stones in concert cried, "Amen!"
The boy shrank back, remorseful, on his knees,
Confessed his fault, and sought to make his peace.
"Mock not God's word," the old man to him said.
"Know that, though men were mute to it, and dead.
The very stones will witness. 'Tis a living word,
And cutteth sharply, like a two-edged sword.
And if all human hearts to stones should turn,
A human heart within these stones would burn."



The early morning of Mr. Rowan's burial had been heavy and dark; but as they left the island a shower of golden light broke through the clouds, the water sparkled on all sides, and the sighing air became a frolic breeze. Dick and the captain brightened, and exchanged a few words in seamen's phrase complimenting the weather. Mrs. Rowan also roused herself, brushed the sand from her clothes, arranged the folds of her veil, and even smoothed her hair. The poor creature's vanity was dead, but at the prospect of meeting strangers it gave a slight post-mortem flicker. Out it went, though, the next instant, on the breath of a sigh. What did it matter how she looked? But she glanced anxiously at Edith.

The child had put on her mother's red cape and drawn it up over her head, and she still held it there, one slim hand pulling the folds close together under her chin. That she might appear outlandish did not trouble Edith. Indeed, she claimed the right to be so on account of her foreign blood. But when she noticed Mrs. Rowan's attention to her own toilet, and met her glance, she pushed the cape off her head, and, putting her arms up, began to smooth her hair and plait it into a long braid. It was rich, long hair, not given to wilful ringlets, but would curl when in the mood. Now the wind blew little curls out about her face, and the risen sun steeped the tresses in a pale flame.

The braid finished, she tossed it back, and caught it lightly into a loop, the motion revealing a pair of round white arms, to which the hands and wrists looked like colored gauntlets. Then she unfolded her precious Indian relic of tarnished red and gold, and bound it straightly about her head, half-covering the forehead, so that the long, fringed ends hung behind, and a loose fold fell over each ear.

Beholding her in that guise, Captain[170] Cary thought that she looked fitter for some oriental scene than for this crude corner of a crude land. "She might be a stolen child stained with gypsy-wort," he said to himself.

But she was Gypsy only in color. No wild fires burned in her face; her cool eyes looked out calm and observant; her mouth was gently closed. The very shape of her features expressed tranquillity.

The sailor found himself much interested in this little girl. Besides that her appearance pleased him, his good-will had been bespoken; for on one of those days when their ship had lain becalmed in southern waters, Dick had told him all her story. Listening to it, half-asleep, as to something that might be fact and might be fancy, all the scene about him had entwined itself with the history and with the heroine's character. The solid golden day, shut down over a sea whose soft pulses told of perfect repose; the wide-eyed, radiant night, which seemed every moment on the point of breaking into music far and near, a fine, clear music of countless sweet bells with almost human tongues—they formed the background on which her image floated. Seeing her did not dispel but rather strengthened the illusion. Something golden in her hair, something tranquil in her face, something expectant in her eyes—all were like.

The rough giant of a sailor mused tenderly over this as he sent their boat forward with powerful strokes, and watched Edith Yorke bind on her Egyptian coiffure.

They did not row to the wharf, where the steamer had already arrived, but to a place a few rods above, where the sea had taken a good semicircular bite out of the land. Here a straggling bit of dilapidated woods had been allowed to remain by the vandals who had turned all the rest to grass and pasture, and a mossy ledge broke the teeth of the soft, gnawing waves.

Edith stepped lightly on shore. She was young, healthy, brave, and ignorant, and pain, though it called forth her tears, was stimulating to her. That pang had not yet come which could cut her heart in twain and let all the courage out.

"You are spry," Captain Cary said, smiling down upon her.

She smiled faintly in return, but said nothing.

Mrs. Rowan needed assistance at either hand. She had been broken by pain.

They stood awhile in the grove, Dick and the captain making some business arrangements. The Halcyon was to remain four weeks at Seaton, and it was agreed that Dick should have that time to get his mother settled. Then the ship would touch at New York, where he would embark for the East again.

While they lingered, a large yellow coach, loaded with passengers, rattled past amid clouds of dust.

"There is no hurry," Dick said. "It will take an hour to get the freight off and on. But you needn't wait, captain. They'll be looking for you at the village."

The others drew near to Captain Cary at that, holding his hands and trying to utter their thanks.

"Oh! it's nothing," he said, much abashed. "I haven't done anything to be thanked for. Good-by! Keep up your courage, and you will come out first-rate. There's nothing like grit."

A subsiding ripple tossed his boat against the shore. At that hint he stepped in, dallied with the rope, then said, with a perfectly transparent affectation of having only just[171] thought of it: "Oh! I've got a ring here that Edith is welcome to, if she will wear it. I brought it home for my niece; but the child is dead. It won't fit anybody else I know."

Mrs. Rowan immediately thanked him, and Edith smiled with childish pleasure. "You are very kind, Captain Cary," she said. "I always thought I would like to have a ring."

Dick alone darkened; but no one noticed it. He had meant to do everything for her; and here was a wish which she had never expressed to him, and he had not known enough to anticipate.

The captain drew a tiny box from his pocket, and displayed a small circlet in which was set a single spark of diamond. Edith extended her left hand, and the sailor, leaning over the boatside, slipped the ring on to her forefinger.

"Good-by, again!" he said then hastily, and gave each of them a grasp of the hand. Dick could take care of himself; but the other two, putting out their tender hands impulsively, grew red in the face with pain at the grip of his iron fingers. The next instant his boat shot out into the bay. They looked after him till he glanced back and saluted them with a nod, and two arches of spray tossed from his oars; then turned and climbed the shore, Dick assisting his mother, Edith following.

"Good-by, trees!" said the child, glancing up. "Good-by, moss!" stooping to gather a silken green flake and a cluster of red-topped gray. The prettiest cup had a spider in it, and she would not disturb it. "Good-by, spider!" she whispered, "I'm never coming back again."

She had friends to take leave of, after all—not human friends, but God's little creatures, who had never hurt her save in self-defence.

When they reached the wharf, there was no one in sight but the men who trundled the freight off and on. At the upper end of the wharf there was a small building used as office and waiting-room. The passage to the boat being obstructed, Dick sent his mother and Edith there, while he went on board to get tickets. They went to the door of the waiting-room, hesitated a moment on seeing it occupied, then went in, and seated themselves in a retired corner.

The party who were already in possession glanced at the new-comers, and immediately became oblivious of them. This party were evidently the members of one family. Some indefinable resemblance, as well as their air of intimacy, showed that. An elderly gentleman walked up and down the floor, his hands clasped behind his back, and a lady not much over forty sat near, surrounded by her three daughters. At a window, to which the mother's back was turned, looking up toward the village, stood a young man whose age could not be over twenty-three. The ages of the daughters might vary from sixteen to twenty. They formed rather a remarkable group, and were attractive, though the faces of all expressed more or less dissatisfaction. That of the young man indicated profound disgust. The elder lady had a sweet and melancholy expression, and appeared like an invalid. The youngest daughter, who sat beside her, was as like her mother as the waxing moon is like the waning. She was pretty, had clinging, caressing ways, a faint dimple in her left cheek, splendid auburn hair, and gray eyes. They called her Hester. On the other hand sat the eldest daughter, a rather stately, self-satisfied young woman, whose attentions to her mother had an air of patronage.[172] This was Melicent. She was rather fair, neutral in color, and excessively near-sighted. The second daughter stood behind her mother, and was very attentive to her, but in an absent way, often doing more harm than good by her assistance. "My dear Clara, you are bundling the shawl all about my neck! My love, you pull my bonnet off in arranging my veil! Why, Clara, what are you doing to my scarf?" Such remarks as these were constantly being addressed to her. Clara was a dark brunette, with small features, a superb but not tall figure, and large gray eyes that looked black. Her coal-black hair grew rather low on the forehead, straight black brows overshadowed her eyes and nearly met over the nose, and an exquisitely delicate mouth gave softness to this face which would otherwise have been severe. She seemed to be a girl of immense but undisciplined energy, and full of enthusiasm.

The gentleman who paced the floor was slightly under-sized and thin in figure, thin in face, too, dark, and sallow. The very look of him suggested bile and sarcasm. But let him speak for himself, since he is just now on this subject. "Bile, my dear," he said to his wife—"bile came into the world with original sin. I am not sure that bile is not sin. It is Marah in a pleasant land. It is a fountain of gall in the garden of paradise. It poisons life. Doctors know nothing whatever about bile, and liver-medicines are a superstition. He who shall discover a way to eradicate bile from the system will be a great moral reformer. Every sin I ever committed in my life took its rise in my liver. I believe the liver to be an interpolation in the original man. We should be better without it."

The gentleman who spoke had a wide, thin mouth, very much drawn down at the corners and nowise hidden, the gray moustache he spared in shaving being curled up at the ends. His manner was that of a person who would scarcely brook contradiction. His speech was clear and emphatic, and he pronounced his words as if he knew how they were spelt. A long, delicate aquiline nose had a good deal to do with his profile, as had also a pair of overhanging eyebrows. From beneath these brows looked forth a pair of keen gray eyes, with countless complex wrinkles about them. The chin was handsome, well-rounded, and, fortunately, not projecting. A projecting chin with an aquiline nose is one of the greatest of facial misfortunes. Caricature can do no more. The forehead was intellectual, and weighty enough to make it no wonder if the slight frame grew nervous and irritable in carrying out the behests of the brain hidden there. The head was crowned by a not inartistic confusion of gray hair which seemed to have been stirred by electricity.

"I am sorry, madam, that I cannot compliment the climate of your native state," he remarked after a pause. "The spring is a month or six weeks behind that of Massachusetts, and the fall as much earlier. The travelling here is simply intolerable. It is either clouds of dust, bogs of mud, or drifts of snow. I quite agree with the person who said that Maine is a good state to come from."

"We all know, Charles, that the climate of Massachusetts, and particularly of Boston, surpasses that of any other part of the world," the lady replied with great composure.

The gentleman winced very slightly. He was one of those who constantly make sarcastic observations[173] to others, but are peculiarly sensitive when such are addressed to themselves. In his society, one was frequently reminded of the little boy's complaint: "Mother, make Tommy be still. He keeps crying every time I strike him on the head with the hammer."

"Here will be a chance to practise your famous English walks, Melicent," the father said. "I presume the old chaise is dissolved. I remember it twenty years ago nodding along the road in the most polite manner. By the way, Amy, did you ever observe that in genuine country places people leave their defunct vehicles to decay by the roadside? I am not sure that there is no poetry in the custom. The weary wheels crumble to dust in view of the track over which they have rolled in life, and are a memento mori to living carriages. It is not unlike the monument of Themistocles 'on the watery strand.'"

"Papa," exclaimed Hester, "why didn't you say tired wheels? You started to."

"Because I detest a pun."

Melicent, who had been waiting for a chance, now spoke. "You don't mean to say, papa, that we shall have no carriage?"

A shrug of the shoulders was the only reply.

The young woman's face wore a look of dismay. "But, papa!" she exclaimed.

"Wait till the pumpkins grow," he said with a mocking smile. "I will give you the largest one, and your mother will furnish the mice. I don't doubt there are mice, and to spare."

"You don't mean that we must walk everywhere?" his daughter cried.

"Dear me, Melicent, how persistent you are!" interrupted Clara impatiently. "One would think there was no need of borrowing trouble."

The elder sister gazed with an air of superiority at the younger. "I was speaking to papa," she remarked with dignity.

The father frowned, the mother raised a deprecating hand, and the imminent retort was hushed. Clara went to her brother, and, leaning on his arm, whispered that, if Mel were not her own sister, she should really get to dislike her.

"How silent you are, Owen," said Hester, looking around at him. "All you have done to entertain us so far has been to make faces when you were sick. To be sure, that made us laugh."

"A sea-sick person may be the cause of wit in others, but is seldom himself witty," was the laconic reply.

The speaker was a slim, elegant youth, with golden tints in his light hair, with rather drooping and very bright blue eyes, and a beautiful, sensuous mouth.

Edith Yorke watched this party with interest, and the longer she looked at the elder gentleman the better she liked him. His manner of addressing the ladies suited her inborn sense of what a gentleman's manner should be. There was no contemptuous waiting before answering them, no flinging the reply over his shoulder, nor growling it out like a bear. Besides, she half-believed—only half, for her eyes were heavy with weeping and loss of sleep—that he had looked kindly at her. Once she was sure that he spoke of her to his wife, but she did not know what he said. It was this: "My dear, do you observe that child? She has an uncommon face."

The lady glanced across the room and nodded. She was too much preoccupied to think of anything but their own affairs. But her husband,[174] on whom these affairs had the contrary effect of driving him to seek distraction, approached Edith.

"Little girl," he said, "you remind me so much of some one I have seen that I would like to know your name, if you please to tell it."

"My name is Edith Eugénie Yorke," she replied, with perfect self-possession.

He had bent slightly toward her in speaking, but at sound of the name he stood suddenly upright, his sallow face turned very red, and he looked at her with a gaze so piercing that she shrank from it. "Who were your father and mother?" he demanded.

"My mother was Eugénie Lubormirski, a Polish exile, and my father was Mr. Robert Yorke, of Boston," said Edith. Her eyes were fixed intently on the gentleman's face, and her heart began to beat quickly.

He turned away from her and resumed his walk, but, after a minute, came back again. "Your father and mother are both dead?" he asked in a gentler tone.

"Yes, sir."

"You have no brothers nor sisters?"

"No, sir."

"Who takes care of you?"

"Mrs. Jane Rowan," Edith replied, laying her hand on the widow's lap.

He bowed, taking this for an introduction, a cold but courteous bow.

"May I ask, madam," he inquired, "what claim you have on this child?"

Mrs. Rowan had shown some agitation while this conversation was going on, and when Edith put out her hand, she grasped it as if meaning to hold on to the child. Her reply was made in a somewhat defiant tone. "When Mrs. Robert Yorke died, she asked me to have pity on her daughter, and keep her out of the poor-house. I have taken care of her ever since. The Yorkes had turned them off."

The gentleman drew himself up, and put out his under lip. "Thank you for the information," he said bitterly. Then to Edith, "Come, child," and took her hand.

She allowed him to lead her across the room to his wife.

"Mrs. Yorke," he said, "this is my brother Robert's orphan child!"

There was a slight sensation and a momentary pause; but the lady recovered immediately. "I am glad to see you, dear," she said in a kind voice. "Who is that person?" she added to her husband, glancing at Mrs. Rowan.

The widow was staring at them angrily, and seemed on the point of coming to take Edith away by force.

"One who has taken care of the child since her mother's death, Amy," he answered. "She has no claim on my niece, and will, of course, give her up to us. The little girl is named for my mother. Robert was always fond of mother."

There was a pause of embarrassed silence.

"You must perceive that there is no other way," Mr. Yorke continued with some state. "Aside from natural affection and pity for the child's friendless condition, an Edith Yorke must not be allowed to go about the country like a Gypsy with a shawl over her head."

"It is just as papa says," Melicent interposed, and immediately took Edith by the hand and kissed her cheek. "You are my little cousin, and you will go home and live with us," she said sweetly.

Miss Yorke's manner was very conciliating; but her suavity proceeded[175] less from real sweetness than from self-complacency. She prided herself on knowing and always doing what was comme il faut, and took great pleasure in being the mould of form.

"I shall go with Dick! I am going to live with Dick!" Edith cried, snatching her hand away. A blush of alarm overspread her face, and she looked round in search of her protector. At that moment he appeared in the door, paused in surprise at seeing where Edith was, then went to his mother.

"The Yorkes have got her," Mrs. Rowan said to him, breathless with excitement. "That is Mr. Charles Yorke. I knew him the moment I set eyes on him."

Dick wheeled about and faced them. Edith, too proud to run away, looked at him imploringly.

Then Miss Melicent Yorke arose, like the goddess of peace, adjusted her most impregnable smile, and sailed across the room. "I am Miss Yorke," she said brightly, as though such an announcement would be sure to delight them. "Of course, the dear little Edith is my cousin. Is it not the strangest thing in the world that we should have met in such a way? I am sure we shall all feel deeply indebted to you for having protected the child while we knew nothing of her necessities. Of course, we should have sent for her directly if we had known. But, as it is, we have the pleasure of meeting you."

Pausing, Miss Yorke looked at the two as if they were the dearest friends she had on earth and it gave her heartfelt joy to behold their countenances.

Dick choked with the words he would have uttered. He felt keenly the insolence of her perfectly confident and smiling address, yet knew not how to defend himself. If a man had been in her place, he could have met his airy assumption with a sufficiently blunt rebuff; but the young sailor was chivalric, and could not look a woman in the face and utter rude words. His mother's emotion did not prevent her replying, and, fortunately, to the point.

"Do you mean to say," Mrs. Rowan exclaimed, "that you are going to take Edith away from us without leave or license, after we have supported her four years without your troubling yourselves whether she starved in the street or not?"

For a moment, Miss Yorke's social poniard wavered before this broad thrust, but only for a moment. "Every family has its own private affairs, which no one else has either the power or the right to decide upon," she said smilingly. "All I need say of ours is that, if Mr. Yorke, my father, had known that his brother left a child unprovided for, he would have adopted her without delay. He did not know it till this minute, and his first thought is that there is only one proper course for him. His niece must be under his care, as her natural protector, and must have the advantages of education and society to which she is entitled. I am sure you would both be friendly enough to her to wish her to occupy her rightful position. As for any expense you may have gone to on her account, papa—"

"Stop there, madam!" Dick interrupted haughtily. "We will say no more about that, if you please. As to Edith's going with you, she shall choose for herself. I don't deny that it seems to be the proper thing; but allow me to say that it was my intention to give her a good home and a good education, such as no girl need be ashamed of. I will speak to Edith, and see what she thinks about it."

He turned unceremoniously away from Miss Yorke's protestations, and[176] went to the door, beckoning Edith to follow him. As he looked back, waiting for her, he saw that the whole family had gone over in a body to talk to his mother.

Edith clasped the hand he held out to her, and looked up into his face with large tears flashing in her eyes.

"I wouldn't leave you if they would give me all the world!" she exclaimed.

He smiled involuntarily, but would not take advantage of her affectionate impulse. He saw clearly that her true place was with her relatives. They could do for her at once what he could do only after years of weary labor. Perhaps they could do at once what he could never do. But it was hard to give her up. Down in the bottom of his heart was a thought which he had never fully acknowledged the presence of, but of which he was always conscious: he had meant to bring the child up to be his wife some day, if she should be willing; to load her with benefits; to be the one to whom she should owe everything. But with the pang it cost him to put this hope in peril came the glimpse of a possibility how far more triumphant! Following his own plan, he should be hedging her in; giving her up now would be making her free choice, if it should fall on him, an infinitely greater boon. Besides, and above all, it was right that she should go.

Dick leaned back against the wall of the building, and folded his arms while he talked to her. At first Edith broke into reproaches when she learned that he meant to give her up, but immediately an instinct of feminine pride and delicacy checked the words upon her lips. It was impossible for her to press her society on one who voluntarily relinquished it. She listened to her sentence in silence.

"So you see, Edith," he concluded, "we must make up our minds to part."

She perceived no such necessity, but did not tell him so. "Then I shall never see you any more!" she said in a whisper, without looking up.

Dick's eyes sparkled with resolution through the tears that filled them. "Yes, you will!" he exclaimed. "I mean to do the best I can for mother and myself, and you shall not be ashamed of us. And however high they may set you, Edith, I'll climb! I'll climb! I won't be so far off but I can reach you!"

The coach had taken its first load of passengers to the village, and now came down to bring those who were to take the steamer and carry the Yorkes back. It was time to go on board. Dick stepped to the door of the waiting-room. "Come, mother!" he said. "Edith and I will see you to your state-room, and then I will bring her back. She is to go with her uncle."

He was not surprised to see that his mother had been completely talked over by Edith's relations, and that, though tearful, no opposition was to be expected from her. They seemed to be the best of friends; and when the widow rose to take leave of them, Mr. Yorke himself escorted her to the boat. In fact, it was all very comfortably settled, as Miss Yorke observed to her mother when they had taken their seats in the coach.

When Edith and Dick appeared again, hand in hand, Mr. Yorke stood at the coach-door, waiting to assist his niece to her place.

"How picturesque!" Clara Yorke exclaimed, as the two stepped over the planks and came toward them. "It is like something out of the Arabian Nights. He is Sindbad, and she[177] is one of those princesses who were always getting into such ridiculous situations and difficulties. The child is absurd, of course, but she is lovely; and the young man is really very fine—of his kind."

Sindbad and his princess were both very pale. "Sir," the sailor said, presenting the child to her uncle, "I hope she will be as happy with you as I and my mother would have tried to make her."

As he released her hand, Edith's face suddenly whitened. All her little world was slipping away from beneath her feet.

Mr. Yorke was touched and impressed. He liked the young man's dignity. "I must compliment you, sir, on your honorable conduct in this affair," he said. "Let us hear from you; and come to see us whenever you are in our neighborhood."

Dick Rowan, in his turn, would have been touched by this unexpected cordiality, had not a slight raising of Miss Melicent Yorke's eyebrows neutralized its effect. The young woman thought that her father was really condescending unnecessarily. That faint, supercilious surprise checked the young man's gratitude, and he was turning away with a cold word of thanks, when Mrs. Yorke called him back. She was leaning from the carriage, and held out her hand to him.

"Good-by, Mr. Rowan!" she said aloud. "You need not fear that we shall not cherish this orphan whom you have kindly protected so far, and you need not fear that we shall try to make her forget you. Ingratitude is the vice of slaves. I am sure she will never be ungrateful to you."

"Thank you!" Dick said fervently, melted by the kind smile and tremulous sweetness of tone. It was none of Miss Melicent's exasperating affability.

"And I have a favor to ask," she added, leaning still further out, and lowering her voice so that only he could hear. "I take for granted that you will write to my niece. Will you allow her to let me read your letters?"

Dick blushed deeply as he stammered out another "Thank you!" It was a delicately given warning and kindly given permission. It showed him, moreover, that the lady's soft eyes had looked to the bottom of his heart. At that moment he was glad that the ring on Edith's finger was Captain Cary's gift, not his.

"I would like to see the steamboat just as long as it is in sight," Edith said faintly.

Her uncle immediately gave orders to the driver to take them round to a place from which they could look down to the entrance of the bay.

The boat steamed out over the water, glided like a swan down the bay, and soon disappeared around a curve that led to the Narrows. Edith gazed immovably after it, unconscious that they were all watching her. When it was no longer visible, she closed her eyes, and sank back into Mrs. Yorke's arms.


Mrs. Charles Yorke was a native of Seaton; her maiden name, Arnold. Her mother had died while Amy was quite young, and in a few years the father married again. This marriage was an unfortunate one for the family;[178] and not only the daughter but many of Mr. Arnold's friends had tried to dissuade him from it. Their chief argument was not that the person whom he proposed to marry was a vulgar woman whom his lost wife would not have received as an acquaintance, but that she was in every way unworthy of him, and would be a discreditable connection. They met the fate which usually awaits such interference. Truth itself never appears so true as varnished falsehood does. Mr. Arnold was flattered and duped; and the end of the affair was that Amy had the misery of seeing his deceiver walk triumphantly into her mother's sacred place. Nor was this all. In a moment of weakness, the father betrayed to his new wife the efforts that had been made to separate them, and she half-guessed, half-drew from him every name. From that moment her instinctive jealous dislike of her step-daughter was turned to hatred.

Had the young girl been wise, she would have known that her only proper course was to withdraw from the field; but she was inexperienced and passionate, and had no better adviser than her own heart. Had she been a Catholic, she could have found in the confessional the confidant and counsel she needed; but she was not. In Seaton there were no Catholics above the class of servants and day-laborers. She was left, therefore, completely to herself, and in the power of an unscrupulous and subtle tormentor. Miserable, indignant, and desperate, the young girl descended to the contest, and at every step she was defeated. She called on her father for protection; but he saw nothing of her trials, or was made to believe that she had herself provoked them. It was the old story of adroit deceit arrayed against impolitic sincerity. But, happily, the contest was not of long duration.

Amy was not a person to remain in a position so false and degrading. There came a time when, quite as much to her own surprise as to theirs, she had nothing more to say. But their surprise was that she contended no longer, hers that she had contended so long. The way was clear before her, and her plans were soon made. Her father had an unmarried cousin living in Boston, and this lady consented to receive her. Only on the day preceding her departure did she announce her intentions. The sufferings she had undergone were a sufficient excuse for her abruptness. She had become too much weakened and excited to bear any controversy upon the subject. Besides, the parting from her father, if prolonged, would have been unbearable. She must tear herself away.

He sat a moment with downcast eyes after she had communicated to him her design. His face expressed emotion. He seemed both pained and embarrassed, and quite at a loss what to say. In fact, his wife had proposed this very plan, and was anxious that Amy should go, and he had entertained the project. Therefore he could not express surprise. For the first time, perhaps, a feeling of shame overcame him. He was obliged to deceive! His pride, revolting at that shame, made him impatient. Unwilling to acknowledge himself in the wrong, he wished to appear injured.

"If you mean to deprive me of my only child, and would rather live with strangers than with your own father, I will not oppose you," he said. "But I think you might have shown some confidence in me, and told me your wishes before."

Amy's impulse had been, at the first sight of his emotion, to throw[179] herself into his arms, and forgive him everything, or take upon herself all the blame. But at these words she recoiled. Her silence was better than any answer could have been.

"I don't blame you, child," her father resumed, blushing for the evasion he had practised. "It would be cruel of me to wish you to stay in a home where you cannot live in peace. I am grieved, Amy, but I can do nothing. What can a man do between women who disagree?"

"Find out which is wrong!" was the answer that rose to her lips, but she suppressed it. She had already exhausted words to him. She had poured out her pain, her love, her entreaties, and they had been to him as the idle wind. She had been wronged and insulted, and he would not see it. She turned away with a feeling of despair.

"At least, let us part as a father and daughter should," he said in a trembling voice.

She held out one hand to him, and with the other covered her face, unable to utter a word; then broke away, and shut herself into her chamber. There are times when entire reparation only is tolerable, and we demand full justice, or none.

So they parted, and never met again, though they corresponded regularly, and wrote kind if not confidential letters. The only sign the daughter ever had of any change of opinion in her father regarding the cause of their separation was when he requested her to send her letters to his office and not to the house. After that they both wrote more freely.

In her new home, Amy did not find all sunshine. Miss Clinton was old and notional, and had too great a fondness for thinking for others as well as herself. Consequently, when the young lady favored the addresses of a poor artist who had been employed to paint her portrait, there was an explosion. With her father's consent, Amy married Carl Owen, and her cousin discarded her. There was one year of happiness; then the young husband died, and left his wife with an infant son.

In her trouble, Mrs. Owen made the acquaintance of Mrs. Edith Yorke, who became to her a helpful friend; and in little more than a year she married that lady's eldest son, Charles. From that moment her happiness was assured. She found herself surrounded by thoroughly congenial society, and blest with the companionship of one who was to her father, husband, and brother, all she had ever lost or longed for. Mr. Yorke adopted her son as his own, and, so far from showing any jealousy of his predecessor, was the one to propose that the boy should retain his own father's name in addition to the one he adopted.

As daughters grew up around them, he appeared to forget that Carl was not his own son, at least so far as pride in him went. Probably he showed more fondness for his girls.

Mr. Arnold died shortly after his daughter's second marriage, and his wife followed him in a few years. By their death Mrs. Yorke became the owner of her old home. But she had no desire to revisit the scene of so much misery, and for years the house was left untenanted in the care of a keeper. Nor would they ever have gone there, probably, but for pecuniary losses which made them glad of any refuge.

Mr. Charles Yorke appreciated the value of money, and knew admirably well how to spend it; but the acuteness which can foresee and make bargains, and the unscrupulousness which is so often necessary to insure their success, he had not. Consequently,[180] when in an evil hour he embarked his inherited wealth in speculation, it was nearly all swept away.

Creditors, knowing his probity, offered to wait.

"Why should I wait?" he asked. "Will my debts contract as the cold weather comes on? I prefer an immediate settlement."

Not displeased at his refusal to profit by their generosity, they hinted at a willingness to take a percentage on their claims.

"A percentage!" cried the debtor. "Am I a swindler? Am I a beggar? I shall pay a hundred per cent., and I recommend you in your future dealings with me to bear in mind that I am a gentleman and not an adventurer."

A very old-fashioned man was Mr. Charles Yorke, and a very hard man to pity.

Behold him, then, and his family en route for their new home.

We have said that the two principal streets of the town of Seaton crossed each other at right angles, one running north and south along the river, the other running east and west across the river. These roads carried themselves very straightly before folks, but once out of town, forgot their company manners, and meandered as they chose, splintered into side-tracks, and wandered off in vagabond ways. But the south road, that passed by the Rowans', was the only one that came to nothing. The other three persisted till they each found a village or a city, twenty-five miles or so away. Half a mile from the village centre, on North Street, a very respectable-looking road started off eastward, ran across a field, and plunged into the forest that swept down over a long smooth rise from far-away regions of wildness. Following this road half a mile, one saw at the left a tumble-down stone wall across an opening, with two gates, painted black in imitation of iron, about fifteen rods apart. A little further on, it became visible that an avenue went from gate to gate, enclosing a deep half-circle of lawn, on which grew several fair enough elms and a really fine maple. After such preliminaries you expect a house; and there it is at the head of the avenue, a widespread building, with a cupola in the centre, a portico in front, and a wing at either side. It is elevated on a deep terrace, and has a background of woods, and woods at either hand, only a little removed.

