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Full text of "Household words"




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5 






I he University oi 



BUCKINGHAM 



UNIVERSITY OF BUCKINGHAM 



8113268 



Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



SournaL 



CONDUCTED BY 



CHARLES DICKENS. 



VOLUME XI. 

FROM THE SRD OF FEBRUARY TO THE 2STH OF JULY. 
Being from No. 254 to No. 279. 



LONDON: 
OFFICE, 16, WELLINGTON STREET NORTH. 

1855. 






LONDON 
I'.RADBl'EY AND EVANS, rKlNTKHS, WHITEFBIAES. 






CONTENTS. 



ACCIDENTS by Machinery, 241, 337, 

494, 605 

Adam, The Chinese ... 67 

Adulterations 214 

Advice . . . . . .73 

Alchemists, Specimens of the, 457, 

448, 540 

Alderman, Starvation of an . . 214 

Alexander the First . . 573 

Algiers, the Game of Yadace" in 319 

American Opinion of England, An 255 

Ancestors 380 

Anchovies 216 

Arctic Voyagers, The Lost . . 12 
Audit Board, The . . .543 
Australia, Gold Discovered by a 

Convict in 1788 . . . . 682 

Australian Carriers . . . 420 

BACK at Trinity . . . . 519 

Back from the Crimea. . . 119 
Balloon, Death of Du Rosier and 

Romain . . . . . . 149 

Barmecide Feast, Story of the . 315 

Bedfordshire Farmer . . . 162 

Bethnal Green, The Poor of . 193 

Birthdays 238 

Black Sea Five Centuries Ago, 

The 62 

Board of Trade . . . . 101 

Bohemian Story of a Signboard 418 

Boots and Corns . . . 348 

Bottle of Champagne, A . . . 51 

Brandy 301 

Bread Cast on the Waters . . 326 

Bright Chanticleer . . . 204 

Brimstone . . . . 398 

Brine 561 

Bucharest 82 

Bulgarian Posthouse, A . . 335 

Bulgarians 465 

Bull, Prince. A Fairy Tale . 49 

Burgundy Wines . . . . 28 

By Rail to Parnassus . . . 477 

CALF'S SKIN, Stealing a . . . 140 
California, Mr. F. Marryat's Ex- 
periences of .... 88 
Camel Troop Contingent, The . 225 
Camp of Honvaiilt, The . . 483 
Casaubon, Isaac . . . . 76 
Cats and Dogs . . . .516 
Cayenne Pepper . . . . 216 
Ceylon in Olden Times . . 523 
Chambers in the Temple . . 132 

Champagne 61 

Charles the Second, A Birthday 

of 240 

Cheap Patriotism . . . 433 

Children, The Education of . . 577 

Children of the Czar 108, 227, 286 

Chinaman's Parson . . . 202 

Chinese Adam, The . . . . 67 

Chinese Postman .... 259 

Chips . . 20, 67, 140, 379, 398, 494 

Civil Service Appointment, A . 433 

Clergyman, The Petition of a . 453 

Coffee Adulteration . . . . 215 

Coffee Adulteration, A Tale about 506 

Cognac 361 



Colonel Grunpeck and Mr. Per- 
kinson . . . . . . 254 

Colours from Electricity . . 252 
College Invitation, A . . . 520 

Commerce 323 

Constantinople to Varua . . 142 
Convicts, English aud French . 85 
Convict, Story of a . . . 582 
Cookery Book of 1660 . . . 21 

Cote-d'Or 29 

Countess d'Aultioy's Tales 493, 509 

County Guy 599 

Crits from the Past . . .607 
Crimea, A Dinner in tke t . 191 
Crimea, Returned from the . . 119 
Criminal Lunatics . . . . 141 
Criminal Process in 1690 . . 356 
Curiosities of London . . 495, 607 

DANUBE, The Passage of the . 465 
Deadly Shafts . . 241, 337, 494 

Dear Cup of Coffee, A . . . 505 

Death's Ciphering-book . . 337 

Diggings, Carriers to the . . 420 

Dip in the Brine, A ... 561 

Divers 502 

Doctor Dubois .... 429 

Dodsley, Robert . . . . 309 

Dogs 518 

Droitwich, The Salt Mines at . 561 

EDINBURGH. The Houses of . . 183 
Electric L'ght . . . .251 
Elizabethan Reformer, A . . 553 
Embarkation .... 354 

FACES 261 

Factory Accidents . 241,337, 494, 605 
Factory Occupiers, National As- 
sociation of . . . . . 605 
Fairy Tales . . . .493,509 
Falstaff, Death of ... 549 
Farming in Bedfordshire . . 162 
Fast and Loose .... 169 

Fatalism 167 

Fencing with Humanity, 241, 337, 494 
Fenton, Elijah .... 44 
Few More Leeches, A . . . Ill 
Fiend-Fancy . . . 492, 509 
Fifty-two, Wriothesley Place . 36 
" Flare Up I " . . . . 607 

Flats, Houses in . . 182 

Flemish Gardens . . .603 
Food and its Adulterations . . 214 

Forefathers 380 

France, Poultry in . . . . 399 
Franklin's, Sir John, Expedition 12 
French Convicts .... 80 
French Court ot Justice . . . 506 
French Criminal Process, A . 356 
French Farmers, Two . . . 105 
French Love .... 442 
French Soldiers in Camp . . 483 
French Wines . . .28,51,439 
Froebel's Infant Gardens . . 577 
Frost-bitten Homes . . .193 

GAMBLING 280 

Gardens in Belgium . . . 602 
Garden Walks . . . . 601 



Gaslight Fairies . 

Ghost Story, A .... 

Gibraltar, The Sappers and 

Miners at the Siege of 
Gold Discoverer, Story of a . . 
Government Clerk, A . 
Gone to the Dogs . . . . 

Giurgevo 

Giurgevo to Bucharest . . . 



I'ACK 

25 
170 



433 
121 
467 
558 



HABSALI.'S (Dr. Book on Adul- 

terations .... 214 
Herbert, Mr. Sidney, and the 

English Soldier . . 48 

Hill of Gold, The. . 28 

Hood (Dr.) on Lunacy . . . 141 

Houses in Flats . . 1S2 
Humbugs, The Thousand and 

One .... 265, 289, 313 

Hunt's, Leigh, Stories in Verse 478 

IGNORANT MAN and tho Genie 



Story of the . 
Important Kubbish . 
India Pickle 
India, Kesources of . 
Indian Promotion* 
Indian Kice 



266 
376 
446 
446 
379 
522 



Infant Gardens .... 577 

Iron Works, Refuse of the . . 37S 

JOAK of ARC, The Sign of the . 418 
Justice, A French Picture of, in 

1690 ...... 356 

LADIES' SCHOOL, A . . .36 
Latest Intelligence from the 

Spirits . .... 513 

Law of Storms . . . 188 

Leeches ...... 141 

Legal Fiction, A . . . .598 

Leigh Hunt's Stories in Verse . 478 

Letter Carriers in China . . 260 
Letter from a Candidate for Office 

to a Board of Guardians . . 495 

Leviathian Indeed, A . . . 406 

Locusts ...... 67 

London, Curiosities of . . . 495 

London, The Plagues of . . . 316 
London Thieves . . . .317 

Long Life of Locusts . . . 67 

Louis Qnatorze and his Wig . 620 

I Love in France .... 442 

j Lunacy ...... 141 

Lyons, Admiral Sir E., A Yarn 

about ...... 145 

MACHINERY Accidents 211,337,494,605 

Madame Tartine . . . . 494 

Maxims of the Chinese . . 203 

Mechanics in Uniform . . . 409 
Medical Prescriptions, An Old 

Book of ..... 304 

Militia, Dress of the . . . 599 

Misprints ..... 232 

Monsters ...... 196 

More Alchemy .... 540 

More Children of the Czar . . 227 

More Grist to the Mill . . 605 



iv CONTENTS. 


FA8 

Mother and Stepmother 
Part 1 341 


MM 

Roving Englishman continued. 
Prom Varna to Rustchuk . 307 
A Bulgarian Post-house . . 335 
Rustchuk 427 


Tom D'Urfey ... 186 
Trade, The Board of . . 101 
Trade 323 


Part II 367 


Part I [I . . . 387 


Two French Farmers . . . 105 
Two Nephews .... 526 

UNDER the Sea . . . . 502 
Unfenced Machinery, 241, 337, 494, 605 
Unfortunate James Daley . . 582 

VAILS to Servants ... 10 
Vampyres 39 
Varna to Balaklava . . . 153 
Varna to Rustchuk . . . . 307 
Very Advisable .... 73 
Very Little House, A . . . 470 
Very Little Town, A . . .209 
Vesuvius in Eruption . . . 435 

WASTE 376 


Mr. Philip Stubbos . . .553 
Mr. Pope's Friend . . . . 43 
Muse in Livery, The . . .308 
My Confession . . . . 93 
My Garden Walks ... 601 

NOTHING Like Russia-Leather . 286 

OBSOLETE Cookery ... 21 
Old Boar's Head, The . . 546 
Old Ladies 97 
Old Picture of Justice, An . . 356 
Old Scholar, An . . . .76 
Our Bedfordshire Farmer . . 162 
Overpunished Crime . . . 140 
Oxford and Cambridge Men . . 520 

PAPER MAKING, Straw Pulp for > 20 
Passing Faces .... 261 
Penny Wisdom . . . . 376 
Pensioners, Employment for . 573 
Pere Panpau 68 
Periwigs 620 
Petition Extraordinary . . . 453 
Philosophers Stone, The 458,488,540 
Physic a-Field .... 304 
Pickles, Adulterations in . . 216 
Plagues of London . . . 316 
Poetry on the Railway . . . 414 
Poetry by Railway . . .477 
Poor, The Frostbitten Homes of 
the 193 
Pope's Friend .... 43 
Post-cart Travelling in Wallachia 558 
Postmen in China . ... 259 
Potichomania .... 129 
Poultry Abroad . . . . 399 
Prescriptions, An Old Book of . 304 
Prevention better than Cure . 141 
Prince Bull. A Fairy Tale . 49 
Promotion in India . . . 379 
Public, That other .... 1 
Public Ledger, The . . . 323 
Pulp 20 


The Passage of the Danube . 465 
From Giurgevo to Bucharest . 558 
Royal Balloon, The . . .149 
Royal Engineers, The . . . 409 
Royal Exchange, The . . . 326 
Rubbish 376 


Rustchuk . . . 427 


Ruined by Railways . . . 114 
Russia, Alexander the First of 673 
Russia, Social Condition of, 108, 227, 
286 

SALT MINES at Droitwich. . . 561 
Sappers and Miners, The . . 409 
Sardinian Forests and Fisheries 58i 
Scale of Promotion, The . . 379 
Scarli Tapa and the Forty 
Thieves, Story of the . . . 289 
School of the Fairies, The . . 609 
Secret of the Well, The ... 4 
Servants, Vails to ... 10 
Servia, Whittington in . . . 539 
Set of Odd Fellows, A . . 196 
Seven Dials 204 
Signboard, Story of a . . . 418 
Sir John Franklin and his Crews 12 
Sister of the Spirits, The . . 124 
Sister Rose- 
Part 1 217 


Water Carriers, Parable of the . 550 
Water Magnitted . . . . 215 
What it is to have Forefathers . 380 
What my Landlord Believed . 418 
When the Wind Blows . . 188 
Whittington in Servia . '. . 539 
Wigs 619 


Wine-duty, The .... 439 
Wines of France . . 28, 51, 439 
Wives of Soldiers . . .278 
Wives, The Wrongs of . . . 598 
Workhouse, A Candidate for 
Office in a . . . .495 
Wounded Soldiers from the 
Crimea 119 
Wriothesley Place, A Ladies' 
School in 36 


Part II 244 
Part III 267 
Part IV 292 
Slag . 376 


Yadacd 319 
Yarn about Young Lions . . 145 
Yellow Mask, The 
Part 1 520 


Slang Sayings . . . . 608 
Smith, Sir Sidney . . .132 
Smuggled Relations . . . 481 
Soldiers' Costume . . . 600 
Soldiers from the War . . . 119 
Soldier's Wife, The . . .278 
Specimens of the Alchemists 457, 488, 
540 
Spirits, Latest Intelligence from 
the 513 


Part II 565 


Part III 587 
Part IV 609 


POETRY. 

ANGEL, The 540 
Aspiration and Duty . . . 108 
Baby Beatrice . . . .303 
Banoolah . . . . . . 57 


QOITE Revolutionary . . . 474 

RAE'S (Dr.) Report of Sir John 
Franklin's Expedition . . 12 
Railway, Poetry on the . . . 414 
Ralph, the Naturalist . . . 157 
Relations in the Background . 481 
Revolutions 474 
Rice 522 
Right Man in the Right Place, 
The 495 


Starvation of an Alderman . . 213 
Stealing a Calf s Skin . . 140 
Steam Ship, The Leviathan . 406 
St. Nicholas 493 
Storms and Wind Roads . . 188 
Story of a King, The . . . 402 
Strictly Financial . . 439 
Stubbes, Mr. Philip . . . 653 
Supposing 48 


Before Sebastopol ... 85 
False Genius, A . . . . 254 
First Death, The . . .468 
First Sorrow, A . . . . 376 
Flower's Petition, The . . 278 
Footman, The 309 
God's Gifts 319 


TALKATIVE BAEBEB, The Story of 
the ... . 313 




River Picture in Summer . . 379 
Kosendacl 604 


Tea, Adulteration of ... 215 
Terraces, Parable of the . . 551 
That other Public .... 1 
Theatre, Fairies at the . . 25 
Thieves of London . . . . 317 
Thousand and One Humbugs, 
The .... 265, 28?, 3)3 
Tinder from a Californian Fire . 88 
Timbs's (Mr.) Curiosities of Lon- 
don 497 


Lesson of the War ... 12 
Madame Tartine . . . . 494 
One by One 157 


Rogues and Sharpers . . . 317 
Routine ..... 550 


Passing Clouds . . . . 132 
Poet's Home, A . . . .609 
Spring Lights and Shadows . 181 
Strive, Wait, and Pray . . . 448 
Time's Cure 565 
Unknown Grave, The . . . 226 
Vision of Hours, A ... 615 
Wind, The 420 


Roving Englishman 
Very Cold at Bucharest . . 82 
The Theatre .... 83 
The Terrible Officer . . . 84 
From Constantinople to Vama 142 
From Varna to Balaklava . 163 
A Dinner in Camp . . . 191 


Toady-Tree, The . . . . 385 

, 



"Familiar in tJteir Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOUKNAL 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



254.] 



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1855. 



2cZ. 



THAT OTHER PUBLIC. 



IN our ninth volume,* it fell naturally in 
our way to make a few inquiries as to the 
abiding place of that vague uoun of multi- 
tude signifying many, The Public. We re- 
minded our readers that it is never forthcom- 
ing when it is the subject of a joke at the 
theatre : which is always perceived to be a 
hit at some other Public richly deserving 
it, but not present. The circumstances of 
this time considered, we cannot better 
commence our eleventh volume, than by 
gently jogging the memory of that other 
Public : which ia often culpably oblivious of 
its own duties, rights, and interests : and to 
which it is perfectly clear that neither we nor 
our readers are in the least degree related. 
We are the sensible, reflecting, prompt Public, 
always up to the mark whereas that other 
Public persists in supinely lagging behind, 
and behaving in an inconsiderate manner. 

To begin with a small example lately 
revived by our friend, THE EXAMINER news- 
paper. "What can. that other Public 
mean, by allowing itself to be fleeced every 
night of its life, by responsible persons 
whom it accepts for its servants ? The case 
stands thus. Bribes and fees to small officials, 
had become quite insupportable at the time 
when the great Eailway Companies sprang 
into existence. All such abuses they immedi- 
ately and very much to their credit, struck out 
of their system of management; the keepers of 
hotels were soon generally obliged to follow in 
this rational direction ; the Public (meaning 
always, that other one, of course) were relieved 
from a most annoying and exasperating addi- 
tion to the hurry and worry of travel ; and 
the reform, as is in the nature of every re- 
form that is necessary and sensible, extended 
in many smaller directions, and was benefi- 
cially felt in many smaller ways. The one, 
persistent and unabashed defyer of it, at this 
moment, is the Theatre which pursues its 
old obsolete course of refusing to fulfil its 
contract with that other Public, unless 
that other Public, after paying for its 
box-seats or stalls, will also pay the wages 
of theatre servants who buy their places 
that they may prey upon that other Public. 



Household Words, volume IX. page 156. 



As if we should sell our publisher's post to 
the highest bidder, leaving him to charge an 
additional penny or twopence, or as much 
as he could get, on every number, of House- 
hold Words with which he should gra- 
ciously favour that other Public ! Within 
a week or two of this present writing, we 
paid five shillings, at nine o'clock in the 
evening, for our one seat at a pantomime; after 
our cheerful compliance with which demand, a 
hungry footpad clapped a rolled-up playbill 
to our breast, like the muzzle of a pistol, and 
positively stood before the door of which he 
was the keeper, to prevent our access (without 
forfeiture of another shilling for his benefit) 
to the seat we had purchased. Now, that 
other Public still submits to the gross impo- 
sition, notwithstanding that its most popular 
entertainer has abandoned all the profit de- 
rivable from it, and has plainly pointed out 
its manifest absurdity and extortion. And 
although to be sure it is universally known that 
the Theatre, as an Institution, is in a highly 
thriving and promising state, and although wo 
have only to see a play, hap-hazard, to per- 
ceive that the great body of ladies and gentle- 
men representing it, have educated themselves 
with infinite labour and expense in a variety 
of accomplishments, and have really quali- 
fied for their calling in the true spirit of stu- 
dents of the Fine Arts ; yet, we take leave to 
suggest to that other Public with which our 
readers and we are wholly unconnected, that 
these are no reasons for its being so egregi- 
ously gulled. 

We just now mentioned Eailway Com- 
panies. That other Public is very jealous of 
Railway Companies. It is not unreasonable 
in being so, for, it is quite at their mercy ; 
we merely observe that it is not usually slow- 
to complain of them when it has any cause. 
It has remonstrated, in its time, about rates 
of Fares, and has adduced instances of their 
being undoubtedly too high. But, has that 
other Public ever heard of a preliminary sys- 
tem from which the Eailway Companies have 
no escape, and which runs riot in squander- 
ing treasure to an incredible amount, before 
they have excavated one foot of earth or laid 
a bar of iron on the ground ? Why does that 
other Public never begin at the beginning, and 
raise its voice against the monstrous charges 
of soliciting private bills in Parliament, 



VOL. XI. 



254 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted bjr 



and conducting inquiries before Committees 
of the House of Commons allowed on all 
hands to be the very worst tribunals con- 
ceivable by the mind of man ? Has that 
other Public any adequate idea of the corrup- 
tion, profusion, and waste, occasioned by 
this process of misgovernment ? Supposing 
it were informed that, ten years ago, the 
average Parliamentary and Law expenses of 
all the then existing Railway Companies 
amounted to a charge of seven hundred 
pounds a mile on every mile of railway made 
in the United Kingdom, would it be startled 1 
But, supposing it were told in the next breath, 
that this charge was really not seven, but 

SEVENTEEN HUNDRED POUNDS A MILE, what 

would that other Public (on whom, of course, 
every farthing of it falls), say then i Yet this 
is the statement, in so many words and 
figures, of a document issued by the Board of 
Trade, and which is now rather scarce as 
well it may be, being a perilous curiosity. 
That other Public may learn from the same 
pages, that on the Law and Parliamentary 
expenses of a certain Stone and Rugby Line, 
the Bill for which was lost (and the Line 
consequently not made after all), there was 
expended the modest little preliminary total 
of one hundred and forty-six thousand ! 
pounds ! That was in the joyful days when 
counsel learned in Parliamentary Law, re- 
fused briefs marked with one hundred guinea 
fees, and accepted the same briefs marked ; 
with one thousand guinea fees ; the attorney ! 
making the neat addition of a third cipher, 
on the spot, with a presence of mind sug-; 
gestive of his own little bill against that j 
other Public (quite dissociated from us as j 
aforesaid), at whom our readers and we are j 
now bitterly smiling. That was also in the j 
blessed times when, there being no Public [ 
Health Act, Whitechapel paid to the tutelary ! 
deities, Law and Parliament, six thousand 
five hundred pounds, to be graciously allowed 
to pull down, for the public good, a dozen 
odious streets inhabited by Vice and Fever. 

Our Public know all about these things, 
and our Public are not blind to their enor- 
mity. It is that other Public, somewhere or 
other where can it be 1 which is always 

fetting itself humbugged and talked over. 
t has been in a maze of doubt and con- 
fusion, for the laet three or four years, on 
that vexed question, the Liberty of the 
Press. It has been told by Noble Lords 
that the said Liberty is vastly inconve- 
nient. No doubt it is. No doubt all 
Liberty is to some people. Light is highly 
inconvenient to such as have their sufficient 
reasons for preferring darkness ; and soap 
and water is observed to be a particular 
inconvenience to those who would rather be 
dirty than clean. But, that other Public find- 
ing the Noble Lords much given to harping 
betweenwhiles, in a sly dull way, on this 
string, became uneasy about it, and wanted to 
Jtuow what the harpers would have wanted 



to know, for instance, how they would direct 
and guide this dangerous Press. "Well, now 
they may know. If that other Public will 
ever learn, their instruction-book, very 
lately published, is open before them. Chapter 
one is a High Court of Justice ; chapter two 
is a history of personal adventure, whereof 
they may hear more, perhaps, one of these 
days. The Queen's Representative in a most 
important part of the United Kingdom a 
thorough gentleman, and a man of unim- 
peachable honour beyond all kind of doubt 
knows so little of this Press, that he is 
seen in secret personal communication with 
tainted and vile instruments which it rejects, 
buying their praise with the public money, 
overlooking their dirty work, and setting 
them their disgraceful tasks. One of the great 
national departments in Downing Street is 
exhibited under strong suspicion of like igno- 
rant and disreputable dealing, to purchase 
remote puffery among the most puff-ridden 
people ever propagated on the face of this 
earth. Our Public know this very well, and 
have, of course,%iken it thoroughly to heart, in 
itsmanysuggestiveaspects ; but, when will that 
other Public always lagging behindhand in 
some out of the way place become informed 
about it, and consider it, and act upon it ? 

It is impossible to over-state the complete- 
ness with which our Public have got to the 
marrow of the true question arising out of 
the condition of the British Army before 
Sebastopol. Our Public know perfectly, 
that, making every deduction for haste, ob- 
struction, and natural strength of feeling in 
the midst of goading experiences, the cor- 
respondence of THE TIMES has revealed a 
confused heap of mismanagement, imbe- 
cility, and disorder, under which the nation's 
bravery lies crushed and withered. Our Public 
is profoundly acquainted with the fact that 
this is not a new kind of disclosure, but, that 
similar defection and incapacity have be- 
fore prevailed at similar periods until the 
labouring age has heaved up a man strong 
enough to wrestle with the Misgoverument of 
England and throw it on its back. WEL- 
LINGTON and NELSON both did this, and the 
next great General and Admiral for whom 
we now impatiently wait, but may wait some 
time, content (if we can be) to know that 
it is not the tendency of our service, by sea or 
land, to help the greatest Merit to rise must 
do the same, and will assuredly do it, and by 
that sign ye shall know them. Our Public 
reflecting deeply on these materials for co- 
gitation, will henceforth hold fast by the 
truth, that the system of administering their 
aifairs is innately bad ; that classes -and 
families and interests, have brought them to a 
very low pass ; that the intelligence, stead- 
fastness, foresight, and wonderful power of 
resource, which in private undertakings dis- 
tinguish England from all other countries, 
have no vitality in its public business ; that 
while every merchant and trader has en- 



Charles Dickens.] 



THAT OTHER PUBLIC. 



larged his grasp and quickened his faculties, 
the Public Departments have been drearily 
lying iu state, a mere stupid pageant of 
gorgeous coffins and feebly-burning lights ; 
and that the windows must now be opened 
wide, and the candles put out, and the 
coffins buried, and the daylight freely ad- 
mitted, and the furniture made firewood, and 
the dirt clean swept away. This is the lesson 
from which our Public is nevermore to be dis- 
tracted by any artifice, we all know. But, that 
other Public. What will they do 1 They are 
a humane, generous, ardent Public ; but, will 
they hold like grim Death to the flower 
Warning, we have plucked from this nettle 
War ? Will they steadily reply to all 
cajolers, that though every flannel waist- 
coat in the civilized, and every bearskin and 
buffalo-skin in the uncivilized, world, had been 
sent out in these days to our ill-clad country- 
men (and never reached them), they would 
not in the least affect the lasting question, or 
dispense with a single item of the amendment 
proved to be needful, and, until made, to be 
severely demanded, in the whole household 
and system of Britannia ? When the war 
is over, and that other Public, always 
ready for a demonstration, shall be busy 
throwing up caps, lighting up houses, beating 
drums, blowing trumpets, and making hun- 
dreds of miles of printed columns of speeches, 
will they be flattered and wordily- pumped 
dry of the one plain issue left, or will they re- 
member it ? O that other Public ! If we 
you, and I, and all the rest of us could only 
make sure of that other Public ! 

Would it not be a most extraordinary re- 
missuess on the part of that other Public, if 
it were content, in a crisis of uncommon 
difficulty, to laugh at a Ministry without a 
Head, and leave it alone 1 Would it not be a 
wonderful instance of the shortcomings of 
that other Public, if it were never seen to 
stand aghast at the supernatural imbecility of 
that authority to which, in a dangerous hour, it 
<x>ufided the body and soul of the nation 1 
We know what a sight it would be to behold 
that miserable patient, Mr. Cabinet, specially 
calling his relations and friends together 
before Christmas, tottering on his emaciated 
legs in the last stage of paralysis, and feebly 
piping that if such and such powers were not 
entrusted to him for instant use, he would 
certainly go raving mad of defeated pa- 
triotism, and pluck his poor old wretched 
eyes out iu despair ; we know with what dis- 
dainful emotions we should see him gratified 
and then shuffle away and go to sleep : to 
make no use of what he had got, and be heard 
of no more until one of his nurses, more irri- 
table than the rest, should pull his weazen 
nose and make him whine we know what 
these experiences would be to us, and Bless 
us ! we should act upon them iu round ear- 
nest but, where is that other Public, whose 
indifference is the life of such scarecrows, and 
whom it would seem that not even plague 



pestilence and famine, battle murder and 
sudden death, can rouse ? 

There is one comfort in all this. We 
English are not the only victims of that 
other Public. It is to be heard of, else- 
where. It got across the Atlantic, in the 
train of the Pilgrim Fathers, and has fre- 
quently been achieving wonders in America. 
Ten or eleven years ago, one Chuzzlewit 
was heard to say, that he had found 
it on that side of the water, doing the 
strangest things. The assertion made all 
sorts of Publics angry, and there was 
quite a cordial combination of Publics to 
resent it and disprove it. But there is a 
little book of Memoirs to be heard of at the 
present time, which looks as if young 
Chuzzlewit had reason in him too. Does the 
" smart " Showman, who makes such a Mer- 
maid, and makes such a Washington's Nurse, 
and makes such a Dwarf, and makes such a 
Singing Angel upon earth, and makes such a 
fortune, and, above all, makes such a 
book does he address the free and en- 
lightened Public of the great United States : 
the Public of State Schools, Liberal Tickets, 
First - chop Intelligence, and Universal 
Education ? No, no. That other Public 
is the sharks'-prey. It is that other 
Public, down somewhere or other, whose 
bright particular star and stripe are not yet 
ascertained, which is so transparently cheated 
and so hardily outfaced. For that other 
Public, the hatter of New York outbid 
Creation at the auction of the first Lind seat. 
For that other Public, the Lind speeches were 
made, the tears shed, the serenades given. It 
is that other Public, always on the boil and 
ferment about anything or nothing, whom the 
travelling companion shone down upon from 
the high Hotel-Balconies. It is that other 
Public who will read, and even buy, the 
smart book in which they have so proud a 
share, and who will fly into raptures about 
its being circulated from the old Ocean 
Cliffs of the Old Granite State to the Eocky 
Mountains. It is indubitably in reference to 
that other Public that we find the following 
passage in a book called AMERICAN NOTES. 
" Another prominent feature is the love of 
' smart ' dealing, which gilds over many a 
swindle and gross breach of trust, many a 
defalcation, public and private ; and enables 
many a knave to hold his head up with the 
best, who well deserves a halter though it 
has not been without its retributive opera- 
tion ; for, this smartness has done more in a 
few years to impair the public credit and to 
cripple the public resources, than dull 
honesty, however rash, could have effected 
in a century. The merits of ( a broken specu- 
lation, or a bankruptcy, or of a successful 
scoundrel, are not gauged by its or his ob- 
servance of the golden rule, ' Do as you 
would be done by,' but are considered with 
reference to their smartness. The following 
dialogue I have held a hundred times : ' Is 



4 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted liy 



it not a very disgraceful circumstance that j 
such a man as So and So should be acquiring | 
a large property by the most infamous and 
odious means ; and, notwithstanding all the 
crimes of which he has been guilty, should be 
tolerated and abetted by your Citizens ? He 
is a public nuisance, is he not ? ' ' Yes, sir.' 
' A convicted liar ? ' ' Yes, sir.' ' He has 
been kicked and cuffed and caned 1 ' ' Yes, 
sir.' ' And he is utterly dishonourable, 
debased, and profligate 'I ' ' Yes, sir." ' In 
the name of wonder, then, what is his 
merit 1 ' ' Well, sir, he is a smart man.' " 

That other Public of our own bore their 
full share, and more, of bowing down before 
the Dwarf aforesaid, in despite of his obviously 
being too young a child to speak plainly : and 
we, the Public who are never taken in, will 
not excuse their folly. So, if John on this 
shore, and Jonathan over there, could each 
only get at that troublesome other Public of 
his, and brighten them up a little, it would 
be very much the better for both brothers. 



THE SECRET OF THE WELL. 



OUTSIDE the gate of Sitt Zeyneb, lead- 
ing from New Cairo to the old city was 
a cluster of buildings that became cele- 
brated in their day. They wore the aspect 
rather of a fortress than of the habita- 
tions of quiet peaceable people ; and were 
principally occupied by sly Copts and very 
poor Muslems. The backs of the houses were 
turned towards the fields, and exhibited 
nothing but great bare walls with a few win- 
dows pierced high up. The fronts looked upon 
an irregular court and a few blind alleys, 
some of which were vaulted over. A low 
gateway, closed at night and in times of dis- 
turbance, admitted those who had business 
there from the dirty road. Other mode of 
ingress there was none ; so that when, what 
you may call the little garrison was united, 
even collectors of taxes sometimes in vain de- 
manded admittance. By agreement based 
ou mutual interest, importunate creditors 
were either locked out by common consent; 
or, so ill-received, that they never cared to re- 
turn again. The children and the dogs that 
lay together all day long on the only spot 
where the sun shone upon the court, were 
sufficient to worry an ordinary man to 
death. 

From time immemorial there had been a 
large house to let in this out-of-the-way place. 
The family to whom it belonged must have 
had some other good source of revenue ; for 
generation after generation passed and no 
tenant appeared. Once every twenty years or 
so probably when son succeeded to father 
some one came from the city with the keys, 
went in, remained a little while, made in- 
quiries about the salubrity of the place as if 
debating whether to live there or not, and 
went away with vague talk, never fulfilled, of 
returning. The neighbours, not very inquisi- 



tive people, had learned that the owners were 
Copts, but nothing more. As to the fact 
that the house remained empty, no one won- 
dered at it. The cluster of habitations con- 
tained many deserted dwelling-places besides, 
and several single old men occupied premises 
capable of containing five families. What 
slightly astonished the gossips was, that any 
one should ever recur to the idea of letting 
that great tottering house. 

Tt was situated in the extensive depths of 
the Cassar, as the place was called ; and the 
lane leading to its great arched doorway, be- 
ing half choked with rubbish, was seldom 
visited, save by some sulky boy truant from 
the morning school of Dando the Copt barber- 
or by some young couple who had contrived, 
Heaven knows how. to give one another 
rendezvous there. On all sides it rose high 
and vast above the other dwellings, with not 
a window by which light could penetrate into 
the interior. Those who took the trouble to 
reflect on this circumstance guessed that its 
great circuit contained a court-yard, or, if not, 
that the chambers were dark. But in general 
the good folks of the Cassar lived as indiffer- 
ently by the side of that vast mysterious, 
edifice as the fox between the stones that 
have tumbled from the great Pyramid. It 
was part of the natural order of things. 

As the court of the Cassar contained three 
shops, it was called the bazaar. By the side 
of Dando, barber and schoolmaster, was 
Sohmed, the Muslem tobacco merchant, who 
also dealt in ready-made clothes ; and over 
the way Ibn Daood kept a sort of general 
warehouse, in which most necessary things, 
from pumpkins to pistols, from water-melons- 
to coffee-pots, could be obtained. It seemed 
to be the refuge of all rejected furniture and 
unsold provisions. Strangers who wandered 
into the place positively avowed that they 
never saw a single customer at any one of 
these shops ; and it is certain that Sohmed 
and Daood spent the chief part of their time 
on the bench in front of Dando's s"hop, on 
what conversing it is difficult to say, for one 
of the party being a Christian, controversial 
topics and sacred legends were necessarily 
excluded. In the East no propagandism is al- 
lowed in private life; and theological fisticuff* 
are not exchanged over a cup of coffee. 

From the little I have said it may be 
imagined, that life in the Cassar was a 
steady hum-drum sort of thing. The people 
got up with the sun and went forth to the 
city or field to work, and came back with the 
sun to go to bed. They ate as they were able, 
and dressed with perfect indifference to the 
world's opinion. Their sons and daughters 
grew, and loved, and married, much like other 
folk. Now and then there was a wedding ; 
and now and then a funeral. But it seemed 
never likely that the whole of that sober po- 
pulation could suddenly be roused into painful 
anxiety, disturbed with horrid fears perpetu- 
ally increasing, and hurried day after day, 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE SECEET OF THE WELL. 



week after week, more rapidly down a 
stream of tragic excitement, such as some- 
times seizes and bears along resistless the 
population of whole cities. 

On a bright, scorching, dusty day in 
August, the triumvirate in the bazaar, 
moved by the exclamation of an old woman 
who passed with a tray of bread upon her 
head, left the bench where they were lazily 
smoking, and advanced to a point whence they 
could look out beneath the broad arched gate- 
way down a dark lane, as through a telescope, 
into the sunny country. There was no doubt 
about the matter. A small caravan of 
camels, attended by some gaudily decked- 
out servants, had certainly halted there. Pre- 
sently a tall, handsome young man, dressed 
in a garb that seemed Persian, stooped to 
enter, and came rapidly towards the court- 
yard accompanied by a little, shrivelled, old 
man with a black turban. The three gossips 
made way, but stared with all their eyes. 

" Is that the shed 1 " enquired the young 
man, looking with half-closed eyes and a 
contemptuous curl of the lip at the walls of 
the uninhabited house. 

"A large shed," suggested Dando, across 
whose mind vague visions of a customer be- 
gan to float. 

The stranger acknowledged this interrup- 
tion by a slash with a little whip which he 
twirled in his hand. Daudo dispersed in the 
direction of his shop, Sohmed and Ibn Daood 
followed. The old man, who carried a vast 
wooden key like a club, went down the im- 
pregnated lane, and, after some fumbling 
contrived to open the door of the house. The 
barber, rubbing his shoulder with one hand, 
stretched out his neck and opened his eyes, 
but saw nothing but a gulf of darkness for a 
moment and then the solid planks of wood 
again. 

Soon afterwards a procession of servants, 
all black, and too terrible-looking to en- 
courage familiarity, passed by like shadows, 
bearing heavy burdens. They went back- 
ward and forward for some time. Then the 
old man with the black turban made his ap- 
pearance once more, hastened across the 
courtyard, mounted a mule held by a slave 
near the gate, and rode away. The camels 
had already disappeared ; so that within an 
hour after the Cassar had been thus disturbed 
there was no sign whatever of the new arri- 
val, except that the three tradesmen, a few old 
men too weak to go forth to work, and all the 
women of the place usually so silent and 
sad were eagerly discussing this remarkable 
occurrence. The eastern narrators will have 
it that, by a kind of instinctive revelation, all 
knew that they were soon to become the 
neighbours of strange actions, perhaps the 
victims of terrible disaster. 

Early rising was the rule in the Cassar, 
but next day everybody was astir an hour 
before the usual time. Great was the rumour 
and greater the conversation ; but there is so 



much news, and, above all, so much wisdom 
current in the world, that it would be fastidi- 
ous to repeat anything that was said. "We all 
know the rich variety of surmise that can be 
based on a fact comprehended by nobody. In. 
this case even Dando who, within an hour, 
was equally positive that the new tenant of 
the great house was a Persian physician, an 
Indian juggler, a Chinese shawl-merchant, 
and a Muscovite emissary, never approached 
within a parasang of the truth. 

A provoking circumstance was that the 
day passed by, and the great time-stained 
door of the old house never opened. No 
loquacious black, no garrulous servant-girl 
appeared. "And, by the by," observed the 
barber, "we saw no woman enter. This is 
against the rule. There are no harims in the 
Cassar. We live here in no Wakalah. It is 
not the custom for bachelors to lodge in the 
midst of families. Some bold man should 
go and make this representation. It would be 
a good opportunity to see what is passing be- 
behind that door." 

The Muslem crowd, for mfhsual circum- 
stance a crowd had collected, thanked 
Dando for his solicitude ; and suggested that 
he was the identical bold man wanted at this 
critical conjuncture. But his shoulder still 
felt the smack of the whip ; and he very 
humbly admitted that he was not a lion. In 
Egypt no man loses his own esteem or that of 
others by pleading guilty to cowardice. It is 
considered a mark of taste and piety to be 
chary of that inestimable possession life. 

Next day a very old black man with fierce 
rolling eyes came out of the house and went 
rapidly across the little square. A number 
of women who were laying in wait addressed 
him as " My Lord Steward," aud proposed 
dealings in eggs, butter, milk, and other pro- 
visions. They had stopped up the way, not 
at all frightened by his fiery eyes aud bright 
teeth, nor discouraged by his obstinate reply, 
that he wanted nothing. "But your master 
cannot live without eating," exclaimed the bar- 
ber's wife. " Perhaps he does'nt eat bread," 
replied the black man with a horrid leer. 
The crowd fell back and allowed him to pass. 
In an incredibly short space of time it was 
known that a cannibal had come to inhabit 
the Cassar ; and mothers began to call their 
children within doors, and to count them 
anxiously. 

In a couple of hours the black old man 
returned followed by a porter, who grunted 
under a huge basket of provisions, as Egyp- 
tian porters usually grunt when they are near 
the end of their journey, and are calculating 
the amount of the present they are about to 
receive. He was not allowed to enter the 
house, but emptied his basket and received 
his money at the door. It appears that he wag 
well paid ; for whilst the women, who deter- 
mined not to abandon the charge of canni- 
balism, were crying out against the wretch 
who despised to buy of his neighbours, the 



c 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



porter, wiping his brow with his sleeve, went 
away murmuring : " O prince, O generous 

11KU1 ! " 

For a long time matters continued in this 
position, so that, although the population of 
the Cassar continued uneasy, ana mothers no 
longer fearful but spiteful, still maliciously 
affected to count their children morning and 
evening, they sank back perforce into their 
old jog-trot style of life. The three trades- 
men alone persisted hi making the old house 
and its servants the object of their conver- 
sation, because they had nothing else to talk 
about ; and their eyes were often raised to- 
wards the vast silent walls that overlooked 
like a precipice the whole of the Cassar. At 
length, new food was supplied to their 
curiosity. 

Strangers began to make their appearance, 
sometimes guided by the old black man ; 
sometimes alone. The latter would ask for 
the House of Gamadel, by which outlandish 
came it appeared the new tenant, whom 
nobody had ever seen after the first day, was 
known. Alf seemed eager to arrive, and 
not by any means eager to go away. At 
whatever tune they came, it was never until 
long after dark that they departed ; and one 
of the earliest observations made in the Cassar 
was, that the more remarkable the visitor, the 
later the hour of departure. Sometimes the 
porter who slept on a bench behind the door, 
always closed at nightfall, tried to keep awake 
until some very noble stranger issued forth ; 
but it always happened that the bars were 
taken down before he could well open his eyes. 
He never, therefore, saw more than a robe or 
the back of a turban, disappearing through 
the door ; and the old black man, with the 
rolling eyes and bright teeth, preparing to 
shut it. On these occasions, however, the 
steward was particularly soft-spoken and even 
humble in his politeness. He seemed afraid 
to excite the anger or the curiosity of 
Bawab Ali ; and now and then dropped a 
piece of money into his hand, saying : "This 
is from my master's guest." 

Now, it happened that near the very ancient 
and sacred mosque of Sitt Zeyneb, within the 
gate of the city, dwelt an old man who had 
an only sou named Cathalla, celebrated in the 
quarter for his singular disposition. In 
Cairo, as elsewhere, reputations are oftener 
based on reprehensible than on admirable 
qualities. Cathalla became talked of among 
the neighbours, because, his father being mo- 
derately rich, he took it into his head that he 
was not bound to enter into the contest for 
wealth. Some foolish old book had told him 
that the sole object of life was not to add 
piastre upon piastre, and heap dollar upon 
dollar. Man, according to him, was created 
for other objects than to gather stores which 
he could never consume. The pursuit of 
knowledge and the acquisition of wisdom, the 
search after the nature and the reasons of 
things, were not to be abandoned only to men 



of feeble body and wandering intellects, inca- 
pable of overreaching a customer or grappling 
with the intricacies of a bargain. Study was 
not quite unworthy of a noble spirit ; and the 
sentences garnered up by the wise, of times 
gone by, were sometimes of more value than 
gold and silver. 

These odd notions led Cathalla to adopt a 
singular kind of life. His father, whose ap- 
proval he had won as much by obstinacy as by 
reason, allowed him to purchase all the old 
manuscripts he could find, and to fit up a 
room in a retired part of the house they in- 
habited, where he spent the greater portion of 
his time, growing paler as he grew wiser. 
What he learned it would be too long to- 
relate. The general result was that he 
acquired a very different mode of viewing 
thoughts and actions from all around him,, 
and came to consider things unlawful, which 
everybody else regarded as perfectly proper. 
But he did not crave happiness. It is a terri- 
ble thing to make a code of morals for one- 
self, and to quit the path of custom. Medita- 
tion easily finds truth ; but the will is not 
always strong enough to obey it. Cathalla. 
became soon dissatisfied with himself as he 
was with the world. He lost the health 
of his mind as well as that of his body. 

Suddenly, he threw his books aside and 
took to wandering forth through the city,, 
especially by night, when the narrow streets 
were deserted, save by some unhappy man in 
search of rest or booty, or by an occasional 
party of worthy citizens protected by lanterns 
and the loudness of their voices, or by the 
watch moving along with heavy tramp. At 
such times, when the tranquil moon threw 
down patches of silver between the near 
houses, and the starry sky could be seen in 
stripe over head; when the sound softly shook 
the leaves of the palm trees that drooped 
over the lofty walls, and the owl hooted from 
the pinnacle of some ruined building ; Cathalla 
thought that he felt his mind enlarge and rise- 
in stature, so that high-placed truth was 
nearer to his grasp. But, he did not quite 
understand all the emotions that troubled 
him. There were times when he yearned after 
something different from the old aphorisms of 
philosophy when " to know " appeared no 
longer all in all, and he aspired likewise " to 
be." " Is this existence ? " he would say. 
" What purpose do I fulfil in this world ? The 
men whom I disdain, belong to the great ma- 
chine of humanity. They buy, they sell, they 
cultivate, they go forth in ships, they tread 
the desert, they govern and give judgment in 
causes. When they disappear, there is joy 
or sorrow. But, if I go to sleep under this 
dark archway, who will miss me but the old 
man living in alonely house, too far on the way 
to Paradise for bitter regret ? " In truth, Ca- 
Ui.-illa yearned to love and to be loved ; and in 
such moods of mind, from every lattice over- 
head, he thought he heard passionate whis- 
pers, and soft salutations, and tender sighs, 



Charles Dickens.l 



THE SECRET OF THE "WELL. 



and half audible kisses crossing to and fro, in- 
terlacing, as it were, in an exquisite roof, 
beneath which he lingered for a while with 
ineffable delight that soon turned to despair. 

One day, tire young man wandered forth 
into the country, and strolled on the banks of 
the Nile, until its waters grew dark and became 
dotted with the reflections of stars. Then, he 
thought of returning homeward ; but the 
city gates were closed when he reached them, 
and the guards refused to admit him. He was 
not at all disturbed by the idea of passing a 
night in the open air ;, but, being tired, wished 
to find a place where he could lie down and 
rest undisturbed. Chance directed him to a 
ruined tomb near the back of the Cassar 
under the walls of the house of Gamadel. 
He entered, and lying down, slept. Towards 
midnight he was awakened by the sound of 
voices. He listened at first without moving, 
thinking he was in the neighbourhood of 
robbers. 

ei Show thy face, O Suliman Ebn Suliman," 
said a voice from some high position in a 
jeering tone. " If it be not now black, thou 
art not to be admitted." 

" It is black as blackness," was the reply. 
" Great is the power that can effect this 
change." 

Cathalla looked cautiously through a break 
in the ruined tomb, and beheld by the light 
of the moon, which shone brilliantly, a tall 
negro standing at the foot of the wall, looking 
up. He was dressed in the garments ot a 
distinguished person, and seemed to wait im- 
patiently to seize the first round of a rope- 
ladder that was being let down from above. 
Presently he began to ascend, and soon disap- 
peared through a small window near the 
summit of the lofty wall. 

" This is a strange occurrence." thought 
Cathalla, trying to account for it by reasoning, 
but in vain. 

Next day, just as the Damascus caravan 
was about to start, great search was made 
after a wealthy merchant named Suliman 
Ebn Suliman, a Turk. A crier perambulated 
the streets, announcing that his friends were 
distressed at his disappearance ; but Cathalla 
was again wandering forth ; and even if he 
had heard the inquiry, having impiously 
learned to disbelieve in magical transforma- 
tions, would never have thought of connecting 
the white merchant, whose face he well knew, 
with the black man he had seen entering in a 
mysterious manner the house of Gamadel. 

By this time, however, the Cassar was in a 
state of terrible excitement. No one can tell 
how the report got abroad, or on what it was 
founded. It seemed to be one of those reve- 
lations, which Providence sometimes mys- 
teriously puts into the mouths of common 
people, who shout the truths they do not 
understand through the streets and fields. 
Certain it is, however, that from the barber 
to the porter, every one began to say that the 
strangers who entered the house of Gamadel 



nearly every day never came forth again. 
Some people personating them, wearing their 
garments or mysteriously assuming their 
shape, did pass through the gate frequently 
whilst the bawab was in hia heavy sleep, and 
never returned. But Dando maintained, with 
great appearance of truth, that the real per- 
sonages would be less careful to conceal their 
faces, and was perhaps the first to cry out 
that the house of Gamadel was a house of 
slaughter an idea readily accepted* for the 
popular mind willingly infers that a man who 
disappears is dead. 

If the people of the Cassar had been quite 
persuaded of what seemed to be likely under 
this supposition that the strangers whose 
fate interested them were murdered for the 
purpose of robbery they would probably 
have been less disquieted. Being all poor, 
they could have nothing to fear for them- 
selves. But their imaginations were fertile. 
Gamadel, the strong-armed, as they now 
thought they remembered the ferocious- 
looking young man, might be a terrible 
magician who had need of human blood for 
his incantations. Their turn might come next. 
At any rate, this supposed neighbourhood of 
crime disquieted them, even w T hile they had 
reason to think that they themselves were safe. 

At length even this consolation was taken 
from them. A half-witted youth one morning 
went chuckling about the Cassar, intimating 
that he could say strange things if he chose, 
that he had passed the night outside the 
gates, and had seen he would not say what. 
They pestered him to speak, but with a 
cunning stupidity he refused. ''Let him 
alone," said Dando. " This evening, if we 
turn our backs on him, he will tell all of his 
own accord/' The half-witted lad went forth ; 
but was found about midday in a field of 
sugar-canes, killed by a single stroke of a 
sword. 

When this fact became known, the people 
of the Cassar assembled tumultuously ; and 
although there seemed no positive reason to 
say that death had been dealt by any of the 
people of the house of Gamadel, no one 
doubted that such was the case. The mur- 
dered lad had boasted of having noticed some 
suspicious circumstance, and had died without 
saying what it was. Who could be interested 
in slaying him, save some servant of the 
house 1 Less conclusive reasoning has often 
urged a crowd to the most terrible excesses. 
An old woman the mother of the victim- 
pointing with her lean fingers to the corpse, 
which lay on some straw in a corner of the 
court, croaked for vengeance. The men of the ' 
Cassar were not usually brave, but they were- 
goaded on by despair. One after the other, 
they might all fall beneath the assassin's 
knife, if they dared to reveal any frightful 
secret that might come to them without their 
will. Some old guns, several rusty swords^ 
and many spears, began to make their ap- 
pearance. The butcher wielded a prodigious 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



cleaver. They advanced with furious shouts passed by. He heard the muezzins from the 
towards the great door of the house no mosques calling to prayer long after the hum 



sound emanating from within, no sign re- 
vealing that it was inhabited. 

An unexpected circumstance put a stop to 
the meditated assault. A lady followed by a 
slave, and at a little distance by a young 
man, appeared in the court of the Cassar, 
advancing towards the house of Gamadel. 
She was carelessly veiled ; and what could be 
seen of her countenance was so beautiful, 
that the most furious of the crowd stopped ; 
presently all ranged themselves on either 
hand, to let her pass. She advanced at first 
boldly and then seemed to hesitate, as if 
uncertain whither she was going. 

" Is this the house of Gamadel 1 " s 
inquired. 

They answered that it was ; but, their anger 
and their terror reviving at that word, all 
implored her not to enter, repeating the ter- 
rible suspicions that had troubled them for 
so many months past. She smiled incredu- 
lously, and announced her intention to enter, 
with so much confidence, that the people 
began to doubt what they had previously 
seemed so certain about. This lady spoke 
of Gamadel so tenderly, and as if from so 
complete a knowledge, that all marvelled. 

Suddenly the young man whom we have 
mentioned came forward. It was no other 
than Cathalla. He had seen the lady riding 
slowly along the street, and having been 
smitten with love for her had followed, not 
knowing what he desired or what he hoped. 
With passionate entreaties he also besought 
her not to enter ; and his words and manner 
showed clearly what was the reason of his 
interference. The lady looked benevolently 
at him and smiled sadly ; but without an- 
swering advanced towards the great doorway. 
Cathalla would have followed ; but the crowd 
surrounded him ; and when he succeeded in 
passing through, thrusting back their hands 
on either side, the grim vast door had closed 
upon the form, the image of which remained 
like a burning coal in his breast. 

He listened gloomily to the horrible stories, 
or rather the horrible surmises related to 
him, and then went away. But he could not 
leave the neighbourhood of the place where 
the object of his sudden love had disappeared 
beneath a roof of terror, like a bright stream 
leaping into a yawning chasm of the earth. 
Going round the Cassar by the fields, he 
recognised the tomb where he had once 
passed a night, and the great wall of the 
house which the black man had entered in 
so strange a manner. What he had just heard 
seemed a comment on what he had seen for- 
merly. 

" I will retui-n," he said, " when darkness 
comes, and watch." 

So, he wandered away to the river side, and 
remaining there until an hour after sunset, 



came back by moonlight to the tomb, 
he lay down and waited patiently. 



Here 



of the great city near at hand had died away. 
Occasionally in the suburbs and in the vil- 
lages scattered over the fields, packs of dogs 
barked at some wayfarer. The wind that 
blew sometimes seemed to sing amongst the 
sugar-canes. The monotony of watchful: 
ness ovei-came him, and he slept. But, 
as before, he was awakened by the sound of 
voices : 

" Look around," said some one overhead 
" I saw that young dreamer prowl in this 
direction. What ii' he play the spy ? " 

" Does he wish to go with the other ? " 
growled the black man, looking to the right 
and to the left, and then advancing towards 
the tomb. Cathalla beheld the gleam of a 
sword, and knew that he must kill or be 
killed. He drew a dagger and stood inside 
the ruined doorway, breathless as one watch- 
ing by a sick bedside. The black man, who 
strange to say wore the mantle of a woman, 
entered without much caution, and fell on his 
face dead ; for, the dagger of Cathalla at the 
first blow pierced him to the heart. The 
young man, made reckless by the excess of 
his passion for the unknown lady, instantly 
tore off the mantle, threw it over his own 
head, and taking the dead man's sword, went 
forth towards the house to the place where 
the ladder was let down as before. He 
mounted eagerly, no one speaking to him, 
and reaching the window entered and stood 
nrmly on the floor before the other black took 
notice of him. A cry of terror and warning 
was interrupted by death ; and Cathalla 
stepped over this second corpse and pro- 
ceeded to explore the interior of the house. 

A long passage, at the extremity of which 
burned a light, pi'esented itself to him. It 
led to a chamber with a lamp in a niche 
opening upon a kind of terrace. Advancing 
cautiously, Cathalla leaned over the parapet, 
and looking down beheld a sight that con- 
vinced him how unfounded had been the 
suspicions of the people of the Cassar at any 
rate in one instance. A veil seemed to drop 
from before his eyes. Had he been a mur- 
derer without just cause ? Were the two 
lives he had taken, innocent ? He might 
have retired with fear and trembling, but 
a stronger passion than remorse restrained 
him. 

He beheld the lady who, according to the 
villagers, had gone to certain death, sitting 
dressed in splendid garments on a kind of 
raised throne in the centre of a little garden, 
beautifully shaded by trees and cooled by a 
fountain that gushed amidst flowers. Near 
her feet, reclining on a low divan, was the 
young man known as Gamadel. He seemed 
to gaze at her with passionate adoration, and 
now and then uttered a few words the sense 
of which did not come to the ears of Cathalla. 
Probably, however, he was pressing her to 



Time I sing ; for, presently she took a lute, and 



Charles DicVens.] 



THE SECEET OF THE WELL. 







having tuned it, in a voice of marvellous 
sweetness chanted the following verses : 

" In absence I longed for thee as the thirsty flowers 
long for the dews of night ; 

" As the Arab longs to Bee the white sides of his 
tent gleaming in the deserts afar off; as the mother for 
the first kiss of her first-bora ; as the soul of the faith- 
ful for paradise. 

" Food was not pleasant to me, for the sweetest 
viands seemed bitter. 

" Kest was not pleasant to me, for I feared that thy 
feet were weary. 

" Sleep stayed no longer on my eyelids than does the 
nestward-bound bird ou the branch where it alights to 
rest its wings. 

" I rose to escape from my dreams, and I lay down 
to escape from my waking thoughts. 

" "Without thee I cannot live, and with thee I ain 
content to die." 

As she concluded she stooped towards 
Gamadel and touched his brow fondly with 
her hand. Cathalla dared not advance and 
could not retire. 

Then the master of the house took the lute, 
and having tuned it, sang in a voice that 
resounded like the clang of cymbals : 

" For the love of thee I have steeped my hands in 
blood ; and the wealth which I lay at thy feet is 
gathered by the strength of my arm. 

" I have not measured yards of cloth nor weighed 
the teeth of dead beasts in scales. 

" I have not lied to foolish men nor deceived silly 
women. 

" They come with their hands full of gold ; some to 
buy more gold, and others to buy more life. 

" Not one has returned except in semblance. 

" What matters it that the people murmur? Now 
thou art come we will away to the land of Ajem, and 
the secret of the well will never be known." 

Cathalla learned from these words that he 
had really penetrated into a house of crime, 
and regretted not that he had put the two 
blacks to death. Ordinary prudence would 
have counselled him to retire whilst it Avas 
yet time ; but although the lady was evidently 
associated with Gamadel in crime, her fascina- 
tionremained powerful. Curiosity, also, to learn 
more of this strange history, urged Cathalla on- 
wards. No other person save the two lovers 
seemed astir in the house. On all sides the doors 
of chambers well-lighted were open, but no one 
moved. The young man, casting aside his 
mantle and firmly grasping his sword, de- 
scended a narrow staircase, and soon found 
himself on a level with the garden in a dark 
corner where he was concealed by trees. 
From what they said, it seemed that they 
were cousins ; that they had lived formerly at 
Stamboul, from which city they had been 
forced suddenly to fly, by different ways ; that 
the young man had continued m various 
places his terrible mode of life decoying rich 
men by secret emissaries to his house by 
the promise of unlimited wealth procured 
magically and that the lady had long 
searched for hirh in vain. 

" Whisper into their ears," said Gamadel, 
with terrible knowledge of human nature ; 



" though they be rich as Suliman ben Daood, 
with not a month of life before them ; tell 
them that there is a way to get more money 
without work, and that the grave may be 
spurned back as I spurn this cushion. Not 
one will disbelieve ! All come here with pearls 
and jewels ; all come and die and go to their 
paradise, which they would exchange for one 
hour of basking at thy feet." 

Gamadel was about to say further impious 
things ; but the sword of Cathalla gleamed 
over his head, and he fell and spoke no more. 
The lady became white with terror, and 
looked to the right and to the left for help ; 
but seeing none, tried to smile the smile of 
one upon the rack, who will not allow his 
torturer to know that he has power over him. 
Then she spoke the sweetest words she could | 
remember, so that Cathalla, who had medi- 
tated doing vengeance on her likewise, 
dropped the point of his sword arid listened. 
She feigned to be glad of her deliverance 
from a monster like Gamadel, and offered to 
follow Cathalla. But he now loathed her 
even because she was so submissive, and im- 
periously commanded her to say how many 
more slaves were in the house. Two, she 
said, the steward and the porter ; and offered 
to lead him where he might slay them. She 
kept her promise ; for she had formed a plan 
to kill Cathalla afterwards, and take to flight 
alone with a casket containing all the wealth 
of Gamadel in jewels of prodigious value. 
"With this," said she, exhibiting it, "we 
will fly to the world's end." She beckoned 
to the young man to follow her into a room ; 
so fascinating was her smile, that in 
spite of his good resolutions he was about to 
follow ; when, as if by a miracle, a line of 
Gamadel's song flashed across his mind : 
" The secret of the well will never be 
known." 

" Lad} r ," said he, " wherefore didst thou 
avoid that great stone in the doorway ? Is 
the well beneath ? Come towards me across 
it ; else I will slay thee with this sword." 

Upon this, seeing that she was discovered, 
the face of the woman changed to that of a 
fury, and she began to utter horrible male- 
dictions. The choice of death was before her. 
She endeavoured bravely to meet the sharp 
edge of the sword, but could not ; and leaping 
with a fearful cry upon the stone, that gave 
way at once, she fell to join the numerous 
victims on whose spoils the wealth of her 
lover was based. Cathalla stood a moment 
horror-stricken ; but the wicked woman, 
thinking to get rid of her enemy and escape 
at once, had thrown fire into a room full of 
rich stuffs, the spoils of the murdered. Smoke 
and flames began to rise on every side : the 
crackling of burning wood showed how 
rapidly the conflagration spread. The young 
man snatched up the casket and made his 
escape in time ; but, the house of Gamadel, 
with the whole of the Cassai-, was destroyed 
that night. The poor people, suddenly 



10 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



awakened, rushed forth into the fields and 
stood helpless, beholding the flames devoui 
all they possessed. According to their belief 
fire hail descended from heaveu to punish th< 
wicked. 

Not long afterwards, a new village haa 
risen on the same spot by the munificence o: 
a stranger whose name was never known, 
and all the inhabitants had reason to rejoice 
over what had seemed at first an irreparable 
disaster. As for Cathalla, strongly impressed 
with the wickedness and avarice of the world, 
he retired with his father to a lonely spot 
with his strangely acquired wealth, and built 
a house and devoted himself entirely to acts 
of charity. When he told this story he 
pretended that the conduct of the cousin of 
Gamadel had so disgusted him with women, 
that he had resolved never to marry ; but 
some believing, what may be true, that love 
is a kind of madness, said that no other 
woman could make him forget that one. 
And after all, how many great passions would 
be born in this world if only good women 
were their object ? 



VAILS TO SERVANTS. 

HAVING been from year to year an unmoved 
spectator of the indignant face of, and an 
amused listener to the lamentations over the 
decay of vails to servants, made by the head 
.messenger of my office (I sit in the shadow 
of Inigo's banqueting hovise), I have been 
looking of late into a box I possess, of 
anecdotes relating to English manners and 
customs, to see what I can find on a subject, 
the decay and almost entire abolition of which 
-elicits every Christmas sour looks and sour 
words from the well-fed, well-lodged, and 
not at all ill-salaried Ephraim Easeinsleep 
head messenger and ofticekeeper of one of 
her Majesty's offices of state. 

Amused with what I have found, I will 
group together briefly, but accurately, all 
[ know upon the subject. I will only 
premise that vails to servants were of a like 
nature with fees to officials looked upon as 
perquisites appertaining to wages and salaries; 
and that it is only within the last few years' 
that Christmas boxes to servants, and fees to 
officers of state, have been, as far as the 
public accounts are concerned, publicly 
abolished and forbidden by the Lords Com- 
missioners of her Majesty's Treasury. A few 
perhaps remain, such as fees on venison 
warrants, but their number must be very 
few. Hence Ephraim's ill-humour. 

I read (to use one of old Stow's expres- 
sions), that the servants of our portrait 
painters were the greatest exacters of vails 
Few sitters escaped. When Villiers. Duke of 
Buckmghaui (the Buckingham who was assas- 
sinated), sat to Mr. afterwards Sir Balthazar 
Gerbier, the bearer of the Duke's privv purse, 
bir backville Crowe, was indignant at" the ex- 
.actions made upon his master. Sir Sackville's 



entry of the payments made on this occasion 
will excite a smile : 

Given to Mr. Geibier's servants uhen his Lordship 
sat there for his picture, viz., to the two maids, 2 ; 
to the two men that pretended to take pains about his 
picture, 5. In all, 7. 

The first painter in this country to forbid 
the custom of giving vails to servants, was 
that great pourtrayer of manners, William 
Hogarth. When I sat to Hogarth," said 
painstaking William Cole, "the custom of 
giving vails to servants was not discontinued. 
On taking leave of the painter at the door I 
offered his servant a small gratuity, but the 
man very politely refused it, telling me it 
would be as much as the loss of his place if 
his master knew it. This,* adds Cole, " was 
so uncommon and so liberal in a man of 
Hogarth's profession at that time of day, 
that it much struck me, as nothing of the 
kind had happened to me before." ft is told 
of Sir Joshua Eeynolds, that he gave his 
servant six pounds annually of wages, and 
offered him one hundred pounds a year for 
the door! But Ealph knew better than to 
go halves with his master in such a matter. 