To be consistent, this house should be of stone, or, at least, of brick; but it is neither. Still, it would not be right to call it a "shingle palace;" for its frame is a massive network of solid oaken beams, and it is strong enough to bear unmoved a shock that would set nine out of every ten modern city structures rattling down into their cellars. When Mrs. Yorke's grandfather built this house, in the year 1800, English ideas and feelings still prevailed in that region; and in building a house, a gentleman thought of his grandchildren, who might live in it. Now nobody builds with any reference to his descendants.

But Mr. Arnold's plans had proved larger than his purse. The park he meant to have had still remained three hundred acres of wild, unfenced land, the gardens never got beyond a few flowers, now choked with weeds, and the kitchen-garden, kept alive by Patrick Chester, Mrs. Yorke's keeper. As for the orchard, it never saw the light. Mrs. Yorke's father had done the place one good turn, for he had planted vines everywhere. Their graceful banners, in summer-time, draped the portico, the corners of the house, the dead oak-tree by the western wing, and swept[181] here and there over rock, fence, or stump.

Back of the house, toward the right, was a huge barn and a granary; the eaves of both under-hung with a solid row of swallows' nests. On this bright April morning, the whole air was full of the twirl and twitter of these birds, and with the blue glancing of their wings some invisible crystalline ring seemed to have been let down from the heavens over and around the house, and they followed its outline in their flight. But the homely, bread-and-butter robins had no such mystical ways. They flew or hopped straight where they wanted to go, and what they wanted to get was plainly something to eat. One of them alighted on the threshold of the open front-door and looked curiously in. He saw a long hall, with a staircase on one side, and open doors to right and left and at the furthest end. All the wood-work, walls, and ceilings in sight were dingy, and rats and mice had assisted time in gnawing away; but the furniture was bright, and three fires visible through the three open doors were brighter still. Redbreast seemed to be much interested in these fires. Probably he was a bird from the city, and had never seen such large ones. Those in the front rooms were large enough, but that in the kitchen was something immense, and yet left room at one side of the fireplace for a person to sit and look up chimney, if so disposed.

"Bon!" says the bird, with a nod, hopping in, "the kitchen is the place to go to. As to those flowers and cherries on the floor, I am not to be cheated by them. They are not good to eat, but only to walk on. I am a bird of culture and society. I know how people live. I am not like that stupid chicken."

For a little yellow chicken, without a sign of tail, had followed the robin in, and was eagerly pecking at the spots in the carpet.

The bird of culture hopped along to the door at the back of the hail, and paused again to reconnoitre. Here a long, narrow corridor ran across, with doors opening into the front rooms, and one into the kitchen, and a second stairway at one end. Three more hops brought the bird to the threshold of the kitchen-door, where a third pause occurred, this one not without trepidation; for here in the great kitchen a woman stood at a table with a pan of potatoes before her. She had washed them, and was now engaged in partially paring them and cutting out any suspicious spots that might be visible on the surfaces. "It takes me to make new potatoes out of old ones!" she said to herself with an air of satisfaction, tossing the potato in in her hand into a pan of cold water.

This woman was large-framed and tall, and over forty years of age. She had a homely, sensible, pleasant, quick-tempered face, and the base of her nose was an hypothenuse. Her dark hair was drawn back and made into a smooth French twist, with a shell comb stuck in the top a little askew. It is hard to fasten one of those twists with the comb quite even, if it has much top to it. This comb had much top. The woman's face shone with washing; she wore a straightly-fitting calico gown and a white linen collar. The gown was newly done up and a little too stiff, and to keep it from soil she had doubled the skirt up in front and pinned it behind, and tied on a large apron. For further safeguard, the sleeves were turned up and pinned to the shoulder by the waistbands. At every movement she made these stiff clothes rattled.


This woman was Miss Betsey Bates. She had lived at Mr. Arnold's when Miss Amy was a young girl, had left when she left, and was now come back to live with her again.

"Just let your water bile," Betsey began, addressing an imaginary audience—"let your water bile, and throw in a handful of salt; then wash your potatoes clean; peel 'em all but a strip or two to hold together; cut out the spots, and let 'em lay awhile in cold water; when it's time to cook 'em, throw 'em into your biling water, and clap on your lid; then—"

Betsey stopped suddenly and looked over her shoulder to listen, but, hearing no carriage-wheels nor human steps, resumed her occupation. She did not perceive the two little bipeds on the threshold of the door, where they were listening to her soliloquy with great interest, though it was the chicken's steps that had attracted her attention. That silly creature, dissatisfied with his worsted banquet, had hopped along to the robin's side, where he now stood with a hungry crop, round eyes, and two or three colored threads sticking to his bill.

Betsey's thoughts took a new turn. "I must go and see to the fires, and put a good beach chunk on each one. There's a little chill in the air, and everybody wants a fire after a journey. It looks cheerful. I've got six fires going in this house. What do you think of that? To my idea, an open fire in a strange house is equal to a first cousin, sometimes better."

Here a step sounded outside the open window behind the table, and Pat Chester appeared, a stout, fine-looking, red-faced man, with mischievous eyes and an honest mouth. Curiously enough, the base of his nose also was an hypothenuse. Otherwise there was no resemblance between the two. Betsey used to say to him, "Pat, the ends of our noses were sawed off the wrong way."

"Who are you talking to?" asked Pat, stopping to look in and laugh.

"Your betters," was the retort.

"I don't envy 'em," said Pat, and went on about his business.

"And I must see to them clocks again," pursued Betsey. "The idea of having a clock in every room in the house! It takes me half of my time to set 'em forward and back. As to touching the pendulums of such clocks as them, you don't catch me. But I do abominate to see one mantelpiece a quarter past and another quarter of at the same time."

Here a little peck on the floor arrested Betsey's attention, and, stretching her neck, she saw the chicken, and instantly flew at it with a loud "shoo!" With its two bits of wings extended and its head advanced as far as possible, the little wretch fled through the hall, peeping with terror. But the robin flew up and escaped over Betsey's head. "Laud sakes!" she cried, holding on to her comb and her eyes, "who ever saw a chicken fly up like that?"

Wondering over this phenomenon, Betsey went up-stairs and replenished the fires in three chambers, and set some of the clocks forward and others back, then hurried down to perform the same duties below stairs. Just as she set the last hour-hand carefully at nine o'clock, Pat put his head in at the dining-room window. "It's time for 'em to be here," he said, "and I'm going down to the gate to watch. I'll give a whistle the minute they come in sight."

Immersed in her own thoughts, Betsey had jumped violently at sound of his voice. "I do believe you're possessed to go round poking your head in at windows, and scaring people out of their wits!" she cried, with[183] a frightened laugh. "Here I came within an ace of upsetting this clock or going into the fire."

Pat laughed back—he and Betsey were always scolding and always laughing at each other—muttered something about skittish women, and walked off down the avenue to watch for the family.

"I believe everything is ready," Betsey said, looking round. She took off her apron, took down her skirt and sleeves, and gave herself a general crackling smoothing over. Then suddenly she assumed an amiable smile, looked straight before her, dropped a short courtesy, and said, "How do you do, Mrs. Yorke? I hope I see you well. How do you do, sir? How do you do, miss? I wonder if I had better go out to the door when they come, or stand in the entry, or stay in the kitchen. I declare to man I don't know what to do! How do you do, ma'am?" beginning her practising again, this time before the glass. "I hope I see you well. To think of my not being married at all, and her having grown-up children!" she said, staring through the window. "The last time I saw her, she was a pretty creature, as pale as a snow-drop. Poor thing! she had a hard time of it with that Jezebel. She never said anything to me, nor I to her; but many a time she has come to me when that woman has been up to her tricks, and held on to me, and gasped for breath. 'O my heart! my heart!' she'd say. 'Don't speak to me, Betsey, but hold me a minute!' It was awful to see her white face, and to feel her heart jump as if it would tear itself out. That was the way trouble always took hold of her."

She mused a moment longer, then broke off suddenly, and began anew her practice. "How do you do, ma'am? I hope I see you well."

Presently a loud, shrill whistle interrupted her. Betsey rushed excitedly into the kitchen, dashed her potatoes into the kettle, tied on a clean apron that stood out like cast-iron with starch, and hovered in the rear of the hall, to be ready for advance or retreat, as occasion might demand.

The old yellow coach came through the gate, up the muddy avenue, and drew up at the steps. The two gentlemen got out first, then the young ladies, and all stood around while Mrs. Yorke slowly alighted. She was very pale, but smiled kindly on them, then took her son's arm, and went up the steps. Mr. Yorke stopped to offer his hand to a little girl who still remained in the coach. "My sakes!" muttered Betsey. "If it isn't that Rowan young one!"

"Mother dear," said the son, "it is possible to make a very beautiful place of this."

She looked at him with a brightening smile. "You think so, Carl?" She had been anxiously watching what impression the sight of her old home would make on her family, and exaggerating its defects in her own imagination, as she fancied they were doing in theirs. Their silence so far had given her a pang, since she interpreted it to mean disappointment, when in truth it had meant solicitude for her. They thought that she would be agitated on coming again to her childhood's home after so long an absence. So she was; but her own peculiar memories gave precedence to that which concerned those dearest to her.

"Besides, mother," Owen continued, "this spot has a charm for me which no other could have, however beautiful: it is yours."

That word conveyed the first intimation Mrs. Yorke had ever received that her son felt his dependence on a stepfather. But the pain the knowledge[184] caused her was instantly banished by the recollection that the cause of his uneasiness was now removed.

"My great-grandfather had ideas, though he did not carry them out," remarked Melicent. "If he had built his house of stone, it would have done very well. It is astonishing that he did not. But the earlier settlers in this country seemed to revel in wood, probably because it had been to them in the Old World a luxury. With heaps of stones at hand, they would persist in building their houses of logs."

At this point Betsey rushed out to welcome Mrs. Yorke. The sight of that pale face which seemed to be looking for her, and the slight, clinging form that used to cling to her, quite overcame her shyness.

"You dear creature, how glad I am to see you once more!" she cried out. And, seizing the lady by the shoulders, gave her a resounding kiss on the cheek.

"Please do not touch Mrs. Yorke's left arm. It gives her palpitation," said the son rather stiffly.

Young Mr. Owen had an invincible repugnance to personal familiarities, especially from inferiors.

"Dear Betsey, this is my son," the mother said proudly, looking at her manly young escort, as if to see him anew with a stranger's admiring eyes. "Carl has heard me speak of you many a time, my old friend!"

Betsey immediately dropped a solemn courtesy. "I hope I see you well, sir!" she said, remembering her manners.

"This must be Betsey Bates!" cried Miss Melicent, coming forward with great cordiality. "Mamma has spoken of you so often I knew you at once."

Miss Yorke did not say that she recognized Betsey by her nose, though that was the fact. The impression left on the woman's mind was of something highly complimentary, that some air expressive of honesty, faithfulness, and affection, or some subtile personal grace not universally acknowledged, had led to the recognition.

On the threshold of the door, Mrs. Yorke turned to receive her husband. She could not utter a word; but her face expressed what she would have said. In her look could be read that she placed in his hands all that was hers, regretting only that the gift was so small.

One saw then, too, that Mr. Yorke's sarcastic face was capable of great tenderness. As he met that mute welcome, a look of indulgent kindness softened his keen eyes, gave his scornful mouth a new shape, and lighted up his whole countenance. But he knew better than allow his wife to yield to any excitement of feeling.

"Yes, Amy!" he said cheerfully, "I think we shall make a very pleasant home here. Now come in and rest."

They went into the sitting-room at the left of the hall, and Mrs. Yorke was seated in an arm-chair there between the fire and the sunshine, and they all waited on her. Hester, kneeling by her mother, removed her gloves and overshoes, Clara took off her bonnet and shawl, and Melicent, after whispering a word to Betsey, went out with that factotum, and presently returned bearing a tin cup of coffee on which a froth of cream still floated.

"I've taken a cup, mamma," she said, "and I can recommend it. And breakfast will be ready in two minutes."

Owen Yorke, missing one of the company, went out, and found Edith standing forlorn in the portico, biting[185] her quivering lips, and struggling to restrain the tears that threatened to overflow her eyes. For the first time in her life the child felt timid and disconcerted. She was among her own people, and they had forgotten her. At that moment she longed passionately for Dick Rowan, and would have flown to him had it been possible.

"Come, little Gypsy!" he said. "You're not going to run away, I hope? Did you think we had forgotten you? See! I have not."

Owen Yorke's face was very winning when he chose, and his voice could express a good deal of kindness. Edith looked at him steadily a moment, then took the hand he offered, and went into the house with him. As they entered, Mrs. Yorke rose to give the child an affectionate welcome to her new home, and the daughters gathered about her with those bright, profuse words which are so pleasant even when they mean so little.

A folding-door opened from the sitting-room into the dining-room, which occupied the front half of the west wing, and here a breakfast was set out that dismayed the eyes of those who were expected to partake of it. There was a fricassee which had cost the lives of three hens of family, and occasioned a serious squabble between Pat and Betsey; there was a vast platter of ham and eggs, and a pyramid of potatoes piled so high that the first time it was touched one rolled off on to the cloth. Poor Betsey had no conception of the Yorke ideal of a proper breakfast.

"The good creature has such a generous heart!" Mrs. Yorke said, checking with a glance the titter which her two younger daughters had not tried to restrain. "And I am sure that everything is delicious."

Taking a seat at the table, Edith recollected that a trial awaited her. It was Friday; and abstinence from meat on that day was the one point in her mother's religion which she knew and practised. Otherwise she was as ignorant of it as possible.

Owen Yorke, sitting opposite, watched her curiously, perceiving that something was the matter. He noticed the slight bracing of the muscles of her face and neck, and that she drew her breath in like one who is preparing for a plunge, and kept her eyes steadily fixed on Mr. Yorke. Edith's way was to look at what she feared.

"Some of the chicken, little niece?" her uncle asked pleasantly.

"No, sir, I do not eat meat on Friday. I am a Roman Catholic," the child answered with precision. And, having made the announcement thus fully, shut her mouth, and sat pale, with her eyes fixed on Mr. Yorke's face.

A smile flashed into Owen Yorke's eyes at this reply. "Little Spartan!" he thought.

Edith did not miss the slight contraction of the brows and the downward twitch of the corners of the mouth in the face she watched; but the signs of displeasure passed as quickly as they came. "Then I am afraid you will make a poor breakfast," Mr. Yorke said gently. "But I will do the best I can for you."

There was a momentary silence; then the talk went on as before. But the family were deeply annoyed. It seemed enough that they should have to take this little waif, with they knew not what low habits and associates, or what unruly fires of temper inherited from her mother, without having an alien religion brought into their midst. Catholicism as they had seen it abroad appealed to their æsthetic sense. It floated there in a higher atmosphere, adorned with all[186] that wealth and culture could do. But at home they preferred to keep it where, as a rule, they found it—in the kitchen and the stable.

After they had returned to the sitting-room, Mr. Yorke called Edith to him. She went trembling; for, in spite of himself, her uncle's face wore a judicial look. The girls, who were just going up-stairs, lingered to hear what would be said, and Owen took his stand behind Mr. Yorke's chair, and looked at the child with an encouraging smile.

"Were the family you lived with Catholics, my dear?" the judge began.

"No, sir. Only Mr. Rowan was when he was a little boy."

"And Mr. Rowan wished to make a Catholic of you?" Mr. Yorke said, his lip beginning to curl.

The child lifted her head. "Mr. Rowan had nothing to say about me," she replied. "It was my mother."

A slight smile went round the circle. They quite approved of her reply.

"But you cannot recollect your mother?" Mr. Yorke continued.

"Oh! yes," Edith said with animation. "I remember how she looked, and what she said. She made me hold up my hands, and promise that I would be a Roman Catholic if I had to die for it. And that was the last word she ever said."

Mr. Yorke gave a short nod. To his mind the matter was settled. "N'est ce pas?" he said to his wife.

She bowed gravely. "There is no other way. It is impossible to ask her to break a promise so given. When she is older, she can choose for herself."

"Well, you hear, girls?" Mr. Yorke said, looking at his daughters. "Now take her, and make her feel at home."

Miss Yorke was dignified and inscrutable, Hester unmistakably cold, but Clara took her cousin's hand with the utmost cordiality, and was leading her from the room, when Edith stopped short, her eyes attracted by a cabinet portrait in oils that stood on a shelf near the door. This portrait represented a young man, with one of those ugly, beautiful faces which fascinate us, we know not why. Careless, profuse locks of golden brown clustered around his head, steady, agate-colored eyes followed the beholder wherever he went, and seemed at once defying him to escape and entreating him not to go, and the sunshine of a hidden smile softened the curves of the mouth and chin.

Edith's eyes sparkled, her face grew crimson, and she clasped her hands tightly on her breast.

"That is your father's portrait, my dear," Mrs. Yorke said, going to her. "Do you recognize it?"

The child restrained herself one moment, then she ran to the picture, clasped her arms around it, and kissed it over and over, weeping passionately. "It is mine! It is mine!" she cried out, when her aunt tried to soothe her.

"You are right, dear!" Mrs. Yorke said, much affected. "I am sure no one will object to your having the portrait. You may take it to your own chamber, if you wish."

Edith controlled herself, wiped her eyes, and put the picture down. "Dear Aunt Amy," she said, "you know I want it; but I won't take it unless you and Uncle Charles are quite willing."

It was touching, her first acknowledgment of kinship, and expression of trust and submission. They cordially assured her of their willingness, kissed her again in token of a closer adoption, and smiled after her as she[187] went off with her father's portrait clasped to her heart.

Melicent and Hester still lingered. Melicent remembered faintly her Uncle Robert's marriage, and the disagreeable feeling in the family at that time. It had left on her mind a prejudice against "that Polish girl," and a shade of disfavor toward her daughter. But she said nothing.

"It will be so disagreeable having a Catholic in the family!" Hester complained.

"Hester, listen to me!" her father said severely. "I want no bigotry nor petty persecutions in my family. Your Cousin Edith has as good a right to her religion as you have to yours; and if either should find herself disagreeably situated, it is she, for she is alone. Don't forget this; and don't let there be anything offensive said, or hinted, or looked. I mean to be consistent, and allow others the same freedom which I claim myself. Now, let me hear no more of this."

Hester took refuge in tears. It was her sole argument. She was one of those soft creatures who require to be petted, and have a talent for being abused. Possibly, too, she was a little jealous of this new member of the family.

"Melicent, will you lead away this weeping nymph, and dry her tears?" the father said impatiently. "Common sense is too robust for her constitution."

The sisters went up-stairs, and Owen followed them presently, and climbed to the cupola. Leaning on the window-sill there, he looked off over the country. The horizon was a ring of low blue hills, with a grand amethyst glittering to tell where the sea lay. Through the centre of this vast circle glimmered the river, silver, and gold, and steel-blue, and the white houses of the town lay like a heap of lilies scattered on its banks. Everywhere else was forest.

Shadows of varying thought swept over the young man's face as he looked off, and drew freer breath from the distance. "Henceforth my shield must bear a martlet," he muttered. "But whither shall I fly?"

That was the problem he was studying. He had come to this place only to see his family settled, and collect his own thoughts after their sudden fall from prosperity; then he would go out into the world, and work his own way. It was not pleasant, the change from that life of noble leisure and lofty work which he had planned, to one where compulsory labor for mere bread must occupy the greater part of his time; but it was inevitable. And as he looked abroad now, and breathed the fresh air that came frolicking out of the northwest, and remembered how wide the world is and how many veins in it are unwrought, his young courage rose, and the plans he had been building up for that year crumbled and ceased to excite his regret.

Only a few months before their change of circumstances, his mother had been won to consent that he might visit Asia. He had meant to go north, south, east, and west, in that shabby, glorious old land, make himself for the nonce Tartar, Chinese, Indian, Persian, what not, and get a look at creation through the eyes of each. This young man's sympathies were by no means narrow. He had never been able to believe that God smiles with peculiar fondness on any particular continent, island, peninsula, or part of either, and is but a stepfather to the rest of the world. He was born with a hatred of barriers. He sympathized with Swift, who "hated all nations, professions, and communities, and gave all his love to individuals." Or,[188] better than Swift, he had at least a theoretical love for mankind unfenced. He did not have to learn to love, that came naturally to him; he had to learn to hate. But he was a good hater. Take him all in all, Carl Owen Yorke was at twenty-one a noble, generous youth, of good mind and unstained reputation; and it was no proof of excessive vanity in him that he believed himself capable of taking any position he might strive for.

"My dear Minerva tells me that I have in me some of the elements of failure," he said. "I wonder what they are?"

This "dear Minerva" was Miss Alice Mills, Mr. Robert Yorke's deserted fiancée. She and Owen were very close friends. It was one of those friendships which sometimes grow up between a woman whose youth is past and a youth whose manhood has scarcely arrived. Such a friendship may effect incalculable good or incalculable harm, as the woman shall choose.

"Well," he concluded, not caring to puzzle over the riddle, "she will explain, I suppose, when she writes. And if anybody can get at the cube-root of the difficulty, she can."

Meantime, while the son was musing, and the daughters were selecting their chambers, and making up a toilet for Edith, Mr. Yorke had sent for Patrick Chester in the sitting-room, and was questioning him concerning Catholic affairs in Seaton. They did not seem to be in a flourishing condition.

There was no priest settled there, Patrick said; but one came over from B—— once in two months, and said Mass for them. They had no church yet, but a little chapel, what there was left of it.

"What do you mean by that?" his master asked.

"Why, sir, some of the Seaton rowdies got into the chapel, one night, not long ago, and smashed the windows, and broke up the tabernacle, and destroyed the pictures entirely. And they twisted off the crucifix, though it was of iron, two inches wide and half an inch thick. The devil must have helped the man that did it, savin' your presence, ma'am."

"Are they vandals here?" demanded Mr. Yorke.

"There are some fine folks in Seaton," said Pat, who did not know what vandals are. "But the rowdies have everything pretty much their own way."

"And is there no law in the town?" asked Mr. Yorke wrathfully.

"There's a good many lawyers," said Pat, scratching his head.

"You mean to say that there was no effort made to discover and punish the perpetrators of such an outrage?" exclaimed his master.

"Indeed there was not, sir!" Pat answered. "People knew pretty well who did the mischief, and that the fellow that broke off the crucifix was taken bleeding at the lungs just after; but nobody molested 'em. It wouldn't be well for the one who would lift his voice against the Seaton rowdies. Why, some of 'em belong to as wealthy families as there are in town. They began with a cast-iron band years ago, and everybody laughed at 'em. All the harm they did was to wake people out of sleep. Then they broke up a lecture. It was a Mr. Fowle from Boston, who was preaching about education. And then they did a little mischief here and there to people they didn't like, and now they are too strong to put down. And, indeed, sir, when it's against the Catholics they are, nobody wants to put 'em down."

Mr. Yorke glanced at his wife. She did not look up nor deny Patrick's[189] charges. She was a little ashamed of the character of her native town in this respect; for at that time Seaton was notorious for its lawlessness, and was even proud of its reputation. No great harm had been done, they said. It was only the boys' fun. They were sorry, it is true, that a respectable lecturer should have been insulted; but that a Catholic chapel should be desecrated, that was nothing. They did not give it a second thought.

"Well, Patrick," Mr. Yorke resumed, "my niece, Miss Edith Yorke, is a Catholic, and I wish her to have proper instruction, and to attend to the services of her church when there is opportunity. Let me know the next time your priest comes here, and I will call to see him. Now you may go."



The story and celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe are not so familiar to Catholics, or so well appreciated by others, as to render useless or uninteresting, especially in this month of Mary, an account of her veneration in Mexico. What this actually, veritably is, no writer, so far as we are aware, has yet undertaken to show—at least, from such literary evidences of popular conviction as best illustrate the subject. How anything supernatural could shine or blossom in a land of wars, robbers, Indians, is an old doubt, notwithstanding that revelations have taken place in countries which needed them less than did the once idolatrous Aztecs. Let us now endeavor to make clear what the true nature of the miracle of Guadalupe is; to exhibit its real veneration by means of testimonies borrowed from the worthiest Mexicans; and to prove that the faith of Guadalupe is not shallow, but long and well-established, widespread, and sincere.

Here follows a brief history of the renowned miracle of Tepeyac. In 1531, ten years after the conquest, the pious and simple Indian, Juan Diego, was on his way to the village of Guadalupe, near the city of Mexico, there to receive the instructions of some reverend fathers. Suddenly, at the hill of Tepeyac appeared to him the Blessed Virgin, who commanded her amazed client to go forthwith to the bishop, and make known that she wished a church to be built in her honor upon that spot. Next day the Blessed Virgin returned to hear the regret of Juan Diego that he could not obtain the ear of the bishop. "Go back," said the Holy Lady, "and announce that I, Mary, Mother of God, send thee." The Indian again sought his bishop, who this time required that he should bring some token of the presence and command of his patroness. On the 12th of December, Juan Diego again saw Our Lady, who ordered him to climb to the top of the barren rock of Tepeyac and there gather roses for her. To his great astonishment,[190] he found the roses flourishing on the rock, and brought them to his patroness, who threw them into his tilma or apron, and said: "Go back to the bishop and show him these credentials." Again came the Indian before the bishop, and, opening his tilma to show the roses, lo! there appeared impressed upon it a marvellous image of the Blessed Virgin. The bishop was awestruck and overcome. The miraculous occurrence was made known and proved. Processions and Masses celebrated it, and its fame spread far and wide. A large new cathedral was erected on the hill of Guadalupe, and multitudes from all parts flocked thither. Specially noteworthy is the fact that the new shrine to Our Lady was erected in the place where once the Indians worshipped their goddess Totantzin, mother of other deities, and protectress of fruits and fields. The marvellous picture was found impressed upon the rudest cloth, that of a poor Indian's apron, the last upon which to attempt a painter's artifice—and hence the greater wonder, the artistic testimony regarding which is something formidable and wonderful in itself.

What is known in Mexico as the Day of Guadalupe is extraordinary as a popular manifestation. On the 12th of December every year, fifteen or twenty thousand Indians congregate in the village of that name to celebrate the anniversary of the Marvellous Apparition. The whole way to the famous suburb is crowded with cabs, riders, and pedestrians of the poorest sort, a great number of them bare-footed. All day there is an ever-moving multitude to and from the village, and, indeed, the majority of the inhabitants of the city of Mexico seem to be included in the parties, families, and caravans of strangely contrasted people that wend their way to the shrines on the hill. The most numerous class of pilgrims are the saddest and the most wretched—we mean the ill-clad, ill-featured, simple, devoted Indians. On them the luxuries of the rich, the passions of the fighters, the intrigues of politicians, have borne with ruinous effect. Drudging men and women; hewers of wood and drawers of water; bare-breasted peasants, with faces dusky and dusty, the same who any day may be seen on Mexican roads carrying burdens of all sorts strapped to their backs; children in plenty, bare, unkempt, untidy, and sometimes swaddled about their mothers' shoulders; numerous babes at the breast, half-nude—these are some of the features in a not overdrawn picture of the primitive poverty which assembles at Guadalupe, and, in fact, in every Mexican multitude whatsoever. Perhaps nowhere outside of Mexico and the race of Indians can such a problem of multitudinous poverty be seen. Its victims are those over whom the desert-storms of wars and feuds innumerable have passed, and, spite of all their wanderings as a race, they yet wear the guise and character of tribes who are still trying to find their way out of a wilderness or a barren waste. Let enthusiasts for self-willed liberty say what they will, wars of fifty years are anything but conservative of happiness, cleanliness, good morals, and that true liberty which should always accompany them. However fondly we cherish our ideals of freedom, we must yet bear in mind the wholesome, wholesale truth of history, that no actual liberty is reached by the dagger and guillotine, or by massacre, or is founded on bad blood or bad faith. Those who lately celebrated the execution of Louis XVI. and the intellectual system of murder established by Robespierre, and not totally disapproved[191] by Mr. Carlyle, have good reason to be cautious as to how they offend this menacing truth.

A cathedral and four chapels are the principal structures of the picturesque hillside village of Guadalupe. By a winding ascent among steep, herbless rocks, tufted here and there with the thorny green slabs of the cactus, is reached at some distance from the cathedral the highest of the chapels, which contains the original imprint of the figure of Our Lady. Looking up to the chapel from the crowd at the cathedral may be seen a striking picture, not unlike what Northern travellers have been taught to fancy of the middle ages, but the elements of which are still abundant in the civilization of Europe. It is simply the curious crowd of pilgrims going up and down the hill, to and from the quaint old chapel, built perhaps centuries ago. The scene from the height itself is charming and impressive. The widespread valley of Mexico—including lakes, woods, villages, and a rich and substantial city, with towers and domes that take enchantment from distance—is all before the eye in one serene view of landscape. In the village there is a multitude like another Israel, sitting in the dust or standing near the pulquerias, or moving about near the church door. As Guadalupe is for the most part composed of adobe houses, and as its mass of humble visitors have little finery to distinguish their brown personages from the dust out of which man was originally created, the complexion of the general scene which they constitute can only be described as earth-like and earth-worn. Elsewhere than in a superficial glance at the poverty of Guadalupe we must seek for the meaning of its spectacle. Is this swarming, dull-colored scene but an animated fiction? No—it is the natural seeking the supernatural. And the supernatural—what is it? It is redemption and immortality, our Lord and Our Lady, the angels and saints.

The cathedral is a building of picturesque angles, but, except that it is spacious, as so many of the Mexican churches are, makes no particular boast of architecture. A copy of the marvellous tilma, over the altar, poetically represents Our Lady in a blue cloak covered with stars, and a robe said to be of crimson and gold, her hands clasped, and her foot on a crescent supported by a cherub. This is the substance of a description of it given by a traveller who had better opportunities for seeing it closely than had the present writer during the fiesta of Guadalupe in 1867. Whether the original picture is rude or not, from being impressed upon a blanket, he has not personal knowledge, though aware that it has been described as rude. Nevertheless, its idea and design are beautiful and tender. Everywhere in Mexico it is the favorite and, indeed, the most lovely presentment of Our Lady. Like a compassionate angel of the twilight, it looks out of many a shrine, and, among all the images for which the Mexican Church is noted, none is perhaps more essentially ideal, and, in that point of view, real. Where it appears wrought in a sculpture of 1686, by Francisco Alberto, on the side of San Agustin's at the capital, it is, though quaint, very admirable for its purity and gentleness. Time respects it, and the birds have built their nests near it. The various chapels in and about the city dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe are recognized by the star-mantled figure. The Baths of the Peñon, the cathedral at the Plaza, the suburb of Tacubaya, have each their pictorial witnesses of the faith of Guadalupe; and to say that its manifestation[192] abounds in Mexico is but to state a fact of commonplace. Rich and poor venerate the tradition of the Marvellous Appearance, now for three centuries celebrated, and always, it seems, by multitudes.

What else is to be seen at Guadalupe besides its crowd and its altar is not worthy of extended remark. The organs of the cathedral are high and admirably carved; over the altar's porphyry columns are cherubim and seraphim, all too dazzling with paint and gold. Here, as in other places of Spanish worship, the figures of the crucifixion have been designed with a painful realism. Outside of the church a party of Indians, displaying gay feathers, danced in honor of the feast, as their sires must have done hundreds of years ago. Inside it was densely crowded with visitors or pilgrims, and far too uncomfortable at times to make possible the most accurate observation of its ornaments. But it may be well to repeat that the church is divided into three naves by eight columns, and is about two hundred feet long, one hundred and twenty feet broad, and one hundred high. The total cost of the building, and, we presume, its altars, is reckoned as high as $800,000, most of it, if not all, contributed by alms. The altar at which is placed the image of Our Lady is said to have cost $381,000, its tabernacle containing 3,257 marks of silver, and the gold frame of the sacred picture 4,050 castellanos. The church's ornaments are calculated to be worth more than $123,000. Two of its candlesticks alone weighed 2,213 castellanos in gold, and one lamp 750 marks of silver. To Cristobal de Aguirre, who, in 1660, built a hermitage on the summit of Tepeyac, we owe the foundation of the chapel there. It was not, however, until 1747 that Our Lady of Guadalupe was formally declared the patroness of the whole of Mexico.

Of the many celebrations of Mexico, none are altogether as significant as that of Guadalupe. It has become national, and, in a certain sense, religiously patriotic. Maximilian and Carlota, the writer was informed, washed the feet of the poor near the altar of Our Lady, according to a well-known religious custom. The best men and women of Mexico have venerated the Marvellous Appearance—which, however amusing it may be to those who are scarcely as radical in their belief in nature as conservative in their views of the supernatural, is but a circumstance to the older traditions which have entered into the mind of poetry and filled the heart of worship. What of the wonderful happenings to the great fathers of the church and the mediæval saints, all worshippers of unquestionable sublimation? Say what you please, doubt as you may, saints, angels, miracles, abide, and form the very testament of belief. There is not a Catholic in the world who does not believe in miracle, whose faith is not to unbelievers a standing miracle of belief in a miracle the most prodigious, the most portentous; and yet to him it has only become natural to believe in the supernatural. The Mexicans venerate what three centuries and uncounted millions have affirmed, whence it appears that their veneration is not a conceit or humbug, but at root a faith. How can this be more clearly illustrated than by quoting the following very interesting poem of Manuel Carpio, Mexico's favorite, if not best modern poet:


The good Jehovah, dread, magnificent,
Once chose a people whom he called his own.
And out of Egypt in a wondrous way
[193] He brought them in a dark and troublous night,
And Moses touched the Red Sea with a rod,
And the waves parted, offering them a path.
His people passed, but in the abyss remained
Egyptian horse and rider who pursued.
Marched on the flock of Jacob, and the Lord
Spread over them his all-protecting wings,
As the lone eagle shields her unfledged young.
He gave them lands, and victories, and spoils—
Glad nation! which the Master of the heavens
Loved as the very apple of his eye.
But now this people, seeing themselves blessed
By him whose slightest glance they not deserved,
Erected perishable images
In homage unto strange and pagan gods.
The Lord in indignation said: "They wished
To make their Maker jealous with vain gods.
Bowing in dust the sacrilegious knee
Before the dumb creation of their hands.
Well, I will sting their hearts with jealousy,
Showing myself to all unhappy lands
Without employing vail or mystery."
He said it, and his solemn word fulfilled,
Convoking from the farthest ends of earth
Nations barbarian and civilized—
The Gaul, the Scandinavian, Roman, Greek,
And the neglected race of Mexico,
Whom the Almighty Sovereign loved so well
The holy truth he would reveal to them—
So that the hard hearts of his people should
Be softened. Yet his mercy was not full:
Down from the diamond heavens he bade descend
The Virgin, who with mother's sorrowing care
Nursed him in Bethlehem when he was a child.
Near to the tremulous Tezcoco lake
Rises a bare and solitary hill.
Where never cypress tall nor cedar grows,
Nor whispering oak; nor cooling fountain laves
The waste of herbless rocks and sterile sand—
A barren country 'tis, dry, dusty, sad,
Where the vile worm scarce drags its length along.
Here is the place where Holy Mary comes
Down from her home above the azure heavens
To show herself to Juan, who, comfortless,
Petitioned for relief from troubles sore.
Sometimes it chances that a fragrant plant
In the dense forest blooms unseen, unknown,
Though bright its virginal buds and rare its flowers;
So doth the modest daughter of the Lord
Obscure the moon, the planets, and the stars
Which all adorn her forehead and her feet,
When lends she the poor Indian her grace
In bounty wonderful to all his kind.
She tenders him the waters and the dew,
Prosperity of fruits and animals,
A heart of sensible humility,
And help unfailing in his future need.
The Angel of America resumes
Her radiant flight. With grateful ear he heard,
Twice did he wondering kneel, and twice again
He kissed the white feet of the holy maid.
But did not end God's providence benign:
The Almighty wished to leave to Mexicans
His Mother's likeness by his own great hand,
In token of the love he had for us.
He took the pencil, saying: "We will make
In heaven's own image, as we moulded man.
But what was Adam to my beauteous one?"
So saying, drew he with serenest face
The gentle likeness of the Mother-maid.
He saw the image, and pronounced it good.
Since then, with the encircling love of heaven,
A son she sees in every Mexican.
Mildly the wandering incense she receives,
Attending to his vow with human face;
For her the teeming vapors yield their rain
To the green valley and the mountain side,
Where bend and wave the abundant harvest fields,
And the green herbs that feed the lazy kine.
She makes the purifying breezes pass,
And on the restless and unsounded seas
She stills the rigor of the hurricane.
The frighted people see the approach of death
When the broad earth upon its axis shakes,
But the wild elements are put to sleep
With but a smile from her mild countenance.
And she has moved the adamantine heart
Of avarice, who saw decrepit age
Creep like an insect on the dusty earth,
To ope his close-shut hand, and bless the poor.
She maketh humbly kneel and kiss the ground
No less the wise than simple. She the great,
Dazzled by their own glory, doth advise
That soon their gaudy pageant shall be o'er,
And heaven's oblivion shall dissolve their fame.
How often has the timid, trembling maid
Upon the verge of ruin sought thy help,
Shutting her eyes to pleasure and to gold
At thought of thee, O Maiden pure and meek!
Centuries and ages will have vanished by,
Within their currents bearing kings and men;
Great monuments shall fall; the pyramids
Of lonely Egypt moulder in decay;
But time shall never place its fatal hand
Upon the image of the Holy Maid,
Nor on the pious love of Mexico.

Manuel Carpio, who wrote this, his first poetic composition, in 1831, when forty years of age, was a scholar and professor, and in 1824 a congressman. He made the Bible, we are told, his favorite study; and certainly it supplied him with the themes for his best poems. But he was not the only poet of Mexico who bore earnest witness to the faith of which we speak. Padre Manuel Sartorio, who wrote about the time of Iturbide, deprecates the idea of preferring a capricious doubt respecting "la Virgen de Guadalupe" to a constant belief founded in tradition. In the following lines the[194] nature of his own belief is fully attested:

"Of Guadalupe, that fair image pictured
Unto the venerating eye of Mexico;
With stars and light adorned, the figure painted
Of a most modest Maiden, full of grace;
What image is it? Copy 'tis divine
Of the Mother of God.
And what assures me this? My tender thought.
Who the design conceived? The holiest love.
Who then portrayed it? The eternal God."

In other lines on the same subject, Sartorio speaks of the Lady of Guadalupe as "the purest rose of the celestial field," and pays special respect to her image in the Portal of Flowers, of which there is a tradition, not vulgar, of having spoken (hay tradicion no vulgar de haber hablado) to the Venerable Padre Zapa, in order to instruct the Indians, as relates Cabrera, "Escudo de Armas de Mexico, numero 923." Who this Cabrera may be we are not aware, and cannot affirm that he is identical with the great painter Cabrera, whose belief in Our Lady of Guadalupe was so distinct and positive.

One other poet of Mexico we shall summon to give testimony. It is Fray Manuel Navarrete, who wrote a series of poems, well-known to his countrymen, called "Sad Moments." He was also the author of a number of tributes to the fame of Carlos IV. and Ferdinand VII., and seems to have possessed more influence, if not more merit as a poet, than Padre Sartorio. From a posthumous volume, bearing date of 1823, we take the following lines, the allusions of which sufficiently explain at what time they were written:


From her eternal palace, from the heavens,
One day descended to America,
When in its worst affliction, the great Mary,
Its sorrows to maternally console.
Behold in Tepeyac how watchfully
She frustrates the designs of heresy,
How she extinguishes the fire that flames
From the far French unto the Indian soil!
What matter, then, if proud Napoleon,
With his infernal hosts the world appalling,
Seeks to possess the land of Mexico?
To arms, countrymen: war, war!
For the sacred palladium of Guadalupe
Protects our native land.
The deity of peace have painters skilled
Portrayed with bounteous grace and elegance,
Painting a virgin who with fair white hands
An offering of tender blossoms bore.
Thus were their pencils' finest excellences
A promise and foreshadowing of this,
The image of Our Lady, which in heaven
Received its colors. Thus beheld it he,
The fortunate Indian, at Tepeyac,
That bare and desolate hill, a miracle,
That unto day has been perpetuate.
Now while the world's ablaze with lively war,
Seems that affrighted peace has taken refuge
Within the happy households of our land.

How sadly, how oddly, sounds in modern ears this felicitation of a poet that peace, which has left the greater part of the world, has taken refuge in Mexico! Evidently our Fray Navarrete did not foresee the results of the war begun by the clerical revolutionist Hidalgo. But whatever may have been the political bias of this religious writer, he retains the esteem of his countrymen as one of the fathers of their fragmentary literature.

Our last witness is Miguel Cabrera, the great Mexican painter, whose merits have with reason been compared by an Italian traveller, the Count Beltrami, to those of Correggio and Murillo. Altogether, as carver, architect, and painter, the New World has not produced the equal in art of this extraordinary man, who wrought almost without masters or models, without emulation or fitting aid and recompense, and whose worth has yet to be made well known to the continent which he honored. But our object now is to lend the weight of this preface to the following statement of the Mexican writer, Señor Orozco y Berra:

"Cabrera wrote a short treatise dedicated to his protector Sr. Salinas [Archbishop[195] of Mexico] with the title of The American Marvel, and Conjunction of Rare Marvels, observed with the direction of the Rules of the Art of Painting, in the Miraculous Image [prodigiosa imagen] of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico. It is a small book in quarto, printed in 1756 by the press of the college of San Ildefonso, and containing thirty pages, with dedication, approbations, and license at the beginning, and the opinions of various painters at the end. The reason given for this writing was the invitation made by the abbot and council of the college to the best known painters of Mexico, in order that, after examining the painting on cloth of Our Lady of Guadalupe, they might declare if it could be the work of human hands. Cabrera was one of those who joined in the examination, and in his book he undertakes to show that the Virgin is not painted in a manner artificial and human."


Under the term Protestantism, it is intended to comprise all persons of any religious sect, denomination, or church in this country, except Catholics, Jews, and Chinese. So numerous are the divisions and subdivisions that our limits will permit us to present only the name of each, with perhaps a word as to its distinctive features, its numbers at different periods, and its average annual increase for a given period. The given period thus selected is the twenty-five years and upward preceding the year 1868; because the statistics of all the denominations which are accessible, are at present more complete up to that date than they have yet become up to any subsequent year, or even up to the present date. The statistics are taken entirely from Protestant sources, and chiefly from official documents published by the respective denominations. The final results are then brought together, and compared with the results presented by the Federal census of the population at different periods.

1. The name "Lutheran" was given to the first Protestant denomination, in order to designate the followers of Martin Luther. A part of the members of the denomination in this country have recently changed their name to "Evangelical Lutheran Church."

The statistics, chiefly official, of the denomination for a series of years have been as follows:


The average annual increase during a series of years (ending always with 1867) has been as follows:

In 44 years36506,640
In 26 years51677,182
In 8 years7712416,061

2. The German Reformed denomination made its appearance, soon after the Lutheran, in the German part of Switzerland, and sprang out of a dispute between Ulrich Zwingli and Martin Luther concerning the import of the words, "This is my body," "This is my blood."


The following table shows their growth in this country since 1820:


The average annual increase during a series of years has been as follows:

In 47 years9162,043
In 7 years14152,532

3. The "United Brethren in Christ" are the fruits of a "reformation" in the German Reformed denomination—a sort of Methodistical offshoot. The statements of their numbers are as follows:


The average annual increase during twenty-five years has been as follows:

In 25 years13661,319

4. The "Moravians," or United Brethren, are a distinct denomination from the preceding one. As known in this country, they descended from a colony of dissenters, who were first gathered on his estate in Upper Alsatia, in 1772, by Count Zinzendorf.

Their numbers have been stated as follows:


Their annual average increase of communicants has been in twenty-five years 26.

5. The "Dutch Reformed Church," as it was known until 1867, when the name was changed to "Reformed Church in America," is a descendant of the Dutch Reformed Church of Holland.

The following table shows the growth of this denomination since 1820:


The average annual increase of the denomination at different periods has been as follows:

In 47 years71,039
In 7 years10101,060

6. The Mennonites derive their name from Menno Simon, born in Friesland A.D. 1495. He was contemporary with Luther, Bucer, and Bullinger. He obtained a great number of followers. In 1683, the first of them came over to this country, others soon followed.

Their number has been estimated as follows:


The average annual increase in members in twenty-four years has been 380.

7. The Reformed Mennonite Society was first organized in 1811. The members ascribe their origin to the corruptions of the Mennonites. The reform extended into several counties of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, but their doctrines are regarded as too rigid for general acceptance.

In 1860, their numbers were estimated at about 11,000.

The average annual increase has been about 200.


8. The denomination known as the "German Evangelical Association" first appeared in one of the Middle States, about the year 1800.

This denomination is now regarded as German Methodists, and their numbers have been as follows:


The average annual increase of the denomination in twenty-four years has been 1,791.

9. The "Christians," or "Christian Connection," profess not to owe their origin to the labors of any one man, like the other Protestant sects. They rose almost simultaneously in different and remote parts of this country, without knowledge of each other's movements.

The new organizations of this denomination held their twenty-third annual convention in June, 1868. The number of organizations was one hundred and sixty.

The numbers of the denomination have been stated as follows:


The average annual increase of members has been as follows:

In 22 years7,594 members.

The "Church of God," as it exists by that name in the United States, is a religious community, who profess to have come out from all human and unscriptural organizations, and to have fallen back upon original grounds, and who wish, therefore, to be known and called by no other distinctive name.

This denomination exists in Ohio and Pennsylvania and the Western States, and their numbers have been stated as follows:


The average annual increase has been as follows:

In 23 years10960

11. The denominations thus far noticed are chiefly of German origin. The next class contains those of Scottish origin. Among these the Presbyterian holds the first place in age and numbers. The first organization here was made in 1706, and known as the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Their first synod was convened September 17, 1718.

The first General Assembly met in 1789, and a more efficient and extensive development ensued. In 1810, a division arose, and the formation of the "Cumberland Presbyterian" organization. But the most extensive division took place in 1838, by which a body was organized and known as the "New School," while those who remained were designated as "Old School" Presbyterians. The split thus made has continued for thirty years, but is now ostensibly removed by measures of reunion.

The statistics of the "Old School" Presbyterians for the year 1863 first show the effect of the separation of the Southern portion during the war. The report of numbers has been as follows:


The statistics of the Southern division are given as follows:



The average annual increase of the denomination previous to the division caused by opposite views on political questions was as follows:

In 18 years74897,874

The average annual increase of the whole denomination (North and South) to 1868 has been as follows:

In 25 years70786,958

12. The division of the Presbyterian Church was entirely consummated in 1840, by the meeting of a General Assembly representing the seceders, or "New School."

Subsequently, the loss of the Southern churches by the "Old School" denomination, and the increase of the anti-slavery sentiment in the Northern portion, suggested a reunion with the "New School" soon after the outbreak of the recent war. At length, in 1868, one General Assembly met in Albany, while the other was in session in Harrisburg, Pa. A plan of union was mutually prepared, which, on being approved by the local presbyteries, went into effect in 1870.

The statistics of the "New School" Presbyterians have been as follows:


The average annual increase in twenty-eight years has been as follows:

In 28 years24102,167

13. The "General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church" is the title of a denomination which claims to be a direct descendant of the "Reformed Presbyterian Church" of Scotland.

The statements of the numbers of this denomination have been as follows:


The average annual increase in twenty-five years has been as follows:

In 25 years2153

14. The "Synod of Reformed Presbyterians" was formed by certain persons who separated from the Reformed Presbyterians (General Synod), principally on the ground that they were of opinion that the constitution and government of the United States are essentially infidel and immoral. The separation took place in 1833.

The few statements relative to the numbers of this denomination have been as follows:


The average annual decrease during the last half-dozen years has been 108.

15. Another division is the "Associate Presbyterian Church." This is located chiefly in the Middle and Western States. The members of the denomination claim to be a branch of the Church of Scotland.

In 1858, the Associate Reformed and the Associate churches reunited under the name of "United Presbyterian Church in North America."

The statistics of the Associate Presbyterian denomination after 1859 are merged in those of the United[199] Presbyterians, and have been as follows:


The average annual increase of the denomination during the six years subsequent to the union, ending in 1867, has been as follows:

In 6 years191,000

The statistics of the "Associate Synod of North America" above-mentioned have been as follows:


16. Another order of Presbyterians in this country is known as the "Associate Reformed Church." Since 1822, the denomination has existed in three independent divisions, the Northern, the Western, and the Southern. These divisions are quite small in numbers, and their growth has been insignificant. They have been stated as follows:

The Associate Reformed Synod of New York in 1843 had 34 ministers and 43 congregations. In 1867, it had 16 ministers and 1,631 members.

The Associate Reformed Synod of the South in 1843 had 25 ministers and 40 congregations; and in 1867, estimated at 1,500 members.

The Associate Synod of North America in 1867 had 11 ministers and 778 members.

The Free Presbyterian Synod, consisting, in 1861, of 41 ministers and 4,000 members, had previously separated from the New School Presbyterian denomination, but was reunited and absorbed after the outbreak of the recent war.

17. The Independent Presbyterian Church in South and North Carolina consisted, in 1861, of 4 ministers and about 1,000 members.

18. Another denomination of Presbyterians remains to be noticed. It is called the "Cumberland Presbyterians" and first appeared in Kentucky in the year 1800. In 1829, there were four synods and the first General Assembly of the denomination was held. During the recent war the Southern churches were not reported in the Assembly, and there are no complete statistics of that period.

The numbers of the denomination have been stated as follows:

18671,000 estimated 100,000

The average annual increase in 55 years, from 1812 to 1867, has been 1,819.

19. Another large class of denominations is known by the name of "Baptists." They are divided into ten separate sects: Baptists; Free-Will Baptists; Seventh-Day Baptists; German Baptists or Brethren; German Seventh-Day Baptists; Free Communion Baptists; Old School Baptists; Six-Principle Baptists; River Brethren; Disciples of Christ, or Campbellites.

An estimate of the numbers of the regular Baptists at different periods, made by themselves, presents the following results:



The average annual increase of the denomination during twenty-five years has been as follows:

In 25 years9415813,796

20. The "Free-will Baptist Connection" made its first organized appearance in this country in 1780. In 1827, a General Conference was organized to represent the whole connection. The statements of their numbers have been as follows:


The average annual increase of the denomination during the last twenty-five years has been as follows:

In 25 years89204

21. The "Seventh-Day Baptists" are so-called because they differ from all other Protestant denominations in their views of the Sabbath. They have gradually spread in the Eastern, the Central, and some Northwestern and Southern States.

Little is known of their numbers, but they have been stated as follows:


The annual average increase of the denomination has been as follows:

In 25 years1⅓¾41

22. There is a denomination of German Baptists which has assumed for itself the name of "Brethren," but they are commonly called "Dunkers" or "Tunkers" to distinguish them from the Mennonists. They have also been called "Tumblers" from the manner in which they perform baptism, which is by putting the person head forward under water (while kneeling), so as to resemble the motion of the body in the act of tumbling.

In 1843, their larger congregations contained from two to three hundred members; but little was then known among themselves of their numbers. Their subsequent statistics have been as follows:


A membership of 20,000 has been stated for this denomination during the last half-dozen years without increase or diminution.

23. The "German Seventh-Day Baptists" first made their appearance in Germany in 1694. From these, after their organization in the United States, sprang the Seventh-Day branch. Their numbers in 1860 were estimated at:


24. A society designated as "Free-Communion Baptists" arose in 1858 in McDonough Co., Illinois, and organized a quarterly meeting conference. At the quarterly meeting in 1859, one preacher, four licentiates, a few small churches, and 104 members were reported.

25. The "Old School," or Anti-mission, Baptists were formerly a portion of the regular Baptists, above-mentioned. They are opposed to the academical or theological education of their ministers, and to Bible, missionary, and all other voluntary societies of like nature.


Their numbers have been stated as follows:


The average annual increase of this denomination during seven years by these statements has been 6,143.

25. The denomination called "Six-Principle Baptists" originated in Rhode Island as early as 1665. They are distinguished from other Baptists by deducing their peculiarities from the first three verses of the sixth chapter of Hebrews.

Their numbers have been estimated as follows:


Recent statements put their numbers about the same, and there probably has been no important increase.

27. The "River Brethren" is an organization in Pennsylvania and other states, so-called to distinguish them from the German Baptists or Brethren above-mentioned.

Their meetings are generally held in dwelling-houses, or barns fitted up with seats; in other respects, they are similar to the German Brethren.

Their numbers have been stated as follows:


More recent statements make no important alteration in these numbers.

28. The "Disciples of Christ," or, as the denomination is often called, "Baptists," "Reformed Baptists," "Reformers," "Campbellites," etc., originated in the early part of the present century. The first advocates were Thomas and Alexander Campbell in Pennsylvania.

The statements of their numbers have been as follows:


The average annual increase, according to these statements, has been in twenty-one years, in members, 4,762.

29. The first appearance of the Puritans, since known as "Congregationalists," was in the early part of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The first church formed upon Congregational principles was that established by Robert Browne in 1583. The denomination is the largest in New England, and exists in small bodies in a number of the states.

Their numbers are stated to be as follows:


The average annual increase of this denomination during the last twenty-five years has been as follows:

In 25 years73614,734

30. The denomination of "Unitarians" arose in this country from a division of opinion among Congregationalists on the divinity of Christ. Their statistics contain no report of the membership. All who are respectable and orderly members of the society are admitted to the sacraments if they desire to be.

Their numbers for a series of years have been estimated at 30,000.



The average annual increase has been estimated for a series of forty or more years at about one per cent., or 300.

31. The denomination of "Universalists" first made its appearance in England about 1750. In Gloucester, Massachusetts, the first Universalist society was formed in 1779. No statistics of the denomination contain the "membership" like those of other denominations, as to believe is to become a member. The active members have been estimated in 1850 at 60,000, although the population among which Universalism exists to the exclusion of other denominations may be ten times greater.


Average annual increase in twenty years, 1,000.

32. The Protestant Episcopal Church is a well-known offshoot of the church established by the British Parliament in England.

Their numbers and growth have been as follows:


The average annual increase during the last nine years has been as follows:


33. Another large class of denominations is embraced under the general term "Methodism." The first denomination, out of which all the others have sprung, was an offshoot of the Church of England, known in this country as the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The statistics of the denomination have been as follows:


The average annual increase since the separation of the South, and during seventeen years, has been 30,377. Since the close of the war conferences have been organized in eight of the Southern states, and 100,000 members gained from the church South.

34. A secession took place in 1830 from the Methodists, and the persons who composed it assumed the name of the "Methodist Protestant Church." Its statistics have been as follows:

 Travelling preachers.Members.

In 1866, a convention was held [203]in Cincinnati to unite the Methodist Protestants, the Wesleyan Connection, the Free Methodists, the Primitive Methodists, and some independent Methodist congregations, under the name of the "Methodist Church." The union was joined by few save the Northern conferences of the Methodist Protestant body, who now compose the Methodist Church; the Southern conferences retain the original name of Methodist Protestant. Their numbers in 1867 were estimated at 50,000; in 1869, they were estimated at 72,000.

There has been no actual increase in those now indicated by this name in twenty-five years preceding 1868.

35. The "Methodist Church" is composed of the Northern conferences of the Methodist Protestant Church which, in attempting to form a union with others in 1866, caused a split among themselves. Their report, made in 1867, states as follows:


This is strictly an increase of the Methodist Protestants, but appears under a new name. It is an average annual increase of 2,000.

36. Out of the original separation of the Methodist Protestants from the Methodist Episcopal another denomination sprang up, under the name of the "True Wesleyan Methodists."

The denomination has increased very slowly since its organization, as appears by the following statements:


Average annual increase in twenty-five years, 200.

37. The African Methodist Episcopal Church owes its origin to the prejudice against the colored members and attendants of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In the early days of the latter, this prejudice was so deep that the colored persons were not unfrequently pulled from their knees while at prayer in the church, and ordered to the back seats.

This denomination has greatly increased by the addition of emancipated slaves. Its statistics are as follows:


The average annual increase in twenty-five years has been 7,500.

38. The operation of the same prejudice against color in New York gave rise to the "Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church." Its statistics show a large increase recently at the South, and are as follows:


The average annual increase of the denomination has been 2,008.

39. The "Methodist Episcopal Church, South," is the second largest body of Methodists in the United States. It arose from a division of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in accordance with resolutions of the General Conference in 1844.

The membership of this denomination has been reduced by the war, by the invasion of its territory by the Northern Methodist Episcopal, and by the African and Zion churches. Its statistics are as follows:


1869 presents no important change.

The average annual increase in seventeen years has been 4,087.

40. The "Free Methodist Church" originated in 1859, and consisted of a few congregations in New York and other Northern states. Its statistics have been as follows:


The average annual increase in two years has been 617.

41. The "Western Primitive Methodist Church" held its twenty-second annual conference in New Diggings, Wisconsin, 1866. The subject of union with other non-episcopal bodies was favorably considered. Their numbers were in 1865 as follows: Preachers, 20; members, 2,000.

42. The "Independent Methodist Church" organized its first congregation in New York City in 1860. The third annual session of its conference was held in 1864, and a movement made toward union with other non-episcopal bodies.

43. The "Friends," or "Quakers," arose in England about 1647, under the preaching of Mr. George Fox. The numbers of this denomination are estimated at 100,000, comprised in eight yearly meetings.

44. A division took place during the first quarter of the present century among the Friends, under Mr. Elias Hicks. A distinct and independent association was made under his name. Their numbers are estimated at 40,000.

45. The "Shakers," or United Society of Believers, are a small denomination which first made its appearance in this country in 1776.

Their statistics have been as follows:


They are found in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Kentucky, Connecticut.

46. The "Adventists," or "Second Adventists," owe their rise in the United States to Mr. Wm. Miller, of Low Hampton, New York.

In 1859, they were estimated to comprise about 18,000 persons, and in 1867 about 30,000, exclusive of members of other denominations. Average annual increase in eight years, 1,500.

47. The "New Church," or "Swedenborgians," accept as their rule of faith and discipline the Holy Scriptures as interpreted by Mr. Emanuel Swedenborg.

Their numbers in the United States have been estimated as follows:


Average annual increase in twelve years, 166.

48. Modern "Spiritualism" made its appearance in Western New York about twenty years ago. It came at first in the form of rappings, knockings, table-tippings, and other noisy demonstrations, for the purpose of attracting general attention. The believers held conventions and public meetings, but adopted no form or plan of organization. Great numbers in all denominations are supposed to approve more or less of their views; but the number of separate public adherents is estimated at 165,000.

49. The "Mormon Church," or "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," was first organized in the town of Manchester, New York, on April 6, 1830, by Mr. Joseph Smith, of Vermont. The fortunes[205] of the church thus started have been variable in New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, until persecution has compelled her to withdraw to the wilderness of Utah. Their number is stated to be 60,000. The average annual increase in twenty-five years, 2,000.

50. Four miles from Oneida, Madison County, New York, is located an organized community the members of which call themselves "Christian Perfectionists." It was started by Mr. John F. Noyes, a native of Brattleboro, Vermont.

They have now a community in Oneida, Wallingford, Conn., New Haven, Conn., and New York, which consisted of 255 members in 1867. This is an average annual increase of 10.