My next memorandum leads us to a cha- 
racteristic story of Sir Eichard Steele, who 
was always liberal and always poor. Steele 
was at Blenheim at the performance of a 
;ragedy by Dryden. It was got up to amuse 
the great Duke of Marlborough in his dotage, 
and Steele sat next to the famous Hoadfy, 
then only Bishop of Bangor. The liveried 
army alarmed Sir Eichard. "Does your 
ordship give money to all these fellows in 
aced coats and ruffles?" asked the discon- 
certed essayist and theatrical patentee. " No 
doubt," replied the bishop. "I have not 
enough," whispered the knight, and walked 
on. Hoadly watched him, and heard him 
accost the bevy of menials in the hall, telling 
them that he had found them men of taste 
and as such invited them all to Drury Lane 
Theatre to any play they should bespeak. 
My theatrical reading has not enabled me to 
discover if Sir Eichard was called upon to 
make good the promise of his witty escape 
from vails on this occasion. 

The people who have been most indignant 
against vails to servants have been the mean 
and the necessitous. Of the latter class was 
Eichard Savage. His wants made him seek 
access to the titled, and his poverty prohi- 
bited him from acting up to the liveried 
notion of the complete gentleman. He com- 
plained in print. Queen Caroline allowed 
Merlin's Cave and other torn-fooleries of the 
kind, at Eichmond, to be shown for money. 
This was too much for Savage, who in a 
poem "On Public Spirit with regard to 
Public Works," inserted these lines : 
But what the flowering pride of gardens rare, 
However royal, or however fair, 
If gates, which to access should still give way, 
Ope but, like Peter's Paradise, for pay? 
If perquisited varlets frequent stand, 
And each new walk must a new tax demand, 



Charles Dickens.] 



VAILS TO SERVANTS. 



11 



What foreign eye but with contempt surveys ? 

What muse shall from oblivion snatch their praise ? 
These, however, for fear of offending the 
Queen, he was prudent enough to cancel ; 
and thus his vigorous vferse was of no use in 
removing an absurd custom then prevalent 
in England. 

The next memorandum in my box refers 
to Henry Fielding, and leads us to an anec- 
dote not unlike that I have just told of Sir 
Richard Steele. It is this. At one of Gar- 
rick's many dinners, Fielding was present^ 
and vails to servants being still in fashion, 
each of the guests at parting made a present 
to the man servant of the great actor, David, 
a "Welshman, and a wit in his way. When 
the company had gone, the lesser David being 
in high glee, was asked by his master how 
much he had got. " I can't tell you yet, sir," 
was the man's reply. " Here is half-a-crown 
from Mrs. Gibber, Got pless hur ! here is a 
shilling from Mr. Macklin ; here are two from 
Mr. Havard ; here is and here is some- 
thing more from Mr. Fielding, Got pless his 
merry heart ! " By this time, the expectant 
Welshman wearing the great actor's livery 
-had unfolded the paper, when, to his great 
astonishment, he saw that it contained a 
vulgar and unmistakeable penny and no 
more. Garrick, it is said, was nettled at this, 
and spoke next day to Fielding about the 
impropriety of jesting with a servant. " Jest- 
ing ! " said the author of Tom Jones, with 
seeming surprise. "So far from it, that I 
meant to do the fellow a real service, for 
had I given him a shilling, or half-a-crown, I 
knew you would have taken it from him ; 
but by giving him only a penny, he had a 
chance of calling it his own." Garrick's 
alleged parsimony was long the subject of 
sarcastic observation among his contempora- 
ries. That the two Davids the master and the 
man divided vails it is impossible to believe. 

If Sir Richard Steele was witty in his 
escape from this black-mail levied by men in 
livery, Sir Timothy Waldo, Baronet, of whom 
I know nothing mor% was at least manly on 
a similar occasion. He had been dining with 
the minister Duke of Newcastle, I suppose 
in that large red house in the north-west 
corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields still known to 
antiquaries as Newcastle House. On leaving, 
Sir Timothy was pressed by the domestics of 
the Duke, who lined the hall with eager faces 
and extended hands. He had made his way 
as far as the cook, and apparently had satisfied 
the servants of his host, when a crown put 
into the hand of the cook was returned with 
" Sir, I do not take silver." " Don't you in- 
deed ! " said the baronet, putting it into his 
pocket, " then I do not give gold." 

From these exactions poor peers suffered 
still more than poor commoners. Here is a 
case in point, told of a Roman Catholic peer 
and the attainted Duke of Ormond. " 1 re- 
member," says Dr. King, " a Lord Poor, a 
Koman Catholic peer of Ireland, who lived 



upon a small pension which Queen Anne had 
granted him. He was a man of honour and 
well esteemed, and had formerly been an 
officer of some distinction in the service of 
France. The Duke of Ormond had often in- 
vited him to dinner, and he had as often excused 
himself. At last the Duke kindly expostu- 
lated with him, and would know the reason 
why he so constantly refused to be one of his 
guests. My Lord Poor then honestly con- 
fessed that he could not afford it. "But," 
says he, "if your Grace will put a guinea 
into my hands as often as you are pleased to 
invite me to dine, I will not decline the 
honour of waiting on you." This was done, 
says Dr. King, and my Lord was afterwards 
a frequent guest in St. James's Square. 

This levy of vails had grown to such a nui- 
sance early in the reign of King George the 
Third, that serious attempts were made to 
resist the tax. In this resistance, no one 
seems to have behaved better than a gentle- 
man whose name has unluckily not reached 
us. He was paying the servants of a friend 
for a dinner which their master had invited 
him to. One by one they appeared with 
"Sir, your great coat," and a shilling was 
given; "Sir, your hat," another shilling; 
" Sir, your stick," a third shilling ; " Sir, 
your umbrella," a fourth shilling ; " Sir, 
your gloves." "Why, friend, you may keep 
the gloves ; they are not worth a shilling ! " 

A still more active opponent of the scan- 
dalous custom of vails was the benevolent 
Jonas Hauway, whose name still lingers 
pleasantly round many of our London cha- 
rities. He not only wrote against it, but 
answered a friend in high station, who re- 
proached him for not coming oftener to dine 
with him, by saying, " Indeed I cannot 
afford it." 

Han way moved in good society; and his 
letters, and, above all, his example, did much 
to remove this indecent tax upon good nature 
and good sense. The Duke of Norfolk, Mr. 
Spencer, Sir Francis Dashwood, and others, 
increased their servants' wages in proportion 
to the alleged value of their vails. The famous 
farce of High Life Below Stairs caused ser- 
vants to be looked upon in a light unfavour- 
able to the custom, and by degrees the tax 
was no longer demanded as a right. The 
discontinuance first, it is said, commenced 
seriously in Scotland. " I boasted," says 
Boswell, "that the Scotch had the honour of 
being the first to abolish the inhospitable, 
troublesome, and ungracious custom of giving 
vails to servants. "Sir," said Johnson, in 
reply, " you abolished vails because you were 
too poor to be able to give them." 

The first attempt made to discontinue so 
scandalous a custom, led to a serious disturb- 
ance. The scene was Ranelagh, and the time 
the eleventh of August, seventeen hundred 
and sixty-four. Such of the nobility and 
gentry as would not suffer their servants to 
take vails, were hooted and hissed on that 



12 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conductedbj 



occasion by their own coachmen and foot- 
men. From hissing they proceeded to break 
the lamps and outside windows. They then 
extinguished their flambeaux and pelted the 
company with brickbats. Swords were drawn ; 
in the scuffle one servant was run through 
the thigh, another through the arm, and many 
others were wounded. Four were seized 
and being carried before the justices, one was 
committed to Newgate, one discharged by his 
master and bound to good behaviour, one set 
at liberty on his asking pardon and promising 
to discover his accomplices, and one dis- 
charged, no person appearing against him. 

I long to see Ephraiui's face when he reads 
this paper. 



THE LESSON OF THE WAR. 

THE feast is spread through England 

For rich and poor to-day ; 
Greetings and laughter may be there, 

But thoughts are far away, 
Over the stormy ocean, 

Over the dreary track, 
Where some are gone whom England 

Will never welcome back. 
Breathless she waits, and listens 

For every eastern breeze 
That bears upon its bloody wings 

News from beyond the seas. 
The leafless branches stirring 

Make many a watcher start, 
The distant tramp of steed may send 

A throb from heart to heart. 
The rulers of the nation, 

The poor ones at their gate, 
With the same eager wonder 

The same great news await ! 
The poor man's stay and comfort, 

The rich roan's joy arid pride, 
Upon the bleak Crimean shore 

Are fighting side by side. 
The bullet comes and either 

A desolate hearth ma}' see ; 
And God alone to-night knows where 

The vacant place may be ! 
The dread that stirs the peasant 

Thrills nobles' hearts with fear, 
Yet above selfish sorrow 

Both hold their country dear. 
The rich man who reposes 

In his ancestral shade, 
The peasant at his plough =1,. ire, 

The worker at his trade, 
Each one his all has perilled, 

Each has the same great stake, 
Each soul can but have patience, 

Each heart can only break ! 
Hushed is all party clamour ; 

One thought in every he-art, 
One dread in every household, 

lias bid such strife depart. 
England has called her children, 

Long silent the word camo 
That lit the smouldering ubhes 

Through all the land to f'auie. 
you who toil and suffer, 

You gladly heard the call ; 



But those you sometimes envy 

Have they not given their all ? 
O you who rule the nation, 

Take now the toil-worn hand, 
Brothers you are in sorrow 

In duty to your land. 
Learn but this noble lesson 

Ere Peace returns again, 
And the lifeblood of OKI England 

Will not be shed in vain ! 



SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND HIS 
CREWS. 

IN order that our readers, at a future time, 
when the Esquimaux stories shall have been 
further tested, may be in possession of them 
as originally brought home, we have pro- 
cured from DR. RAE a faithful copy of his 
Report for publication. We do not feel 
justified in omitting or condensing any part 
of it ; believing, as we do, that it is a very 
unsatisfactory document on which to found 
. such strong conclusions as it takes for granted. 
I The preoccupation of the public mind has 
! dismissed this subject easily for the present ; 
but, we assume its great interest, and the 
serious doubts we hold of its having been 
convincingly set at rest, to be absolutely 
certain to revive. 

York Factory, Hudson's Bay, 1st Sept., 1854. 
I have the honour to report, for the 
information of the Governor, Deputy Go- 
vernor, and Committee, that I arrived here 
I yesterday with my party, all in good health ; 
j but, from causes which will be explained 
! hereafter, without having effected the object 
of the expedition. At the same time 
information has been obtained, and articles 
j purchased from the natives, which prove 
beyond a doubt that a portion, if not all, of 
the survivors of the long lost and unfortunate 
party under Sir John Franklin had met with. 
a fate as melancholy and dreadful as it is 
possible to imagine. 

By a letter dated Chesterfield Inlet, 
ninth of August, eighteen hundred and fiftv- 
three, you are in possession of my proceed- 
ings up to that time. Late on the evening of 
that day we parted company with our small 
consort, she steering down to the southward, 
whilst we took the opposite direction to 
Repulse Bay. 

Light and variable winds sadly retarded 
our advance northward ; but by anchoring 
during the flood, and sailing or rowing with 
the tide, we gained some ground daily. On 
the eleventh we met with upwards of three 
hundred walrus, lying on a rock a few milea 
off shore. They were not at all shy, and 
several were mortally wounded, but one only 
(an immensely large fellow) was shot dead 
by myself. The greater part of the fat was 
cut off and taken on board, which supplied 
usabundantly with oil for our lamps all winter. 
On the forenoon of the fourteenth, having 
a fair wind, we rounded Cape Horn, and ran 
up Repulse Bay ; but as the weather was 



Charles Dickens.] 



SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND HIS CREWS. 



13 



very foggy, completely hiding every object at 
the distance of a quarter-of'-a-mile, \ve made 
the laud about seven miles east of my old 
winter quarters ; next day, midst heavy rain, 
we ran down to North Pole River, moored 
the boat, aud pitched the tents. 

The weather being still dark and gloomy, 
the surrounding country presented a most 
dreary aspect. Thick masses of ice clung to 
the shore, whilst immense drifts of snow 
filled each ravine, and lined every steep bank 
that had a southerly exposure. No Esqui- 
maux were to be seen, nor any recent traces 
of them. Appearances could not be less 
promising for wintering safely ; yet I deter- 
mined to remain until the first of September ; 
by which date some opinion could be formed 
as to the practicability of procuring sufficient 
food and fuel for our support during the 
winter: all the provisions on hand at that 
time being equal to only three months' 
consumption. 

The weather fortunately improved, and not 
a moment was lost. Nets were set ; hunters 
were sent out to procure venison ; and the 
majority of the party was constantly em- 
ployed collecting fuel. By the end of August 
a supply of the latter essential article (An- 
dromeda Tetragona) for fourteen weeks was 
laid up, thirteen deer and one musk-bull had 
been shot, aud one hundred and thirty- 
six salmon caught. Some of the favourite 
haunts of the Esquimaux had been visited, 
but no indications were seen to lead us to 
suppose that they had been lately in the 
neighbourhood. 

The absence of the natives caused me some 
anxiety ; not that I expected any aid from 
them, but because I could attribute their 
having abandoned so favourable a locality 
to no other cause than a scarcity of food, 
arising from the deer having taken another 
route in their migrations to and from the 
north. 

On the first of September I explained our 
position to the men ; the quantity of pro- 
Visions we had, and the prospects, which 
were far from flattering, of getting more. 
They all most readily volunteered to remain, 
and our preparations for a nine months' 
winter were continued with unabated energy. 
The weather, generally speaking, was favour- 
able, and our exertions were so successful, 
that by the end of the month we had a 
quantity of provisions . and fuel collected 
adequate to our wants up to the period of 
the spring migrations of the deer. 

One hundred and nine deer, one musk-ox 
(including those killed in August) fifty-three 
brace of ptarmigan, and one seal, had been 
shot ; and the nets produced fifty-four 
salmon. Of the larger animals above enu- 
merated, forty-nine' deer and the musk-ox 
were shot by myself ; twenty-one deer by 
Mistegan, the deer-hunter ; fourteen by 
another of the men ; nine by William Oulig- 
back ; and sixteen by the remaining four men. 



The cold weather set in very early, and 
with great severity. On the twentieth, all 
the smaller, and some of the larger lakes, 
were covered with ice four to six inches 
thick. This was far from advantageous for 
deer shooting, as these animals were enabled 
to cross the country in all directions, instead 
of following their accustomed passes. 

October was very stormy and cold. About 
the fifteenth, the migrations of the deer 
terminated, and twenty-five more were added 
to our stock. Forty-two salmon, and twenty 
trout, were caught with nets and hooks set 
in lakes under the ice. On the twenty- 
. eighth, the snow was packed hard enough 
for building ; and we were glad to exchange 
the cold and dismal tents (in which the tem- 
perature had latterly been thirty-six or 
thirty-seven degrees below the freezing 
point) for the more comfortable shelter of 
snow-houses, which were built on the south 
south-east side of Beacon Hill, by which 
they were well protected from the pre- 
vailing north-west gales. The houses were 
nearly half a mile south of my winter 
quarters of eighteen hundred and forty-six 
and eighteen hundred and forty-seven. 

The weather in November was com- 
paratively fine, but cold, the highest, lowest, 
and mean temperature being, respectively, 
thirty-eight degrees, eighteen degrees, and 
three degrees below zero. Some deer were 
occasionally seen, but only four were shot ; 
some wolves, several foxes, and one wolve- 
rine were killed ; aud from the nets fifty- 
nine salmon and twenty-two trout were 
obtained. 

Our most productive fishery was in a lake 
about three miles distant, bearing east 
(magnetic) from Beacon Hill, or the mouth 
of the North Pole River. 

The whole of December, a very few days 
excepted, was one continued gale with snow 
and drift. When practicable, the men were 
occupied scraping under snow for fuel, by 
which means our stock of that very essential 
article was kept up. The mean temperature 
of the month was twenty-three degrees below 
zero. The produce of our nets and guns was 
extremely small, amounting to one partridge, 
one wolf, and twenty-seven fish. 

On the first of January, eighteen hundred 
aucl fifty-four, the temperature rose to the 
very unusual height of eighteen degrees 
above zero, the wind at the time being 
south-east, with snow. Our nets, after being 
set ill different lakes without success, were 
finally taken up on the twelfth, only five 
small fish having been caught. The ther- 
mometer was tested by freezing mercury, and 
found to be in error, the temperature indi- 
cated by it being four degrees five minutes 
too high. 

The cold during February was steady and 
severe, but there were fewer storms than 
usual. Deer were more numerous, and gene- 
rally were travelling northward. One or two 



14 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



were wounded, but none killed. On two 
occasions (the first and twenty-seventh), that 
beautiful but rare appearance of the clouds 
near the sun, with three fringes of pink and 
green, following the outline of the cloud, was 
seen, and I may add that the same splendid 
phenomenon was frequently observed during 
the spring, and was generally followed by a 
day or two of fine weather. 

During the latter part of the month, pre- 
parations were being made for our spring 
journeys. A carpenter's workshop was built 
of snow, and our sledges were taken to pieces, 
reduced to as light a weight as possible, 
and then reunited more securely than be- 
fore. The mean temperature of February, 
corrected for error of thermometer, was 
thirty-nine degrees below zero. The highest 
and lowest being twenty degrees and fifty- 
three degrees. 

On the first of March a female deer in 
fine condition was shot, and on the ninth and 
tenth two more were killed. Three men 
were absent some days during this month, in 
search of Esquimaux, from whom we wished 
to obtain dogs. They went as far as the head 
of Ross Bay, but found no traces of these 
people. 

On the fourteenth I started with three 
men hauling sledges with provisions, to be 
placed in " cache" for the long spring journey. 
Owing to the stormy state of the weather we 
got no farther than Cape Lady Pelly, on the 
most northerly point of which our stores were 
placed, under a heap of large stones, secure 
from any animal except man or the bear. 
We returned on the twenty-fourth, the dis- 
tance walked together being a hundred and 
seventy miles. 

On the thirty-first of March, leaving three 
men in charge of the boat and stores, I set 
out with the other four, including the inter- 
preter, with the view of tracing the west 
coast of Boothia, from the Castor and Pollux 
River to Bellot Strait. The weight of our 
provisions, &c., with those deposited on the 
way, amounted to eight hundred and sixty- 
five pounds, an ample supply for sixty-five 
days. 

The route followed for part of the journey 
being exactly the same as that of spring, 
eighteen hundred and forty-seven, it is un- 
necessary to describe it. During the two 
first days, although we did not travel more 
than fifteen miles per day, th men found the 
work extremely hard, and as I perceived that 
one of them (a fine, active young fellow, but a 
light weight) would be unable to keep pace 
with the others, he was sent back, and re- 
placed by Mistegan, a very able man, and an 
experienced sledge-hauler. More than a day 
was lost in making this exchange, but there 
was still abundance of time to complete our 
work, if not opposed by more than common 
obstacles. 

On the sixth of April we arrived at our 
provision cache, and fouud it all sate. Hav- 



ing placed the additional stores on the 
sledges, which made those of the men weigh 
more than a hundred and sixty pounds each, 
and my own about a hundred and ten pounds, 
we travelled seven miles further, then built 
a snow house on the ice two miles from shore. 
We had passed among much rough ice, but 
hitherto the drift banks of snow, by lying in 
the same direction in which we were travel- 
ling, made the walking tolerably good. As 
we advanced to the northward, however, 
these crossed our track (showing that the 
prevailing winter gales had been from the 
westward), and together with stormy weather, 
impeded us so much that we did not reach 
Colville Bay until the tenth. The position of 
our snow house was in latitude sixty-eight 
degrees thirteen minutes five seconds north, 
longitude by chronometer eighty-eight de- 
grees fourteen minutes "fifty-one seconds west, 
the-variation of the compass being eighty-six 
degrees twenty minutes west. From this 
place it was my intention to strike across 
land as straight as possible for the Castor and 
Pollux River. 

The eleventh was so stormy that we could 
not move, and the next day, after placing en 
cache two days provisions, we had walked 
only six miles in a westerly direction, when a 
gale of wind compelled us to get under 
shelter. The weather improved in the even- 
ing, and having the benefit of the full moon, 
we started again at a few minutes to eight 
P.M. Our course at first was the same as it 
had been in the morning, but the snow soon 
became so soft and so deep that I turned 
more to the northward in search of firmer 
footing. The walking was excessively fa- 
tiguing, and would have been so even to 
persons travelling unencumbered, as we sank 
at every step, nearly ankle deep in snow. 
Eight and a half miles were accomplished in 
six and a half hours, at the end of which as 
we required some rest, a small snow house 
was built, and we had some tea and frozen 
pemican. 

After resting three hours we resumed our 
march, and by making long detours, found 
the snow occasionally hard enough to support 
our weight. At thirty minutes to noon on 
the thirteenth, our day's journey terminated 
in latitude sixty-eight degrees twenty-three 
minutes thirty seconds north, longitude 
eighty-nine degrees three minutes fifty-three 
seconds west, variation of compass eighty- 
three degrees thirty minutes west. At a 
mile and a half from our bivouac, we had 
crossed the arm of a lake of considerable 
extent, but the country around was so fiat, 
and so completely covered with snow, that 
its limits could not be easily defined, and our 
snow hut was on the borders of another lake 
apparently somewhat smaller. 

A snow etorrn of great violence raged 
during the whole of the fourteenth, which did 
not prevent us from making an attempt to 
get forward. After persevering two and a 



Cbarles Dickens.] 



SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND HIS CREWS. 



15 



half hours, and gaining a mile and a half 
distance, we were again forced to take shelter. 

The fifteenth was very beautiful, with a 
temperature of only eight degrees below zero. 
The heavy fall of snow had made the walking 
and sledge-hauling worse than before. It was 
impossible to keep a straight course, and we 
had to turn much out of our way, so as to 
select the hardest drift banks. After advanc- 
ing several miles, we fortunately reached a 
large lake containing a number of islands, on 
one of which I noticed an old Esquimaux 
tent site. The fresh footmarks of a partridge 
(Tetrao rupestris) were also seen, being the 
only signs of living thing (a few tracks of 
foxes excepted) that we had observed since 
-commencing the traverse of this dreary waste 
of snow-clad country. To the lake above 
mentioned, and to those seen previously, the 
name of Barrow was given, as a mark of 
respect to John Barrow, Esquire, of the 
Admiralty ; whose zeal in promoting, and 
liberality in supporting, many of the expedi- 
tions to the Arctic Sea are too well known to 
require any comment, further than that he 
presented a very valuable Halkett's boat for 
the service of my party, which unfortunately 
by some irregularity in the railway baggage 
trains between London and Liverpool did not j 
reach the latter place in time for the steamer, \ 
although sent from London some days before, j 
Our snow hut was built on the edge of a ! 
small lake in latitude sixty-eight degrees 
thirty-one minutes thirty-eight seconds north, j 
longitude eighty-nine degrees eleven minutes 
fifty-five seconds west, valuation of com- 
pass eighty-three degrees thirty minutes 
west. 

The difficulties of walking were some- 
what diminished on the sixteenth by a 
fresli breeze of wind, which drifted the snow 
off the higher ground, and we were enabled 
to make a fair day's journey. Early on the 
seventeenth we reached the shore of Pelly 
Bay, but had barely got a view of its rugged 
ice covering before a dense fog came on. We 
had to steer by compass for a large rocky 
island, some miles to the westward ; and we 
stopped on an islet near its east shore until 
the fog cleared away. This luckily hap- 
pened some time before noon, and afforded 
an opportunity of obtaining observations, 
the results of which were latitude sixty- 
eight degrees forty-four minutes fifty-three 
seconds north, longitude by chronometer 
eighty-nine degrees thirty-four minutes forty- 
seven seconds west, and variation eighty-four 
degrees twenty minutes west. 

Even on the iee we found the snow soft 
and deep, a most unusual circumstance. The 
many detentions I had met with caused me 
now, instead of making for the Castor and 
Pollux Eiver, to attempt a direct course 
towards the magnetic pole, should the land 
westof the bay be smooth enough for travelling 
over. The large island west of us was so 
rugged and steep that there was no crossing 



it with sledges ; we therefoi'e travelled along 
its shores to the northward, and stopped for 
the night within a few miles of the northern 
extremity. The track of an Esquimaux 
sledge drawn by dogs was observed to-day, 
but it was of old date. 

The morning of the eighteenth was very 
foggy ; but after rounding the north point 
of the island it became clear, and we tra- 
velled due west, or very nearly so, until 
within three miles of the west shore of the 
bay, which presented an appearance so rocky 
and mountainous, that it was evident we 
could not traverse it without loss of time. 
As the country towards the head of the bay 
looked more level, I turned to the southward, 
and, after a circuitous walk of more than 
sixteen miles, we built our snow house on 
the ice, five miles from shore. Many old 
traces of Esquimaux were seen on the ice 
to-day. 

On the nineteenth we continued travelling 
southward, and our day's journey (about 
equal to that of yesterday) terminated near 
the head of the bay. 

Twentieth of April. The fresh foot- 
marks of Esquimaux, with a sledge, having 
been seen yesterday on the ice within a short 
distance of our resting-place, the interpreter 
and one man were sent to look for them, the 
other two being employed in hunting and 
collecting fuel, whilst I obtained excellent 
observations, the results of which were 
latitude sixty-eight degrees twenty-eight 
minutes twenty-nine seconds north, longi- 
tude by chronometer ninety degrees eighteen 
minutes thirty-two seconds west, variation of 
compass ninety-eight degrees thirty minutes 
west. The latter is apparently erroneous, 
probably caused by much local attraction. 

After an absence of eleven hours the men 
sent in search of Esquimaux returned in 
company with seventeen natives (five of 
whom were women), and several of them 
had been at Repulse Bay when I was there 
in eighteen hundred and forty-seven. Most 
of the others had never before seen " whites," 
and were extremely forward and trouble- 
some. They would give us no information 
on which any reliance could be placed, and 
none of them would consent to accompany 
us for a day or two, although I promised to 
reward them liberally. 

Apparently, there was a great objection 
to our travelling across the country in a 
westerly direction. Finding that it was their 
object to puzzle the interpreter and mislead 
us, I declined purchasing more than a small 
piece of seal from them, and sent them away 
not, however, without some difficulty, as 
they lingered about with the hope of stealing 
something ; and, notwithstanding our vigi- 
lance, succeeded in abstracting from one of 
the sledges a few pounds of biscuit and 
grease. 

The morning of the twenty-first was ex- 
tremely fine ; and at three A.M. we started 



16 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



across land towards a very conspicuous hill, 
bearing west of us. Oix a rocky eminence, 
some miles inland, we made a cache of the 
seal's flesh we had purchased. Whilst doing 
this, our interpreter made an attempt to join 
his countrymen. Fortunately, his absence 
was observed before he had gone far ; and 
he was overtaken after a sharp race of four 
or five miles. He was in a great fright when 
we came up to him, and was crying like a 
child, but expressed his readiness to return, 
and pleaded sickness as an excuse for his 
conduct. I believe he was really unwell 
probably from having eaten too much boiled 
seal's flesh, with which he had been regaled 
at the snow huts of the natives. 

Having taken some of the lading off 
Ouligback's sledge, we had barely resumed 
our journey when we were met by a very 
intelligent Esquimaux, driving a dog-sledge 
laden with musk-ox beef. This man at once 
consented to accompany us two days' journey, 
and in a few minutes had deposited his load 
on the snow, and was ready to join us. 
Having explained my object to him, he said 
that the road by which he had come was the 
best for us ; and, having lightened the men's 
sledges, we travelled with more facility. 

We were now joined by another of the 
natives, who had been absent seal-hunting 
yesterday ; but being anxious to see us had 
visited our snow-house early this morning, 
and then followed our track. This man was 
very communicative, and on putting to him 
the usual questions as to his having seen 
white men before, or any ships or boats, he 
replied in the negative ; but said that a 
party of kabloonans had died of starvation 
a long distance to the west of where we then 
were, and beyond a large river. He stated 
that he did not know the exact place that 
he had never been there, and that he could 
not accompany us so far. 

The substance of the information then and 
subsequently obtained from various sources 
was to the following effect. 

In the spring, four winters past (eighteen 
hundred and fifty), whilst some Esquimaux 
families were killing seals near the northern 
shore of a large island, named in Arrowsmith's 
charts King William's Land, about forty white 
men were seen travelling in company south- 
ward over the ice, and dragging a boat anc 
sledges with them. They were passing along 
the west shore of the above-named island 
None of the party could speak the Esquimaux 
language so well as to be understood ; but by 
signs the natives were led to believe that the 
ship or ships had been crushed by ice, anc 
that they were then going to where they 
expected to find deer to shoot. From the 
appearance of the men all of whom, with 
the exception of an officer, were hauling on 
the drag-ropes of the sledge, and were lookin^ 
thin they were then supposed to be getting 
short of provisions ; and they purchased a 
small seal, or piece of seal, from the natives 



The officer was described as being a tall, 
stout, middle-aged man. When their day's 
ourney terminated, they pitched tents to 
rest in. 

At a later date, the same season, but pre- 
vious to the disruption of the ice, the corpses 
of some thirty persons and some graves were 
discovered on the continent, and five dead 
jodies on an island near it, about a long day's 
ourney to the north- west of the mouth of a 
.arge stream, which can be no other than 
Back's Great Fish Eiver (named by the 
Esquimaux Oot-koo-hi-ca-lik), as its descrip- 
tion, and that of the low shore in the neigh- 
bourhood of Point Ogle and Montreal Island, 
agree exactly with that of Sir George Back. 
Some of the bodies were in a tent or tents ; 
others were under the boat, which had been 
turned over to form a shelter ; and some lay 
scattered about in different directions. Of 
those seen on the island, it was supposed that 
one was that of an officer (chief), as he 
had a telescope strapped over his shoulders, 
and his double-barrelled gun lay underneath 
him. 

From the mutilated state of many of the 
bodies, and the contents of the kettles, it is 
evident that our wretched countrymen had 
been driven to the last dread alternative as a 
means of sustaining life. 

A few of the unfortunate men must have 
survived until the arrival of the wild fowl 
(say until the end of May), as shots were 
heard, and fish-bones and feathers of geese 
were noticed near the scene of the sad 
event. 

There appears to have been an abundant 
store of ammunition, as the gunpowder was 
emptied by the natives in a heap on the 
ground out of the kegs or cases containing it ; 
and a quantity of shot and ball was found 
below high-water mark, having probably been 
left on the ice close to the beach before the 
spring thaw commenced. There must have 
been a number of telescopes, guns (several of 
them double-barrelled), watches, compasses, 
&c. ; all of which seem to have been broken 
up, as I saw pieces of these different articles 
with the natives, and I purchased as many 
as possible, together with some silver spoons 
and forks, an order of merit in the form of a 
star, and a small silver plate engraved " Sir 
John Franklin, K.C.H." 

Enclosed is a list of the principal articles 
bought, with a note of the initials, and a 
rough pen-and-ink sketch of the crests on the 
foi'ks and spoons. The articles themselves I 
shall have the honour of handing over to 
you on my arrival in London. 

None of the Esquimaux with whom I had 
communication saw the white men, either 
when living or after death, nor had they ever 
been at the place where the corpses were 
found, but had their information from natives 
who had been there, and who had seen the 
party when travelling over the ice. From 
what I could learn, there is no reason to 



Charles Dickens.] 



SIR JOHN FRANKLIN AND HIS CREWS. 



17 



suspect that any violence had been offered to 
the sufferers by the natives. 

As the dogs in the sledge were fatigued 
before they joined us, our day's journey was 
a short one. Our snow-house was built in lati- 
tude sixty-eight degrees twenty-nine seconds 
north, and longitude ninety degrees forty-two 
minutes forty-two seconds west, on the bed of 
a river having high mud banks, and which 
falls into the west side of Pelly Bay, about 
latitude sixty-eight degrees forty-seven mi- 
nutes north, and longitude ninety degrees 
twenty-five minutes west. 

On the twenty -second, we travelled along 
the north bank of the river (which I named 
after Captain Beecher, of the Admiralty), in 
a westerly direction, for seven or eight miles, 
until abreast of the lofty and peculiarly 
shaped hill already alluded to, and which I 
named Ellice Mountain, when we turned 
more to the northward. 

We soon arrived at a long narrow lake, on 
which we encamped a few miles from its east 
end, our day's march being little more than 
thirteen miles. Our Esquimaux auxiliaries 
were now anxious to return, being in dread, 
or professing to be so, that the wolves or 
wolverines would find their " cache" of meat, 
and destroy it. Having paid them liberally 
for their aid and information, and having 
bade them a most friendly farewell, they 
set out for home as we were preparing to go 
to bed. 

Next morning provisions for six days were 
secured under a heap of ponderous stones, and 
we resumed our march along the lake. 

Thick weather, snow-storms, and heavy 
walking, sadly retarded our advance. The 
Esquimaux had recommended me, after 
reaching the end of the chain of lakes (which 
ran in north-westerly direction for nearly 
twenty miles, and then turned sharply to the 
southward) to follow the windings of a brook 
that flowed from them. This I attempted to 
do, until finding that we should be led thereby 
far to the south, we struck across land to the 
west among a series of hills and valleys. 

Tracks of deer now became numerous, and 
a few traces of musk cattle were observed. 

At two A.M., on the twenty-sixth, we fell upon 
a river with banks of mud and gravel twenty 
to forty feet high, and about a quarter of a 
mile in width. After a most laborious walk 
of more than eighteen miles, we found an old 
snow-hut, which after a few repairs was made 
habitable, and we were snugly housed at 
forty minutes past six A.M. Our position 
was in latitude sixty-eight degrees twenty- 
five minutes twenty-seven seconds north, 
longitude ninety- two degrees fifty-three 
minutes fourteen seconds west. 

One of our men who, from carelessness 
some weeks before, had severely frozen two 
of his toes, was now scarcely able to walk ; 
and as, by Esquimaux report, we could not 
be very far from the sea, I prepared to start 
in the evening with two men and four days' 



provisions for the Castor and Pollux River, 
leaving the lame man and another to follow, 
at their leisure a few miles on our track, to 
some rocks that lay on our route where they 
were more likely to find both fuel and game, 
than on the bare flat ground where we then 
were. 

The morning of the twenty-sixth was very 
fine as we commenced tracing the course ot 
the river seaward ; sometimes following its 
course, at other times travelling on its left or 
right bank to cut off points. 

At four A.M., on the twenty-seventh, we 
reached the mouth of the river, which, by 
subsequent observation, I found to be situated 
in latitude sixty-eight degrees thirty-two 
minutes north, and longitude ninety-three 
degrees twenty minutes west. It was rather 
difficult to discover when we had reached the 
sea, until a mass of rough ice settled the 
question beyond a doubt. After leaving the 
river we walked rapidly due west for six 
miles, then built our usual snug habitation 
on the ice, three miles from shore, and had 
some partridges (Tetrao mutus) for supper, at 
the unseasonable hour of eight A.M. We had 
seen great numbers of these birds during the 
night. 

Our latitude was sixty-eight degrees thirty- 
two minutes one second north, and about 
forty minutes east of Simpson's position of 
the mouth of the Castor and Pollux iiiver. 

The weather was overcast with snow 
when we resumed our journey, at thirty 
minutes past eight P.M., on the twenty-seventh; 
we directed our course directly for the shore, 
which we reached after a sharp walk of one 
and a half hours, in doing which we crossed 
a long stony island of some miles in extent. 
As by this time it was snowing heavily, I 
made my men travel on the ice, the walking 
being better there, whilst I followed the 
winding of the shore, closely examining every 
object along the beach. 

After passing several heaps of stones, which 
had evidently formed Esquimaux caches, I 
came to a collection larger than any I had 
yet seen, and clearly not intended for the 
protection of property of any kind. The 
stones, generally speaking, were small, and 
had been built in the form of a pillar, but the 
top had fallen down, as the Esquimaux had 
previously given me to understand was the 
case. 

Calling my men to land, I sent one to trace 
what looked like the bed of a small river 
immediately west of us, whilst I and the 
other man cleared away the pile of stones in 
search of a document. Although no docu- 
ment was found, there could be no doubt in 
my own mind, and in that of my companion, 
that its construction was not that of the 
natives. My belief that we had arrived at 
the Castor and Pollux River was confirmed 
when the person who had been sent to trace 
the apparent stream-bed returned with the 
information that it was a river. 



18 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



My latitude of the Castor and Pollux is 
sixty-eight degrees twenty-eight minutes 
thirty-seven seconds, west ; agreeing within 
a quarter of a mile with that of Simpson ; 
but our longitudes differ considerably, hia 
being ninety-four degrees fourteen minutes 
west, whilst mine was ninety-three degrees 
forty-two minutes west. My longitude is 
nearly intermediate between that of Simpson 
and Sir George Back, supposing the latter to 
have carried on his survey eastward from 
Montreal Island. A number of rocky eleva- 
tions to the north of the river were mistaken 
by Simpson for islands, and named by him 
the Committee. 

Having spent upwards of an hour in fruit- 
less search for a memorandum of some kind, 
we began to retrace our steps ; and after a 
most fatiguing march of fifteen hours, during 
which we walked at least thirty miles, we 
arrived at the snow-hut of the men left be- 
hind. They had shot nothing, and had not 
collected sufficient andromeda for cooking, 
but had been compelled to use some grease. 
The frost-bitten man could scarcely move. 

Early on the morning of the twenty-ninth, 
during a heavy fall of snow, we set out for 
the mouth of the river, which was named in 
honour of Sir Frederick Murchison, the late 
President of the Royal Geographical Society ; 
and after losing our way occasionally in 
attempting to make short cuts, we arrived at 
Cache Island, so named from an Esquimaux 
cache that was on it, within two miles of the 
sea, at eight A.M., and stopped there, as it 
blew a gale with drift. 

As soon as we got shelter, and had supped, 
preparations were made for starting in the 
evening for Bellot Strait. An ample stock of 
provisions and fuel for twenty-two days were 
placed on two of our best sledgea, and I 
hauled on my own small sledge my instru- 
ments, books, bedding, &c., as usual. 

On the evening of the twenty-ninth, the 
weather was so stormy, that although we were 
prepared to start at eight o'clock, we could 
not get away until past two on the following 
morning, when after travelling little more than 
five miles, a heavy fall of snow and strong 
wind caused us again to take shelter. 

Our advance was so much impeded by thick 
weather and soft snow, that we did not arrive 
within a few miles of Cape Porter of Sir John 
Ross, until the sixth of May. In doing this 
we had traversed a bay, the head of which 
was afterwards found to extend as far north 
as latitude sixty-eight degrees four minutes 
north. Point Sir H. Dryden, its western 
boundary, is in latitude sixty-eight degrees 
forty-four minutes north, longitude ninety- 
four degrees west. To this bay, the name of 
Shepherd was given, in honour of the Deputy 
Governor of the Honourable Hudson's Bay 
Company, and an island near its head, was 
called Bence Jones, after the distinguished me- 
dical man and analytical chemist of that name 
to whose kindness I and my party were much 



indebted, for having proposed the use and pre- 
pared some extract of tea, for the expedition. 

This article we found extremely portable, 
and as the tea could be made without boiling 
water, we often enjoyed a cup of that refresh- 
ing beverage, when otherwise from want of 
fuel, we must have been satisfied with cold 
water. 

From Point Dryden, the coast which is low 
and stony, runs in a succession of small points 
and bays about ten miles nearly due west, 
then turns sharply up to the north in latitude 
sixty-eight degrees forty-five minutes north, 
longitude ninety-four degrees twenty-seven 
minutes fifty seconds west, which was ascer- 
tained by observations obtained on an island 
near the shore. The point was called Cape 
Colvile, after the Governor of the Company, 
and the island, Stanley. To the west, at the 
distance of seven or eight miles, land was seen, 
which received the appellation of Matheson 
Island, as a mark of respect to one of the 
Directors of the Company. 

Our snow-hut on the sixth of May, situate 
on Pointe de la Guiche was by good observa- 
tions found to be in latitude sixty-eight de- 
grees fifty-seven minutes fifty-two seconds 
north, longitude ninety-four degrees twenty- 
two minutes fifty-eight seconds west. One of 
my men, Mistegan, an Indian of great intel- 
ligence and activity, was sent six miles farther 
along the coast northwards ; by ascending 
some rough ice at its extreme point, he could 
see about five miles farther, the land was still 
trending northward, whilst to the north-west, 
at a considerable distance, perhaps twelve or 
fourteen miles, there was an appearance of 
land, the channel between which and the point 
where he stood, being full of rough ice. This 
land, if it was such, is probably part of Matty 
Island, or King William's Land, which latter 
is also clearly an island. 

I am happy to say that on this present, as 
on a former, occasion, where my survey met 
that of Sir James C. Ross, a very singular 
agreement exists, considering the circum- 
stances under which our surveys have been 
taken. 

The foggy and snowy weather, which con- 
tinued upwards of four days, had occasioned 
the loss of so much time, that, although I 
could easily have completed a part (perhaps 
the half) of the survey of the coast, between 
the Magnetic Pole and Bellot Strait, or 
Brentford Bay, I could not do the whole with- 
out great risk to my party, and I therefore 
decided upon returning. 

Having taken possession of our discoveries 
in the usual form, and built a cairn, we com- 
menced our return on the night of the sixth. 
Having fine, clear weather, we made long 
marches, and at Shepherd Bay, having got rid 
of the sledge, which I had hitherto hauled, I 
detached myself from the party, and ex- 
amined the bay within a mile or two of 
the shore, whilst my men took a straighter 
route. 



Charles Dickens.] 



SIR JOHN FEANKLIN AND HIS CEEWS. 



19 



Thick weather again came on as we en- 
tered the bay (named in honour of Sir Eobert 
H. Inglis) into which the Murchison Eiver 
falls, and we had much trouble in finding the 
mouth of the river. Here the services of my 
Cree hunter were of much value, as custom 
had caused him to notice indications and 
marks, which would have escaped the ob- 
servation of a person less acute and ex- 
perienced. 

On the eleventh of May, at three A.M., we 
reached the place where our two men had 
been left. Both were as well as I could hope 
for, the one whose great toe had been frozen, 
and which was about to slough off at the first 
joint, thereby rendering the foot very tender 
and painful when walking in deep snow, had 
too much spirit to allow himself to be hauled. 
One deer, and eighteen partridges had been 
shot ; but, notwithstanding, I found a greater 
reduction in our stock of provisions than I 
had anticipated, and I felt confirmed in the 
course I had taken. 

The day became very fine, and observations 
were taken, which gave the position of Cache 
Island, where our snow-hut was latitude 
sixty - eight degrees thirty - two minutes 
two seconds north, longitude ninety-three 
degrees thirteen minutes eighteen seconds 
west. 

Having completed my observations, and 
filled in rough tracings of the coast line, 
which I generally did from day to day, we 
started for home at eight thirty, P.M. The 
weather being now fine, and the snow harder 
than when outward bound, we advanced more 
rapidly and in a straighter direction, until we 
came to the lakes, about midway in the 
Isthmus, after which, as far as Pelly Bay, our 
outward and homeward route were exactly 
alike. We reached Pelly Bay at one A.M., on 
the seventeenth, and built a snow-house about 
two and a half miles south, and the same dis- 
tance west, of my observations of the twentieth 
of April. 

Observing traces of Esquimaux, two men 
were sent, after supper, to look for them. 
After eight hours absence they returned with 
ten or twelve native men, women, and child- 
ren. From these people I bought a silver 
spoon and fork. The initials F. E. M. C., not 
engraved, but scratched with a sharp instru- 
ment, on the spoon, puzzled me much, as I 
knew not at the time the Christian names of 
the officers of Sir John Franklin's expedition; 
and thought that the letters above-named 
might possibly be the initials of Captain 
M'Clure, the small c between M C being 
omitted. 

Two of the Esquimaux (one of them I had 
seen iu eighteen hundred and forty-seven) 
offered for a consideration to accompany us a 
day or two's march with a sledge and dogs. 
We were detained some time by the slow 
preparations of our new allies ; but we soon 
made up for lost time, and, after a journey of 
sixteen geographical or about eighteen and a 



half statute miles, we arrived at the east side 
of the bay, in latitude by reduction to the 
meridian sixty-eight degrees twenty-three 
minutes ten seconds north, longitude eighty- 
nine degrees fifty-eight minutes thirty-nine 
seconds west. 

It may be remembered that in the spring 
of eighteen forty-seven I did not trace the 
shore of Pelly Bay, but saw it from the summit 
of one of the lofty islands in the bay. Desirous 
of being always within, rather than of exceed- 
ing the limits of truth, I that year placed the 
head of the bay about ten miles north of what 
it ought to have been, a mistake which will 
be easily accounted for by those who know 
the difficulties of estimating distances in a 
snow-clad country, where the height of the 
land is unknown. 

The width of the isthmus separating Pelly 
and Shepherd's Bays is fully sixty geogra- 
phical miles. 

In the evening before parting with our 
Esquimaux assistants, we bought a dog from 
them, and after a most friendly farewell, 
resumed our journey eastward, and found, on 
a long lake, some old snow-houses, in which 
we took up our lodgings. Here a set of good 
observations placed us in latitude sixty-eight 
degrees twelve minutes eighteen seconds 
north, longitude eighty-nine degrees twenty- 
four minutes fifty-one degrees west ; varia- 
tion eighteen-one degrees west. 

On the morning of the twenty-first, we 
arrived at Committee Bay. From thenee our 
route to Eepulse Bay was almost the same as 
before ; and I shall not, therefore, advert to it 
further than to mention that we arrived at 
our winter home at five, A.M., on the twenty- 
sixth of May, having, from the better walk- 
ing, travelled in twenty days the distance 
(less forty or fifty miles) which had taken us 
thirty-six days to accomplish on our outward 
journey. 

$%I found the three men who had been left in 
charge of the property quite well, living in 
abundance, and on the most friendly terms 
with a number of Esquimaux families, who 
had pitched their tents near them. 

The natives had behaved in the most ex- 
emplary manner ; and many of them who 
were short of food, in compliance with my 
orders to that effect, had been supplied with 
venison from our stores. 

It was from this time until August that I 
had opportunities of questioning the Esqui- 
maux regarding the information which I had 
already obtained, of the party of whites who 
had perished of starvation, and of eliciting 
the particulars connected with that sad 
event, the substance of which I have already 
stated. 

In the early part of July, the salmon came 
from the sea to the mouths of the rivers and 
brooks which were at that date open ; and 
we caught numbers of them. So that occa- 
sionally we could afford to supply our native 
friends with fifty or one hundred in a night. 



20 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



As is the usual custom at the Hudson's Bay 
Company's inland trading posts, all provisions 
were given gratis ; and they were much more 

gratefully received by the Esquimaux than 
y the more southerly and more favoured 
red man. 

We had still on hand half of our three 
months' stock of pemican, and a sufficiency 
of ammunition to provide for the wants of 
another winter. We were all in excellent 
health, and could get as many dogs as we 
required : so that (D.V.) there was little 
doubt that a second attempt to complete the 
survey would be successful ; but I now 
thought that I had a higher duty to attend 
to, that duty being to communicate, with as 
little loss of time as possible, the melancholy 
tidings which I had heard, and thereby save 
the risk of more valuable lives being jeo- 
pardised in a fruitless search, in a direction 
where there was not the slightest prospect of 
obtaining any information. I trust this will 
be deemed a sufficiently good reason for my 
z'eturn. 

The summer was extremely cold and back- 
ward ; we could not leave Repulse Bay until 
the fourth of August, and on the sixth had 
much difficulty in rounding Cape Hope. From 
thence, as far as Cape Fullerton, the strait 
between Southampton Island and the main 
shore was fully packed with ice, which gave 
us great trouble. South of Cape Fullerton 
we got into open water. On the evening of 
the nineteenth instant, calms and head winds 
much retarded us, so that we did not enter 
Churchill River until the morning of the 
twenty-eighth of August. There we were 
detained all day by a storm of wind. My 
good interpreter, William Ouligback, was 
landed, and before bidding him farewell, I 
presented him with a very handsomely 
mounted hunting knife, intrusted to me by 
Captain Sir George Back for his former 
travelling companion, Ouligback ; but as the 
old man was dead, I took the liberty of giving 
it to his son, as an inducement to future good 
conduct should his services be again required. 

A three days' run brought us to York 
Factory, at which place we landed all well 
on the forenoon of the 31st of August. I 
am happy to say that the conduct of my 
men, under circumstances often very trying, 
was generally speaking extremely good and 
praiseworthy ; and although their wages were 
higher than those of any party who have 
hitherto been employed on boat expeditions, 
I- thought it advisable, after consulting with 
Chief Factor William Mactavish, to give each 
a small gratuity, varying the amount accord- 
ing to merit. 

In conclusion, I have to express my regret 
that I was unable, on this occasion, to bring 
to a successful termination an expedition 
which I had myself planned and projected; 
but in extenuation of my failure, I may men- 
tion that I was met by an accumulation of 
obstacles, beyond the usual ones of storms 



and rough ice, which my former experience 
in Arctic travelling had not led me to 
anticipate. 



CHIP. 

PULP. 

THE possibility of making paper from any- 
thing but rags has only been mooted since 
the rag-famine set in. It was amongst the 
good old manufacturing prejudices, that pulp 
for paper-making could only be formed from 
flax or cotton which had been spun, woven, 
made into garments or napery, worn out, 
cast off, had the best price given for it at the 
Black Doll ; picked, sorted, washed, torn to 
tatters, and smashed into pulp at the mill. 
The manufacturing mind has only recently 
become awake to the probability that pulp 
might be made out of fibre that has never 
passed through the rag-shop. 

The idea of making paper from raw flax 
is neither new nor startling At present 
the flax plant is only used for two pur- 
poses its straw is reduced to fibre, and 
then spun and woven into textile fabrics ; 
and its seed, besides propagating it, yields 
painter's oil. Yet the same plant can never 
be used for both purposes. To produce 
good flax, it must be cut down before the 
seed is ripe; and, when fully matured to 
yield oil, the straw fibre cannot be spun. 
But it can be converted into the best possible 
pulp. Unlimited supplies of this straw is 
wasted in India, whence it might be im- 
ported into this country ; and, mixed with in- 
ferior cotton and linen rags to soften and econo- 
mise it, be converted into a tougher, whiter, 
and cheaper paper than we can at present 
afford for common use. On such paper the 
second edition of the "Times" newspaper of 
Monday the seventeenth of July last was 
printed. 

There are besides, coarser varieties of the 
flax-plant that might be cultivated to yield 
paper-pulp of the first quality. The experiment 
has been tried with a success which proves that 
vast expanses of marshy lands in this country, 
and a large proportion of the Irish soil, not 
now productive, might be made to grow in- 
ferior species of flax convertible into unlimited 
supplies of pulp. There is only one barrier to 
the immediate solution of the great paper 
difficulty. A few gentlemen with capital 
and enterprise have associated themselves 
for the supply of flax pulp to paper makers, 
and some of the principal paper-makers have 
agreed to become their customers. Their 
object being, however, one of those which can 
only be carried out on a large and expansive 
scale, it is beyond the means of "a few" 
gentlemen. With broad acres to purchase 
or to rent, with mills and machinery to pro- 
vide ; or, with vast purchases to make of the 
coarser flax from the Indian, Australian, or 
New Zealand markets, the capital required 
could only be commanded by an extensive 
company j and, whoever enters upon the 



Charles Dickets.] 



OBSOLETE COOKERY. 



21 



scheme must be prepared to incur enormous 
liabilities. This no man in his senses will 
do, in the present absurd and crippling state 
of the law of partnership even to confer 
the greatest blessing on his fellow men ; for 
he would place everything he possessed in 
jeopardy, from his bank-stock to his boots. 

Here then, is an instance of a most useful 
and beneficial project being paralysed from an 
. irrational and unjust law alaw which exists in 
' no other country than England : alaw which 
discourages habits of prudence and saving 
among the humbler orders (for it shuts out 
every profitable investment from the small 
capitalist) and which nips every comprehen- 
sive and beneficent enterprise in the bud. 
Mr. Cardwell has promised an alteration of 
this anomalous statute ; let us hope that 
he will keep his word early in the present 
Session. 



OBSOLETE COOKERY. 



THE cookery of mummers and morris- 
dancers, of abbots of unreason and licensed 
jesters what can it be but grotesque, like 
the rest ; full of quaint humour without 
elegance, and of gross lavishness without real 
luxury 1 So, in fact, we find it in Robert 
May's queer book ; " The Accomplisht Cook ; 
printed for Nath. Brooke, at the Sign of the 
Angel, Cornhill, 1660." Robert May seems 
to have been great in his time, in his attempt 
to popularise the art and mystery of cookery ; 
and in his address to the master cooks 
and young practitioners which is as much 
a defence as an address he deprecates the 
wrath of the protectionists of that art in 
consequence. He takes high ground, though. 
He says that though " he may be envied by 
some that only value their private Interests 
above Posterity and the publick good; yet 
God and his own Conscience would not per- 
mit him to bury these his Experiences with 
his Silver Hairs in the Grave." An expression 
that gives one an affectionate kind of reve- 
rence for the brave old cook the " artist " 
as he calls himself and his confrdres. He is 
intensely English, among <bther things. He 
abuses the French for their " Epigram dishes, 
smoak't rather than dress't their Mush- 
room 'd Experiences for Sauce rather than 
Diet," and ungraciously says, that though 
"whatever he found good in their Manu- 
scripts and printed Authours he inserted 
in this volume," yet their books were but 
" empty and unprofitable treatises, of as little 
use as some Niggards' Kitchens : " wherein we 
see the shadow of that fatal spirit of expendi- 
ture, the ill effects of which we feel to this day. 

We have directions for carving, and the 
terms of carving; an account of sundry 
" triumphs and trophies in cookery, to be used 
at festival times, as Twelfth Day, etc." ; the 
service (or order of meats); a list of sauce 
for all manner of fowls ; showing " how with 
all meats sauce shall have the opperatiou ;" 



bills of fare for every season in the year ; 
also " how to set forth the meat in order for 
that service, as it was used before hospitality 
left this nation." And finally a mass of recipes 
and such recipes ! Shade of Lucullus! what 
clumsy messes, and what strange material ! 

The directions for carving are very quaint, 
You are to break a deer and to leach brawn 
(leche, a thin slice ?) You are to spoil a 
hen, unbiane a mallard, display a crane, 
disfigure, a peacock, border a pasty, tire an 
egg, tame a crab, tusk a barbel, culpon a 
trout, fin a chevin (chub), trauson an eel, 
tranch a sturgeon, under tranch a porpoise, 
and barb a lobster. Also, which is not ex- 
actly carving, you are to timber the fire. la 
the service or order of serving you are to 
have first mustard and brawn, then pottage, 
then meat, fowl or game, fish, sweets; you 
are to have stork and crane and heron and 
peacock with his tail on, and larks and 
dowcets (custard), and pampuff (pancakes ?) 
j and white leach which we leave to our 
readers to interpret into modern English 
amber-jelly, and then curlews and snites, alias 
snipes, and sparrows and martins, and pearch 
in jelly, and petty pervis which is also to be 
interpreted according to pleasure and a good 
dictionary and dewgard or dewberries, und 
fruter-sage, and blandrells, and pippins, with 
carraways in comfits, and wafers and hip- 
pocras. Then you are to have as sauce 
verjuice for chickens, and chaldrons orgiblets 
very likely with swan : mustard and sugar 
with lamb and pig ; sauce gumeliu whatever 
that may be with bustard and bittern and 
spoonbill; with cranes and herons, salt and 
sugar ; with sparrows and thrushes, salt and 
cinaou (cinnamon). Sprats is good in stew, 
says Robert May ; pears and quinces in 
syrrup with parsley roots, and a mortus of 
houudfish is to be raised standing. Which 
last seems to mean pounded or perhaps potted 
fish, turned out of a deep dish. 

You are to carve cleanly and handsomely, 
and not break the meat ; you are to lay 
the slices in a fair charger generally, and 
lace the breasts of poultry with your knife ; 
you are to gobbin a salt lamprey and 
other things, and dight the brain of a wood- 
cock (gobbin seems to mean, cut up into 
small pieces, and to dight is to dress) ; 
you are to roast a porpos and cut him 
about ; when you unbrane a mallard you 
are to lace it down on each side with your 
knife, bending it to and fro like waves ; and 
you are to array forth a capon on your 
platter as though he should fly. 

But listen to Robert May's description of 
"a triumph and trophy in cookery," such as 
was " formerly the delight of the nobility 
before good housekeeping had left England, 
and the sword really acted that which was 
only counterfeited in such honest and laud- 
able exercises as these." You are to make 
the likeness of a ship in pasteboard, with 
flags and streamers, with guns of kiekses 



22 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted br 



(kickshaws?) charged with trams of gun- 
powder. This ship you are to place in a 
great charger with salt round about, and 
stick therein egg-shells full of sweet water. 
Then in another charger you are to have a 
stag made in coarse paste, with a broad 
arrow in the side of him, and his body filled 
up with claret wine. In another charger, 
after the stag, you are to have a castle with 
battlements, percullices, gates, and draw- 
bridges of pasteboard, the guns of kickses as 
in the former instance. The castle is also 
surrounded with salt, stuck with egg-shells 
full of rose-water. On each side of the stag 
have a pie one filled with live frogs, the 
other with live birds. Ship, stag, castle, and 
pies are to be gilded and adorned with gilt 
bay leaves. Being all placed in order upon 
the table, the ladies are to be persuaded to 
pluck the arrow out of the stag ; then will 
the claret wine follow as blood running out 
of a wound. This being done with admi- 
ration of the beholders, after a short pause 
fire the train of the castle, answering with 
that of the ship, as in a battle. Then the 
ladies, "to sweeten the stinck of the powder," 
are to take the egg-shells full of sweet waters 
and throw them at each other. All danger 
being now over, by this time it is supposed 
that you will desire to see what is in the 
pies ; " when, lifting off the lid of one, out skip 
the frogs, which makes the ladies to skip and 
shreek ; next after the other pie, whence 
comes out the birds." The birds by natural 
instinct will fly high and put out the 
candles ; so that what with the flying birds 
and skipping frogs, the one above, the other 
beneath, and total darkness for the romp, we are 
told this trophy and triumph will cause much 
delight and pleasure to the whole company. 

They ate such queer things in those 
days. Most likely they knew how to make 
good dishes out of their grotesque con- 
comitants ; but a "jigott" of mutton with 
anchove sauce does seem a rather odd com- 
pound ; so does a turkey roste and stuck 
with cloves, and eight turtle doves and an 
olive pie and larded gulls. Snails, too, do 
not suit the degenerate palates of the nine- 
teenth century. But, Robert May gives nine 
receipts for the various dressing of snails. 
First as boiled, then broiled, then fried, then 
hashed, then in a soup, and lastly baked. 
We are told how to bake frogs as well. Take 
the recipe as it stands : 

" Being fleyed, take the hind legs, cut off 
the feet and season them with nutmeg, 
pepper, and salt ; put them in a pie with^ 
some sweet herbs chopped small, large mace, 
slic't lemon, gooseberries, grapes, or bar- 
berries, pieces of skirret, artichocks, pota- 
toes or parsnips, and marrow. Close it up 
and bake it ; being baked, liquor it with butter 
and juyce of orange, or grape of verjuyce." 
Which looks rather as if the frogs were to 
be disguised out of all recognition than ap- 
preciated and enjoyed. But what would a 



" muskle pie " be like ? Would they bake 
the beards as well? Has any one eaten a 
broiled lobster ? or one hashed, stewed, 
baked, or fried 1 Would hashed oyster be 
good eating ? There is an oyster pottage 
which reads well, and oysters in stoffado, 
whatever that may be ; which last receipt 
includes wine, vinegar, spices, eggs, cream, 
butter and batter, "slic't" oranges, bar- 
berries, and " sarsed manchet " which we 
should call bread crumbs among its ingre- 
dients. There are minced-herring pies and 
all sorts of fish pies generally" not bad 
things, by the way and there is a stewed 
lump, and a baked lump, and chewits, 
otherwise minced patties of salmon, and 
a lumber pie of salmon, and pike jelly, 
and peti poets (petits pates ?) of carp 
minced up with eel ; and marinated fish of 
every kind, which seems to be fish pickled 
and salted in a peculiar way. Porpoise and 
whale were familiar things to Robert May. 
We believe he would not have declined hip- 
popotamus or alligator, or lions and tigers. 
He would have made decent stews and 
hashes out of snakes and condors, no doubt, 
true omniverous old cook that he was. We 
protest, though, against his taking a hand- 
some carp a special one of eighteen inches 
and splitting it down the back alive. Our 
crimped cod, and the eels which do'nt get 
used to being skinned, are just as bad, and 
perhaps worse ; but the originators of these 
wicked practices were the Robert Mays of 
our ancestors. 

We wish we could give the engravings of 
this book. There are pictures of fish " splat," 
or in pies the oddest-looking things ima- 
ginable, with queer, grave countenances, that 
seem to express a stolid objection to their 
position. They would be better as portraits 
if they were not all alike. A salmon, a 
sturgeon, and a carp, have some points of 
difference, but Robert May's wood-engraver 
ma.kes the same block do for them all, which 
rather spoils the likeness. The king of 
them all is a lobster. What words can 
describe that unhappy crustacean ? It 
looks like a spread eagle ; like a goblin born 
of dyspepsia and laudanum ; like a fanciful 
flower-bed ; like a mythic tortoise with gout 
in his fins, for it is splat in halves, as is 
the wont with this accomplished cook's fish ; 
it is sprawling and floundering across the 
page in a wonderful fatehion, not at all after 
the manner of modern lobsters. The cut 
we refer to heads a recipe for "baked lob- 
sters to be eaten hot." It sounds appetising 
enough. 

" Being boild and cold, take the meat out 
of the shells and season it lightly with nut- 
meg, pepper, salt, cinamon, and ginger ; 
then lay it in a pie made according to this 
form" (our spread eagle or goblin), "and 
lay on it some dates in halves, large mace, 
slic't lemons, barberries, yolks of hard eggs, 
and butter. Close it up, and bake it ; and 



Charles Dickens.] 



OBSOLETE COOKERY. 



23 



being baked, liquor it with white wine, 
butter and sugar, and ice it. On flesh days 
put marrow to it." 

If the fish are odd, the pastry is more 
so. That section on pastry demands a 
volume to itself. To begin with, do our pre- 
sent cooks make paste for a pie in this 
manner : u Take to a gallon of flour a pound 
of butter ; boil it in fair water ; and make 
the paste up quick 1 " Or have we eatable 
custard paste like this : " Let it be onely boil- 
ing water and flour without butter ; or put 
sugar to it, which will add to the stifness of 
it, and thus likewise all paste for crusts and 
orangado tarts and such like ? " If this was 
intended to be eaten and digested, they had 
good stomachs in those days. The garnish 
of dishes, which we make jiow of paste 
stamped out by a cutter, was" then made in 
moulds. They were called stock fritters or 
fritters of arms, and were made of " fine 
flower " into a batter no thicker than thin 
cream. The brass moulds were heated in 
clarified butter ; then dipped half-way in the 
batter and fried, to garnish any boiled 
fish, meats, or stewed oysters. " View 
their form," ends Robert May, garnishing 
this recipe with three woodcuts the 
first is the likeness of a pike in all the 
agonies of acute indigestion ; the second a 
cross-bar, like the heraldic sign of a mascle ; 
and the third like a grotesque pink or carna- 
tion. Then paste was fried out of a scringe, 
or butter-squirt, like little worms lying about 
the dish. Well, that was only a coarser kind 
of vermicelli or macaroni, so we have no right 
to laugh at it. " Blamanger " is apparently 
always made of capon " boild all to mash," 
or of pike boiled in fair water, very tender, 
and chopped small ; boiled on a soft fire, 
remember, in a broad, clean-scoured skillet 
to the thickness of an apple moise. And 
when made, this blamanger, and creams, and 
jellies too of all kinds, are served up in forms 
and shapes like the most hideous of those 
geometrical ravings which artistically-minded 
children draw on their slates for ornament. 
A pippin pie is to be made of thirty good 
large pippins, thirty cloves, a quarter of an 
ounce of whole cinamon, and as much pared 
and slic't, a quarter of a pound of orangado, 
as much of lemon in sucket (sweet-meat), and 
a pound and a half of refined sugar ; close it 
up and bake it it will ask four hours 
baking then ice it with butter, sugar and 
rose-water. There is a quince pie that looks 
like an unintelligible astronomical figure, with 
the signs of the zodiac all round ; and there 
are pippin tarts of half-moons, and rounds, and 
ninepins with spots all over them ; and other 
fruit pies like cathedral windows ; and a tart 
of pips ; and a tart of spinage ; and a taffety 
tart (apple, lemon- peel, and fennel-seed) ; and 
cream tarts made of cream thickened with 
muskified bisket-bread, and preserved cit- 
teron, and in the middle a preserved orange 
with biskets, the garnish of the dish being of 



puff-paste ; and receipts for all manner of 
tart stuff, that " carries his colour black, or 
yellow, or green, or red." There are recipes 
for triffels, for sack possets, for wassel, Nor- 
folk fools, white-pot, pyramidis cream, me- 
theglin, ippocras, jamballs, jemelloes, amber- 
greece cakes, marchpanes, paste of violets, 
burrage, bugloss, rosemary, cowslips, &c., 
portingall tarts, and many more that we 
cannot even allude to. There is a recipe for 
a dish of marchpane to look like collops of 
bacon ; for making muskedines, called rising 
comfits, or kissing comfits, made of " half-a- 
pound of refined sugar beaten and searced ; 
put into it two grains of musk, a grain of 
civet, two grains of amber-juyce, and a 
thimble-full of white orris powder ; beat all 
these with gum-dragon steeped in rose- 
water ; then roul it as thin as you can, and 
cut it into little lozenges with your iging- 
iron, and stow them in some warm oven or 
stove, then box them and keep them all the 
year." There is an " Extraordinary Pie, or a 
Bride Pie of severall Compounds, being seve- 
rall distinct pies on one bottom." One of the 
ingredients is a snake or some live birds, 
"which will seem strange to the beholders 
who cut up the pie at the table." This is 
" onely for a wedding, to pass away time." 

Then there are " maremaid pyes," made of 
pork and eels ; and " minced pyes of calves' 
chaldrons, or muggets," made of grapes, 
gooseberries, barberries, and bacon ; and 
there are "heads" made into pyes, with a wood- 
cut underneath that looks literally like half 
a carpet rug with a scroll at the two ends ; 
and there are recipes for " baking ail manner 
of sea-fowl, as swan, whopper, dap-clucks, 
&c. ;" and there are marinated pallets, and 
lips, and noses ; and Italian chips of different 
coloured pastes in layers ; and then there are 
sallets. 

Here is a grand sallet. A cold roast capon, 
or other roast white meat, cut small, mingled 
with a little minced tarragon, and an onion, 
lettice, olives, samphire, broom-buds, pickled 
mushrooms, pickled oysters, lemon, orange, 
raisins, almonds, blew figs, Virginia potato, 
caperons, crucifex pease, and the like. Gar- 
nish this medley with quarters of oranges and 
lemons, and pour on oyl and vinegar beaten 
together. Another sallet has the following 
mixture : " Take all manner of knots of buds 
of sallet herbs, buds of potherbs, or any green 
herbs, as sage, mint, balm, burnet, violet- 
leaves, red coleworta streaked of different 
colours, lettice, any flowers, blanched al- 
monds, blew figs, raisins of the sun, currans, 
capers, olives ; then dish the sallet in a heap 
or pile, being mixt with some of the fruits, 
and all finely washed and swung in a 
napkin ; then about the center lay first slic't 
figs, next capers and currans, then almonds 
and raisins, next olives, and lastly either 
jagged beets, jagged lemons, jagged cucum- 
bers, cabbidge-kttice in quarters, good oyl. 
and wine vinegar sugar or none." 



24 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



Now is not this a recipe worth studying ? 
If variety has any claim to one's attention, this 
mixture ought to stand high in our considera- 
tion. Every kind of herb or plant seemed fit for 
" sallet," according to our accomplisht cook. If 
he had recommended hay-seeds or thistle- 
buds we should not have felt surprised. 
Purslan, cloves, jilly-flowers, rampons, ellick- 
sander buds, samphire, . charvel, cucumber, 
boild collyflower, burnet, burrage, endive, 
lettice, fruits of all kinds, everything that 
grows, in short, mingled. together, and mixed 
up with salt, sugar, oil and vinegar. A most 
catholic, taste, to say the least of it ; but 
really more sensible than our silly daintiness 
which permits.a wide wealth of food to rot at 
our feet because of some absurd, prejudice or 
most unworthy ignorance. Yet, at first sight 
and at first taste too, one would imagine 
much of the material of that day would be 
unpalateable. For who would dream of 
shell-bread 1 positively muscle-shells ! 
muscle-shells "toasted in butter melted, when 
they be baked, then boiled in melted sugar, 
as you boil a simnell (the present name 
for a certain Shrewsbury cake) ; then lay 
them on the bottom of a wooden sieve, 
and they will eat as crisp as a wafer." 
The rest of this shell-bread is made of a 
quarter of a pound of rice flower, a quarter 
of a pound of fine flower, the yolks of four 
new laid eggs, a little rose-water, and a 
grain of music ; make these into a paste, then 
roul it very thin, and bake it in great muscle- 
shells (we have already had the receipt for 
the management of these). There is a re- 
ceipt, too, for bean-bread, which is made of 
aniseeds, musk, and blanched almonds ; why 
called bean-bread is difficult to say. 

These cinnamon toasts are not bad. " Cut 
fine thin toasts, then toast them on a grid- 
iron, and lay them in ranks in a dish, put to 
them some fine beaten cinamon, mixed with 
sugar and some claret, warm them over the 
fire, and serve them hot." Here are French 
toasts, too, tolerable in their way : " Cut 
French bread, and toast it in pretty thick 
toasts on a clean gridiron, and serve them 
steeped in claret, sack, or any wine, with 
sugar and juyce of orange." Do you want a 
sauce or souce, as our accomplisht hath it 
for a hare ? 

" Beaten cinamon, nutmegs, ginger, pepper, 
boiled prunes, and corrans strained, muski- 
fied bisket ; bread beaten into powder, sugar 
and cloves, nil boild up as thick as \vater- 
grewel." 

Another sauce much like this is to be 
"boild up to an indifferency, ; " and another 
is to "have a walm or two over the fire." 
Mustard is to be ground in a "mustard 
quern, or a boul with a cannon-bullet," and 
made into little loaves or cakes to carry in 
one's pocket. Then, there are odd ways of 
making vinegar. You are to take bramble 
bryers when they are half ripe, dry them, 
and make them into powder ; with a little 



strong vinegar, make little balls, and dry 
them in the sun, and when you will use 
them, take wine and heat it, put in some of 
the ball, or a whole one, and it will be turned 
very speedily into strong vinegar. This is a 
good pendant to the mustard cakes. At this 
rate a man might carry his whole store-closet 
in his pocket. In making vinegar you are 
to put your firkin full of good white wine 
in the sun, "on the leads of a house or gut- 
ter." Or you are to put into this firkin, a 
beet-root, medlars, cervices, mulberries, un- 
ripe flowers, a slice of barley bread hot out 
of the oven, or the blossoms of cervices in 
their season : dry them in the sun in a glass 
vessel, in the manner of rose vinegar ; fill 
up the glass with clear wine vinegar, white 
or claret wine, or set it in the sun or in a 
chimney by fhe fire. .There are sugar or 
honey sops to be met with in Cumberland to 
this day. Very delicious, and uncommonly 
bilious eating. Then, there is " broth for a 
sick body ;" and to "stew a cock agaihst a con- 
sumption ;" and "to distill a pig good against a 
consumption ;" and another " excellent broth 
or drink for a sick body," and immediately 
following, another " strong broth for a sick 
party," and an excellent restorative for a 
weak back, of, " the .leaves of clary and nepe, 
fried with the yolks of eggs, and . eat to 
breakfast. 

We might multiply Robert May's odditiea 
in his Art and Mystery of Cooking, until 
we had given every recipe in- his book. 
They are all in the same style as those 
we have copied. Cumbersome, quaint, pro- 
fuse, coarse, they are fit for the time which 
countenanced the gross practical jokes and 
rough pleasures of ttie Trophy and Triumph 
we have spoken of ; but, there is also a lordly 
lavish ness about them that brings up pleasant 
pictures of the baronial magnificence of olden 
times, and somewhat shames the smaller, if 
more elegant hospitality of to-day. Live 
frogs, live birds, and live snakes, are not the 
most pleasant guests at a dinner-table ; but, the 
open-handed desire to show honour to their 
friends, and to give happiness and pleasure, 
was some counterbalance to the coarseness of 
our ancestors. Passing by the bad taste 
which took delight in such vandalisms, we 
might perhaps find some useful hints in our 
old cookery-book. Certainly we might learn 
one good lesson how to make use of every 
available article of food ; how to multiply 
our present resources, and turn into nourish- 
ment and use, material now left wasting by 
the side of men dying of hunger. 



This day is published, for greater convenience, and 
cheapness of binding, 

THE FIRST TEN VOLUMES 

OF 

HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 

WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO THE WHOLE. 
Price of tho Set, thus bound in Five Double instead of Ten 
Single Volumes, 2 10s. Od. 



Published at tin Olfcce, -No. ;c, \''cUingt?n Street .North, Strand. Prm'.eii by l?iu*ui & ETAHS, \Vhlterrin, Louitoa 



"Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL, 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



255.] 



SATUKDAY, FEBBUARY 10, 1855. 



GASLIGHT FAIRIES. 



FANCY an order for five-and-thirty Fairies ! 
Imagine a mortal in a loose-sleeved great 
coat, with the mud of London streets upon 
his legs, commercially ordering, in the 
common-place, raw, foggy forenoon, " five- 
and-thirty more Fairies " ! Yet I, the writer, 
heard the order given. " Mr. Vernon, let me 
have five-and-thirty more Fairies to-morrow 
morning and take care they are good ones." 

Where was it that, towards the close of 
the year one thousand eight hundred and 
fifty-four, on a dark December morning, I 
overheard this astonishing commission given 
to Mr. Vernon, and by Mr. Vernon accepted 
without a word of remonstrance and entered 
in a note-book ? It was in a dark, deep gulf 
of a place, hazy with fog at the bottom of a 
sort of immense well without any water in 
it ; remote crevices and chinks of daylight 
faintly visible on the upper rim ; dusty palls 
enveloping the sides ; gas flaring at my feet ; 
hammers going, in invisible workshops ; 
groups of people hanging about, trying to 
keep their toes and fingers warm, what time 
their, noses were dimly seen through the 
smoke of their own breath. It was in the 
strange conventional world where the visible 
people only, never advance ; where the 
unseen painter learns and changes ; where 
the unseen tailor learns and changes ; where 
the unseen mechanist adapts to his purpose 
the striding ingenuity of the age ; where the 
electric light comes, in a box that is carried 
under a man's arm; but, where the visible flesh 
and blood is so persistent in one routine 
that, from the waiting-woman's apron-pockets 
(with her hands in them), upward to the 
smallest retail article in the "business" of 
mad Lear with straws in his wig, and 
downward to the last scene but one of the 
pantomime, where, for about one hundred 
years last past, all the characters have 
entered groping, in exactly the same way, in 
identically the same places, under precisely 
the same circumstances, and without the 
smallest reason I say, it was in that strange 
world where the visible population have so com- 
pletely settled their so-potent art, that when 
I pay my money at the door I know before- 
hand everything that can possibly happen to 
me, iifside. It was in the Theatre, that I 



heard this order given for five-and-thirty 
Fairies. 

And hereby hangs a recollection, not out of 
place, though not of a Fairy. Once, on just 
such another December morning, I stood on 
the same dusty boards, in the same raw 
atmosphere, intent upon a pantomime- 
rehearsal. A massive giant's castle arose 
before me, and the giant's body-guard 
marched in to comic music ; twenty grotesque 
creatures, with little arms and legs, and enor- 
mous faces moulded into twenty varieties of 
ridiculous leer. 'One of these faces in par- 
ticular an absurdly radiant face, with a 
wink upon it, and its tongue in its cheek 
elicited much approving notice from the 
authorities, and a ready laugh from the or- 
chestra, and was, for a full half minute, a special 
success. But, it happened that the wearer of 
the beaming visage carried a banner ; and, not 
to turn a banner as a procession moves, so as 
always to keep its decorated side towards the 
audience, is one of the deadliest sins a 
banner-bearer can commit. This radiant 
goblin, being half-blinded by his mask, and 
further disconcerted by partial suffocation, 
three distinct times omitted the first duty of 
man, and petrified us by displaying, with the 
greatest ostentation, mere sackcloth and 
timber, instead of the giant's armorial bear- 
ings. To crown which offence he couldn't 
hear when he was called to, but trotted 
about in his richest manner, unconscious 
of threats and imprecations. Suddenly, a 
terrible voice was heard above the music, 
crying, " Stop ! " Dead silence, and we 
became aware of Jove in the boxes. 
" Hatchway," cried Jove to the director, 
"who is that man? Show me that man." 
Hereupon, Hatchway (who had a wooden 
leg), vigorously apostrophising the defaulter 
as an " old beast," stumped straight up to 
the body-guard now in line before the castle, 
and taking the radiant countenance by the 
nose, lifted it up as if it were a saucepan-lid 
and disclosed below, the features of a bald, 
superannuated, aged person, very much in 
want of shaving, who looked in the forlornest 
way at the spectators, while the large face 
aslant on the top of his head mocked him. 
" What ! It's you, is it?" said Hatchway, with 
dire contempt. " I thought it was you." "I 
knew it was that man ! " cried Jove. " I 



VOL. XL 



255 



26 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



told you yesterday, Hatchway, he was not fit 
for it. Take him away, and bring another ! " 
He was ejected with every mark of ignominy, 
and the inconstant mask was just as funny 
on another man's shoulders immediately 
afterwards. To the present day, I never see 
a very comic pantomime-mask but I wonder 
whether this wretched old man can possibly 
have got behind it ; and I never think of him 
as dead and buried (which is far more likely), 
but I make that absurd countenance a part of 
his mortality, and picture it to myself as 
gone the way of all the winks in the world. 

Five-and-thirty more Fairies, and let them 
be good ones. I saw them next day. They 
ranged from an anxious woman of ten, learned 
in the prices of victual and fuel, up to a 
conceited young lady of five times that age, 
who always persisted in standing on on leg 
longer than was necessary, with the deter- 
mination (as I was informed), "to make a 
Part of it." This Fairy was of long theatrical 
descent centuries, I believe and had never 
had an ancestor who was entrusted to com- 
municate one word to a British audience. 
Yet, the whole race had lived and died with 
the fixed idea of " making a Part of it" ; and 
she, the last of the line, was still unchangeably 
resolved to go down on one leg to posterity. 
Her father had fallen a victim to the family 
ambition ; having become in course of time 
so extremely difficult to " get off," as a vil- 
lager, seaman, smuggler, or what not, that it 
was at length considered unsafe to allow him 
to " go on." Consequently, those neat con- 
fidences with the public in which he had 
displayed the very acm6 of his art usually 
consisting of an explanatory tear, or an arch 
hint in dumb show of his own personal de- 
termination to perish in the attempt then on 
foot were regarded, as superfluous, and came 
to be dispensed with, exactly at the crisis when 
he himself foresaw that he would " be put into 
Parts " shortly. I had the pleasure of recog- 
nising in the character of an Evil Spirit of 
the Marsh, overcome by this lady with one 
(as I should else have considered purposeless) 
poke of a javelin, an actor whom I had 
formerly encountered in the provinces under 
circumstances that had fixed him agreeably 
in my remembrance. The play, represented 
to a nautical audience, was Hamlet ; and this 
gentleman having been killed with much credit 
as Polonius, reappeared in the part of Osric : 
provided against recognition by the removal 
of his white wig, and the adjustment round 
his waist of an extremely broad belt and 
buckle. He was instantly recognized, not- 
withstanding these artful precautions, and a 
solemn impression was made upon the spec- 
tators for which I could not account, until a 
sailor in the Pit drew a long breath, said to 
himself in a deep voice, " Blowed if here a'nt 
another Ghost !" and composed himself to 
listen to a second communication from the tomb. 
Another personage whom I recognized as 
taking refuge under the wings of Pantomime 



(she was not a Fairy, to be sure, but she kept 
the cottage to which the Fairies came, and 
lived in a neat upper bedroom, with her legs 
obviously behind the street door), was a 
country manager's wife a most estimable 
woman of about fifteen stone, with a larger 
family than I had ever been able to count : 
whom I had last seen in Lincolnshire, playing 
Juliet, while her four youngest children (and 
nobody else) were in the boxes hanging out 
of window, as it were, to trace with their 
forefingers the pattern on the front, and 
making all Verona uneasy by their imminent 
peril of falling into the Pit. Indeed, I had 
seen this excellent woman in the whole round 
of Shakesperian beauties, and had much 
admired her way of getting through the text. 
If anybody made any remark to her, in re- 
ference to which any sort of answer occurred 
to her mind, she made that answer ; other- 
wise, as a character in the drama, she preserved 
an impressive silence, and, as an individual, 
was heard to murmur t'o the unseen person 
next in order of appearance, " Come on !" I 
found her, now, on good motherly terms with 
the Fairies, and kindly disposed to chafe and 
warm the fingers of the younger of that race. 
Out of Fairy-land, I suppose that so many 
shawls and bonnets of a peculiar limpness 
were never assembled together. And, as to 
shoes and boots, I heartily wished that " the 
good people " were better shod, or were as 
little liable to take cold as in the sunny days 
when they were received at Court as God- 
mothers to Princesses. 

Twice a-year, upon an average, these gas- 
light Fairies appear to us ; but, who knows 
what becomes of them at other times ? You 
are sure to see them at Christmas, and they 
may be looked for hopefully at Easter ; but, 
where are they through the eight or nine long 
intervening months 1 They cannot find shelter 
under mushrooms, they cannot live upon dew; 
unable to array themselves in supernatural 
green, they must even look to Manchester for 
cotton stuffs to wear. When they become 
visible, you find them a traditionary people, 
with a certain conventional monotony in their 
proceedings which prevents their surprising 
you very much, save now and then when they 
appear in company with Mr. Beverley. In a 
general way, they have been sliding out of the 
clouds, for some years, like barrels of beer 
delivering at a public-house. They sit in the 
same little rattling stars, with glorious cork- 
screws twirling about them and never 
drawing anything, through a good many 
successive seasons. They come up in the 
same shells out of the same three rows of 
gauze water (the little ones lying down in 
front, with their heads diverse ways) ; and 
you resign yourself to what must infallibly 
take place when you see them armed with 
garlands. You know all you have to 
expect of them by moonlight. In the glowing 
day, you are morally certain that the gentle- 
man with the muscular legs and ihf short 



Charles Dickens.] 



GASLIGHT FAIRIES. 



27 



tunic (like the Bust at the Hairdresser's, com- 
pletely carried out), is coming, when you see 
them " getting over " to one side, while the 
surprising phenomenon is presented on the 
landscape of a vast mortal snadow in a hat of 
the present period, violently directing them 
so to do. You are acquainted with all these 
peculiarities of the gaslight Fairies, and you 
know by heart everything that they will do 
with their arms and legs, and when they will 
do it. But, as to the same good people in their 
invisible condition, it is a hundred to one that 
you know nothing, and never think of them. 

I began this paper with, perhaps, the most 
curious trait, after all, in the history of the 
race. They are certain to be found when 
wanted. Order Mr. Vernon to lay on a 
hundred and fifty gaslight Fairies next Mon- 
day morning, and they will flow into the 
establishment like so many feet of gas. Every 
Fairy can bring other Fairies; her sister Jane, 
her friend Matilda, her friend Matilda's 
friend, her brother's young family, her mother 
if Mr. Vernon will allow that respectable 
person to pass muster. Summon the Fairies, 
and Drury Lane, Soho, Somers' Town, and 
the neighbourhood of the obelisk in St. 
George's Fields, will become alike prolific in 
them. Poor, good-humoured, patiezit, fond 
of a little self-display, perhaps, (sometimes, 
but far from always), they will come trudging 
through the mud, leading brother and sister 
lesser Fairies by the hand, and will hover 
about in the dark stage-entrances, shivering 
and chattering in their shrill way, and earn- 
ing their little money hard, idlers and vaga- 
bonds though we may be pleased to think 
them. I wish, myself, that we were not so often 
pleased to think ill of those who minister to 
our amusement. I am far from having satis- 
fied my heart that either we or they are a 
bit the better for it. 

Nothing is easier than for any one of us to 
get into a pulpit, or upon a tub, or a stump, 
or a platform, and blight (so far as with our 
bilious and complacent breath we can), any 
class of small people we may choose to select. 
But, it by no means follows that because it is 
easy and safe, it is right. Even these very 
gaslight Fairies, now. Why should I be 
bitter on them because they are shabby per- 
sonages, tawdrily dressed for the passing 
hour, and then to be shabby again 1 I have 
known very shabby personages indeed the 
shabbiest I ever heard of tawdrily dressed 
for public performances of other kinds, and 
performing marvellously ill too, though trans- 
cendently rewarded : yet whom none dispa- 
raged ! In even-handed justice, let me render 
these little people their due. 

Ladies and Gentlemen. Whatever you may 
hear to the contrary (and may sometimes 
have a strange satisfaction in believing), there 
is no lack of virtue and modesty among the 
Fairies. All things considered, I doubt if 
they be much below our own high level. In 
respect of constant acknowledgment of the 



claims of kindred, I assert for the Fairies, 
that they yield to no grade of humanity. Sad 
as it is to say, I have known Fairies even to 
fall, through this fidelity of theirs. As to 
young children, sick mothers, dissipated 
brothers, fathers unfortunate and fathers 
undeserving, Heaven and Earth, how many 
of these have I seen clinging to the spangled 
skirts, and contesting for the nightly shilling 
or two, of one little lop-sided, weak-legged 
Fairy ! 

Let me, before I ring the curtain down on 
this short piece, take a single Fairy, as Sterne 
took his Captive, and sketch the Family-Pic- 
ture. I select Miss Fairy, aged three-and- 
twenty, lodging within cannon range of Water- 
loo Bridge, London not alone, but with her 
mother, Mrs. Fairy, disabled by chronic rheu- 
matism in the knees; and with her father, 
Mr. Fairy, principally employed in lurking 
about a public-house, and waylaying the the- 
atrical profession for twopence wherewith to 
purchase a glass of old ale, that he may have 
something warming on his stomach (which 
has been cold for fifteen years) ; and with 
Miss Eosina Fairy, Miss Angelica Fairy, and 
Master Edmund Fairy, aged respectively, 
fourteen, ten, and eight. Miss Fairy has an 
engagement of twelve shillings a week sole 
means of preventing the Fairy family from 
coming to a dead lock. To be sure, at this 
time of year the three young Fairies have a 
nightly engagement to come out of a Pumpkin 
as French soldiers ; but, its advantage to the 
housekeeping is rendered nominal, by that 
dreadful old Mr. Fairy's making it a legal 
formality to draw the money himself every 
Saturday and never coming home until his 
stomach is warmed, and the money gone. 
Miss Fairy is pretty too, makes up very 
pretty. This is a trying life at the best, but 
very trying at the worst. And the worst 
is, that that always beery old Fairy, the 
father, hovel's about the stage-door four or 
five nights a week, and gets his cronies among 
the carpenters and footmen to carry in mes- 
sages to his daughter (he is not admitted him- 
self), representing the urgent coldness of his 
stomach and his parental demand for twopence; 
failing compliance with which, he creates dis- 
turbances ; and getting which, he becomes 
maudlin and waitsfor the manager, to whom he 
represents with tears that his darling child and 
pupil, the pride of his soul, is " kept down in 
the Theatre." A hard life this for Miss Fairy, 
I say, and a dangerous ! And it is good to 
see her, in the midst of it, so watchful of 
Eosina Fairy, who otherwise might come to 
harm one day. A hard life this, I say again, 
even if John Kemble Fairy, the brother, who 
sings a good song, and when he gets an 
engagement always disappears about the 
second week or so and is seen no more, had 
not a miraculous property of turning up on a 
Saturday without any heels to his boots, 
firmly purposing to commit suicide, xinless 
bought off with half-a-crown. And yet so 



28 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



curious is the gaslighted atmosphere in \vhich 
these Fairies dwell ! through all the narrow 
ways of such an existence, Miss Fairy never 
relinquishes the belief that that incorrigable old 
Fairy, the father, is a wonderful man ! She is 
immovably convinced that nobody ever can, 
or ever could, approach him in Rolla. She 
has grown up in this conviction, will never 
correct it, will die in it. If, through any 
wonderful turn of fortune, she were to arrive 
at the emolument and dignity of a Free 
Bene6t to-morrow, she would " put up " old 
Fairy, red nosed, stammering and imbecile 
with delirium tremens shaking his very but- 
tons off as the noble Peruvian, and would play 
Cora herself, with a profound belief in his 
taking the town by storm at last. 



THE HILL OF GOLD. 



THE alchemists tried hard to discover some 
form of aurum potabile, or drinkable gold, 
which, when at last brewed in correct and 
perfect style, should endow the happy and 
learned drinker with unfading youth and in- 
terminable length of days. They failed, we 
may suppose ; because, although rarely, from 
time to time, one or two reputed evergreen 
immortals have strutted on the stage whereon 
all men and women are the players, they, 
like the rest, have made their exit. Them- 
selves, as well as the scenes, have been shifted. 
We see them not amongst us, to testify to the 
potency of their golden potion, in spite of the 
daily miracles wrought by hair dyes, supple- 
mental teeth, and Tyrian bloom. 

It has been reserved for myself to make 
the grand discovery which past ages have 
been unable to achieve. I not by myself 
I, have penetrated to the source whence issue 
inexhaustible fountains of potable gold. I 
have drunk my fill without stint or limit, and 
I feel the invigorating beverage tingling in 
every fibre, imparting strength to every 
muscle, and even adding energy to every 
thought. Not to be selfish and miserly, by 
concealing the whereabouts of this liquid 
treasure, the true golden beverage is to be 
had at springs whose names are Vollenay, 
Vougeot, Beaune, Nuits, and many others, 
all situated in the eastern region of France, 
midway between the Mediterranean and the 
English Channel. But, to cut matters short 
and to end all mystery, I will precede any 
further explanation by a short lecture on 
Gallic geography. 

France, then, is historically associated in 
our minds with the old division into pro- 
vinces. We can never forget such memorable 
words as Champagne, Burgundy, Langue- 
doc. These names have disappeared from 
modern maps, and are replaced by others. 
It is exactly as if all our counties were swept 
clean away, and Great Britain were redistri- 
buted into more equal portions, with quite 
new denominations attached to them. France 
actually and at present is, by decree of the 



National Assembly, partitioned into five 
regions, very easy to remember in respect to 
their relative positions namely, north, south, 
east, west, and Central which again are un- 
equally divided into eighty-six departments, 
including Corsica, ceded to France by the 
republic of Genoa so lately as seventeen hun- 
dred and sixty-eight, in consideration of a 
money payment. This insular department of 
course belongs to the south region. As to the 
order in which the departments usually 
range, some geographers begin at the bottom 
of the map, making Corsica number one ; 
others at the top, placing the Department du 
Nord (in which are the towns of Dunkerque, 
Lille, and Valenciennes) at the head of the list. 

The names by which the different depart- 
ments are distinguished, have been conferred 
upon them for different reasons. Many are 
known by the name of the principal river or 
rivers which run through them ; as the De- 
partments de la Sarthe, de PAllier, de Loir- 
et-Cher, and de la Seine-Inferieure. Others 
derive their titles from the mountains to 
which they are contiguous ; as the Depart- 
ments du Jura, des Vosges, des Basses-Alpes, 
and des Hautes-Pyrenees. Some maritime 
departments bring with them an allusion to 
the seas which wash their shores ; as those of 
de la Manche, du Pas-de-Calais, and des 
C6tes-du-Nord ; while remarkable natural 
peculiarities of position or constitution, un- 
usual and celebrated points of topography, 
claim their right to be commemorated in the 
household words of the locality. Hence we 
have the Departments du Puy-de-D6me, from, 
the conical colossus who rears his head above 
the other Puys, or volcanic hills, which have 
been upraised by subterranean fires in the 
neighbourhood of Clermont ; des Landes, 
from the vast sandy plains which tire the 
eye with little relief, except from ponds and 
marshes, and over which the wild inhabitants 
stride rapidly on stilts ; du Finisterre, from 
the Land's End of France ; and du Calvados, 
from a dangerous chain of rocks along the 
coast, six leagues in length, extending from 
the mouth of the Vire to that of the Orne, 
and which owe their own denomination to 
the shipwreck of a vessel of that name be- 
longing to the squadron which Philip the 
Second dispatched for England in fifteen 
hundred and eighty-eight. And lastly, as a 
crowning example, there is a bit cut out of 
Burgundy, the Department de la C6te-d : Or, 
or the Hill of Gold. 

Gold is really found, then, in that precious 
hill ? It is another Australia? a Californian 
mountain ? Oh no ! Something far better 
than that. Its gold, I repeat, is drinkable ; 
producing, when used with due discretion, if 
not exactly eternal youth, the nearest ap- 
proach to it which human wit has as yet 
discovered, the most perennial restorative 
allowed to man according to the laws imposed 
on nature by the Almighty Controller and 
Provider of all things. 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE HILL OF GOLD. 



29 



The C6te-d'Or is\a chain of hills extending 
about five-and-thirty English miles in length 
from the city of Dijon at its northern end to 
Santenay, the last village at its southern 
extremity. Along this range are produced 
the wines which have conferred on Burgundy 
a cosmopolitan reputation as the out-and-out 
prince of jollity and good cheer. The line of 
this chain runs from north-east to south- 
west, in such a way that the first rays of the 
rising and the last of the setting sun gild 
and warm the outspread vineyards. Once, 
the summits of the hills were all crowned 
with wood, which now only remains as a rare 
exception. The forests were all cut down, 
because it was believed they attracted hail- 
storms (that -might be merely an excuse for 
raising the wind) ; but since their removal 
the evil has proved as destructive as ever, 
while their shelter and mist-attracting 
powers are lost. For the most part, the top 
of the Hill of Gold is a lump of cold, grey, 
barren limestone, with hardly sufficient 
moisture and mould upon it to keep alive a 
few half-starved tufts of grass and stunted 
bushes. Mosses and lichens, those outcasts 
of vegetation, shift for themselves as well as 
they can. The vineyards, all along the Cote, 
run up to the very verge of this stony 
desert ; and within a few feet, sometimes 
within a few inches of each other, you see 
blushing the grape which produces the most 
luscious wine, and the astringent sloe and 
the vapid blackberry. Sometimes a low cliff, 
a few feet in height, serves as a wall to sepa- 
rate the vineyard from the wilderness, and 
so causes the transition to appear less abrupt. 

As a general rule, the wine-producing por- 
tions of Burgundy and Champagne are what 
we should call dry, even short of water. 
There are neither marshes, lakes, nor consi- 
derable rivers, to send up mists which pollute 
the atmosphere and screen the vivifying action 
of the sun ; and the ocean is too far distant 
to overspread the sky with a mantle of sea- 
fog night and morning. You can fancy, 
therefore, that the grapes (like the cucumbers 
from which the Laputa chemist proposed to 
extract the sunbeams), imbibe the heat of the 
solar rays, and treasure it up, for the purpose 
of yielding it back by and by, as they do 
when they cause the old man's heart to glow 
within him. The C6te-d'Or, in spite of its 
gray, barren, bald forehead, looks everywhere 
warm, dry, and comfortable. Its slope is 
thickly studded with snug villages, whose 
names, when you ask them, are familiar 
words, Vougeot, Gevrey-Chambertin, and 
Voile nay, each with its square, solid steeple, 
and dwarf, atubby, would-be spire. Many 
present a deceitfully-dilapidated aspect, from 
being roofed with shingle of self-splitting 
rock ; they nevertheless are weatherproof 
habitations of men, wherein dwell wealth, 
ease, and good living, besides contented be- 
cause constant labour. The Cote, so smiling 
upon the whole, every now and then yawns 



wide, opening into rocky and precipitous 
ravines, tufted and overhung with clumps of 
trees, and tempting to penetrate their shady 
recesses. But the foot of the Cote is a conti- 
nuous carpet of vineyards stretching further 
north and south than the eye can follow it 
either way. We should wonder what the 
inhabitants can do with all the wine pro- 
duced (and epochs, as we shall see, have 
occurred when they have been sorely puzzled 
how to dispose of it), did we not know that 
the whole world, just now, like a thousand- 
armed Briareus, is constantly holding out 
innumerable cups for generous Jean Raisin 
to fill with good liquor. In the Department 
de la Cote-d'Or alone there are, in round 
numbers, sixty-nine thousand English acres 
entirely occupied by vineyards. This im- 
mense field of viniferous verdure is dotted 
with, not broken up by, standard fruit-trees 
of various kinds. The vine-forest is over- 
topped at distant intervals by vegetable 
monsters of colossal growth, the humblest in. 
rank, though not in stature, being the walnut, 
with its valuable wood. There are a few 
apple-trees, more pears, still more cherries, 
with apricot and peach-trees in unaccountable 
abundance. The fruit from these is in great 
part sent off to less favoured regions, and to 
the all-consuming metropolis. There are 
vignerons who have sold this year six hun- 
dred francs' worth of apricots alone, thus 
slightly stopping the gap caused by the 
failure of the grape-blossoms in spring. And 
as to the fruit from the standard peach-trees, 
a plein vent, in the full wind, though inferior 
in size, they are in flavour what can only be 
expressed by smacking the lips with the 
accompaniment of a look of ecstacy. Less 
pretending intruders are numerous ; aspa- 
ragus stools dispersed throughout the vine- 
yards to render an acceptable tribute in their 
season. Then come undulating tracts, sinking 
into valleys of a very Welsh character ; hilla 
breaking out into clifEs, with shrubs sprouting 
on their perpendicular face ; with vineyards 
running merrily to the tops of the respective 
portions of Cote, till the bare rock, cropping 
out, effectually stops all further progress. 
The whole scene fills the mind with that 
indescribable complacency which arises from 
the contemplation of a lovely landscape. The 
best and choicest wine, be it ever remem- 
bered, is grown neither at the very top of the 
cultivated part, nor yet upon the flat fertile 
part which sends forth such abundant streams 
of rosy juice. It is found just upon the final 
slope by which the hill dissolves and descends 
into the plain. 

The very fields amidst the vineyards on the 
plain are but temporary gaps. Burgundy 
does not grow enough wheat for its own con- 
sumption, even on the alluvial bottoms that 
skirt the Saoue, the Ouche, and the Yonne. 
When vines show symptoms of wearing out, 
they are stubbed up, and the ground is cul- 
tivated with other crops for a few years to 



30 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



give it rest ; that is, to allow the bits of rock 
in which the vine delights, to decompose and 
furnish fresh soil. But such stubbings-up 
seldom occur on well-managed ground. On 
the Cote is a vineyard called Charlemagne, 
because, according to an old tradition, it was 
planted by that prince's order. Some vines 
at Chablis have lasted from sixty to eighty 
years, with care ; others, neglected, fall off 
at thirty. As the Burgundians are short of 
grain crops, they consequently are short of 
manure ; and, in the absence of farm-yard 
muck, they sow the land destined for wheat, 
with peas, vetches, and other leguminous 
plants, sometimes also with raves, or coarse 
turnips, to be ploughed in as fertilizers. All 
these are allowable make-shifts ; but, apart 
from vine-growing, farming is not at high- 
water mark. In Basse Bourgogne are to be 
seen instructive examples of the evil effects 
of stripping beet of its leaves. The root re- 
sulting is something resembling a crooked 
red walking-stick, instead of the fat honest 
corpulence which a well-to-do beet is expected 
to protrude. A hundred symptoms, as you 
travel along, show that the vine is lord para- 
mount of the soil. Thus, all the moist hol- 
lows are planted with willows and osiers, 
to serve as ligatures to the drooping shoots. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary feature of 
the best Burgundiau vineyards, is their soil ; 
for the rich alluvial loam of the valley only 
produces second-rate wine. It is composed 
of bits of broken grey or yellow rock, mixed 
with a portion of what cannot be called earth 
or vegetable mould, but merely rotten stone 
in the shape of powder, and hardly that. 
You would say that it was only fit to mend 
the roads with. I have seen many a good 
cartload of the like lying ready prepared by 
the wayside, in the midland counties. Mr. 
Blueapron who keeps his vinery so moist 
that his vines put forth roots, in mid air, the 
whole length of their new-wood branches 
who manures his vine-borders with quarters 
of dead horse, and will not allow even a 
mignonnette plant to exhaust their richness 
would look aghast if he were told to culti- 
vate such compost as that. It is perfectly 
true that the two Messieurs B., Blueapron 
videlicet, and Bourgignon, grow grapes with 
a different object ; table and tub are their 
opposite destiny. " My grapes," the former 
will boast, "are different to these." To which 
B. the second will answer with a shrug 
" They are indeed ! The only drink your 
dropsical berries would make, is the cru 
which the Champagne beasts call Tord- 
boyau, or Twistbowel wine. More opposite 
conditions of culture can hardly exist. In 
one case, the plant has its branches, fruit, 
and foliage in the dryest almost of European 
air, smd its roots in a stratum of warm well- 
ventilated pebbles ; in the other, the vine is 
smothered with steam above and choked 
with carrion below. The horticultural vine 



the vineyards has little other stimulant (save 
sunshine) than slowly decomposing mineral 
food. The Academy of Salerno have wisely 
decided that wine, to be really good, must 
possess united the four meritorious qualities 
of perfume, savour, brilliancy, and colour. 
All these, and more, good burgundy can 
boast ; and yet it is produced from a" more 
heap of stony rubbish. 

In short, it is the rock that makes the 
wine. Not that any and every rock will pro- 
duce good burgundy ; but, on the quality of 
the rock depends the permanent character of 
the vintage. Everybody knows that good 
champagne ought to have a decided taste of 
gun-flint. Sir Humphry Davy has shown 
that the nature of the soils defends on the 
substratum of rock on which they lie, and by 
the decomposition whereof they are mainly 
produced. And thus, the wines of the Cote- 
d'Or may be classed into groups ; those grow- 
ing on the same bed of rock are similar in 
flavour and character. As the substratum 
varies along the course of the C6te, so do the 
wines. Generally, the rock which forms the 
base of the Golden Hills, is a coarse sub-carbon- 
ate of lime, which furnishes very tolerable stone 
for building purposes, and presents, especially 
near Santenay, an enormous mass of gryphites 
united by a calcareous paste of a grayish tint. 
But the prevailing hue is an ochrey yellow ;. 
and it is uncertain whether the Cote derives 
its name from the colour of its soil or the- 
money value of its produce. Examine any one 
given hill, and the truth of the above prin- 
ciple will be evident. For instance, the hill of 
PuJigny and Mursault is all of a piece ; the- 
crystallisation is the same, and it is a heap of 
the same kind of shells. Whether you take it 
at Mursault or at Montrachet, namely, at the 
two extremities, it is the same carbonate ot 
lime, differing only in slight external pro- 
perties, but identical in its internal composi- 
tion. 

Nevertheless, the wine of Montrachet is 
superior to that of the rest of the hill ; but 
that is the consequence of its aspect, which 
slopes to the south-east. Moreover, the soil 
of this canton is fine, light, extremely perme- 
able to the action of the air, and is composed 
of an admirable mixture of clay, sub-carbonate 
of lime, tritoxide of iron, and vegetable 
remains. The superiority of the produce is 
owing to the fortunate combination of a 
favourable aspect and a good soil. 

At the valley of Nuits commences the por- 
tion of the Cote, which is perhaps the most 
celebrated amongst foreigners for its wines, 
which have the reputation of being strong, of 
keeping well, and of bearing long journeys. 
Fashion may have had something to do with 
it. Until the beginning of the eighteenth 
century they were in less esteem. Their re- 
putation seems to date from the illness which 
Louis the Fourteenth suffered in sixteen hun- 
dred and eighty, when his physician Fagon 



is glutted with animal manure ; the vine of ' recommended Nuits wine to restore his 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE HILL OF GOLD. 



31 



strength. Of course, every sick courtier 
drank the same beverage ; those that were 
not sick fell ill on purpose to follow their 
dread sovereign's example. We may add, by 
the way, that the failing powers of the same 
monarch gave rise to the invention oj 
liqueurs by the same medical attendant, as a 
cordial wherewith to stimulate the blunt 
senses of decrepitude. The rock which forms 
the base of this little chain is a very pure 
subcarbonate of lime, with but little admix- 
ture of foreign substances ; in fact, it is true and 
real marble streaked with a few delicate 
pinkish veins. It is possible that, hereafter, 
the marble of Nuits will stand in almost as 
high repute as its wine. 

:One October morning I was awakened at 
Nmtsby the din of coopers hammer ing the tub 
of preparation, and making them fit to receive 
the grapes. I dressed myself to the sound oJ 
music, whose rhythm corresponded to Dr 
Arne's old tune of, " When the hollow drum 
doth beat to bed." The streets were full ol 
quiet but earnest business ; it was the first 
day of the vintage. There were carts going 
out of town, on each of which was mounted a 
large oval tub called a balonge, to receive and 
pai-tially squeeze the grapes in ; there were 
the same or similar carts and tubs brimful ol 
black grapes returning from the field ; there 
were men passing from the vineyards into the 
town, laden with hods, or back-baskets, and 
also with baskets shaped like Yarmouth 
swills, only shallower, all full of the black, 
not-at-all-goodlooking pineau grape ; wo- 
men also with empty baskets containing 
a supply of unshutting priming-knives 
to sever poor Jean Raisin from his 
parent stem ; gentlemen with choice little 
baskets of grapes on their arm, culled before 
the vintagers have begun, for their wives to 
treasure in moss and paper to produce them 
for the Christmas dessert ; or a woman bear- 
ing the same on her head, by way of trans- 
porting them more steadily ; and vine- 
owners, accompanied by their bailiffs or 
factotums, seriously walking to the scene of 
action; for, they say here, when the cat's 
away the rats will dance. Of course there 
are parties of young ladies and gentlemen 
who must go and see the vintaging, and 
neighbours who like to peep at other neigh- 
bours' crops. And then contrast with their 
neat and spruce attire those three rough 
fellows riding inside one balonge, like veritable 
children of St. Nicholas in their pickled-pork 
tub ; pity, too, the horse who is forced to 
drag the cart, laden with the balonge, filled 
with as many as eight-and-twenty large 
baskets of grapes eight baskets make a 
pierce, or hogshead of wine a tolerable 
load on a hot autumnal day. I should like 
to give that horse a few bunches of grapes, to 
moisten his poor dry dusty mouth with. By 
the way, dogs are prohibited from entering 
the vineyards when the fruit is ripe, for they 
are as fond of a good dessert as the fox in 



the fable ; sportsmen also can be kept at bay 
to the distance of three hundred metres, for, 
gunshot wounds are fatal to Jean Eaisin, 
both in stem and fruit. If the owner's 
longing for game, and not his judgment, con- 
sents to or commits the trespass, it is he who 
bears the penalty. Another by the way : a 
miller's donkey stepped into a vineyard and 
drank a full draught out of a tub of new 
grape - juice. The owner summoned the 
miller before the justice to make him pay 
damages. The sentence was, that the donkey 
having only swallowed a passing glass of 
wine, without sitting down to enjoy himself 
in a regular way, the miller was not com- 
pelled to pay anything. That justice had 
all the wisdom of Solomon. Thou shalt not 
muzzle the ox while he treads out the com. 
It is odious to see French horses, at harvest 
time, with baskets on their mouths like wean- 
ling calves. But grapes grapes nothing 
but grapes ! All the grapes grown around 
Nuits are brought into the town to be made 
into wine, excepting always those numerous 
basketfuls that are sold to be made into wine 
elsewhere ; a passable quantity, altogether, 
although, they say, the grape- harvest is a 
failure. You can smell the vintage as you 
walk along the street exactly the fruity, 
cloying kind of smell which delighted the 
old woman when she put her nose, with the 
./Esopian exclamation, to the bung-hole of the- 
empty tub. Grapes, grape-refuse, grape- 
produce, grape-odours, grape-tools, and grape- 
people ! 

Nuits is a straggling, loose-built little town 
(never having been confined within a corset of 
fortifications), situated on one of the gorges 
into which the C6te-d'0r is split, and tra- 
versed by the bed of what is sometimes 
a torrent, and sometimes a dry strip of shingle 
and sand, over which then unnecessary bridges 
stride. Nuits, with only five thousand in- 
habitants, still possesses two public walks ; 
but the vineyards were the most tempting 
promenade to me. Everybody at Nuits is 
either a vine-grower, a wine-merchant, a vin- 
tager, or a wine-cooper. The universal popu- 
lation are drinkers of wine, from old sealed 
bottles to new piquette, and the shop-windows 
display a varied assortment of brass and other 
taps and syphons. As you walk in the out- 
skirts, little symptoms tell eloquent tales 
about the climate. You have maize cultivated 
with a successful result, sometimes in patches, 
sometimes in single plants stuck in to fill the 
place of a missing vine ; you have magnificent 
heads of drooping millet ; you have melons 
ripening on the bare open ground ; you have 
comichons or gherkins, growing in a row and 
running up sticks like ranks of green peas. 
A gardener will tell you what all that means, 
if the flavour of your glass of wine does not 
give rise to strong suspicions that the summer 
here differs a little from the English one. 
Quite out of town, you are in a sea of vines. 
En general there is no boundary or fence. 



32 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted br 



Jean Raisin stands exposed to every enemy. 
Land is too valuable to be wasted in hedges, 
which, besides, would exhaust the soil, shade 
the crop, and harbour weeds and vermin. 
Jean, therefore, throws himself entirely on 
your honesty and generosity. Paths from the 
high road conduct you whithersoever you 
choose to roam, whether to the naked brow of 
the Cote, or far and wide amidst the vine- 
yards. The Burgundian is a bold, bluff, 
generous fellow ; his beard comes before his 
discretion. If you are a well-known brigand 
and thief, he will give you unmistakable 
warning to keep out of his vines ; but if you 
have the garb and look of an honest man, you 
are welcome to peep in, aye, find to taste with 
moderation. " Eat, monsieur, eat ! " was the 
only warning or prohibition I received during 
my strolls in the environs of Nuits. To be 
sure, it is easy for vintagers to be liberal with 
what is not exactly their own. " That's 
tolerably heavy ! " I said to a broad-shouldered 
fellow, as he set down a basket of grapes that 
would have made many a watering-place 
donkey sprawl flat on the ground. "At your 
service ! " was his reply, with a gesture 
of invitation, stalking away to fetch another. 
And he was a garde-champe'tre, too, whose 
duty is to watch and keep marauders away 
from all sorts of country produce. There is 
also another noble custom here ; when once 
the first grape-gathering is over, the half-ripe, 
unripe, and quite inferior bunches are left to 
hang for a while, as vine-gleanings for the 
poor to make piquette with. This year, how- 
ever, in consequence of the general failure, 
Vollenay, and several other communes where 
there is a considerable number of late-pro- 
duced grapes, have decided to make a second 
vintage of them, as a matter of necessity 
rather than of custom. 

A few of the choicest and most valuable 
spots are circumscribed by a wall of stone. 
A walled-in vineyard is called a clos. One 
of the most famous of these is the Clos 
"Vougeot, which suns itself on the gentlest 
of slopes, half-way between Nuits and 
Dijon. Like almost everything else that 
is good, it was once in the grasp of the touch- 
and-take-all monks, who made three separate 
brewings of the grapes. The produce of the 
upper portion of the Clos was never sold, but 
was reserved for the abbot (barring what he 
treated himself to), as presents to the crowned 
heads, princes, and ministers of Catholic 
Europe. The wine from the middle part, 
almost equal to the first, was sold at exceed- 
ingly high prices. The lowest part produced 
a sample which, though inferior to the others, 
was still very good, and always found ready 
purchasers. The Clos Vougeot, with its league 
or two of cellarage, has passed into the hands 
of lay proprietors ; otherwise, things are much 
as they were. Old epicures say that the fla- 
vour of the wine is not so good as when the 
monks prepared it ; perhaps it is their palates 
that have undergone the change. 



In Lower Burgundy, the vines are planted 
on even ground (leaving the general slope 
of the whole out of the question), in rows 
which run up-hill and down-hill not across, 
a yard wide, and two feet apart from stool 
to stool, or thereabouts ; though this varies 
according to locality, like most other details 
of vine culture. At Chablis, the plants are 
four and a half feet from each other, whilst 
the ranks are two and a half feet wide. 
Some attempts are made to plant in quin- 
cunx, which, principally in consequence of 
the operation of provignement, or layering 
the vines, in a few years become patterns of 
irregularity, and at no time are so convenient 
either for gathering or tillage. The vines 
are supported by stakes about five feet long, 
called echalas, sometimes paisseaux, which 
are nothing more than laths of split oak- 
branches, prepared by workmen known as 
fendeurs de merrain, and pointed at each 
end, that when one end is rotted off in the 
ground, the other may be used and the stake 
still remain useful. " As thin as an echalas," 
is a local saying. During winter, the laths 
are collected and sheltered somewhere from 
the weather, like hop-poles, to save them 
from rotting. These vine-props are not stuck 
perpendicularly into the ground, but are 
made to slope uniformly, all leaning a little 
at the same angle, according to the aspect of 
the hill and the whim of the vine-dresser, 
who is apt to be fanciful in this respect. 
The arrangement gives great regularity to 
the appearance of the vineyards about Ton- 
nerre and Chablis. When the stake slightly 
overtops the vine, the effect, seen from below, 
is like that of a field of green corn with an 
enormous beard. If a vine-stem is so long 
that its shoots would rise above its own 
stake, it is made to trail about a couple of 
inches above the surface of the ground, and 
then mount that of one of its neighbours. 
This plan is useful in case any of its said 
near neighbours should die, as it can then be 
inlaid, and so form a new plant. But to keep 
home, as the gardeners say, to cut close 
back, is the favourite practice. To shorten 
the vine, they believe, improves its health. 

The planting of a vineyard is an expensive 
affair. It gives no return till the fourth year, 
and has to be carefully cultivated all the while. 
The small profit from cabbages, and other 
crops, grown in the intervals of the rows is but 
an inconsiderable help to cover the outlay. 
The fifth year it begins to produce in good 
earnest ; but the wine from young vines is 
inferior to that from old ones. The eighth 
year, 'it is in its full strength and vigour. 
New vineyards here are mostly planted from 
rooted cuttings (chevelees), in trenches like 
our celery trenches, at the proper intervals. 
When the plants are established, the earth 
is levelled, and they shoot forth new roots at 
the new surface of the ground. On the 
C6te-d'Or, in little out-of-the-way nooks, may 
be seen vine-cutting nurseries, filled with little 



Charles Dickene.l 



THE HILL OF GOLD. 



33 



vines thickly planted together, which are 
intended to be transferred to other ground 
next year, or the year after, to supply our 
sons and grandsons with a cheerful glass to 
drink to the memory of the present gene- 
ration. Many Lower Burgundians prefer 
planting a new vineyard with unrooted 
cuttings, the technical word for which is 
chapons. A few of these are sure to fail. 
Those that succeed, thrive all the better for 
having escaped transplantation, and the 
vacancies are filled up the following season 
with cheve!6es. The chapons, cut from 
healthy young vines of the required sort, are 
about eighteen inches long. They are cut off 
about Christmas, and the sooner they are got 
into the ground afterwards, the better. The 
plant, too, succeeds better if buried in the 
fresh-dug earth as soon as the trench is 
opened. On this account circumstances are 
less favourable when the cuttings to be 
planted have to be brought from any con- 
siderable distance, or when frost sets in 
suddenly and prevents all tillage. In such 
cases, the chapons are tied in bundles, and 
their larger ends are put into buckets of water 
to the depth of six inches. But when kept 
too long in this way, many of the cuttings 
rot, and if the planter does not examine them 
carefully the proprietor sustains a heavy 
loss. Some better mode might be employed. 
Hot water near the boiling point is a well- 
known means of reviving languished vege- 
tative powers. A curious fact, related by 
Klobe, is that when the early colonists of the 
Cape of Good Hope failed in their attempts 
to propagate the vine, a German conceived the 
idea of slightly burning the extremity of the 
cuttings which he planted. Observe, those 
were cuttings from Vollenay on this very Cote- 
d'Or. The pineau of Burgundy produces the 
Constantia wine of the Cape. When the 
ground is ready, the vintager, working in a 
single row, straight from the top to the bottom 
of the hill, makes a long trench, and lays the 
baby vine reposing sixteen inches under- 
ground, with the remaining two peeping 
above. If there are more than two eyes, he 
prunes them back to that. 

The first operation of vine culture the 
pulling up of the stakes, begins immedi- 
ately after the vintage. They are laid in 
heaps at regular distances, after having any 
broken or rotten point sharpened by the 
women, and are then taken care of to be 
replanted in March, April, or the beginning of 
May, at the latest. The winter's work con- 
sists in separating the rooted layers from the 
parent plant, in pruning the cheve!6e or super- 
abundant roots, and covering them again with 
earth. The plant is thus prepared to resist the 
rigours of winter, sometimes with the aid of a 
little warm manure. Then, there is the 
stubbing-up of bad stools, and the half- 
digging of holes to supply their places by 
layers. When the cold is so intense that 
nothing can be done to the vines themselves, 



the vigneron has not the more leisure for that 
The soil on a sloping vineyard is washed down 
by every shower of rain to the lowest part 
of the declivity, where it is stopped by little 
walls that are raised for the purpose. The 
upper portion of the vineyard, thus denuded 
of earth, would at last become so poor that 
the vines would perish. To replace the loss, 
the vigneron carries on his back hodsful of 
earth from the deposit at the bottom, to the 
impoverished summit of the hill. He does 
his best to oppose the law of nature, which 
decrees that every hill shall be levelled with 
the plain. This earth-carrying task is of the 
greatest utility, and is performed about once 
in three years. The new soil is most precious 
manure, whose effect is immediately seen in 
the produce. 

About St. Valentine, pruning commences 
on the Cote. It takes place later on the 
plain, whei'e frosts are more to be appre- 
hended. All the top branches are cut away ; 
nothing is left but one or more stems (accord- 
ing to the strength of the cep) nearest to the 
old wood. Two or three eyes are usually left 
to each stem ; greedy vhie-growers leave as 
many as five, but they pay for it afterwards by 
the speedy exhaustion of the stool. At pruning- 
time, choice is made of branches to make 
layers with. The best way is to make the 
selection just before the vintage, marking the 
plants which produce the greatest abundance 
of first-rate fruit. The best tool to prune 
with is a serpette, or an English pruning- 
knife, when it can be had, just such a one as 
the good old servant which sometimes cuts 
my wayside bread and cheese or thumb-piece, 
and sometimes helps me to put rose-trees in 
order. There is an instrument called a 
secateur, a combination of pincers and 
scissors, and a great favourite with ignorant 
vine-dressers and lazy gardeners, because it 
helps them to get over the ground quickly. 
I mention it, in order to advise its utter 
rejection for any but the roughest purposes. 

Full-grown and established vines, which 
are entirely cultivated by hand labour, should 
receive a tillage four times during every 
summer ; in mid-March or April, in May, in 
June or July, and the fourth in August. Il 
one of these is more essential than the other, 
it is the second. The first, called bScher 
though no digging is employed, is performed 
with a peculiar hoe, named a meille, whose 
iron is perfectly triangular, except that the 
point is elongated. The handle of the meille 
is slightly curved to help the labourer, and 
the iron is bent towards tne handle at a very 
sharp angle. It thus forms a sort of hand- 
plough as the vigneron draws it towards 
himself. This work is performed by men 
who toil with naked feet among the rocky 
vineyards, where the heat during the summer 
tillage sometimes makes it an ordeal, as we 
should think, equivalent to walking over 
red-hot ploughshares. After the belcher, the 
stakes are planted, which enter more readily 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



the fresh-stirred earth. This task mostly 
lulls to the lot of the women. It is their 
office also to tie up the viues with rye-straw 
or osier two or three times iu the course of 
the season, as well as to disbud and remove 
all troublesome aud unnecessary shoots. If 
the vine-shoot is long and weak, and if it is 
not carefully tied to its stake, at the first 
storm alter the appearance of the blossom- 
bud and the development of the earliest 
leaves, the twigs beat one against the other, 
and the ground is covered with their pre- 
mature ruins. During summer, the vignerons 
are obliged, time after time, mercilessly to 
cull back the rampant branches. At hist, by 
admitting sunshine and air, and by preventing 
the vigour of the vine from exhausting itself 
unnecessarily, the berries swell and the 
bunches ripen. 

On the C6te-d'0r, the vineyards are often 
full of little hollows, which are left to nurse 
a favourite currant-bush or millet plant in, 
or sometimes, I think, for the mere pleasure 
of walking up and down hill. The grand 
final cause of these numerous hollows is 
the necessity of making a preparation 
for the layering of vines. That operation 
renders the vine immortal, if the soil 
on which it is planted is good. There 
are renowned vineyards at Vollenay, Poin- 
mard, Beaune, and elsewhere, whose plan- 
tation dates from time immemorial. But to 
insure this happy result, the vines must not 
be neglected for a single season. Every year, 
layers must be made in proportion to the 
number of ceps that have perished, whether 
from age, inclement seasons, or the still worse 
evil of injudicious management. Note, that 
when a layer is well made, it gives a few 
grapes the first year ; in the second, it has 
attained its full strength. 

To make good wine, you must catch Jean 
Raisin at the exact point of ripeness. For 
red wines, a little too soon is better than a 
little too late. When the day is fixed by the 
wise men of the village, troops of vintagers 
of all ages and sexes throng in, from ten, 
twelve, and fifteen leagues distance, to enjoy 
the pleasure of eating their fill of grapes 
under the pretence of earning wages. The 
vintage, in different localities, commences 
on a different appointed day. This is 
partly a matter of necessity, as the vin- 
tagers go in bauds from one place to 
another. And to make good wine, it must be 
concocted with a certain degree of celerity 
aud decision. Good grapes, as in quite the 
south of France, often produce bad wine for 
no other reason than that the makers are 
sluggish about the business ; exactly as, in 
the beet-sugar manufacture, the slightest halt 
in the march of the establishment brings 
about a serious check. 

"When these errant ladies and gentlemen 
and children are introduced into a viney.-inl, 
they are ranged in line, and each individual 
walks straight before him, her, or it, cutting 



every bunch lie, she, or it, finds under his, 
her, or its noses, and putting them into 
little flat baskets. One hand ought to 
support the bunch, while the other adroitly 
severs the stem. When the fruit is over 
ripe, the basket should be set at the foot 
of the vine, to catch the loose grapes that 
would otherwise fall on the ground and 
be lost. The little baskets, when full, are 
carried off by a man, styled from his office 
vide-panier, or basket-emptier, and their 
contents are transferred into the grands 
paniers or baskets proper, which are pre- 
viously set down at proper intervals within 
the area of the vineyard. The whole scene 
is often overlooked by a stern gaunt woman, 
perhaps the proprietor's wife, who sees that 
nothing is lost, and who wastes her energies 
on the thankless task of persuading the glut- 
tons to eat as few grapes as they can. 

The baskets proper are then emptied into 
balonges, or large oval tubs, each standing 
ready upon its own cart. The balonge, when 
brimful, is wheeled away to the pressoir, a 
word which the dictionary interprets wine- 
press, but which on the C6te-d'Or means the 
apartment, large or small, wherein wine- 
press, tubs, and other wine-making tools are 
congregated. The first grapes thrown into 
the first balonges, are trampled on by wooden- 
shod men upon the spot. The balouges 
themselves, arriving at the pressoir, are 
emptied into vast round tubs, called cuves. 
When the contents of the first balonge are 
thrown into the cuve, a vigneron jumps in, 
and tramples them as cruelly as he can, to 
make what is called the levain, or leaven. 
Upon this leaven are cast all the rest of the 
slightly crushed or uncrushed grapes as they 
are brought from the vineyard. And that is 
all that is done to commence or accelerate 
the fermentation, the progress of which 
is ascertained, amongst other means, by 
listening. 

Sometimes the grapes are entirely or par- 
tially egrappes, or stripped from the stalks be- 
fore being put in the cuve. There are occasion- 
ally years in which although the bunches are 
abundant, each bunch only bears some five 
or six berries. Little else is to be seen but 
a crop of stalks. Stripping then is necessary, 
because the stalks would absorb so much 
juice as to occasion great loss. Some propri- 
etors, in less disastrous years, remove a cer- 
tain proportion of stalks. The grapes are 
put into a large concave wicker sieve, called 
an egrappoir, the osiers composing which 
cross each other at sufficient distances to 
allow something larger than the largest 
sized grape to pass between them. The 
bunches are thrown into this egrappoir and 
the vintager's hand roughly rolls them about. 
The berries roll off without being too much 
crushed, and the stalks remaining are tossed 
aside as useless. But most wine-masters do 
not egrapper their grapes at all. 

In warm weather, fermentation is soon 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE HILL OF GOLD. 



35 



established, and the cuve can be emptied of 
its contents in from twenty-four to thirty-six 
hours ; but, in cold seasons, fermentation does 
not begin till the third or fourth day, and 
the emptying of the cuve on the sixth. 
When the mass of bunches of fruit has 
sufficiently fermented, it is fouled, or trod- 
den by a man without clothes (sometimes 
there are several), who enters the tub, and 
squeezes out the juice as well as he can 
for about an hour, by stamping, kicking, and 
hugging the fruit, pressing it against his 
chest, and embracing it in his arms till he 
becomes himself a perfect red-skin. This 
vinous bath is sometimes so overpowering 
that the treader is obliged to give up the 
task through absolute tipsiness, and allow 
another andasoberer man to take his place in 
the bacchanalian fountain. The operation 
lets loose into the cuve a large quantity of 
saccharine matter, which has not yet fermented, 
and the sweetness of the cuve is much in- 
creased. The fermentation re-commences 
violently ; and if it is found that the grapes 
are still insufficiently crushed, the red-skin 
Indians renew their onslaught. 

As soon as the treading-out is finished, 
the whole contents of the cuve grapes, 
stones, stalks, and all are transferred into 
the actual pressoir, or wine-press. Pressoirs 
vary considerably in construction. 

From the pressing-place, the pieces are 
carried at once into the cellar, and there 
left to fine, perfect, and finish themselves, 
with no other interference than what is pro- 
duced by the eye of the master, in all cases 
a most potent agent. 