51. The "Catholic Apostolic Church," or "Irvingites," originated from the views of Mr. Edward Irving, preached in London in 1830.

There are about a half-dozen of these congregations in this country, estimated to contain 250 members.

A number of small nuclei of perhaps future denominations exists in different states, which it is unnecessary to mention.

A recapitulation of the preceding statistics presents the following results:

 Church Members in 1867.Average Annual Increase in 25 y'rs.
1. Lutherans332,1557,182
2. German Reformed110,4083,431
3. United Brethren97,9831,319
4. Moravians6,65526
5. Dutch Reformed57,8461,261
6. Mennonites39,110380
7. Reformed Mennonites11,000200
8. Evangelical Association58,0021,791
9. Christian Connection500,0007,954
10. Church of God32,000960
11. O. S. Presbyterians246,3506,958
12. N. S. Presbyterians161,5382,167
13. Reformed Presbyterians (General Synod)8,324153
14. Synod of Reformed Presbyterians6,000
15. Associate and United Presbyterians63,4891,000
16. Associate Reformed Presbyterians3,90980
17. Free Presbyterians1,000
18. Cumberland Presbytr'ns.100,0001,819
19. Baptists1,094,80613,796
20. Free-Will Baptists59,111204
21. Seventh-Day Baptists7,03841
22. Dunkers20,000500
23. German Seventh-Day Baptists1,80030
24. Free-Commun. Baptists104
25. Anti-Mission Baptists105,0006,143
26. Six-Principle Baptists3,000
27. River Brethren7,00080
28. Disciples (Campbellites)300,0004,762
29. Congregationalists278,3624,734
30. Unitarians30,000300
31. Universalists80,0001,000
32. Protestant Episcopal194,6926,536
33. Methodist Episcopal1,146,08130,377
34. Methodist Protestant50,000
35. Methodist Church50,0002,000
36. True Wesleyan25,000200
37. African Methodist200,0007,500
38. Zion African Methodist60,0002,008
39. Methodist Epis. (South)535,0404,087
40. Free Methodist4,880617
41. Western Primitive Methodist2,00040
42. Independent Methodists800
43. Friends, or Quakers100,0001,000
44. Hicksites40,000400
45. Shakers4,71360
46. Adventists30,0001,500
47. Swedenborgians5,000186
48. Spiritualism165,0008,000
49. Mormon Church60,0002,000
50. Christian Perfectionists25510
51. Catholic Apost. Church25010

Thus the whole number of members of Protestant churches in the United States in 1867 was 6,396,110. The average annual increase of this membership during the preceding twenty-five years has been 134,802.

The population of the United States according to the usual census and that of the Bureau of Statistics for 1867, has been as follows:

1870 incomplete officially.

The average annual increase in twenty-seven years has been 728,509.

If we deduct from the population of the United States in 1867 the number of persons who were members[206] of Protestant churches, there will remain 30,347,088 persons in the United States in 1867 who were not members of Protestant churches, who made no public profession of faith in their doctrines, and who did not partake of their sacraments.

If we suppose the church-membership of Protestant denominations to increase at the same average annual rate during the next thirty-three years, until the year 1900, that increase will amount to 4,448,466. If this increase is added to the number of church-members in 1867, the membership of all the Protestant churches in the year 1900 will be 10,844,576.

If we suppose the population of the United States to increase in the same average annual rate during the next thirty-three years, until the year 1900, that increase will amount to 24,040,797. This amount added to the population of 1867 will make the population in 1900 reach the number 60,784,945, of whom 49,940,419 will not be members of any Protestant church, nor make a public profession of faith in their doctrines, nor partake of their sacraments.

It may be said that the average annual increase of Protestantism for twenty-five years subsequent to 1867 will be numerically greater than for the previous twenty-five years. So will also be numerically larger the average annual increase of the population for a like period, but the relative proportion of the denominations to the population would remain unchanged.


Phœbus drew back with just disdain
The wreath: the Delphic Temple frowned:
The suppliant fled to Hermes' fane,
That stood on lower, wealthier ground.
The Thief-God spake, with smile star-bright:
"Go thou where luckier poets browse,
The pastures of the Lord of Light,
And do—what I did with his cows."[28]
Aubrey De Vere.



We were at school together. We little dreamed, either of us, in those mischief-loving days of frolic and fun, that she was one day to be a saint, and that I would write her story.

Yet look well at the face. Is there not something like a promise of sainthood on the pure, white brow? And the eyes, blue-gray Irish eyes, with the long, dark lashes throwing a shadow underneath, "diamonds put in with dirty fingers," have they not a spiritual outlook that speaks to you with a promise—a revelation of some vision or growth of some beauty beyond what meets your gaze? Yet, though it seems so clear in the retrospect, this prophetic side of her beauty, I own it, never struck me then.

I am going to tell her story simply, with strict accuracy as to the traits of her character—the facts of her life and her death. I shall tell the bad with the good, neither striving to varnish her faults nor to heighten, by any dramatic coloring, the beautiful reality of her virtues. The story is one calculated, it seems to me, to be a light and a lesson to many. The very faults and follies, the strange beginning, so unlike the end, all taken as parts of a whole in the true experience of a soul, contain a teaching whose sole eloquence must be its truth and its simplicity.

I said we were at school together, but, though in the same convent, we were not in the same class. Mary (this was her real Christian name) was a few years older than I. Her career at this time was one of the wildest that ever a school-girl lived through. High-spirited, reckless, setting all rules at defiance, she was the torment of her mistresses and the delight of her companions. With the latter, her good-nature and good temper carried her serenely above all the little malices and jealousies that display themselves in that miniature world, a school; and, at the same time, her spirit of independence, while it was constantly getting her into "scrapes," was so redeemed by genuine abhorrence of everything approaching to meanness or deceit that it did not prevent her being a universal favorite with the nuns. One in particular, who from her rigorous disciplinarianism was the terror of us all, was even less proof than the others against the indomitable sweet temper and lovableness of her rebellious pupil. They were in a state of permanent warfare, but occasionally, after a hot skirmish carried on before the public, viz., the second class, Mother Benedicta would take the rebel aside, and try privately to coax her into a semblance of apology, or mayhap a promise of amendment. Sometimes she succeeded, for the refractory young lady was always more amenable to caresses than to threats, and was, besides, notwithstanding the war footing on which they stood, very fondly attached to Mother Benedicta, but she never pledged herself unconditionally. This was a great grievance with the mistress. She used to argue, and threaten, and plead by the hour, in order to induce Mary to give her "word of honor," as the phrase was amongst us, that she would observe such and such a prohibition, or obey such and such a rule—silence was the chronic[208] casus belli—but all to no purpose.

"No, sister, I promise you to try; but I won't promise to do or not to do," she would answer, undefiantly, but quite resolutely.

It was a common thing for Mother Benedicta to say, after one of these conferences which ended, as usual, in the cautious, "I'll try, sister," that, if she could once get Mary to promise her outright to mend her ways, she would never take any more trouble about her. "If she pledged her word of honor to be a saint, I believe she would keep it," observed the nun, with a sigh.

I mention this little incident advisedly, for, though at the time we, in our wisdom, thought it must be pure perversity on the part of our mistress that made her so pursue Mary on the subject, considering that we were all in the habit of pledging our words of honor any given number of times a week with no particular result, I lived to see that in this individual instance she was guided by prophetic insight.

She never succeeded, however, in inducing Mary to commit herself during the four years that she was under her charge. It was war to the end; not to the bitter end, for the strife did not weaken, nay, it probably strengthened the enduring attachment that had sprung up between them. By way of sealing irrevocably and publicly this attachment on her side, Mary added the nun's name to her own, and even after she left school she continued to sign herself Mary Benedicta. When the time came round for frequenting the sacraments, it was the sure signal for a quarrel between the two belligerents. There was no plea or stratagem that Mary would not have recourse to in order to avoid going to confession. Yet withal she had a reputation in the school for piety—a queer, impulsive sort of piety peculiar to herself, that came by fits and starts. We had an unaccountable belief in the efficacy of her prayers, and in any difficulty she was one of those habitually appealed to to pray us out of it; not, indeed, that we were actuated by any precise view as to the spiritual quality of the prayers, only impressed vaguely by her general character, that whatever she did she put her heart in and did thoroughly. Mother Benedicta used to say that her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament would save her. But this devotion consisted, as far as we could see, in an enthusiastic love for Benediction; and as Mary was passionately fond of music, and confessed a weakness for effective ceremonial, Mother Benedicta herself occasionally had misgivings as to how much of the devotion went to the object of the ceremony and how much to its accessories, the lights, the music, and the incense. At any rate, once over, it exercised no apparent control over her life. The rules of the school she systematically ignored; the rule of silence she looked upon with special contempt as a bondage fit for fools, but unworthy of rational human beings. To the last day of her sojourn in the school, she practically illustrated the opinion that speech was of gold and silence of brass, and left it with the reputation of being the most indefatigable talker; the most unruly and untidy subject, but the sweetest nature that ever tried the patience and won the hearts of the community.

When she was about eighteen, her father sent her to the Sacré Cœur, in Paris, to complete her education, which, in spite of considerable expense on his part, and masters without end, was at this advanced period in a sadly retrograde state, the little she had learned at school in Ireland having been assiduously forgotten in[209] the course of a year's anarchical holiday, when reading of every sort and even her favorite music were set aside for the more congenial pastimes of dancing, and skating, and flying across country after the hounds.

I was then living in Paris, and Mary was placed under my mother's wing. We went to see her on the Jours de Parloir, and she came to us on the Jours de Sortie. But it did not last long. As might have been expected, the sudden change from a life of excitement and constant out-door exercise to one of seclusion and sedentary habits proved too trying to her health, and after a few months the medical man of the convent declared that he was not prepared to accept the responsibility of taking charge of her, and strongly advised that she should be sent home.

We communicated this intelligence to her father, begging at the same time that before he came to remove her she might be allowed to spend a month with us. The request was granted and Mary came to stay with us.

That we might lose as little as possible of each other's company while we were together, she shared my room. We spent the mornings at home; I studying or taking my lessons, she reading, or lolling about the room, watching the clock, and longing for the master to go and set me free, that we might go out.

My mother, who only in a lesser degree shared my affection for Mary, and was anxious to make her visit as pleasant as possible, took her about to all the places best worth seeing in the city—the picture-galleries, the palaces, the museums, and the churches. The latter, though many of them, even as works of art, were amongst the most interesting monuments for a stranger, Mary seemed thoroughly indifferent to. When we entered one, instead of kneeling a moment before the sanctuary, as any Catholic does from mere force of habit and impulse, she would just make the necessary genuflexion, and, without waiting for us, hurry on round the building, examine the pictures and the stained glass, and then go out with as little delay as might be. This did not strike my mother, who was apt to remain all the time at her prayers, while I walked about doing the honors of the church to Mary; but it struck me, and it pained and puzzled me.

She was too innately honest to attempt the shadow of prevarication or pose even in her attitude, and her haste in despatching the inspection of every church we entered was so undisguised that I saw she did not care whether I noticed it or not. Once, on coming out of the little church of St. Genevieve, one of the loveliest shrines ever raised to the worship of God by the genius of man, I said rather sharply to her, for she had beaten a more precipitate retreat than usual, and cut short my mother's devotions at the tomb of the saint:

"Mary," I said, "one really would think the devil was at your heels the moment you enter a church, you are in such a violent hurry to get out of it."

She laughed, not mockingly, with a sort of half-ashamed expression, and turning her pure, full eyes on me.

"I hate to stay anywhere under false appearances," she said, "and I always feel such a hypocrite kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament! I feel as if I would choke if I stay there over five minutes."

I felt shocked, and I suppose I looked it.

"Don't look at me as if I were possessed of the devil," she said, still[210] laughing, though there was a touch of sadness, it struck me, in her voice and face. "I mean to be converted by-and-by, and mend my ways; but meantime let me have my fun, and, above all, don't preach to me!"

"I don't feel the least inclined," I replied.

"I suppose you think I'm gone beyond it. Well, you can pray for me. I'm not gone beyond the reach of that!"

This was the only serious conversation, if it deserves the name, that we had during the first week of her visit. She enjoyed herself thoroughly, throwing all the zest of her earnest nature into everything. The people and their odd French ways, the shops and their exquisite wares, the opera, the gay Bois with the brilliant throng of fashion that crowded round the lake every day at the hour of promenade—the novelty of the scene and the place altogether enchanted her, and there was something quite refreshing in the spirit of enjoyment she threw into it all.

One evening, after a long day of sight-seeing, we were invited by a friend of hers to dine at the table d'hôte of the Louvre. It was the grande nouveauté just then, and Mary was consequently wild to see it. We went, and during dinner the admiration excited by her beauty was so glaringly expressed by the persistent stare of every eye within range of her at the table that my mother was provoked at having brought her and exposed her to such an ordeal. But Mary herself was blissfully unconscious of the effect she was producing; indeed, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say she was unconscious of the cause. Certainly, no woman ever had less internal perception or outward complacency in her beauty than she had. This indifference amounted to a fault, for it pervaded her habits of dress, which were very untidy, and betokened a total disregard of personal appearance. The old fault that had been one of Mother Benedicta's standing grievances was as strong as ever, and it was all I could do to get her to put on her clothes straight, and to tie her bonnet under her chin instead of under her ear, when she came out with us.

But to return to the Louvre. It had been settled that after dinner we should walk across to the Palais Royal, and let Mary see the diamond shops illuminated, and all the other wonderful shops; but during dinner she overheard some one saying that the Emperor and Empress were to be at the Grand Opera that night. Her first impulse was to take a box and go there. But my mother objected that it was Saturday, the opera was never over before midnight, and consequently we could not be home and in bed before one o'clock on Sunday morning.

With evident disappointment, but, as usual, with the sweetest good temper, Mary gave way. Her friend then proposed that, before going to the Palais Royal, we should walk on to the Rue Lepelletier, and see the Emperor and Empress going in to the Opera. There was no difficulty in the way of this amendment, so it was adopted.

On coming out of the Louvre, however, we found, to our surprise and discomfiture, that the weather had been plotting against our little programme. The ground, which was frozen dry and hard when we drove down from the Champs Elysées less than two hours before, had become like polished glass under a heavy fall of sleet; the horses were already slipping about in a very uncomfortable way, and there was a decided disinclination[211] on the part of pedestrians to trust themselves to cabs. Fate had decreed that Mary was not to see the Emperor on any terms that night. It would have been absurdly imprudent to venture on the macadam of the boulevards, and increase the risk of driving at all by waiting till the streets were so slippery that no horse could keep his footing on them. There was nothing for it but to go straight home, which we did, the horse snailing at a foot-pace all the way.

It was a memorable night this one of which I am chronicling a trivial recollection—trivial in itself, but weighty in its consequences.

It was the 14th of January, 1858.

We went to bed, and slept, no doubt, soundly. None the less soundly for the thundering crash that, before we lay down, had shaken the Rue Lepelletier from end to end, making the houses rock to their foundations, shattering to pieces every window from garret to cellar, and reverberating along the boulevards like the roar of a hundred cannon. The noise shook half Paris awake for that long night. The people, first merely terrified, then lashed to a frenzy of horror and of enthusiasm, rushed from their houses, and thronged the boulevards and the streets in the vicinity of the Opera. In the pitch darkness that followed simultaneously with the bursting of Orsini's bombs, it was impossible to know how many were murdered or how many wounded. There had been a great crowd of curieux and strangers as usual waiting to see their majesties alight—the street was lined with them. Were they all murdered, blown to the four winds of heaven, in that explosion that was loud enough to have blown up half Paris? Of course, popular fear and fury exaggerated the number of the victims enormously, and the night resounded with the shrieks and lamentations of women, the plunging and moaning of horses, wounded or only frantic with terror, and the passionate cries of Vive l'Empereur! intermingled with curses on the fiends who, to secure the murder of one man, had sacrificed the lives of hundreds.

While this ghastly tumult was scaring sleep and silence from the city close to us, we slept on, all unconscious of the cup of trembling to which we had stretched out our hand, and which had been so mercifully snatched away from us.

It was only next morning, on going out to Mass, that the concierge stopped us to tell the news of the attempt on the Emperor's life.

And we had been vexed and felt aggrieved with the rain that drove us home, and prevented our going to stand amongst those curieux in the Rue Lepelletier!

Mary did not hear of it till we met at breakfast. I never shall forget the look of blank horror on her face as she listened to the account of what had happened on the very spot where we had been so bent on going.

Although this attack of Orsini's comes into my narrative simply as a datum, I cannot resist making a short digression toward it.

Most of my readers will remember the singular stoicism displayed by the Emperor at the moment of the explosion. One of the horses was killed under his carriage, which was violently shaken by the plunging of the terrified animals, and a splinter from one of the bombs, flashing through the window, grazed him on the temple. In the midst of the general panic and confusion of the scene, the equerry rushed forward,[212] and, taking the Emperor by the arm, cried hurriedly:

"Come out, sire! Come out!"

"Let down the steps," observed his master with unruffled sang froid, and quietly waited till it was done before he moved.

He entered the Opera amidst deafening cheers, and sat out the representation as coolly, and to all appearances with as much attention, as if nothing had occurred to disturb him, now and then quietly drawing his handkerchief across the splinter-mark on his forehead, from which the blood was oozing slightly.

Next day a solemn Te Deum was celebrated at the Tuileries. The Empress wished the little prince, then a baby in arms, to be present at the thanksgiving for her own and his father's miraculous preservation. The child was carried into the Salle des Maréchaux, where the court and the Corps Diplomatique were assembled, and immediately put out his hands, clamoring for his father to take him. The Emperor took him in his arms, and the child, looking up at his face, noticed the red mark on the temple.

"Papa bobo!"[29] he lisped, and put up his little hand to touch it.

The hard, sphynx-like face struggled for a moment; but the child's touch had melted the strong man. He clasped him to his heart, and literally shook with sobs.

These details, which were probably never written before, were told to me by one who was present at the attempt the previous night, and at the Te Deum Mass next day.

That night, when we were alone, Mary and I talked over the diabolical crime that had within four and twenty hours shaken the whole country like an earthquake, and over the merciful interposition that had arrested us on our way to what might have been for us, as it was for many, a certain and horrible death. Mary, though she said little on this latter point, was evidently very deeply impressed, and what she did say carried in it a depth of religious emotion that revealed her to me in quite a new light.

It was agreed that she would go to confession next day, and that we were to begin a novena together in thanksgiving for our preservation.

"Mary," I said impulsively, after we had been silent a little while, "why have you such a dislike to go to the sacraments? I can't understand how, believing in them at all, you can be satisfied to approach them so seldom."

"It isn't dislike; it is fear," she answered. "It's precisely because I realize so awfully the power and sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament that I keep away. I believe so intensely in it that, if I went often to holy communion, I should have to divorce from everything, to give up my whole life to preparation and thanksgiving. I know I should. And I don't want to do it. Not yet, at any rate," she added, half-unconsciously, as if speaking to herself.

I shall never forget the effect her words had on me, nor her face as she uttered them. The night was far spent. The emotions of the day, the long watch, and perhaps the flickering of our bedroom candle that was burning low, all conspired to give an unwonted pallor to her features that imbued them with an almost ethereal beauty. I always think of her now as she sat there, in her girlish white dressing-gown, her hands locked resting on her knees, her head thrown back, and her eyes looking up, so still, as if some far beyond were[213] breaking on her gaze and holding it transfixed.

Nothing broke on mine. In my dull blindness I did not see that I was assisting at the beginning of a great mystery, a spectacle on which the gaze of angels was riveted—the wrestling of a soul with God: the soul resisting; the Creator pleading and pursuing.

She left us at the end of January to return home. We parted with many tears, and a promise to correspond often and pray for each other daily.

For a time we did correspond very regularly—for nearly a year. During this period her life was an unpausing whirl of dissipation. Balls, visits, operas, and concerts during the season in town were succeeded in the country by more balls, and hunting, and skating, and the usual round of amusements that make up a gay country life. Mary was everywhere the beauty of the place, the admired of all admirers. Strange to say, in spite of her acknowledged supremacy, she made no enemies. Perhaps it would have been stranger still if she had. Her sweet, artless manner and perfect unconsciousness of self went for at least as much in the admiration she excited as her beauty. If she danced every dance at every ball, it was never once for the pleasure of saying she did it, of triumphing over other girls, but for the genuine pleasure of the dance itself.

Her success was so gratuitous, so little the result of coquetry on her side, that, however much it might be envied, it was impossible to resent it.

I am not trying to make out a case for Mary, or to excuse, still less justify, the levity of the life she was leading at this time. My only aim is to convey a true idea of the spirit in which she was leading it—mere exuberance of spirits, the zest of youth in the gay opportunities that were showered upon her path. She was revelling like a butterfly in flowers and sunshine. The spirit of worldliness in its true and worst sense did not possess her; did not even touch her. Its cankerous breath had not blown upon her soul and blighted it; the worm had not eaten into her heart and hardened it. Both were still sound—only drunk; intoxicated with the wine of life. She went waltzing through flames, like a moth round a candle; like a child letting off rockets, and clapping hands with delight at the pretty blue blaze, without fear or thought of danger. There was no such thing as premeditated infidelity in her mind. She was not playing a deliberate game with God; bidding him wait till she was ready, till she was tired of the world and the world of her. No, she was utterly incapable of such a base and guilty calculation. She had simply forgotten that she had a soul to save. The still, small voice that had spoken to her in earlier days, especially on that night of the 15th of January, stirring the sleeping depths, and calling out momentary yearnings toward the higher life, had altogether ceased its pleadings. How could that mysterious whisper make itself heard in such a din and clangor of unholy music? There was no silent spot in her soul where it could enter and find a listener. But Mary did not think about it. She was inebriated with youth and joy, and had flung herself into the vortex, and raced round with it till her head reeled. On the surface, all was ripple and foam, rings running round and round; but the depths below were sleeping. The one, the visible hold that she retained on God at this time was her love for his poor. Her heart was always tender to suffering in every form, but to the poor[214] especially. As an instance of this, I may mention her taking off her flannel petticoat, on a bitter winter's day, to give it to a poor creature whom she met shivering at the roadside, and then running nearly a mile home in the cold herself.

After about a year our correspondence slackened, and gradually broke down altogether. I heard from her once in six months, perhaps. The tone of her letters struck me as altered. I could not exactly say how, except that it had grown more serious. She said nothing of triumphs at archery meetings or of brushes carried off "at the death;" there seemed to be no such feats to chronicle. She talked of her family and of mine, very little of herself. Once only, in answer to a direct question as to what books she read, she told me that she was reading Father Faber, and that she read very little else. This was the only clue I gained to the nature of the change that had come over her.

At the expiration of about two years, a clergyman, who was an old friend of her family, and a frequent visitor at the house, came to Paris, and gave me a detailed account of the character and extent of the change.

The excitement into which she had launched on returning home, and which she had kept up with unflagging spirit, had, as might have been expected, told on her health, never very strong. A cough set in at the beginning of the winter which caused her family some alarm. She grew thin to emaciation, lost her appetite, and fell into a state of general ill-health. Change of air and complete rest were prescribed by the medical men. She was accordingly taken from one sea-side place to another, and condemned to a régime of dulness and quiet. In a few months the system told favorably, and she was sufficiently recovered to return home.

But the monotony of an inactive life which was still enforced, after the mad-cap career she had been used to, wearied her unspeakably. For want of something better to do, she took to reading. Novels, of course. Fortunately for her, ten years ago young ladies had not taken to writing novels that honest men blush to review, and that too many young ladies do not blush to read. Mary did no worse than waste her time without active detriment to her mind. She read the new novels of the day, and, if she was not much the better, she was probably none the worse for it. But one day—a date to be written in gold—a friend, the same who gave me these particulars, made her a present of Father Faber's All for Jesus. The title promised very little entertainment; reluctantly enough, Mary turned over the pages and began to read. How long she read, I cannot tell. It might be true to say that she never left off. Others followed, all from the same pen, through uninterrupted days, and weeks, and months. She told me afterward that the burning words of those books—the first especially, and The Creator and the Creature—pursued her even in her dreams. She seemed to hear a voice crying after her unceasingly: "Arise, and follow!"

Suddenly, but irrevocably, the whole aspect of life was changed to her. She began to look back upon the near past, and wonder whether it was she herself who had so enjoyed those balls and gaieties, or whether she had not been mad, and imagined it, and was only now in her right mind. The most insuperable disgust succeeded to her love of worldly amusement. She cared for nothing but prayer and meditation, and the[215] service of the poor and suffering. An ardent longing took possession of her to suffer for and with our Divine Master. Yielding to the impulse of her new-born fervor, she began to practise the most rigorous austerities, fasting much, sleeping little, and praying almost incessantly. This was done without the counsel or cognizance of any spiritual guide. She knew of no one to consult. Her life had been spiritually so neglected during the last two years that direction had had no part to play in it. There was nothing to direct. The current was setting in an opposite direction. The supernatural was out of sight.

Under cover of her health, which, though it was fairly recovered, still rendered quiet and great prudence desirable, Mary contrived to avoid all going out, and secretly laid down for herself a rule of life that she adhered to scrupulously.

But this could not go on long. As she grew in the ways of prayer, the spirit of God led her imperceptibly but inevitably into the sure and safe high-road of all pilgrims travelling toward the bourn of sanctity and aiming at a life of perfection.

The necessity of a spiritual director was gradually borne in upon her, as she said to me, while at the same time the difficulty of meeting with this treasure, whom St. Teresa bids us seek amongst ten thousand, grew more and more apparent and disheartening.

Her father, a man of the world and very little versed in the mysteries of the interior life, but a good practical Catholic nevertheless, saw the transformation that had taken place in his daughter, and knew not exactly whether to be glad or sorry. He acknowledged to her long after that the first recognition of it struck upon his heart like a death-knell. He felt it was the signal for a great sacrifice.

Mary opened her heart to him unreservedly, seeking more at his hands perhaps than any mere father in flesh and blood could give, asking him to point out to her the turning-point of the new road on which she had entered, and to help her to tread it. That it was to be a path of thorns in which she would need all the help that human love could gather to divine grace, she felt already convinced.

Her father, with the honesty of an upright heart, confessed himself inadequate to the solving of such a problem, and bravely proposed taking her to London to consult Father Faber.

Mary, in an ecstasy of gratitude, threw her arms round his neck, and declared it was what she had been longing for for months. Father Faber had been her guide so far; his written word had spoken to her like a voice from the holy mount, making all the dumb chords of her soul to vibrate. What would he not do for her if she could speak to him heart to heart, and hear the words of prayer-inspired wisdom from his own lips!

They set out in a few days for London; but they were not to get there. The promise that looked so near and so precious in its accomplishment was never to be fulfilled. They had no sooner reached Dublin than Mary fell ill. For some days she was in high fever; the medical men assured the panic-stricken father that there was no immediate cause for alarm; no remote cause even, as the case then stood; the patient was delicate, but her constitution was good, the nervous system sound, although shaken by the present attack, and apparently by previous mental anxiety. The attack itself[216] they attributed to a chill which had fallen on the chest.

The event justified the opinion of the physicians. Mary recovered speedily. It was not judged advisable, however, to let her proceed to London. She relinquished the plan herself with a facility that surprised her father. He knew how ardently she had longed to see the spiritual guide who had already done so much for her, and he could not forbear asking why she took the disappointment so coolly.

"It's not a disappointment, father. God never disappoints. I don't know why, only I feel as if the longing were already satisfied; as if I were not to go so far to find what I'm looking for," she answered; and quietly set about preparing to go back home.

But they were still on the road of Damascus. On the way home, they rested at the house of a friend near the Monastery of Mount Melleray. I cannot be quite sure whether the monks were giving a retreat for seculars in the monastery, or whether it was being preached in the neighboring town. As well as I remember, it was the latter. Indeed, I doubt whether women would be admitted to assist at a retreat within the monastery, and, if not, this would be conclusive. But of one thing I am sure, the preacher was Father Paul, the superior of La Trappe. I don't know whether his eloquence, judged by the standard of human rhetoric, was anything very remarkable, but many witnesses go to prove on exhaustive evidence that it was of that kind whose property it is to save souls.

To Mary it came like a summons straight from heaven. She felt an imperative desire to speak to him at once in the confessional.

"I can give you no idea of the exquisite sense of peace and security that came over me the moment I knelt down at his feet," she said, in relating to me this stage of her vocation. "I felt certain that I had found the man who was to be my Father Faber."

And so she had.

All that passes between a director and his spiritual child is of so solemn and sacred a nature that, although many things which Mary confided to me concerning her intercourse with the saintly abbot of La Trappe might prove instructive and would certainly prove edifying to many interior souls, I do not feel justified in repeating them. If I were even not held back by this fear of indiscretion, I should shrink from relating these confidences, lest I should mar the beauty or convey a false interpretation of their meaning. While she was speaking, I understood her perfectly. While listening to the wonderful experiences of divine grace with what she had been favored, and which she recounted to me with the confiding simplicity of a child, her words were as clear and reflected her thoughts as luminously as a lake reflects the stars looking down into its crystal depths, making the mirror below a faithful repetition of the sky above. But when I tried to write down what she had said while it was quite fresh upon my mind, the effort baffled me. There was so little to write, and that little was so delicate, so mysteriously intangible, I seemed never to find the right word that had come so naturally, so expressively, to her. When she spoke of prayer especially, there was an eloquence, rising almost to sublimity, in her language that altogether defied my coarse translation, and seemed to dissolve like a rainbow under the process of dissection. The most elevated subjects she was at home with as if they had been her natural theme, the highest spirituality[217] her natural element. The writings of St. Teresa and St. Bernard had grown familiar to her as her catechism, and she seemed to have caught the note of their inspired teaching with the mastery of sainthood. This was the more extraordinary to me that her intellect was by no means of a high order. Quite the contrary. Her taste, the whole bent of her nature, was the reverse of intellectual, and what intelligence she had was, as far as real culture went, almost unreclaimed. Her reading had been always of the most superficial, non-metaphysical kind; indeed, the aversion to what she called "hard reading" made her turn with perverse dislike from any book whose title threatened to be at all instructive. She had never taken a prize at school, partly because she was too lazy to try for it, but also because she had not brain enough to cope with the clever girls of her class. Mary was quite alive to her shortcomings in this line, indeed she exaggerated them, as she was prone to do most of her delinquencies, and always spoke of herself as "stupid." This she decidedly was not; but her intellectual powers were sufficiently below superiority to make her sudden awakening to the sublime language of mystical theology and her intuitive perception of its subtlest doctrines matter of great wonder to those who only measure man's progress in the science of the saints by the shallow gauge of human intellect.