Simple as the making of burgundy wine 
thus appears to be, it requires great nicety, 
careful watching, experience, forethought, 
and skilful application of the rule of thumb, 
to insure success both with the cuve and the 
insensible fermentation afterwards in the 
cask. Many little precautions and guiding 
symptoms are traditionally transmitted from 
father to son, from one generation of cellar- 
men to that which succeeds it. Bad methods 
are also adhered to with equal obstinacy, 
which accounts for the permanent unpalata- 
bleness of the wine produced in several 
favourable localities in France. Large esta- 
blishments are able to avail themselves of 
mechanical aid. Thus, at Clos Vougeot, the 
new wine runs from the pressoir to the 
cellars through closely fitted pipes. All the 
pure C6te-d'Or burgundies are the wines for 
great and wealthy people to drink. For 
second-class folk there are second-class wines, 
known on the spot as passe-tout-grain, which 
are made from vineyards planted with a 
mixture, mostly half noirien and half gamay. 
In good years, passe-tout-grain is excel- 
lent, brilliant in colour and high in flavour. 
It is less liable to change, and bears longer 
keeping than many of the finer wiues ; nay, 
aristocratic liquors are often obliged to call 
in the aid and intreat the alliance of the 



plebeian fluid, in order to preserve their own. 
body and reputation. And the hard-working 
vigneron, when he is thirsty, what has he to 
drink at home 1 After the grapes are 
squeezed in the press, he fills some tubs with 
marc or refuse, carefully excluding the air 
during winter. In spring, he fills up the 
tubs with water, lets them stand a week or 
ten days, taps one, and draws a drink which 
if it does him no great good, at the same time 
does him no great harm. 

The management of wine in the caski 
infinitely intricate. One wrinkle may be 
useful to housekeepers. M. Pomier, an apo- 
thecary of Salins, has discovered a simple 
mode of removing the odious smell and taste 
from wine which has been put into a mouldy 
hogshead. It consists in mixing a certain 
dose of olive oil with the injured wine, and 
agitating the mixture violently. In four-and- 
tweuty hours the oil is all at the top, charged 
with the ill savours which it has absorbed 
from the wine. The experiment has been 
repeatedly tested. It has also been recom- 
mended to oil the inside of old mouldy casks, 
because the tubs thus lose their disagreeable 
smell, and the wine put into them acquires 
no unpleasant taste. It appears that the 
substance which injures the x wine in such 
cases is of a nature similar to that of essential 
oils. If fixed oils are violently shaken to- 
gether with distilled aromatic waters, the 
latter entirely lose their aroma, which com- 
bines with the fixed oil. One more wrinkle 
to amateurs of burgundy. Import your wine 
as soon as you can get it out of the grower's 
cellar, and let it perfect itself in your own. 
At its culminating point of ripeness it is too 
delicate to stand a journey, even from one 
end of a town to the other. 

Though the Burgundy wines are the 
most delicious in France, their consumption 
is more local and sparse than that of 
any others of the first class. You get good 
ordinary burgundies in Paris, but not gene- 
rally elsewhere. The grand requisite for 
a more extended enjoyment of the golden 
draught, is a European peace, enabling the 
French to make more cross-country railroads, 
and allowing the English (though we might 
do that at once) to reduce the duties on 
French wines to what they ought to be : 
namely, to the merest trifle. We shall attain 
these happy results "by and by. It ought to be 
known that, by opening our cellars, we may 
do as much good to our allies and neighbours 
as to ourselves. The grand wine-fountain, 
though perennial, has its spring-tide ami its 
neap. At the present moment, it is at lowest 
ebb, and wine is dearer and dearer every day. 
Thousands in France will have to go without 
it this year. But there occur successive years 
of over-abundance,when the owner really does 
not know" what to do with the produce ; and 
these epochs return from time to time after 
an indefinite lapse of years. A tub has been 
filled with wine, in exchange for an empty 



36 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



tub ; crops of grapes have been abandoned to 
whomsoever chose to help himself, or have 
been suffered to fall and rot on the ground, 
because wine was (locally) so cheap that it 
would not pay to gather them. The revolu- 
tion of eighteen hundred and forty-eight was 
preceded and followed by five successive very 
abundant and consequently very expensive 
vintages, which crushed all but large capita- 
lists, and filled the cellars to overflowing. 
The same state of things is sure to occur again. 
The quantity of good second-class wines (as 
good as any reasonable man wants), is capable 
of incalculable increase in France. London 
might drink claret (not burgundy), at a 
cheaper rate than Paris does. 

I now wish to post two great facts side 
by side : Here, is a people who like wine, 
who want wine, who will pay for wine, and 
who have not wine : There, is another people, 
just over the way, a friendly people, a conve- 
nient people, who have often much more wine 
than they want, who would be glad to sell it, 
who cannot sell it. Such a state of things is 
an unstable equilibrium, which must set itself 
right, sooner or later, by the force of gravity 
alone. 



FIFTY-TWO, WEIOTHESLEY PLACE. 

SOME years ago, more than I care to tell, 
Mrs. Euleit was at the head of a very select 
ladies' school in Wriothesley Place, Russell 
Square. I don't know what she termed it ; 
but she would neither have it called a school, 
nor an establishment, nor a seminary, nor a 
house. Such names she rejected, as low; or, to 
use her favourite expression " twopenny." It 
was simply Mrs. Euleit's, Wriothesley Place. 
On the same principle the girls were not 
called young ladies, whatever their rank or 
station ; they were only " the girls." The 
school had fallen off considerably before I 
went. From twelve pupils, which was the 
limit, it was reduced to five : there must have 
been some prejudice at work somewhere ; 
for, before my going was quite decided, our 
old friend, Mr, France, the clergyman took 
pains to inquire from the family of one of the 
pupils what they thought of the school, and 
received for reply, " Oh, we like the school 
very well, and the masters are very efficient ; 
but we don't think sincerity is taught there." 
I suppose my father trusted I had learnt sin- 
cerity before, though I never had a sincerity 
master. At all events I went; but, with a cau- 
tion not to repeat what I had heard on any 
account, and this secret lay like a load of 
lead upon my mind, all the time I was there. 

Mrs. Euleit and her daughter, with the 
teacher Miss Eadley, and we five girls, com- 
posed the household ; Miss Eadley slept in 
our room, walked out with us, and never left 
UB. She was about thirty years of age, with 
coarse red hair, white eyebrows, and a turn- 
up nose. What a life she had with us ! for 
we were more frequently impertinent than 



polite ; and how lonely too ! for she belonged 
neither to ua nor to Madame. At half-past six 
in summer it was her duty to call us, and 
about seven we came down stairs. One of ua 
was then sent off to the piano in the front draw- 
ing-room, another to the piano in the back, 
and a third to the piano in the parlour below, 
to practise till breakfast. It was a long time 
for growing girls to wait ; but we often stayed 
our appetites with a hard biscuit. At nine, 
Madame came down, and prayers were read 
by one of the girls ; after that, breakfast of tea 
and solid squares of bread and butter, which 
was very good every morning except Mondays, 
when it was a day old. We lived entirely iu 
the study a good room with a view of 'the 
back walls of the mews. There was a long 
deal-table with a form down each side in the 
centre of the room, and forms all round close to 
the wall. These forms contained lockers for our 
books no carpet, only a hearth-rug before 
the fire which was a forfeit to cross. We were 
quite satisfied with our accommodation ; for 
the terms of the school were called high 
two hundred a-year so we felt very genteel 
and select, and never missed the carpet. 
Breakfast over, Mrs. Euleit placed herself at 
the head of the table and heard one of us 
read French, which was all the teaching she 
understood herself ; except assiduous attention 
to our deportment and carriage, to which last 
task she was gradually falling a sacrifice, 
according to her own account. She was very 
short and very stout ; but we were constantly 
assured she was worn to a thread with en- 
treating us to hold up nay, to a ravel- 
ling. 

Monday morning brought Mr. Gresley the 
English master, whose lessons were held in 
the deepest reverence; for Mrs. Euleit wisely 
considered that, to speak and write Eng- 
lish in purity, was far better than middling 
French, or imperfect Italian. The idea of 
German was never entertained. We should as 
soon have learnt Eunic. A tradition existed 
that Mr. Gresley had sold his head to the sur- 
geons, and there was something imposing iu 
being taught by a head that was worth buy- 
ing ; so we were all very attentive, and a little 
awe-struck. We read poetry with him, 
besides the grammar and parsing lessons, and 
sorely tried he must have been at times. I 
recollect a tall girl, nearly twenty, who had 
been at various schools all her life, repeating 
Young's lines : 

" But their hearts, wounded like the wounded air, 
Soon close, where past the shaft, no trace a 
found." 

He interrupted her with, " Miss G., what do 
you mean by the shaft ? " " Something be- 
longing to a cart, sir." How he grinned, 
clapped his hands, and shuddered ! 

Our instructor iu French was a little, shri- 
velled, old emigrant without teeth, who mum- 
bled his language all to mash. He had a per- 
petual cold, too, and was for ever using his 



Ciiarlts Diciens.] 



FIFTY-TWO, WEIOTHESLEY PLACE. 



37 



handkerchief, and interrupting the reading 
with "Mon riez me demand." He corrected the 
exercises, heard us read in Epochs^ d'Angle- 
terre, and got as far in the beauties of La 
Fontaine, as " Une grenouille vit uii bceuf." 

Two mornings in the week, we came down to 
breakfast in full evening-dress, for Monsieur 
Eoverre the dancing-master, a dapper little 
gentleman (ballet-master at the opera, who 
came in his own carriage), preceded by Mr. 
Chip with his fiddle in a green-bag, who sat 
near the door playing it during tlie lesson. 
Oh ! his earnest endeavours to make us grace- 
ful ; his despair in our elbows ; his hopeless- 
ness in our backs, and his glare of indignation 
at our mistakes ! But what could we do 1 
English girls are not French girls, who are born 
dancers. We did our best and he ought to 
have known it ; but he didn't : so we hated 
him as school-girls only can hate, and revenged 
ourselves by calling him when nobody heard 
Old Eoverre. 

Music was the great end of education at 
Mrs. Euleit's, and an evening of excitement 
was that when Mr. Dragon gave his lesson. 
Then Mrs. E. and her daughter sat with 
coffee in the front parlour, and each of 
us in turn with her music in her hand 
had to enter the room, curtsey, and take her 
seat at the piano, with three sets of the most 
formidable eyes in the world fixed upon her. 
I am agitated now to think of those Tuesday 
evenings. After all those odious practisings in 
the front drawing-room, without fire, to find 
your fingering erroneous, your time defective, 
taste and feeling wanting, and diligence ques- 
tioned ; and, finally, as you left the room to 
hear, with a contemptuous sigh, "She will 
never make anything of it," was more 
than a girl's nature could bear. How thank- 
ful I was to get to bed after it, and be soothed 
to sleep by the boy in the mews calling, "Beer ! 
beer !" Happy boy^ to have no music-master ! 

On Wednesday mornings we were gene- 
rally indulged at breakfast with a running 
commentary on the shortcomings of the pre- 
ceding evening, accompanied by plaintive 
lamentations on the inferiority of the present 
set of girls as compared with those of former 
years, in everything worth knowing generally 
and music in particular. Then we heard, for 
the twentieth time, of Miss Timmins, who so 
appreciated the advantage of learning from 
such a master as our Dragon, that she could 
scarcely be induced to leave the piano. Ske 
never complained of the cold in the back 
drawing-room, or that the instrument in the 
front parlour had several dumb notes. Miss 
Timmins knew her duty, and did it, and may be 
doing it yet, and I hope is. I never saw her; 
but I hated Miss Timmins. 

I did better in drawing than music, and 
had one master, in hessian boots, all to myself ; 
for I drew chalk heads, which no other girl 
did. I felt very grand standing at my easel 
with my port-crayon, rubbing in a large head 
of Calypso, or a great ugly Syrian woman. 



from the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, which 
I talked of as "after Eaphael." But the 
crowning triumph was copying Canova's 
Hebe from the cast, or, as we technically 
called it, the round. Then I felt indeed an 
artist. Our studies were suspended at one 
o'clock by the entrance of a plate of dry 
bread for luncheon. Mrs. Euleit shut up 
her desk and sailed out of the room, while 
we proceeded upstairs to dress for our 
walk. Two whole hours we spent every 
fine day in the nursery gardens in 
Euston Square. But we were not com- 
pelled to keep together ; so I often took a 
book, and, in the cold weather, was much in 
the greenhouse, and in warm by the side of 
the pond under shade of a large white thorn 
that hung over it. I wonder where the pond 
and the large white thorn are now 1 We 
returned home, in time to dress for dinner, at 
four. This was a plain, substantial meal, 
soon over ; and, after it, we were left to our 
own devices and Miss Eadley, until tea at 
seven. The interval was filled up with 
reading, talking, or learning lessons. Our 
stock of entertaining books was not very 
extensive. Countess and Gertrude, Eosanne, 
The Poetical Keepsake, The Swiss Family 
Eobinson, and Paul et Virginie, were all I 
remember. Then was the time for revela- 
tions to each other of our previous lives and 
experiences. Only one of us, (it was not 
myself) had ever had a lover that grand 
object of attainment to a school-girl: and 
that secret was not spoken loud out, but only 
to me in the retirement of the nursery-gardens. 
It was an officer in the East India Company's 
service, never likely to come to England 
again, and who had never made a direct offer; 
so he was but a shadowy kind of lover after 
all : 6nly it did to talk about, as we had 
nothing better. But one of the girls had 
spent the last holidays with a beautiful 
cousin, who was engaged to an officer in an 
English regiment, whose name was Manner- 
ing ; and this engagement served as an illustra- 
tion of all the sentiment and love-making that 
could be at any time broached. Meantime, 
Miss Badley read, or worked, or walked 
backward and forward in the study, hold- 
ing a backboard ; and, when it grew dusk, 
arid she thought we could not see, mounted a 
hairpin across her nose, in the vain hope of 
curbing its aspiring tendencies. If by 
chance she heard the word gentleman, we 
were instantly interrupted by some question 
as to what age we were, or how many 
brothers and sisters we had at home. She 
did not like so well to tell her own age ; for 
once, when we got on the subject of ages, she 
asked us how old we thought her ? We all 
believed her thirty, but thought it would be 
very ill-bred (and we piqued ourselves on our 
good-breeding) to tell her that she had 
arrived at that age when hope is outlived, 
and despair even survived : so we unani- 
mously said twenty- seven; and she would not 



38 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



tell us the truth after all. She rebuked me 
once viciously for saying, " an old lady of 
fifty." I understand it now, alas ! but then 
I thought it very unjust : fifty is not so old 
as it once was. 

When caudles came, Miss Eadley gathered 
us round her, and heard us read the Bible, 
or questioned us in ancient and modern 
history, or heathen mythology, and some- 
times we read poetry. She was of a 
tender, sentimental turn, iu spite of red 
hair and a turn-up nose ; and, in moments of 
confidence, would show us a little box oi 
treasures to be gazed at lovingly when we 
were asleep. The gem of the collection was 
what I took to be a paper of tobacco, the 
contents being about that colour and texture, 
with this inscription outside, "The sweet 
remembrance of my beloved brother." She 
soon set my error at rest, by explaining that 
it was her brother's whiskers, which he had 
cut off on returning from the wars ; and she 
had treasured them up ever since. This was 
a remarkable brother too ; for he was very 
deaf when he went into battle, and the roar 
of the cannon did something to his ears, for 
he heard quite well when he came out. 

At this time of the evening we were 
allowed, now and then, to subscribe, and 
send the housemaid out for hardbake, 
parliament, apples, or biscuit, or a cocoa- 
nut, which we peeled, sliced, and boiled in 
brown sugar, then turned out on a dish, and 
called ambrosia. Seven o'clock brought tea, 
and Madame took her place again at the 
head of the table ; each girl had a large 
breakfast cup full, we might have more if 
we liked, but we never had. After tea, one 
read aloud in that cheerful specimen of polite 
literature, Eollin's Ancient History (I have 
never looked into it since), while the rest 
worked. I hate Cyrus to this day. We had 
a very little joke upon Darius, who was nick- 
named Dosen, because he made promises that 
he did not keep, like our next door neighbour 
Mr. Moses, who promised to send Mrs. Euleit 
a bag of coffee, and didn't ; so we called him 
" dosen," and held him in contempt. At nine 
o'clock we put up our work, the prayer-book 
was brought out, and we knelt in a circle 
before Madame. Prayers were read by the 
girls in turn ; and, after " bon soir," we were 
dismissed for the night ; not without sus- 
picion that Mrs. Euleit and her daughter had 
something good to eat after we were gone, 
but this was never confirmed, and cook would 
not tell 

Our Italian master, Signer Gagliardini, 
only taught the girls who could sing; for, to pro- 
nounce the words of Italian songs properly, 
was the chief object of the instruction; occasion- 
ally he brought his little boy who informed 
us in a thin, shrill voice, that his name was, 
" Titus Telemaque Terence Themistocle ;" the 
weight of his name seemed to have crushed 
his growth. The Siguor gave a concert on a 
t>lan common enough at the time. A lady in 



Upper Brook Street lent her house for the 
evening, on condition of having a certain 
number of tickets for herself and friends. 
Mrs. E. took two or three of us herself, ac- 
companied by Cadney, a neighbouring green- 
grocer, dressed in black, and whom we were 
told to call " James " (his name was Isaac), 
when he went out with us, that he might look 
like our own footman. The concert was in the 
dining-room, and the suite of drawing-rooms 
was open to the company ; who examined 
the ornaments, lolled on the sofas, read the 
cards, and counted the candles, under the 
very eyes of the owner herself, for anything 
they knew. The notes and cards of the 
greatest and most fashionable acquaintances 
were uppermost, as usual. The unfortunate 
giver of the concert must have passed a 
wretched evening. Signor Eonzi de Begnis 
was late, Sapio never came at all, the lady 
singers were capricious ; so, between hoping 
and fearing, and filling up gaps himself, and 
apologising, and a wonderful air with varia- 
tions on the harp, and Adelaide by a gentle- 
man sorely afflicted within, the concert 
terminated. 

One of the girls was to be left at home for 
the night in Hanover Square ; and, as we 
watched the footman give her a bed candle 
and saw her glide up the painted staircase, 
we drew ourselves up and affected to think it 
very grand but very comfortless, as all people 
do who are not grand themselves. I don't 
know that we had any such very particular 
comforts in Wriothesley Place ; but we thought 
the Hanover Square carriage might have 
taken us, but it didn't. So it was pleasant to 
despise carriages and luxuries in general. 

But, all this time, my secret about sincerity 
lay heavy on my mind ; and, one unlucky 
morning (the first of September, I remember 
it well), for want of a secret to tell about a 
lover for I had not one I confided this 
to one of my companions in return for 
the excitement I experienced about the 
shadowy captain in the East Indies. 1 
repented it from that moment; for if she 
should reveal it I was a lost character. I 
pictured to myself the disgrace I should fall 
into at home with good Mr. France, with the 
family who told us in confidence, and, above 
all, the disturbance it would cause in 
Wriothesley Place. Oh, what I suffered ! I 
had no pleasure in the thought of going 
home the sunshine was taken out of my 
life I had committed a breach of trust 
society couldnot overlook. My distress reached 
its climax, when, one morning, Madame 
received a letter from a friend in the country 
saying she considered it her duty to tell her 
that Mrs. Horseman, our neighbour over the 
way, had been visiting in the country, and 
there said, in company, that there was one 
school in London where she would not send a 
girl, and that was Madame, liuleit's ; and 
this opinion was calculated to do great injury, 
as Mrs. Horseman was called intellectual, and 



Charles Bickens.J 



VAMPYEES. 



39 



looked up to by a certain set who would like 
to be intellectual too. The excitement amongst 
us was intense : we freely used the words 
calumnv, malice, falsehood and one girl, a 
soldier's daughter, said " lying." But it was 
all right in such a cause ; for the more vehe- 
ment our indignation the more complimentary 
to Madame. I was in a fright, to be sure, 
lest my confidante should, in the excitement, 
forget her solemn promise not to tell, and let 
out my secret. The subj ect was discussed, day 
by day by us, to please Madame by Madame 
in sad earnestness. At length she requested 
her friend Miss Montague, a great lady in Gros- 
venor Square, to ascertain the truth of the 
matter; forshe knew a little of Mrs. Horseman's 
sister, and could ask her, which I suppose 
she did, for in a few days she came to Sirs. 
Ruleit with the result of the interview. Miss 
Chickworth, the sister, wishing to be well 
with Grosvenor Square, denied it in toto, 
" felt convinced her sister had never said a 
word in disparagement of Madame, but trusted 
Miss Montague would excuse her being told 
of the occurrence," as "it would infinitely 
distress her, and might be prejudicial, as she 
was a nurse ; " we knew nothing about being 
a nurse, how should we 1 so we decided it 
was only a ruse ; and when we went out to 
walk, relieved our feelings by looking daggers 
at the houses opposite. 

When the holidays came, we went home, 
and the school dwindled, and dwindled, and 
poor dear Madame drooped, and drooped, 
until she was compelled at last to let her 
house and accept the kind offer of some rela- 
tives to make her home with them. I never 
saw her more, but I retain a grateful recol- 
lection of her painstaking anxiety for my 
improvement ; and f learned from the anguish 
I witnessed there, never to say one word 
lightly, or unadvisedly, in disparagement of 
& ladies' school. 



VAMPYBES. 

OF all the creations of superstition, a Vam- 
pyre is, perhaps, the most horrible. You are 
lying in your bed at night, thinking of no- 
thing but sleep, when you see, by the faint 
light that is in your bed-chamber, a shape 
entering at the door, and gliding towards you 
with a long sigh, as of the wind across the 
open fields when darkness has fallen upon 
them. The thing moves along the air as if 
by the mere act of volition ; and it has a 
human visage and figure. The eyes stare 
wildly from the head ; the hair is bristling ; 
the flesh is livid ; the mouth is bloody. 

You lie still like one under the influence 
of the night-mare and the thing floats slowly 
over you. Presently you fall into a dead sleep 
or swoon, returning, up to the latest moment 
of consciousness, the fixed and glassy stare of 
the phantom. When you awake in the morn- 
ing, you think it is all a dream, until you 
perceive a small, blue, deadly-looking, spot on 



your chest near the heart; and the truth 
flashes on you. You say nothing of the mat- 
ter to your friends ; but you know you are 
a doomed man and you know rightly. For 
every night comes the terrible Shape to your 
bed-side, with a face that seems horrified at 
itself, and sucks your life-blood in your sleep. 
You feel it is useless to endeavour to avoid 
the visitation, by changing your room or your 
locality: you are under a sort of cloud of 
fate. 

Day after day you grow paler and more 
languid : your face becomes livid, your eyes 
leaden, your cheeks hollow. Your friends 
advise you to seek medical aid to take 
change of ah' to amuse your mind ; but you 
are too well aware that it is all in vain. 
You therefore keep your fearful secret to 
yourself ; and pine, and droop, and languish, 
till you die. When you are dead (if you will 
be so kind as to suppose yourself in that pre- 
dicament), the most horrible part of the busi- 
ness commences. You are then yourself 
forced to become a Yarn pyre, and to create 
fresh victims ; who, as they die, add to the 
phantom stock. 

The belief in "Vampyres appears to have 
been most prevalent in the south-east of 
Europe, and to have had its origin there. 
Modem Greece was its cradle ; and among 
the Hungarians, Poles, Wallachians, and 
other Sclavonic races bordering on Greece, 
have been its chief manifestations. The early 
Christians of the Greek Church believed that 
the bodies of all the Latin Christians buried in 
Greece were unable to decay, because of their 
excommunication from that fold of which the 
Emperor of Bussia now claims to be the 
sovereign Pope and supreme Shepherd. The 
Latins, of course, in their turn, regarded 
these peculiar mummies as nothing less 
than saints ; but the orthodox Greeks con- 
ceived that the dead body was animated by a 
demon who caused it to rise from its grave 
every night, and conduct itself after the 
fashion of a huge mosquito. These dreadful 
beings were called Brucolacs ; and, according 
to some accounts, were not merely manufac- 
tured from the dead bodies of heretics, but 
from those of all wicked people who have 
died impenitent. They would appear in divers 
places in their natural forms ; would run a 
muck indiscriminately at whomsoever they 
met, like a wild Malay ; would injure some, 
and kill others outright ; would occasionally, 
for a change, do some one a good service ; 
but would, for the most part, so conduct 
themselves that nothing could possibly be 
more aggravating or unpleasant. Father 
Kichard, a French Jesuit of the seventeenth 
century, who went as a missionary to the Archi- 
pelago, and who has left us an account of the 
Island of Santerini, or Saint Irene, the Thera 
of the ancients, discourses largely on the sub- 
ject of Brucolacs. He says, that when the 
persecutions of the Vampyres become intol- 
erable, the graves of the offending parties are 



40 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



opened, when the bodies are found entire and 
uncorrupted ; that they are then cut up into 
little bits, particularly the heart ; and that, 
after this, the apparitions are seen no more, 
and the body decays. 

The word Brucolac, we are told, is derived 
from two modern Greek words, signifying, 
respectively, " mud," and " a ditch," because 
tfie graves of the Vampyres were generally 
found full of mud. Voltaire, in the article 
on Vampyres in his Philosophical Dictionary, 
gives a similar account of these spectres. He 
observes, in his exquisite, bantering style : 
" These dead Greeks enter houses, and suck 
the blood of little children ; eating the sup- 
pers of the fathers and mothers, drinking their 
wine, and breaking all the furniture. They 
can be brought to reason only by being 
burnt when they are caught ; but the pre- 
caution must be taken not to resort to this 
measure until the heart has been torn out, 
as that must be consumed apart from the 
body." What a weight of meaning and 
implied satire is there in that phrase, " They 
can be brought to reason only by being 
burnt ! " It is a comment upon universal 
history. 

Pierre Daniel Huet, a French writer of 
Ana, who died in seventeen hundred and 
twenty-one, says, that it is certain that the 
idea of Vampyres, whether true or false, is 
very ancient, and that the classical authors 
are "full of it. He remarks, that when the 
ancients had murdered any one in a trea- 
cherous manner, they cut off his feet, hands, 
nose, and ears, and hung them round his neck 
or under his arm-pits ; conceiving that by 
these means they deprived their victim of 
the power of taking vengeance. Huet adds, 
that proof of this may be found in the Greek 
Scholia of Sophocles ; and that it was after 
this fashion that Menelaus treated Deiphobus, 
the husband of Helen the victim having been 
discovered by ./Eneas in the infernal regions 
in the above state. He also mentions the 
story of Hermotimus of Clazomene, whose 
souihad a power of detaching itself from its 
body, for the sake of wandering through dis- 
tant countries, and looking into the secrets of 
futurity. During one of these spiritual jour- 
neys, his enemies persuaded his wife to have 
the body burned ; and his soul, upon the next 
return, finding its habitation not forthcom- 
ing, withdrew for ever after. According 
to Suetonius, the body of Caligula, who had 
been violently murdered, was but partially 
burned and superficially buried. In conse- 
quence of this, the house in which he had 
been slain, and the garden in which the im- 
perfect cremation had taken place, were every 
night haunted with ghosts, which continued 
to appear until the house was burned down, 
and the funeral rites properly performed by 
the aistera of the deceased emperor. It is 
asserted by ancient writers that the souls of 
the dead are unable to repose until after the 
body has been entirely consumed ; and Huet 



informs us that the corpses of those excom- 
municated by the modern Greek Church are 
called Toupi, a word signifying "a drum," 
because the said bodies are popularly sup- 
posed to swell like a drum, and to sound like 
the same, if struck or rolled on the ground. 
Some writers have supposed that the ancient 
idea of Harpies gave rise to the modern idea 
of Vampyres. 

Traces of the Vampyre belief may be 
found in the extreme north even in remote 
Iceland. In that curious piece of old Icelandic 
history, called The Eyrbyggja-Saga, of which 
Sir Walter Scott has given an abstract, we 
find two narrations which, though not identi- 
cal with the modern Greek conception of 
Brucolacs, have certainly considerable affinity 
with it. The first of these stories is to the 
following effect : Thorolf Bsegifot, or the 
Crookfooted, was an old Icelandic chieftain 
of the tenth century, unenviably notorious for 
his savage and treacherous disposition, which 
involved him in continual broils, not only 
with his neighbours, but even with his own 
son, who was noted for justice and generosity. 
Having been frustrated in one of his knavish de- 
signs, and seeing no farther chance open to him, 
Thorolf returned home one evening, mad with 
rage and vexation, and, refusing to partake of 
any supper, sat down at the head of 1 the table 
like a stone statue, and so remained without 
stirring or speaking a word. The servants 
retired to rest ; but yet Thorolf did not 
move. In the morning, every one was horri- 
fied to find him still sitting in the same place 
and attitude ; and it was whispered that the 
old man had died after a manner peculiarly 
dreadful to the Icelanders though what may 
be the precise nature of this death is very 
doubtful. It was feared that the spirit of 
Thorolf would not rest in its grave unless some 
extraordinary precautions were taken ; and 
accordingly his son Arnkill, upon being sent 
for, approached the body in such a manner as 
to avoid looking upon the face, and at the 
same time enjoined the domestics to observe 
the like caution. The corpse was then re- 
moved from the chair (in doing which, great 
force was found necessary) ; the face was con- 
cealed by a veil, and the usual religious rites 
were performed. A breach was next made 
in the wall behind the chair in which the 
corpse had been found ; and the body, being 
carried through it with immense labour, was 
laid in a strongly-built tomb. All in vain. 
The spirit of the malignant old chief haunted 
the neighbourhood both night and day ; 
killing men and cattle, and keeping every one 
in continual terror. The pest at length be- 
came unendurable ; and Arnkill resolved to 
remove his father's body to some other place. 

On opening the tomb, the corpse of Thorolf 
was found with so ghastly an aspect, that he 
seemed more like a devil than a man ; and 
other astounding and fearful circumstances 
soon manifested themselves. Two strong 
oxen were yoked to the bier on which the 



Charles Dickens.] 



VAMPYRES. 



41 



body was placed ; but they were very shortly 
exhausted by the weight of their burdeii. 
Fresh beasts were then attached ; but, upon 
reaching the top of a steep hill, they were 
seized with a sudden and uncontrollable 
terror, and, dashing frantically away, rolled 
headlong into the valley", and were killed. At 
every mile, moreover, the body became of a 
still greater weight ; and it was now found 
impossible to carry it any farther, though the 
contemplated place of burial was still distant. 
The attendants therefore consigned it to the 
earth on the ridge of the hill an immense 
mound was piled over it and the spirit of the 
old man remained for a time at rest. But 
" after the death of Arnkill," says Sir Walter 
Scott, "Beegifot became again troublesome, 
and walked forth from his tomb, to the great 
terror and damage of the neighbourhood, 
slaying both herds and domestics, and driving 
the inhabitants from the canton. It was 
therefore resolved to consume his carcase 
with fire ; for, like the Hungarian Vampyre, 
he, or some evil demon in his stead, made 
use of his mortal reliques as a vehicle 
during the commission of these enormities. 
The body was found swollen to a huge size, 
equalling the corpulence of an ox. It was 
transported to the sea-shore with difficulty, 
and there burned to ashes." In this narra- 
tive, we miss the blood-sucking propensities 
of the genuine Vampyre ; but in all other 
respects the resemblance is complete. 

The other story from the same source has 
relation to a certain woman named Thor- 
guuna. This excellent old lady having, a 
short time previous to her death, appointed 
one Thorodd her executor, and the wife of 
the said Thorodd having covetously induced 
her husband to preserve some bed-furniture 
which the deceased particularly desired to 
have burnt, a series of ghost-visits ensued. 
Thorgunna requested that her body might be 
conveyed to a distant place called Skalholt ; 
and on the way thither her ghost appeared 
at a house where the funeral party put up. 
But the worst visitations occurred on the 
return of Thorodd to hia own house. On 
the very night when he reached his domi- 
cile, a meteor resembling a half-moon glided 
round the walls of the apartment in a direction 
opposed to the apparent course of the sun (an 
ominous sign), and remained visible until the 
inmates went to bed. The spectral appearance 
continued throughout the week ; and then one 
of the herdsmen went mad, evidently under 
the persecutions of evil spirits. At length he 
was found dead in his bed ; and, shortly after, 
Thorer, one of the inmates of the house, 
going out in the evening, was seized by the 
ghost of the dead shepherd, and so injured 
by blows, that he died. His spirit then went 
into partnership with that of the herds- 
man, and together they played some very 
awkward and alarming pranks. A pestilence 
appeared, of which many of the neighbours 
died ; and one evening something in the 



shape of a seal-fish lifted itself up through the 
flooring of Thorodd's house, and gazed 
around. 

The terrified domestics having in vain 
struck at the apparition, which continued to 
rise through the floor, Kiartan, the son of 
Thorodd, smote it on the head with a ham- 
mer, and drove it gradually and reluctantly 
into the earth, like a stake. Subsequently, 
Thorodd and several of his servants were 
drowned ; and now their ghosts were added 
to the spectral group. Every evening, when 
the fire was lighted in the great hall, Thorodd 
and his companions would enter, drenched 
and dripping, and seat themselves close to 
the blaze, from which they very selfishly ex- 
cluded all the living inmates ; while, from the 
other side of the apartment, the ghosts of 
those who had died of pestilence, aud who 
appeared gray with dust, would bend their 
way towards the same comfortable nook, 
under the leadership of Thorer. This being 
a very awkward state of affairs in a climate 
like Iceland, Kiartan, who was now the mas- 
ter of the house, caused a separate fire to be 
kindled for the mortals in an out-house, 
leaving the great hall to the spectres ; with 
which arrangement their ghostships seemed 
to be satisfied. The deaths from the pesti- 
lence continued to increase ; and every death 
caused an addition to the phantom army. 
Matters had now reached so serious a pitch, 
that it was found absolutely necessary to take 
some steps against the disturbers of the 
neighbourhood. It was accordingly resolved 
to proceed against them by law ; but, previ- 
ously to commencing the legal forms, Kiartan 
caused the unfortunate bed-furniture, which 
had been at the bottom of all the mischief, to 
to be burnt in sight of the spectres. A jury 
was then formed in the great hall ; the ghosts 
were accused of being public nuisances within 
the meaning of the act in that case made and 
provided ; evidence was heard, and finally 
a sentence of ejectment was pronounced. 
Upon this, the phantoms rose ; and, protest- 
ing that they had only sat there while it was 
lawful for them to do so, sullenly and mut- 
teringly withdrew, with many symptoms of 
unwillingness. A priest then damped the room 
with holy-water a solemn mass was per- 
formed, and the supernatural visitors were 
thenceforth non est inventus. 

The incident of the seal in this narrative 
will remind the reader who has properly 
studied his Corsican Brothers and (as it is 
customary to ask on these occasions) who has 
not 1 of the appearance of the ghost of the 
duellist as he comes gliding through the floor 
to the tremulous music of the fiddles. The 
whole tale, in fact, falls in a great measure 
into the general class of ghost stories ; but the 
circumstance of each person, as he died, adding 
to the array of the evil spirits, and thus 
spreading out the mischief in ever-widening 
circles, has an affinity to the distinguishing 
feature of the Brucolac superstition. Still, 



42 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



for the perfect specimen of the genus Vain- 
pyre, we must revert to the south-east of 
Europe. 

Sir Walter Scott says that the above " is 
the only instance in which the ordinary ad- 
ministration of justice has been supposed to 
extend over the inhabitants of another world, 
and in which the business of exorcising 
spirits is transferred from the priest to the 

judge." 

Voltaire, however, in treating of Vain- 
pyres, mentions a similar instance. " It is 
in my mind," says the French wit and phi- 
losopher, "a curious fact, that judicial pro- 
ceedings were taken, in due form of law, 
concerning those dead who had left their 
tombs to suck the blood of the little 
boys and girls of the neighbourhood. Cal- 
met relates that in Hungary two officers ap- 
pointed by the Emperor Charles the Sixth, 
assisted by the bailiff of the place, and the 
executioner, went to bring to trial a Vam- 
pyre who sucked all the neighbourhood, and 
who had died six weeks before. He was 
found in his tomb, fresh, gay, with his 
eyes open, and asking for food. The bailiff 
pronounced his sentence, and the executioner 
tore out his heart and burnt it : after which 
the Vampyre ate no more." 

Voltaire's levity has here carried him (in- 
advertently, of course) with a smiling face into 
a very appalling region. It is an historical fact 
that a sort of Vampyre fever or epidemic spread 
through the whole south-east of Europe, from 
about the year seventeen hundred and twenty- 
seven to seventeen hundred and thirty-five. 
This took place more especially in Servia and 
Hungary ; with respect to its manifestations 
in which latter country, Calmet, the celebrated 
author of the History of the Bible, has left an 
account in his Dissertations on the Ghosts 
and Vampyres of Hungary. A terrible in- 
fection appeared to have seized upon the 
people, who died by hundreds under the 
belief that they were haunted by these 
dreadful phantoms. Military commissions 
were issued for inquiring into the matter ; 
and the graves of the alleged Vampyres being 
opened in the presence of medical men, some 
of the bodies were found undecomposed, with 
fresh skin and nails growing in the place of 
the old, with florid complexions, and with 
blood in the chest and abdomen. Of the truth 
of these allegations there can be no reasonable 
doubt, as they rest upon the evidence both of 
medical and military men ; and the problem 
seems to admit of only one solution. Dr. Herbert 
Mayo, in his Letters on the Truths contained 
in Popular Superstitions, suggests that the 
superstitious belief in Vampyrism, acting 
upon persons of nervous temperaments, pre- 
disposed them to full into the condition called 
death-trance ; that in that state they were 
hastily buried ; and that, upon the graves 
being opened, they were found still alive, 
though unable to speak. In confirmation of j 
this ghastly suggestion, Dr. Mayo quotes the 



following most pathetic and frightful account 
of a Vampyre execution from an old German 
writer : " When they opened his grave, after 
he had been long buried, his face was found 
with a colour, and his features made natural 
sorts of movements, as if the dead man 
smiled. He even opened his mouth as if he 
would inhale the fresh air. They held the 
crucifix before him, and called in a loud voice, 
' See, this is Jesus Christ who redeemed your 
soul from hell, and died for you.' After the 
sound had acted on his organs of hearing 
and he had connected perhaps some ideas with 
it, tears began to flow from the dead man's eyes. 
Finally, when, after a short prayer for his 
poor soul, they proceeded to hack off his 
head, the corpse uttered a screech, and 
turned and rolled just as if it had been alive 
and the grave was full of blood." The 
wretched man most assuredly was alive ; but 
Superstition has neither brain nor heart ; and 
so it murdered him. 

A story similar to the foregoing has been 
preserved by Serjeant Mainard, a lawyer of 
the reign of Charles the First ; and may be 
here repeated as a curious instance of the 
hold which the most puerile superstitions 
maintained in England at a comparatively 
recent period, and the influence which they 
were allowed to exercise even in io grave a 
matter as a trial for murder. In the year 
sixteen hundred and twenty-nine, somewhere 
in Hertfordshire, a married woman, named 
Joan Norcot, was found in bed with her 
throat cut ; and, although the inquest which 
was held upon her body terminated in a ver- 
dict of felo-de-se, a rumour got about that 
the deceased had been murdered. The body 
was accordingly taken out of the grave thirty 
days after its death, jn the presence of the 
jury and many other persons ; and the jury 
then changed their verdict (which had not 
been drawn into form by the coroner), and 
accused certain parties of wilful murder. 
These were tried at the Hertford Assizes, 
and acquitted ; " but," says the Serjeant, " so 
much against the evidence, that the Judge 
(Harvy) let fall his opinion that it were 
better an appeal were brought than so foul a 
murder should escape unpunished." In con- 
sequence of this, "they were tried on the 
appeal, which was brought by the young 
child against his father, grandfather, and 
auut, and her husband, Okeman ; and, be- 
cause the evidence was so strange, I took 
exact and particular notice of it. It was as 
followeth, viz. : After the matters above men- 
tioned and related, an ancient and grave per- 
sou, minister of the parish where the tact was 
committed, being sworn to give evidence, ac- 
cording to the custom, deposed, that the body 
being taken out of the grave, thirty days 
after the party's death, and lying on tjie 
grass, and the four defendants present, they 
were required, each of them, to touch the 
de;ul body. Okeman's wife fell on her knees, 
and prayed God to show token of their inno- 



Charles Dickens.] 



ME. POPE'S FKIEND. 



43 



cency, or to some such purpose ; but her very 
[i.e., precise] words I forgot. The appellers 
did touch the dead body; whereupon, the 
brow of the dead, which was of a livid or 
carrion colour (that was the verbal expres- 
sion in the terms of the witness) began to 
have a dew or gentle sweat, which ran down 
in drops on the face, and the brow turned 
and changed to a lively and fresh colour, and 
the dead opened one of her eyes, and shut it 
again ; and this opening the eye was done 
three several times. She likewise thrust out 
the ring or marriage-finger three times, and 
pulled it in again ; and the finger dropt 
blood from it on the grass."* This being 
confirmed by the witness's brother, also a 
clergyman ; and other evidence (of a more 
human character, but, as it appears to us, 
very insufficient) having been adduced ; Oke- 
man was acquitted, and the three other 
prisoners were found guilty : a result which 
there can be little question was mainly 
brought about by the monstrous story of the 
scene at the exhumation.t That the details of 
that story were exaggerated, according to the 
superstitious habit of the times, seems obvious; 
but the query arises, whether the body of the 
woman might not really have been alive. 
It is true that thirty days had elapsed since 
her apparent death ; but some of the alleged 
Vampyres supposed by Dr. Mayo to have 
been buried alive had been in their graves 
three months when their condition was in- 
spected. Not being possessed of the requisite 
medical knowledge, we will forbear to pro- 
nounce whether or not life could be sustained, 
under such circumstances, for so great a 
length of time ; but what seems fatal to the 
supposition, in the last instance, is the fact of 
the woman having had her throat cut. 

Vampyres have often been introduced into 
romance. There is an old Anglo-Saxon poem 
on the subject of a Vampyre of the Fens ; 
and the Baron von Haxthausen, in his work 
on Transcaucasia, has told a story of one of 
these gentry, which may be here appended as 
a sort of pleasant burlesque after the fore- 
going tragedies : " There once dwelt in a 
cavern in Armenia a Vampyre, called Dak- 
hanavar, who could not endure any one to 
penetrate into the mountains of Ulmish 
Altotem, or count their valleys. Every one 
who attempted this had, in the night, his 
blood sucked by the monster from the soles 
of his feet, until he died. The Vampyre was, 
however, at last outwitted by two cunning 
fellows. They began to count the valleys, 
and when night came on they lay down to 



* The bleeding of the dead hody of a murdered 
person upon the approach of the murderer is an old 
opinion, to which Bacon, in his Natural History, 
seems inclined to give some weight. 

)" The notes from which this story is derived, were 
made by the Serjeant from what he himself heard on 
the trial. (See the Gentleman's Magazine for July, 
1851.) 



sleep, taking care to place themselves with 
the feet of the one under the head of the 
other." (How both could have managed to do 
this, we leave to the reader's ingenuity to ex- 
plain.) " In the night, the monster came, 
felt as usual, and found a head ; then he felt 
at the other end, and found a head there also. 
' "Well,' cried he, ' I have gone through the 
whole three hundred and sixty-six valleys of 
these mountains, and have sucked the blood 
of people without end ; but never yet did I 
find any one with two heads and no feet ! ' 
So saying, he ran away, and was never more 
seen in that country ; but ever after the 
people have known that the mountain has 
three hundred and sixty-six valleys." 

In South America, a species of bat is found, 
which sucks the blood of people while asleep 
(lulling them with the fanning of its wings 
during the operation), and which is called the 
Vampyre bat from that circumstance. If 
this creature belonged to Europe, we should 
be inclined to regard it as the origin of the 
Vampyre fable. 



ME. POPE'S FEIEND. 



THERE is a custom, I have been told, pre- 
valent among the junior officers on board some 
of her Majesty's ships of war, and by means 
of which the monotony of cockpit life is 
agreeably diversified, called " swop." When 
a swop takes place, the contents of the 
youngsters' sea-chest are strewn on the 
cabin table, and an ingenious and ex- 
citing scene of barter ensues, of gold-laced 
bauds against jars of mixed pickles ; sup- 
plies of stationery against razor-strops and 
shaving-brushes; corngts - a- piston against 
quadrants ; and locks of sweethearts' hair 
against clasp-knives a flageolet, a clothes- 
brush, or a cake of chocolate, being occa- 
sionally thrown into a bargain by way of 
ballast or make-weight. Swop may also, 
perhaps, be recognised by some of my young 
friends now or lately at home for the Christ- 
mas vacation as a favourite half-holiday 
pastime at the establishments where they 
receive their education, and where (it is to be 
hoped) none but the sons of gentlemen are 
received. I retain, myself, lively reminis- 
cences of my school swops. In these the 
chief articles quoted were toffy, plum-cake, 
peg-tops, marbles, pocket-combs-, jew's-harps, 
slate-pencil, white mice, silk-worms, trowser- 
straps (much coveted, these), common prayer- 
books, and illustrated copies of the Adventures 
of Philip Quarll, together with twopenny 
cakes of water-colours, of which dragon's 
blood and saturnine red were most in 
demand : chiefly, I think, by reason of their 
romantic and adventurous names, and not 
with any reference to their artistic uses. 
At a large public school, also, of which I 
know something so large that its conductors 
had quite failed in keeping pace with the re- 
quirements of the boys, and in the endeavour 



44 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



had dropped behind a trifle of two hundred 
years or so swop existed, and flourished ex- 
ceedingly under the name of pledging, the 
barter being mainly confined to the provisions 
furnished to the pupils by the establishment. 
Thus the boys pledged their dinner pudding 
against potatoes their meat against pudding. 
Pledging in this form was sanctioned by the 
authorities; but there was also much illegal 
bartering, detection in which (there was a 
legend that one boy had positively pledged 
his leathern small-clothes a relic of monastic 
costume against a pair of tumbler pigeons), 
subjected the contrabandist to the punish- 
ment of the rod. 

Lest I should be betrayed into an elaborate 
essay upon the different forms of barter 
current among ancient and modern nations 
from Hercules swopping the deliverance of 
Troy from the Sea Monster against Laome- 
don's thorough-bred horses ; from the mess 
of pottage for which Esau pledged his birth- 
right to Jacob, to the swops in usage between 
the burghers of the Manhattoes and the 
Indians in the early days of the colony of 
New York when a Dutchman's foot was 
by mutual agreement understood to weigh 
ten pounds I may as well, and at once, 
explain what connection exists between 
swops and Mr. Pope's friend. 

Some friends of mine who live, as I do, in 
a large gloomy hotel in the Quartier Latin, 
and in the fair city of Lutetia ; when the 
weather is too wet for a walk on the boule- 
vards or for study at the Bibliotheque 
Imp6riale ; when the Palais Eoyale has no 
delights, the billiard-tables no charms, and 
the English newspapers (as it frequently 
happens) have been stopped by the police, 
and there is nothing worth reading (which 
there scarcely ever is) in the French journals ; 
when I myself have invoked the Muses in 
vain, and find that they persist in keeping 
themselves coy at the very top of Mount 
Parnassus Lempriere only knows how 
many thousand miles off; and when my 
neighbour the doctor with the beard has 
deferred till to-morrow his visit to the dis 
secting-room of the clamart (which visit he 
has been deferring about three hundred and 
forty times a-year for the last three) ; are 
accustomed to meet in a cheerful sederuut, 
and kill the hours with swop. Few things 
are too exalted or too humbie for our com- 
mercial interchanges ; and a complete da- 
guerreotype apparatus has been known to be 
in the market at the same time with a vil- 
lauous clay-pipe never before worth more 
than a sous, but now supposed to possess 
some extrinsic value by having been smoked 
till it is very dirty. Swops are also made of 
boots, clothes, small articles of jewellery, 
postage-stamps (which are always in great 
demand among foreign sojourners in Paris, 
and though always on sale cannot always be 
bought), pomatum, surgical instruments, and 
especially books. For, a studious man cannot 



read, with pleasure, any but his own 
books ; and as his means forbid him to 
accumulate a large library, swop conies to 
his aid very usefully and pleasantly ; and 
when he has well read and meditated one 
book, through, he can exchange it for another. 
The prices demanded and the value placed 
upon articles are frequently somewhat fanciful 
and capricious. Coals are not always coals, 
but occasionally run up almost as high as 
diamonds ; and it is now and then necessary 
to threaten an appeal to the tribunal of 
Ca?sar, represented by the marchand d'habits 
or old clothesman, who is always hovering 
about the courtyard below, like a vulture, 
with three hats and a moustache. I recently 
became the possessor, at a perfectly exorbitant 
rate of barter, of a certain cross-barred 
velvet waistcoat the transaction being 
saddled with the additional disadvantage of 
its being impossible to wear the garment 
with propriety in any of the capitals of 
Europe in which I propose to take up my 
residence. The waistcoat (which would be 
really a most splendid and effectively ornate 
article of apparel if it had a new back and 
were looked after a little about the pockets 
and button-holes), is as well known in the 
Hue du Palais de Laecken at Brussels, as on the 
Boulevard des Italiens ; in the Cafe Grecco 
in Borne, as on the Glacis at Vienna. It has 
been on the press in London on the manly 
chest of more than one sub-editor at diffe- 
rent intervals during the last forty months ; 
and, as I am not just now prepared with the 
passage-money to Constantinople (and even 
there I daresay our own correspondent, come 
from the Crimea to Pera to purchase a 
stove, a fur tippet, and a pair of American 
over-shoes, would recognise it immediately), 
the only European capital where I can see a 
chance of wearing it without the risk of 
detection in having second-hand clothes upon 
me, is Venice. I hope to go there shortly ; 
and should you happen to go there too, and 
see an untidy man in a cross-barred velvet 
waistcoat sauntering about the Place of St. 
Mark, gazing at the dusky Ducal Palace, 
and the muddy canal, and the black gon- 
dolas, you may with tolerable certitude 
affirm the wearer to be the writer of ths 
paper. 

Swop and the cross-barred vest were the 
means of my being introduced to Mr. Pope's 
friend. For, as I grumbled a little at the 
terms demanded for the transfer of the wais- 
coat, its original possessor, touched, perhaps 
by compunction, perhaps by generosity, 
offered to throw into the bargain as a bonne - 
bouche, pot-de-bin, or bonus, a copy of 
Fenton. " And who the Blank," I asked, 
"is Feiiton?" 

Whereupon, he handed me a little starved 
duodecimo volume, with tarnished gilt edges, 
and bound in mottled calf, the ragged state of 
which suggested that several penknives of the 
last century had been sharpened upon it. 



Charles Dickens.] 



ME. POPE'S FRIEND. 



45 



Opening it, I found, by the title page, 
the book to be The Poetical Works of Elijah 
Fenton : With the Life of the Author. Em- 
bellished with Superb Engravings. London : 
Printed for the Booksellers. Seventeen 
hundred and odd. The superb engravings 
I found comprised in one bald little plate, 
in which an overgrown Cupid was repre- 
sented fighting in a most ungallant manner 
for the possession of a bow with a lady with 
powdered hair, a short waist, and no shoes or 
stockings. The superb engraving was sur- 
rounded by a border, in which more bows and 
arrows, a comic mask, some clouds, the 
Roman fasces, a wreath of laurel, and the 
.Royal arms, were tastefully intermixed. 
Lastly, on the fly-leaf of the cover, it was 
recorded that Samuel Burrell was the happy 
possessor of Fenton fifty-seven years ago 
said Samuel, in the pride of possession, ex- 
pressing the most uncharitable wishes towards 
whoever stole this book. Beneath, there was 
some little private trade-mark a large 
figure of four and a small d; which, together, 
led me to suppose that the book must have 
been, in the long run, stolen from Burrell, or 
that after his death it had been, at the sale 
of his effects, disposed of by public auction, 
and that ultimately it had been offered for 
sale at a bookstall for fourpence. 

Now, who was Fenton ? I hope ladies and 
gentlemen will not be ashamed to avow 
their ignorance if they never heard of Fenton 
before. A man may have read eight hours 
a day for half a century and have never 
read Fenton : a man may be as wise as 
Solomon, and Fenton still be a sealed book to 
him. I came across, the other day, some re- 
marks of Fuller's about schoolmasters. He 
mentions " that gulf of learning, Bishop 
Andrews." How many ordinarily well-read 
men could tell anything now about Bishop 
Andrews, and his gulf of learning ? The 
gulf has swallowed him up altogether, and 
he is learned at the bottom of Lethe. 

All that I had ever known of Fenton be- 
fore I took his poetical works in the swop 
with the cross-barred waistcoat, was that his 
life had been written by Doctor Johnson in 
the Lives of the Poets, and that I had always 
skipped it in turning over that voluminous 
work in quest of the glorious biographies of 
Milton and Savage ; next, that Fenton had 
something to do with Pope. Whether he was 
Pope's Homer, or one of the heroes of Pope's 
Dunciad, I was, Heaven help me, quite uncer- 
tain. I am proud now, after studying his life, 
to inform my readers that he was Mr. Pope's 

j* * 1 * 

mend. 

I know, now too, that Mr. Pope's friend was 
the hero of a joke a joke, not quite seasoned 
enough for the spicy company of Joe Miller, 
but risible enough to find admission to some 
" Wit's companion," or "Collection of humour- 
ous and diverting anecdotes." 

"Fenton," says the historian, "was one 
day in the company of Broome, his associate, 



and Ford* a clergyman, at that time too well 
known, whose abilities, instead of furnishing 
convivial merriment to the voluptuous and 
dissolute, might have enabled him to excel 
among the virtuous and the wise. They de- 
termined all to see " The Merry Wives of 
Windsor," which was acted that night ; and 
Fenton, as a dramatic poet, took them all to 
the stage door, where the doorkeeper inquir- 
ing who they were, was told they were three 
very necessary men : Ford, Broome, and Fettf 
ton ; as composing a part of the characters 
in the comedy : and it is to be observed that 
the name in the play which Pope restored to 
Brook was then Broome. It is not stated 
whether the door-keeper admitted the three 
very necessary men for their joke's sake ; nor 
do I know of what stuff, penetrable or not, 
the janitors of theatres were made of in the 
reign of Queen Anne ; but I should not 
counsel any humourist of the present day to 
essay penetration through the stage door of 
a London theatre on the strength of a witti- 
cism. I am afraid, even, that the funniest of 
government clerks, if his name happened to 
be Box, and his friend's, in the post-office, 
Cox, would be sternly refused ingress at the 
stage-door of the Lyceum, were he to claim 
admission on the score of self and friend 
being two " very necessary men." 

Let us see how Elijah Fenton came to be 
Mr. Pope's friend, and what his friendship 
brought him. It appears by *my book, the 
narratives of Jacobs and Shiels, and the 
Life by Doctor Johnson, that Elijah was de- 
scended from an ancient and honourable 
family at Shelton, near Newcastle-under- 
Lyne; that his lather possessed a considerable 
estate, but that he, being a younger son, was 
precluded from heirship ; was educated at a 
grammar school ; then entered as a student 
at Jesus College, Cambridge^ ; but retaining 
an attachment to the family of the Stuarts 
refused to qualify himself for public employ- 
ment by taking the necessary oaths, and left 
the university without a degree. The mala- 
droit Elijah thus managed to make a stumble 
upon the very threshold of life. As a non- 
juror he was not even eligible for the post of 
a tide-waiter, or a parish constable. Medio- 
crity seemed determined to mark him for her 
own. 

" As obscurity," his biographer finely re- 
marks, " is the inseparable attendant upon 
poverty " (of which I am not quite certain, 
though I know that poverty is the inseparable 
attendant upon obscurity), "the incidents of 
his life cannot be accurately traced from year 
to year, or the means traced from which he 
derived a support." With what sonorous 
comprehensiveness does the historian gloss 
over Mr. Pope's friend's probably desperate 
battle for bread. Poor Elijah ! Who shall say 
how many times he slept upon bulks, or 
among the cabbage stalks in Fleet Market, 



Hogarth's " Parson Ford." 



46 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Condncted by 



or walked the streets all night shelterless ! 
How many times he refected his famished 
sides at a St. Giles's cook-shop, or fancied he 
could choke, like Otway, with a penny roll, if 
he only had a penny to purchase a roll to 
choke himself withal. Did he ever enact 
griffins, ships, or Towers of Babel, at the 
u motion " plays at Bartholomew Fair, like 
that other poet, the unhappy Elkanah Settle? 
Was he ever one of Swift's Little Britain 
translators that lay three in a bed ] Was he 
one of the historians that Mr. Curll kept at 
the public house in Holborn, and fed on tripe 
and strong waters ? He lived somehow this 
poor non-juring mediocre man ; for, he lived 
to be tutor to the Earl of Orrery, the re- 
nowned translator of Pliny, and afterwards 
to be master of the charity school at Seven 
Oaks in Kent, which situation he quitted in 
seventeen hundred and ten, through the per- 
suasion of Mi-. St. John, afterwards Lord 
Bolingbroke, who made him promises of a 
more honourable and profitable employment. 
"In process of time," I quote his biographer 
here, " as he became more and more attached 
to the muses, whom he had courted from early 
life, he became more moderate in his political 
opinions ; for though a non-juror he was 
lavish in his eulogiums on Queen Anne, and 
extolled the name of Marlborough beyond 
the very echo of applause." Poor Fenton ! 
was he not getting hungry ? Was it not 
natural for the poetical non-juror, condemned 
to teach the charity-school boys of Seven 
Oaks, and to dance the young Earl of Orrery 
like a bear through his humanities Ah ! if 
the truth were known, I will be bound that 
honest Elijah had more to do with Pliny angli- 
cised than the renowned translator cared to ad- 
mit to yearn a little after the loaves and 
fishes ? Though Queen Anne occupied the 
throne of King James, is it not natural that 
an empty stomach of years' standing should 
at last thaw the Jacobite ice into a stream of 
lavish eulogiums, and tune the High Tory 
harp to extol the name of the Whig Marl- 
borough beyond the very echo of applause ? 
Even more than this did Elijah do. He tes- 
tified his regard for the Churchill family, in 
Florelio, an elegiac pastoral on the death of 
the great captain's son, the Marquis of Bland- 
ford ; in which Doctor Johnson observes, " he 
could be prompted only by respect or kindness, 
for neither the Duke nor Dutchess desired 
the praise, or liked the cost of patron- 
age." I am sorry to say that I am at issue 
with Bolt Court upon this point. John 
Churchill, the great Duke of Marlborough, 
could swallow anything. Blue ribbons, gar- 
ters, places, pensions, coronets, palaces, par- 
liamentary grants, pilferings from the soldiers' 
pay, and profits upon their shirts and fire- 
locks ; his great avarice had stomach for them 
all He was more bespattered with praise 
(as, afterwards with obloquy), than any man 
of his age ; and it is to be presumed that he 
liked as much to be praised as to be General- 



issimo of the allied forces, and proprietor of 
Blenheim. And his Duchess "Old Sarah," 
is the Doctor to assert that she dis- 
liked praise ? Was she not a woman was 
she not a Duchess a Duchess, living in the 
days when Duchesses were estimated by 
poets (at so many gold pieces per line) as 
something very little short of divinities! 
It might have been the Duchess of Marl- 
borough's chaplain (for reverend Praisers were 
multiplied exceedingly in those days), who, 
preaching a funeral sermon over a deceased 
Peeress, took occasion to inform his congrega- 
tion that " he had no doubt that her Grace was 
at that moment occupying that, distinguished 
position in Heaven to which her exalted rank, 
and shining virtues entitled her ! " Close-fisted, 
moreover, as Duchess Sarah may have been, 
she would scarcely have grudged a meal of vic- 
tuals in the kitchen of Marlborough House, 
and half a score of broad pieces to the author 
of Florelio. 

In seventeen hundred and nine, Elijah 
Fenton acquired the esteem of the literati. 
He also acquired the esteem of Southerne, 
and lastly the friendship of a little crooked 
catholic gentleman, who lived in a little house 
with a grotto at Twickenham, from whence, 
now and then, he rode to town in. a little 
coach and who was called Alexander Pope. 
The little waspish, spiteful, kind-hearted bard 
was the first to patronise and pat on the back 
the forlorn Elijah. They must have been a 
curious couple. Fenton was a tall, bulky, 
gross, lazy man, on whom his landlady's criti- 
cism was, " that he would lie a-bed, and be 
fed with a spoon." His clothes were not 
good ; his wig was probably uncombed, his 
shoes down at heel, his buckles rusty, his 
steenkirk unbleached. He was " very sluggish 
and sedentary," says the biographer, " rose 
late, and when he once had sat down to his 
books, would not get up again." He must 
have been a sort of dull, heavy book, this 
Elijah, in unreadable type, that went down to 
oblivion with most of its leaves uncut. 

Elijah was not tired, poor fellow, of dedica- 
tions yet. To a collection of poems called 
the Oxford and Cambridge Verses he prefixed 
a very elegant dedication to Lionel, Earl of 
Dorset and Middlesex ; and in seventeen 
hundred and sixteen he produced his Ode to 
Lord Gower. Mr. Pope hastened to show 
his friendship on the occasion, by stamping 
the poem with his approbation. He pro- 
nounced it to be the next ode in the English 
language to Dryden's Alexander's Feast. 
Here are a few of Elijah's lines, taken at 
random from the Ode : 

From Volga's banks th' imperious Czar 
LeaJs forth his puny troops to war, 
Foud of the softer southern sky : 
The Soldan galls th' Illyrian coast, 
But soon the miscreant mooney host 
Before the victor cross shall fly. 

Humph ! Miscreant mooney host. Again : 



Charles Dickens.] 



ME. POPE'S FRIEND. 



47 



O Gower ! through all that destined space 
What breath the pow'rs allot to me 
Shall sing the virtues of thy race, 
United and complete in thee. 

Fancy the unfortunate bard exhausting 
his lungs until the day of his death, in one 
unceasing paean of praise of the Bight Hon- 
ourable John Lord Gower ! The Ode ends 
with a description of "Honour's Bright 
Dome," where 

Phocion, Lselius, Capel, Hyde, 
With Falkland seated near his side, 

prophesy the happier fame of his Lordship ; 
while the muse to receive his radiant name, 
selects a whiter space. 

The Ode to Lord Gower, I opine, can only 
be called the next to Alexander's Feast 
upon the principle that when there are two 
boys in a class and one is at the top of it, the 
second boy is the next to him. 

Mr. Pope's friendship soon afterwards 
showed itself to Elijah in recommending him 
to the notice of Mr. Secretary Craggs, who 
engaged him as a sort of half-secretary, half- 
literary companion. The poet had now had 
some prospect of ease and plenty, for, to 
quote Johnson again, " Fenton had merit, and 
Craggs had generosity ; " which is as much 
as to say that Fenton had feet and Craggs 
boots ; or Fenton a stomach and Craggs beef. 
But Fate never seemed tired of making Elijah 
a rival of Murad the unlucky; for, Mr. Craggs 
besides having generosity had also the small 
pox of which he died, leaving Mr. Pope's un- 
fortunate friend stranded again. 