"How do you contrive to understand those books, Mary?" I asked her once, after listening to her quoting St. Bernard à l'appui of some remarks on the Prayer of Union that carried me miles out of my depth.

"I don't know," she replied with her sweet simplicity, quite unconscious of revealing any secrets of infused science to my wondering ears. "I used not to understand them the least; but by degrees the meaning of the words began to dawn on me, and the more I read, the better I understood. When I come to anything very difficult, I stop, and pray, and meditate till the meaning comes to me. It is often a surprise to myself, considering how stupid I am in everything else," she continued, laughing, "that I should understand spiritual books even as well as I do."

Those who have studied the ways of God with his saints will not share her surprise. In our own day, the venerable Curé d'Ars is among the most marvellous proofs of the manner in which he pours out his wisdom on those who are accounted and who account themselves fools, not worthy to pass muster amongst men. But I am anticipating.

Her meeting with Father Paul was the first goal in her new career, and from the moment Mary had reached it she felt secure of being led safely to the end.

Those intervening stages were none the less agitated by many interior trials; doubts as to the sincerity of her vocation; heart-sinkings as to her courage in bearing on under the cross that she had taken up; misgivings, above all, as to the direction in which that cross lay. While her life-boat was getting ready, filling its sails, and making out of port for the shoreless sea of detachment and universal sacrifice, she sat shivering; her hand on the helm; the deep waters heaving beneath her; the wind blowing bleak and cold; the near waves dashing up their spray into her face, and the breakers further out roaring and howling like angry floods. There were rocks ahead, and all round under those foaming billows; sad havoc had they made of many a brave little boat that had put out to sea from[218] that same port where she was still tossing—home, with its sheltering love and care; piety enough to save any well-intentioned soul; good example to give and to take; good works to do in plenty, and the body not overridden by austerities against nature; not starved to despondency; not exasperated by hunger, and cold, and endless vigils, and prayer as endless. It was a goodly port and safe, this home of hers. See how the deep throws up its prey on every side! Wrecks and spars, the shattered remnants of bold vessels, and the lifeless bodies of the rash crew are everywhere strewn over the waters. "Take heed!" they cry to her as she counts the records one by one. "This is an awful sea, and bold must be the heart, and stout and iron-clad the boat that tempts the stormy bosom. We came, and perished. Would that we had never left the port!"

Mary never argued with the storm. She would fall at the feet of Him who was "sleeping below," and wake him with the loud cry of trembling faith, "Help me, Master, or I perish!" and the storm subsided.

But when the wind and the waves were hushed, there rose up in the calm a voice sweet and low, but more ruthlessly terrible to her courage than the threatening fury of ten thousand storms. She was her father's oldest and darling child; she had a brother, too, and sisters, all tenderly loved, and cousins and friends only less dear; she was a joy and a comfort to many. Must she go from them? Must she leave all this love and all the loveliness of life for ever?

Mary's vocation, notwithstanding its strongly marked supernatural character, was not proof against these cruel alternations of enthusiastic courage, and desolate heart-sinkings, and bewildering doubts. Nay, they were no doubt a necessary part of its perfection. It was needful that she should pass through the dark watch of Gethsemani before setting out to climb the rugged hill of Calvary.

All this history of her interior life she told me viva voce when we met. In her letters, which were at this period very rare and always very uncommunicative, she said nothing whatever of these strifes and victories.

But her adversaries were not all within. A hard battle remained to be fought with her father. His opposition was active and relentless. He had at first tacitly acquiesced in her consecration to God in a religious life of some sort; but he believed, as every one else did, that to let her enter La Trappe would be to consign her to speedy and certain death; and when she announced to him that this was the order she had selected, and the one which drew her with the power of attraction, that she had struggled in vain to resist, he declared that nothing short of a written mandate from God would induce him to consent to such an act of suicide. In vain Mary pleaded that when God called a soul he provided all that was necessary to enable her to answer the call; that her health, formerly so delicate when she was leading a life of self-indulgence, was now completely restored; that she had never been so strong as since she had lived in almost continual abstinence (she did not eat meat on Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday); that the weakness of nature was no obstacle to the power of grace, and there are graces in the conventual life that seculars did not dream of, nor receive because they did not need them.

In answer to these plausible arguments, the incredulous father brought[219] out the laws of nature, and reason and common sense, and the opinion of the medical men who had attended her in Dublin, and under whose care she had been more or less ever since. These men of natural science and human sympathies declared positively that it was neither more nor less than suicide to condemn herself to the rule of St. Bernard in the cloister, where want of animal food and warmth would infallibly kill her before the novitiate was out. They were prepared to risk their reputation on the issue of this certificate.

Mary's exhaustive answer to all this was that grace was always stronger than nature; that the supernatural element would overrule and sustain the human one. But she pleaded in vain. Her father was resolute. He even went so far as to insist on her returning to society and seeing more of the world before she was divorced from it irrevocably. This check was as severe as it was unexpected. Though her disgust to the vanities of her former life continued as strong as ever, while her longing for the perfect life grew every day more intense and more energizing, her humility made her tremble for her own weakness. Might not the strength that had borne her bravely so far break down under the attack of all her old tempters let loose on her at once? Her love of pleasure, that fatal enemy that now seemed dead, might it not rise up again with overmastering power, and, aided by the reaction prepared by her new life, seize her and hold her more successfully than ever? Yes, all this was only too possible. There was nothing for it but to brave her father, to defy his authority, and to save her soul in spite of him. She must run away from home.

Before, however, putting this wise determination into practice, it was necessary to consult Father Paul. His answer was what most of our readers will suspect:

"Obedience is your first duty. No blessing could come from such a violation of filial piety. Your father is a Christian. Do as he bids you; appeal to his love for your soul not to tax its strength unwisely; then trust your soul to God as a little child trusts to its mother. He sought you, and pursued you, and brought you home when you were flying from him. Is it likely he will forsake you now, when you are seeking after him with all your heart and making his will the one object of your life? Mistrust yourself, my child. Never mistrust God." Mary felt the wisdom of the advice, and submitted to it in a spirit of docility, of humble mistrust and brave trust, and made up her mind to go through the trial as an earnest of the sincerity of her desire to seek God's will, and accomplish it in whatever way he appointed.

She had so completely taken leave of the gay world for more than a year that her reappearance at a county ball caused quite a sensation.

Rumor and romance had put their heads together, and explained after their own fashion the motive of the change in her life and her total seclusion from society. Of course, it could only be some sentimental reason, disappointed affection, perhaps inadequate fortune or position on one side, and a hard-hearted father on the other, etc. Whispers of this idle gossip came to Mary's ears and amused her exceedingly. She could afford to laugh at it as there was not the smallest shadow of reality under the fiction.

Her father, whose parental weakness sheltered itself behind the doctors and common sense, did not exact undue sacrifices from her. He allowed her to continue her ascetic[220] rule of life unmolested, to abstain from meat as usual, to go assiduously amongst the poor, and to devote as much time as she liked to prayer. There were two Masses daily in the village church, one at half-past six, another at half-past seven. He made a difficulty at first about her assisting at them. The church was nearly half an hour's walk from the house, and the cold morning or night air, as it really was, was likely to try her severely. But after a certain amount of arguing and coaxing Mary carried her point, and every morning long before daybreak sallied forth to the village. Her nurse, who was very pious and passionately attached to her, went with her. Not without hesitating, though. Every day as regularly as they set out Malone entered a protest.

"It's not natural, Miss Mary, to be gadding out by candle-light in this fashion, walking about the fields like a pair of ghosts. Indeed, darlin', it isn't."

The nurse was right. It certainly was not natural, and, if Mary had been so minded, she might have replied that it was not meant to be; it was supernatural. She contented herself, however, by deprecating the good soul's reproof and proposing to say the rosary, a proposal to which Malone invariably assented. So, waking up the larks with their matin prayer, the two would walk on briskly to church.

Once set an Irish nurse to pray, and she'll keep pace with any saint in the calendar. Malone was not behind with the best. The devout old soul, never loath to begin, when once on her knees and fairly wound up in devotion, would go on for ever, and, when the two Masses were over and it was time to go, Mary had generally to break her off in the full tide of a litany that Malone went on muttering all the way out of church and sometimes finished on the road home.

But if she was ready to help Mary in her praying feats, she highly disapproved of the fasting ones, as well as of the short rest that her young mistress imposed on herself. Mary confessed to me that sleep was at this period her greatest difficulty. She was by nature a great sleeper, and there was a time when early rising, even comparatively early, seemed to her the very climax of heroic mortification. By degrees she brought herself to rise at a given hour, which gradually, with the help of her angel guardian and a strong resolve, she advanced to five o'clock.

During this time of probation, her father took her constantly into society, to archery meetings, and regattas, and concerts, and balls, as the season went on. Mary did her part bravely and cheerfully. Sometimes a panic seized her that her old spirit of worldliness was coming back—coming back with seven devils to take his citadel by storm and hold it more firmly than ever. But she had only to fix her eyes steadily on the faithful beacon of the Light-house out at sea, and bend her ear to the Life-bell chiming its Sursum Corda far above the moaning of the waves and winds, and her foolish fears gave way.

No one who saw her so bright and gracious, so gracefully pleased with everything and everybody, suspected the war that was agitating her spirit within. Her father wished her to take part in the dancing, otherwise he said her presence in the midst of it would be considered compulsory and her abstention be construed into censure or gloom. Mary acquiesced with regard to the square dances, but resolutely declined to waltz. Her father, satisfied with the concession, did not coerce her further.


So things went on for about a year. Father Paul meantime had had his share in the probationary action. He knew that his patient's health was not strong, and taking into due account her father's vehement and up to a certain point just representations on the physical impossibility of her bearing the rule of St. Bernard, he endeavored to attract her toward an active order, and used all his influence to induce her to try at any rate a less austere one before entering La Trappe. Animated by the purest and most ardent love for the soul whose precious destinies were placed under his guidance, he left nothing undone to prevent the possibility of mistake or ultimate regret in her choice. He urged her to go and see various other convents and make acquaintance with their mode of life. Seeing her great reluctance to do this, he had recourse to stratagem in order to compel her unconsciously to examine into the spirit and rule of several monastic houses that he held in high esteem. One in particular, a community of Benedictines, I think it was, he thought likely to prove attractive to her as uniting a great deal of prayer with active duties toward the poor, teaching, etc., and at the same time of less crucifying discipline than that of Citeaux. He gave her a commission for the superioress, with many excuses for troubling her, and begging that she would not undertake it if it interfered with any arrangement of her own or her father's just then.

Mary, never suspecting the trap that was laid for her, made a point of setting out to the convent at once. The superioress, previously enlightened by Father Paul, received her with more than kindness, and, after discussing the imaginary subject of the visit, invited her to visit the chapel, then the house, and finally, drawing her into confidential discourse, explained all about its spirit and manner of life.

Mary, in relating this circumstance to me, said that, though the superioress was one of the most attractive persons she ever met, and the convent beautiful in its appointments, rather than enter it she would have preferred spending the rest of her days in the dangers of the most worldly life. Everything but La Trappe was unutterably antagonistic to her. Yet, with the exception of Mount Melleray she had never seen even the outside walls of a Cistercian convent, and the fact of there not being one for women in Ireland added one obstacle more in the way of her entering La Trappe.

When Father Paul heard the result of this last ruse, he confessed the truth to her. Noways discouraged, nevertheless he persisted in saying that she was much better fitted for a life of mixed activity and contemplation than for a purely contemplative one, and he forbade her for a time to let her mind dwell on the latter as her ultimate vocation, to read any books that treated of it, even to pray specially that she might be led to it. To all these despotic commands Mary yielded a prompt, unquestioning obedience. She was with God like a child with a schoolmaster. Whatever lesson he set her, she set about learning it. Easy or difficult, pleasant or unpleasant, it was all one to her cheerful good-will. Why do we not all do like her? We are all children at school, but, instead of putting our minds to getting our lesson by heart, we spend the study-hour chafing at the hard words, dog-earing our book, and irreverently grumbling at the master who has set us the task. Sometimes we think in our conceit that it is too easy, that we should do better something difficult.[222] When the bell rings, we go up without knowing a word of it, and stand sulky and disrespectful before the desk. We are chided, and turn back, and warned to do better to-morrow. And so we go on from year to year, from childhood to youth, from youth to age, never learning our lesson properly, but dodging, and missing, and beginning over and over again at the same point. Some of us go on being dunces to the end of our lives, when school breaks up, and we are called for and taken home—to the home where there are many mansions, but none assuredly for the drones who have spent their school-days in idleness and mutiny.

To Father Paul, the childlike submission and humility with which Mary met every effort to thwart her vocation were no doubt more conclusive proof of its solidity than the most marked supernatural favors would have been.

At last her gentle perseverance was rewarded, grace triumphed over her father's heart, and he expressed his willingness to give her up to God.

In the summer of 1861, we went to stay at Versailles, and it was there that I received from Mary the first definite announcement of her vocation. She wrote to me saying that, after long deliberation and much prayer and wise direction, she had decided on entering a convent of the Cistercian order. As there was no branch of it in Ireland, she was to come to France, and she begged me to make inquiries as to where the novitiate was, and to let her know with as little delay as possible. I will not dwell upon my own feelings on reading this letter. I had expected some such result, though, knowing the state of her health, it had not occurred to me she could have joined, however she might have wished it, so severe an order as that of the founder of Citeaux.

I had not the least idea where the novitiate in France was; and, as the few persons whom I was able to question at once on the subject seemed to know no more about it than I did myself, the hope flashed across my mind that there might not be a convent of Trappistines at all in France. But this was not of long duration.

We had on our arrival at Versailles made the acquaintance of a young girl whom I shall call Agnes. My mother was already acquainted with her parents and other members of the family; but Agnes had either been at school or absent visiting relations, so from one cause or another we had never met till now. She was seventeen years of age, a fair, fragile-looking girl, who reminded most people of Schaeffer's Marguerite.

Agnes had a younger sister at the Convent of La Sainte Enfance, not far from her father's residence, and she asked me one day to come and see this sister and a nun that she was very fond of. I went, and, being full of the thought of my sweet friend in Ireland, I immediately opened the subject of Citeaux with the pretty talkative little nun who came to the parlor with Agnes's sister.

"What a singular chance!" she exclaimed, when I had told as much of my story as was necessary. "Why, we have at this moment a community of Cistercian nuns in the house here! Their monastery is being repaired, and in the meantime we have permission from the bishop to harbor them. See," she went on, pointing to a row of windows whose closed Persiennes were visible at an angle from where we sat, "that is where our mother has lodged them. You can speak to the prioress, if you like, but of course you cannot see her."


I was more struck by the strange coincidence than overjoyed at being so near the solution of my difficulty. I could not, however, but take advantage of the opportunity. Sister Madeleine, which was the little nun's name, ran off to ask "our mother's" permission for me to speak with their Cistercian sister, and in a few minutes returned with an affirmative.

I was led to the door of the community-room, and, through a little extempore grating cut through the panel and veiled on the inside, I held converse with the mother abbess.

A few words assured me that Sister Madeleine had been mistaken in supposing her guests to be the daughters of St. Bernard. They were Poor Clares—an order more rigorous, even, than the Trappistines; bare feet, except when standing on a stone pavement or in the open air, when the rule is to slip the feet into wooden sandals, are added to the fasting and perpetual silence of Citeaux. Of this latter the abbess could tell me nothing—nothing, at least, of its actual existence and branches in France, though she broke out into impulsive and loving praise of its spirit and its saintly founder, and the rich harvest of souls he and his children had reaped for our Lord.

Here, then, was another respite. It really seemed probable that, if, in a quarter so likely to be well informed on the point, there was no account to be had of a Trappistine convent, there could not be one in existence, and Mary, from sheer inability to enter La Trappe, might be driven to choose some less terrible rule.

Mary meantime had set other inquirers on the track of St. Bernard, and soon learned that the novitiate was at Lyons. The name of the monastery is Notre Dame de toute Consolation.

After some preliminary correspondence with the abbess, the day was fixed for her to leave Ireland and set out to her land of promise.

She came, of course, through Paris. It was three years since we had met. I found her greatly altered; her beauty not gone, but changed. She looked, however, in much better health than I had ever seen her. Her spirits were gone, but there had come in their place a serenity that radiated from her like sunshine. We went out together to do some commissions of hers and the better to escape interruption, for this was in all human probability to be our last meeting on earth, and we had much to say to each other.

We drove first to Notre Dame des Victoires, where, at her constantly recurring desire, I had been in the habit of putting her name down for the prayers of the confraternity, and we knelt once again side by side before the altar of our Blessed Lady.

From this we went to the Sacré Cœur, where Mary was anxious to see some of her old mistresses and ask their prayers. Perseverance in her vocation, and the accomplishment of God's will in her and by her, were the graces she was never weary asking for herself, and imploring others to ask for her. Her greediness for prayers was only equalled by her intense faith in their efficacy. She could not resist catering for them, and used to laugh herself at her own importunity on this point.

The sister who tended the gate gave us a cordial greeting; but, when she heard that Mary was on her way to La Trappe, her surprise was almost ludicrous. If her former pupil had said she was going to be a Mohammedan, it could not have called up more blank amazement than was depicted in the good sister's face on hearing her say that she was going to be a Trappistine.


The mistress of schools and another nun, who had been very kind to her during her short stay at the Sacred Heart, came to the parlor. I was not present at the interview, but Mary told me they were quite as much amazed as the sœur portière.

"It only shows what a character I left behind me," she said, laughing heartily as we walked arm in arm. "My turning out good for anything but mischief is a fact so miraculous that my best friends can hardly believe in it!"

It was during this long afternoon that she told me all the details of her vocation which I have already narrated. She seemed transcendently happy, and so lifted by grace above all the falterings of nature as to be quite unconscious that she was about to make any sacrifice. She was tenderly attached to her family, but the pangs of separation from them were momentarily suspended. Her soul had grown strong in detachment. It had grown to the hunger of divine love. Like the Israelites, she had gone out into the desert where the manna fell, and she had fed upon it till all other bread was tasteless to her.

When I expressed surprise at seeing her so completely lifted above human affections, and observed that it would save her so much anguish, she answered quickly, with a sudden look of pain:

"Oh! no it will save me none of the suffering. That will all come later, when the sacrifice is made. But I always seem to have supernatural strength given me as long as it remains to be done. I took leave of Father Paul and my dear old nurse, and all the friends that flocked to say good-by, almost without a tear. I felt it so little that I was disgusted with myself for being so heartless while they were all so tender and distressed; but when it was all over, and the carriage had driven out on the road, I thought my heart would burst. I didn't dare look back at the house, lest I should cry out to them to take me home. And I know this is how it will be to-morrow."

"And have you thought of the possibility of having to come home after all?" I asked.

"Yes, I have a great deal of it. It is possible my health may fail, or that I may have mistaken the will of God altogether in entering La Trappe," she answered, with a coolness that astonished me.

"What a trial that would be!" I exclaimed. "What a humiliation to come out, after making such a stand about entering!"

She laughed quite merrily.

"Humiliation! And what if it were! I don't care a straw if I go into ten convents, and come out of them one after another, so long as I find out the right one in the end. What does anything signify but finding out God's will!"

There was no mistaking the perfect sincerity of her words. It was as clear as sunlight—the one thing necessary, the one thing she cared one straw about, was finding out the will of God. Human respect or any petty human motive had simply gone beyond the range of her apprehension.

"And the silence, Mary?" I said, smiling, as the memory of her old school-day troubles came back on me. "How will you ever keep it? To me it would be the most appalling part of the discipline of La Trappe."

"Well, is it not odd?" she replied. "It is so little appalling to me that I quite long for it. Sometimes I keep repeating the words, 'Perpetual silence!' over and over to myself, as if they were a melody. It was it, I[225] think, that decided me for La Trappe instead of Carmel, where the rule allows them to speak during recreation. It seems to me the hush of tongues must be such a help to union with God. Our tongues are so apt to scare away his presence from our souls."

We came home to dinner. While we were alone in the drawing-room, she asked me to play something to her. She had been passionately fond of the harp, and stood by me listening with evident pleasure, and when I was done began to draw out the chords with her finger.

"Does it not cost you the least little pang to give it up for ever—never to hear a note of music for the rest of your life, Mary?" I said.

"No, not now. I felt it in the beginning; but the only music that has a charm for me now is silence."

We parted, never to meet again, till we meet at the judgment-seat.

On her arrival at Lyons, the fatigue and emotions of the journey told on her. An agonizing pain in the spine to which she was subject after any undue exertion obliged her to remain at the hotel, lying down on the sofa nearly all day.

The following morning, her father took her to the monastery. Like Abraham, he conducted his child to the mount of sacrifice, and with his own hand laid the victim on the altar; but no angel came to snatch away the sacrificial knife and substitute a meaner offering for the holocaust. He left her at the inner gate of La Trappe.

She wrote to me some weeks after her entrance.

"I was less brave at parting with my beloved ones than I ought to have been," she said; "but, on account of the pain that kept me lying down in the midst of them nearly all the previous day, I had not been able to pray as much as usual, and so I had not got up strength enough for the trial-time. I seemed to have let go my hold on our Lord a little and to be leaning on them for courage; but, when I had been a few hours before the Blessed Sacrament, the pain calmed down, and I began to realize how happy I was. I am in great hopes that I have found the will of God."

One trifling incident which gave innocent delight to Mary I must not omit to mention.

She was asked on entering what name she wished to bear in religion, and on her replying that she had not thought of one and would rather the prioress chose for her, "Then we shall call you Mary Benedicta," said the mother. "The saint has no name-sake amongst us at present."

The only thing that disappointed her in the new life was the mildness of the rule and the short time it allotted for prayer!

It may interest my readers and help them to estimate the spirit of the novice to hear some details of the rule that struck her as too mild.

The Trappistines rise at 2 A.M. winter and summer, and proceed to choir, chanting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin. Mass, meditation, the recital of the divine office, and household work, distributed to each according to her strength and aptitude and to the wants of the community, fill up the time till breakfast, which is at 8. The rule relents in favor of those who are unable to bear the long early fast, and they are allowed a small portion of dry bread some hours sooner. I think the novices as a rule are included in this dispensation. The second meal is at 2. The food is frugal but wholesome, good bread, vegetables, fish occasionally, and good, pure wine. Fire is an unknown luxury, except in the kitchen.[226] The silence is perpetual, but the novices are allowed perfect freedom of converse with their mistress, and the professed nuns with the abbess. They converse occasionally during the day amongst each other by signs. They take open-air exercise, and perform manual labor out-of-doors, digging, etc. In-doors, they are constantly employed in embroidering and mounting vestments. Some of the most elaborately wrought benediction-veils, copes, chasubles, etc., used in the large churches throughout France, are worked by the Trappistines of Lyons.

They retire to rest at 8. Their clothing is of coarse wool, inside and outside.

Mary described the material life of La Trappe as in every sense delightful; the digging, pealing potatoes, and so forth, as most recreative and not at all fatiguing. After her first Lent, she wrote me that it had passed so quickly, she "hardly knew it had begun when Easter came."

Her only complaint was that it had been too easy, that the austerities, "which were at all times very mild," had not been more increased during the penitential season.

My third letter was on her receiving the holy habit.

"I wish you could see me in it," she said. "I felt rather odd at first, but I soon grew accustomed to it, and now it is so light and pleasant. I am so happy in my vocation I cannot help being almost sure that I have found the will of God."

This was the burden of her song for evermore: to find the will of God! And so in prayer and expectation she kept her watch upon the tower, her hands uplifted, her ears and her eyes straining night and day for every sign and symbol of that blessed manifestation. She kept her watch, faithful, ardent, never weary of watching, rising higher and higher in love, sinking lower and lower in humility. She had set her soul like a ladder against the sky, and the angels were for ever passing up and down the rungs, carrying up the incense of the prayer, which, as soon as it reached the throne of the Lamb, dissolved in graces, and sent the angels flying down earthward again.

The world went on; the wheel went round; pleasure and folly and sin kept up their whirl with unabating force. All things were the same as when Mary Benedicta, hearkening to the bell from the sanctuary, turned her back upon the vain delusion, and gave up the gauds of time for the imperishable treasures of eternity. Nothing was changed. Was it so indeed? To our eyes it was. We could not see what changes were to come of it. We could not see the work her sacrifice was doing, nor measure the magnitude of the glory it was bringing to God. Poor fools! it is always so with us. We see with the blind eyes of our body the things that are of the body. What do we see of the travail of humanity in God's creation? The darkness and the pain. Little else. We see a wicked man or a miserable man, and we are filled with horror or with pity. We think the world irretrievably darkened and saddened by the sin and the misery that we see, forgetting the counterpart that we do not see—the sanctity and the beauty born of repentance and compassion. We see the bad publican flaunting his evil ways in the face of heaven, brawling in the streets and the market-place; we do not see the good publican who goes up to the temple striking his breast, and standing afar off, and sobbing out the prayer that justifies. We forget that fifty such climbing up to heaven make less noise than one sinner tearing down to hell. So with[227] pain. When sorrow crushes a man, turning his heart bitter and his wine sour, we find it hard to believe that so much gall can yield any honey, so much dark let in any light. We cannot see—oh! how it would startle us if we did—how many acts of kindness, how many thoughts and deeds of love, are evoked by the sight of his distress. They may not be addressed to him, and he may never know of them, though he has called them into life; they may all be spent upon other men, strangers perhaps, to whom he has brought comfort because of the kindliness his sorrow had stirred in many hearts. Some miser has been touched in hearing the tale of his distress, and straightway opened his purse to help the Lazarus at his own door. A selfish woman of the world has foregone some bauble of vanity and given the price to a charity to silence the twinge that pursued her after witnessing his patient courage in adversity. There is no end to the small change that one golden coin of love, one act of heroic faith, one chastened attitude of Christian sorrow, will send current through the world. It would be easier to number the stars than to count it all up. But the bright little silver pieces pass through our fingers unnoticed. We do not watch for them, neither do we hear them chime and ring as they drop all round us. We do not listen for them. We listen rather to the wailing and the hissing, hearkening not at all to the rustle of angels' wings floating above the din, nor to the sound of their crystal tears falling through the brine of human woe and lamentation.

One more virgin heart is given up to the Crucified—one more victory won over nature and the kingdom of this world. One more life is being lived away to God in the silence of the sanctuary. Who heeds it? Who sees the great things that are coming of it?—the graces obtained, the blessings granted, the temptations conquered, the miracle of compassion won for some life-long sinner, at whose death-bed, cut off from priest or sacrament, the midnight watcher before the tabernacle has been wrestling in spirit, miles away, with mountains and seas between them. Only when the seven seals are broken of the Book in which the secrets of many hearts are written shall these things be made manifest, and the wonders of sacrifice revealed.

Mary Benedicta was drawing to the close of her novitiate. So far her health had stood the test bravely. She had passed the winters without a cough, a thing that had not happened to her for years. The pain in her spine that had constantly annoyed her at home had entirely disappeared.

Every day convinced her more thoroughly that she had found her true vocation, and that she was "doing the will of God." Her profession was fixed for the month of December. She wrote to me a few lines, telling me of her approaching happiness, and begging me to get all the prayers I could for her. Her joy seemed too great for words. It was, indeed, the joy that passes human understanding. I did not hear from her again, nor of her, till one evening I received a letter from Ireland announcing to me her death.

Till within a few days of the date fixed for her vows, she had been to all appearance in perfect health. She followed the rule in its unmitigated rigor, never asking nor seemingly needing any dispensation. She attended choir during the seven hours' prayer, mental and vocal, every day. There were no premonitory symptoms of any kind to herald in the messenger that was at hand. Quite[228] suddenly, one morning, at the first matins, she fainted away at her place in the choir. They carried her to the infirmary, and laid her on a bed. She recovered consciousness after a short time, but on attempting to rise fell back exhausted. The infirmarian, in great alarm, asked if she was suffering much. Mary smiled and shook her head. Presently she whispered a few words to the abbess, who had accompanied her from the choir, and never left her side for a moment. It was to ask that she might be allowed to pronounce her vows at once.

Was this, then, the summons? Yes. She was called for to go home. The joy-bells of heaven rang out a merry peal. The golden gates turned slowly on their hinges. The Bridegroom stood knocking at the door.

A messenger was dispatched in haste to the archbishop for permission to solemnize her profession at once. Monseigneur Bonald granted it, and sent at the same time a special apostolic benediction to the dying child of St. Bernard.

That afternoon Mary pronounced her vows in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and surrounded by the sisterhood, weeping and rejoicing.

An hour later, summoning her remaining strength for a last act of filial tenderness, she dictated a few lines of loving farewell to her father. Then she was silent, calm, and rapt in prayer. Her eyes never left the crucifix. The day past and the night. She was still waiting. At daybreak the Bridegroom entered, and she went home with him.