Mr. Pope, untiring in his friendship, soon 
afterwards set Fenton hard at work in trans- 
lating the Odyssey, in which he had for coad- 
jutor another friend of Mr. Pope Mr. 
Broome. Fenton translated four books ; 
Broome translated eight, besides writing all 
the notes, "The judges of poetry," says 
Johnson "have never been able to distinguish 
their books from those of Pope." Lucky 
Fenton and Broome ! if they had not had the 
advantage of Mr. Pope's friendship, or had 
failed in their translations, I wince to think 
what pitiable figures Mr. Pope's friends would 
have cut in Mr. Pope's Dunciad. Gildon's 
debts and Dennis's want of dinners would 
have been as nothing compared to the scarifi- 
cations they would have received. 

In seventeen twenty-three, Fenton did 
what most dull men, and all unlucky men, 
do. You may think I mean that he mar- 
ried. Not exactly that, but he wrote a play. 

It was a ponderous production a tragedy 
founded upon the story of Herod and Ma- 
riamne, related in the Spectator, and taken 
from Josephus. Marianme is written in lines 
of ten syllables. It is long, slow, lazy, dull, 
uniform a very Bridgewater canal of a play. 
Fenton is said to have been assisted by 
Southerne, with many hints as to incident and 
stage effect ; the navigation of the canal was 
not much improved thereby, however. 



When Mariamne was presented to Colley 
ibber, the monarch of the stage not only 
rejected it, but added insolence to illiberality, 
advising the author to direct his attention to 
some industrious pursuit, in order to obtain 
that subsistence which he in vain expected 
from his poetical efforts. I suppose he ad- 
vised Fenton to turn to bellows-mending for 
a livelihood. The manager was insolent, as 
managers ordinarily are ; but not altogether 
wrong. Managers seldom are. 

However, Mariamne, produced at the 
rival theatre, succeeded, even beyond its 
author's expectations ; the profits accruing 
from it amounted to nearly a thousand pounds. 
Here we have at last, Elijah Fenton, the 
favourite of fortune. After ignoring his 
ixistence for years, the fickle goddess at length 
railed upon him. A thousand golden 
pounds ! What did Elijah with his lump of 
money 1 Did he purchase an annuity ; did he 
invest his capital in South Sea Stock like 
Gay and win or lose more thousands ; did 
he lend it out at usury, or hide it in a hole in 
the ground 1 Alas ! no. Fortune threw the 
lump of gold at him much as one pelts a 
dog with marrow-bones. She hurt him while 
he enriched him. The thousand pounds were 
not destined to become the foundation of a 
plum or even to ba modestly put out at in- 
terest to gild the tops of the trees of honest 
Elijah's winter. It is recorded that our 
author appropriated the sum to the dis- 
charge of a debt, incurred by purchasing- 
many expensive articles, for supporting an 
appearance necessary for his attendance at 
court. 

Oh vanity ! Oh fallacy of human wishes, 
hopes, and labours ! Oh gold, turned to dry 
leaves ! A few glass coaches, full bottomed 
wigs, silver hilted swords, clouded canes, and 
red heeled shoes ; a diamond snuff-box, per- 
haps ; a china monster or two, given as 
presents to Lady Bab or the Honourable 
Miss Betty ; a ride in my Lord's chariot ; a 
card for my Lady's Drum ; a night at the 
Groom-porters' ; a squeeze at St. James's at 
a birthday drawing-room; and Elijah's only 
windfall had taken to itself wings, and flown 
away ! 

In vain, Elijah, didst thou afterwards edit an 
edition of Milton's Poems, with a biography 
of the poet, written with tenderness and 
integrity. In vain didst thou publish an 
elegant edition of Waller, with notes so 
drearily extended by long quotations from 
Clarendon, bringing upon thee in after years 
the censure of the stern critic who wrote 
Easselas ; and who says grimly that, " illus- 
trations drawn from a book so easily con- 
sulted, should be made by reference rather 
than transcription." Fast wert thou sinking 
into the miserable condition of a bookseller's 
hack ; when the friendly Pope once more 
stepped forth, only indeed to rescue thee from 
Grub Street, by restoring thee to the quon- 
dam profession of bear-leader. 



48 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



Poor Fenton seems through life to have 
been endeavouring to shake out of his hand 
the birch and ferule of the pedagogue, but 
always failed. The last kind office done for 
him by his friend at Twickenham was to 
procure him employment with Lady Trumbal, 
widow of Sir William Trumbal, to superin- 
tend the education of her son, whom he first 
directed in his studies at home, and after- 
wards * attended " to Cambridge. When the 
young heir was fairly licked into shape, Elijah 
was not turned adrift, but, being found a 
harmless, easy, useful, willing kind of man, 
her ladyship retained him in her household 
at Easthampton, in Berkshire, as auditor of 
her accounts. He passed the remainder of 
his life in a " pleasing retirement," and died 
at the seat of Lady Trumbal in seventeen 
hundred and thirty. He had written a 
tragedy, translated the Odyssey, educated the 
" renowned translator of Plyiy," appeared at 
Court, produced an Ode "next to Alexander's 
Feast," possessed a thousand pounds, and 
been the friend of Mr. Pope. He ended his 
days " in a pleasing retirement " in a posi- 
tion something between that of a pensioner 
and a house-steward ; checking the accounts 
of Mrs. Frugal the housekeeper ; auditing 
the incomings and outgoings of Mr. Spigot, 
the butler's cellar, and Dorothy Draggletail's 
dairy. I dare say he took the vice-chair at 
a rent- dinner with much dignity and affa- 
bility, and there wore those famous court 
clothes, in the purchase of which his thousand 
pounds had melted away like smoke. 

Mr. Pope's friendship did not end with his 
friend's life. He behaved most handsomely 
to his memory. In a letter to his other 
friend, Mr. Broome, he says, speaking of 
Fenton, " No man better bore the approaches 
of his dissolution (as I am told), or with less 
ostentation yielded up his being. . . He died 
as he had lived, with secret though sufficient 
contentment. . . As to his other affairs, he 
died poor but honest (!), leaving no debts or 
legacies, except of a few pounds to Mr. 
Trumbal and my lady, in token of respect, 
gratitude, and mutual esteem. I shall with 
pleasure take upon nie to draw this amiable, 
quiet, deserving, unpretending Christian and 
philosophical character in his epitaph." 

Here is the philosophical character as 
di-awn by Mr. Pope : 

This modest stone, what few vain marbles can, 

May truly say, Here lies an honest man ; 

A poet blessed beyond the poet's fate, 

Whom Heaven kept secret from the proud and great, 

Foe to loud praise and friend to learned case, 

Content with science in the vale of peace. 

Calmly he looked on either side, and here 

Saw nothing to regret, or there to fear ; 

From nature's temp' rate feast rose satisfied, 

Thank'd Heav'n that he liv'd and that he died. 

Such is the testimony of Pope. 
I am sorry ; I really am very sorry ; but I 
must add one more extract from a letter 



which does not place the friendship of Mr. 
Pope in quite so shining a light. 

" Mr. Fenton," says Lord Orrery, in a letter 
to a friend written in seventeen hundred and 
fifty-six, " was my tutor ; he taught me to read 
English, and attended me through the Latin 
tongue from the age of seven to thirteen 
years. He translated double the number of 
books in the Odyssey that Pope has owned. 
His reward was a trifle an arrant trifle. He 
has even told me that he thought Pope feared 
him more than he loved him. He had no 
opinion of Pope's heart, and declared him to 
be, in the words of Bishop Atterbury, ' mens 
curva in corpore curvo ' a crooked mind in 
a crooked body. Poor Fenton died of a 
great easy chair and > two bottles of port a 
day. He was one of the worthiest and most 
modest men that ever belonged to the court 
of Apollo." 

Such is the testimony of Lord Orrery. I 
w.ouder whose is the true one Pope's 
or his ! 

So, this is all I have to set down about 
Mr. Pope's friend. I hope a great many 
people know much more about him than *I 
do ; should the contrary be the case, some 
day, when the lives of Obscurorum Virorum 
come to be written, these pages may serve 
the historian in some stead. 



SUPPOSING. 



SUPPOSING that a gentleman named MR, 
SIDNEY HERBERT were to get up in the House 
of Commons, to make the best case he could 
of a system of mismanagement that had filled 
all England with grief and shame : 

And supposing that this gentleman were to 
expatiate to the House of Commons on the 
natural helplessness of our English soldiers, 
consequent on their boots being made by one 
man, their clothes by another, their houses 
by another, and so forth blending a senti- 
mental political economy with Eed Tape, in 
a .very singular manner : 

I wonder, in such case, whether it would 
be out of order to suggest the homely fact 
that indeed it is not the custom to enlist the 
English Soldier in his cradle ; that there 
really are instances of his having been some- 
thing else before becoming a soldier; and 
that perhaps there is not a Eegiment in the 
service but includes within its ranks, a num- 
ber of men more or less expert in every 
handicraft-trade under the Sun. 



This day is published, for greater convenience, and 
cheapness of binding, 

THE FIRST TEN YOLUMES 

OF 

HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 
WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO THE WHOLE. 

Price of the Set, thus bound in Five Double instead of Ten 
Single Volumes, 2 10s. Od. 



Publihed at the Office, No. 1G. IVellmmon Street .North, Strand. Printed by BR*OIIUI & EVAHI, \VhltefrirB, London. 



"Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL, 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



- 256.] 



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1855. 



[Pl 



PRINCE BULL. A FAIRY TALE. 



ONCE upon a time, and of course it was in 
the Golden Age, and I hope you may know 
when that was, for I am sure I don't, though 
I have tried hard to find out, there lived in a 
rich and fertile country, a powerful Prince 
whose name was BULL. Pie had gone through 
a great deal of fighting in his time, about all 
sorts of things, including nothing ; but, had 
gradually settled down to be a steady, peace- 
able, good-natured, corpulent, rather sleepy 
Prince. 

This Pnissant Prince was married to a 
lovely Princess whose name was Fair Free- 
dom. She had brought him a large fortune, 
and had borne him an immense number of 
children, and had set them to spinning, and 
farming, and engineering, and soldiering, and 
sailoring, and tloctoring, and lawyering, and 
preaching, and all kinds of trades. The coffers 
of Prince Bull were full of treasure, his cellars 
were crammed with delicious wines from all 
parts of the world, the richest gold and silver 
plate that ever was seen adorned his side- 
boards, his sous were strong, his daughters 
were handsome, and in short you might have 
supposed that if there ever lived upon earth 
a fortunate and happy Prince, the name of 
that Prince, take him for all iu all, was as- 
suredly Prince Bull. 

But, appearances, as we all know, are not 
always to be trusted far from it ; and if they 
had led you to this conclusion respecting 
Prince Bull, they would have led you wrong, 
as they often have led me. 

For, this good Prince had two sharp thorns 
in his pillow, two hard knobs in his crown, two 
heavy loads on his mind, two unbridled night- 
mares in his sleep, two rocks ahead in his 
course. He could not by any means get ser- 
vants to suit him, and he had a tyrannical 
old godmother whose name was Tape. 

She was a Fairy, this Tape, and was a 
bright red all over. She was disgustingly 
prim and formal, and could never bend herself 
a hair's breadth this way or that way, out of 
her naturally crooked shape. But, she was 
very potent in her wicked art. She could 
stop the fastest thing in the world, change 
\ he strongest thing into the weakest, and the 
most useful into the most useless. To do this 
she had only to put her cold hand iipon it, 



and repeat her own name, Tape. Then it 
withered away. 

At the Court of Prince Bull at least I 
don't mean literally at his court, because he 
was a very genteel Prince, and readily yielded 
to his godmother when she always reserved 
that for his hereditary Lords and Ladies in 
the dominions of Prince Bull, among the great 
mass of the community who were called in the 
language of that polite country the Mobs and 
the Snobs, were a number of very ingenious 
men, who were always busy with some inven- 
tion or other, for promoting the prosperity of 
the Prince's subjects, and augmenting the 
Prince's power. But, whenever they sub- 
mitted their models for the Prince's approval, 
his godmother stepped forward, laid her hand 
upon them, and said " Tape." Hence it came 
to pass, that when any particularly good dis- 
covery was made, the discoverer usually car- 
ried it off to some other Prince, in foreign 
parts, who had no old godmother who said 
Tape. This was not on the whole an advan- 
tageous state of things for Prince Bull, to the 
best of my understanding. 

The worst of it, was, that Prince Bull had 
in course of years lapsed into such a state of 
subjection to this unlucky godmother, that he 
never made any serious effort to rid himself 
of her tyranny. I have said this was the 
worst of it, but there I was wrong, because 
there is a worse consequence still, behind. 
The Prince's numerous family became so 
downright sick and tired of Tape, that when 
they should have helped the Prince out of the 
difficulties into which that evil creature led 
him, they fell into a dangerous habit of 
moodily keeping away from him in an impas- 
sive and indifferent manner, as though they 
had quite forgotten that no harm could 
happen to the Prince their father, without its 
inevitably affecting themselves. 

Such was the aspect of affairs at the court 
of Prince Bull, when this great Prince found 
it necessary to go to war with Prince Bear. 
He had been for some time very doubtful of 
his servants, who, besides being indolent and 
addicted to enriching their families at his 
expense, domineered over him dreadfully ; 
threatening to discharge themselves if thej) 
were found the least fault with, pretending 
that they had done a wonderful amount 
of work when they had done nothing, 



VOL. XI. 



256 



50 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



making the most unmeaning speeches that 
ever were heard in the Prince's name, and 
uniformly showing themselves to be very 
inefficient indeed. Though, that some of 
them had excellent characters from previous 
situations is not to be denied. Well ! Prince 
Bull called his servants together, and said to 
them one and all, " Send out my army against 
Prince Bear. Clothe it, arm it, feed it, pro- 
vide it with all necessaries and contingencies, 
and I will pay the piper ! Do your duty 
by my brave troops," said the Prince, "and do 
it well, and I will pour my treasure out like 
water, to defray the cost. Who ever heard 
ME complain of money well laid out ! " Which 
indeed he had reason for saying, inasmuch as 
he was well known to be a truly generous 
and munificent Prince. 

When the servants heard those words, they 
sent out the army against Prince Bear, and 
they set the army tailors to work, and the 
army provision merchants, and the makers 
of guns both great and small, and the gun- 
powder makers, and the makers of ball, shell, 
and shot ; and they bought up all manner of 
stores and ships, without troubling their 
heads about the price, and appeared to be so 
busy that the good Prince rubbed his hands, 
and (using a favourite expression of his), 
said, " It's all right ! " But, while they were 
thus employed, the Prince's godmother, who 
was a great favourite with those servants, 
looked in upon them continually all day long, 
and whenever she popped in her head at the 
door, said, " How do you do, my children ? 
What are you doing here 1 " " Official busi- 
ness, godmother." " Oho ! " says this wicked 
Fairy. " Tape ! " And then the business 
all went wrong, whatever it was, and the 
servants' heads became so addled and mud- 
dled that they thought they were doing 
wonders. 

Now, this was very bad conduct on the 
part of the vicious old nuisance, and she 
ought to have been strangled, even if she had 
stopped here ; but, she didn't stop here, as 
you shall learn. For, a number of the Prince's 
subjects, being very fond of the Prince's 
army who were the bravest of men, assembled 
together and provided all manner of eatables 
and drinkables, and books to read, and clothes 
to wear, and tobacco to smoke, and candles to 
burn, and nailed them up in great packing- 
cases, and put them aboard a great many 
ships, to be carried out to that brave army 
in the cold and inclement country where 
they were fighting Prince Bear. Then, up 
comes this wicked Fairy as the ships were 
weighing anchor, and says, " How do you do, 
my children ? What are you doing here 1 " 
" We are going with all these comforts to 
the army, godmother." " Oho ! " says she. 
"A pleasant voyage, my darlings. Tape ! " 
And from that time forth, those enchanted 
ships went sailing, against wind and tide and 
rhyme and reason, round and round tbe 
world, and whenever they touched at any 



port were ordered off immediately, and could 
never deliver their cargoes anywhere. 

This, again, was very bad conduct on the 
part of the vicious old nuisance, and she 
ought to have been strangled for it if she had 
done nothing worse ; but, she did something 
worse still, as you shall learn. For, she got 
astride of an official broomstick, and muttered 
as a spell these two sentences " On Her Ma- 
jesty's service," and "I have the honour to 
be, sir, your most obedient servant," and 
presently alighted in the cold and inclement 
country where the army of Prince Bull were 
encamped to fight the army of Prince Bear. 
On the seashore of that country, she found 
piled together, a number of houses for the 
army to live in, and a quantity of provisions 
for the army to live upon, and a quantity of 
clothes for the army to wear : while, sitting 
in the mud gazing at them, were a group of 
officers as red to look at as the wicked old 
woman herself. So, she said to one of 
j them, " Who are you, my darling, and how 
do yow do 1 " " I am the Quarter-master 
General's Department, godmother, and I am 
pretty well." Then she said to another, 
" Who are you, my darling, and how do you 
do ? " "I am the Commissariat Depart- 
ment, godmother, and / am pretty well." 
Then she said to another, " Who are you, my 
darling, and how do you do ] " " I am the 
head of the Medical Department, godmother, 
and 1 am pretty well." Then, she said to 
some gentlemen scented with lavender, who 
kept themselves at a great distance from the 
rest, " And who are you, my pretty pets, and 
how do you do 1 " And they answered, " We- 
aw-are-the-aw- Staff- aw -Department, god- 
mother, and we are very well indeed." " I 
am delighted to see you all, my beauties," 
says this wicked old Fairy, " Tape ! " Upon 
that, the houses, clothes, and provisions, all 
mouldered away ; and the soldiers who were 
sound, fell sick; and the soldiers who were 
sick, died miserably ; and the noble army of 
Prince Bull perished. 

When the dismal news of his great loss 
was carried to the Prince, he suspected his 
godmother very much indeed ; but, he knew 
that his servants must have kept company with 
the malicious beldame, and must have given 
way to her, and therefore he resolved to turn 
those servants out of their places. So, he 
called to him a Roebuck who had the gift of 
speech, and he said, " Good Boebuck, tell 
them they must go." So, the good Eoebuck 
delivered his message, so like a man that you 
might have supposed him to be nothing but 
a man, and they were turned out but, not 
without warning, for that they had had a long 
time. 

And now comes the most extraordinary part 
of the history of this Prince. When he had 
turned out those servants, of course he 
wanted others. What was his astonishment 
to find that in all his dominions, which con- 
tained no less than twenty-seven millions' of 



Charles Dickens.] 



A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE. 



51 



people, there were not above five-and-twenty 
servants altogether ! They were so lofty 
about it, too, that instead of discussing 
whether they should hire themselves as ser- 
vants to Prince Bull, they turned things topsy- 
turvy, and considered whether, as a favour, 
they should hire Prince Bull to be their 
master ! While they were arguing this 
point among themselves quite at their 
leisure, the wicked old red Fairy was inces- 
santly going up and down, knocking at the 
doors of twelve of the oldest of the five- 
and-twenty, who were the oldest inhabi- 
tants in all that country, and whose united 
ages amounted to one thousand, saying, 
" Will you hire Prince Bull for your master ? 
Will you hire Prince Ball for your master 1 " 
'To which, one answered, " I will, if next 
door will ;" and another, " I won't, if over the 
way does ;" and another, " I can't, if he, she, 
or they, might, could, would, or should." 
And . all this time Prince Bull's affairs were 
.going to rack and ruin. 

At last, Prince Bull in the height of his per- 
plexity assumed a thoughtful face, as if he were 
struck by au entirely new idea. The wicked 
old Fairy, seeing this, was at his elbow directly, 
and said, "How do you do, my Prince, and what 
are you thinking of?" "I am thinking, god- 
mother," says he, " that among all the seven- 
and-twenty millions of my subjects who have 
never been in service, there are men of intellect 
and business who have made me very famous 
both among my friends and enemies." " Aye, 
truly 1 " says the Fairy. " Aye, truly," says 
the " Prince. " And what then 1 " says the 
Fairy. " Why, then," says he, "since the re- 
gular old class of servants do so ill, are so 
hard to get, and carry it with so high a hand, 
perhaps I might try to make good servants 
of some of these." The words had no sooner 
passed his lips than she returned, chuckling, 
"You think so, do you ? Indeed, my Prince ? 
Tape ! " Thereupon he directly forgot 
what he was thinking of, and cried out 
lamentably to the old servants, " O, do come 
and hire your poor old master ! Pray do ! 
On any terms ! " 

And this, for the present, finishes the story 
of Prince Bull. I wish I could wind it up by 
saying that he lived happy ever afterwards, 
but I cannot in my conscience do so ; for, 
with Tape at his elbow, and his estranged 
children fatally 1'epelled by her from coming 
near him, I do not, to tell you the plain 
truth, believe in the possibility of such an 
end to it. 



A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE. 



IN childhood we have all of us revelled in 
tales about magical vases and marvellous 
bottles, whence issued irritated genii or face- 
tious devils-on-two-sticks ; and our won- 
der was, and still remains, how they man- 
aged to get into them. In manhood, and 
sometimes too soon in youth, our attention 



ias been occasionally riveted by the wonders 
performed by a bottle of champagne ; but I 
venture to assert that not one person in a 
aundred has the least idea of how much 
there is inside one of these mystic phials, nor 
by what elaborate and cabalistic incantations 
the imprisoned sprites were confined therein. 
With some amount of perseverance and cou- 
rage, I have penetrated to the subterranean 
laboratories, and have witnessed how the 
reluctant demons are thrust, and kept fast 
prisoners, within the glass walls of a 
cylindro-conical dungeon. I have stalked 
through part of the six English miles of 
cellar, and traversed sundry of the fifty-five 
;alleries, the longest extending about four 
lundred yards ; I have stared at some thou- 
sands of the three million bottles that are wait- 
ing to get out and be drunk from the bright, 
barrack -like establishments of Messieurs 
Jacquesson et Fils, of Chalons-sur-Marne ; I 
have descended, like a second ./Eneas, to the 
lowest deep of the Tartarean grottoes pos- 
sessed by Messrs. Moe't and Chandon, of Eper- 
nay ; I have gone down the steps beside which 
a black marble tablet, with letters of gold, 
informs the visitor that Napoleon the Grand 
did exactly the same thing, in I did not 
think it necessary to note what year ; I 
dived through stories of thrice-triple caves ; 
I reached an ancient portion of catacomb- 
like cellar no longer in use, which they 
call Siberia : I tapped at the door where- 
in ice is treasured, not only to chill the 
sample wines of entertainment for the pro- 
prietor's table, but for more important pur- 
poses, as you shall hear ; and I have emerged 
by the stairs where another gilt tablet in- 
formed me that Jerome Bonaparte, ex-king 
of Westphalia, had had the honour of pre- 
ceding me. After a good hour- and -half's 
scientific ramble in the bowels of the earth, 
the air and sunshine were a delicious treat, 
worth all the bottles of champagne in the 
world ; but still it appeared to me that a 
few details might be useful to the public, 
if only to help housekeepers to make and 
manage their gooseberry wine. 

To begin with the province of Cham- 
pagne itself: there is poor Champagne and 
rich Champagne. If you traverse the former 
from south to north, you have a series of 
tiresome plains, which are not exactly flat, 
but slightly hollow and undulating The 
face of the country, even where abundantly 
rich, is far from being prepossessing in its 
appearance, unlike its rival Burgundy. The 
laud puts you in mind of an enormous sheet 
held out to catch some giant Garagantua, 
who is expected soon'to jump down from the 
skies and display his traditional powers of 
consumption. With patience, you at last 
reach the city of Troyes, an old-fashioned 
town, a hundred years behindhand, with but 
rare foot-pavements and with plenty of open 
wells in the streets. Many of the houses are 
built of wood framework, filled up with plaster, 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



like those we see at Shrewsbury and Chester. 
Bonneterie is the staple manufacture, com- 
prising stockings, nightcaps, gloves, and mit- 
tens. Numerous stocking-frames are seen at 
work, as well as the circular tricot, or knit- 
ting round by machinery. A Champenois, 
(but un-French) fashion, to be witnessed at 
Troyes, is the custom of employing young 
men to act as chambermaids. Altogether, 
once in one's life is often enough to have 
been at Troyes, in spite of its ancient im- 
portance and repute. After another long, 
dull, monotonous ride over the same ever- 
lasting open plains, you perceive a pair of 
twin steeples in a verdant hollow. You then 
descend, through pleasant and promising en- 
virons, to the fortified town of Vitry le Fran- 
9ais ; wherein all the streets run at right 
angles to each other from a central square, 
with a fountain in the middle. If you eat, 
drink, or sleep at Vitry, take care to go to 
the H6tel des Voyageurs, which is one of the 
most satisfactory inns in all Champagne. For, 
be it known, the people of Champagne are 
not popular with their own compatriots. 

The inhabitants of several districts of 
"France have borne a traditional character 
amongst their countrymen from time imme- 
morial, just as the Scotch and Yorkshireinen 
have in England. The Bourguiguon has 
always been a favourite ; the Champenois 
exactly the reverse. The leading feature of 
his mind is supposed to be silliness. " Ninety- 
nine sheep," say the French, " and one 
Champeuois make together a hundred block- 
heads." In a certain vaudeville, a lady and 
gentleman make an acquaintance at a roadside 
inn. Gentleman : " I am just arrived from 
Troyes." Lady : " I thought so." Gentle- 
man : " What ! do I look so foolish as that ? " 
An analogous saying makes a hundred block- 
heads consist of ninety-nine Flemings an done 
hog. I like the Fleming better than the Cham- 
penois ; he is cleanlier, and moreover a first- 
rate gardener. The genuine type of Cham- 
pagne dulness is not the sheep, but rather 
the goose, the phalansterian emblem of the 
artful peasant, a cunning simpleton with a 
purposely vacant look. The Champenois 
never forgets to take care that you shall pay 
enough. Beware how you touch his grapes ! 
or he will make you the subject of a proems 
verbal. His very vines are often trained in 
such a way, that besides bearing fruit, they 
serve as hedges and inclosing fences. Honest- 
hearted Jean Raisin is degraded to the rank 
of a rural policeman. He is compelled to 
stretch out an arm to bar the passage, and 
to shout " No thoroughfare ! " The ban 
or proclamation of the date when grape- 
gathering is to be first allowed in each dis- 
trict, shows a nervous fear of being robbed, 
which strongly contrasts with the Burgundian 
open-handed practice. There things are con- 
ducted in such a style as this: "Monsieur 
wishes to walk through my vines 1 " a Chablis 
proprietor asked of my guide. " With plea- 



sure." He then added, with a good-humoured 
smile, "The best, as you know, are on the 
hill La Moutonne ; but don't eat too many 
grapes;" thereby implying, that though 
the crop was very short, we were heartily 
welcome to taste in moderation. But the 
Mayor of Troyes sternly informs the public 
that the opening of the vintaging of vines in 
such a territory is fixed for such a day ; and 
for such other, for such another day. All, 
whether owners or tenants of vineyards, are 
warned that if they contravene the ban by 
beginning before their neighbours, and so 
taking the opportunity of plundering them 
they shall be delivered over to the Tribunal of 
Simple Police. Moreover, all persons what- 
soever, except the owners, are forbidden to 
enter the vineyards at any time, on any pre- 
text. Jean Raisin is watched and guarded 
as carefully as a wealthy novice in a convent.. 

From Vitry, through Chalons, to Epernay, 
you are in rich Champagne, in the valley of 
the Marne. There are vines : but not even 
at Chalons are you yet arrived at the cham- 
pagiie-wine-producing district. At Epernay 
you reach it at last ; and if you stroll over 
to Ai, to admire its lovely site in the lap of 
hills, or stretch as far as Sillery, you are 
still amongst the vines which do actually 
produce champagne. The wine made and 
matured in M. Jacquesson's vast establish- 
ment at Chalons is not grown on the spot ; 
but is brought there in hogsheads previous 
to being bottled from his vineyards in the 
neighbourhood of Ai and elsewhere. But 
the truth is that, even in France, nobody but 
the wine-merchant, and not always he him- 
self, knows where champagne wine does come 
from. A good deal is made in Burgundy ; 
some in Germany ; and, in the white wine 
districts, great quantities are bought up and 
carried away and no one knows whither. 
They are kidnapped, burked, dissected, trans- 
mogrified, and successfully resuscitated with 
a change of title. 

This year, the vintage is comparatively a 
blank at Epernay ; but we may safely pre- 
dict that, though prices will rise, there will 
be no perceptible deficiency in the general 
supply. No one who can pay for a bottle of 
champagne during the years fifty-five and 
fifty-six is likely to be compelled to go with- 
out it ; although possibly the cider and sugar- 
and water of fifty-four will be as famous in, 
its way as the wine of 'forty-six. It is much 
easier to make good champagne wine beyond 
the limits of the ancient province, than it 
would be to manufacture burgundy wine far 
away from Burgundy. You can fabricate 
pinchbeck, but you cannot make gold. Cham- 
pagne wine is so completely a factitious 
thing, that if the duty on French wines wero 
taken off in England, champagne could, and 
would be prepared in London, so good as to 
threaten a serious rivalry to the genuine 
article from Chalons-sur-Marne. The cham- 
pagne grower's capital really and truly lies 



Charles Dicker.?.] 



A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE. 



53 



in his cellar ; that is his plant, his mill, his 
factory. The Burgundian's consists iu his 
vineyard. There is but one cote d'or, and 
human skill cannot create another ; there 
are scores of architects 'and thousands of 
masons in Great Britain and Ireland, and 
money moreover to pay them with, who 
would outdo with ease the vastest store- 
houses of Chalons, Epernay, Sillery, or 
Reims. 

Notwithstanding which, the above-men- 
tioned cellars really are a sight to see. 
M. Jacquesson's, the most modern, dates 
from eighteen hundred, and is considered 
by sticklers for the old routine to be rashly 
light and airy in its construction. In fact, 
there is little that is cellarlike about it. No 
damp, no fungus, no mouldy smell, and 
almost no darkness. For an ordinary visit 
you have no need to be lighted about with a 
candle. Champagne cellars are made to 
contain wine in bottles, not in casks ; hence 
an immense difference in their aspect and 
atmosphere. Jacquesson's establishment 
crowns the top of a hill, just outside the 
town, near the railway station. It is white 
and clean, shining with neatness and good 
repair ; and a plain square tower, at one 
corner of the range of buildings, is sufficiently 
ornamental and solid iu its proportions to 
show that the owner is no common trades- 
man. A like hint is given by the pheasantry 
at the other end a handsome enclosure 
of shrubs and evergreens all covered in with 
a vast roof of netting. The courtyard, too, 
-of M. Jacquesson's residence in the town 
displays an assemblage of orange-trees (of 
course in tubs) that would do no discredit to 
a royal garden. Champagne wine is clearly 
lucrative. Heavy taxes are cheerfully paid 
when part of the money is to be returned 
in pleasure. 

The cellars are hardly underground ; that 
is, though pierced in the side of the hill, 
they are nearly level with the adjoining 
road. Here in cool grot, in one of the 
galleries, is a private tramway communicating 
with the Chalons station close by, and all for 
the convenient conveyance away, by trucks - 
full, of armies of well-drilled and disciplined 
champagne, not to mention receiving the raw 
recruits or empty bottles that have to be 
brought in, and dispatching to their fiery 
funeral in the glass-house the shattered 
corpses or broken bottles that must be 
carried out. The last-mentioned sufferers 
form a heavy item. Outside, at various 
distances, you observe a series of small glass 
domes. Within, you find they light the 
cellars most effectually. The rays, descend- 
ing perpendiculai'ly from the sky, are caught 
on large sheets of polished tin, inclining at 
an angle of forty-five degrees, and are thence 
reflected horizontally throughout the whole 
length of the galleries which they respec- 
tively command. At a distance, the reflection 
is so powerful and brilliant, that you might 



1 fancy the place was splendidly furnished 
| with a set of superb plate-glass mirrors. On 
each side of these long straight galleries, 
which cross each other at right angles, are 
ranged the bottles in frames of wood, called 
tabletas, mostly containing a hundred and 
eight bottles each. At various points the 
temperature of the cellar can be regulated 
by folding doors which exclude the external 
air at pleasure. The place in the cellar 
which the bottles occupy, and the position in 
which they are laid in the rack, depends 
upon their age and the point to which their 
education has advanced. Much more than 
this, to see, there is not ; except perhaps 
the wine-press and the packing-room. 

Epernay lies in a lonely valley. The view 
thence consists of vine-clad hills, the less pro- 
ductive summits of which form a purple 
background on the opposite side. But if 
you walk past those self-same vineyards, you 
will see a broad Champenois hint not to touch 
anything which does not belong to you, in 
the streaks of whitewash that are dabbed on 
grapes growing dangerously close to the 
public path. The town is a small compact 
little place, whose chief ornament consists in 
the princely mansions in which the wine- 
merchants have contrived to house them- 
selves. I could not but look at them and 
marvel at the results obtained from a little 
frisky wine. For though by no means castles 
in the air, we may assert that they are built 
with carbonic-acid gas, cemented with sugar, 
and founded on froth. The numerous 
fabriques and magasins of bouchons d'Es- 
pagne, or shops of cutt.'3rs of Spanish corks, 
may be looked upon as the arsenals of balls 
and bullets that are to be fired off by the pro- 
duce of Jean Eaisin's own powder-mill. But 
Jean, I believe, mostly shoots with an air-gun. 

M. Moet, on presentation of a recommen- 
datory letter, at once acceded to my request, 
not only to travel through his unseen domi- 
nions, but also to watch his confidants at 
work ; and in less than five minutes, I waa 
tripping downstairs, candlestick in hand, as if 
it were bedtime. The plan of this great 
alembic of cosmopolitan luxury is exceed- 
ingly simple, and is easily carried away iu 
the head. Here, no daylight streams in from 
above, nor too much air. On descending to 
the first grand level, you are conducted 
through a series of straight, dark-brown, 
dampish galleries, which cross each other 
right and left, and whose general plan is a 
short parallelogram or inexact square. With- 
out the picturesque festoons and tapestry of 
funguses which decorate the London Docks, 
there is yet enough of long-standing mouldi- 
ness to give M. Moe't's caves an unmis- 
takably respectable and ancestral character. 
And for vastness, run as quick as you will, it 
would take more than three good hours to 
traverse them completely. From four to five 
millions of bottles are their contents ; there- 
fore on you go, and on and on, with regiments 



54 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



of bottles drawn up on each side, and some- 
times saluting you with a pop as you pass. 
You have no contrast of big tubs and small ; 
no variety of ports, sherries, capes, and ma- 
deiras, in pipes, butts, hogsheads, and all the 
rest of it ; but everywhere bottles of the 
same shape and the same size, except where 
pints or half-bottles take the place of whole 
ones. It is as well to walk carefully, else 
you may slip by stepping into the uuctnous 
and sweet-smelling puddles that are formed 
by companies of explosionists on each side ; 
and falls are best avoided in a country where, 
if you come to the ground, some fleshy por- 
tion of your precious person may chance to 
come in contact with a bit of broken glass. 
You look into black depths, whither the eye 
cannot penetrate ; you pass by the massive 
square buttresses and pillars which support, 
like Atlas, the upper world on their broad 
bare shoulders ; you see the sharp decided 
shadows following you close, as you and your 
candle travel along ; and you are conscious 
that if your guide were evil-minded and were 
to leave you alone in a malignant fit of ill- 
temper, you would lose yourself as hopelessly 
as a child straying in the catacombs of Paris. 
You descend from cellar to cellar. All these 
different depths and various degrees of tempe- 
rature and dampness offer an extensive choice 
of climate, which the experienced owner doubt- 
less well knows how to turn to the best advan- 
tage. As means of communication between 
these stages for tubs of wine, for instance, 
that are condemned to be let down and bled 
to death and bottled in darkness there are 
trap-doors cut in the floor in places where 
you would never look for them. From time 
to time, you come upon groups of sepia- 
coloured men busily employed at their sub- 
terranean tasks. By the light of their candles, 
they hardly look alive. At a few yards' dis- 
tance, they strike you rather as spirited 
sketches done in burnt umber by some 
modern Rembrandt, than as breathing, warm- 
blooded fellow-creatures. There is closeness 
and mystery in the caverns of Epernay, as 
there was light and space in the grottoes of 
Chalons. M. Moe't might summon a con- 
ference of the gnomes ; while M. Jacquesson 
is almost privileged to invite the sylphs to 
shelter themselves in a cool retreat when 
oppressed by the sultriness of the summer air 
on the top of the hill. You depart from both 
in wonderment that such vast, ponderous, 
and costly machinery should be employed in 
a work of no greater utility or necessity than 
that of furnishing a tickling draught to fasti- 
dious palates. 

We call champagne a sparkling wine ; 
which is quite a mistake. We might as well 
talk about sparkling ginger-pop. Ihe French 
more correctly style it mousseux, or frothy. 
It does not sparkle so brightly as soapsuds. 
Adewdrop sparkles, a diamond sparkles better 
still. In the way of gems, the only thing to 
which champagne makes the slightest ap- 



proach, is to seed pearls dancing on the surface 
of a glass of water. Burgundy fills the glass 
like a liquid ruby ; claret shines softly with a 
more purple glow ; effervescing champagne 
offers no brilliancy to the eye. It is only 
bright when it is still, or in the popular 
notion, good for nothing. Both frothy wines 
and white wines differ greatly in their mode 
of preparation from those that are respectably 
still and red. One rule, however, holds good 
for all : the best vineyards produce the best 
liquor, and the quality is equally distinguish- 
able whether the bottle is meant to go off 
like a duelling pistol, or to be opened quietly 
and noiselessly. If the juice obtained from the 
grape has onlyundergone a sortof half fermen- 
tation if a slight piquancy has commenced, it 
is called vin bourru. White grapes are mostly 
treated thus, and the liquor is in great re'- 
quest amongst certain persons during the 
vintage. It possesses all the faults and in- 
conveniences of sweet wine, purges like it, 
and is windy and indigestible. Its admirers, 
who belong to the old school rather than the 
new, assert that it is diuretic, solvent, purifi- 
cative, and so on. When corked in bottle, it 
bursts a great many, after the fashion of 
champagne wine, to which it approaches in 
its nature. Left in open vessels, it completes 
its fermentation, and passes into the state of 
ordinary wine ; only much inferior, from the 
circumstance of not having regularly gone- 
through all the steps of the process, and in 
the proper time. There are certain sweet 
wines, sometimes called liqueurs, such as 
Bergerac, Arbois, Condrieux, Lunel, Frontig- 
nan, Rivesalte, which are prepared almost 
without fermentation. The bunches, most 
generally of Muncat grapes, are cut very late, 
just before the frosts come on, after they have 
undergone the evaporation of nearly one half 
of their substance, and are become shrivelled 
and wrinkled. They are carefully picked, 
almost berry by berry, crushed, and the juice, 
at once put into the hogshead, finishes its 
working and clears itself there. These wines 
keep for an indefinite period. Similar wine 
is made in the isles of Greece, in Spain, in 
the Canaries and Madeira, where spirit is 
mostly added ; as to port wine, especially 
when it has to travel. The English rarely 
taste any but alcoholized wines ; pure wine 
being notoriously too insipid to please the 
British palate. The consequence is that 
we seldom have the chance of tasting it 
pure. But the list of articles formerly used 
in France itself to adulterate wine is really 
frightful. To begin with innocent water, 
there follow perry, cider, and beet-root juice; 
then come elder, privet and other berries, 
with logwood ; decoctions of elder flowers, 
celery, and sage, doctored up with alcohol; 
and last, sugar of lead, which, if it failed to 
pai'alyse and kill the wine-bibber, gave him 
painter's colic as a mild form of disease. Its 
use is now said to be discontinued by the 
Parisian wine-doctors, as involving too great a 



Charles Dlckens.l 



55 



risk for themselves as well as for their cus- 
tomers. What they now employ instead, I 
know not. Even in France, wine is said to be 
occasionally made without a single drop of 
grapejuice in it. Verily, one ought to rejoice 
greatly after swallowing a bumper of genuine 
wine. 

Amongst the French there is a wide-spread 
and firmly-rooted opinion that their white 
wines, as an habitual beverage, are less whole- 
some than the red. They are believed to 
shake the nervous system, and to be capiteux, 
or to fly to the head. Myself would not con 
firm this judgment, as a rule, knowing that 
the effect complained of is nothing more than 
the natural effect of the quantity and strength 
of the liquid imbibed. Most white wines 
either slip down so easily, that you have not 
the slightest suspicion how much you have 
taken, or are so strong that they surprise you 
before you are aware of it, when you thought- 
lessly consume your usual allowance. But 
wine, besides its stimulating properties, also 
contains medicinal elements ; and white wines 
are partially deficient in these, from the ab- 
sence of the red particles and the other tonic 
and strengthening contents of the skin which 
are associated with them. Amongst French- 
men, too, white wine (champagne excepted, 
because it costs so dear), reckons for nothing. 
A bottle of Chablis, or Sauterne, at dejeuner 
(a repast which does not correspond to the 
English breakfast), is looked upon merely as 
a bottle of water, just serving to wash down 
a few shell-fish, or other little preliminary 
whet, before the serious business of the meal 
begins. As a somewhat exaggerated sample 
of the prevalent idea, we may take the cele- 
brated feat of the Parisian oyster-woman, 
who betted that she would eat twelve dozen 
oysters, and drink twelve glasses of ehablis. 
while the clock of Saint-Eustache was strik- 
ing twelve ; which she executed, thus : on 
the pewter counter of the Commerce de Vina 
where the performance came off, there were 
ranged, in regimental row, a dozen tumblers, 
in each of which a dozen small oysters were 
floating in a limpid bath of ehablis wine. At 
the first stroke of the clock, down went the 
contents of tumbler number one ; the rest 
glided down in steady succession ; and she 
won her bet. 

The luscious sweet wines, surcharged with 
sugar and the principles contained in the flesh 
of the grape such as Muscat-Frontignan 
though medicinal and restorative in small 
doses, and reputedly injurious in larger 
draughts, are too cloying to fear much danger 
of their being taken in excess. Yet I 
have seen a bottle quaffed at a sitting with 
evident satisfaction and benefit, by an indivi- 
dual whose bodily constitution was pining 
after saccharine and viscous material. 
Some people are mad at times after a draught 
of sweet wine ; just as deer are irresistibly 
attracted by the American salt-licks. The 
great fault of champagne is that you can never 



have enough of it. In my time, I have had 
enough port ; occasionally (if only a glass) too 
much of cape and sherry ; enough burgundy. 
But champagne, after it is down your throat, 
cries '' More ! more ! " as fiercely and unde- 
niably as a famished ogress panting for blood. 
When I feel that the demon has taken pos- 
session, the only way to dislodge her is to 
slake my thirst with a pint of bordeaux. 

For the manufacture of champagne, the 
grapes, instead of being taken to the pressing- 
place in balonges, are carefully carried thither 
in baskets, after being gathered in the cool of 
the morning. Great pains is taken not to 
shake them more than can possibly be helped. 
Because in good years, the juice that would 
be squeezed out by the mere weight of the 
bunches piled on each other, which is the 
finest portion of the liquor, would all be 
lost ; and hot sunshine, by hastening the 
dissolution of the skin in the juice so let 
out, would tinge the must with colouring 
matters. It is really a no more wonderful 
phenomenon that white wine should be made 
from black grapes, than that a black hen should 
lay a white egg; the juice of black grapes 
being naturally white, except in a few less 
common species, as the Teinturier. The main 
point in order to keep the wine colourless is, 
that the grapes should be unbroken and not 
allowed to ferment in the least, either in a 
cuve, or in the baskets on their way to one. 
They do not go into a mashtub at all, but 
are immediately put into the press, and are 
squeezed a first, second, third, and even a 
fourth time. The liquor from the last press- 
ing is apt to be coloured, and is inferior in 
quality to that from the two first. 

New tubs are then filled three-quarters full 
with, the juice produced by these different 
squeezings. They are left open to ferment 
for a fortnight, at the end of which period, 
they are filled completely and tightly stopped 
with a close-fitting bung. It is a great point 
with white wines to preserve them colourless. 
One mode is to be careful in keeping the tub 
always full. This precaution prevents the 
absorption of oxygen, which, incorporating 
with the wine, would turn it yellow, and cause 
it to lose a portion of its perfume and light- 
ness. Some time in the month of January, 
the wine is racked off, or drawn from the 
lees, and immediately clarified by means of 
isinglass or gluten. Six weeks afterwards, 
it is clarified again ; and if, in April, it ia 
found that the wine has not the requisite 
transparency, it is drawn off a third time and 
dosed with animal jelly. In the course of 
April or May ii> is bottled, and into each 
bottle is put a dose of liquor composed of 
equal parts of the wine itself and sugar candy. 
For pink champagne, the liquor is made with 
red wine. About three per cent is the ordinary 
dose of sirop. The cork is tied down, fastened 
with wire, or, as at M. Moe't's, with an iron 
clasp called an agrafe, and deposited in 
a cellar, where it can enjoy the nearest 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



approach to a uniform temperature. For 
now comes the tug of war. A regiment 
of champagne bottles, at this stage of their 
existence, are terribly mutinous and ex- 
citable. You wouldn't believe Jean Raisin 
to be of so peppeiy a temperament ; but 
at the least provocation, he becomes a per- 
fect bottle-imp, bursts into a rage, breaks a 
blood-vessel, maims himself for life, and falls 
a sacrifice to the violence of his passions. If 
the weather is too incendiary, the riot act is 
often read, by bringing a cargo of ice ; but 
the tranquillisiug arguments generally arrive 
too late, after all the mischief is done. 

Champagne spends the summer reclining 
thus, though too often not reposing, in a hori- 
zontal position. The bursting of the bottles is 
simply caused by the formation inside of a 
greater quantity of carbonic acid gas than the 
vessel of glass has strength to contain. Pur- 
chasers prefer the wine which has exploded in 
the largest proportion, and make strict inqui- 
ries as to its performances in this line. If it 
had not burst at all, they would have nothing 
to say to it. About fifteen per cent is a very 
respectable amount of burstage, satisfactory 
to all parties. Sometimes it rises to more 
than thirty per cent, and then becomes 
ruinous to the manufacturer. 

In September, and later, after the internal 
fermentation and gas-making is nearly 
complete, there forms at the lower part of 
the bottle a quantity of dark, loose sedi- 
ment, looking something like curdled soot, 
which would quite spoil the brilliancy 
and even the cleanliness of the sample, if 
suffered to remain. To get rid of this is 
the delicate task that has now to be un- 
dertaken. The bottles have to be placed 
sur pointe, as it is called, in their bottle- 
racks ; that is, leaning with their necks 
downward, at an angle of not quite forty 
degrees. The sediment has thus a tendency 
to sink towards the cork. Each individual 
bottle has then to be moved or slightly 
twisted, with the least perceptible shock, or 
coup de main (increasing the inclination from 
time to time), every day for a month or six 
weeks, according to the season and the qua- 
lity of the wine. It seems an endless and 
impossible job to treat in this way the multi- 
tudinous contents of such a cellar as M. 
Moet's ; but one clever active man can turn 
and shake, upon a stretch, as many as fifteen 
thousand bottles a day. At last, when the 
dark deposit is all got down to the cork, the 
wine is ready to submit to the operation 
called " d6gorger," or disgorging. The work- 
man, or d6gorgeur, who performs it is remark- 
ably light-fingered. Each bottle is handed to 
him, and taken from him, by an attendant 
slave on either side. He holds it horizontally, 
removes the wire or the iron clasp, takes out 
the cork, lets a spoonful of froth spurt out 
with a fizz (carrying with it the ugly dregs), 
raises the bottle perpendicularly, replaces 
the cork, and the feat is done. Like all other 



clever tricks, it looks easy enough when 
performed adroitly ; although, were you and I 
to attempt it, we should probably empty the 
bottle before we knew that the cork had 
stirred. Home-made champagne, to approach 
perfection, ought to be treated according 
to the same legerdemain. 

A first disgorging is seldom sufficient ; it 
generally has to be followed by a second and j 
a third. The bottle has again to be laid 
sloping, heels upwards, in the rack. An ad- 
ditional drop of liquor is, now and then, 
put in at the subsequent operations. At 
the last disgorging, its doom is finally 
fixed by a band of five or six execu- 
tioners, who sit in silent and solemn row, 
with their instruments of torture before 
them. The fir-st man wipes off the perspira- 
tion which has settled on its face at the anti- 
cipation of its approaching fate ; the second 
bleeds it afresh at the neck, as before de- 
scribed ; the third claps it under an iron 
vice, in which there is a cylindrical hole of 
the same size as the inside of the neck of the 
bottle, a screw compresses the cork suffi- 
ciently to go in, the man relentlessly knocks 
it down with a punch, and the bottle is 
gagged ; the fourth secures the cork with 
string ; the fifth secures the string with 
wire ; and a sixth seizes the iron-bound 
victim, and hurries it incontinently nobody 
knows where. You guess though, when you 
behold, on reaching daylight, a trio of com- 
passionate women nursing the poor afflicted 
sufferers upstairs. The first female wipes off 
the sweat of agony with which it is bedewed ; 
the second binds up its wounds with a heal- 
ing-plaister of paste and lead- leaf ; the third 
wraps it in a paper winding-sheet, and hands 
it to a man, the sexton of the champagne 
cemetery, who entombs it in a wicker basket, 
and scrupulously buries it in clean rye straw. 
The sacrifice is ended now. Jean Raisin's 
relentless pursuers may at last suck his blood 
at their ease. 

Champagne is not fit to be thus delivered 
up before the May of the second year ; so 
that a bottle of frothy wine cannot be drunk 
till from eighteen to twenty months after it 
has been vintaged, at the very soonest. It is 
better even the thirtieth month after it has 
quitted the parent vine. This, with the trou- 
ble, the loss, and the cellar-rent, make it 
impossible that genuine, properly-prepared 
champagne should be otherwise than costly. 
The maker, merely to pay his outlay, must 
dispose of it at a heavy price. Cham- 
pagne, therefore, is the wine of the wealthy. 
At a second-rate inn in Epernay, the Siren, 
which is not without its own particular fasci- 
nations, I paid four francs for a bottle of Ai. 
Wine-merchants on the spot cannot let you 
have passable Sillery for less than two francs 
and a half per bottle. But let not those who 
cannot afford to drink champagne envy too 
bitterly those who can. The loss is by no 
means so great as they fancy. " Which shall 



Charles Dickea.] 



BANOOLAH. 



57 



we have, champagne or bordeaux ? " said I to 
a Frenchman whom I wanted to reward for 
talking, as well as to set him talking a little 
more. " Champagne is the more noblej" he 
answered, after deep consideration ; " but it 
is five franca the bottle. The bordeaux here 
is good, and costs only thirty sous. One 
bottle of bordeaux will fortify our stomachs 
better than two bottles of champagne ; and 
for one bottle of champagne we can have 
three of bordeaux, with ten sous to spare for 
something else. Let us drink bordeaux, mon- 
sieur, if you please." And bordeaux we did 
drink. 

I have heard of physicians prescribing port, 
madeira, hock, sherry, and even brandy-and- 
water, to their convalescents ; I have known 
them order effervescent drinks, as seltzer, 
soda, and other waters, mixed solutions of 
acids and alkalis that throw off, on meeting, 
a whiff of fresh-made gas ; but I never knew 
a doctor recommend champagne. On the 
contrary, French medical men have told me 
that persons who make a daily practice of 
drinking champagne at their meals, although 
not in excess, do themselves no good by it. 
Before the invention of chloroform, a Parisian 
surgeon, observing that drunken men often 
inflicted serious injury upon themselves with- 
out suffering pain from it at the time, con- 
ceived the idea of inebriating his patients 
with champagne before operating upon them. 
Some cases succeeded well ; in others, the 
reaction had baneful effects ; in a few the 
patient was excited to frenzy, and became 
unmanageable. The system was not per- 
severed in. 

Champagne is deficient in one of the most 
meritorious qualities of wine the length of 
time it may be kept to advantage. Cham- 
pagne, unlike friendship as it ought to be, 
does not improve with the lapse of years. I 
was surprised to be told that the oldest wine 
in M. Jacquesson's cellars was of the forty- 
nine vintage. The old age of champagne is 
inglorious. A bin of leaky bottles, with the . f l ! 
string rotted, the wires rusty, the gas escaped, 
and the sweetness turned to bitter mould and 
fiat mustiuess, is a thing to be got rid of at 
once with as little ceremony as possible. 
Burgundy and port often terminate their 
spun of existence with all the glories of a 
gorgeous sunset ; champagne, if suffered to 
survive so long, is apt to go out like a tallow 
candle burnt into the socket. 

Nowhere is champagne the common be- 
verage of the people (which diminishes its title 
to respect, and is almost a just ground for 
separating and distinguishing it from wine 
proper), any more than pastry is anywhere 
their daily bread. Champagne is the con- 
fectionary of wine-making; and both that and 
pastry are superfluous luxuries. Neither a 
garrison in a state of siege, nor a populous 
island on which provisions ran short, with no 
immediate supply at hand, would think of 
brewing champagne or making puff tarts. 



The precise epoch during a repast at which 
champagne is usually drunk is different in 
England from what it is in France, John 
Bull proving himself the more sensible. 
We trifle with the seducer during din- 
ner ; the French yield themselves up to 
him at dessert, and when they once begin, 
they often go on. If a feast must be ennobled 
by the presence of champagne, in compliance 
with the ladies' wishes (who, ever since the 
days of Eve, have desired to partake of what 
does them least good), my dictum is, to serve 
to each person present one large well-filled 
glass, containing not less than a quarter of a 
pint, and to make it instantly vanish, bottles 
and wine, for the rest of the evening from the 
dining-room. Champagne's real place is not 
at a dinner, but at a ball. A cavalier may 
appropriately offer, at propitious intervals, a 
glass now and then to his danceress. There, 
it takes its fitting rank and position amongst 
feathers, gauzes, lace, embroidery, ribbons, 
white satin shoes, and eau de Cologne. It is 
simply one of the elegant extras of life ; and 
far should I be from condemning it in its 
way. But we must not let it give itself too 
many airs because it is a dandy gentleman. 
It ought not to push into the background of 
neglect and disesteem, the more solid and 
generally useful elixirs of life. 

BANOOLAH. 

"LET go the anchor!"- Grating and harsh the sound 
As the rougli chain unwound its shrieking coils, 
And after noiseless motion, scarce perceived, 
Our gallant ship swung slowly, bows to land. 

Then grew the bay all picture ; sound was none. 
A thousand sails deep-tinted, strange of shape, 
Swell'd seaward; thousand paddles flapp'd the calm; 
A thousand dusk)' faces soon look'd up, 
Laige-eyed, and ivory-tooth'd, and gen tie- voiced, 
And spoke in syllables that died away 
Like music; and at intervals a hand, 
Small, feminine, with grace in every move, 
Holds up a flower. Oh ! beautiful the forms 

lose lithe Naiads, with the simple band 
Pendant from flexile waist; and soft the smiles 
They shed, impartial, over all the ship, 
On captain, bronzed with fifty years of storm, 
Staid mate, important, stepping stem and stern, 
And middy, wild with wonder at the scene. 

Shoreward, white tents were dotted round the bay, 
With statelier buildings mix'd, but simple all, 
Rough trunks close-fitted, yet with chinks between 
Where herbage grew, cross-barr'd with bands of pine, 
And roof d with glistening canes. There kings reside, 
Kings and great lords, stewards and chamberlains, 
Stickless as yet, unstarr'd, unribbanded, 
The half-clothed marquises of Owaihee ! 

Far inland, like cathedral's lifted dome, 
Rose a rude shape, half-lost amid the blue, 
A cloud, unchanging in its form so still 
The summer air self-balanced as a tower. 
Fit canopy of gloom and grandeur, piled 
Above the molten sea that seethes and boils 
Within the lofty hill where Belah dwells, 
Belah, dread goddess ! whose low-whisper' d name 
Shattered, the stoutest hearts like words of doom. 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



[Conducted by 



Our surgeon told this legend of the days 
Ere Christ was known and Belah held her rule. 
And many a sigh the sad narrator heaved 
While, leaning oil the taffrail, looking down 
On the unnumber'd thousands in the boats, 
And countless swimmers raising watchful eyes 
All round the ship, he told the piteous tale. 

Hast thou, O man ! when midnight, girt with storms, 
Shrieks through the wood and heralds Belah'g path, 
No dread that in the pauses of the wind 
The shapeless lips shall syllable thy name ? 

Paomi waked, and trembled as he lay ; 
For in the howlings of that midnight gust 
Rose to his ear the name he loved the best, 
Banoolah What ? Banoolah, with rich hair, 
Giving its tint to the white brow and neck, 
Like crimson sunset on the snow his child ! 
He wakes the dark-eyed mother of his babe, 

" Belah has called Banoolah !" was the word 

That smote her ear and still'd her beating heart, 

While with wide nostril, and pale, parted lips, 

He sate and listen'd for the awful sound. 

" Rightly," that wife replied, and smote her breast, 

" Rightly has Belah called, for are we not 

Servants of Belah ? Are we not the work 

Of Belah's hands ? and trampled 'neath her heel 

Since we forgot the tribute to her shrine?" 

"What tribute ?" answered tremblingly the man. 

" All that we love ! Have we not kept the child, 

Vowed ere its birth, Banoolah, yellow-hair'd?" 

Silent the man lay, shaking all the couch 

With the strong agony of remorseful fear. 

" Three years our crops have fail'd, our boat retuvn'd 

Empty, and now the sea contains it all 

Riven plank and broken mast, and shiver'd oar. 

Belah's hot breath o'erwhelm'd it, and it sank, 

And beggars us." 

" What remedy ? " 

"But one!" 

In silence lay they both ; and fresh arose 
The sweeping wind. The trees bent crashing boughs, 
Rock'd the frail hut. " But one !" again she said, 
She calls! Hark!" 

Terror gave articulate voice, 
And through the tranced caverns of their hearts 
They heard, " Banoolah feed me on her life, 
Or you and all your house shall surely die." 

Meanwhile, in shudderings of a fearful dream, 
The child, which lay, leaf-cover'd, on the floor, 
Sighed "Mother! mother!" and relapsed to sleep. 
" But must we die?" whispered the wife, " or, worse, 
Live 'neath the curse of Belah, in the scorn 
Of happier mothers, who have paid the price 
Of Belah's love, and walk in innocence 
For that they have fulfill'd her holy law ? "- 
" When ? " said Paomi, with a start of thought 
That pierced the future. 

" To delay is death," 

Replied Nooravah. And again the dream 
Pass'd through the shaken fancies of the child, 
" Oh ! father ! father ! take Banoolah home ! 
The waves are rough." So said she as she dream'd. 

Loud as 'mid shouts of battle when the spear 
Shakes ere it flies, his voice burst through the gloom. 
" Now ! ere the deed has time to pass beyond 
The shade it casts upon my soul ! Now ! Now !" 
Has fury seized him? He has left his lair, 
Cast his short mantle round, and elutcli'd the child. 



From slumber with a shriek of pain she woke, 
For his hot grasp was on her shoulder laid, 
And dinted all his fingers in her flesh. 
At one fierce drag he raised her from the ground : 
" Help, mother !" cried the child with piteous sobs. 
But silent in the stragglings of her soul 
And breathing wildly with convulsive clasp, 
Guarding the blanket which immured her face, 
The mother lay. " Will you not look on her, 
On the sweet flower you punctured on her breast, 
Sign of our house, the daisy yellow-ring'd ? " 
" Go ! go ! I will not see her lest I die. 
Spare not the richest of your goods, the child, 
Belah will smile. Go ! go !" And he was gone. 

There was no moon that night ; the land lay dead 

Beneath the wood, thick matted, which by day 

Made midnight on the path to Belah's home. 

Through the thick shrubs Paomi led the child ; 

Up the steep hill Paomi led the child; 

Close to the edge he led the child, and stopt. 

" Home go, Banoolah ! " said the tottering voice, 

" Home to Nooravah ! Home, Banoolah, go !" 

Paomi shudder'd as he heard the words, 

And fancied the sweet eyes he could not see. 

He felt the timid clinging of her hand, 

The little hand that lay so close in his. 

" Home ! ay, Banoolah shall go home," he said, 

And lift his eyes and saw a gush of flame 

Pierce the red cloud. " Banoolah shall go home 

And dwell with mighty gods and famous men, 

And never thirst nor hunger any more. 

Come onward ! " On the giddy brink they stood, 

And heard far down the billows of dark fire 

Dashing, like ocean, 'gainst a rocky shore. 

" Banoolah, do you love me?" in quick words 

Paomi said, and touch'd her on the arm. 

" Banoolah loves Paomi," said the child, 

" And loves Nooravah too." Down the black chasm 

He look'd, and upward rose, with hideous bound, 

Black fringed and red within, a flood of fire, 

And closed him round, and stifled all his breath ; 

And shuddering, shaken in his limbs, he slept 

Backward a space, and panted, and revived. 

Then, struggling with himself, and mad with rage, 

He grasp 1 d the child and hurried to the abyss. 

But silent through the darkness moved a form, 

With noiseless step, and touched him where he stood. 

" Stay, murderer!" said the voice, "repent and live ! 

God is not here." " Who speaks?" Paomi said. 

" I, Melville, your king's friend, and yours the man 
That tells you how to live and how to die 
I've seen you in the crowd when I've proclaim'd 
Christ our Redeemer Christ our only King !" 
" I know not Christ Belah demands my child," 
Paomi said. " But Christ is mightier far ; 
Mighty to save," said Melville. " Leave with me 
The innocent child ; leave her to me and God ! " 
" And Belah Hark ! she thunders ! " 

With soft hand 

Melville has drawn Banoolah to his side. 
" Will you love Christ, my little maid ? " he said, 
" And he will give you life." Upon her knee 
Sank the frail child, and kiss'd the preacher's hand : 
" Banoolah will love Christ." " Then come with me," 
He said, and raised her in his loving arms, 
And bore her gently to the downward path. 
And rack'd 'tween love and fear, the father stood, 
Unable to resist the yearning thought 
That his Banoolah should be saved, yet wild 
With terror at the doom Banoolak sends. 



Charles Dickens.] 



BANOOLAH. 



59 



Meanwhile, brave Melville bore Banoolah down 
Swiftly, and left the path, and wound and wound 
Through treadless ways, to baulk pursuing feet, 
But none pursued. 

The morning faintly broke 
Upon the topmost trees, and on the ridge 
Where Belah's breath hung heavy. In the shade 
Stood, motionless, Paomi, gazing up 
To the thick vaporous cloud that changed itself 
In rapid-fading forms, but dreadful all, 
And threatening vengeance. Seated on hot throne, 
Belah stretch'd forth her hand, and shook her curse 
From open palms. Paomi turu'd to go, 
And, breathless, lifts the latch : Nooravah wakes ; 
" Our life is crush' d into a minute's space, 
And we must die, for Belah follows fast !" 

Nooravah sat and murmur'd under breath 

Half syllables of prayer to move the Fiend, 

With gaspings at her throat that choked her words ; 

But swaying to and fro to rock the pain, 

She caught with deaden'd sense Paorui's voice : 

" The child Banoolah lives ! " When this she heard. 

Oh ! with a start, a sudden shriek she pour'd 

Straight from her woman's heart, and stood dilate, 

With hand outstretch'd, and lips kept wide apart, 

All eye, all ear. " She lives ! " at last she said ; 

' Yea ; I have blest the gods for many gifts, 

For plenteous summers in the olden time; 

For fruit, for flowers, for fish from the deep sea ; 

For love like yours, Paomi ; and, best of all, 

For the light step that sounded on the floor, 

And the blithe voice that caroll'd at the porch, 

And the fair hair that fell o'er all her neck, 

And the deep eyes that settled on my face; 

But never, never did I bless the gods 

With such fond heart as now Banoolah lives ! " 

Sudden a tremor shook the solid ground ; 
Thick smoke fill'd all the hut. A rattling noise 
Of crashing boughs and splitting trunks went by, 
And earthquake heaved the soil. " Away, away !" 
Paomi cried ; and madden'd with wild fear, 
They. fled. But whither? Upward, in a crowd, 
Shrieking and dancing in delirious grief, 
Came thousands, waving arms, and swinging high 
Sharp spears ; and at their head, with eyeballs fix'd 
And rigid sinews, lifting moveless hands, 
Moved Belah's priest. At such a sight, the hearts 
Of the two tremblers wither'd like a leaf 
Firestruck ; and, 'mid the silence that fell down 
Upon the heaving crowd, as in a storm 
Comes calm when at the wildest, rose the voice 
Strain'd, harsh, as from an organ not his own. 
The words unconscious flowed, of Belah's paest, 
And cried, " Paomi, who has done this thing?" 
Prone on his face Paomi bent and fell, 
Prone on the ground, yet reeling with the shock, 
And heated with the molten sea beyond. 
" 'Tis I," he said ; " I waken'd Belah's wrath, 
And robb'd her of her gift, and this the end ! " 
Then told he all ; how, year by year, his life 
Grew harder, as the Power forbore her smile ; 
How, though his veins were redden'd with the juice 
Of kingly stems, his fortunes sank so low 
That Hunger walk'd around his empty hut, 
Narrowing its path, till in a wasted rtng 
His home lay fireless. Then lie told at last 
How Belah claim'd her gift, and how he toil'd,^ 
He and Banoolah, through the darken'd path ; 
And how, when midst a glory from the shrine 
The child seem'd girt with fire, an impious hand 



Was laid upon him, and the gift withdrawn 
From Belah's open'd lips. 

Impetuous heaved 

The dusky crowd, like surges on a shore 
In moonless nights, with inarticulate sound ; 
But found a voice, when piercing like a cry 
Of eagles in the air, the priest exclaim'd, 
" Woe, woe upon the guilty he must die ! 
Melville, the stranger who invents false gods, 
And young Banoolah, both of them must die ! 
Brothers and men ! No deed like this is done 
In all our years since flung from Belah's mouth 
The pearl lay on the waters where we dwell. 
This stranger seeks to entangle us with lies, 
And tells of one who clomb to Belah's throne 
Through whips and scorn, and an avenging tree. 
Say, what shall be his doom, and what the child's?" 

The crowd was silent for a minute's space : 

" Let Melville die, and let Banoolah die," 

Said a weak voice ; and when men look'd, they saw 

A woman with her hands upon her face, 

And knew it was Nooravah " let them die !" 

Lo ! there they come ! And thousand eyes were 

turn'd 

To where, emerging from the close-set trees, 
The aged man came forward, leading slow 
Banoolah by the hand ; her little feet 
Bleeding, and all her motions dull'd with pain ; 
A fair-hair'd child, like some sweet English girl 
Tired with long journeyings in the woods in May, 
When following the young flowers to make a wreath, 
And heedless of the briars that plant their thorns 
In naked leg and ruddy rounded arm, 
But different in sad looks, and anxious eyes 
That knew of danger near, yet knew not what. 

Forth from the crowd two stalwart warriors prest, 
And grappled Melville's unresisting hands ; 
And one caught up Banoolah with harsh gripe, 
And never from the ground Nooravah look'd, 
And sad Paomi held Nooravah's hand, 
And look'd upon the ground, as fathers look 
Within the hollow of a daughter's grave ! 
But all the rabble was alive with wrath, 
And howl'd triumphant songs, and bore the twain 
Resistless to the beach. The ebbing sea 
Lapp'd the calm shore, and in the slanting sun 
The moisten'd pebble shone, and here and there 
Danced a light skiff, or, half-afloat, half-dry, 
Dinted with deepening prow the glistening sand. 

Then spoke the priest : " Oh, God ! whose tent is 

spread 

In sightless levels of the hungry sea, 
Where earth is all unknown, and lonely waves 
Welter for ever without sound or form ! 
We give thee these, whom Belah's hands reject, 
And fling from out the land where Belah dwells ! 
Engulf them in the jaws where ships go down, 
And cleanse Earth's blessed soil of so much wrong ! 
For it is written in our changeless law 
That Belah's foes shall perish in the deeps ! " 

A boat was launch'd, a small and fragile boat, 
And on its floor was placed a cocoa-cup, 
With scanty water, and such tree-born bread 
As might suffice a child her morning meal, 
Naught else, and from the vessel they removed 
Mast, oar, and sail, and in it placed the pair, 
The white-hair'd preacher, and Banoolah. 

Quick ! 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



Push them away ! for, shouting, waving high 
Her frantic arms, Nooravah through the crowd 
Rush'd, blind to all but the insensate girl 
Who lay in Melville's arms, and never more 
Lifted her eyes, or moved, or broke in sobs. 
But with a spring, that plash'd in blinding foam 
The shallow wave, Nooravah clutch'd the boat, 
And caught the child, and tore from its white breast 
The mantle's fold, and kiss'd the filial sign, 
The punctured daisy with the rings of gold, 
And kiss'd and kiss'd with lips that drew the blood, 
So savage was their press ! Then at a word 
The child was seized, and placed in Melville's arms ; 
And folding all her robe around her head, 
Nooravah bent her down, as if to hear 
Banoolah's voice, but silent was the child. 

Then rose a shout when motion took the boat 

And bit by bit, with fond returning prow, 

From backward wave to wave still farther back, 

The bark with idle liftings felt the call 

Of the mid ocean, and released the land. 

"Go !*' said the priest, " Belah, who dwells on high, 

Looks from her throne of thunder and dark cloud, 

And sees far off, beyond the reach of sight, 

The waken'd tempest waiting for his prey. 

Go ! Belah shakes the guilty from her lap, 

And deai'h awaits you where no eye shall see ! " 

And Ligh replied the old man from the boat, 

" God's eye shall see us in the trackless waste ; 

Yea ! and his love shall save us though we die !" 

But soon his voice was lost, and on they sped 

Far from the shore ; and with intentcst eyes 

The crowd gazed on, with still unsated rage, 

Till the small vessel sank into a speck, 

And in the widening distance died away. 



" Ah, wretched end ! " I said, when here the tale 
Broke off, " What fate could be the hapless pair's ? " 
" They must have perish'd either by the waves 
Engulfing all, or by the crueller death 
Of thirst and hunger on the breathless sea, 
Or haply, as has chanced to native praams, 
They may have drifted 'cross the homeward path 
Of England's commerce, and been saved at last. 
I heard, indeed, how once a Bristol ship 
Had rescued a small child, which sat alone 
Beside an old man's corse, too young for words, 
Or crush'd by want and fear till memory died. 
But here come all the brethren from the shore, 
The Holy Preachers, who have brought this land 
Into God's light. Oh ! great shall be their praise ! 
'Tis twenty years since Melville dree'd his doom. 
And, lo ! the thing he pray'd for has been done !" 

Beside us on the deck with glowing heart 
Stood Edward Elliot ; and a soft white hand 
Lay on his arm, and with fond loving eyes 
His wife look'd on his face. 

" God's will be done !" 

He said; "dear Edith, this our field of toil, 
This the dear home we've pictured in our talk 
In the old time when first I took the vow 
To spread God's name, and on an autumn eve, 
Beside the little brook that girdled in 
Your uncle's orchard with a zone of sound, 
You whisper'd in a voice I scarce could hear, 
That you would aid me in the cause I loved. 
Have you repented of the word you spoke ? " 
Silent stood Kdith Elliot for a time, 
And guzed all round. The bay more fill'dhad grown, 



With sail and shallop, and a thousand waves 

Danced onward, with a thousand joyous boys 

And splashing girls, wild with their ocean games, 

Tumbling with shrilly laughter from the crest, 

And diving to the depths, as if in shame. 

Then turn'd she moisten'd eyes, and press'd his arm 

And said " what answer more do you require ? " 

Gay-pennon'd, with the Union at the mast, 

And rowed by six young chiefs, who kept their way, 

Heedless of light canoe, and fluttering bark, 

Like charging squadrons on a battle day, 

A boat gleam'd round the point, and in the stern 

Sate reverend men, reverend, though young in years, 

And matrons in their quiet English robes, 

As if on some calm lake in Westmoreland, 

All gazing on the ship. And Elliot gazed, 

And Edith, for these looked-for visitors 

Were brethren of the mission. Side by side 

Their future course must be. Ah ! happy course. 

Under the lifted banner of the Cross. 

How sweet the meeting on the silent deck ! 

For no one spoke ; but in the matron's hands 

Lay Edith's, trembling with uneasy joy, 

And tears were in her eyes, and Elliot bent, 

While hands were raised in prayer above his head. 

Soon the three women, silently withdrew 

On sign from Edith, and with noiseless steps 

Moved down the cabin stairs, and stopt at last 

Where slept a rosy child two summers old, 

Heedless of trampling deck and noisy bay. 

Edith bent down, and kiss'd it as it slept, 

Then careful raised it from its tiny bed, 

And laid it in the smiling sister's arms. 

" Oh ! we will love the child," the sister said, 

"And graft this bud of English innocent life 

On the wild tree of this new waken'd land, 

And watch its growth, till flower and fruit come forth 

And all the Isle shall lie within its shade." 

So Susan Marfeldt carried forth the child, 

Childless herself; and Edith stood at gaze, 

Watching the careful nurse from ship to boat, 

From boat to shore, and up the shining beach, 

Till the low, Mission dwellings took them in. 

And shoreward went the Brothers, deep in talk, 

With many a pause, as up the bay they moved, 

And pleased was Elliot with his new-found home. 

" Look ! " said the surgeon, and he touch'd my arm, 

" The bark full sail'd upon our starboard beam ! 

That is the King's, Paomi." " What the wretch 

Who slew Banoolah, is he now the king?" 

" All things went well with him since that dread time J 

Wealth, power, and vigorous hand, all built him up 

Into the foremost man of all the isles. 

And well he wears the crown and wields the sword, 

Half-Christian Christian only with the head 

His heart is with his idols as of old." 

" And his more savage wife?" " Nooravah lives, 

The fiercest worshipper of Belah's power 

Of all who hear Christ's name and scorn his law. 

See, there she stauds." 

Triumphant as a king 

Who drinks the shouts of battle, tall she stood, 
A javelin in her hand, and with proud lips 
Look'd upward to the deck. Beside her sate 
Paomi, kingly robed, and great of form, 
Like Ajax, self-collected in bis thought. 



them all 




Charles Dickens.] 



BANOOLAH. 



61 



Edith \vas tent ; her every faculty 
Intent on rescuing from the common heap 
Her separate goods, like some sage shepherdess 
Drawing her own from forth commingled flocks, 
When moved Nooravah up to where she stood, 
Flush'd with unwonted toil, her hair dispread 
In lustrous folds her arm to the elbow hared. 
And all her flexile limhs with gracious strength 
Strung, like some Arab charger, fiery-eyed. 
With sinewy power dilatiug all its form. 

She took no heed ; but soon the savage Queen 
Touch'd her, and smiled, and pointed to her heart, 
And said in liquid words, that in their sound 
Bore meaning, though the language was unknown, 
" Nooravah loves you." Then she laid her hand 
On the long tresses, smoothing them all their length, 
And call'd Paomi. Edith smiled and spoke, 
And felt a yearning to them in her heart 
As those who yet should listen to her voice, 
And follow where she led to pastures new. 

Nooravah mark'd no other in the ship, 
But fix'd her eyes on Edith all the day, 
And help'd her in her troubles, gathering up 
Parcels and veils and shawls, and laugh'd aloud 
When she had raised boxes of mightiest size 
Which Edith strove in vain to push to a side. 
And when the boat return'd, and all was pack'd 
Along her floor, and piled above the seats, 
Till scarce the levell'd oars had room to move, 
Nooravah would not part from Edith's side, 
But slid impetuous down the dangling rope 
And sate beside her; and when fear made pale 
Her fair companion's cheek, as roll'd the bark 
With gunwale down, she press'd her in her arms ; 
And so in Queen Nooravah's fond embrace 
Edith lay calm ; and love conjoin'd the twain. 

And when they reach'd the house, Nooravah look'd 

Well pleased round all the rooms, and followed close 

On tiptoe to the chamber, dim and cool, 

Where sat kind sister Marfeldt by a bed 

Watching the child*. Nooravah stopt to gaze, 

Her hand in Edith's. Then, as if at once, 

A thought pass'd through her soul, she knew not what, 

She darted to the couch, and lifted up 

The sheet, and gentle-handed, turn'd aside 

The shawl that wrapt the babe, and gazed and gazed 

Upon her breast ; and then, with big round tears 

In her full eyes, she shook her head and sigh'd, 

As those who seek the thing they cannot find. 

Was it Banoolah's image that rose up 

Before the mother's heart, till all the chords 

Of her deep inner being felt the stir 

Of unaccustotu'd thoughts, like sudden gusts 

That shake the sleeping woods, we know not why? 

"Oh! blessed sight!" said Marfeldt, when at eve 
The Christian band held commune, " blessed sight, 
The tears that flow'd down fierce Nooravah's face, 
And the sweet smile that follow'd Edith's steps, 
And the awaken'd softness that well'd forth 
On Edith's babe, for where such feelings dwell, 
Behold ! our loving God is nigh at hand ! " 

Then told they mutual stories of their lives, 
Where each was born, what home they first bad known, 
Their fathers' names. And when to Edith's turn. 
These sweet unfoidings of the past came round, 
Long time she paused, and blushing told at last 
How all her years were dumb and had no voice 
Till she was standing by her uncle's knee ; 



Yet not her uncle, but a loving heart 
Which found her friendless, cast aside by all, 
Like flower, chance-scatter' d on a nameless grave 
And gave her home beside him, home and love. 
But never had she seen a father's smile, 
Nor felt a mother's hand upon her head. 

" Yet are you not unhappy," Elliot said, 
" No, nor yet friendless, for who knows you best 
Loves you the most." Then added with a smile, 
'Our fathers were plebeians; mine rose high, 
And once was mayor of a country town ; 
But who can tell what great progenitors, 
Howards, and mighty knights, and lords and earls, 
Full quarter'd as the old Plantagenets, 
Can boast a dear descendant such as you ? 
Haply some morn the fairy of your fate 
Will tap three taps upon your chamber-door 
And say, ' Come forth, fair princess ; for the king, 
Your royal father, longs to see your face.' " 
They laugh'd, nor thought more meanly of their friend 
That she had none to love but only them. 

Next morning, soon as daylight touch' d the sea, 
Nooravah lifted soft the wicket latch, 
And laid a basket fill'd with fruit and flowers 
Upon the window-sill where Edith slept, 
And slow withdrew, with many a look behind, 
To mark if haply to the lattice came 
The face she wish'd to see. But no one moved. 
And day by day Nooravah placed her chair 
By Edi til's side, and taught her all the sounds 
And soft inflexions of her Island tongue. 
And soon with ready lips could Edith tell 
Of Heaven and all its hopes ; and like a rain 
In thirsty ground, her gentle words sank in. 

As some lone tarn far up amid the hills, 
Cloud-circled 'neath a thunder-laden sky, 
Lies in thick gloom, till comes the mid-day sun 
And shines upon its face ; so from the heart 
Of dark Nooravah every shadow fell, 
And night was brighten'd into perfect day. 

Paomi died ; his hand in Edith's hand, 

His eye with dying light on Edith's face. 

" I go," he said, " to see the loving eyes 

I ne'er shall see on earth ; to look again 

On the light limbs, to hear the happy voice 

Of young Banoolah, at the feet of God." 

Long Edith sat beside the savage king, 

Savage no more, and heard him, with faint breathy 

Whisper " Banoolah ; " still, as if a charm 

Lay in the sound, " Banoolah " to his lips 

Came when he slept the uneasy sleep of pain, 

Or when he waked within the shadow of Death. 

A thousand thoughts flutter'd in Edith's heart, 
Dim, fitful, with mysterious whisperings, 
Like leaves in midnight on a breezy hill 
But nought she spoke, as if her spirit lay 
Imprison' d in a spell she could not break. 

Slow-paced and sunken-eyed, Nooravah came 
And sat whole days in Edith's little room, 
In voiceless grief, and hung o'er Edith's child, 
Her Rachel, whether playing wild with glee, 
Or silent listening with her great round eyes 
To tales her mother told. " But thirty moons 
Had seen Banoolah when she pass'd away ; 
And Rachel now has thirty moons," she said, 
" And what a life before her fill'd with joy ! ** 



62 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Then broke she forth in passionate sobs aud tears, 

Like thunder-clouds in autumn, toss'd with storms : 

" Why do I live to lift unhappy eyes 

And read no pardon iu a brazen sky ? 

Why do I lift blood-stained hands like these 

In mockery to a God -who will not hear ? 

Oh ! blessed are the mothers who have wept 

O'er lidless coffins where their infants lay ; 

Blessed their eyes, who, through the mist of tears, 

Have seen fresh earth upon their children's graves ! " 

" Nooravah ! " Edith said, " your eyes are dim, 
And see not what is written on the Cross 
Pardon and Rest. Oh ! heaviest sin of all, 
And least deserving Mercy, is Despair ! " 
Then led she upward from the Valley of Death, 
Through tangled thorns, the steep ascending way, 
Till on the Mount they stood where, clear and large, 
Lay, 'mid the hills of Peace, the City of God. 
And holiest comfort fill'd Nooravah's heart, 
And from her ransom'd soul the chains fell down. 

Yet as a bird that on the mountain peak 
Has shrill'd for battle, if perchance it feel 
The captive bond, and from its bruised heart 
The thirst of blood depart, and pride of power, 
Decays and pines, so, from Nooravah's life 
Strength pass'd, and passionless and weak she lay. 
" Nooravah ! is it sleep that dims thine eyes, 
Or Death's advancing shadows o'er thy face ? " 
Said Edith, whispering in the slumherer's ear. 
" Give me a sign with thine uplifted hand 
That thou hast entrance to the Ark of Christ." 

The hand rose up ; the eye unclosed again, 

The form dilated, and erect she stood. 

" Yea ! I have peace. Yet in this hour of hope 

One thought hangs heavy on my upward spring. 

There is a light of something in thine eyes, 

There is a sound of something in thy tone, 

Thy hands' soft touch, thy smile, that ever more 

Minds me of something ! " Then, with rapid steps 

She press'd to Edith, and with lifted voice, 

Shrieks " I adjure thee, tell me who thou art ! 

For I've had visions in the long dull nights 

That fill my room with light !" Thn trembling hands 

Cast off the shawl tbat fell on Edith's neck, 

Tore loose the ties that bound her silken robe, 

Held down its fold, and on the marble skin 

What did she see ? With scream of wildest joy 

Nooravah sank, and gazed with clasped hands 

On the sweet flower that glow'd upon her breast, 

The daisy, yellow-ring'd, the filial sign ! 

*' Banoolah ! my Banoolah ! " cried the Queen ; 

"My daughter !" and with passionate strength she 

strove, 

And rose, and put her arms around the neck, 
And kiss'd the flower, and looking long and deep 
In Edith's face, with such a. smile as lies 
Like holy sunshine round the lips of saints, 
The mother loosed her hold, and falling slow, 
Lay in triumphant rest at Edith's feet. 



THE BLACK SEA FIVE CENTUKIES 

AGO. 

IN digging down through the strata of 
past centuries, surprising contrasts wor- 
thy to be contemplated, sometimes pre- 
sent themselves. We have just turned over 
the leaves of one of the volumes of the 
Arab Ibn-Batutah's Travels, now publish- 



ing by the Asiatic Society of Paris. The 
name of Sinope arrested us. What was this 
pious man from Morocco doing there, during 
the first half of the fourteenth century ? He 
had wandered through many African and 
Asiatic regions, and was on his way to 
visit a country, now interesting to our- 
selves under the name of Southern Russia. 
Sinope was already in the hands of the Turks, 
although many infidel Greeks lived there 
under protection of the Muslims. From one 
of these a vessel was hired. The voyagers set 
out ; but, three days afterwards, met with a 
violent tempest, such as sometimes troubles 
that sea about the equinox of spring. They 
were driven back in sight of land ; but tried 
their fortunes once more, and, after much 
rough weather, appeared before the port of 
Kertch, familiar now-a-days to the stu- 
dents of war-maps. Some men upon the 
mountain, however, for reasons not explained, 
signed to them to keep off ; so they crossed to 
the mainland and took ground there, at a 
place where was a church attended by a 
single monk. In those days Christianity and 
Islamism were, so to speak, dovetailed one 
into the other all along their frontiers, al- 
though the former was gradually retiring 
and the latter advancing triumphantly, out- 
flanking the great Greek capital, before 
daring to assault it. 

Desht Kifjak, or the Wilderness or Stepp 
of Kifjak, on the edge of which the traveller 
had landed, was green and flowery, but 
without mountain, or hill, or slope, or tree. 
Nothing was to be obtained for firing but the 
dung of animals, which even the great people 
collected as a precious thing, and carried 
home in the skirts of their garments. The 
wilderness was said to extend for the space of 
six months' journey, three of which were within 
the territories of Mohammed Uzbek Khan, 
whom the traveller desired to visit. He pro- 
ceeded in the first place to Kaflk, a city built 
on the shores of the sea, and inhabited by 
Christians, for the most part Genoese, under 
a chief named Demetrio. This mercantile 
nation had factories all along the coasts of 
the Black Sea, and remind us in their 
manner of proceeding of our own early 
and more successful exploits in India. They 
allowed within their walls one mosque of the 
Muslims, to which travellers of that nation 
repaired on their arrival, as to an hotel. 

This was the first time that the worthy 
Ibn-Batutah had visited a city entirely in 
the hands of Christians. He had not been 
there long before he was struck by a remark- 
able sound. The air thrilled with the ringing 
of bells calling the "infidels" to church and he 
boldly ordered his people to ascend the mina- 
ret, read the Koran and recite the Muslim call 
to prayer. He no doubt thought this was ne- 
cessary, to avert what calamities might be 
brought down from Heaven by that impious 
ding-dong. This zeal, however, alarmed the 
Kadi of the Muslims of that place, who 



Chailes Dickens.] 



THE BLACK SEA FIVE CENTURIES AGO. 



63 



donned his cuirass, snatched up his sword, 
and ran to protect his co-religionists from 
the effects of -what the good people of Kaffa 
might consider an impertinence. But the 
ringing of the bells had probably .drowned 
the voice of the mueddin. At any rate, the 
strangers were civilly treated. 

The traveller describes Kaffa as a hand- 
some town with beautiful markets, and an 
admirable port, where more than two hun- 
dred vessels of war or commerce were col- 
lected. All the people, however, he repeats 
in a compassionate parenthesis, are Kafirs. 
So on he goes in a waggon to Kiram or 
Solyhut, governed for Uzbek Khan by a man 
named Toloktomour, who received the tra- 
veller with hospitality. He lodged in the 
hermitage of a sheikh, who with a singular 
toleration told him in perfect faith of a 
Christian monk who inhabited a monastery 
situated outside the town, where he gave 
himself up to devotional practices and fre- 
quent fastings. He used sometimes to pass 
forty days without food, and then only eat a 
single bean. The result was wonderful mental 
perspicacity, which made him discover the 
most hidden things. The good sheikh wished 
his guest to visit this monk; but Ibn-Batutah, 
with a prejudice natural in a Morocco man, 
refused, of which he afterwards repented. It 
gave him greater pleasure to see the wise 
and pious Moshaffer Eddin, a Greek by birth, 
who had sincerely embraced Islamism, with- 
out however losing his barbarous accent. 
Leaving Kiram, the traveller set out in com- 
pany with the Emir Toloktomour for Sera, 
where Sultan Mohammed Uzbek held his 
court. For this purpose it was necessary to 
buy waggons great four-wheeled vehicles, 
drawn sometimes by two or more horses, 
sometimes by oxen and camels. The driver 
armed with a whip and a goad, mounted 
postilion-wise. On the chariot was raised a 
kind of tent covered with felt or cloth, aired 
by latticed windows. Here the traveller ate, 
slept, wrote, or read during the journey. 
The caravan started, according to the custom 
of the Turks, immediately after the prayer of 
dawn, rested from nine or ten. of the morning 
until after midday, and then proceeded until 
night. During the halt the horses, camels, 
and oxen were let loose to graze at will. The 
whole country was covered with cattle with- 
out shepherds or guards ; for the laws of the 
Turks were very severe against theft. He 
who was found in possession of a stolen 
horse was obliged to restore it along with 
nine of equal value. If he could not do so, his 
children were seized instead ; and if he had 
no child, they cut his throat. The peo- 
ple eat no bread nor any other hard 
food, but lived on a kind of porridge 
made of millet, with bits of meat sometimes 
boiled therein. A bowlful, with curdled milk 
poured over it, was served to each person. 
They drank kimezz or soured mare's milk, 
and a kind of fermented liquor made from 



millet. Horseflesh was in great request ; 
but all sweetmeats they abhorred. Ac- 
cording to Toloktomour, the Sultan once 
offered freedom to a slave who had forty 
children and grandchildren, on condition that 
he would devour a sugared dish, but received 
for answer : " No ; not even if you kill me ! " 
Eighteen stations from Kiram the caravan 
reached, in the midst of the steppe, a vast 
expanse of water, which it took a whole day 
to ford, and a similar obstacle occuyred 
further on ; but at length they arrived 
at the city of Azak, where the Ge- 
noese and other people came to trade. The 
reception and consequently of his com- 
panions, was splendid. Tents of silk and 
linen were prepared for his reception, with 
a wooden throne incrusted with gold. First 
came the eating and the drinking, and then 
an intellectual entertainment in the shape of 
a mighty long sermon, delivered first in 
Arabic and then translated into Turkish by 
the same speaker. There was also marvellous 
singing, and after that much more eating ; 
and then more preaching and praying all day. 
" Having rested some days, Ibn-Batutah 
proceeded to Majar, one of the finest cities 
then belonging to the Turks, situated on the 
great river Kouma, and adorned with gardens 
yielding many fruits. As usual, the traveller 
got a lodging in a hermitage. His host, the 
sheikh Mohammed with whom he prays 
God to be satisfied had about seventy fakirs 
with him, Arabs, Persians, Turks, and 
Greeks ; some married, others not. All lived 
on charity dispensed in those tunes, as ever, 
chiefly by the hands of women. Ibu-Batutah 
witnessed how a pious preacher prepared for 
a journey. He made an excellent sermon, 
and then some one got up and said : " He 
who has spoken is going to travel, and wants 
provisions for that purpose." Then he took 
off his own tunic, saying, " This is my gift ; " 
and being thus stimulated, the remainder of 
the congregation began, some to strip, others 
to subscribe a horse or else money ; and so 
at last the worthy man was fitted out like a 
prince. 

"What struck Ibn-Batutah chiefly during 
this journey was the great respect which the 
Turks showed to women; who seemed to hold, 
in fact, a higher rank than men. He men- 
tions that on leaving Kiram he met a 
princess, wife of an emir, in her chariot. It 
was covered with costly blue cloth. The 
windows and doors were open, so that he 
lould see the lady, attended by four young 
girls, exquisitely beautiful and wonderfully 
dressed. Other chariots filled with hand- 
maidens followed. She got down to visit 
Toloktomour. Thirty girls held up the 
skirts of her robe. The emir rose to 
receive her ; and, after they had eaten and 
drunk together, presented her with a dress of 
aonour. Even the wives of merchants and 
small dealers kept up great state ; and, in 
travelling, had also two or three girls to bear 



64 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



their train. It was always possible to see 
their faces ; for, iu those times, the women of 
the Turks were not veiled. When the hus- 
band travelled he might often be taken for a 
servant, wearing nothing but a pelisse of 
sheepskin and a high cap called alcula, whilst 
the wife's head-dress was incrusted with 
jewels and adorned with peacock's fea- 
thers. 

At Majar the traveller learned that the 
camp of the Sultan was at Beoh-Taw, or the 
Five Mountains. They went in search of it ; 
and, one day, after they had halted on the 
summit of a hill, beheld the ordou or Im- 
perial camp approach. It resembled a great 
city moving along with all its inhabitants, its 
mosques, and its markets. The smoke of the 
kitchens rose through the air, for the Turks 
did not always halt to cook their meals. 
Innumerable waggons were filled with people. 
On arriving at the halting ground, they 
removed the tents and the mosques and the 
shops from the waggons, and prepared to pass 
the night. One of the Sultan's wives, seeing a 
tent on a neighbouring hill, with a standard 
set up in front to announce a new arrival, 
sent pages and young girls to carry her salu- 
tations ; and, having waited until they re- 
turned, passed on to the place appointed 
for her. Soon afterwards the Sultan him- 
self arrived, and encamped in a quarter apart. 

According to Ibn-Batutah, Sultan Uzbek 
was one of the seven great sovereigns of the 
earth. One of the titles given to him was 
that of "Conqueror of the enemies of God, 
the inhabitants of Constantinople the Great." 
He was remarkable as well for his business 
habits as for his splendour. In the descrip- 
tion of his audience-days particular stress is 
laid on the fact that he was always sur- 
rounded by queens and princesses (with names 
too hard to pronounce) ; and the importance 
of women, as part of the machinery of that 
empire, is constantly insisted on. Ibn- 
Batutah came from different climes more to 
the south, where different habits prevailed. 
He enlarges complacently on the courts and 
households of the four khatouns or queens ; 
their waggons with domes of gilded silver ; 
their horses covered with silken trappings ; 
their wise duennas ; their beautiful slave girls ; 
their costly wardrobes, and their etiquette. 
Then he gives a peculiarly Oriental biogra- 
phical account of those four ladies, one of 
whom was Beialoun, daughter of the Emperor 
of Constantinople the Great, Andronicus the 
Third. When the traveller visited her she 
was seated on a throne incrusted with stones 
and precious stones, with silver feet. Before 
her were a hundred young girls, Greek, 
Turkish, and Nubian ; some sitting, some 
standing. Eunuchs were near her, with 
several Greek chamberlains. On hearing of 
the distance from which the travellers had 
come, she wept with tenderness and compas- 
sion, and wiped her face with a kerchief she 
held in her hand. No doubt she was thinking 



of her own far-off country, and parents of a 
different faith from her lord. She ordered a 
repast to be spread, and then dismissed her 
visitors with splendid presents of provisions, 
money, garments, sheep and horses. 

Ibn-Batutali, ever anxious to see strange 
things, had heard of the wonderful shortness 
of the night in one season, and of the day i/i 
another season, observed at the city of Bol- 
ghar, and accordingly marched ten days 
northward to visit it. He arrived there 
during the months of Ramadhan ; and, having 
broke his fast at sunset, performed the even- 
ing prayer, and then three other long prayers 
when, lo ! the dawn began to appear. He 
wished to visit what was called the Land of 
Darkness; forty days still further off, but the 
difficulty of the journey alarmed him. He 
was told that people travelled there in sledges 
drawn by dogs, some of which were valued 
at a thousand dinars. Their master fed them 
before he touched food himself. The trade of 
the country was in furs, chiefly ermine, ex- 
ported to China and India. 

On his return to Beoh-Taw, Ibn-Batutah 
witnessed the solemnity of the breaking of 
the fast of the Ramadhan, performed with 
wonderful barbaric splendour. After that the 
ordou of the Sultan broke up and marched 
to the city of Haj-Terkhan, now known as 
Astrakhan. The word Terkhan amongst the 
Turks signifies a place exempt from tax- 
ation. The person who gave his name to the 
city was a devout pilgrim or haj, who founded 1 
it, and obtained from the Sultan the privilege 
of exemption. It increased to a great size, 
and became an emporium. It was the 
custom of the Sultan to remain there until 
the cold set in and the Volga was frozen over. 

What next happened to Ibn-Batutah sug- 
gests a strange contrast with the present 
state of the East. Soon after arriving at 
Astrakhan, the Khatoun Beialoun, daughter 
of the King of the Greeks, asked permission 
of the Sultan to visit her father at Constanti- 
nople, in order to become a mother there, 
promising to return immediately afterwards. 
Her request was granted, and our traveller 
begged to be allowed to accompany her, in 
order that he might see the celebrated city of 
the Christians. After some kindly opposition, 
he received permission to do so, and was 
overwhelmed with valuable presents. The 
Sultan politely accompanied his Greek wife 
for a day's march, and then left her to proceed 
with an escort of five thousand soldiers. Her 
own servants were to the number of five 
hundred horsemen, for the most part slaves 
or Greeks, and two hundred girls. She had 
four hundred' chariots, two thousand horses, 
three hundred oxen, and two hundred camels. 
They marched first to the town of Okalc, a 
well-built but small city, situated one day's 
journey from the mountains inhabited by the 
Russians, who were Christians with red hair, 
blue eyes, ugly faces, and cunning dispo- 
sitions. They possessed mines of silver which 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE BLACK SEA FIVE CENTUKIES AGO. 



65 



they exported in the shape of lingots, each 
five ounces in weight, used as current money 
in that country. This is all that Ibn-Batutah 
has to say about the people which has since 
spread its power like an inundation to the 
east, to the west, and to the south. 

Ten days farther on, the queen Beialoun, in 
her progress, came to Sondak, situated on the 
shores of the sea amidst gardens, and with a 
fine and well-frequented port. It was inha- 
bited partly by Turks, partly by Greek 
artisans living under their protection. Not 
long before, a violent insurrection of the 
Christians had led to the massacre or expul- 
sion of the greater number. The next station 
was Baba-Salthouk, the last city belonging to 
the Turks, between which and the commence- 
ment of the Greek empire was a desert 
eighteen days across, a great portion without 
water. It is difficult to adapt this account 
to modern geography ; and we do not exactly 
recognise the fortress Mahtouly, situated at 
the other extremity of the desert on the 
limit of the Christian territory. Here Beia- 
loun was received with great honours by her 
people, and the Turkish escort returned by 
the way it had come. The poor princess 
breathed more freely. Thenceforward, the 
custom of praying was abolished. " Among 
the provisions brought to her," says Ibn- 
Batutah, "were intoxicating drinks, of which 
she partook, and hogs, of which one of her 
people told me she ate. No one remained 
with her who prayed, except a Turk, who 
performed his devotions with us. Her secret 
sentiments thus manifested themselves as 
soon as we had reached the country of the 
infidels ; but she requested the Greek Emir, 
Nicholas, to treat me with due honour ; and 
on one particular occasion that officer beat a 
slave who had made fun at our prayers." 
How strangely does all this read now ! 

The brother of the princess came to escort 
her with an army, part of which consisted of 
a body-guard composed of men in complete 
coats of mail. Their gilded lances were 
adorned witli pennons, and altogether a won- 
derful display of riches and splendour was 
made. Thus they proceeded across the Da- 
nube and the plains of Eoumelia ; until, after 
a long journey, they reached a spot within 
ten miles of Constantinople, where they 
halted for the night. " Next day," says the 
traveller, " the population of that city men, 
women and children came out to meet the 
princess; some on foot; some on horseback; all 
dressed in their best array. From the earliest 
dawn the cymbals, and the clarions, and the 
trumpets sounded. The Sultan (Emperor), 
with his wife, mother of the Khatoun, and all 
the great personages of the empire and the 
courtiers, surrounded by horse-soldiers, issued 
forth. Over the head of the Emperor was 
carried a vast canopy, supported by horsemen 
and footmen. The meeting of this procession 
and our party was tumultuous. I could not 
penetrate through the crowd, but am told 



that when the princess approached her pa- 
rents, she put foot to ground and kissed the 
eartli at their feet, and the hoofs of their 
horses, as did likewise her chief officers. 
We entered Constantinople the Great, to- 
wards midday. The inhabitants were ringing 
their bells in full peal, so that the heavens 
were shaken by the noise. When we reached 
the first gate of the palace, we found there a 
guard of a hundred men upon a platform. I 
heard them saying ' The Saracens ! the Sara- 
cens ! ' a word by which they designate the 
Muslims and they prevented us from enter- 
ing." This difficulty, however, was subse- 
quently removed ; and Ibn-Batutah was not 
only lodged in the palace, but received pre- 
sents of flour, bread, sheep, fowls, butter, 
fruits, and fish, with money and carpets. 

Ibn-Batutah calls the Emperor of Con- 
stantinople Takfour, a corruption of the 
Armenian word Tagavor, which means king. 
He was the son of the previous Emperor, 
George, who had abdicated and become a 
monk. The traveller visited the monarch on 
the invitation of the Khatoun. As he entered 
the palace he was searched, to see that he 
had no weapon about him, according to an 
ancient custom rigidly complied with. This 
done, he was admitted, whilst four people 
surrounded him, two holding his sleeves and 
two his shoulders. Thus attended, he reached 
a great hall, the walls oi which were adorned 
with mosaics representing natural produc- 
tions, animal and mineral. In the midst of 
the hall was a piece of water, with trees bor- 
dering it. Men stood upon the right and on 
the left, without speaking. Three of them 
received him from his guides, and likewise 
took hold of his clothes. A Syrian Jew, 
acting as interpreter, told him to fear nothing, 
for strangers were always received thus. He 
asked how he was to salute, and was an- 
swered, " With the words Salam Alaykoum." 

The Emperor was sitting on his throne, 
with his wife and her brothers at its foot. 
Armed men stood by his side and behind 
him. He signed to the stranger to sit down 
and rest awhile, and recover his presence of 
mind, after which he questioned him con- 
erning Jerusalem, and the Bock of Jacob, 
and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ; on 
the Cradle of Jesus, on Bethlehem and 
Hebron, on Damascus, Cairo, Persia, and 
Asia Minor. Ibn-Batutah was astonished at 
the interest the monarch took in these things, 
and answered copiously. He was treated 
with great respect, and received a dress of 
cionour, with a horse saddled and bridled, 
and one of the king's own parasols, as a 
mark of protection. He asked for a guide 
;o show him the wonders of the city, and 
thus accompanied, went forth to satiate his 
uriosity. 

Ibn-Batutah describes the city of Constan- 
tinople as situated on two sides of a river, by 
which he means the Golden Horn. One por- 
tion was called Esthamboul, inhabited by the 



66 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted IT 



Sultan, the grandees of the empire, and the 
remainder of the Greek population. Its mar- 
kets and its streets were broad, and paved 
with flags of stone. Every trade occupied a 
distinct place, and the markets were closed 
by gates at night. From this description, 
which would now apply to most Oriental 
towns, we might infer that Constantinople 
afterwards became the model city of the East. 
But it is added, that in the fifteenth century 
most of the artisans and shopkeepers were 
women. The second quarter of the city was 
called Galata, and was principally inhabited 
by Christian Franks of many nations as 
Genoese, Venetians, Romans, and French. 
They were under the authority of the Em- 
peror, who nominated what they call Alkomes, 
or a court to govern them. They paid an an- 
nual tribute, but often revolted and warred 
against the Emperor, until the Pope, or 
patriarch, interposed to make peace between 
them. All were devoted to commerce. " I 
have seen about a hundred galleys and other 
great ships there," says Ibn-Batutah, " with- 
out counting smaller craft. The markets of 
this quarter are large but full of filth, and 
are traversed by a dirty river. The churches 
of these people are also disgusting, and con- 
tain nothing good." 

Then the worthy traveller goes on to talk 
of the great church of St. Sophia, which has 
V/een closed for so many centuries against 
Christians, whilst remaining the pole-star of 
orthodox popes. According to him, it was 
founded by Assag, son of Barakia, who was a 
son of Solomon's aunt. In those days the 
Greeks had it all their own way, and set the 
example of keeping strangers rigidly out. 
Ibn-Batutah was not allowed to enter further 
than the great enclosure. He describes the 
exterior as very splendidly adorned, but men- 
tions that shops existed within the sacred 
limits. In order to be certain that none but 
good Christians entered the church, guardians 
were posted, who compelled every one to 
kneel before a cross, which (says the tra- 
veller) was greatly respected by those people. 
It was a fragment of the real cross, pre- 
served in a coffer of gold. Ibn-Batutah gives 
a good many details of the religious customs 
existing at Constantinople. The number of 
monks and other people living by religion 
seems to have been immense. What parti- 
cularly struck him was a convent of five 
hundred virgins, dressed in haircloth, with 
felt caps on their heads, which were shaved. 
These women, he says, were of exquisite 
beauty, but the austerity of their life was 
marked upon their faces. When he went to 
see them, a young boy was reading the Gospel 
to them in a voice of marvellous beauty. 
Having told many other facts of the same 
nature, the traveller exclaims again : " Verily, 
the greater part of the population of this city 
consists of monks and priests. The churches 
were innumerable. All the inhabitants, mili- 
tary or not, poor and rich, went about with 



gi-eat parasols summer and winter." Do we 
not now begin completely to understand the 
great disaster which happened about a cen- 
tury afterwards ? 

One day Ibn-Batutah met an old man with 
a long white beard and a handsome counte- 
nance, walking on foot in a dress of horsehair 
and a felt cap. Before him and behiad him 
was a troop of monks ; in his hand was a 
stick, and about his neck a chaplet. When 
the Greek who had been given to our traveller 
as a guide saw him, he got down from his 
horse and said " Do as I do ; for this is the 
father of the king." It was indeed George, 
the father of Andronicus. He spoke to the 
Greek, who knew Arabic, and said : " Tell 
this -Saracen that I press the hand that has 
been at Jerusalem and the foot which has 
walked on the Rock of Jacob." Then he 
touched Ibn-Batutah's feet, and passed his 
hand over his own face. Afterwards, they 
walked hand in hand together, talking of 
Jerusalem and the Christians who were still 
there, until they entered the enclosure of 
St. Sophia. When he approached the prin- 
cipal gateway a troop of priests and monks 
came out to salute him, for he was one of 
their chiefs. On seeing them, he let go the 
hand of the traveller, who said to him: "I 
wish to enter with thee into this church." 
But the old king replied : " Whoever enters 
must do obeisance to the Cross, according to 
the law of the ancients, which cannot be 
transgressed." So saying, he entered alone, 
and Ibn-Batutah saw him no more. 

It will be seen that our traveller looked at 
everything from a particular point of view, 
and was not very fertile in general observa- 
tions. What he relates, however, will be 
sufficient to suggest the wonderful change 
that has come over those regions since he 
wrote. Every thing and every race seems to 
to have changed its place. The Russians were 
then spoken of as an obscure tribe : the 
Turks, recently emerged from the depths of 
Central Asia, were indulging, under their 
tents, in a foretaste of Imperial splendour ; 
the Greeks were gradually sinking into the 
slough of mere formal religion, and becoming 
effeminate under their silken parasols. The 
Franks appeared merely as strangers, freely 
trafficking with either party, but trying here 
and there to establish a footing. One of the 
most curious parts of Ibn-Batutah's rapid 
narrative is the sketch of the story of Beialoun. 
She had been made over to Uzbek Khan 
from political motives, but had probably not 
won any extravagant share of his affections. 
At any rate, by her conduct on her arrival in 
Christendom, she seemed determined to have 
no more of barbarian life. The Turks who 
accompanied, soon saw that she professed the 
religion of her father, and desired to'remain 
with him. They asked her permission, there- 
fore, to return; which she granted, after 
bestowing presents upon them. Ibn-Batutah 
also shared in her bounty. He received 



CharlesDieVens.] 



THE CHINESE ADAM. 



three hundred dinars "of poor gold, how- 
ever/' with two thousand Venetian drachms 
and other matters ; and after having re- 
mained a month and six days with the 
Greeks, returned to Astrakhan. 

CHIP. 



LONG LIFE OF LOCUSTS. 

A CORRESPONDENT, in reference to the 
tenacity of life in locusts,* mentions "that 
about twelve years ago an insect of the 
locust tribe, about an inch and a half or 
two inches in length (of body) flew or was 
blown into the windows of a house on 
Albury Heath. It was caught, and we 
endeavoured to preserve it by washing it in 
a solution of camphor ; but the camphor 
would not kill it. 1 then applied prussic acid 
of the quality usually dispensed by good 
druggists. I washed it well with a feather 
over its head, back, wings, and legs. As soon 
as applied, the insect dropped all of a heap, 
as the vulgar expression is, and would remain 
apparently lifeless for about six or eight 
minutes. Then it would revive gradually, 
and apparently regain its full life and vigour. 
I did this for several days, and on some occa- 
sions repeating the dressing from time to 
time as soon as it had revived, sometimes as 
soon as it showed symptoms of revival. I 
forget what became of it, but assuredly 
prussic acid did not kill it." 



THE CHINESE ADAM. 



THE notions entertained by Chinese writers 
on the subject of the first man and the 
creation of the world, are very curious. They 
begin, like our Scriptural account, with a 
time when the earth was without form and 
void ; from that they pass to an idea that was 
of old part of the wisdom of Egypt. Chaos 
was succeeded by the working of a dual 
power, Rest and Motion, the one female, and 
named Yin, the other male, and named 
Yang. 

Of heaven and earth, of genii, of men, and 
of all creatures, animate and inanimate, Yin 
and Yang were the father and the mother. 
Furthermore, all these things are either male 
or female : there is nothing in Nature neuter. 
Whatever in the material world possesses, or 
is reputed to possess, the quality of hardness 
(including heaven, the sun, and day) is mas- 
culine. Whatever is soft (including earth 
the moon, and night, as well as earth, wood, 
metals, and water), is feminine. Choofoots 
says on this subject, " The celestial principle 
formed the male ; the terrestrial principle 
formed the female. All animate and inani- 
mate nature may be distinguished into mas- 
culine and feminine. Even vegetable pro- 
ductions are male and female ; for instance, 



See volume x. page 478. 



there is female hemp, and there are male and 
female bamboo. Nothing can possibly be 
separated from the dual principles named 
Yin and Yang, the superior and hard, 
the inferior and soft." It is curious 
to find that the Chinese have also a 
theory resembling one propounded by Py- 
thagoras, concerning monads and duads. 
" One," they say, " begat two, two produced 
four, and four increased to eight ; and thus 
by spontaneous multiplication, the production 
of all things followed." 

As for the present system of things, it is 
the work of what they call " the triad powers," 
Heaven, Man, and Earth. The following 
is translated from a Chinese Encyclopaedia, 
published about sixty years ago, " Before 
heaven and earth existed, they were com- 
mingled as the contents of an egg-shell 
are." [In this egg-shell, heaven is likened 
to the yellow, the earth to the white of 
the egg.] " Or they were together, turbid and 
muddy like thick dregs just beginning to 
settle. Or they were together like a thick 
fog on the point of breaking. Then was the 
beginning of time, when the original power 
created all things. Heaven and earth are 
the effect of the First Cause. They in turn 
produced all other things besides." 

Another part of the tradition runs^ as 
follows : " In the midst of this chaotic mass 
Pwankoo lived during eighteen thousand 
years. He lived when the heaven and the 
earth were being created ; the superior 
and lighter elements forming the firma- 
ment, the inferior and coarser the dry land." 
Again, " During this time the heavens in- 
creased every day ten feet in height, the 
earth as much in thickness, and Pwankoo in 
stature. The period of eighteen thousand 
years being assigned to the growth of each 
respectively, during that time the heavens 
rose to their extreme height, the earth 
reached the greatest thickness, and Pwankoo 
his utmost stature. The heavens rose aloft 
nine thousand miles, the earth swelled nine 
thousand miles m thickness, and in the 
middle was Pwankoo, stretching himself be- 
tween heaven and earth, until he separated 
them at a distance of nine thousand miles 
from each other. So the highest part' of the 
heavens is removed from the lowest part of 
the earth by a distance of twenty-seven thou- 
sand miles." 

The name of the Chinese Adam Pwankoo 
means "basin-ancient," that is, "basined 
antiquity." It is probably meant to denote 
how this father of antiquity was nourished 
originally in an egg-shell, and hatched like a 
chick. Among the portraits commonly stored 
up by native archaeologists, we find various re- 
presentations of Pwankoo. One is now before 
me that exhibits him with an enormous head 
tipped with two horns. His hair, which is 
of a puritanical cut on the brow, flows loose 
and long over the back and shoulders. He 
has large eyes and shaggy eyebrows, a very 



63 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



flat nose, a heavy moustache and beard. 
Only the upper part of his body is exhibited, 
and one can scarcely tell whether the painter 
represents it as being covered with hair, 
leaves, or sheepskin. His arms are bare, 
and his hands thrown carelessly the one over 
the other, as if in complete satisfaction with 
himself. Another picture represents him 
with an apron of leaves round his loins, hold- 
ing the sun in one hand, and the moon in 
the other. A third artist has pictured him 
with a chisel and mallet in his hands, split- 
ting and sculpturing huge masses of granite. 
Through the immense opening made by his 
labour, the pun, moon, and stars are seen ; 
and at his right hand stand, for companions, 
the unicorn and the dragon, the phoenix 
and the tortoise. He appears as a strong 
naked giant, taking pleasure in the carv- 
ing out of the mountains, stupendous pillars, 
caves, and dens. During his eighteen 
thousand years of effort, we are told that, 
"his head became mountains, his breath 
winds and clouds, and his voice thunder. 
His left eye was made the sun, and his right 
eye the moon. His teeth, bones, and mar- 
row were changed into metals, rocks, and 
precious stones. His beard was converted 
into stars, his flesh into fields, his skin and 
hair into herbs and trees. His limbs became 
the four poles ; his veins, rivers ; and his 
sinews formed the undulations on the face 
of the earth. His very sweat was transformed 
into rain, and whatever insects stuck to or 
crept over his gigantic body, were made into 
human beings! " 

The uneducated Chinese are careless, and 
the educated sceptical, about these things. 
As a people they are not easily induced to 
pay much regard to whatever has refer- 
ence to more than everyday social wisdom. 
The sort of doctrine common now among 
the learned, is indeed found in the succeed- 
ing passage from a Chinese author : " But 
as everything (except heaven and earth) 
must have a beginning and a cause, it is 
manifest that heaven and earth always 
existed, and that all sorts of men and beings 
were produced and endowed with their va- 
rious qualities, by that cause. However, it 
must have been Man that in the beginning 
produced all the things upon the earth. Him, 
therefore, we may view as Lord ; and it is 
from him, we may say, that the dignities of 
rulers are derived." 



PERE PANPAN. 

"MONSIEUR PANPAN lives in the Place 
Valois," said my friend, newly arrived from 
London on a visit to Paris, "and as I am 
under promise to his brother Victor to deliver 
a message on his behalf, I must keep my 
word even if I go alone, and execute my mis- 
sion in pantomime. Will you be my inter- 
preter ? " 



The Place Valois is a dreamy little square 
formed by tall houses : graced by an elegant 
fountain in its centre ; guarded by a red- 
legged sentinel ; and is chiefly remarkable in 
Parisian annals as the scene of the assassina- 
tion of the Due de JBerri. There is a quiet 
melancholy air about the place which accords 
well with its traditions ; and, even the little 
children who make it their playground on 
account of the absence of both vehicles and 
equestrians, pursue their sports in a subdued 
tranquil way, hanging about the fountain's 
edge, and dabbling in the water with their 
little fingers. Monsieur Paiipan's residence 
was not difficult to find. We entered by a 
handsome porte-cochere into a paved court- 
yard, and, having duly accounted for our 
presence tp the watchful concierge who sat 
sedulously peering out of a green sentry-box, 
commenced our ascent to the upper regions. 
Seeing that Monsieur lived on the fourth 
floor, and that the steps of the spacious stair- 
case were of that shallow description which 
disappoint the tread by falling short of its 
expectations, it was no wonder that we were 
rather out of breath when we reached the 
necessary elevation ; and that we paused a 
moment to collect our thoughts, and calm our 
respiration, before knocking at the little back- 
room door, which we knew to be that of Mon- 
sieur Panpan. 

Madam Panpan received us most gra- 
ciously, setting chairs for us, and apologising 
for her husband who, poor man, was sitting 
up in his bed, with a wan countenance, 
and hollow, glistening eyes. We were 
in the close heavy air of a sick chamber. 
The room was very small, and the bedstead 
occupied a large portion of its space. It was 
lighted by one little window only, and that 
looked down a sort of square shaft which 
served as a ventilator to the house. A pale 
child, with large wandering eyes, watched us 
intently from behind the end of the little 
French bedstead, while the few toys he had 
been playing with lay scattered upon the 
floor. The room was very neat, although its 
furniture was poor and scanty, and by the 
brown saucepan perched upon the top of the 
diminutive German stove, which had strayed, 
as it were, from its chimney corner into the 
middle of the room, we knew that the pot-au- 
feu was in preparation. Madame, before 
whom was a small table covered with the un- 
finished portions of a corset, was very agree- 
able rather coquettish, indeed, we should 
have said in England. Her eyes were 
bright and cheerful, and her hair drawn 
back from her forehead a la Chinoise. In 
a graceful, but decided way, she apologised 
for continuing her labours, which were 
evidently works of necessity rather than of 
choice. 

" And Victor, that good boy," she exclaimed, 
when we had further explained the object of 
our visit, " was quite well ! I am charmed ! 
And he had found work, and succeeding so 



Charles 1 ickens.] 



PEEE PANPAN. 



69 



well in his affairs. I am enchanted ! It is so 
amiable of him to send me this little cadeau ! " 

Monsieur Panpan, with his strange lustrous 
eyes, if not enchanted, rubbed his thin bony 
hands together as he sat up in the bed, and 
chuckled in an unearthly way at the good 
news. Having executed our commission, we 
felt it would be intrusive to prolong our stay, 
and therefore rose to depart, but received so 
pressing an invitation to repeat the visit, 
that, on the part of myself and friend, who 
was to leave Paris*in a few days, I could not 
refuse to comply with a wish so cordially 
expressed, and evidently sincere. And thus 
commenced my acquaintance with the Pan- 
pans. 

I cannot trace the course of our acquaint- 
ance, or tell how, from an occasional call, my 
visits became those of a bosom friend ; but 
certain it is, that soon each returning Sunday 
saw me a guest at the table of Monsieur Pan- 
pan, where my convert and serviette became 
sacred to my use ; and, after the meal, were 
carefully cleaned and laid apart for the next 
occasion. This, I afterwards learned, was a 
customary mark of consideration towards an 
esteemed friend among the poorer class of 
Parisians. I soon learned their history. Their 
every-day existence was a simple, easily 
read story, and not the less simple and 
touching because it is the every-day story of 
thousands of poor French families. Madame 
was a staymaker ; and the whole care and 
responsibility of providing for the wants and 
comforts qf a sick husband ; for her little 
Victor, her eldest born ; and the monthly 
stipend of her infant Henri, out at nurse 
some hundred leagues from Paris, hung upon 
the unaided exertions of her single hands, and 
the scrupulous and wonderful economy of her 
management. 

One day I found Madame in tears. Panpan 
himself lay with rigid features, and his wiry 
hands spread out upon the counterpane. Ma- 
dame was at first inconsolable and inexpli- 
cable, but at length, amid sobs, half sup- 
pressed, related the nature of their new 
misfortune. Would Monsieur believe that 
those miserable nurse-people, insulting as 
they were, had sent from the country to 
say, that unless the three months nursing of 
little Henri, together with the six pounds 
of lump sugar, which formed part of the 
original bargain, were immediately paid, 
cette pauvre bete (Henri that was), would 
be instantly dispatched to Paris, and pro- 
ceedings taken for the recovery of the debt. 
Ces miserables ! 

Here poor Madame Panpan could not con- 
tain herself, but gave way to her affliction 
in a violent outburst of tears. And yet the 
poor child, the cause of all this sorrow, was 
almost as great a stranger to his mother 
as he was to me, who had never seen him 
in my life. With scarcely a week's exist- 
ence to boast of, he had been swaddled 
up in strange clothes ; entrusted to strange 



hands ; and hurried away some hundred 
leagues from the capital, to scramble 
about the clay floor of an unwholesome 
cottage, in company perhaps with some half- 
dozen atomies like himself, as strange to 
each other, as they were to their own 
parents, to pass those famous mois de 
uourrice which form so important and mo- 
mentous a period in the lives of most French 
people. Madam Panpan was however in 
no way responsible for this state of things ; 
the system was there, not only recognised, 
but encouraged ; become indeed a part of 
the social habits of the people, and it was. 
no wonder if her poverty should have driven 
her to so popular and ready a means of meet- 
ing a great difficulty. How she extricated her- 
self from this dilemma, it is not necessary to 
state ; suffice it to say, that a few weeks 
saw cette petite b<3te Henri, happily domi- 
ciled in the Place Valois ; and, if not over- 
burdened with apparel, at least released 
from the terrible debt of six and thirty 
francs, and six pounds of lump-sugar. 

It naturally happened, that on the plea- 
sant Sunday afternoons, when we had dis- 
posed of our small, but often sumptuous 
dinner ; perhaps a gigot de mouton with 
a clove of garlic in the knuckle ; a fricassoe 
de rabbits with onions, or a fricandeau ; 
Panpan himself would tell me part of his 
history ; and in the course of our salad ; 
of our little dessert of fresh fruit, or cur- 
rant jelly ; or perhaps, stimulated by the 
tiniest glass of brandy, would grow warm in 
the recital of his early experiences, and the 
unhappy chance which had brought him into 
his present condition. 

" Ah, Monsieur ! " he said, one day, " little 
would you think to see me cribbed up in this 
miserable bed, that I had been a soldier, or 
that the happiest clays of iny lite had been 
passed in the woods of Fontainebleau, follow- 
ing the chase in the retinue of King Charles 
the Tenth of France. I was a wild young 
fellow in my boyhood ; and, when at the age of 
eighteen I drew for the conscription and found 
it was my fate to serve, I believe I never was 
so happy in my life. I entered the cavalry ; 
and, in spite of the heavy duties and strict 
discipline, it was a glorious time. It makes 
me mad, Monsieur, when I think of the happy 
days I have spent on the road, in barracks, 
and in snug country-quarters, where there 
was cider or wine for the asking ; to find my- 
self in a solitary corner of great, thoughtless 
Paris, sick and helpless. It would be some- 
thing to die out in the open fields like a 
worn-out horse, or to be shot like a wounded 
one. But this is terrible, and I am but thirty- 
eight." 

We comforted him in the best way we could 
with sage axioms of antique date, or more 
lively stories of passing events ; but I saw a 
solitary tear creeping down the cheek of 
Madame Panpan, even in the midst of a 
quaint sally ; and, under pretence of arrang- 



70 



[Conducted by 



ing his pillow, she bent over his head and 
kissed him gently on the forehead. 

Pdre Panpan I had come by degrees to 
call him " Pere," although he was still young ; 
for it sounded natural and kindly con- 
tinued his narrative in his rambling, gos- 
siping way. He had been chosen, he said, to 
serve in the Garde Royale, of whom fifteen 
thousand sabres were stationed in and about 
the capital at this period ; and in the royal 
forest of Fontainebleau, in the enjoyment 
of a sort of indolent activity, he passed 
his happiest days ; now employed in the 
chase, now in the palace immediately about 
the person of the king, in a succession of 
active pleasures, or easy, varied duties. Pan- 
pan was no republican. Indeed, I question 
whether any very deep political principles 
governed his sentiments ; which naturally 
allied themselves with those things that 
yielded the greatest amount of pleasure. 

The misfortunes of PeYe Panpan dated 
from the revolution of eighteen hundred and 
thirty. Then the glittering pageantry in the 
palace of Fontainebleau vanished like a dream. 
The wild clatter of military preparation ; the 
rattling of steel and the trampling of horses ; 
and away swept troop after troop, with sword- 
belt braced and carabine in hand, to plunge 
into the mad uproar of the streets of Paris, 
risen, stones and all, in revolution. The Garde 
Eoyale did their duty in those three terrible 
days, and if their gallant charges through 
the encumbered streets, or their patient en- 
durance amid the merciless showers of indes- 
cribable missiles, were all in vain, it was 
because their foe was animated by an 
enthusiasm of which they knew nothing, 
save in the endurance of its effects. Panpan's 
individual fate, amid all this turmoil, was 
lamentable enough. 

A few hours amid the dust ; the swelling 
heat ; the yellings of the excited populace ; 
the roaring of cannon and the pattering of 
musketry ; saw the troop in which he served, 
broken and scattered, and Panpan himself 
rolling in the dust, with a thousand lights 
flashing in his eyes, and a brass button 
lodged in his side ! 

" Those villains of Parisians ! " he ex- 
claimed, "not content with showering their 
whole garde meuble upon our heads, fired 
upon us a diabolical collection of missiles, 
such as no mortal ever thought of before : 
bits of broken brass ; little plates of tin 
and iron rolled into sugar-loaves ; crushed 
brace-buckles ; crooked nails and wads of 
metal wire ; anything, indeed, that in their 
extremity they could lay their hands on, and 
ram into the muzzle of a gun ! These 
things inflicted fearful gashes, and, in many 
cases, a mere flesh-wound turned out a death- 
stroke. Few that got hurt in our own troop 
lived to tell the tale." 

A few more days and the whole royal 
cavalcade was scattered like chaff before the 
wind, and Charles the Tenth a fugitive on his 



way to England ; a few more days and the 
wily Louis Philippe was taking the oath to a 
new constitution, and our friend, Panpan, lay 
carefully packed, brass button and all, in the 
H6tel-Dieu. The brass-button was difficult 
to find, and when found, the ugly fissure it 
had made grew gangrened, and would not 
heal ; and thus it happened that many a bed 
became vacant, and got filled, and was vacant 
again, as their occupants either walked out, or 
were borne out, of the hospital gates, before 
Panpan was declared .convalescent, and 
finally dismissed from the H6tel-Dieu as 
" cured." 

The proud trooper was, however, an 
altered man ; his health and spirits were 
gone ; the whole corps of which he had so 
often boasted was broken up and dispersed ; 
his means of livelihood were at an end, and 
what was worse he knew of no other exercise 
of which he could gain his daily bread. There 
were very many such helpless, tradeless men 
pacing the streets of Paris, when the fever 
of the revolution was cooled down, and ordi- 
nary business ways began to take their 
course. Nor was it those alone who were 
uninstructed in any useful occupation, but 
there were also the turbulent, dissatisfied 
spirits ; builders of barricades, and leaders of 
club-sections, whom the late excitement, and 
their temporary elevation above their fellow- 
workmen, had left restless and ambitious, and 
whose awakened energies, if not directed to 
some useful and congenial employment, would 
infallibly lead to mischief. 

Panpan chuckled over the fate which 
awaited some of these ardent youths : " Ces 
gaillards 1& ! " he said, " had become too 
proud and troublesome to be left long in the 
streets of Paris ; they would have fomented 
another revolution, so Louis Philippe, under 
pretence of rewarding his brave 'soldats 
laboureurs,' whom he was ready to shake by 
th3 hand in jthe public streets in the first 
flush of success, enrolled them in the army, 
and sent them to the commanding officers 
with medals of honour round their necks, 
and special recommendations to promotion 
in their hands. They hoped to become Mar- 
shals of France in no time. Pauvres diables ! 
they were soon glad to hide their decorations, 
and cease bragging about street-fighting and 
barricades, for the regulars relished neither 
their swaggering stories nor the notion of 
being set aside by such parvenus ; and they 
got so quizzed, snubbed, and tormented, that 
they were happy at last to slide into their 
places as simple soldats, and trust to the 
ordinary course of promotion." 