The most indefatigable student of the history of Ireland is, at some time or another, sure to become wearied of, if not positively disgusted at, the interminable series of foreign and domestic wars, base treachery, and wholesale massacre which unfortunately stain the annals of that unhappy country for nearly one thousand years; and were it not that the study of profane history is a duty imposed upon us not only as an essential part of our education, but as a source rich in the philosophy of human nature, there are few, we believe, even among the most enthusiastic lovers of their race or the most industrious of book-worms, who would patiently peruse the long and dreary record of persistent oppression and unfaltering but unavailing resistance.

The few centuries of pagan greatness preceding the arrival of St. Patrick, seen through the dim mist of antiquity, appear to have been periods of comparative national prosperity; and the earlier ages of Christianity in the island were not only in themselves resplendent with the effulgence of piety and learning which [229]enshrouded the land and illumined far and near the then eclipsed nations of Europe, but were doubly brilliant by contrast with the darkness that subsequently followed the repeated incursions of the merciless northern Vikings, to whom war was a trade, and murder and rapine the highest of human pursuits.

The ultimate defeat of those barbarians in the early part of the eleventh century brought little or no cessation of misery to the afflicted people; for, with the death of the Conqueror, the illustrious King Brian, in the moment of victory, no man of sufficient statesmanship or military ability appeared who was capable of uniting the disorganized people under a general system of government, or of compelling the obedience of the disaffected and semi-independent chiefs. The evils of the preceding wars were numerous and grievous. The husbandman was impoverished, commerce had fled the sea-ports before the dreaded standard of the carrion Raven, learning had forsaken her wonted abodes for other climes and more peaceful scenes, and even the religious establishments which had escaped the destroyer no longer harbored those throngs of holy men and women formerly the glory and benefactors of the island. It was in this disintegrated and demoralized condition that the enterprising Anglo-Normans of the following century found the once warlike and learned Celtic people; and as the new-comers were hungry for land and not overscrupulous as to how it was to be obtained, the possession of the soil on one side, and its desperate but unorganized defence on the other, gave rise to those desultory conflicts, cruel reprisals, and horrible butcheries which only ended, after nearly five hundred years of strife, in the almost utter extirpation of the original owners.

Had the Norman invasion ended with Strongbow and Henry II., or had it been more general and successful, as in England, the evil would have been limited; but as every decade poured into Ireland its hordes of ambitious, subtle, and landless adventurers, who looked upon Ireland as the most fitting place to carve their way to fame and fortune, new wars of extermination were fomented, and the wounds that afflicted the country were kept constantly open. To facilitate the designs of the new-comers, the mass of the people were outlawed, and the punishment for killing a native, when inflicted, which was seldom, was a small pecuniary fine. The efforts of the "Reformers" to convert by force or fraud the ancient race and the bulk of the descendants of the original Anglo-Normans, who vied with each other in their attachment to the church, perpetuated even in a worse form the civil strife which had so long existed between the races, and terminated, at the surrender of Limerick, in the complete prostration of the nation. But it was only for a while. The extraordinary revival of the faith in Ireland, and its substantial triumphs in recent years, almost make us forget and forgive the persecutions of "the penal days," and not the least of these auspicious results is the appearance of the noble book before us, written by a distinguished gentleman of the legal profession of the ancient race and religion.

In his voluminous work, Mr. O'Flanagan, avoiding all matter foreign to his subject, and touching as lightly on wars and confiscations as possible, while relating succinctly and carefully the lives of the numerous lord chancellors of Ireland, necessarily gives us a history of English[230] policy and legislation in that country in an entirely new form, and fills up in its historical and legal records a hiatus long recognized on both sides of the Atlantic. In ordinary histories, we see broadly depicted the effects of foreign invasion and domestic broils: in the Lives, we are permitted to have a view of the most secret workings of the viceregal government and of the managers of the so-called Irish Parliament; of the causes which governed British statesmen in their treatment of the sister kingdom, and the motive of every step taken by the dominant faction of the Pale, supported by the wealth and power of a great nation, to subdue a weak neighboring people, who, though few in numbers, isolated and disorganized, possessed a high degree of civilization and a vitality that rose superior to all defeat. The book has also this advantage, that, while it supplies the links that bind causes with effects and develops in a critical spirit the true philosophy of history, it neither shocks our sensibilities uselessly with the perpetual narration of mental and physical suffering, nor tires us with vain speculations on what might have been had circumstances been different. The author is content to accept the inevitable, and deals exclusively with the subject in hand.

The partial success of Strongbow in conjunction with the Leinster troops induced Henry II. to project a visit to Ireland, partly from a fear that his ambitious subject might be induced by the allurements of his newly acquired greatness to forget his pledge of fealty and allegiance, and partly in the hope that his presence with an armed retinue would so overawe the native princes that their entire submission would follow as a matter of course. He therefore landed at Waterford, in 1172, and after visiting Lismore, where a provincial synod was being held, entered Dublin on the 11th of November of that year. But though he remained in that city during the greater part of the winter, surrounded by all the pomp of mediæval royalty, his blandishments were only partly successful in winning any of the prominent chieftains to acknowledge his assumed title of Lord of Ireland. He rested long enough, however, to establish a form of provincial government for the guidance and protection of the Anglo-Normans, and such of the Irish of Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wexford, and of the surrounding counties as acknowledged his jurisdiction, and these became what was long afterwards known as the English Pale. The head of this system was the personal representative of the monarch, appointed and removed at his pleasure, and called at various times lord deputy, viceroy, chief governor, and lord-lieutenant, and in case of his absence or death a temporary successor was to be chosen by the principal nobles of the Pale, until his return or the appointment of his successor by the king. In the year 1219, during the reign of Henry III., the laws of England were extended to the Anglo-Norman colony, and a chancellor in the person of John de Worchely was appointed to assist the viceroy in the administration of the laws and public affairs.

The office of chancellor, or, as he was afterwards styled, lord high chancellor, was known to the Romans, and many of its peculiar duties and powers are directly derived from the civil law. In England, its establishment may be considered as contemporary with the Norman conquest, and from the first it assumed the highest importance in the state. "The office of chancellor or lord keeper," says Blackstone, "is created by the[231] mere delivery of the great seal into his custody, whereby he becomes the first officer in the kingdom and takes precedence of every temporal peer. He is a privy counsellor by virtue of his office, and, according to Lord Ellismore, prolocutor of the House of Lords by prescription. To him belongs the appointment of all the justices of the peace throughout the kingdom. Being formerly, usually, an ecclesiastic presiding over the king's chapel, he became keeper of his conscience, visitor in his right of all hospitals and colleges of royal foundation, and patron of all his livings under the annual value of twenty pounds, etc. All this exclusive of his judicial capacity in the Court of Chancery, wherein, as in the Exchequer, is a common law court and a court of equity."[31] In Ireland, while the chancellor exercised the same functions within a more contracted sphere, his political power and duties were more directly and frequently felt. The viceroys, particularly those of the early periods, were generally soldiers expressly deputed to hold the conquests already gained, and to enlarge by force of arms the possessions of the Anglo-Norman adventurers. They were little skilled in the arts of government, and, from their short terms and frequent removals, knew little of and cared less for the people they were temporarily sent to govern.[32] The chancellors, on the contrary, were the reverse, being from the first up to the reign of Henry VIII., with a few exceptions, ecclesiastics, generally men well versed in law and letters, and having been usually at an early age selected from the inferior ranks of the English clergy and promoted to the highest positions in the church in Ireland, as a preliminary step to their appointment to the most important judicial and legislative office in the colony, they had every inducement to become familiar with its affairs and with the dispositions and influence of the people among whom their lot in life was cast. "Learned men were those chancellors," says O'Flanagan, "for the most part prelates of highly cultivated minds, attached to the land of their birth, while exercising important sway over the destinies of Ireland."

For the first two hundred years after the creation of the office of chancellor, very little can be gleaned by the author of the Lives, except the mere names, date of patents, and a few dry facts usually connected with well-known historical events. The destruction by fire of St. Mary's Abbey in Dublin, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and of the Castle of Trim, in both of which valuable public records were kept, accounts to some extent for this paucity of materials, while, as he says, "others were carried out of the country, and are met with in the State Paper Office, the Rolls Chapel, Record Office, and British Museum, in London; others are at Oxford. Several cities on the Continent possess valuable Irish documents, while many are stored in private houses, which the recent commission will no doubt render available"—a sad commentary upon the way in which everything relating to the history of the country has been neglected by that government which so frequently parades its paternal inclinations.

The want of judicial business during this period was amply compensated for by repeated but vain efforts[232] to reconcile the different factions into which the colonists of the Pale were divided, and to prevent the followers of the rival houses of Ormond and Kildare from open warfare whenever the slightest provocation was offered by either side. While the power of England was expended in foreign wars or in the internecine struggles of the Roses, her grasp on the dominion of Ireland was becoming every day more relaxed, and it was only by the judicious pitting of one party against another, by alternate threats and bribes, that even the semblance of authority could be maintained at all times. Thus, in 1355, Edward III., writing to the Earl of Kildare, uses the following emphatic words:

"Although you know of these invasions, destructions, or dangers, and have been often urged to defend these marches jointly with others, you have neither sped thither nor sent that force of men which you were strongly bound to have done for the honor of an earl, and for the safety of those lordships, castles, lands, and tenements, which, given and granted to your grandfather by our grandfather, have thus descended to you. Since you neither endeavor to prevent the perils, ruin, and destruction threatening these parts, in consequence of your neglect, nor attend to the orders of ourselves or our council, we shall no longer be trifled with," etc.

This was strong language, but fully justified by the unsettled condition of affairs in and outside the Pale. Chancellor de Wickford, Archbishop of Dublin, who was appointed in 1375, found that his sacred calling and official dignity were no protection to him even in the vicinity of the capital, and was therefore allowed a guard of six men-at-arms and twelve archers, while the lord treasurer had the same number. Nor was this precaution taken against the Irish enemy alone, for we find that Thomas de Burel, Prior of Kilmainham, when chancellor, while holding a parley with De Bermingham at Kildare, was, with his attendant lords, taken prisoner. The lay noblemen were ransomed, but the prior was kept a prisoner only to be exchanged for one of the De Berminghams then confined in Dublin Castle. This family seem to have held the judicial officers somewhat in contempt, for we read at another time that Adam Veldom, Chief Chancery Clerk, was captured by them and the O'Connors, and obliged to pay ten pounds in silver for his release. When John Cotton, Dean of St. Patrick's, was appointed chancellor in 1379, and commenced his tour, accompanied by the viceroy, from Dublin to Cork, he was allowed for his personal retinue, independent of his servants and clerks, not very formidable opponents, it is to be presumed, "four men-at-arms armed at all points, and eight mounted archers," a circumstance which shows that the Irish and many of the Anglo-Irish of the country had very little reverence for the person of even an English chancellor.

In 1398, Dr. Thomas Cranley was sent over to Dublin as its archbishop and chancellor of the colony, and from his high position and known ability it was expected that he would not only remedy the disorders of the Pale, but bring back the great lords to a sense of their duty to the king, and devise measures for the collection of his revenues, which these noblemen did not seem inclined to pay with the alacrity befitting obedient subjects. After several years of fruitless endeavors to effect these objects, he was obliged to write to King Henry IV. for funds to support his son, who was then acting as viceroy. "With heavy hearts," says the chancellor, speaking for the privy council, "we testify anew to your highness that[233] our lord, your son, is so destitute of money that he has not a penny in the world, nor can borrow a single penny, because all his jewels and his plate that he can spare of those that he must of necessity have, are pledged and be in pawn. All his soldiers have departed from him, and the people of his household are on the point of leaving him." And he further significantly adds, "For the more full declaring of these matters to your highness, three or two of us should have come to your high presence, but such is the danger on this side that not one of us dare depart from the person of our lord." This was indeed a sad condition for the son of the reigning monarch and his council to find themselves in, while the Talbots, Butlers, and Fitzgeralds were feasting on the fat of the land surrounded by thousands of their well-paid followers. Again, in 1435, when Archbishop Talbot was chancellor, the council through that prelate addressed a memorial to the king, in which the following remarkable passage occurs:

"First, that it please our sovereign lord graciously to consider how this land of Ireland is well-nigh destroyed and inhabited with his enemies and rebels, insomuch that there is not left in the northern parts of the counties of Dublin, Meath, Louth, and Kildare, that join together out of subjection of the said enemies and rebels, scarcely thirty miles in length and twenty miles in breadth, as a man may surely ride or go, in the said counties, to answer to the king's writs and to his commandments."

This extraordinary admission, made two hundred and sixty-six years after the landing of the Normans, would be almost incredible did it rest on less weighty authority. This was the time for the Irish people to have regained their freedom, and, had they had half as much of the spirit of nationality and organization as they possessed of valor and endurance, a decisive blow might easily have been struck that would have for ever ended the English power in their island. But the propitious moment was allowed to pass, and dearly did they pay in after-times for their supineness and folly.

The dissensions were not confined to the natives. The quarrels and bickerings of the nobles and officials of the Pale seemed to invite destruction. Rival parliaments were held; viceroys who were attached by policy or affection to the houses of York and Lancaster contended in the Castle of Dublin for the legitimacy of their respective factions; and even the Lord Chancellor Sherwood, Bishop of Meath, and the members of the privy council, whose office and duty it was to preserve the peace between all parties, were found the most turbulent; "the chancellor and chief-justice of the king's bench requiring the interposition of the king to keep them quiet, while the Irish so pressed upon the narrow limits of the English settlements that the statute requiring cities and boroughs to be represented by inhabitants of the same was obliged to be repealed upon the express ground that representatives could not be expected to encounter, on their journeys to parliament, the great perils incident from the king's Irish enemies and English rebels, for it is openly known how great and frequent mischiefs have been done on the ways both in the south, north, east, and west parts, by reason whereof they may not send proctors, knights, nor burgesses."[33] Such was the condition of Ireland in A.D. 1480, just three centuries after the advent of Henry II. to her shores.

One of the principal duties of the Irish lord chancellors, even to the [234]very moment of its extinction, was the management of the Irish parliament. The body that for so many centuries bore that pretentious title, but which never spoke the voice of even a respectable minority of the people, is said to have owed its origin to the second Henry, though according to Whiteside, who follows the authority of Sir John Davies, no parliament was held in the country for one hundred and forty years after that king's visit.[34] Except in an antiquarian point of view, the matter is of little importance, as such gatherings in Ireland, even more so than those of England, could not at that time be called either representative or deliberative bodies, for their members were not chosen by even a moiety of the people, and they were mere instruments in the hands of the governing powers, who moulded them at will when they desired to impose new taxes or unjust laws on the people, ostensibly with their own sanction. From the days of Simon de Montfort to those of George IV., the English parliamentary system has been an ingeniously devised engine of general oppression under the garb of popular government.

Of the ancient parliaments, the most famous was that held at Kilkenny during the chancellorship of John Trowyk, Prior of St. John, in 1367, at which was passed the statute bearing the name of that beautiful city. Though the name only of the chancellor, who doubtless was the author ex officio, has come down to us, that delectable specimen of English legislation is doubtless destined to survive the changes of time, and expire only with the language itself. It prohibited marriage, gossipred, and fostering between the natives and the Anglo-Irish under penalty of treason, also selling to the former upon any condition horses, armor, or victuals, under a like penalty. All persons of either nationality living in the Pale were to use the English language, names, customs, dress, and manner of riding. No Irishman was to be admitted to holy orders, nor was any minstrel, story-teller, or rhymer to be harbored. English on the borders should hold no parley with their Irish neighbors, except by special permission, nor employ them in their domestic wars. Irish games were not to be indulged in, but should give place to those of the English, as being more "gentlemanlike sports." Any infraction of these provisions was to be punished with rigor, for, says the preamble to the act, "many of the English of Ireland, discarding the English tongue, manners, style of riding, laws, and usages, lived and governed themselves according to the mode, fashion, and language of the Irish enemies," etc., whereby the said "Irish enemies were exalted and raised up contrary to reason." This enactment is perhaps without a parallel in the history of semi-civilized legislation, if we except that passed at a parliament held at Trim in 1447, and for which we are indebted to no less a person than the Archbishop of Dublin, lord chancellor at that period. It enacts "that those who would be taken for Englishmen (that is, within the protection of law) should not wear a beard on the upper lip; that the said lip should be shaved once at least in every two weeks, and that offenders therein should be treated as Irish enemies." As no provision was inserted in the statute providing for the supply of razors, or mention made of the appointment of state barbers, we presume it soon became inoperative.


By such penal legislation it was weakly supposed the evils of the country could be cured most effectually, but, unfortunately for the lawmakers, it was easier to pass statutes than to enforce them. On the mass of the people they had no effect whatever, except, perhaps, to bind them faster to their ancient laws and customs, and he would have been a bold officer indeed who would have attempted to carry them out, even among the Anglo-Irish families outside of the Pale; for we find that, at a parliament held in Dublin in 1441, under the supervision of Archbishop Talbot, a strong request was made to the king to furnish troops for the defence of the colony, the privy council having some time previously represented "that the king should ordain that the Admiral of England should, in summer season, visit the coasts of Ireland to protect the merchants from the Scots, Bretons, and Spaniards, who came thither with their ships stuffed with men of war in great numbers, seizing the merchants of Ireland, Wales, and England, and holding them to ransom."[35]

The selfish but sagacious policy of Henry VII. had done so much to remedy the evils inflicted on England by the wars of the Roses that when his son, Henry VIII., ascended the throne in 1509, he found a united and contented people, a well-filled treasury, and a subservient parliament. The character of this notorious ruler is too well known to need comment, and the effects of his crimes are still perceptibly felt by the country that had the misfortune to have given him birth. His influence on Irish affairs, though more disastrous in its immediate results, has happily long since been obliterated. Dr. Rokeby, Bishop of Meath, and afterward Archbishop of Dublin, first appointed chancellor in 1498, was retained in his office by the new king. He is represented as a man of marked piety and learning, but he would have been unfitted to fill an office under the English crown had he allowed any scruples of conscience to stand between him and the behests of his royal master. What these were may be judged from a passage in a private letter from Henry to his viceroy. "Now," he writes, "at the beginning, political practices may do more good than exploits of war, till such time as the strength of the Irish enemy shall be enfeebled and diminished; as well by getting their captains from them, as by putting division among them, so that they join not together"[36]—an advice eminently suggestive, but by no means new, for the policy of arraying the Irish against each other had been practised long before with fatal effect. Rokeby held the great seal for twenty-one years, and his long term was marked by his successful efforts to reconcile the hostile Anglo-Irish factions, his negotiations with the native chiefs, for the purpose of inducing them to acknowledge the sovereignty of Henry, and the consequent extension of the functions of the courts over the greater part of the island. The success of the first and last of these measures was mainly due to the personal efforts of the lord chancellor, and the submission of the Irish party resulted from the loss of the battle of Knocktough, in 1504, and the favorable promises held out by the chancellor and viceroy, inducements, it is needless to say, which were never fulfilled. He was succeeded by the two St. Lawrences, father and son, of whom nothing notable is recorded, but that [236]they were laymen and natives of the soil; and by Archbishop Ingle, who, however, held office for but one year.

The next ecclesiastical chancellor was Dr. Alan, commissioned in 1528. This distinguished official was remarkable not only for his great mental capacity, but as a not unfavorable sample of the English political churchmen of the era immediately preceding the so-called "Reformation"—men who, by their laxity of faith and worldly ambition, paved the way for the subsequent grand march of heresy and immorality. Born in England in 1476, he studied with credit both at Oxford and Cambridge, and at an early age entered the priesthood. His varied acquirements and experience of mankind gained him, in 1515, the degree of doctor of laws and the confidence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, then Lord Chancellor of England, by whom he was sent to Rome on a special mission. On his return, he was appointed chaplain to Cardinal Wolsey, and judge of his legantine court. In both capacities he appears to have given satisfaction, particularly in the latter, in which he materially assisted the ambitious cardinal in suppressing certain monasteries, and appropriating the revenues, it is more than suspected, to his own and his patron's use. For these services he was rewarded with the archbishopric of Dublin and the Irish chancellorship. His two great vices, avarice and the love of intrigue, became now fully developed. When not begging for increase of salary or emoluments, he was writing scandalous letters to his friends at the English court, complaining of the conduct of the viceroy, the unfortunate Earl of Kildare, and it was mainly through his instrumentality, supported by Wolsey, that that nobleman was called to England and committed to the Tower of London. His next step was to circulate a false report that the earl had been executed. This led, as he anticipated, to the rebellion of Kildare's son and deputy, better known as Silken Thomas, and a number of Irish chiefs with whom the Fitzgeralds were allied, and, upon its suppression, to the confiscation of vast estates in Leinster and Munster. But Alan did not live long enough to behold the result of his sanguinary policy. Alarmed at the storm he had raised, he endeavored to escape from the country, but the elements seem to have conspired against him, for he was cast ashore near Clontarf, and, on being discovered by some of Thomas's followers, he was put to death. He was succeeded as chancellor by Cromer, Archbishop of Armagh, who was, however, shortly after deprived of his office for his unflinching opposition to Henry's absurd pretensions of being considered "Head of the Church." It was of this prelate that Browne, the king's Archbishop of Dublin, wrote to Lord Henry Cromwell, in 1635, "that he had endeavored, almost to the hazard and danger of his temporal life, to procure the nobility and gentry of this nation to due obedience in owning his highness their supreme head, as well spiritual as temporal; and do find much oppugning therein, especially by his brother Armagh, who hath beene the main oppugner, and so hath withdrawn most of his suffragans and clergy within his see and diocese."[37]

Unable to coerce or cajole the Pope, Henry at length threw down the gauntlet to the Holy Father, and, emboldened doubtless by the ready submission of the English, resolved to enforce his new ideas of religion [237]on the people of Ireland. The parliament of that country, pliant as ever, voted him king of Ireland and head of the church, and would as willingly have conferred on him any other title, no matter how far-fetched or absurd, had he desired it. Archbishop Browne, of Dublin, was a Christian after the king's own heart, and, in his way, as consistent and as zealous a reformer; and with the chancellor, Lord Trimblestown, at the laboring-oar, the task of converting the Irish to the new faith was considered quite easy. Here and there a stubborn recusant was anticipated, but were there not monasteries and nunneries enough to be confiscated, and lands and revenues to be given away, to satisfy those benighted adherents to the old faith? A grand tour of proselytism throughout the country was therefore projected, and the lord chancellor, the archbishop, and the other members of the privy council sallied out, accompanied by their men-at-arms, procurants, clerks, and retainers, to expound the Gospel according to King Henry, and to enforce their doctrines, if all else failed, by the carnal weapons of the lash and halter. They visited in succession Carlow, Kilkenny, Ross, Wexford, and Waterford, where they are mindful to acknowledge "they were well entertained." The archbishop on Sundays "preached the word of God, having very good audience, and published the king's injunctions and the king's translation of the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, the Articles of Faith, and the Ten Commandments in English," while on week-days the chancellor took his share of the good work; for, continues the report, "the day following we kept the sessions there (Waterford) both for the city and the shire, where was put to execution four felons, accompanied by another, a friar, whom, among the residue, we commanded to be hanged in his habit, and so to remain upon the gallows for a mirror to all his brethren to live truly."[38] This judicious mixture of preaching and hanging, the Lord's Prayer and the statute of Kilkenny, it was thought, would have a salutary effect on the souls and bodies of unbelievers, and was a fitting form of introducing the Reformation to the consideration of the Irish people.

The war on the faith of the nation having been thus openly and auspiciously inaugurated, we must henceforth look upon the chancellors of Ireland not only as the persistent defenders of the English interest in that country, but as the most dangerous because the most insidious and influential enemies of Catholicity.

Sir John Alan was appointed chancellor in 1539, and in the following year we find him at the head of a royal commission for the suppression of religious houses. The authority to the commissioners sets forth, with a mendacity never surpassed in a state paper, and rarely paralleled, even in the worst days of anti-Catholic persecution, the following pretexts for striking a deadly blow at the bulwarks of charity, religion, and learning:

"That from information of trustworthy persons, it being manifestly apparent that the monasteries, abbies, priories, and other places of religious or regulars in Ireland are, at present, in such a state that in them the praise of God and the welfare of man are next to nothing regarded, the regulars and others dwelling there being addicted, partly to their own superstitious ceremonies, partly to the pernicious worship of idols, and to the pestiferous doctrines of the Roman Pontiff, that unless an effectual remedy be promptly provided, not only the weak[238] lower order, but the whole Irish people, may be speedily infected to their total destruction by the example of these persons. To prevent, therefore, the longer continuance of such religious men and nuns in so damnable a state, the king, having resolved to resume into his own hands all the monasteries and religious houses, for their better reformation, to remove from them the religious men and women, and cause them to return to some honest mode of living, and to true religion, directs the commissioners to signify this his intention to the heads of religious houses," etc.[39]

It is unnecessary to say that this measure of wholesale spoliation was promptly and thoroughly carried out. The thousand ruins that dot the island attest it, and the title-deeds of many a nobleman's broad acres bear date no earlier than this edict of the greatest monster that ever disgraced the British throne.

From this time forth, the lord chancellors found their best passport to royal favor in devising measures for the destruction of the popular faith. Being generally needy adventurers, with nothing but their legal knowledge and facile consciences to begin the world with, they neither loved the country nor respected the people, and their titles and wealth depended simply on their zeal for Protestantism. Of the hundreds of penal laws which disgrace the statute-book of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, every one of them owes its inception and enactment to one or another of those subtle-minded officials who, as the head of the lords, president of the privy council, and the dispenser of vast judicial and executive patronage, had a potent influence in all public affairs. They continued industriously to carry out the designs of Henry during the successive reigns of his worthy daughter Elizabeth, the Stuarts, William, Anne, and the House of Brunswick. Even when the fears of foreign invasion in 1760, and the noble resistance of the fathers of our republic some years later, had awakened the fears of the British authorities and induced them to relax somewhat the chains of the Catholics, the voice of the lord chancellors was still for war. Apart, however, from this spirit of intolerance which seemed to be naturally attached to the office, it must be confessed that from the days of Henry the great seal was held by many able lawyers and distinguished statesmen, some of whom were not unknown in the world of letters as authors and liberal patrons of learning and science. The names of Curwan, Loftus (who founded Trinity College University), Boyle, Porter, Butler, Cox, Broderick, Bowles, and many others, occupy honored positions in the legal annals of Great Britain and Ireland, and their lives, full of incident and variety, are fully and fairly placed before us by Mr. O'Flanagan.

The treaty of union in 1800, by which Ireland lost her parliament, and legislatively became a province, deprived the Irish chancellors of much of their original political power; though, strange as it may appear, this object was effected mainly through the exertions of Lord Clare, who at that time held the office. In this man's character, distinguished as it was for many private virtues, and for every public vice that it is possible to conceive, were united the good and bad qualities of all his predecessors, joined to a wonderful mental capacity which far surpassed them all. Born in Ireland, he was of English extraction and more than English in feeling, and, though of an exemplary Catholic stock, he was the[239] son of an apostate clerical student, a most violent Protestant and a rancorous proscriptionist. A profound jurist and an upright judge in purely legal matters, his anti-Catholic prejudices seemed totally to have warped his judgment whenever the question of religion presented itself, and, though a steadfast friend in private of those who agreed with or did not care to differ from him, he never failed to carry into official life the hatreds and animosities engendered in political struggles or domestic intercourse. A powerful orator, full of strong legal points, logical propositions, and keen, and sometimes coarse, sarcasm, he ruled his party with a rod of iron, and, when persuasion and threats failed, he hesitated not to use bribes and cajolery. His mental energy was equal to any amount of labor, and his physical courage was beyond question, even in a country and age where bravery was ranked among the highest of virtues. Such was John Fitzgibbon, first Earl of Clare, born near Dublin in 1749, a man pre-eminently fitted by Providence to adorn his country and benefit mankind, but who perverted his great gifts and employed them with too much success in destroying that country's remnant of independence, and in devising new methods of persecution for his Catholic relatives and countrymen. He died in the plenitude of his power in 1802; his name when mentioned is reprobated by all good men in the nation he betrayed; his title, so ingloriously won, is extinct; and his bench in Chancery and his seat in the House of Lords are filled by one of that race and creed which he so cordially detested and so ruthlessly persecuted.[40] Sic transit gloria mundi.

Mr. O'Flanagan brings down his Lives to the time of George IV., but this latter portion of his valuable collection of biographies belongs more to the domain of law than of history. Indeed, the entire work is full of curious and interesting information which will be highly prized by the legal profession. What the late Lord Campbell has done so well for the English chancellors, the author has endeavored to do for those of Ireland, and with equal success, notwithstanding the scarcity of materials and the loose manner in which the Irish records have been kept. One of the most attractive features of this book is the total absence of passion or prejudice in the narrative of events and estimation of character; but every necessary circumstance is detailed in a plain, lucid, and intelligible style, and with something of judicial gravity and impartiality befitting so important a subject. As far as the author's own political predilections are concerned—and we suspect that they are by no means intensely national—the tone of the book may be said to be colorless, a peculiarity in modern biography which, while it may detract from its vivacity, will certainly add much weight to its value as an authority. We are promised a sequel to the chancellors, containing the lives of the lord chief-justices, which we hope will soon appear, for the more light that is shed on those darkened pages of Ireland's history, the better for the cause of truth, justice, and humanity.