As for Panpan, his street wanderings ter- 
minated in his finding employment in a lace- 
manufactory, and it soon became evident that 
his natural talent here found a congenial 
occupation. He came by degrees to be happy 
in his new position of a workman. Then 
occurred the serious love passage of his life 



ChariesDickem.] 



PEEE PANPAN. 



71 



his meeting with Louise, now Madame Pan- 
pan. It was the simplest matter in the 
world; Panpan, to whom life was nothing 
without the Sunday quadrille at the bar- 
rire, having resolved to figure on the 
next occasion in a pair of bottes vernis, 
waited uoon his bootmaker every Parisian 
has his" bootmaker to issue his man- 
dates concerning their length, shape, and 
general construction. He entered the bou- 
tique of Mons. Cuire, when, lo ! he beheld in 
the little back parlour, the most delicate 
little foot that ever graced a shoe, or tripped 
to measure on the grass. He would say 
nothing of the owner of this miracle ; of her 
face which was full of intelligence ; of her 
figure which was gentille toute & faite but 
for that dear, chaste, ravishing model of a 
foot ! so modestly pose upon the cushion. 
Heaven ! and Panpau unconsciously heaved 
a long sigh, and brought with it from the very 
bottom of his heart a vow to become its pos- 
sessor. There was no necessity for anything 
very rash or very desperate in the case as 
it happened, for the evident admiration of 
Panpan had inspired Louise with an im- 
promptu interest in his favour, and he being 
besides gentil gargon, their chance rencontre 
was but the commencement of a friendship 
which ripened into love, and so the old 
story over again, with marriage at the end 
of it. 

Well ! said M. Panpan, time rolled on, 
and little Louis was born. This might 
have been a blessing, but while family 
cares and expenses were growing upon 
them, Panpan's strength and energies were 
withering away. He suffered little pain, 
but what there was seemed to spring 
from the old wound ; and there were whole 
days when he lay a mere wreck, without the 
power or will to move ; and when his feeble 
breath seemed passing away for ever. Hap- 
pily, these relapses occurred only at intervals, 
but by slow degrees they became more fre- 
quent, and more overwhelming. Madame 
Panpan's skill and untiring perseverance 
grew to be, as other resources failed, the 
main, and for many, many months, the whole 
support of the family. Then came a time 
when the whiter had passed away, and the 
spring was already in its full, and still Pan- 
pan lay helpless in bed with shrunken limbs 
and hollow, pallid cheeks, and then little 
Henri was born. 

Pere Panpan having arrived at this crisis 
in his history, drew a long breath, and 
stretched himself back in his bed. I knew 
the rest. It was soon after the event last- 
named that I made his acquaintance, and the 
remainder of his simple story, therefore, 
devolves upon me. 

The debility of the once dashing soldier 
increased daily, and as it could be traced to 
no definite cause, he gradually became a phy- 
siological enigma ; and thence naturally a pet 
of the medical profession. Not that he was a 



profitable patient, for the necessities of the 
family were too great to allow of so expensive 
a luxury as a doctor's bill ; but urged, partly 
by commiseration, and partly by professional 
curiosity, both ardent students and methodical 
practitioners would crowd round his simple 
bed, probing him with instruments, poking 
him with their fingers, and punching him 
with their fists ; each with a new theory to 
propound and establish ; and the more they 
were baffled and contradicted in their precon- 
ceived notions, the more obstinate they be- 
came in their enforcement. Panpan's own 
thoughts upon the subject always reverted to 
the brass button, although he found few to 
listen to, or encourage him in his idea. His 
medical patrons were a constant source of 
suffering to him, but he bore with them 
patiently ; sometimes reviving from his pros- 
tration as if inspired, then lapsing as suddenly 
into his old state of semi-pain and total 
feebleness. As a last hope, he was removed 
from his fourth floor in the Place Valois, to 
become an inmate of the Bicdtre, and a domi- 
ciled subject of contention and experiment to 
its medical staff. 

The Bicetre is a large, melancholy-looking 
building, half hospital half madhouse, situ- 
ated a few leagues from Paris. I took a 
distaste to it on my very first visit. It 
always struck me as a sort of menagerie, I 
suppose from the circumstance of there having 
been pointed out to me, immediately on my 
entrance, a railed and fenced portion of the 
building, where the fiercer sort of inhabitants 
were imprisoned. Moreover, I met with such 
strange looks and grimaces ; such bewildering 
side-glances or moping stares, as I traversed 
the open court-yards, with their open corri- 
dors, or the long arched passages of the 
interior, that the whole of the inmates came 
before me as creatures, in human shape 
indeed, but as possessed by the cunning or 
the ferocity of the mere animal. Yet it was 
a public hospital, and in the performance of its 
duties there was an infinite deal of kindly 
attention, consummate skill, and unwearying 
labour. Its associations were certainly un- 
happy, and had, I am sure, a depressing effect 
upon at least the physically disordered pa- 
tients. It may be that as the Bicdlre is a 
sort of forlorn hope of hospitals, where the 
more desperate or inexplicable cases only are 
admitted, it naturally acquires a sombre 
and ominous character ; but in no establish- 
ment of a similar kind (and I have seen 
many) did I meet with such depressing 
influences. 

Panpan was at first in high spirits at the 
change. He was to be restored to health in a 
brief period, and he really did in the first few 
weeks make rapid progress towards convales- 
cence. Already a sort of gymnasium had been 
arranged over his bed, so that he might, by 
simple muscular exercises, regain his lost 
strength ; and more than once I have guided 
his tottering steps along the arched corridors, 



72 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



as, clad in the gray uniform of the hospital, 
and supported by a stick, he took a brief 
mid-day promenade. 

We made him cheering Sunday visits, 
Madame Panpan, Louis, the little Henri, and 
I, and infringed many a rule of the hospital 
in regard to his regimen. There was a 
charcutier living close to the outer walks, and 
when nothing else could be had, we pur- 
chased some of his curiously prepared deli- 
cacies, and smuggled them in under various 
guises. To him they were delicious morsels 
amid the uniform soup and bouillon of the 
hospital, and I dare say did him neither good 
nor harm. 

Poor Madame Panpan ! apart from the 
unceasing exertions which her difficult posi- 
tion demanded of her ; apart from the 
harassing days, the sleepless nights, and pe- 
cuniary deficiencies which somehow never 
were made up ; apart from the shadow of 
death which hovered ever near her ; and the 
unvarying labours which pulled at her 
fingers, and strained at her eyes, so that her 
efforts seemed still devoted to one ever unfi- 
nished corset, there arose another trouble 
where it was least expected ; and alas ! I was 
the unconscious cause of a new embarrass- 
ment. I was accused of being her lover. 
Numberless accusations rose up against us. 
Had I not played at pat-ball with Madame 
in the Bois de Boulogne ? Yes, pardi ! while 
Pampan lay stretched upon the grass a laugh- 
ing spectator of the game ; and which was 
brought to an untimely conclusion by my 
breaking my head against the branch of a 
tree. But had I not accompanied Madame 
alone to the Champs Elyse'es to witness the 
jeu-de-feu on the last fete of July ? My good 
woman, did I not carry Louis pick-a-back the 
whole way 1 and was not the crowd so dense 
and fearful, that our progress to the Champs 
Elyse'es was barred at its very mouth by the 
fierce tornado of the multitude, and the 
trampling to death of three unhappy mortals, 
whose shrieks and groans still echo in niy 
ear ? and was it not at the risk of life or 
limb that I fought my way along the Kue de 
la Madeleine, with little Louis clinging round 
my neck, and Madame hanging on to my 
coat-tail 1 Amid the swaying and eddying of 
the crowd, the mounted Garde Municipals 
came dashing into the thickest of the press, 
to snatch little children, and even women, 
from impending death, and bear them to a 
place of safety. And if we did take a bottle 
of Strassburger beer on the Boulevards, when 
at length we found a freer place to breathe 
in, faint and reeling as we were, pray where 
was the harm, and who would not have done 
as much ? Ah, Madame ! if you had seen, as 
I did, that when we reached home the first 
thing poor Madame Panpan came to do, was 
to fall upon her husband's neck, and in a 
voice broken with sobs, and as though her 
heart would break, to thank that merciful 
God who had spared her in her trouble, that 



she might still work for him and his 
;hildren ! you would not be so ready with 
your blame. 

But there was a heavier accusation still. 
Did you not, sir, entertain Madame to supper 
in the Eue de Eoule ? with the utmost extra- 
vagance too, not to mention the omelette 
soufH6e with which you must needs tickle 
your appetites, and expressly order for the 
occasion 1 And more than that : did you not 
then take coffee in the Eue St. Honor6, and 
play at dominoes with Madame in the salon ? 
Alas, yes ! all this is true, and the cause 
still more true and more sad ; for it was 
under the terrible impression that Madame 
Panpan and her two children for they were 
both with us you will remember, even little 
Henri had not eaten of one tolerable meal 
throughout a whole week, that these unpar- 
donable acts were committed on the Sunday. 
An omelette soufltee, you know, must be 
ordered ; but as for the dominoes, I admit that 
that was an indiscretion. 

Pe're Panpan drooped and drooped. The 
cord of his gymnasium swung uselessly 
above his head ; he tottered no more 
along the corridors of the hospital. He 
had ceased to be the pet of the medi- 
cal profession. His malady was obsti- 
nate and impertinent ; it could neither be 
explained nor driven away ; and as all the 
deep theories propounded respecting it, or 
carried into practical operation for its 
removal, proved to be mere elaborate fancies, 
or useless experiments, the medical profes- 
sion happily for Paupan retired from the 
field in disgust. 

" I do believe it was the button ! " ex- 
claimed Panpan, one Sunday afternoon, with 
a strange light gleaming in his eyes. Madame 
replied only with a sob. " You have seen 
many of them ? " he abruptly demanded of 
me. 

Of what?" 

" Buttons." 

" There are a great many of them made in 
England," I replied. Where were we wan- 
dering ? 

Panpan took my hand in his, and, with a 
gentle pressure that went to my very heart, 
exclaimed : " I do believe it was the brass 
button after all. I hope to God it was not 
an English button ! " 

I can't say whether it was or no. But, as 
to poor Pdre Panpau, we buried him at 
Bicetre. 



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"Familiar in tlteir Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



257.] 



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1855. 



VEKY ADVISABLE. 



FROM my earliest years everybody seemed 
to think I stood in need of advice. The 
simplest affairs were considered beyond my 
comprehension without the aid of a monitor 
and this from no want of natural capacity, as 
far as I am able to perceive, but from a 
remarkable adaptation for the reception of 
wise saws which mada itself perceptible to 
the most superficial acquaintance. No one 
was too great an ass to give me the benefit of 
his counsel fellows whom I despised, girls 
even, of the most preternatural silliness, all 
found occasions of showing their superiority, 
by telling me what to do, or say, or think. I 
seemed a blank piece of paper on which every 
person liked to try his hand, and the result 
of this perpetual indoctrination was that I 
learned to have no reliance on myself. I 
couldn't walk through my own garden, it was 
thought, without finger-posts to guide me; 
and so many posts were put up, all pointing 
in different directions, that I never felt sure 
of my way. Probably to counteract this want 
of firmness, my friends began, when I was 
about fifteen, to lead me with precepts on the 
benefits of independence of the absolute 
necessity of standing up on all occasions for 
my rights, of never letting an opportunity of 
gaining an advantage pass and, above all, 
of being manly and decided. How could I 
be manly and decided when I had never been 
allowed to have a will of my own ? How could 
I take Time by the forelock have an eye to 
the main chance strike while the iron was 
hot be wide awake take care of number 
one or do any of the hundred other things I 
was now recommended to do when nobody 
told me how to get hold of Time's forelock, or 
where to hit the hot iron, or what to hit it 
with ? However, I tried to take the advice, 
and to become selfish and exacting with all 
my might. This is not so easy as it seems. 
I never could hoard up my pocket-money, or 
hide the box of cake and jam which was sent 
to me at school. I used to lend rny cricket 
bat, and never get it back ; boys used to 
pretend they drove my ball into the river, 
and then to cover it with the initials of their 
names, and sometimes make me pay a penny 
an hour for the use of my own property ; 



grudged my playmates whatever plaything 
they took. I saw they followed the advice 
which had been so frequently pressed on me, 
and were holding on by Time's forelock, and 
hitting the hot iron as became men of sense, 
and I respected them accordingly. If I inter- 
fered at any time with their goods and 
chattels, or even tried to borrow a book which 
I recognised as my own, they repulsed me in 
the most manly and decided manner ; and I 
soon foresaw that they would all get on in 
the race of life and leave me miles behind. 
At church I used occasionally to hear some 
statements that gave me consolation, some 
advice that even encouraged me to persevere 
in the spiritless conduct which came to me so 
naturally but the clergyman, on week days, 
was one of the most eloquent of my advisers 
to stick up for what I could get, to stand 
no nonsense, and, in short, to fight my way 
through the school with the same bullying, 
selfish, dishonest audacity with which I was 
treated. I was quite willing to do this, but I 
couldn't, so I had the double disadvantage of 
wishing to be a tyrant and continuing a spoony. 
My virtue had no value as it was involuntary, 
I would have been a serpent if I could, but I 
had no sting, and was only a worm. The 
boy I respected most was Herbert Grubb I 
respect him still ; I saw he would rise to 
wealth and honour, and he has done so. The 
second day of our friendship he told me he 
had come away without his allowance, but it 
was to be sent to him by post ; I lent him all 
I had, and for a week I saw him, at all hours, 
in the play-ground swallowing apple tarts 
and drinking ginger beer, 'and filling his 
pockets with gingerbread out of the old Iruit- 
woman's basket, and when I ventured to ask 
him if his allowance had come, " You fool," 
he said, " I had it all the time, and if I had a 
few more asses like you in the school, I would 
put it into the savings' bank mind your eye, 
for here comes a handful of cherry-stones." 
The other boys applauded his cleverness, and, 
in my secret heart, so did I it was such 
admirable sticking up for number one. 

There was a little fellow in the lowest class 
of the name of Knowlsworth, he was only 
half a year at the school, and was the simplest 
little boy I ever knew. I felt immensely 
superior to him, and once took away his top, 



my arrows were always missing, and I never i but he looked so disconsolate that I pretended 



VOL. XI. 



257 



74 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



I had done it because it -was not a good one, 
and bought a large one for him with the most 
awfully painted sides and a power of hum- 
ming which would have done honour to a 
beehive. He wag a sickly, delicate, fair- 
haired fellow, with dark blue eyes, that filled 
with teai's on the slightest provocation. He 
generally shed tears when he talked of home; 
so Grubb made great fun of his weakness. 
He always cleaned Grubb's shoes, and when 
they were polished to his satisfaction he used 
to sit with the blacking-brush in his hand 
re^dy to launch it at the little boy's head, 
and make him describe all his family, from 
his father, who was afflicted with the gout, to 
his sister Mary, whom he described as a per- 
fect angel. As he cried while he branched out 
into these descriptions, Grubb and his intimate 
friends enjoyed the joke exceedingly. He used 
to come and sit down beside me at a table in 
the hall after he had been forced to make these 
revelations, and lean his little head upon my 
shoulder till he fell asleep. I advised him to 
complain to the master a Doctor of Divinity, 
who had written Latin notes to the Gospel of 
St. John and the master told him he was a 
fool for his pains; and when all the fellows 
went up, one after another, and assured the 
Doctor that Grubb was an excellent youth, 
and very kind to little boys, Knowlsworth 
was flogged for false accusation, and very 
generally cut by the school, and, in fact, so 
was I, which I very much regretted, for I 
looked up with unfeigned veneration, not 
unmixed with envy, to those high-spirited 
young gentlemen who carried into practice 
the lessons of worldly wisdom which were 
wasted upon me. How often I had been told 
to carry my head above everyone else, to 
vindicate my position, and make myself feai'ed 
and respected in the school. There was not 
one of us who did not fear and respect Her- 
bert Grubb except little Harry Knowlsworth, 
but he was a curious boy, and had not 
received the same kind of lessons at home as 
the rest of us. He said Grubb was a bully, 
and he was sure was a coward : now, his 
papa had told him a coward couldn't be a 
gentleman, and a bully couldn't be a Christian. 
I wondered at the time if old Mr. Knowlsworth 
knew that Grubb's father had married the 
daughter of an Irish earl, and that she was 
really Lady Glendower Grubb 1 How could 
her son then not be a- gentleman ? I knew 
he w;is a Christian, for he borrowed my Bible 
and Prayer-book, and I never liked to ask 
him for them again. We were two Pariahs, 
Harry Kuowlsworth and I, and I daresay he 
did me a great deal of harm, for, whereas, 
being four or five years older, 1 ought to have 
raised him up to my level and have taught 
him the vices and knowingnesses of my more 
advanced period of life, he dragged me down 
to his, and I never rose above nine or ten 
years old all the time h was at school. But 
this was not long. He began to be ill in the 
middle of the half-year, and the cruelty of 



Herbert Grubb and his friends to increase. 
They now insisted on his describing his sister 
Mary not as the charming creature the little 
boy represented her, but as hump-backed and 
with a stutter, with moral qualities to math. 
Nothing would tempt Harry to give utterance 
to the terrible names the coterie of wits and 
tyrants affixed to the object of the child's 
affection. So brushes were flung at his head, 
and the clothes torn off his bed, and water 
thrown on his face, and his hands held till 
they blistered close to the fire, but he would 
not say that Mary was a thief, or had run 
away with the groom, or was anything but 
the best of beings, and as I sometimes shared 
in the punishments inflicted on our obduracy, 
for I was as firmly persuaded as Harry of 
the angelic nature of his sister, we used to 
retire to remote corners of the playground, 
and there the heroic brother would tell me 
for hours what a kind, clever, admirable girl 
his sister was, and what a noble, generous old 
man his father ; and then he used to take my 
hand, and then, on looking carefully round 
and seeing no one near, he used to press it to 
his lips and say that, next to those two in all 
the world, he liked me best, and I used to 
feel it a great consolation, amidst the contempt 
of all the other boys, that this little fellow 
was attached to me. However, we had not 
time to grow more intimate, for he became 
rapidly worse, and was sent home a month 
before the holidays began. I got a letter 
from him to say that his sister was at school 
in France or Italy, I forget which, but was 
expected home in three months, and then he 
would tell her all about my kindness, and 
begging me not to believe the things that 
Grubb and his companions had said about 
her, but to like her for his sake. 

But he did not live to see the sister he was 
so fond of. He sent me a beautiful locket 
that Mary had given him, and I was to wear 
it always, and never forget hini if we never 
met again. And just when we were going 
down, the Doctor, in shaking hands with 
Grubb, said, " You will be sorry to hear 
your little favourite Knowlsworth is dead a 
delicate boy, and I believe you were very 
kind to him, only, perhaps, a little too rough 
(as high-spirited young gentlemen often are) 
in your play. Good-bye my respectful duty 
to Lady Glendower." 

As to me, nobody took any notice, luckily, 
of how I bore the news. Grubb bore it very 
well. He said, "Ah ! is he dead, poor fellow? 
I'm glad now I was always so attentive to 
him." I don't think the conscience begins to 
have any power till manhood. Here was a 
boy who should have felt like a murderer, 
and really believed himself to have been kind 
to the victim of his cruelty. I could not help 
having some thoughts like that in spite of my 
respect. 

On our meeting next half-year poor Harry 
was forgotten by everybody except by me. I 
always wore the locket next my heart, and 



Charles Dickens.! 



VERY ADVISABLE. 



75 



often took it out to look at the hair. Mary's 
and Harry's had been tied in a knot long ago, 
and the boy had added my initial as a loop at 
the top. it was valuable, too, for the case 
was of gold, and there were large real pearls 
all round the rim. It was detected round my 
neck at the bathing, and got noised al 1 through 
the school ; and it happened one day when I 
was in the water four or five of the biggest 
boys kept me engaged and guarded me from 
making my way to the bank, and when at 
last I reached the place where my clothes 
were lying, the locket was gone. I could not 
tell who had taken it. I spoke to the master, 
and lie quoted many texts from Scripture 
against evil speakers and false accusers. He 
found out that my suspicions rested on Grubb 
he said Grubb was an honour to the school, 
had noble blood in his veins, and if I could 
not substantiate my horrible accusation he 
would consider whether I should not be 
publicly expelled. On this I begged to with- 
draw suspicions and accusation, and to be 
allowed to submit to the loss. He paused for 
some time, but at last agreed to pass over my 
conduct, as a knowledge of such an unchristian 
disposition might injure my prospects in life. 
Shortly after that he was made a bishop in 
consideration of his skill in Greek quantities, 
,and I had to go to another school. My 
prospects in life, of which the bishop had 
been so considerate, did not appear to brighten, 
though I was for a while delivered from the 
tyranny of Grubb. But there are Grubbs at 
all schools. I tried in vain to assert my 
rights : I made my claims either at the wrong 
time or in the wrong manner, so when my 
relations and friends perceived that I derived 
no benefit from their counsels, but rather 
allowed every opportunity to slip by, they 
determined to send me to the bar as a profes- 
sion, where if I did not struggle I must yield. 
It was like forcing a man to swim by throwing 
him into deep water. The plunges I made 
excited laughter in others, and weariness in 
myself; so 1 determined to live quietly on the 
small income I possessed, and watch the 
ocean and the tempest-tossed barks upon it 
from the safe eminence of two hundred a-year. 
" Foolish fellow," said one of my most inti- 
mate friends, " to be satisfied with two huu 
dred a-year; you know nothing, my dear 
Plastic, of the management of money now, 
that is what I have particularly studied all 
my life I will give you my advice, and you 
may soon remove to Belgrave Square." How 
kiud! here was a practical man ; he had been 
educated as a civil engineer, then he turned 
architect, then went into the corn trade, and 
was a prodigious authority about railways 
and other lucrative speculations. He came 
to rue in two days 

"Have you any money you can immediately 
command ? " 

" Yea ; I have two thousand pounds in the 
funds." 

" That will exactly do ; I belong to a com- 



pany for the manufacture of soap out of tallow 
candles. It is secured by a patent. I myself 
hold more shares than I can conveniently pay 
the calls upon hundreds are asking to be 
allowed only a few : you shall have three 
hundred and fifty they will pay thirty per 
cent., and you may safely increase your ex- 
penditure by six hundred a year." 

I bought a horse the same friend had 
three, and parted with one of them which, 
however, unfortunately became lame. I 
thought of giving up my humble apartment, 
as he said it was for the benefit of the company 
that the partners should live in good parts of 
the town : he got me elected director, with a 
salary of two hundred a-year, and my grati- 
tude knew no bounds. He lived with his 
aunt, and I presented her with a tea-service, 
from Rundle and Bridge, with an allegorical 
sculpture on the coffee pot, representing 
Generosity pouring wealth from a ornucopia 
into the lap of Friendship. I did several 
other foolish things, and went down to the 
committee room of the company in a clarence, 
which I jobbed for three months, and even 
had my crest a sheep's head with its mouth 
open painted on the panel. How I despised 
iny injudicious advisers! Haven't I taken 
care of myself? Haven't I got hold of time 
by the forelock ? I turned the tables upon 
them, and gave them immense quantities of 
advice. I advised the most pertinacious of 
my counsellors a Scotchman who was con- 
nected with a Greek house in the City to 
join our company. The man was thunder- 
struck. What ! get advice from me ! He 
came to me, " Ye're a bigger fule than 
ever," he said: "how do ye think ony body 
can mak' a profit by turnin' good can'ies into 
bad saip? The can'ies is dearer than, the 
saip, and ye're j ust a prodigious ass ! " 

This turned out to be true. I lost all the 
money I put into the concern, and paid a 
little more to get a quittance from all liabi- 
lities. But my friend was not abashed. He 
said to me, " Your horse is lame nobody can 
perceive it till it lias been ridden a mile or 
two he isn't worth ten pounds, but I have a 
very silly friend from Devonshire, I daresay 
he will give you fifty guineas you're too 
much a man of the world to refuse a good 
offer!" 

I said, "Certainly not; it would be strange 
if, after all my experience, I wasn't a man of 
the world." 

So after that, when I spoke to him about 
having sold me his shares in the candle- soap 
patent, he said, 

" I have had great experience, sir ; I am a 
man of the world, as you were williug enough 
to be about your old screw of a horse, only 
the Devonshire spoony turned out to be a, 
man of the world, too." 

There was nothing to be done, so I went 
into humbler lodgings, gave up my club, 
never took anybody's advice, and never was 
asked by anybody lor mine. But one day 



70 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



the whole destiny of my life seemed to change, 
I met Herbert Grubb in the street we had 
not met for twelve or thirteen years, but he 
knew me at once. He was what is called 
head of a department and member of par- 
liament, overwhelmed with business, and 
anxious for a secretary who would require no 
salary, but rely on the political interest of his 
chief. He installed me at once. I answered 
all his letters, read up historical allusions, and 
pored over the index verborum of the classics 
for his quotations. He was delighted with 
my patience and perseverance, he asked me 
to dinner, and introduced me to his wife, a 
tall majestic woman, with noble features, which 
never relaxed into a smile, but which must 
have been wonderfully beautiful if they could 
have clothed themselves in that sunshine of 
the heart which makes even the plainest 
faces loveable. Her eyes were amazingly 
brilliant, and her cheeks glowed with hectic 
flushes which made her very sad to- look on, 
in spite of her beauty. She was very kind, 
but it did not escape my notice that she was 
unhappy ; when Grubb was in one of his 
bullying moods she used to look with pitying 
eyes on his much-enduring secretary. As to 
me, I did not mind it. I had always pro- 
phesied he would get on in the world, and I 
was rather proud than otherwise to acknow- 
ledge the superiority which I had foreseen. 
She was surprised at his harsh airs of com- 
mand to an old schoolfellow and a better 
scholar than himself, but she said nothing, 
only when I was going away she used to 
come forward and take my hand and wish 
me good-bye with such a sweet voice and 
such a compassionate smile, that I dreamt of 
them all night. 

Friends had gathered round me again, and 
were prodigal of advice. "Go in and win," 
said one, " she certainly likes you, and her 
fortune is secured upon herself he treats 
her so ill that the world will be all on her 
side. She has fifteen hundred a-year, and 
can dispose of it as she likes." 

Here was advice here was another hammer 
to weld my fortunes with while the iron was 
hot here was a chance not to be thrown 
away. Oh ! if they had seen the stately form 
they degraded with their ribald suggestions, 
the noble face, the imperial eyes and she 
was evidently dying, and Grubb evidently 
knew it ; and there were evidently fights 
going on, and, indeed, I knew that he was 
leaving her no rest till she disposed of Every- 
thing in his favour, as her guardian had 
secured her the power of doing, at the time 
of her marriage ; and I watched the gradual 
embitterment on one side and increasing 
contempt on the other. It couldn't last long. 
One day, when I was in my small apartment, 
after a morning's work in Herbert's office, a 
tap came to my door, and the lady came in. 
"You must come with me," she said, "for 
you are my only friend in all the world 
don't refuse me my first and last request, you 



shall know the reason soon." So she took 
me with her to a lawyer's, and left me in the 
outer room while she transacted business in 
the office. It didn't last half an hour; she 
introduced me to the lawyer when she came 
out, and said, " Remember ! " Then she went 
away, and I shook hands with her as I put 
her into her brougham, and, do you know, 
she took my hand and held it to her lips, and 
when she let it go again her eyes were filled 
with tears. She laid her head back in the 
carriage, and I never saw her again. In a 
fortnight or three weeks she died. The 
funeral was very private. My chief did not 
go I went as his representative ; his attorney 
also was there, and the old gentleman to 
whom I had been introduced as I have said 
a kind old man, and deeply affected, and so 
was I. " You must come home with me," he 
said, "for I have business of the greatest 
importance to transact with you." When we 
reached his office he shut the door, he went 
to a tin-case, took out a parchment, and said,. 
"Open that carefully, there is something in it 
that deeply concerns yourself." I unfolded the 
package, and there lay in the middle of the page, 
suspended by a black silk ribband, a locket set 
in pearls, and I knew it at once it was little 
Harry Knowlsworth's memorial and there, 
still fresh as if but yesterday put in, were the 
initials of the little boy and his sister looped 
up by mine. " She was Mary Knowlsworth," 
said the old gentleman, " and only lately dis- 
covered a mistake under which she married 
Mr. Grubb. She was told by the Bishop of 
Tufton that he had been her brother's friend 
at school she became his wife from gratitude,, 
not from affection. In a drawer, some months 
since, she found the locket in her husband's 
secretary she recognised the companion, 
friend, and fellow sufferer of young Harry. 
v You will, therefore, accept the fortune she 
leaves you as a legacy from both. Any 
advice we can give you in the manage- 
ment " 

" It shall lie quietly in the funds," I said, 
" and every half-year I will go and draw the 
dividends. I will buy a revolving-pistol 
when I leave this room, and will shoot the 
first man who offers me advice." 



AN OLD SCHOLAE. 



LOITERING in Poets' Corner, you have per- 
haps observed opposite the monument of 
DRYDEN, a tablet on the wall bearing the 
name of ISAAC CASAUEON. In the holy ground 
thereabouts, were laid the remains of that 
great scholar in the year sixteen hundred and 
fourteen. He had been four years in this 
country, having been invited here by James 
the First, endowed with two prebends (West- 
minster and Canterbury), and a pension, when 
death seized him. He has a place in the 
Biographia Britannica, and a place in Hal- 
lam's Literature of Europe. He is still hi 
high repute among those who read the 



Chtrlcs Dickens.] 



AN OLD SCHOLAR 



77 



classics, and only the other day we observed 
a young German philologer gazing with much 
interest at his epitaph. 

All the above facts, however, would not 
entitle Isaac Casaubon to a place in House- 
hold Words, if he had not left behind him a 
DIARY of the last seventeen years of his life, 
which has been published in our own time, and 
is a very curious and interesting work. The 
manuscript remained in the possession of the 
ecclesiastical authorities of Canterbury, where 
Casaubon's son, Meric, held preferment, and 
was printed a few years since by the Univer- 
sity of Oxford, under the care of Dr. John 
Eussell. It is in Latin, of course, and 
Dr. John Eussell edits it in Latin, and writes 
a Latin preface to it ; so that if a Eoman 
ghost, revisiting the earth, caught sight of it, 
he would conclude that Casaubon and Dr. 
Eussell (one a Frenchman, and the other an 
Englishman) were both countrymen of his 
own, and that Britain was still a barbarous 
island under Eoman government. However, 
an English translation would not have paid 
its expenses in any case, and the University, 
which brings out the work at its own cost, 
has a right to present it to the world in 
its own way. Be it ours to unroll Isaac 
Oasaubon from these wrappages and ancient 
habiliments, and try to form a living notion 
of him as a European man. We presume 
that we shall do his memory no offence, by 
rendering him into English ; and we hope 
that his warmest classical admirers will not 
deny that he was once alive ; that though he 
wrote a dead language, even in his Diary 
(Ephemerides he calls it), yet that he was a 
good friendly scholar, eating and drinking 
like the rest of us, and talking French at 
all events to his wife. 

The old commentators who devoted their 
lives to the interpretation of the classics 
were a very remarkable class of men. The 
world wants yet, an adequate account of 
them. They were pioneers, backwoodsmen, 
clearers of the forests, and drainers of the 
marsh. We pride ourselves on our Drydcn's 
Virgil, our Pope's Homer, the insight of 
Gibbon, the classicality of Gray. But, for 
these great men the old commentators paved 
the way. They made the classics readable 
and intelligible. In fact, they made the roads 
on which many a triumphal car of genius has 
rolled smoothly along since ; and, directly or 
indirectly, every writer is indebted to them. 
Their energy and enthusiasm were un- 
bounded their love of learning, a passion 
their occasional pedantry and violence, par- 
donable for the sake of these. Casaubon's 
Diary gives us a glimpse of the domestic life 
and private character of one of the most 
famous of them. When his formal writings 
for publication have exhausted their utility, 
the world will still look at this Diary ; and 
his private jottings of the adventures of the 
day will make many who care little for the 
commentator think with interest of the man. 



Casaubon belonged to the second genera- 
tion of the scholars of the Eevival of Letters. 
He belonged to the generation after Erasmus 
and the elder Scaliger, and was contemporary 
with the younger Scaliger. His father, 
Arnauld Casaubon, was a minister of the 
reformed religion. He fled from Dauphine" 
to Geneva, where Isaac was born, in February, 
fifteen hundred and fifty-nine. At nine years 
old the boy spoke and wrote Latin pretty 
easily. They taught Latin in those days very 
much by conversation a practice which 
made children learn it early, but which 
Ascham condemns as injurious to purity of 
style. However, as it was the universal lan- 
guage of communication among the learned, 
and also among the great of the world, 
familiarity with it was the great object to 
attain. At twenty-four, Casaubon was a 
Professor ; at twenty-seven, he married a 
daughter of the celebrated Henry Stephens, 
by whom he had twenty children. With a 
rising family of this kind springing up about 
him, Isaac had to keep his Greek and 
Latin learning " up," with a vengeance ; 
and the first thing we have to tell of his 
studies is, that he worked like a horse, or 
like anything you please to consider indus- 
trious. His reading was such as some gen- 
tlemen who draw large endowments out of 
ancient foundations of learning in our day, 
would probably consider incredible. Those 
who make their fortunes for life by reading 
"bits" and writing "bits" of scholarship 
with three centuries of learning at their back 
to help them differ from the Casaubous and 
Scaligers, as the King of Naples does from 
Julius Csesar. It is indeed the difference 
between being carried in the penny steam- 
boat, and being one of the crew of the Argo. 
It is the difference between a man Avho owes 
everything to machinery which has been 
made for him, and a man who owes every- 
thing to himself. 

Casaubou's routine employment as Pro- 
fessor consisted of delivering lectures. But 
his great occupation in life was editing 
classics. Now, editing a classic, as we some- 
times see it done in England in our day, 
though a respectable, is not a transcendently 
great piece of work. First of all, of course 
your edition is " based " on that of Bunkfas, 
Cunkins, or Dunkins, of Germany; which 
entitles you to make what use of the labours 
of those philologists you please. Then you 
have got some fifty excellent commentaries 
written before you were born, to help yourself 
to. So far, so good; your edition soon gets 
under weigh. You balance commentator 
against commentator, and decide between 
them ; this marks the man of judgment ! 
Then, you attack the last English editor, and 
treat him with contempt. You call him a 
certain Smith (Smithius quidam) a man 
without a tincture of learning (litteris ne 
leviter quidem imbutus) : in English, it 
would be impertinent, in Latin, it is severe ; 



78 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



and the critics set it down to your zeal for 
bouJiJ learning, and your hatred of superficial 
men. .Finally, you dedicate to a bishop, whom 
you call the ornament of the age (seculi 
decus) ; and out coines your edition on beau- 
tiful paper a reproach (in the paper) to the 
inferiority of Germany. Casaubou's labours 
were of a severer character. He settled the 
texts of his authors by infinite care the 
very first necessity being critical skill in the 
tongues. His commentaries brought all anti- 
quity to illustrate each part of it. By the 
time he was six-and-thirty, he had edited 
Strabo, Theophrastus, the Apologia of Apu- 
leius, and Suetonius. He then devoted himself 
to Athenseus and, at the age of thirty-eight, 
moved from 'Geneva to Montpelier, and he 
accepted a chair there. He commenced his 
Diary at Montpelier, on his thirty-eighth 
birthday. He kept it regularly till his death; 
but about three years of it have been lost. 
Let us now open it. 

Casauboii begins his reading early in the 
morning. You see at once that reading is 

the passion of his life. The day commences ment in Paris. From Montpelier he brought 
with prayer. Thus he reads from about five away, as he tells us, good repute, and nothing 
until ten. After refreshment, he reads ; else. His means were, indeed, generally 
again. If anybody calls on any manner of j limited enough, and his family expenses, as 
business, or on any pretence of kindness, a i the reader has seen, were likely to be con- 
dismal groan is recorded. The business of siderable. 



great offers. We shall see that Casaubon 
was exposed through life to much pain and 
annoyance on this side of affairs. 

But duty is better than study ; and Casau- 
bon was a good man in the best sense ; for 

" Called from our studies by the widow of 
Peter Galesius. The time was not ill- 
bestowed. Duty is better than study." 

The following is curious: "Attempted the 
interpretation of a law of Ulpian's which 
contains the material of garments. Thou 
knowest, God, that we have not undertaken 
this rashly, knowing with what diligence we 
have treated that subject." 

So entirely had the feeling of duty taken 
possession of his mind, tliat he carried this 
solemn kind of earnestness into details. Thus 
he would put up a prayer for a right under- 
standing of the nature of the Macedonian 
Phalanx ; a feeling quite Puritan in its cha- 
racter, and one which, in various forms, 
achieved immense results in those ages. 

In the year fifteen hundred and ninety- 
nine, Casaubon was summoned to an appoint- 



life is to get on with the classics : 



In March of the above-mentioned year he 



" Morning. Prayer ; books. Not wholly was at Lyons, and his wife paid a visit to 
uselessly employed, O God ! " I Geneva. He is still working at Athenians ; 

This is a specimen of many a day. There and yet his nephew Peter will have a fight 
is an habitual tone of piety throughout ; of with a servant (cum famulo). So down goes 
that fervid, living piety fostered in him from : a note of his misconduct in the Diary, and the 



infancy by his father, and kept warm by the 
earnest spirit of the great town of the 
Reformers. 

" Studied not without a grief of mind 
from an internal cause known to thee, Lord. 
My spouse, who ought to be an alleviation to 
my labours, is sometimes an impediment," 

Was the marita, then, a shrew ? No ; she 
was a good, faithful, wife ; truly loved by 
Casaubon, who generally calls her the most 
beloved (the philtate, in Greek). But 
Casaubon was a little hasty-tempered, as he 
himself regrets ; and doubtless the phiitatS 
was sometimes a bore, when he was puzzled 
by a frightfully corrupt passage. 

"Kal. Jan. (i.e., first of January), 1598. A 
present from a noble German." 

Here we have a glimpse of the way in 
which supplies came in. The noble German 
is some amateur of letters, no doubt, passing 
through Montpelier, and sends a new year's 
gift to the learned Monsieur Casaubon by 
way of showing that he appreciates learning. 

"Feb., 1598. When shall I be wholly 

given to' my books ? Grant this, O God ; 
ut, above all, true piety and constant love of 



the purer religion." 
The purer religion. 



There is need to pray 



for constancy, for an eminent Protestant is 



nineteenth century is indignant at Peter 
accordingly. 

He was for some time at Lyons, and also 
visited Geneva this year. The time is 
August. He has read, one day, from five 
o'clock until ten. His wife and he sit down 
to dinner in high spirits (hilariter), when 
Madame is suddenly taken ill, and at night 
gives birth to a boy. It is observable, that 
whenever a child is born though it be the 
seventeenth or eighteenth Casaubon piously 
offers thanks for the blessing, and could not 
be more grateful were he an old monarch, 
wanting an heir to his kingdom. Here is an 
entry in the September of this same year : 

" Wife is ill, also little Philippa, John, and ( 
nephew Peter. Add to this that one's affairs 
are embarrassed. Who in such troubles 
could find leisure for arduous study ? " 

Who, indeed ! Yet, with all his troubles, 
Casaubon became one of the first scholars in 
Europe, which ought to stimulate many men, 
and not scholars only. To these troubles 
was to be added the old one, arising from his 
Protestantism ; for now that he was invited 
to Paris, the orthodox were very busy about 
him. 

About the end of December, he talks with 
"a certain Alchymist certainly an ingenious 



harassed with people wanting to convert man, who told me some things worth hearing 
him. Temp tution waits, too, in the form of i about the secrets oi' his art." Casauboii 



Charles Dickens.] 



AN OLD SCHOLAR 



79 



seems to incline to believe that gold can be 
made : there is a fascination in the idea when 
pecuniary affairs are embarrassing, certainly. 
The last day of ^February in sixteen 
hundred he set off to Paris using relays of 
very bad horses. On the tenth of March 
he was presented to Henry the Fourth, who 
received him with singular humanity. " Thou 
kuowest, Lord," he enters in his Diary, 
" that I did not seek did not court this 
royal position. Thou hast done it, Lord." 

His books, of course, had to follow him, or 
accompany him, in these peregrinations ; and 
his first employment in a new place was to 
set them all up and prepare his private 
museum in the house. Soon, he falls-to at 
them again ; and now his labours on 
Athenians are drawing to a close. He is 
fixed in Paris, and the king is kind to him ; 
conducts him one day over the palace with 
much serious conversation. Thuanus has 
lost his wife, and Casaubon consoles him ; in 
addition to which, he is studying Arabic, 
besides his usual classical labours ; and now 
he opens a correspondence with that con- 
ceited monarch, James the Sixth of Scot- 
land. This monarch writes him a letter 
from his Scotch palace, being ambitious of 
the praise of learned men. Casaubon does 
not yet foresee that he is destined to become 
associated with this monarch ; and, in fact, 
is a little suspicious of him. Meanwhile, 
Henry the Fourth is kind, as usual, though 
thei-e are orthodox people always at his 
ear, hinting that Casaubon is a dangerous 
heretic. Gentlemen of wooden faggoty 
aspect, indeed scowl at Monsieur Casaubou, 
and would roast him, on a good pretext, if 
possible. Underlings of the royal library 
are not polite ; nor are treasurers punctual 
with instalments of the pension. 

On his forty-fourth birthday, Casaubon 
as is his wont on his birthday was medi- 
tating solemnly on his life and prospects, 
when who should come in but the philtate"? She 
brought with her a birthday present of money, 
which she had saved out of the household 
expenses for this auspicious occasion. Ca- 
saubon was delighted, and returned thanks 
to God for the frugality and management 
(oikonomia) of the charissima uxor. 

In sixteen hundred and three, he visited 
his mother at Bordeaux, and soon afterwards 
paid a visit to Geneva, where old friends and 
relatives received him with open arms. On 
a, fin^ June night he supped with Theodore 
Eeza, exclaiming, "What a man! What 
piety ! What learning ! O truly great man ! " 
Beza, he remarks, though his memory was 
failing as to ordinary matters, still retained 
it in all matters of religion and theology. 
He told him that on the night of the 
Admiral's murder, he (Beza) had seen him 
in a dream, at Geneva, all bloody ; and 
had heard from him the events of that 
night almost as they actually occurred. 
Casaubon stayed a little while at Geneva, 



on the money affairs of some relations (about 
which the Genevese authorities did not 
behave well), and then returned to Paris. 

About the end of sixteen hundred and 
! three, we find him busy on las Persius, ex- 
amining ancient manuscripts, preparatory to 
beginning his admirable edition of that poet. 
He prays that the mind of King Henry may 
not be swayed by 'evil counsellors. The 
king did not conceal from him that the pope 
complained of the favour he showed to 
heretics ; and all the people about the king 
were brimming over with hatred of the 
poor scholar. Large promises every artifice 
employed but neither Casaubon nor his 
wife would open their ears to the tempters. 

What with Cardinal Perron trying to con- 
vert him ; what with black sons of Loyola 
tempting and hating (your conscience or 
your life, being the favourite alternative of 
these pious dragoons) ; what with occasional 
poverty and domestic troubles what is a 
scholar to do 1 What but go on with his 
work ? Isaac Casaubon had various labours 
on the anvil : a Treatise on the Ancient 
Satire (one of those rare treatises which 
settle the question) the incomparable 
Commentary on Persius, and so forth. Occa- 
sionally he had visitors. Casaubou loved not 
visitors. Why will people come and talk, 
dragging a quiet man from his books ? There 
comes one man who loves to hear Casaubon 
talk an Englishman, handsome, high- 
spirited, grave, courtly, learned nobilis- 
siruumvirum. His name is Edward Herbert, 
known to all the word in after ages as Lord 
Herbert of Cherbury. That most distin- 
guished gentleman the best swordsman and 
rider and duellist of his age ; accomplished 
in all that could grace rank or give dignity 
to birth left courts and palaces to come and 
talk to the quiet and laborious scholar ; and 
reported .in his Autobiography that he had 
much benefited himself thereby. Such a 
man, one could spare an hour or two from 
Persius to chat with. In such talk one could 
forget the " arrogant biped" whose foolish 
remarks on the iiomaii poet much annoyed 
Casaubon in those days. 

This is the way, then, in which life was 
jogging on. The king held firm, and would 
not persecute this heretic. Money was 
scanty, but. still things were kept going, 
through the household wisdom of that model 
wife, the philtate. Early morning found 
Casaubon commencing operations with prayer. 
Then, to work he went, still in the early part 
of the century, at Persius. In sixteen 
hundred and five the Persius appeared. 
Joseph Scaliger observed that the sauce was 
worth more than the fish. Indeed, Persius 
sails like a cock-boat in a huge sea of com- 
mentary. He is hung up like a picture with 
a hundred lights on it illuminated like a 
palace on a festal night. He had been every- 
where spoken of as obscure and unintelligible. 
Casaubon, who heartily admired him, deter- 



80 



him, at all events. 



the name of 
for ever. His 



written. 



should be at Home." He ci 
little facilities for attending 
To this misfortune was soon ; 
business one. By some decli- 
ne lost in sixteen hundred ! 
whole of his wife's fortune 
left naked," he adds. " We h 
I have nothing left but my 
children ! . . . Ungrateful b : 
fruits of my labours." Thus 
spring of sixteen hundred 
bitter cold one during which 
himself over the fire with a book. 



As I see, fire and water 
than these two women, 
and sister ! miserable lo 



Witness my Polybius, &c." 



she was aged eighteen years, 
twenty-one days, and four hours, 
light, my darling, love, delighl 
your mother ! " For days 
image of poor Philippa haunt 
the Diary. He leaves off his 
now and then, at the though 
relapses into grief. And, at 
is labouring at " that most int: 
of the difference between th 



as fast as it is finished. 



a daughter, his wife's seventeenth child. 



Europe." Scaliger left him 

had been on friendly terms .._ ., 

honoured Scaliger with true affection 



responding tone. 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. [Cmdactedbr 


id understand 


were two greater men of the kind) thought 


b was a work 


and spoke of each other worthily and 


T every edition 


well. 


s of learning 


In the kind of way we have been de- 


ias associated 


scribing, the Parisian years rolled by. Ca- 


that of Persius 


saubon's greatest trouble was, that they 


pation was his 


would insist on endeavouring to convert 


i Warton con- j him. They waylaid him in the library, and 


prefaces ever | entangled him in controversies; sometimes 




they spread a report that he was converted, 


be converted. 


and alarmed the " reformed " throughout 


ra, bitterly, " I 


Europe. But they did succeed in striking 


mplains of his 


him a severe blow ; they managed to convert 


)ublic worship. 


his son John, a youth ignorant of all 


dded a serious 


the great questions of dispute. This hurt 


on at Geneva, 


Casaubon severely. We can fancy him in his 


nd seven, the 


"museum," brooding over this sore grief, 


"and we are 


his hand carelessly playing with the leaves of 


ive no fortune : 


a folio when a stranger is announced. An 


books and my 


Italian enters, and has something to say 


)eds enjoy the 


evidently of a very secret nature. Casaubon 


le wails in the 


begs that he will speak out. The Italian 


and eight a 


hesitates ; then would Casaubon grant him 


ch he huddled 


an interview with his familiar ? Obstupui ! 


book. A new 


says Casaubon, entering the fact in his Diary. 


its appearance. 


What with alchymy, and diablerie, and astro- 


e thirty-first). 


logy, men's minds were ever hovering about 


1 agree better 


the verge of the wonderful in those days, 


nely my wife 


and shadows and shapes lurked in corners 


) hard destiny." 


out of which gas-light and other light has 


story, he says : 


long driven them. 


they have suf- 


Sixteen hundred and ten opened on Ca- 


t totally failed. 


saubon, still cloudy in the theological quarter, 




and in others. He was reading, revising, and 


greatest home 


editing, as usual, and forming pleasant castles 


3s any record 


in the air such as visits to Italy and the 


liter Philippa. 


like. A visit to Italy was still a favourite 


linuteness that 


vision of scholars, who loved the thought of 


3, six months. 


the morning-land of learning. Casaubon 


ours. " O my 


wanted to go to Italy, as Erasmus had done ; 


t, and glory of 


he wanted to see the country and talk with 


and days the 


the learned men ; and, particularly, he wished 


;s the pages of 


to visit Venice, and inform himself accurately 


3 books, every 


about the Greek Church. For, it was one 


t of her, and 


great and leading desire of Casaubon's, that 


this time, he 


a day might come when he should devote 


ricate question 


himself entirely to sacred learning. The 


le Macedonian 


memory of his father sanctified that idea ; 


on," and com- 


when he first presented the good minister 


L to the printer 


with a learned work, the old man told him 




that he would rather see one text of the 


lily inserting a 


Scriptures rightly interpreted by him, than 


i Scaliger, now 


all the fine fruits of the Pagan mind. Ca- 


ng the birth of 


saubon thought often of that saying ; lie 


nth child. At 


remembered the pious zeal of the old man, 


ger's death in 


supporting them all, in the terrible days 


nine : " Extin- 


which followed on the Saint Bartholomew, 


ge, the light of 


when the Casaubons fled like hunted beasts 


le ornament of 


to the caves and mountains, and worshipped 


ver cup. They 


God in sore distress and terror. It was the 


lys. Casaubon 


pet dream of Isaac Casaubon, to devote 


affection and 


las old age to theology ; and, indeed, it may 


n the Scalige- 


be doubted if he ever expounded a mere 


ubon in a cur- 


comic writer, such as Plautus, without a kind 


scholars have 


of uneasy regret. 


is pleasant to 


Such were the dreams, studies, trials, arid 


id there never 


troubles of Casaubou the pious, laborious, 



Charles Dickens.] 



AN OLD SCHOLAR 



81 



affectionate, rather irritable man, now turned 
of fifty when all Paris, one day in May, 
started at the death-wound of the assassi- 
nated Henry the Fourth. That king had 
altogether treated him well, had respected 
his conscience, and checked his enemies ; and 
now Paris was an intolerable and an unsafe 
residence. Casaubon had corresponded, occa- 
sionally, with James the First ; and now, 
that king being on the English throne, a 
negotiation had sprung up between them, 
and it was proposed to Casaubon to come 
over to London. For this purpose, he had 
to get leave from the French court. The 
position of great scholars in those days 
was a singular one. They were courted 
from place to place in Europe, and, as they 
approached the towns of their new appoint- 
ments, the magistrates and professors came 
out to meet them a mile outside the gates. 
Yet, they had the utmost difficulty in getting 
their salaries. And, in the same way, though 
every king of high pretensions considered a 
great scholar an ornament to his court and 
city, though kings recognised them person- 
ally with honour (Henry the Fourth wrote 
to Joseph Scaliger, on one occasion, with his 
own hand), yet, when installed, the scholar 
was a kind of servant. If he wanted to leave 
the city he must get permission. When he 
asked permission, he was sometimes refused 
it, for fear he should not come back. The 
lives of scholars were, indeed, full of strange 
contradictions ; they had the splendour of 
reputation which a singer has in our times, 
combined with fortune enough to pay for the 
singer's bouquets, and hampered with restric- 
tions and troubles infinitely vexatious. 

In October of sixteen hundred and ten, 
Casaubon obtained permission to visit Eng- 
land, and came over in company with Wotton ; 
leaving his family and books in Paris. He 
was sea-sick, like other great and little men, 
and lay groaning, below, oil a heap of sailors' 
jackets, duly entei-ed in the Ephemerides, as 
" vestes nautarum." He stayed a little while, 
at Canterbury, with Dr. Charier, and then 
came to London, " through a most pleasant 
country," he observes : as Kent, we know, 
still is. He duly arrived at Gravesend 
(" Gravesinda " sounds odd in our days !) 
and went first to the house of the Dean of 
St. Paul's Overall. 

On the eighth of November, he was pre- 
sented to King James, at St. Theobald's, and 
attended him at dinner. The ceremonial was, 
that you stood, while the king ate and drank, 
and made observations on sacred and profane 
literature, at his good pleasure. An irreve- 
rent modern might consider this a little dull ; 
but times are changed. Casaubon stood a 
kind of learned dumb-waiter with bishops 
and others ; and conversation went on. 
" There was much conversation with this 
great and wise king on all kinds of literature. 
The talk turned on Tacitus, on Plutarch, on 
Commiiies, and others. Not without aston- 



ishment, did I hear so great a monarch 
pronouncing opinions on letters ! " 

Casaubon was sincere,; and we can respect 
his sincerity, without supposing that the 
king was a paragon. Learning was rare : 
learned kings were rarer still. James had 
been well educated ; and, if he had a feature 
in his character not utterly low and mean, 
that feature was a kind of love of learning, 
such as is found in many a " dominie " of his 
country. He was glad to get a chance of 
showing off to a scholar : a scholar in those 
days was glad to find anything like personal 
appreciation of his merits in a king. James 
actually asked Casaubon, to his table to dine 
with him, which is recorded by biographers 
with wonder. But, generally, Casaubon's 
place was at the king's chair, along with the 
bishops and scholars, as above-mentioned. 
Casaubon soon found that the king's per- 
petual summonses of him were a serious 
interruption to his studies. His wife's ab- 
1 sence, too, and that of his library, were 
i annoying. He was solicited to take up his 
j residence in England ; and the king bestowed 
on him a prebend in Westminster, a prebend 
in Canterbury, and a pension. There is on 
record an autograph order of James's to the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer about Casaubon, 
which is certainly the best specimen of his 
Majesty's humour that we have ever seen : 
" Chancelor of my Excheker, I will have 
Mr. Casaubon paid befor me, my wife, and 
my barnes." (23rd September, 1612.) 

With what glee would the world have 
hailed in the scholar's pages any mention of 
the great authors of that period any little 
note about Shakspeare or Ben Jonson ! Had 
Casaubon ever fancied that there was a man 
then alive in England, whose poetry was 
more beautiful than that of all the ancients 
whom he knew so well ? There is something 
affecting in the world's indifference to its 
great men. Casaubou, learned, wise, good- 
hearted as he was, probably never thought all 
his life, that any modern could write any- 
thing worth reading, except of course such 
moderns as the Scaligers and others, who 
were proud to devote their laborious lives to 
the illustration of the classics. Our language 
he knew nothing of; nor was it indeed of any 
great importance to him that he did not : all 
those discussions on theology and the classics 
with the king and the bishops went on in 
Latin. 

Casaubon's wife joined him here ; and he- 
like wise obtained his books at last not without 
sore annoyance from custom-house authorities. 
He established himself in a house in St. Mary 
Axe : " marvellously expensive," says the 
Diary : where the poor uxor suffered most, 
knowing nothing of English, and finding the 
climate inclement. In those days, too, the 
strong and growing Puritan feeling spread 
itself among the lower orders, and Casaubon 
as a friend to the English church, and, per- 
haps, as a suspected papist was liable to- 



82 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



insults. His windows were pelted : sorely 
to the grief of the poor philtate. 

In sixteen hundred and thirteen, we find 
him visiting Oxford, and sumptuously enter- 
tained at Magdalen College. But ill-health 
was now coining upon him from an internal 
complaint of a very peculiar character. On 
his fifty-fifth birthday (sixteen hundred and 
fourteen), he enters in his Diary : 

" I find my bodily strength languishing." 

And so it languished as the summer drew 
nigh. 

"Third of June. My body languishes , . . 
My studies are neglected, except that I turn 
over the writings of Augustine." For some 
days, he was still reading Augustine, and 
getting worse. The last entry in his own 
hand, is, " Thursday, sixteenth of June, six- 
teen hundred and fourteen. I see that it 
is now over with my studies, unless the Lord 
Jesus otherwise order it. In this, too, be thy 
will done, O Lord ! " These were the last 
words, and surely they were worthy words. 
On the first of July, all warm baths and 
other measures proving in vain, Isaac Casau- 
bon died. He was buried in Westminster 
Abbey, as we have already said. 

His son Meric Casaubon made England his 
home ; and for long years, held a Canterbury 
prebend as his father had done. He lies 
buried in Canterbury Cathedral, with a son 
John, and a grandson Meric, in the last of 
whom (a child) the scholar's ^line ended. 
Out of this poor, brave, persecuted family- of 
French Protestants, came one to make it 
famous ; and then, it disappeared again. 
The brave, kindly, profoundly-learned, and 
earnestly pious man had the laborious and 
various life we have seen ; and it is a happy 
chance that the preservation of his Diary 
enables us to think of him with familiarity, 
and know him to have had qualities, which 
those who talk of the gold old commentators 
of Europe as " pedants " only, would do well 
to imitate. Casaubori's life was as good a 
commentary on the stoic poet Persius, as the 
work which he wrote with that title ; and he 
deserves a little corner in our hearts, as well 
as in our Abbey. 



THE ROVING ENGLISHMAN. 

VERY COID AT BUCHAREST. 

IT is a bright clear morning, and the snow 
lays white, crisp, and fair upon the ground. 
There is a healthy buoyancy about the air, 
which disposes the mildest men for practical 
jokes, while the jovial are wrought up to a 
state quite boisterous by cold and high 
spirits. Individuals with mustaches like a 
black frill of spears about their mouths, and 
beards and shoulders of forty years' growth, 
appear in open daylight with large catskin 
muffs upon their hands and fur slippers on 
their feet. Ladies are positively intrench cd 
and fortified in cloaks and tippets and shawls. 
Peasant girls, only roll laughing along with 



bare legs and arms, -with eyes that absolutely 
sparkle from merriment and frozen fnn when 
they observe the poor chilly stuff of which we 
seem to be made. 

My nose has been of a singular colour 
partly blue, partly a deep crimson these 
three days. I do not exactly know where my 
hands are : I could not decide with the 
smallest certainty about them if my com- 
forter depended on my doing so. It appears 
to me as if my feet, under the direct influ- 
ence of some malevolent fairy, had been 
turned into pin-cushions, and that my re- 
joicing enemy perhaps the nurse in my 
elder brother's family was ironically punc- 
turing on them, "Welcome little stranger," 
or some similar device, as expressive of gra- 
tification at the birth of an heir to the 
peerage, and the utter discomfiture of myself 
and tailors. I should never be surprised to 
trace those insulting words if I succeed in 
getting off my boots without pulling off my 
feet also when I venture to go to bed to-night. 
I use the word venture with respect to going 
to bed because it is almost as bold an enter- 
prise to retire to a couch of single wretched- 
ness as to leave it. I believe that the majority 
of the population in these countries are un- 
controllably urged into the state of matri- 
mony by the irresistibly seductive prospect 
of procuring a bed-warmer. I am given to 
understand that it is customary -among mar- 
ried people here to toss up (I suppose night- 
caps) which shall be devoted to the common 
cause, and go in to thaw the sheets ; or that 
the more equitable portion of that happy 
community take it by turns. I am inclined 
to think, however, that the lady generally 
contrives to overreach her husband in this 
respect, she is fond of exciting his courage into 
rashness by repeated glasses of " poonch," or 
powerful green tea and rum, about the hour 
of bedtime. She has been known, also, 
to plead successfully the necessity of doing 
up her back hair and to watch the shudder- 
ings of her lord between the sheets with 
intense and hopeful enjoyment. When a 
husband ceases to shudder, his wife knows 
that she can venture to get into his place 
without collapsing, and usually seizes the 
time with the same accuracy of judgment as 
is displayed by careful housewives in boiling 
an egg. That process of thawing the bed is 
as penetrating and miserable an agony as 
can be conceived. The most robust man will 
sink to half his size during the humbling 
process. As for getting up, it is an exploit so 
doughty as only to be accomplished by the 
promptings of the most ravenous hunger. I 
wonder how the ladies' medical men do. 

You feel your clothes freezing on you as 
you dress. You have no sooner left your 
hotel than you appear to have been miracu- 
lously endowed with diamonds, and very hard 
ones, growing out of your head, eyes, ears, 
nose, and mouth ; or you may be the genius 
of a crystal cave. Your whiskers set all 



Charles Dickens.j 



THE ROVING ENGLISHMAN. 



83 



attempts at elegance on the part of your 
collars at defiance. They stand out like a 
compact bundle of quills, to use a profes- 
sional simile, and they crack in a similar 
manner if roughly disturbed. When you 
take up a position, it is as well to 
choose an elegant, or at least an easy one ; 
for you will be speedily wedged into it, and 
you soon grow painfully aware of your like- 
ness to those bold commercial satellites who 
walk about London spreading the fame oi 
Moses and Son for a shilling a day and their 
board. 

Your hat, if you persist in wearing one, 
cuts a clean place for itself into your frozen 
hair ; and if you catch sight of your shadow 
in a foggy, tortured looking-glass (nothing is 
so abjectly affected by the weather as a 
mirror), you will perceive that the natural 
covering of your head has gracefully arranged 
itself in the form of a sugar-loaf, or perhaps, 
in light mockery of your profession or ac- 
quirements, in that of a fool's cap. It has in 
fact taken the shape of the inside of your hat, 
whatever that shape may be. 

It is a fierce and bloodthirsty thing to 
shave yourself, or to allow any ferocious 
lover of old fashions to shave you. Your 
face, after such an operation, will bear the 
strongest resemblance to an uncooked beef- 
steak of unsavoury exterior. Your obdurate 
and merciless collar eats into the persecuted 
skin like a knife, and you would no more 
think of making a true British bow than of 
cutting your throat. The intelligent and 
travelled observer will remember that Rus- 
sians and other people of cold countries, 
generally rather raise their heads than 
depress them in saluting. I believe they 
have learned this by bitter experience, by 
the torture of shaving in sledging-time. 
Their bow is not a deferential inclination 
of the head. It is a spasmodic writhe of the 
waist. 

Now, it is all very well for some bumptious 
old person connected with that famous school 
for bumptiousness, the red tape and sealing- 
wax office, to say, " Pooh ! pooh ! I was in 
the Principalities in eighteen hundred and 
three, and I found nothing of this sort." 
Excuse me, sir ; I find it so in eighteen 
hundred and fifty-four. They say the cli- 
mates of the world are changing, and I am 
sure you will agree with me Avlien I add that 
the race of young men and travellers has 
degenerated since your time of wooden heads 
and wonders. 

I am going to dine with the hospodar, and 
the frost dims my burnished boots as I walk 
down stairs ; my teeth are chattering in spite 
of the enormous bearskin cloak in which I 
am swathed. My brother's nurse is certainly 
using the pincushion very briskly as I step 
into my sledge and hurry my feet into a 
sheepskin bag, for nothing but wool and 
leather will keep out the penetrating cold. 
It is still daylight, for the prince dines 



! at five o'clock, and we are at tho close 
! of January. The streets are a pretty sight. 
Gilded and glittering sledges are flash- 
ing about in all directions. The horses 
that draw them wear great patches of bright 
coloured leather covered with bells on their 
foreheads and shoulders. (The jingling is 
peculiarly merry and inspiriting.) They have 
housings of velvet and fur, and I see that it 
is a gallantry among the cavaliers here that 
these shall be of the same colours as those 
chosen by their lady-loves. S >me are of 
crimson and ermine, some of purple and gold, 
some of white and sable. The sledging-time 
will probably last about a couple of months, 
and the streets never look so animated and 
pretty at any other season. 