The period of the German Minnesinger, dating from about the middle of the thirteenth to the middle of the fourteenth century, witnessed probably the intensest and sincerest devotion to the worship of the Virgin Mary in the whole history of the Catholic Church. Intense and sincere pre-eminently, because so expressed in the vast number of paintings and poems in her glorification whereof we have record. That whole period, indeed, was one of fervent religious feeling, stimulated by the Crusades, and naturally choosing the Virgin for the chief object of worship, as the whole knightly spirit of that age was one of devotion to woman. The pure love—for Minne is pure love—of woman has never, in the history of literature, been so exclusively made the topic of poetry as it was during that century of the Minnesinger; it is the absorbing theme of the almost two hundred poets of that time, of whom we have poems handed down to us, and its highest expression was attained in those poems that were addressed to the woman of all women, Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The German language in the thirteenth century had attained a development which fitted it pre-eminently for lyric poetry in all its branches. What it has since gained in other respects it has lost in sweet music of sound. Furthermore, the true laws of rhythm, metre, and verse for modern languages, as distinguished from the rules that governed classic poetry, had been discovered and fixed; rules and laws the knowledge whereof subsequently was lost, and which it gave Goethe so much trouble, as he tells us in his autobiography, to find again. The purity of rhyme has never since in German poetry attained the same degree of perfection, not even under the skilful hand of Rueckert and Platen, which the Minnesinger gave to it; and thus altogether those matters, which constitute the mechanism of poetry, were in fullest bloom.

Now this mechanism and the wonderful language which it operated upon being in the possession and under the full control of such men as were the poets of that day, the result could be only poems of perfect form, and yet at the same time naïve, earnest, intense, and enthusiastic in their character. For those poets were not—like those of our modern poets who have completest control of the mechanism of poetry, as Tennyson, Swinburne, etc.—poets of a cold, reflective bent of mind, but they were simple knights, with great enthusiasm in the cause of the Crusades and of ladies; at the same time gifted with a wondrous power of versification. A considerable number of them, some of the best, as Wolfram von Eschenbach, Ulrich von Lichtenstein, etc., could not even write and read, and had to dictate their poems to their Singerlein, or sing it to him—for these poets invented a melody for each of their poems—which Singerlein again transmitted it in the same manner until, in the course of time, these unwritten Minnelieder were, as much as possible, gathered together by the noble[241] knight, Ruediger von Manasse, his son, and the Minnesinger, Johann Hadlaub, put into manuscript, and thus happily preserved for future generations.

The songs that these Minnesingers sang are of a threefold character: either in praise of the ladies, usually coupled with references to the seasons of the year; or of a didactic character; or, finally, in praise of the Virgin.

Their form is only twofold: either they are lays or songs proper. The song or Minnelied proper has invariably a triplicity of form in each stanza, that is, each stanza has three parts, whereof the first two correspond with each other exactly, whereas the third has an independent, though of course rhythmically connected, flow of its own. The lay, on the contrary, is of irregular construction, and permits the widest rhythmical liberties.

Of the many Minnelieder addressed to the Virgin we have presented to us examples of both kinds, lays and songs. Chief among them are a lay by Walther von der Vogelweide, and the Great Hymn by Gottfried von Strassburg.

The latter is probably the finest of all the Minnelieder—worldly and sacred—of that period. Ranking next to these two there is, however, another poem to the Virgin, not to be classified strictly under the general title of Minnelieder, but still the production of a famous Minnesinger, and withal a poem of wondrous beauty, which for two centuries kept its hold upon the people. This is Konrad von Wuerzburg's Golden Smithy—a poem that is written in the metre of the narrative poem of that age, namely, in lines wherein every line ending in a masculine rhyme has four accentuations and every line ending in a female rhyme has three accentuations, the syllables not being counted—a metre that Coleridge has adopted in his poem Christabel.

In this Golden Smithy the poet represents himself as a goldsmith, working all manner of precious stones and gold into a glorious ornament for the Queen of Heaven, by gathering into his poem all possible images and similes from the world of nature, from sacred and profane history and fable, and from all the virtues and graces of mankind. It is a poem of wonderful splendor, and has a great smoothness of diction. "If," says the poet in the opening of the poem, "in the depth of the smithy of my heart I could melt a poem out of gold and could enamel the gold with the glowing ruby of pure devotion, I would forge a transparent, shining, and sparkling praise of thy worth, thou glorious empress of heaven. Yet, though my speech should fly upward like a noble eagle, the wings of my words could not carry me beyond thy praise; marble and adamant shall be sooner penetrated by a straw, and the diamond by molten lead, than I attain the height of the praise that belongs to thee. Not until all the stars have been counted and the dust of the sun and the sand of the sea and the leaves of the trees, can thy praise be properly sung."

But even this poem is far surpassed in beauty every way by Gottfried von Strassburg's Great Hymn. Indeed, Konrad himself modestly confesses this in his Golden Smithy, when he regrets that he does not "sit upon the green clover bedewed with sweet speech, on which sat worthily Gottfried von Strassburg, who, as a most artistic smith, worked a golden poem, and praised and glorified the Holy Virgin in much better strain."

There is, indeed, a wondrous beauty in this hymn of Gottfried von Strassburg, a beauty much akin to that of his own Strassburg Cathedral,[242] which was begun about the same time.

"It is," says Van der Hagen, "the very glorification of love (Minne) and of Minnesong; it is the heavenly bridal song, the mysterious Solomon's Song, which mirrors its miraculous object in a stream of deep and lovely images, linking them all together into an imperishable wreath; yet even here in its profundity and significance of an artistic and numerously-rhymed construction; always clear as crystal, smooth and graceful."

The poem separates into three parts: in the first whereof the poet exhorts all those who desire to listen to his song of God's great love to endeavor to gain it by unremitting exertion; and furthermore to pray for him, the poet, who has so little striven to attain it for himself. In the second part, the poet calls upon the heavens and Christ to bend down and listen to his truthful lays in praise of Christ's sweet mother. Then in the third part begins the praise of the Virgin, followed by that of her Son, and the poem reaches its supreme fervor when it breaks out finally in praise of God himself. Thence it gradually lowers its tone, and finally expires in a sigh.

I suppose it is impossible to give an adequate idea by translation of the melodious sound of words, the perfect rhythm, and the artistic gradation of effect which this poem has parts of the poem, and so selected as to give a general idea of both the manner and the matter of the poem. The selection opens with the first and ends with the last verses of the whole poem; but the whole itself being composed of ninety-four stanzas, it was necessary to take from in the original. I can say only that I have done my best in the following stanzas, selected from the various the intermediate ones only specimens. The imagery may often seem far-fetched, but it must be remembered that the men of that period likened God and the God-begotten unto everything on earth and in heaven, for the simple reason that they deemed it irreverent and impossible to characterize them by any single predicate or word.

Of the poet himself we know very little. His name indicates him to have been a citizen of Strassburg. His title Meister (master) shows that his station in life was that of a citizen and not of a noble or knight, their title being Herr. He was undoubtedly the foremost poet of his age, and—together with Wolfram von Eschenbach—was then and is still so considered. His greatest work is the narrative poem, Tristan und Isolde; but that he left unfinished. We have no other work of his handed down to us except three or four small Minnesongs.


Ye, who your life would glorify
And float in bliss with God on high,
There to dwell nigh
His peace and love's salvation;
Who fain would learn how to enroll
All evils under your control,
And rid your soul
Of many a sore temptation:
[243] Give heed unto this song of love
And follow its sweet story;
Then will its passing sweetness prove
Unto your hearts a peaceful dove,
And upward move
Your souls to realms of glory.
Ye, who would hear what you have ne'er
Heard spoken, now incline your ear
And listen here
To what my tongue unfoldeth.
Yea, list to the sweet praise and worth
Of her who to God's child gave birth;
Wherefore on earth
God as in heaven her holdeth.
E'en as the air when fresh bedewed
Bears fruitful growth, so to man
She bears an ever-fruitful mood:
Never so chaste and sweet heart's blood,
So true and good,
Was born by mortal woman.
I speak of thee in my best strain:
No mother e'er such child may gain,
Or child attain
So pure a mother ever.
He chose what his own nature was;
His glorious Godhead chose as case
The purest vase
Of flesh and bone's endeavor
That woman ever to her heart
'Tween earth and heaven gave pressure.
In thee lay hidden every part,
That ever did from virtue start;
Of bliss thou art
The sweetest, chosen treasure.
Thou gem, thou gold, thou diamond-glow,
Thou creamy milk, white ivory, oh!
Thou honey-flow
In heart and mouth dissolving;
Of fruitful virtue a noble grove,
The lovely bride of God above—
Thou sweet, sweet love,
Thou hour with bliss revolving!
Of chastity thou whitest snow,
A grape of chaste and sure love,
A clover-field of true love's glow,
[244] Of grace a bottomless ocean's flow:
Yea more, I trow:
A turtle-dove of pure love.
God thee hath clothed with raiments seven,
On thy pure body, brought from heaven,
Hath put them even
When thou wast first created.
The first dress Chastity is named,
The second is as Virtue famed,
The third is claimed
And as sweet Courtesy rated.
The fourth dress is Humility,
The fifth is Mercy's beauty,
The sixth one, Faith, clings close to thee,
The seventh, humble Modesty,
Keepeth thee free
To follow simple duty.
To worship, Lady, thee doth teach
Pray'r to drenched courage and numbed speech,
Yea, and fires each
Cold heart with heavenly rapture.
To worship thee, O Lady! can
Teach many an erring, sinful man,
How from sin's ban
His soul he still may capture.
To worship thee is e'en a branch
On which the soul's life bloometh;
To worship thee makes bold and stanch
The weakest soul on sin's hard bench;
God it doth wrench
From hell and in heaven roometh.
Then let both men and women proclaim,
And what of mother's womb e'er came,
Both wild and tame,
The grace of thy devotion.
Then praise thee now what living lives,
Whatever heaven's dew receives,
Runs, floats, or cleaves
Through forest or through ocean.
Then praise thee now the fair star-shine,
The sun and the moon gold-glowing,
Then praise thee the four elements thine;
Yea, blessedness around thee twine,
Thou cheering wine,
Thou stream with grace o'erflowing.
Rejoice, then, Lady of the skies,
Rejoice, thou God-love's paradise,
Rejoice, thou prize
Of sweetest roses growing!
Rejoice, thou blessed maiden, then,
Rejoice, that every race and clan,
Woman and man,
Pray to thy love o'erflowing.
Rejoice, that thou with God dost show
So many things in common:
His yea thy yea, his no thy no;
Endless ye mingle in one flow;
Small and great, lo!
He shares with thee, sweet woman.
Now have I praised the mother thine,
O sweet, fair Christ and Lord of mine!
That honor's shrine
Wherein thou wast created.
And loud I'll now praise thee, O Lord!
Yea, did I not, 'twould check my word;
Thy praise has soared,
And with all things been mated.
Seven hours each day thy praise shall now
By me in pray'r be chanted;
This well belongs to thee, I trow,
For with all virtues thou dost glow;
From all grief thou
Relief to us hast granted.
Thou of so many pure hearts the hold,
So many a pure maid's sweetheart bold,
All thee enfold
With love bright, loud, and yearning.
Thou art caressed by many a mood,
Caressed by many a heart's warm blood;
Thou art so good,
So truthful and love-burning.
Caressed by all the stars that soar,
By moon and sun, thou blessing!
Caressed by the great elements four;
Oh! ne'er caressed so was afore,
Nor will be more,
Sweetheart by love's caressing!
Yea, thou art named the God of grace,
Without whose special power, no phase
Of life in space
Had ever gained existence.
[246] What runneth, climbeth, sneaketh, or striveth,
What crawleth, twineth, flieth, or diveth,
Yea, all that thriveth
In earth and heaven's subsistence:
Of all, the life to thee is known,
Thou art their food and banner,
The lives of all are held alone
By thee, O Lord! and on thy throne;
Thus is well known
Thy grace in every manner.
God of thee speaking, God of thee saying,
Teareth the heart its passions flaying,
And stay waylaying
The ever-watchful devil.
God of thee speaking, God of thee saying,
Much strength and comfort keeps displaying;
And hearts thus staying,
Are saved from every evil.
God of thee speaking, God of thee saying,
Is pleasure beyond all pleasure.
It moves our hearts, thy grace surveying,
To keep with love thy love repaying;
O'er all things swaying
Thus shines thy love's great treasure.
God of thee speaking repentance raises
When they, who chant thy wondrous praises,
Use lying phrases:
So purely thy word gloweth.
It suffers less a lying mood
Than suffers waves the ocean's flood,
So pure and good
Its changeless current floweth.
God of thee speaking doth attest
Pure heart and chaste endeavor,
It driveth the devil from our breast.
Oh! well I know its soothing rest,
It is the zest
Of thy vast mercy's flavor.
Ah virtue pure, ah purest vase!
Ah of chaste eyes thou mirror-glass!
Ah diamond-case,
With fruitful virtues glowing!
Ah festive day to pleasure lent!
Ah rapture without discontent!
Ah sweet musk-scent!
Ah flower gayly blooming!
Ah heavenly kingdom where thou art!
On earth, in hell, or heaven!
[247] Ah cunning o'er all cunning's art!
Ah thou, that knoweth every part!
Ah sweet Christ's heart!
Ah sweetness without leaven!
Ah virtue there, ah virtue here!
Ah virtue on many a dark and drear
Path, far and near!
Ah virtue e'er befriending!
Ah thou self-conscious purity!
Ah goodness, those that cling to thee
So many be
Their number has no ending.
Ah father, mother thou, and son!
Ah brother both and sister!
Ah strong of faith as Jacob's son!
Ah king of earth's and heaven's throne!
Ah thou alone
Our friend to-day as yester!



"We address you, Reverend Dr. Hecker, in this public way because we recognize in you not only the ablest defender of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, but also the most progressive and enlightened leader of thought in that church. In the words we have to speak, we wish to speak not to Dr. Hecker, the antagonist of Protestantism, but to Father Hecker, a leader of Catholicism. We write in no polemical spirit. We have many things against the Church of Rome, and have spoken severely of Catholicism as you have of Protestantism. But we have also much veneration for many things in that church, and a very great admiration for some passages in its history. Enthusiastic as you are, sir, you cannot revere more sincerely than we the self-sacrificing benevolence of St. Francis of Assisi, the zeal of St. Francis Xavier, the piety of Fénelon and of Lacordaire, the eloquence of Bossuet and Massillon, or the courage of Pascal and Hyacinthe.

"We come to you for help. In all our great cities there are sections inhabited almost wholly by Roman Catholic people. It is a fact, as well known to you as it is to us, that Catholic sections of the cities abound in destitution, in ignorance, in vice, in crime. Children are here trained by all their surroundings to a life of wickedness. In many homes they learn profanity from the lips of their mothers, and they are familiar with drunkenness from their cradle, if they are so fortunate as to have one left not pawned to buy the means of drunkenness. We know how many honest and hard-working Catholics there are in these sections, and we know how many villanous non-Catholics there are. But you know as well as any one knows that the Catholic population furnishes vastly more than its proportion of paupers and criminals. The reform schools, the prisons, the alms-houses, are nearly full of Catholics. In the Catholic sections of the cities there are drinking-saloons, dog-pits, and brothels in abundance. The men who keep these places are, in undue proportion, Catholics. They receive extreme unction on their death-beds, and are buried in consecrated cemeteries with the rites of[248] the church. We say these things not to wound your Catholic pride, nor to injure that church, but to ask one question: Cannot the Catholic Church herself do something to mitigate these evils?

"Protestants plant missions in some of these Catholic quarters. We are not sure that these missions are always conducted as they should be. Perhaps there may be too much of a spirit of proselytism in some of them; but, at any rate, there is a sincere desire to make men better. Drunkards have been reformed by these missions. Women of evil life have been reclaimed. Children have been taken from vile homes and taught the ways of virtue. Sunday-schools and reading-rooms have been established, and have contributed to the culture and elevation of adults and children.

"But you know, sir, how strong is the Catholic prejudice against Protestants. Broken windows, and sometimes broken heads, have testified to the appreciation the Catholic population has of such efforts on the part of Protestants. There are whole districts from which Protestants are practically excluded. For the worse the lives of these people are, the more combatively devoted are they to the Catholic Church. Of course, we believe that Protestantism is better than Roman Catholicism; but since the reaching of these people with Protestant missions is not possible, we come to you and ask you whether you, who have done so much for the enlightenment of the Catholic Church through its literature, will not lift up your powerful voice to plead with the church to use her almost unlimited influence for the regeneration of her people.

"We are never tired of praising Catholic charities. But Catholic charities, like many Protestant ones, are only half-charities. Of what avail is it that you build a House of the Good Shepherd for abandoned women, if you do not also take means to mitigate the ignorance and the wickedness of the children who are quickly to supply the places of those whom you have recovered?

"We point you to no Protestant example. We know of none so good as that of the illustrious St. Charles Borromeo. If the great Cathedral of Milan were the rudest chapel in Europe, it would yet be one of the most glorious of temples. We need not point the application of his example to the present subject. If the Catholic Church in America had one ecclesiastic of ability who possessed half the zeal of the illustrious successor of St. Ambrose, this stain upon American Catholicism might soon be wiped away. We need not remind one so learned in church history as yourself of his toilsome labor in the cause of education, and of his endeavors, which ceased only with his life, to remove ignorance and vice from his diocese. In suggesting to you, whose parish has already so admirable a Sunday-school, the good that might be accomplished by a thoroughly organized Sunday-school system, we do not need to suggest that in Sunday-school work Catholics are not imitators of Protestants. We are proud to trace the history of Sunday-schools to St. Charles Borromeo.

"By helping to improve the moral, intellectual, and religious character of the lower class of American Catholics, you can do more than by all your eloquent arguments to make Protestants think well of the mother church. Americans are very practical, and a good chapter of present church history enacted before their eyes will have more weight with them than all the old church history your learning can dig from the folios of eighteen centuries."

We depart from our usual course to reprint the above rather, long article, which appeared some time ago in the Independent, one of the leading Protestant papers of the country, not because of its intrinsic merits or special untruthfulness, nor yet for its assumed knowledge of the views and duties of the reverend gentleman to whom it is so pointedly addressed, but because we consider this a fitting time and place to answer the invidious attacks which, under one guise or another, are so constantly being made on the church in America by those who are neither able to meet openly our arguments, nor to arrest covertly the astonishing progress which our holy religion is happily making in every part of this republic. These assaults sometimes take the form of wholesale and mendacious assertion and passionate appeal to blind prejudice and unreason;[249] while sometimes, like the one before us, they assume the thin disguise of personal courtesy and general charity to all men. The former are perhaps the more manly, the latter have the merit of permitting us, without loss of self-respect, to reply to them. The object in either case is the same: a vain endeavor to stem the tide of Catholicity which, in a succession of great waves, as it were, is fast spreading over the land, and an attempt to make our faith an object of aversion to those of our countrymen not yet in the church, by associating it with all that is impoverished, illiterate, and immoral.

It is true, as the writer says, that the Americans are a practical people; but we are not by any means a very reflective people, and are very apt to judge hastily of others without sufficiently considering the various causes which underlie the surface of society, or the effects which may be produced on a people less fortunate than ourselves by ages of misrule and persecution. Knowing this national failing very well, the writer in the Independent adroitly seeks to hold the Catholic Church responsible for the faults and vices of a certain class of nominal Catholics in our midst, when he is fully aware that these very vices, so far from being the growth of Catholic teaching, are not only in absolute contradiction to it, but are the direct and logical results of an elaborate system of penal legislation, designed to produce the very degradation of which he complains, and persistently carried out to its furthest limit by the leading Protestant power of Europe.

Take New York, for instance. Here the church is practically the growth of but half a century. There are some among us whose Catholic ancestors came to this country in the last or even in the seventeenth century; others who have sought refuge from the doubts and uncertainties of Protestantism in the peaceful bosom of mother church; but by far the greater number are immigrants of this century, and their children, who, glad to flee from famine and persecution with nothing but their lives and faith, have sought refuge on our shores from the tyranny of a hostile government, which the world has long recognized as both insincere, oppressive, and illiberal, but which, by virtue of its assumed leadership in the Protestant revolt called the Reformation, wantonly and tenaciously continued to persecute its subjects who dared to profess their devotion to the faith of their fathers. Any one, be he lawyer or laymen, who reads the penal acts of the parliaments of England, Scotland, and Ireland from the reign of Henry VIII. downward, must be satisfied that a more complete network of laws for the purpose of beggaring, degrading, and corrupting human nature has never been devised. Some of them, in fact, are almost preternatural in their ingenuity; and the wonder is how any class of people coming under their operation could, for any length of time, retain even the semblance of civilization. Everything that it was possible to take by legislation from the Catholics of Great Britain and Ireland was taken, every advantage arising from the possession of land or the acquisition of commercial wealth was denied them, and the avenues to honor and distinction were, and are partially so to this day, closed against them, generation after generation. That many of the descendants of these persecuted people who have come among us are uneducated is true, that they are generally poor is a fact patent to every one; but it ill becomes the Independent to taunt them with their ignorance and their poverty, knowing, as it does, that[250] it was Protestantism, of which it is the expounder and the eulogist, that has robbed them of their birthright, and striven, with some success, it seems, to plunge their souls in darkness. Is it fair or generous to hold these people up to public contumely because of the scars they have received in their unequalled struggle for the freedom of conscience and nationality; is it just or American to try to steal from those who seek an asylum on our soil that for which they have imperilled and lost all else—their faith, which is to them dearer than life itself? Or is it more in keeping with all our ideas of true manhood and republican liberty that while we extend one arm to shield the victim of oppression, the other should be stretched forth in reprobation of his plunderer and persecutor? If they have vices—and what people have not?—let a share of the blame at least be laid at the doors of those who designedly and continually debarred them from all means of enlightenment and every incentive to virtue, instead of being attributed to the influence of the church.

And yet, in view of the gloomy history of these people—a chapter in the annals of England which the best of her Protestant statesmen are endeavoring to efface from the popular memory—the writer in the Independent appears to be surprised at what he calls Catholic prejudice against Protestant missions. No man, we are safe in saying, has less prejudice against his fellow-man than the American Catholic, in all the usual intercourse of life; but when a person under the garb of charity invades the sanctity of his home simply to abuse his religion, or waylays his children in the streets and inveigles them into mission-houses and Sunday-schools by the proffer of a loaf or a jacket, for the purpose of telling them that their fathers' faith is rank idolatry, is it not too much to expect that he will remain unmoved and uncomplaining? The writer should recollect that the class of so-called missionaries who infest the quarters of our poorer fellow-Catholics are not new to those people. They have seen their counterparts long ago in Bantry and Connemara, in the fertile valleys of Munster and on the bleak hills of Connaught, in the dark days of the great famine, when the tract distributer followed hard on the heels of the tithe-proctor and the bailiff, tendering a meal or a shilling as the price of apostasy. If heads are occasionally broken, they are not the heads of those who attend to their own affairs and let their neighbors attend to theirs, but of some intermeddling tract-scatterer, whose salary depends upon the number of copies he can force into the hands of Catholics without regard to their wishes or feelings. The provocation emanates from them, and they must take the consequences. If the law permits us to inflict summary chastisement on the burglar who enters our house to take our goods, shall we have no remedy against him who prowls about our doors to steal our children and abuse our faith?

If Protestant missions were properly conducted, they would have none of these difficulties to contend with. But are they properly conducted? The writer in the Independent seems to have some doubts on this point. We have none. Whoever will take the trouble to attend the Bible-classes, prayer-meetings, day-schools, and Sunday-schools of the Howard Mission and its adjuncts, will be satisfied that they are nothing but ingeniously contrived machines for the purpose of proselytizing Catholic children. Abuse of Catholicity of the most unqualified and vulgar kind forms the staple of the[251] instructions there from beginning to end. Even the material relief is diverted to this purpose. The poor half-starved lad, as he eats his food, swallows it down with a draught of no-popery cant, and the ragged little girl, as she dons some cast-off garment, has her young mind polluted by aspersions on the name of her whom Holy Writ declared should be called blessed by all nations. We have before us a periodical issued from the Howard Mission, under the superintendence of a Rev. W. C. Van Meter, which is as full of that canting, snivelling, anti-Catholic spirit as ever characterized the days of God-save-Barebones or of John Wesley's unlettered disciples. As a specimen of the veracity of this modern apostle to the Fourth Ward, and for the benefit of the Independent, which has some doubts as to whether Protestant missions are properly conducted, we extract the following prominent article from its pages:

"Protestantism vs. Romanism.—In the Protestant countries of Great Britain and Prussia, where 20 can read and write, there are but 13 in the Roman Catholic countries of France and Austria. In European countries, 1 in every 10 are in schools in the Protestant countries, and but 1 in 124 in the Roman Catholic. In six leading Protestant countries in Europe, 1 newspaper or magazine is published to every 315 inhabitants; while in six Roman Catholic there is but 1 to every 2,715. The value of what is produced a year by industry in Spain is $6 to each inhabitant; in France, $7½; Prussia, $8; and in Great Britain, $31. There are about a third more paupers in the Roman Catholic countries of Europe than in the Protestant, owing mainly to their numerous holidays and prevailing ignorance, idleness, and vice. Three times as many crimes are committed in Ireland as in Great Britain, though the population is but a third. There are six times as many homicides, four times as many assassinations, and from three to four times as many thefts in Ireland as in Scotland. In Catholic Austria, there are four times as many crimes committed as in the adjoining Protestant kingdom of Prussia."[41]

Now, we ask, is the man or men who penned and circulated this atrocious calumny likely to command the respect of any class of Catholics, learned or ignorant? He or they knew, or ought to have known, that it contains several deliberate falsehoods. Take, for example, the portion of the extract relating to Great Britain and Ireland. By referring to the report of "Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, August 31, 1868," we find that in England and Wales the average attendance at all the schools in the kingdom was 1,050,120, in Scotland 191,860, and in Ireland, at the model schools alone, 354,853, or nearly twice as many as in Scotland, and, in proportion to the population, one-seventh more than in England. From the official report of the statistics of crime in the same year (the latest published reports that have reached us), there were convicted of crime in England 15,003, in Scotland 2,490, and in Ireland 2,394. Of those sentenced in England, 21 were condemned to death, 18 to penal servitude for life, and 1,921 for a term of years. In Scotland, one was condemned to death, and 243 to penal servitude, while in Ireland none were condemned to death, and but 238 to penal servitude. We find also that in England alone 118,390 persons are reported as belonging to the criminal classes known to the authorities, and but 23,041 in Ireland; and while the former country has 20,000 houses of bad character, the latter has 5,876. The number of paupers in each of the three countries shows even a greater disparity. England [252]in 1868 had, exclusive of vagrants, 1,039,549, or one in every twenty of the population; Scotland, 158,372, or one in every 19; and Ireland, 74,254, or one in every 80![42]

If it were not foreign to our present purpose, we could prove that the managers of the Protestant missions are equally untruthful in their invidious comparisons instituted between other countries,[43] but we have shown enough to convince any impartial person that they are not fit to be entrusted with the care of youth of any class, much less of Catholic children. If the supporters of the Independent are sincere in their desire to benefit the destitute, the needy, and the vicious, let them first remove all suspicion of proselytism from their charities by appointing proper persons to administer them. If they have conscientious scruples against co-operating with the various Catholic charitable societies, who know the poor and are trusted by them, there are other ways of dispensing their bounty judiciously than by tampering with the poor people's faith, and their charity will then become a blessing to the giver as well as to the receiver. Then let them, above all things, advocate a fair and impartial distribution of the public school funds. It is well known that the Catholics as a body are far from being rich, and that while they are struggling hard to sustain their own schools, they are heavily taxed for the support of those to which they cannot consistently send their children, and from which, in many instances, the offspring of the rich alone receive any benefit. Can we not in this free democracy have laws regulating education at least as equitable as those of Austria and Prussia—countries which we are pleased to call despotic? Help us to the means to educate our children in our own way, as we have a right to do, and you will see how the stigma of ignorance and its consequences will be removed from the fair forehead of this great metropolis. We ask not charity, we simply want our fair share of that public money which is contributed by Catholic and Protestant alike for educational purposes, and the liberty to apply it with as much freedom from state interference as is enjoyed in the monarchies of Europe.

The writer in the Independent assumes, with a coolness approaching impertinence, that the clergyman whom he addresses knows that the Catholic population "furnishes more, vastly more, than its proportion of paupers and criminals." He knows no such thing, nor does any right-minded man in the community know it. That there are many and grave crimes committed by nominal Catholics is, alas! too true, but that many such are perpetrated, to any appreciable extent, by the hundreds of thousands of practical Catholics in this city, no sane man believes. Poor and ignorant, if you will, without capital, business training, or mechanical skill, many thousands of our immigrants are from necessity obliged to make their homes in the purlieus of our great cities. Disappointed in their too sanguine expectation of fortune in the New World, some seek solace in intoxication, and in that condition commit acts of lawlessness which their better nature abhors. But much as the commission of crime in any shape is to be regretted and reprehended, it must be admitted that most of the offences are comparatively trivial in their nature and consequences, and few, even of the darkest, are the result of premeditated villany. In[253] searching over the criminal records of our state and country, we seldom find a contrived infraction of the law by the class to which the writer so ungraciously alludes. A gigantic swindle, a scientific burglary, a nicely planned larceny, an adroit forgery, a diabolical seduction, or a deliberate and long-contemplated murder by poison or the knife, is seldom committed by that class, but by those who were reared in as much hostility to Catholicity as the writer of the Independent himself. This higher grade of crime, this "bad pre-eminence," we might with some show of justice ascribe to the effects of the laxity of Protestant morals, but we have no desire to do so here; and with even much more truthfulness might we charge the sects who teach that marriage is merely a civil contract with the responsibility of those other vices which, striking at the very foundations of society and the sanctity of the family, are more lasting in their consequences and more demoralizing in their immediate effects, than all the others put together. The columns of this same virtuous Independent have obtained an unenviable notoriety by spreading the most shameful and corrupting doctrines on this vital subject. But we have no wish to retort: the records of our divorce courts will prove that this class of criminals is made up almost exclusively of non-Catholics.

The writer in the Independent, throughout his appeal, assumes a tone of superior knowledge and a lofty contempt for details that might mislead some into the belief that the Catholic body of this city was an inert and helpless mass. He asks, "Will you not lift up your powerful voice to plead with the church to use her almost unlimited influence for the regeneration of her people?" Does the writer know, or has he attempted to ascertain, all that the church has done and is doing in this city, as in every other, for the "regeneration of her people"? If he does not, by what right does he assume that the voice of any one man or any number of men is required to plead with the church to do her duty? If he be ignorant of his subject, then by what authority does he take upon himself the office of mediator between the church and the people? If he be not in ignorance, then his carefully worded sentences and smoothly turned compliments merely cover, without concealing, a tissue of base insinuations, beside which downright falsehood were rank flattery.

Let him look at what the church has done in New York in the past generation! Forty churches and chapels have been built, with a capacity, it is said, to seat fifty-six thousand persons, but really equal to the accommodation of five times that number, as in every church the divine service is offered up at least three times each Sunday, and all are attended beyond the greatest capacity of the building. To many of our churches is attached a free day-school for boys and girls, and invariably a Sunday-school—thronged weekly by the youth of both sexes, to listen to the instruction and counsel of competent teachers. Every parish has its St. Vincent de Paul Society, counting hundreds and in some cases thousands of members, whose aim it is to visit the sick, the afflicted, and the needy; and its temperance society, the strength of which may be judged by the long line of stalworth men we see parading our streets on festal occasions. Colleges, schools, and convents there are in great numbers for the teaching of the higher branches of education. Hospitals for the sick and afflicted, asylums for the blind, the orphan, the foundling, and the repentant sinner, a reformatory for erring youth, and a shelter for old age. Almost[254] every conceivable want of weak humanity has its appropriate place of supply among our charitable institutions.

All this grand system of charities is, however, lost on the writer in the Independent. His special attention is directed to the "dense Catholic sections." Well, we will take the Fourth Ward, which is blessed with the Howard Mission and the beneficent supervision of Mr. Van Meter. St. James's Church is situated in this ward, and its parish embraces all the Protestant missions so-called, and most of their offshoots. Upon personal inquiry, we find that there is erected in this parish a magnificent and spacious school-house, at a cost of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, attended daily during week-days by upwards of fourteen hundred boys and girls, taught by twenty-two teachers of both sexes. The tuition is entirely free, the expenses amounting to about twelve thousand dollars annually, being sustained by the voluntary contributions of the parishioners. The Sunday-schools of this church are attended by twenty-five hundred children, about one-half of whom, being employed during the week, are unable to attend the day-schools. Then there is an industrial school, attended by between one and two hundred poor children, mostly half-orphans, who are provided with dinner every day, and to whom are given two entire suits of new clothing every year, on July 4th and Christmas Day. In addition to these there is a branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, numbering several hundred members, forty of whom are constantly on duty, visiting the sick, counselling the erring, helping the needy, and performing other works of charity. This society alone expends annually at least five thousand dollars. Besides, there are two temperance societies, numbering nearly nine hundred men, who not only discourage intemperance by their example, but seek by weekly meetings, lectures, and other popular attractions to win others to follow in their footsteps. Now, these are facts easily verified by any one who may wish to do so, and may be taken as a fair specimen of the gigantic efforts which the church is making in every parish in this city for the conservation of the morals and the education of her people. St. James's Parish may be said to contain the largest proportionate number of our poorer brethren, who, though heavily taxed as tenement holders and retail purchasers of all the necessaries of life, contributing of course their quota to the public school fund, can yet afford, out of their scanty and often precarious means, to educate and partly feed and clothe over fifteen hundred children. Can the Independent show any similar effort on the part of any of the sects?

The writer in the Independent says, "We come to you for help." What sort of help? If it is assistance to prop up the decaying Protestant missions which have so long been sources of discord and bad feeling among our Catholic fellow-citizens, profitable only to their employees, we respectfully decline: if he is in truth and all sincerity desirous to devote a part of his leisure time and means to improve the condition of his less fortunate fellow-beings in the denser populated portions of the city, we cannot advise him to do better than to consult the pastor of St. James's or of any of the churches in the lower wards, who will give him all the help required for the proper disposal of both. And, in conclusion, let us suggest to him that no amount of politeness will justify the violation of the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."





The press of Paris and of the provinces was beginning to discuss the events at Lourdes; and public attention far outside the region of the Pyrenees was gradually being attracted to the Grotto of Massabielle.

The measures of the prefect were loudly applauded by the infidel papers and as vehemently condemned by the Catholic ones. The latter, while maintaining a due reserve on the subject of the reality of the apparitions and miracles, held that a question of this nature should be decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, and not summarily settled according to the will of the prefect.

The innumerable cures which were taking place at the grotto, or even at distant places, continually drew an immense number of invalids and pilgrims to Lourdes. The Latour de Trie analysis, and the mineral properties claimed for the new spring by the official representative of science, added yet more to the reputation of the grotto, and made it attractive even to those who depended for their cure only on the unaided powers of nature. Also, the discussion, by exciting men's minds, added to the throng of the faithful there assembled another of the curious. All the means adopted by the unbelievers turned directly against the end which they had proposed to themselves.

By the irresistible course of events, then—a course fatal in the eyes of some, but providential in those of others—the crowd which the authorities had been trying to disperse was continually assuming larger and larger proportions. And it increased the more, because, as ill luck would have it, the material obstacles which the frosts of winter had produced had gradually disappeared. The month of May had returned; and the beautiful spring weather seemed to invite pilgrims to come to the grotto by all the flowery roads which traverse the woods, meadows, and vineyards in this region of lofty mountains, green hills, and shady valleys.

The provoked but powerless prefect watched the growth and spread of this peaceable and wonderful movement, which was bringing the Christian multitudes to kneel and drink at the foot of a desolate rock.

The measures already taken had, it is true, prevented the grotto from looking like an oratory, but, substantially, the state of things remained the same. From all sides people were coming to the scene of a miracle. Contrary to the hope of the free-thinkers, the fear of the faithful, and the expectations of all, absolutely no disturbance or breach of the peace occurred in this extraordinary concourse of men and women, old and young, believers and infidels, the curious and the indifferent. An invisible hand seemed to protect these crowds from mutual collision as they daily thronged by thousands to the miraculous fountain.

The magistracy, represented by M. Dutour, and the police, personified in M. Jacomet, looked at this strange phenomenon with astonishment.[256] Was their irritation all the greater on his account? We cannot say; but for some dispositions extremely fond of authority, the spectacle of a multitude so wonderfully orderly and peaceable, is certainly anomalous and revolutionary, if not even insulting. When order preserves itself, all those functionaries whose only business is to preserve it feel a vague uneasiness. Being accustomed to have a hand in everything in the name of the law, to regulate, to command, to punish, to pardon, to see everything and everybody depend on their person and office, they feel out of place in the presence of a crowd which does not need their services, and which gives them no pretext for interfering, showing their importance, and restraining its movements. An order which excludes them is the worst of all disorders. If such a fatal example should be generally followed, the procureurs impériaux would no longer have a sufficient reason for their existence, the commissaries of police would disappear, and even the prefectoral splendor would begin to wane.

Baron Massy had indeed been able to order the seizure of every object deposited at the grotto; but there was no law recognizing such deposits as criminal, and it was impossible to forbid or punish them. Hence, in spite of the spoliations of the prefect, the grotto was often brilliantly lighted by candles, and filled with flowers and votive offerings, and even with silver and gold coins contributed for the building of the chapel which the Blessed Virgin had required. The pious faithful wished in this way—though it were an ineffectual one—to show the Queen of Heaven their good-will, zeal, and love. "What matter is it if they do take the money? It will have been offered all the same. The candle will have given its light for a time in honor of our Mother, and the bouquet will for an instant have perfumed the sacred spot where her feet rested." Such were the thoughts of those Christian souls.

Jacomet and his agents continued to come and carry everything off. The commissary, much encouraged after having escaped the dangers of the 4th of May, had become very scornful and brutal in his proceedings, sometimes throwing the object seized into the Gave before the scandalized eyes of the faithful. Sometimes, however, he was obliged in spite of himself to leave a festal appearance at the holy place. This was when the ingenious piety of its visitors had strewn the Grotto with innumerable rose-leaves, and it was impossible for him to pick up the thousand remains of flowers which formed its brilliant and perfumed carpet.

The kneeling crowds continued meanwhile to pray, without making any reply to this provoking conduct, and let matters take their course; showing an extraordinary patience, such as God alone can give to an indignant multitude.

One evening, the report was spread that the emperor or his minister had asked for the prayers of Bernadette. M. Dutour raised a shout of triumph, and prepared to save the state. Three good women, who, as it seems, had made such a statement, were brought before the court, and the procureur demanded that they should be treated according to all the rigor of the French law. Notwithstanding his indignant eloquence, the judges acquitted two and condemned the other only to a fine of five francs. The procureur, dissatisfied with this small amount, insisted upon his suit, and made a desperate appeal to the imperial court at Pau, which, smiling at his anger, not only confirmed[257] the acquittal of the two, but also refused to sustain the very small judgment pronounced against the third culprit, and dismissed the charge altogether.

We mention this little occurrence, though an insignificant one in itself, to show how keenly the judges were upon the watch, and how carefully they searched for some offence, for some opportunity to be severe, since they employed their time in prosecuting poor simple women whose innocence was soon after declared by the imperial court.

The people still continued quiet, and afforded no pretext to the authorities for making an attack upon them in the name of the law.

One night, under cover of the darkness, unknown hands tore up the conduits of the miraculous spring, and covered its waters with heaps of stone, earth, and sand. Who had raised this vile monument against the work of God, what impious and cowardly hands had secretly committed such profanation, were not known. But when the day broke, and the sacrilege became known, a sullen indignation, as might have been foreseen, pervaded the multitudes who were collected at the place, and that day the people filled the streets and roads in agitation like that of the sea when it foams and roars under a violent wind. The police, magistracy, and sergents-de-ville were on the watch, spying and listening, but they could not report a single lawless action or seditious word. The divine influence which maintained order among these enraged multitudes was evidently invincible.

But who, then, was the author of this outrage? The judges and police, in spite of their active and zealous endeavors, did not succeed in detecting him. Hence it happened that some evil-minded persons dared to suspect the police and judiciary themselves (though evidently with great injustice) of having tried by this means to produce some disorders, in order to have an occasion to proceed with rigor.

The municipal authority most earnestly exculpated itself from all connivance in the affair. That very evening, or the next day, the mayor gave orders to replace the conduits, and to clear the floor of the grotto of all the rubbish with which the fountain had been obstructed. The mayor's policy was to not assume personally any decided position, but to keep things as they were. He was ready to act, but always as a subordinate, upon the prefect's orders and responsibility.

Sometimes the people, fearing that they would not be able to control their feelings, took precautions against themselves. The association of stone-cutters, numbering some four or five hundred, had planned to make a great but peaceful demonstration at the grotto, and to go there in procession singing canticles in honor of their patron feast of the Ascension, which came that year on the 13th of May. But, feeling their hearts indignant and their hands unsteady under these proceedings of the authorities, they distrusted themselves, and gave up the idea. They contented themselves with relinquishing on that day in honor of our Lady of Lourdes the ball they were accustomed to give every year to conclude their festival.

"We intend," said they, "that no disturbance, even though unintentional, and no entertainment not approved by the church, shall occur to offend the eyes of the Holy Virgin who has deigned to visit us."


The prefect perceived all the time, more and more, that coercion of any[258] ordinary kind was impossible for him on account of this surprising quietness, this peace as irritating as it was wonderful, which maintained itself without exterior force in these great collections of people. There was not even an accident to disturb it. He was therefore obliged either to retrace his steps in the course which he had thus far pursued, and to leave the people quite alone, or to come to open violence and persecution by finding some pretext for the imposition of arbitrary restraints upon them. It was necessary either to recede or to advance.

On the other hand, the variety and suddenness of the cures which had been worked seemed to many good people rather poorly explained by the therapeutic and mineral properties ascribed to the new spring. Doubts were raised as to the strict accuracy of the scientific decision which had been given by M. Latour de Trie. A chemist of the vicinity, M. Thomas Pugo, claimed that this water was in no way extraordinary, and had not of itself any healing properties whatsoever; and in this he was sustained by several other very capable professors in the province. Science was beginning to assert the entire incorrectness of the De Trie analysis; and the rumors to this effect had become so strong that the municipal council of Lourdes took cognizance of them. The mayor could not refuse to gratify the general desire to have a second analysis made of the water from the grotto. He, therefore, without consulting the prefect (which seemed to him useless on account of the conviction entertained by the latter of the accuracy of the results of M. Latour), procured from the municipal council a vote authorizing him to obtain a new and definitive analysis from Prof. Filhol, one of the principal chemists of our day. The council at the same time voted the funds required for the due compensation of the celebrated savant.

M. Filhol was a man of authority in modern science, and his decision would evidently not be open to appeal.

What would be the result of his analysis? The prefect was not chemist enough to tell; but we think we cannot be much mistaken in thinking that he must have been somewhat uneasy. The verdict of the eminent professor of chemistry of the faculty of Toulouse might, in fact, disturb the combinations and plans of M. Massy. Haste was becoming imperative, and on this ground especially it was necessary to fall back or press forward.

In the midst of such various passions and complicated calculations, people had not failed to subject Bernadette to some new trials as useless as the preceding ones.

She had been preparing to make her first communion, and made it on Corpus Christi, the 3d of June. This was the very day on which the municipal council of Lourdes requested M. Filhol to analyze the mysterious water. Almighty God, entering into the heart of this child, made also the analysis of a pure fount, and we may well believe that he must have admired and blessed, in this virginal soul, a most pure spring and a most transparent crystal.

Notwithstanding the retirement in which she preferred to hide herself, people continued to visit her. She was always the innocent and simple child whose portrait we have endeavored to present. She charmed all those who conversed with her by her candor and manifest good faith.

One day, a lady, after an interview with her, wished, in a moment of enthusiastic veneration easily conceivable by those who have seen Bernadette,[259] to exchange her chaplet of precious stones for that of the child.

"Keep your own, madam," said she, showing her modest implement of prayer. "You see what mine is, and I had rather not change. It is poor, like myself, and agrees better with my poverty."

An ecclesiastic tried to make her accept some money; she refused. He insisted, only to be met by a refusal so formal that a longer resistance seemed useless. The priest, however, did not yet consider his case as lost.

"Take it," said he; "not for yourself, but for the poor, and then you will have the pleasure of giving an alms."

"Do you, then, make it yourself for my intention, M. l'Abbé, and that will do better than if I should make it myself," answered the child.

Poor Bernadette intended to serve God gratuitously, and to fulfil the mission with which she had been entrusted without leaving her honorable poverty. And yet she and the family were sometimes in want of bread.

At this time the salary of the prefect, Baron Massy, was raised to 25,000 francs. Jacomet also received a gratuity. The Minister of Public Worship, in a letter which was communicated to several functionaries, assured the prefect of his perfect satisfaction, and, while commending all that he had so far done, he urged him to take energetic measures, adding that, at all costs, the grotto and miracles of Lourdes must be put an end to.[44]

On this ground, as well as on all the others, it was necessary either to retreat or to advance.

But what could be done?


The plan of the divine work was gradually being developed with its admirable and convincing logic. But at that time no one fully recognized the invisible hand of God directing all the events, manifest as it was, and M. Massy least of all. The midst of the mêlée is not the best position from which to judge the order of battle. The unfortunate prefect, who had set out upon the wrong track, saw in what occurred only a provoking series of unpleasant incidents and an inexplicable fatality. If we remove God from certain questions, we are very likely to find in them something inexplicable.

The progress of events, slow but irresistible, was overthrowing successively all the theses of unbelief, and forcing this miserable human philosophy to beat a retreat and to abandon one by one all its intrenchments.

First, the apparitions had occurred. Free thought had at the outset denied them out-and-out, accusing the seer of being only a tool, and of having lent herself to carry out a deception. This thesis had not stood before the examination of the child, whose veracity was evident.

Unbelief, dislodged from this first position, fell back on the theory of hallucination or catalepsy. "She thinks she sees something; but she does not. It is all a mistake."

Providence meanwhile had brought together from the four winds its thousands and thousands of witnesses to the ecstatic states of the child, and in due time had given a solemn confirmation to the truth of Bernadette's story by producing a miraculous fountain before the astonished eyes of the assembled multitudes.


"There is no fountain," was then the word of unbelief. "It is an infiltration, a pool, a puddle; anything that you please, except a fountain."

But the more they publicly and solemnly denied it, the more did the stream increase, as if it had been a living being, until it acquired prodigious proportions. More than a hundred thousand litres (twenty-two thousand gallons) issued daily from this strange rock.

"It is an accident; it is a freak of chance," stammered the infidels, confounded and recoiling.

Next, events following their inevitable course, the most remarkable cures had immediately attested the miraculous nature of the fountain, and given a new and decisive proof of the divine reality of the all-powerful apparition whose mere gesture had brought forth this fountain of life under a mortal hand.

The first move of the philosophers was to deny the cures, as they had before denied Bernadette's sincerity and the existence of the fountain.

But suddenly these had become so numerous and indubitable that their opponents were obliged to take yet another step in retreat, and admit them.

"Well, granted; there are some cures certainly, but they are natural; the spring has some therapeutic ingredients," cried the unbelievers, holding in their hands some sort of a semblance of chemical analysis. And then instantaneous cures, absolutely unaccountable upon such a hypothesis, were multiplied; and at the same time, in various places, conscientious and skilful chemists declared distinctly that the Massabielle water had not any mineral properties, that it was common water, and that the official analysis of M. Latour de Trie was meant simply to please the prefect.

Driven in this way from all the intrenchments in which, after their successive defeats, they had taken refuge; pursued by the dazzling evidence of the fact; crushed by the weight of their own avowals; and not being able to take back these successive and compulsory avowals, publicly registered in their own newspapers, what remained for the philosophers and free-thinkers to do? Only to surrender humbly to truth. Only to bow the head, bend the knee, and believe; only to do that which the ripe grain does when its cells begin to fill.

"The same change has taken place," says Montaigne, "in the truly wise, as in the stalks of wheat, which rise up and hold up their heads erect and proud as long as they are empty, but, when they are full and distended with the ripe grain, begin to humble themselves, to bend toward the ground. So men, when they have tried and sounded all things, ... renounce their presumption and recognize their natural condition."

Perhaps the philosophers of Lourdes had not an intellect open or strong enough to receive and hold the good grain. Perhaps pride made them inflexible and rebellious to manifest evidence. At any rate, with the happy exception of some who were converted, that change did not come to them which has come to those who are truly wise, and they continued to keep the lofty and proud attitude of the empty stalks.

Not only did their attitude remain thus, but their impiety, after being disgracefully pursued from one quibble, sophism, or falsehood to another, and finally driven against the wall, suddenly unmasked itself and showed its real face. It passed, as we may say, from the domain of discussion and reasoning, which it[261] had been trying to usurp, to that of intolerance and violence, which was its proper home.

Baron Massy, who was perfectly informed as to the state of public feeling, understood with his rare sagacity that, if he took arbitrary measures and resorted to persecution, he would have a considerable moral support in the exasperation of the unbelievers, who were defeated, humiliated, and furious.

He also had been defeated as yet in the contest similar to, if not exactly the same as, theirs, which he had been carrying on against the supernatural. All his efforts had come to nothing.

The supernatural, beginning at the base of a desolate rock and announced only by the voice of a child, had entered upon its course, overthrowing all obstacles, drawing the people with it, and gaining to itself on the way enthusiastic acclamations, prayers, and the cries of gratitude from the popular faith.

Once more, what remained to be done?

One course yet remained: to resist evidence, and to make an attack upon the multitude.


In the midst of all these turns of fortune, the question of the prefectoral stables had become more and more exciting, and greatly increased the prefect's exasperation. The month of June had come. The season at the watering-places was beginning, and would soon bring to the Pyrenees bathers and tourists from all parts of Europe, and show them the disturbance which the supernatural was making in the department governed by Baron Massy. The instructions of M. Rouland were becoming most urgent, and pointed to summary proceedings. On the 6th of June, M. Fould, the Minister of Finance, stopped at Tarbes on his way to his summer residence, and had a long interview with M. Massy. It was rumored that this conference related to the events at the grotto.

The act of drinking at a spring upon the common land of the town could not be considered as in itself an offence against the law. The first thing to be done by the opponents of superstition was therefore to find a pretext for so regarding it. Arbitrary proceedings have not in France the official right which they enjoy in Russia or Turkey, but need a cover of law.

The able prefect had an idea on this subject as ingenious as it was simple. The site of the Massabielle Cliffs belonging to the town of Lourdes, the mayor, as its administrator, could prohibit any one from visiting them, for or even without any reason whatever, in the same way as any private owner of land forbids at his pleasure the trespass of others upon it. Such a prohibition, publicly announced, would turn each visit to the grotto into a formal crime.

The plan of the baron hinged upon this idea; and, having hit upon it, he decided to act it out and play the despot.

Accordingly, on the following day, the mayor of Lourdes was instructed to issue the following order:

"The mayor of the town of Lourdes, acting under the instructions addressed to him by the superior authorities, and under the laws of the 14th and 22d of December, 1789, of the 16th and 24th of August, 1790, of the 19th and 22d of July, 1791, and of the 18th of July, 1837, on Municipal Administration;

"And considering that it is very desirable, in the interest of religion, to put an end to the deplorable scenes now presented at the Grotto of Massabielle,[262] at Lourdes, on the left bank of the Gave;

"Also, that the care of the local public health devolves upon the mayor, and that a great number, both of citizens and strangers, come to draw water from a spring in the aforesaid grotto, the water of which is suspected on good grounds to contain mineral ingredients, making it prudent, before permitting its use, to wait for a scientific analysis to determine the application which may be made of it in medicine; and,

"Also, that the laws subject the working of mineral springs to a preliminary authorization by government:

"Issues the following


"1. It is forbidden to draw water at the aforesaid spring.

"2. It is also forbidden to pass through the common land known as the bank of Massabielle.

"3. A barrier will be put up at the entrance to the grotto to prevent access; and

"Posts will be set bearing these words: 'It is forbidden to enter this property.'

"4. All transgressions of this decree will be prosecuted according to law.

"5. The Commissary of Police,

"The Gendarmerie,

"The Gardes Champêtres,

"And the authorities of the commune,

"Are entrusted with the execution of this decree.

"Signed in the mayor's office at Lourdes, on the 8th of June, 1858.

"The Mayor, A. Lacadé.


"The Prefect, O. Massy"


It was not without some hesitation that M. Lacadé consented to sign and undertake to execute this decree. His character, somewhat wanting in decision and inclined to compromise, necessarily disinclined him to such a manifest act of hostility against the mysterious power which hovered invisibly over the events which had centred round the grotto at Lourdes. On the other hand, the mayor, as was very proper, enjoyed the exercise of his office, and perhaps had even a little undue fondness for it; and his alternative was either to become the instrument of the prefectoral violence or to resign the honors of the mayoralty. Although perhaps not really trying, the situation was certainly embarrassing for the chief-magistrate of Lourdes. M. Lacadé hoped, however, to conciliate all parties by requiring M. Massy, as a condition of his signature, to insert at the head of the decree, at the very outset, the words, "Acting under the instructions addressed to him by the superior authorities," as above.

"In this way," said the mayor to himself, "I assume no responsibility before the public or in my own eyes. I have not taken the initiative, but remain neutral. I do not command, but only obey. I do not give this order, but receive it. I am not the author of this decree, I only execute it. All the blame rests upon my immediate superior, the prefect."

Coming from a soldier in a regiment drawn up for battle, such reasoning would have been irreproachable.

Having reassured himself on this principle, M. Lacadé took measures for the execution of the prefectoral edict, having it published and put on the walls in all parts of the town. At the same time, under the protection of an armed force and the direction of Jacomet, barriers were put up around the Massabielle rocks, so that no one, except by breaking through or climbing over them, could reach[263] the grotto and the miraculous fountain. Posts with notices, as prescribed by the decree, were also set up here and there at all points of entrance to the common land which surrounded the venerable spot. They prohibited trespass under pain of prosecution. Some sergents-de-ville and gardes kept watch day and night, being relieved hourly, to prepare procès-verbaux against all who should pass these posts to kneel in the vicinity of the grotto.


There was at Lourdes a judge of the name of Duprat, who was as violently opposed to the supernatural as Jacomet, Massy, Dutour, and others of the constituted authorities. This judge, not being able under the circumstances to sentence the delinquents to anything more than a very small fine, contrived an indirect method to make the fine enormous and truly formidable for the poor people who came to pray before the grotto, and to beg from the Blessed Virgin, one the restoration of health, another the cure of a darling child, a third some spiritual favor or consolation under some great affliction.

M. Duprat then imposed upon each offender a fine of five francs. But, by a conception worthy of his genius, he united under a single sentence all who disregarded the prefectoral prohibition, either by forming a party together, or even, as it would seem, by visiting the grotto in the course of the same day; and he made each liable to the whole amount of the fine. Thus, if one or two hundred persons came in this way to the rocks of Massabielle, each one of them was responsible not only for himself, but also for the others, that is, to the extent of five hundred or a thousand francs. And as the individual and original fine was only five francs, the decision of this magistrate was without appeal, and there was no way to correct it. Judge Duprat was all-powerful, and it was thus that he used his power.


Such an outrageous interference in the important question which had for some months been pending on the banks of the Gave implied on the part of the authorities not only the denial of the supernatural in this particular case, but also that of its possibility. If this had been admitted for an instant, the measures of the administration would have been entirely different; they would have had for their object the examination, not the suppression, of the controversy.

One thing had been absolutely certain, namely, the cures; whether they had been brought about by the mineral qualities of the water, by the imagination of the patients, or by miraculous intervention, these cures were indubitable, and officially recognized by the infidels themselves, who, not being able to deny them, merely tried to explain them on some natural principle.

The faithful and perfectly trustworthy witnesses to the efficacy of the water in their own cases could be counted by hundreds. There was not a single one who reported that its effects had been prejudicial. Why, then, all these prohibitory measures, these barriers put up, this menacing armed force, these persecutions? And why, if such measures were proper, should not the principle be carried out further? Why not close every place of pilgrimage where a sick person has been restored to health, every church where any one[264] has received an answer to prayer? This question was in every mouth.

"If Bernadette," said one, "without saying anything about visions and apparitions, had simply found a mineral spring possessing powerful healing virtues, what government would ever have forbidden sick people to drink of it? Nero himself would not have gone so far; in all countries, a reward would have been given to the child. But here the sick people kneel and pray, and these liveried subalterns, who crouch before their masters, do not like to have any one prostrate himself before God. This is the real reason. It is prayer which is persecuted."

"But shall we allow superstition?" said the free-thinkers.

"Is not the church able to take care of that and to guard the faithful against error? Let her act in her own province, and do not make an œcumenical council out of the prefecture, and an infallible pope out of a prefect or a minister. What disorder has been caused by these events? None whatever. What evil has occurred to justify your precautionary measures? Absolutely none. The mysterious fountain has only done good. Let the believing people go and drink of it, if they please. Leave them their liberty to believe, to pray, to be healed; the liberty to turn to God and to ask from heaven consolation in their grief. You who demand free thought, let prayer also be free."

But neither the anti-christian philosophy nor the pious prefect of Hautes Pyrenees would consent to notice this unanimous protest, and the severe measures were continued.

The intolerance of which the enemies of Christianity so unjustly accuse the Catholic Church is their own ruling passion. They are essentially tyrants and persecutors.




About a generation ago, there might have been seen moving across the Wabash Valley, Indiana, one of those heavy-built wagons, with broad canvas tops, known in the West as prairie schooners. The wheels, which had not been greased since they left New Hampshire, were creaking dolefully, and the youth who urged on the jaded team declared that the sound reminded him of the frogs in his father's mill-pond. Attached to the rear of the wagon was a coop, containing a rooster and half a dozen hens, evidently suffering from their long confinement; while underneath the coop, swinging to and fro, as if keeping time to the music of the wheels, was a bucket.

Nat Putnam held the reins with a tight grip, his eyes were fixed straight in front of him, and his steeple crowned hat, which looked as if it might have been a legacy from one of his Puritan forefathers, was placed as far on the back of his head as possible,[265] so as not to obstruct the view. He was perhaps twenty-one or two years of age; but it would have been rash to gauge his wisdom by the date of his birth. If ever there was a Yankee hard to outwit, it was our friend, and his mother had often declared that her boy could see through a stone wall. The very shape of his nose, which was not unlike an eagle's beak, warned you to be on your guard when you were making a trade with him; while his face, spotted all over with freckles, could readily assume every expression from highest glee to deepest melancholy; thus enabling him to fill whatever post in life might be most congenial, were it circus clown or ruling elder.

"Mr. Putnam, when are we going to halt?" inquired a female voice, which seemed to come from the interior of the wagon. Before the youth answered, the speaker had placed herself at his side and was gazing at him with a woeful look. Poor thing! well might she ask the question. Ever since he had picked her up in the State of New York, he had kept travelling on and on, until Mary O'Brien thought he was never going to stop. Her father, who had been with them the first week of the journey, had died, and Nat had only tarried long enough to bury the old man, and let the daughter say a few prayers over his grave.

"Don't find fault," he replied. "The spirit moves me to keep pu