THE THEATRE, 

THERE is a Wallachiau theatre where 
pieces are performed twice a week in the 
Roumau language. I went there, and found it 
a dismal little place enough, lighted by a dim 
chandelier of oil lamps. Two indifferent and 
rather dirty candles were also placed beneath 
every box. Each box contained four chairs, 
and was divided merely by a thin partition, 
on which the occupants of either side might 
place his elbows and converse. They did 
converse conversation, indeed, appeared the 
sole business of the company there. This 
talk must have disturbed the serious pit of 
standing people who came to see the play ; 
but they bore it very patiently, and, perhaps, 
they did not lose much. 

The pieces were the Great Great-coat of 
Prince Menchikoff, an excessively stupid farce 
founded on the anecdote which startled the 
diplomatic world of Constantinople. The other 
piece was called a Peasant's Marriage. I am 
sorry to say nothing could be sillier plot, 
language, and acting were almost childish. 
An old Greek, dressed in Turkish clothes, 
keeps a school : he overhears that one of his 
pupils is in love with the pride of the village, 
he is also in love with her why, how, or 
wherefore, does not appear in either case. 
These circumstances give rise to a comic 
song, performed by the whole strength of the 
company. The dramatis personse then scuttle 
off the stage, tugging at the old person's 
robe and hustling him. To console him- 
self, he gets into a swing, he compares the 
emotions produced in an elderly stomach 
by swinging, to love audience laugh 
comic song all chorus succeeds, and act 
closes. There is now half an hour's pause 
for general flirtation. The Wullachian good- 
bumour is irresistible. The dim oil chan- 
delier is lowered, part of it hits a bald- 
headed gentleman on the head, bald-headed 
entleman laughs, audience laughs, bald- 
iieaded gentleman rubs his head there is a 
visible bump on it audience are in ecstasies, 
and cry out jocular condolences. Lamps are 
snuffed, and make a sad smell, whereat there 



84 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Coniluctod by 



is also general jollity, in which some of the 
ladies distinguish themselves. 

Up strikes the band, every man playing on 
his own hook. The leader has evidently seen 
a picture of Strauss. He imitates his position 
and bearing. His wristbands are turned up ; 
they are not quite clean. He does not appear 
to have the smallest idea of his business. I 
mention this to my companion : he laughs. 
People in the next box laugh because we 
laugh. The curtain rises on a dance. It 
is awkward and hobbly, but I am told it 
is characteristic. The peasant boy has of 
course cut out the schoolmaster, who ex- 
presses his grief in several more comic songs. 
Audience join in one which appears to be a 
favourite. There is something interesting in 
this scene, because I learn that the actors are 
dressed in the old Wallachian peasant costume, 
which is now fast disappearing. The men wear 
long white things like calico braided bed- 
gowns, turn-over boots, and comical woollen 
caps. The girls are one blaze of spangles and 
tinsel. There is a pretty scene in which the 
peasant fetches his bride from her parents, 
while his best friends offer bread and wine as 
a symbol of plenty. There is also some gun- 
firing, a custom probably borrowed from the 
Turks, but the sulphurous smell of the pow- 
der, added to the smoke of the lamps, and the 
pent-up atmosphere of the theatre, which is 
crowded to suffocation, are almost insupport- 
able. 

I was not sorry when the whole con- 
cluded with a dance and a chorus by the 
whole strength of the company, and we were 
free to go. I never remember to have seen 
theatre, play, acting, actors and actresses, so 
irredeemably bad. 

Below there was, of course, a complete regi- 
ment of gallants drawn up in line. Every 
lady coming down had to run the gauntlet. 
This appeared to me the real reason why 
most of the company in the boxes had gone 
to the theatre, and a very good reason too. 
Perhaps there are here and there a few 
people in proper London who would not go to 
the opera if it were not for the pleasures of 
the crush-room, while Mrs. Lackadaisy's car- 
riage is stopping the way. 

THE TERRIBLE OFFICER. 

THERE is an Austrian officer quartered in 
the house of a pleasant Wallachian family. 
He is an under-lieutenant, or what we should 
call an ensign, and he is a very great man in 
consequence. It is a powerful thing to hear 
his sabre clanking along the passage when he 
conies home at night from the hotel or casino. 
It is more overwhelming still to hear him in 
energetic conversation with his man servant 
of a morning. He treats the pleasant Wal- 
lachian family as if they were his born serfs 
and servants. They keep out of his way, 
therefore, as much as it is convenient to do 
BO perhaps more. His footfall is a signal 
for the prompt flight of all within hearing of 



it. When he clears his throat the maid- 
servant trembles. If he coughs in the night 
the whole house is thrown into a state 
of alarm. 

It is not unnatural under these circum- 
stances that when the pleasant Wallachiau 
family gave a ball on New Year's Eve the ter- 
rible officer is not invited. He is not invited 
because there is not a lady who would 
dance with him ; because his presence would 
be insupportable his very entry into the 
room would cause the guests to quake and 
fear. 

The Austrian ensign, however, does not 
appear to appreciate these reasons at a suffi- ' 
cient value. He is huffed at being forgotten 
on a festival day, as most people are who 
have rendered themselves disagreeable pre- 
viously. He makes these sentiments known 
to the family on his return home between 
nine and ten o'clock, by sending them an 
abrupt order to leave off making a noise, 
which is likely to disturb his rest. The ser- 
vant who delivers this message creates much 
astonishment, also some laughter. He ia 
generally supposed to be the harmless agent 
of rather a far-fetched practical joke. The 
guests converse together agreeably about 
him in little groups for a few minutes, and 
then the subject is forgotten. 

Forgotten : for this night is one of the 
greatest festivals of the Greek Church, and 
every good Christian is bound to be merry 
accordingly. Our guests are merry, aud the 
ball goes on. Now, a Wallachian ball is by 
no means the milk-and-water affair of a ball 
in Eaton Place West. There are few wall- 
flowers who sit in steady silence throughout 
the evening, looking as unhappy as possible ; 
there are no-, long-faced gentlemen who 
stand about exasperatingly in doorways, and 
will not be comforted ; there are no shy 
people who won't dance, or can't dance. The 
guests assemble at about seven o'clock in the 
evening with a fixed determination to amuse 
themselves. They dance in the most vigorous 
manner till midnight. Then they have a 
solid sit-down supper, seasoned with a very 
considerable condiment of flirtation. Then 
they begin again, and see each other home 
in the morning, just as you and I should 
like to see home Miss Brown and Mrs. 
Fairly. 

Such is the highly ornamental design for an 
evening's entertainment marked out on the 
present occasion. So the polka succeeds the 
waltz, and the quadrille is followed by the 
mazurka, and all prudent people who love to 
talk together in corners have long ago 
entered into arrangements for the cotillon. 
That fascinating dance is, indeed, at its. 
height. The performers are whirling in 
mazy but pretty confusion, picking up hand- 
kerchiefs, pulling crackers, presenting bou- 
quets and gay ribbons to each other, after the 
fashion ot the thing. Then the door opens sud- 
denly, aud a fearful apparition appears in the 



Charles Dicken*.] 



CONVICTS, ENGLISH AND FRENCH. 



85 



midst of them. That apparition is sup- 
posed at first to be a holiday joke of Christ- 
mas time. The ladies scream delightedly, and 
the gentlemen laugh and whisper consolation. 
Nothing can be pleasanter ; for no one has 
recognised in the long figure habited in a 
scanty dressing-gown and dingy drawers, the 
august person of the Austrian ensign. He 
soon enlightens them. 

" What is the meaning of all this noise ? " 
he thunders, in a terrible voice. " Did I not 
send you a message to be quiet ? Is this a 
pothouse, where you can ask whom you please, 
or is it my quarters ] Put out the lights 
and send home these people. I cannot go to 
sleep for their racketty doings." 

" Hark ye, sir ! " answers the host, now put 
on his metal. " I and my family have borne 
a good deal from you, but we cannot bear 
this. I beg that you will retire at once to 
your own room." 

" So you will have it, then," says the 
Austrian ensign, growing much irritated. 
" Understand, therefore, that I place you all 
under arrest as rioters." Then he disap- 



pears, and, summoning his soldiers, they sur- 

,1 tl^ l,n,, m A ohsnlntfilv do S in,- Sickness and Death, their mournful harvest reaping. 



we stopped their balls altogether. Why, balls, 
sir, are as bad as clubs. They are often dan- 
gerous assemblies of people disaffected to the 
government. If not, why exclude us 1 " 

" Ah, indeed ! Then there are to be no 
more balls at Bucharest, perhaps 1 " 

" Very likely not." 

And there have been none. 



BEFOEE SEBASTOPOL. 

TRUE hearts, true hearts ! with courage all undaunted, 
Well tried, well proved, on many a battle field, 
A courage well sustained, and justly vaunted, 
Versed in all tactics, save the art to yield. 

It is a harder conflict ye are bearing, 
A bitt'rer struggle now ye undergo, 
Than any outer act of gallant daring, 
Or combat, howe'er deadly, with the foe. 

The winter in inhospitable regions, 
The toil by day, the ceaseless watch by night, 
Rain, frost and cold advance resistless legions, 
Worse to encounter than the sorest tight. 



round the house, and he. absolutely does im 
prison the new year's party. He is a man 
of his word. 

Now, among the guests is an aide-de- 
camp of the hospodar, or prince, of this 
unhappy country. He is required to be on 
duty at a certain hour, and when he sees that 
the house is surrounded he grows seriously 
alarmed. All the doors are guarded, but 
there is still a window through which he 



Sweep day by day through each diminished Hue, 
Like silent river floods, that onward creeping 
Their fragile barriers daily undermine. 

The hope deferred, the long enforced inaction, 
Warm hearts at home, and yet all help so far, 
Proving how world-old rules and party faction 
Can add new horrors to the curse of war. 

What in comparison were deadliest meeting. 



might escape. He squeezes through it, and Though the dark angel hovered in the van 
luckily makes good his exit, leaving the rest Ask thc lieroic hearts so bravely beating 
of the company in confinement. 



He tells the prince of what has happened, 
in a few days there is a rumour, 



the Austrian ensign has been placed 



and 
that 

under arrest also; but nobody believes it; 
and all idea of his serious punishment for so 
strange a freak is, of course, out of the ques- 
tion. It is said, however, to have been a sad 
and singular sight enough to see the guests 
file out in the morning when the guards 
were removed. They were in their ball- 
dresses, and their carriages had been sent 
away. They had to wade through the mud, 
cheerless and wretched. 

"And so, Colonel, are these things to be 
continued 1 The feeling of the Wallachians is 
very much exasperated about them," said a 
person, to an Austrian officer high in com- 
mand, while conversing on this and some 
similar events. 

" What will you have ? " was the reply. 
" It is the same in Italy. Scarcely a night 
passes without some riot or murder. It must 
always be the same where there is an army 
of occupation. At Clausenberg last year, 
too, a thing occurred precisely similar to that 
we are now discussing. Some of the natives 
gave an insolent ball, to whick they did not 
ask our officers, and the consequence was that 



Ask the heroic hearts so bravely beating 
On Alma's heights or plains of Inkcrmann. 

True hearts, true hearts ! with courage all unswerving, 
Be this proud record added to your fame : 
Of the whole nation warmest praise deserving, 
Ye add new glory to old England's name ! 

To bear such hardships nobly uncomplaining, 
To keep through all the lamp of hope alive, 
As e'en the slightest murmuring tone disdaining, 
To your last breath to surfer and to strive. 

Out of the earth our brethren's blood is crying 
To One not heedless when such claimants sue, 
And a roused nation's earnest heart replying, 
Goes forth, devoted men, and bleeds with you. 



CONVICTS, ENGLISH AND FBENCH. 

ONE of the grandest judicial mysteries 
one of the most puzzlingly sealed books in. 
the Radelifiian library in Themis's castle of 
Udolpho is, what becomes of a man after he has. 
been sentenced to be transported ? The judge 
on the bench it is no disrespect to him to say 
it knows no more than the wig he wears 
what will be the after fate of the delinquent 
upon whom he has just passed judgment. 
The prisoner, honest man, is equally ignorant 
of his future. He knows quite enough 



86 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Contacted by 



already that he cannot walk about in the 
open air when he wishes; that he cannot 
smoke, drink strong Liquors, gamble, or stop 
out o' nights ; that he is compelled to wear a 
prison dress instead of his own clothes, and 
that any property he^may possess, as a con- 
vict, is forfeited to the state. But how long 
this state of things is to continue ; or where 
the ten, fifteen, or twenty years, or the per- 
petuity of his captivity are to be lived out, 
he has no more than a very faint and misty 
notion. He may find himself, two or three 
years hence, on board the Justicia hulk at 
Woolwich, at Melbourne or Sydney, in 
Devonport dockyard, on the Plymouth break- 
water, in the Portland stone quarries, in a 
private room at Pentouville, or (and this con- 
summation is just as likely as the others) he 
may find himself, after a short detention, at 
large, breathing . the sweet air of his dear 
native Whitechapel or Westminster again a 
ticket-of-leave in his pocket ; a graduate in 
the university of crime ; a bachelor of thieves' 
arts, with only a few more terms to keep 
before he goes back to the Central Criminal 
Court to be received M.A. 

The British public knows very little of what 
becomes of the convicts. Some .of them are 
in the dockyards, that is apparent; some in 
this penitentiary; some in that; many en- 
joying perfect liberty, though their term of 
punishment be not half expired ; which is 
unpleasantly evident from the daring burglary 
at the house over the way, committed by 
ticket-of-leave men last Friday night, and 
from the startling garotte robbery by a libe- 
rated convict which is to be inquired into at 
Bow Street Police-office this morning. But 
where are the vast majority ? Australia won't 
hare them; Van Diemen's Laud repudiates 
them ; the Cape of Good Hope would like to 
see them (ironically) come there. The earthly 
Hades at Norfolk Island is broken up; the 
American plantations have been out of 
fashion for the transported for a century. 
We can't receive them into the bosoms of 
our families, and set them to baste the 
meat for seven years, or entreat them to 
nurse the baby for the term of their natural 
lives. We can't have them continually sailing 
up and down the seas in quest of a colony 
which will take them in. We would rather 
not have them walking about Regent Street, 
with bludgeons, pitch -plasters, chloroform 
sponges, and slip-knotted handkerchiefs in 
their pockets. They are an eyesore to us 
even in Woolwich or Portsmouth yards, 
skulking among the frank, jovial, open-faced 
men-of-war's men and the smart stalwart 
soldiers. We grumble against the pet prisons, 
the horticultural show-houses of rascality, the 
menageries of crime wild beast shows well 
kept, well swept, well ordered, with nice sweet 
shins of beef for the animals (fed at regular 
hours), and well-dresaed visitors crowding to 
aee the hippopotamus of burglary taking his 
bath, or the chimpanzee of larceny holding 



a good book like a Christian, or the bludgeon- 
ing tiger being stirred up with a longpole 
and not howling, or the worthy governor or 
worthy chaplain emulating the exploits of 
Mr. Van Amburg putting their heads in the 
lion's mouth, and not having them bitten off. 
Where are the convicts to go? Where do they 
go? And while we ask, well-meaning philan- 
thropists echo the same question dolorously, 
while the government cry still more dolorously 
that they would like very much to be told 
what to do with the convicts, and where to 
send them. Whereupon A bellows out, 
" Botany Bay !" forgetting that we have tried 
the Bay, and that it has now narrowed into 
a river running upon golden sands, even the 
Pactolus, and that the inhabitants of its auri- 
ferous banks refuse disdainfully to have any- 
thing to do with British scum. Follows B, 
who roars, "Hang them !" unmindful that we 
have tried that, too, and have not found it 
answer. Follows (at a long distance behind) 
Z, who has a small voice, and is too weak to 
struggle to the front, and who says mildly, 
'' Teach and wash and tend them, before they 
come up into the dock for judgment ; let there 
be clean straw, sweet shins of beef, and good 
books outside as well as inside the menagerie, 
and do not let a human being wait till he be a 
criminal to be cared for, like the bear in the 
Garden of Plants, who only became famous 
from the day he ate a baby." 

Whatever becomes of the convicts in the 
present muddled state of transition into which 
the questions of secondary punishments and 
prison discipline have sunk, it is not the less 
certain that judges of the land declare that 
they do not know whether the sentences they 
are passing will be carried out or not; and 
that criminals avowedly contemn the punish- 
ment of transportation, and are pleasantly 
conscious that it will not be carried out in its 
terrible entirety. Meanwhile we, who are not 
yet transported, only dimly know two things: 
that .transportation to the colonies is at an 
end, and that large numbers of determined 
ruffians are daily let loose upon tickets-of- 
leave, and return from wherever they came 
to swell the already not immaculate popula- 
tion of our large towns, and exercise assault, 
battery, theft, burglary, shop-lifting, hocuss- 
ing, and other branches of their profession, 
with as much vigour and with more success 
than heretofore. 

Let us see what the state of affairs is in 
the dominions of the Emperor of the French. 
Until very lately, grave and, in many cases, 
capital crimes were punished by travaux 
forces (hard labour) for a term of years or 
for perpetuity at the dockyard Bagues 
better known under the generic name of the 
galleys. But our neighbours are now in the 
same state of muddled transition as to 
secondary punishments that we in England 
are. The Bagnes were the same hells upon 
earth that our Norfolk Island was. A large 
section of French philanthropists and social 



Chavlci Dickens.] 



CONVICTS, ENGLISH AND FRENCH. 



87 



economists called out for the cellular system, 
with all its wretched apparatus of starving, 
darkness, strapping, hanging on tiptoes, and 
gagging ; and with its horrible attendants of 
madness and suicide, canting hypocrisy, or 
hardened sulkiness. The French government, 
which is to the full as puzzled as our own 
what to do with its reprobates, suddenly 
confounded confusion by breaking up the 
Bagnes ; and, at the present day, the uutran- 
sported public in France are in a state of 
dreamy ignorance parallel to our own as to 
the whereabouts of convicts; where they go to, 
what is actually done with them, and when 
they may be expected back. The authorities 
are indefinitely known to have invented penal 
colonies ; one, the fine feverish settlement of 
Cayenne, about which whether it be in Sene- 
gal or Guiana, or both the same muddled 
ignorance prevails as among well-informed 
circles here as to whether Demerara be an 
island or a continent, in South America or in 
the West Indies, or all four. Another is 
Nouka-Hiva, which, when I say that it is in 
the South Seas, is saying quite enough for 
once, I think. Thither the burglars, forgers, 
and, very often, murderers, who are sen- 
tenced by the French Court of Assize to 
travaux forces are sent ; but, as it is known 
that there are also in those colonies some 
thousands of unfortunate men, many of them 
educated gentlemen many shamefully de- 
luded by now prosperous rogues almost all 
of them guilty of no other crimes than wanting 
bread and differing in political opinion from 
somebody else, no coherent idea can be 
formed of which is transportation, which 
deportation, and which travaux forces. The 
widow whose only son was sent to Cayenne 
because he happened to be in the National 
Guard and in BarbeV Legion in June 'forty- 
eight, or because he was foolish enough to 
walk on the Boulevard des Capucins on the 
second of December 'fifty-one, knows not 
whether he be chained to a desperado found 
guilty of assassination with extenuating cir- 
cumstances, and condemned to hard labour for 
life, or not, and vice versa. It is all a muddle. 
The few letters that reach France from 
Cayenne, or are allowed to be published, 
describe settlements as having been made 
and abandoned ; penitentiaries opened and 
closed ; tickets-of-leave granted, to the in- 
finite annoyance of the non-convict inhabi- 
tants of Senegal, and numerous evasions into 
the bush. What sort of bush the bush of Sene- 
gal may be I am not aware ; but, from the 
peppery, tigerish, jungleish nature of the 
climate, I imagine that any of the evaded, if 
retaken, would be found to have become 
spotted if not brindled, with tails, great 
suppleness in the joints, and capacity for 
springing from holes in rocks, and an un- 
quenchable appetite for raw meat and hot 
blood. 

In a most remarkable converse, the French 
are desperately endeavouring to get rid of 



the very disease with whose virus we are 
as desperately trying to inoculate ourselves. 
" No convicts in France ! no liberated con- 
victs. Break up the Bagnes ! " cry the 
French. " No transportation to the colonies ! 
Tickets-of-leave, and build up a Bagne on 
Dartmoor ! " cry we. And each system seems 
to work equally ill. The French judges 
go on sentencing^ doubting the efficacy of 
their sentences ; the public go on asking for 
security, or at least for information, and don't 
get them ; and the government goes on 
scratching its head (if a government could 
perform so undignified an operation), or, like 
that man who was so wondrous wise, jumping 
backwards and forwards in and out of a 
quickset-hedge, not much improving its 
vision in the long run thereby. 

The curse of French society the big 
plague-spots in all the back streets were 
the liberated and escaped convicts. Strictly 
guarded and watched as they were, they 
often managed, as we shall afterwards have 
occasion to see, to regain their liberty. 
Of course, they all flocked to Paris. 
The streets were not safe at night ; 
the bridges were regular places of call for 
assassins : and, at every e'meute, at every 
popular commotion, there were vomited forth 
from foul cellars and tapis francs ; from the 
Rue aux Feves ; the infamous tumours of 
streets behind the Louvre ; the slums of the 
petite Pologne, the Barridre Mont Parnasse ; 
the Rue Mouffetard and the Faubourg du 
Temple, boiliug, raving, screeching, ravenous 
mobs of escaped convicts, liberated convicts, 
coiners, midnight assassins, passport-forgers ; 
nine-tenths of whom had served at some time 
or other their apprenticeship at the Bagnes. 
These men, calling themselves republicans, 
and fighting at the barricades as a cloak for 
murder and plunder, did more harm to honest 
republicanism and real liberty than ten 
hundred reigns of terror could have done. 
These were the men who shot the Arch- 
bishop of Paris, who murdered General de 
Brea, who impaled the artilleryman, and cut 
off the feet of the dragoon. A large majority 
of the prisoners arraigned at the Court of 
Assize had been convicts at some time or 
other ; and a large proportion of the duties 
of that peculiarly infamous body, the secret 
police (recruited, itself, from the convict 
ranks), consisted in hunting out and re- 
capturing the formats evades the escaped 
convicts. 

The evaded malefactor who had thus pro- 
vided himself with an unsanctioned "ticket- 
of-leave" did not fail, of course, of becoming 
interesting and romantic in France. He was 
dramatised immediately with immense suc- 
cess The escaped forcat, Vautrin, in M. de 
Balzac's drama of that name, was elevated by 
the accomplished actor, Frederic Lemaitre, 
into a sort of French Timon a cynic phi- 
losopher, visiting all the institutions of 
society with the most withering scorn. The 



88 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducts! by 



character was thought to be a caricature of 
Louis Philippe, and the play was prohibited 
by the government. So was .Robert Macaire, 
that other convict apotheosis, which is too 
well known in England to need any further 
mention here. M. de Balzac's Vautrin was 
by him transplanted into that wonderful 
series of novels aggregated by their author 
under the title of the "Comcdie Humaine." 
The escaped, recaptured, re-escaped, again re- 
captured, and at last promoted into chief of 
the Police de Suret6, Vautrin runs through 
half a dozen romances like Natty Bumppo in 
the works of Mr. Cooper. Scarcely a melo- 
drama or a novel afterwards was produced 
without a forcat being discovered in act the 
tirst, occupying the exalted position of a 
baron, banker or general. In act the third 
he was generally detected ; and, if not shot, 
was sent back with ignominy to the galleys. 
The " ancien forcat " became almost as recog- 
nised a rOle as the " pe~re noble " or the 
" premier amoureux." The novel writers ran 
the escaped convict almost to death. They 
had him in one volume, in two volumes, in 
three volumes, in series of ten of three 
volumes each ; in feuilletons, reviews, and 
magazines. Mr. Frederic Soulio served up 
the convict with as many sauces as a good 
ship's cook will adjust to one piece of beef; 
but the culmination of convicts took place in 
M. Eugene Sue's monstrous romance of the 
" Mysteries of Paris," in which every one of 
the characters either had been, or were, or 
ought to have been at the galleys. To be- 
lieve these gentlemen (which, to say the 
truth, very few people did), you could not 
enter a drawing-room without running the 
risk of your host being an escaped convict, 
even if you, as a guest, did not happen to be 
a forgat yourself : and there was every pro- 
bability of the gentleman decorated with the 
riband of legion of honour who sat next to 
you at dinner, having undergone ten years' 
hard labour ; or of the patent leather ankles 
of your sister's partner having formerly been 
encircled with a neat iron ring with leg-chain 
to match. 

Though the dramatists and novelists am- 
plified their narrations considerably, as it is 
the custom of dramatists and novelists to do, 
they had some foundation of truth to work 
upon ; for the escaped convict was, until very 
recently indeed, a disagreeable reality in 
France. He was frequently, too, a romantic 
reality ; and there are accounts on record of 
the escapes of convicts and their subsequent 
adventures, surpassing in romantic interest 
the boldest achievements of our penny illus- 
trated heroes. The essential democracy of 
French society at least before the second 
Empire which allowed every man with a 
good coat on his back, and with tolerable 
impudence, to penetrate into the best circles; 
and to attain even the highest social posi- 
tions ; the perfect facilities offered from 
the abolition of the hereditaiy peerage to 



a man for calling himself by whatever title 
he chose ; the omnipotence of ready money 
in consequence, and I may hint the general 
corruption and Robert Macairism that cha- 
racterised the early days of the monarchy of 
J uly, produced a general condition of exist- 
ence that really rendered it possible for the 
escaped denizen of the Bagne to form com- 
mercial partnerships of the highest respect- 
ability, and to marry spinsters with fortunes. 
They could play and win at the best tables, 
sport for a time titles and decorations, and 
mix in and impose upon the entire round of 
fashionable life. Fancy Belgravia bamboozled 
by a ticket-of-leave holder Tyburnia duped 
by Tyburn Jack ! 



TINDER FROM A CALIFORNIA^ 
FIRE. 

THE golden attractions of California have 
been sought by many Englishmen, who have 
brought home various reports of them ; among 
others, they have been lately sought by 
Mr. Frank Marryat, who has spent three 
years in the country, and tried it in various- 
capacities. He has lived there as a shooter 
of deer, a grower of onions, a builder on a 
town lot, a crusher of quartz. Having so 
tried it, he has failed in getting money, but 
has succeeded well in getting pleasure out of 
his adventures. He is a gentleman who 
having good-humour for the chief bulk of his 
luggage has wandered much about the world, 
who has taken pen-and-ink notes of many 
things ; who has made a great numberof pencil 
sketches. His California!! journal and the 
pictures he had painted were burnt in one 
of the great fires of San Francisco. It is 
from recollection of the leaves of his journal 
that he now produces a cheerful, useful book : 
Mountains and Molehills is its title. We 
will indicate here a little of the anecdote 
and information thus reduced to tinder, and 
thus restored to ink and paper again. 

Mr. Marryat arrived at San Francisco 
while the June fire of eighteen hundred and 
fifty was still burning. He was accompanied 
by a young friend, Mr. Thomas, who, having 
gone out to join a great mercantile house 
and found the house in ruins, fell in with 
Mr. Marryat's purpose of experimenting for 
a few months on California!! sport by settling 
somewhere among the mountains, and sub- 
sisting by the gun. He was accompanied 
also by a faithful servant, Barnes, who had 
begun the world as poacher, and then settled 
down as gamekeeper ; by two blood hounds, 
Prince and Birkham ; and by a large Scotch 
slob hound, whose name was Cromer. After 
various experiences, this party of six awokeone 
morning on the bank of Russian River to find 
mules and horses stolen, all means of farther 
advance cut off, and no more agreeable alter- 
native left than to wade through the stream, 
each man with baggage on his head, and look 
on the other side for a backwoodsman's hut 



TINDER FROM A CALIFORNIAN FIRE. 



89 



that was known to exist in the vicinity. 
Without much trouble the hut was found, 
near a running stream, surrounded by huge 
redwood trees. The backwoodsman, a power- 
ful Missourian, whose name was March, being 
at home, lent his mule to bring the luggage 
up ; and, by nightfall, the .English party was 
encamped within a few yards of this man's 
dwelling, 

Two other backwoodsmen lived with 
March, bringing up to three the number of the 
population in that district. These three 
men nevertheless had been at work in the 
recesses of the forest. With their own six 
hands they had just built a massive sawmill, 
to which they had applied the power of the 
stream, by means of an overshot wheel. The 
heavy beams of the millframe, the dam, and 
race, had all been formed from the adjacent 
redwood trees. Nothing was wanting but 
the saw, and for that the builders meant to 
make a trip to San Francisco. Thus, as Mr. 
Marryat rightly says, the American goes 
ahead because he looks ahead. From the 
first tents of San Francisco orders were sent 
out for steam engines and foundries which 
now do the daily work of an important city. 
In the same spirit March's mill was built in 
a lonely wood, with the safe expectation that 
its use would soon appear, and it now barely 
supplies the wants of au agricultural popu- 
lation that is settling round about it. 

By the advice of March, Mr. Marryat and 
his companions walked over the hills to look 
at a valley on which they were strongly 
advised to squat. The valley was found to 
contain about twenty acres of ground, per- 
fectly level, bounded on one side by masses 
of redwood trees, and on the other by a fine 
stream whose banks were shaded with alders 
and wild vines. In the valley itself was 
neither shrub nor tree ; except that, from its 
centre, rose a clump of seven gigantic red- 
woods which grew in a circle, and so formed a 
natural chamber, to which there was but a sin- 
gle entrance. Of this valley, the English party 
made a winter's home. The space within the 
central clump was perfected as to its accom- 
modations by the addition of a boarded 
floor and a brushwood roof. Barnes, who 
was a famous woodsman, laid his axe to the 
trees beyond the stream, and proceeded to 
the manufacture of rails and other things 
proper to be set up by an occupier of the 
ground. Mr. Thomas took charge of the 
home department, and Mr. Marryat devoted 
himself and his gun to the business of finding 
victuals for the whole establishment. 

The redwood tree here mentioned the 
arbor vitse is to the Californians as much a 
possession and a wonder as their gold. It 
grows to be some eighteen feet in girth, 
one hundred and fifty feet in height, and is 
as straight as it is tall. Its timber is very 
durable, and at the same time easily worked, 
with no other tools than an axe, a betel, and 
some wedges. An unusually large redwood 



tree is something most enormous. In Cala- 
veras county a group of them, each tree 
being from two hundred to two hundred and 
fifty feet in height, were found to measure in 
girth from fifty feet to sixty, seventy, and 
eighty. The largest was felled, and the bark 
which was removed to San Francisco, and 
set up in its original position, formed a 
spacious room, seven-and-twenty feet from 
end to end. 

The redwood bark is commonly found per- 
forated in every direction by a kind of 
starling, called for his pains the carpentaro 
carpenter. The carpentaros labour indefati- 
gably to form cells in the trees, which they 
fit tightly with acorns for their winter pro- 
vender. They work noisily, chiefly upon the 
tops of the redwoods, and are always at 
work when they ai-e not fighting. There is a 
gray squirrel who profits by their labour. 
When he ascends a redwood he is immedi- 
ately surrounded by the birds, who know 
what he wants, and attack him with an angry 
chatter. Taking no heed of them he extracts 
whichever acorn is most tempting in his eyes, 
pops it into his mouth, and turns his head 
from side* to side, looking at the indignant 
birds with comical composure. Then down 
he comes, whisking his silvery tail, and the 
carpentaros assemble round the pillaged hole 
to scream at the whole rascally business, and 
rate the robber soundly in his absence. Often 
it happens that while they are in the midst 
of their vituperation, the gray squirrel again 
appears among them, having found the first 
acorn so ripe and good that he thinks he 
will take another. By that time the noise in 
the tree has brought fresh flights of carpen- 
taros to the scene of quarrel, and the chorus 
of protest against his proceedings becomes 
altogether deafening. A worse enemy to the 
carpentaro is the Digger Indian. The diggers 
light a fire at the root of a well-acorned 
redwood tree, in that way fell it, and when it 
has fallen pick its acorns out and carry 
many baskets-full away. 

After a little time, by help of Barnes the 
woodman, there was a two-roomed house 
built near the redwood clump, and this was 
kept free from the vermin which abound in 
the land, and are brought home in fresh 
colonies with the skin of every slain animal 
by a few simple precautions. Everything was 
turned out of the hut daily and hung up in the 
sun, the floor was then well watered ; and, by 
these precautions, accompanied with a scru- 
pulous regard for cleanliness, a ban was set 
upon centipedes and scorpions, and all black 
cattle that seek pasture upon human flesh. 
The settlers had books, and one of them 
usually read aloud after the day's active work 
or sport when supper was done and pipes 
were lighted from a volume of Fielding, 
Goldsmith, or De Foe. Barnes also took 
writing lessons ; but, on one occasion, these 
amusements were set aside for a great debate 
on a proposed farming operation. Onions 



90 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



were commanding fabulous prices in San 
Francisco. if onions could be persuaded to 
come, enormous profit would accrue. Onion 
seed, therefore, was fete-lied from town with 
other agricultural stock. ' The onions re- 
warded a great deal of care by really sprout- 
ing ; but, before they were ready for the 
market, the gray squirrels interfered with the 
foresight of the farmers, just as they hud set 
at nought the foresight of the carpenters. 
They munched them and wagged their heads 
over them until the lield was stripped of all 
its produce. 

By that time, however, Mr. Marryat was 
being led into a new track. He had gone to 
San Francisco, there to meet an iron-house 
that had been sent to him from Europe. It 
was lauded, and proving mere rubbish, was 
left to be thrown into the quay. A speculation 
of a larger kind in iron buildings followed : 
and here let us stop to back the author's re- 
commendation to all emigrants in no case 
to go out like snails with houses on their 
backs. 

Of iron-houses, after much experience, he 
speaks in the most disparaging way. Under 
sun-shine they are too hot ; as night advances 
they cool too rapidly, and towards dawn they 
are ice houses. When warm the anti-corrosive 
paint upon them emits a sickening smell, the 
rain falls on the roof noisily like small shot, 
and, if such houses become implicated in a 
fire they first expand, then collapse, and tum- 
ble down with astonishing rapidity. In one 
of the San Franciscan tires, of which Mr. 
Marryat had some experience, the American 
iron-houses, of which the plates were nearly 
an inch thick, and the castings of apparently 
unnecessary weight, collapsed like a pre- 
served-meat can, and destroyed six person, 
who, believing it to be fire-proof, remained 
inside. 

While the onions were coming up, and 
Mr. Marryat was at San Frnncisco, a store- 
ship laden with iron-houses, belonging to a 
Mend of his, sunk at her moorings in a 
heavy gale. When raised, her cargo, crusted 
with mud and peopled with small crabs, 
was unsaleable at San Francisco. At that 
time, the state of California had secured cer- 
tain ground, the property of General Vallejo 
as the site for a capital, a seat for govern- 
ment, of which Vallejo was to be the 
name. The ground had already been sur- 
veyed and staked off into botanic gardens, 
theatres, churches, orphan asylums, town- 
halls, and schools for the indigent blind. The 
bright idea therefore occurred to Mr. Marryat 
of lauding those muddy materials on the beach 
at Vallejo, leaving them there for the tide 
to scour, and then using them for the construc- 
tion of some building in the rising capital. 
At the end of six months he had accord- 
ingly converted them into a capacious hotel, 
well finished and painted, and furnished 
handsomely, according to the proper Califor- 
iiian style. At this juncture the government 



altered its mind relative to the site of the new 
capital, and selected Benicia. So much of the 
city of Vallejo as had been built was there- 
upon pulled down and sold for old materials. 
The hotel, we .should say, was just before the 
crisis seized in execution for two ponies' 
tails. Its owner who had proposed to himself 
to let it at a great rent had been travelling 
with a friend in a drag, to which he harnessed 
two horses of his own, while his friend added 
to the beam a pair of Canadian switchtail 
ponies. The friend upon the journey dined 
too well ; and, after dinner, nothing would 
please him but an alteration of the tails of 
the two Canadian ponies. They must be 
made to match with the tails of the other 
pair of horses, which were banged. Remon- 
strance was urged against this proceeding, 
inasmuch as it would be the spoiling of two 
valuable animals, whose chief beauty con- 
sisted in their manes and tails, but the re- 
monstrance was in vain. The tails were 
hacked with a blunt table-knife and when 
they were docked (one being left nearly a 
foot shorter than the other) the perpetrator 
of the mischief admired them, and remarked 
after a grave survey, " Oh, no consequence, 
s'hey dou't b'long to me." The person to 
whom they did belong thought it of conse- 
quence and went to law upon the matter. 
Thus it came finally to pass that, for the 
value of two ponies' tails, the sheriff was put 
in possession of the Vallejo hotel, but that 
functionary submitted to ejectment by the 
owner. 

Then, too, the onions failed, and the squat- 
ters gathering about March's mill, proved 
Mr. Marryat to be an alien who had no right 
of pre-emption, and objected to his retention 
of the valley. Moreover, while things were 
going awry at Vallejo, and Mr. Marryat was 
in that place, a bright glare one night, in the 
direction of San Francisco, warned him of 
another conflagration of the town, to which 
he hurried, and at which he arrived, after his 
lodging there with all the possessions it con- 
couiaiued (journal included) were destroyed. 
By a few steel buttons only that remained 
upon the ground could he discover where 
his property had stood. What one of these 
all-devouring fires is like the traveller shall 
tell us, for of a calamity like this none who 
are inexperienced can speak with half the 
force of an eye-witness. It is another con- 
flagration one that occurred while he was 
living in San Francisco to which Mr. Mar- 
ryatt refers in the succeeding passage : 

"On third of May, at eleven in the evening, 
the fire-bell again startled us; but on this 
occasion the first glance at the lurid glare 
and heavy mass of smoke that rolled towards 
the bay evidenced that the fire had already a 
firm grip on the city. The wind was unusually 
high, and the flames spread in a broad sheet 
over the town. All efforts to arrest them 
were useless; houses were blown up and torn 
down in attempts to cut off communication ; 



Charles Dickens.] 



TINDER FROM. A CALIFORNIAN FIRE. 



91 



but the engines were driven back, step by 
step, while some of the brave firemen fell 
victims to their determined opposition. As 
the wind increased to a gale, the fire became 
beyond control ; tlie brick buildings in Mont- 
gomery Street crumbled before it ; and before 
it was arrested, over cue thousand houses, 
many of which were filled with merchandise, 
were left in ashes. Many lives were lost, and 
the amount of property destroyed was esti- 
mated at two millions and a-half sterling. 

" No conception can. be formed of the 
grandeur of the scene, for at one time the 
burning district was covered by one vast 
sheet of flame that extended half a mile in 
length. 13ut when the excitement of such a 
night as this has passed by, one can scarcely 
recal the scene : the memory is confused in 
the recollection of the shouts of the excited 
populace the crash of falling timbers the 
yells of the burnt and injured the clank of 
the fire-brakes the hoarse orders delivered 
through speaking-trumpets maddened horses 
released from burning livery stables plunging 
through the streets helpless patients being 
carried from some hospital, and dying on the 
spot, as the swaying crowd, forced back by 
the flames, tramples all before it explosions 
of houses blown up by gunpowder showers 
of burning splinters that fall around on every 
side the thunder of brick buildings as they 
fall into a heap of ruins, and the blinding 
glare of ignited spirits. Amidst heat that 
scorches, let you go where you will smoke 
that strikes the eyes as if they had been 
pricked by needles water that, thrown off 
the heated walls, falls on you in a shower of 
scalding steam you throw your coat away, 
and help to work the engine brakes, as calls 
are made for more men." 

The end of it was work, and the result of it 
was work. The community of San Francisco 
took, in those days, a fire as quietly as a boy 
takes a fall upon the pavement. The town 
had to be got up again, and that was all. 
However great might be the destruction of 
property, however complete the ruin of some 
individuals whose all was lost, and who could 
take no part in the effort to reconstruct their 
own fortunes together with the town, all 
lamentation -was sent, like the sickness in an 
army, to the rear. The ruined were the 
luckless men not rare in Califoruian society 
and nothing remained for them but to go 
about their business, whatever that might be, 
The business of all who had wherewith to 
buy building materials was obvious enough, 
and the demand for bricks and stones was 
held to be more pressing than the need for 
sighs and groans, therefore among the tents 
of the burnt-out townspeople little was said 
of the past grief, much of the present remedy. 
Mr. Marryatt arrived at San Francisco, sum- 
moned by the glare over the town, only in 
time to see the dying embers of the fire 
that had destroyed his journal, but over them, 
while they still smoked, he found the citizens 



already preparing to rebuild their homes, or, 
it would be more accurate to say, places of 
business, with brick and stone. Instructed 
and even strengthened by disaster is the man 
who would cut out for himself a new path in 
the world. The Californian public knows the 
uses of adversity, turns them all to account, 
and thrives. 

Mr. Marryatt himself also has made 
some trial of them, and is not the 
worse for his experience. Soon after he 
had been burnt out at San Francisco, 
that gentleman commenced a quartz-crushing 
experiment, and found that his iron ma- 
chinery was obstinate in breaking down, 
the quartz being more able effectively to" 
bruise the machine than the machine to 
bruise the quartz. Here was the man to 
bring usliome a black account of California; 
but he does nothing of the kind. He en- 
of joyed his adventures in the country, and has 
sense to separate his individual mishaps, as a 
speculator, from the general prosperity. If 
San Francisco began its new life in the midst 
of riot, dissipation, and misfortune, he can 
see that the experience of some dozen con- 
flagrations has only taught the people there 
to erect good brick houses, make their city 
the substantial place it now is, and protect it 
by a brave volunteer corps of firemen. Now 
San Francisco stands as little chance of 
being again laid in ashes as Hamburg or 
London. He remembers that in the midst 
of their first excesses the Americans of San 
Francisco did not forget to found a public 
school, and take care even in a wild co- 
lony, for the education of all children a care 
not taken for the ragged sons and daughters 
even of righteous England. He sees, too, 
that the energies of vice have become ex- 
hausted that the town Californians, sick of 
excess, are turning in many ways to 
right thoughts and right deeds, with ail 
energy unknown in communities that have 
been satisfied for generations with the re- 
spectable way in which they have managed 
their concerns. March's mill he knows to be 
more truly a type of what is in that laud of 
activity than his own quartz-crushing ma- 
chine. The failure of his quartz-crusher he 
regards only as the failure of one among the 
number of experiments which must be 
made by every pioneer. As for his onions 
he dees not for their sake curse all 
the onions in the land. Thanks to the 
maiden soil, vegetables attain to an un- 
usual size in California, though (as always 
happens in such cases) they gain size at the 
expense of flavour. Onions and tomatas as 
large as cheese-plates are, Mr. Marryat says, 
common. Melons have attained the weight 
of filly pounds. Wheat and oats grow to the 
height of eight or ten feet, and are very pro- 
lific in the ear. We recommend no one to 
emigrate who cannot carry out with him 
some measure, at least, of this dauntless, 
candid temper. 



92 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



Of course, there is a good deal of road- 
making and other work yet to be done in the 
new country. For example, this is the sort 
of excitement open to a passenger upon the 
box-seat of a coach or spring-waggon, rattled 
along the mine district by six horses, well 
broken in to crossing gulches and mudholes. 
Now, the road isdownadry gulch, then, through 
a bog, to be crossed in safety only by hard 
driving ; then, along the steep slope of a hill, 
with one wheel up, the other down, and all 
passengers " hard up to the right," at the 
command of the colonel who drives that is 
to say, throwing their weight all on one side 
to maintain a balance. Presently, the vehicle 
is di-agged up through an infinity of small 
cindery rocks to the summit of a used-up 
crater. The colonel puts the break on with 
his leg, and down they slide among the rocks, 
the colonel loudly adjuring the horses not to 
touch one of them. Near the bottom the 
off-wheels get into a mudhole. The colonel 
without hesitation orders all passengers to 
hang on to the ne'ar side of the waggon, 
jumps upon the lap of the gentleman who 
occupies the box-seat, and with a crackof the 
whipstarting the wholeconcern,sendsitflying 
and swaying from side to side to the bottom of 
the hill. There they pull up, and the colonel 
relieves his neighbour of his weight, ob- 
serving, in extenuation of what might other- 
wise have appeared a liberty, that he is 
obliged to be a little " sarsy " on the road. 
All goes well for a time. Presently, the 
colonel turns round to his neighbour, his 
hands being occupied with his ribbons, and 
says, " I guess there's a flea on my neck." 
It is the business of the box-seat to catch and 
kill it. The colonel, as he nods his thanks, 
remarks that he generally has three or four 
of the "darned cattle put through " in that 
fashion during the journey. 

Then again, as we need hardly say, men in 
those parts walk armed. Outrage has be- 
come comparatively infrequent, theft is less 
common than at home in the old country ; 
but even in San Francisco men go armed. 
In this and in some other respects many 
things in California carry our minds back to 
the period when Europe itself was, so to 
speak, a new country, a few centuries ago. 
The energies, too, that were displayed by the 
pioneers to whom we owe the present state 
of the old world, though different in kind, 
were in no degree less wonderful than those 
which we now see put forth by the best class 
of Californian adventurers. There is a great 
deal in such a parallel that would be worth 
pursuing. 

Before the last San Francisco fire, bur- 
glaries, says Mr. Marryat, were so common 
that it became necessary to carry firearms 
after dark, more particularly as the streets 
were not lighted. An acquaintance of his 
was walking late one night through a street 
whicli was apparently deserted, and in which 
one dim light alone shed a sickly ray from 



over the door of a closed restaurant. As he 
readied this spot, a man started from the 
obscurity, and requested, with the politeness 
of a Claude. Duval, to know the time. With 
equal civility the person addressed presented 
the dial of his watch to the light, and allowing 
the muzzle of his revolver to rest gracefully 
upon the watch-glass, he invited the stranger 
to inspect for himself. Slowly the man ad- 
vanced, and the sickly ray gleamed on the 
barrel of the "sixshooter" as well as upon 
the dial-plate, as with some difficulty he 
satisfied himself respecting the time. Both 
then prepared to depart, and for the first 
time the light fell on their faces ; then these 
desperate fellows discovered that they were 
no burglars, but old acquaintances, who had 
dined in company that very evening. This 
might surely pass for a scene out of the old 
town life of Europe. 

On board the local steamboats, the open 
bunks line the saloon and decorum forbids 
undressing; but by a placard though indeed 
vainly " gentlemen are requested not to go 
to bed in their boots." Apropos to this, 
writes Mr. Marryat, I i-emember attending a 
political meeting in a little church at Benicia ; 
in each pew was a poster, which requested 
that you would neither cut the woodwork, 
nor spit on the floor ; but the authorities had 
provided no spittoons ; so, as a gentleman 
observed to me, whilst inside the sacred edi- 
fice, " what-the-something was a man to do 
who chewed ?" 

That the Californian gold was sought, 
although not found, by the early Spanish 
priests, is evident from the number of old 
shafts in some places, sunk sometimes in 
the centre of rich districts. Often it has 
happened that they who seek for the gold 
miss it, and they who had no thoughts of it in 
their minds fall upon heaps. A market-gar- 
dener who had long been abusing his ground 
i for producing cabbages that were all stalk, 
one day pulled up an aggravating sample, 
and found a piece of gold adhering to its 
roots. Holden's garden, near Sonora, was 
found to be so rich that the gamblers of the 
town sallied out and fought for claims in it. 
For four years it has yielded riches, pieces of 
gold weighing many pounds having been 
sometimes taken from it. There is a 
famous digging upon Carson's Hill, in the 
vicinity of which a rich gulch was dis- 
covei'ed under circumstances that were 
related to Mr. Marryat by Mr. Carson : 
One of the miners died, and as he had been 
much respected, it was determined to give 
him an unusually ceremonious funeral. A 
digger in the neighbourhood, who had once 
been a powerful preacher in the United 
States, was requested to officiate, and after 
"drinks all round," the party went in solemn 
order to the grave. Around the grave all 
knelt while the man of power laboured inde- 
fatigably at a lengthy prayer. Time began to 
hang heavy on the hands of listeners ; their 



Cluitlcs Dickens.] 



MY CONFESSION. 



93 



fingers began to work in a nervous or ab- 
stracted way among the loose earth that had 
been thrown up. It was thick with gold, and 
an excitement quickly spread among the 
kneeling crowd. The preacher's eye was 
caught, and he stopped suddenly in his 
prayer to exclaim, " Boys, what's that ? 
Gold, and the richest kind of diggings. The 
congregation is dismissed ! " The poor mirier 
was taken from the precious soil and put 
aside for burial elsewhere, while the funeral 
party, with the parson at its head, lost no 
time in " prospecting " the new digging. 

In Mr. Marryat's book we find bits of 
advice to emigrants which we think worth 
repeating. Some of them we have already 
given incidentally, but we add a few others 
in a plainer form. Mr. Marryat would have 
every one go out with his mind made up as 
to what he means to do, not with the vague 
notion of trying his luck, in some unknown 
fashion. He advises that each emigrant 
should prefer, as far as possible, to do that 
work in the colony for which he has been 
trained at home ; and, if he amasses money at 
first in the diggings, that he should be pru- 
dent in time, and use it as the means of 
setting himself up among the new community 
in steady trade. He dwells on the importance 
of a trifle of capital, that may be consumed 
during the days of quiet observation and 
deliberation with which an emigrant's life, in 
the majority of cases, is best begun. He recom- 
mends daily and complete ablution for the 
preservation of health, the constant wearing 
of flannel next the skin, in California, and in 
other places with like climate ; and he most 
wisely advises against meddling with a medi- 
cine chest. The emigrant's best medicine for 
home use good to swallow, good to use as a 
salve ; efficacious in a hundred cases, .and 
unlikely to be dangerous in one is castor 
oil. This, with a few trifles for the cure of 
wounds, a stock of mustard, and some quinine 
if it can be afforded, should be all the physic 
with which an emigrant would venture to 
undertake the tinkering of his own consti- 
tution. When headache and sickness give 
warning of fevei', rest, says the wise adviser. 
Do not, he adds, take pride in working till 
an illness becomes serious. A day or two 
of repose, and a dose or two of castor oil, 
taken in proper time, will often save the 
digger weeks of misery. When fever threatens, 
resist the inclination to bathe in a stream. 

The digger is advised to vex himself little 
about outfit ; but to be very careful as to 
the good quality of his blankets and flannel 
clothing, to select good thick socks and the best 
highlow shoes that can be made for money. 
A blanket with a hole cut in the middle for 
the head to go through, is an invaluable 
poncho wrapper for wet seasons. India 
rubber clothing except, perhaps, a water- 
proof cap with a curtain to protect the neck 
is scarcely to be recommended. Whoever 
intends to dig will find it worth while to 



have one or two pickaxes and crowbars made 
under his own supervision, since the adviser 
tells us "it is money well spent to pay some- 
thing over market price for a pickaxe that 
won't turn its nose up at you the instant you 
drive it into the hillside." 

Finally, everybody is advised not by Mr. 
Marryat, but by us to read the sensible 
book we have cursorily described. 



MY" CONFESSION. 



I HAD always been a passionate boy. They 
said I was almost a fiend at times. At others 

was mild and loving. My father could 
not manage me at home ; so I was sent to 
school. I was more flogged, both at home and 
at school, than any one I ever knew or heard 
of. It was incessant flogging. It was the 
best way they knew of to educate and correct 
me. I remember to this day how my father 
and my master used to say, " they would flog 
the devil out of me." This phrase was burnt 
at last into my very being. I bore it always 
consciously about with me. I heard it so often 
that a dim kind of notion came into my mind 
that I really was possessed by a devil, and 
that they were right to try and scourge it 
out of me. This was a very vague feeling 
at first. After events made it more definite. 

Time went on in the old way. I was for 
ever doing wrong, and for ever under punish- 
ment terrible punishment that left my 
body wounded, and hardened my heart into 
stone. I have bitten my tongue till it was 
black and swollen, that I might not say" I 
repented of what I had done. Repentance 
then, was synonymous with cowardice and 
shame. At last it grew into a savage pride 
of endurance. I gloried in my sufferings, 
for I knew that I came the conqueror out 
of them. The masters might flog me till I 
fainted ; but they could not subdue me. My 
constancy was greater than their tortures, 
and my firmness superior to their will. Yes, 
they were forced to acknowledge it I con- 
quered them : the devil would not be scourged 
out of me at their bidding ; but remained 
with me at mine. 

When I look back to this time of my boy- 
hood, I seem to look over a wide expanse of 
desert laud swept through with fiery storms. 
Passions of every kind convulsed my mind . 
unrest and mental turmoil, strife and tumult, 
and suffering never ceasing ; this is the pic- 
ture of my youth whenever I turn it from the 
dark wall of the past. But it is foolish to 
recal this now. Even at my age, chastened 
and sobered as 1 am, it makes my heart 
bound with the old passionate throb again, 
when I remember the torture and the fever 
of my boyhood. 

I had few school friends The boys were 
afraid of me, very naturally; and shrank from 
any intimacy with one under such a potent ban 
as I. I resented this, and fought my way 
savagely against them. One only, Herbert 



94 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



1'Yrravs, was kind to me ; lie alone loved me, 
and ho alone was loved in return. Loved 
as yon may Wv>H believe a boy of warm 
: ions, such as T was, in spite of all my 
intemperance of passion, isolated from all 
and shunned by all would love any one such 
as Herbert ! He was the Royal Boy of the 
school ; the noblest ; the loved of all 
masters and playmates alike ; the chief of 
all ; clever ; like a young Apollo among 
the herdsmen ; supreme in the grace and 
vigour of his dawning manhood. I never 
knew one so unselfish so gifted and so 
striving, so loving and so j ust, so gentle and 
so strong. 

We were friends fast, firm friends. The 
other boys and the ushers, and the mas- 
ters, too, warned Herbert against me. 
They told him continually that I should 
do him no good, and might harm him in 
many ways. Bat he was faithful, and suffered 
no one to come between us. I had never 
been angry with Herbert. A word, or look, 
joining on the humour of the moment, would 
rouse me into a perfect fiend against any 
one else ; but Herbert's voice and manner 
soothed me under every kind of excitement. 
In any paroxysm of rage the very worst 
I was gentle to him ; and I had never 
known yet the fit of fury which had not yielded 
to his remonstrance. I had grown almost 
t ! look on him aa my good angel against that 
devil whom the rod could not scourge out 
of me. 

We were walking on the cliffs one day, 
Herbert and I, for we lived by the sea-side. 
And indeed I think that wild sea makes me 
fiercer than I should else have been. The 
cliffs where we were that day were high 
and rugged ; in some places going down 
sheer and smooth into the sea, in others 
jagged and rough ; but always dangerous. 
Even the samphire gatherers dreaded them. 
They were of a crumbling sandstone, that 
broke away under the hands and feet ; for 
we had often climbed the practicable parts, 
and knew that great masses would crumble 
and break under our grasp, like mere 
gravel heaps. Herbert and I stood for a 
short time close to the edge of the highest 
cliff ; Hagliu's Crag it was called ; looking 
down at the sea, which was at high tide, ami 
foaming wildly about the rocks. The wind 
was very strong, though the sky was almost 
cloudless ; it roared round the cliffs, and 
lashed the waves into a surging foam, that 
beat furiously against the base, and brought 
down showers of earth and sand with each 
blow as it struck. The sight of all this life 
and fury of nature fevered my blood and 
excited my imagination to the highest, A 
strange desire seized me. I wanted to clamber 
down the face of the cliffs to the very base 
and dip myself in the white waves foaming 
round them. It was a wild fancy, but I could 
not conquer it, though I tried to do so; and 
1 felt equal to ita accomplishment. 



"Herbert, I am going down the cliff;" 
I said, throwing my cap on the ground. 

" Nonsense, Paul," said Herbert, laughing. 
He did not believe me ; and thought I was 
only in jest. 

When, however, he saw that I was sei'ious, 
and that I did positively intend to attempt 
this danger, he opposed me in his old man- 
ner of gentleness and love ; the manner which 
had hitherto subdued me like a magic spell. 
He told me that it was my certain death I 
was rushing into, and lie asked me affection- 
ately to desist. 

1 was annoyed at his opposition. For the 
first time his voice had no power over me ; 
for the first time his entreaties fell dead on 
my ears. Scarcely hearing Herbert, scarcely 
seeing him, I leant over the cliffs ; the waves 
singing to me as with a human voice; when 
I was suddenly pulled back, Herbert saying 
to me, angrily 

"Paul, are you mad? Do. you think 
I will stand by and see you kill yourself ! " 

He tore me from the cliff. It was a 
strain like physical anguish when I could no 
longer see the waters. I turned against him 
savagely, and tried to shake off his hand. 
But he threw his arms round me, and held 
me firmly, and the feeling of constraint, of 
imprisonment, overcame my love. I could 
not bear personal restraint even from him. 
His young slight arms seemed like leaden 
chains about me ; he changed to the hideous- 
ness of a jailor ; his opposing love, to th 
science of a tyrant. I called hoarsely to him 
to let me free ; but he still clung round me. 
Again I called ; again he withstood me ; and 
then I struggled with him. My teeth were 
set fast my hands clenched, the strength of a 
strong man was in me. I seized him by the 
waist as I would lift a young child, and 
hurled him from me. God help me ! I did not 
aee in what direction. 

It was as if a shadow had fallen between me 
and the sun, so that I could see nothing in its 
natural light. There was no light and there was 
no colour. The sun was as bright overhead as 
before ; the grass lay at my feet as g' earning 
as before ; the waves flung up their sparkling 
showers ; the wind tossed the branches full 
of leaves, like boughs of glittering gems, as it 
had tossed them ten minutes ago ; but I saw 
them all indistinctly now, through the veil, 
the mist of this darkness. The shadow was 
upon me that has never left me since. Day 
and night it has followed me ; day and ni ;ht 
its chill lay on my heart. A voice sounded 
unceasingly within me, "Murder and a lost 
soul, for* ever and ever ! " 

I turned from the cliff resolutely, and went 
towards home. Not a limb failed me, not a 
moment's weakness was on me. I went home 
with the intention of denouncing myself as 
the murderer of my friend ; and I was calm 
because I felt that his death would then be 
avenged. I hoped for the most patent 
degradation possible to humanity. My only 



Charles Dickens.] 



MY CONFESSION. 



95 



desire was to avenge the murder of my 
friend on myself, his murderer ; and I 
walked along quickly that I might over- 
take the slow hours, and gain the moment of 
expiation. 

I went straight to the master's room. He 
spoke to me harshly, and ordered me out of 
his sight ; as he did when ever I came before 
him. I told him authoritatively to listen to 
me ; I had something to say to him ; and 
my manner, I suppose, struck him : for he 
turned round to me again, and told me to 
speak. What had I to say ] 

I began by stating briefly that Herbert had 
fallen down Haglin's crag ; and then I was 
about to add that it was I who had flung 
him down though unintentionally when 
whether it was mere faintness, to this day I do 
not know I fell senseless to the earth. And 
for weeks I remained senseless with brain 
fever, from it was believed the terrible 
shock my system had undergone at see- 
ing my dearest friend perish so miserably 
before my eyes. This belief helped much 
to soften 'men's hearts, and to give me 
a place in their sympathy, never given me 
before. 

When I recovered, that dark shadow still 
clung silently to me ; and whenever I at- 
tempted to speak the truth and the secret 
always hung clogging on my tongue the 
same scene was gone through as before ; I 
was struck down by an invisible hand ; and 
reduced perforce to silence. I knew then 
that I was shut out from from expiation 
as I had shut myself out from reparation 
in my terrible deed. Day and night, day 
and night ! always haunted with a fierce 
thought of sin, and striving helplessly to ex- 
press it. 

I had come now to that time in my life 
when I must choose a profession. I re- 
solved to become a physician from the 
feeling of making such reparation to hu- 
manity as I was able, ' for the life I had 
destroyed. I thought if I could save life, 
if I could alleviate suffering, and bring bless- 
ing instead of affliction, that I might some- 
what atone for my guilt. If not to the indi- 
vidual, yet to humanity at large. No one 
ever clung to a profession with more 
ardour than I undertook the study of 
medicine ; for it seemed to me my only 
way of salvation, if indeed that were yet 
possible a salvation to be worked out not 
only by chastisement and control of my 
passions, but by active good among my fel- 
low-men. 

I shall never forget the first patient I 
attended. It was a painful case, where 
there was much suffering ; and to the rela- 
tions to that poor mother above all 
bitter anguish. The child had been given 
over by the doctors ; and 1 was called in 
as the last untried, from despair, not from 
hope ; I ordered a new remedy ; one that 
few would have the courage to prescribe. 



The effect was almost miraculous, and, as the 
little one breathed freer, and that sweet soft 
sleep of healing crept over her, the thick dark- 
ness hanging round me lightened perceptibly. 
Had I solved the mystery of my future ? By 
work and charity should I come out into the 
light again ? and could deeds of reparation 
dispel that darkness which a mere objectless 
punishment a mera mental repentance 
could not touch 1 

This experience gave me renewed courage: 
I devoted myself more ardently to my pro- 
fession, chiefly among the poor, and without 
remuneration. Had I ever accepted money, I 
believe that all my power would have gone. 
And as I saved more and more lives, and 
lightened more and more the heavy burden of 
human suffering, the dreadful shadow grew 
fainter. 

I was called suddenly to a dying lady. No 
name was given me, neither was her station 
in life nor her condition told me. I hurried 
off without caring to ask questions : care- 
ful only to heal. When I reached the house, 
I was taken into a room where she lay in a 
fainting fit on the bed. Even before I ascer- 
tained her malady with that almost second 
sight of a practised physician her wonderful 
beauty struck me. Not merely because it was 
beauty, but because it was a face strangely 
familiar to me, though new ; strangely speak- 
ing of a former love : although, in all my 
practice, I had never loved man or woman 
individually. 

I roused the lady from her faints ess ; but 
not without much trouble. It was more like 
death than swooning, and yielded to my treat- 
ment stubbornly. I remained with her for 
many hours ; but when I left her she was 
better. I was obliged to leave her, to attend 
a poor workhouse child. 

I had not been gone long carrying with 
me that fair face lying in its death -like 
trance, with all its golden hair scattered wide 
over the pillow, and the blue lids weighing 
down the eyes, as one carries the remem- 
brance of a sweet song lately sung carrying 
it, too, as a talisman against that dread 
shadow which somehow hung closer on me 
to-night ; the darkness, too, deepening into 
its original blackness, and the chill lying 
heavily on my heart again when a mes- 
senger hurried after me, telling me the 
lady was dying, and I was to go back imme- 
diately. I wanted no second bidding. In a 
moment, as it seemed to me, I was in her 
room again. It was dark. 

The lady was dying now, paralysed from 
her feet upwards. I saw the death -ring 
mount higher and higher ; that faint, bluish 
ring with which death marries some of his 
brides. I bent every energy, every thought to 
the combat. I ordered remedies so strange to 
the ordinary rules of medicine, that it was 
with difficulty the chemist would prepare 
them. She opened her eyes full upon me, 
and the whole room was filled with the 



96 



HOUSEHOLD WOKDS. 



cry of ' .Murderer! " They thought the 
lady iuul spoken feverishly in her death- 
trauce. 1 alone knew from whence that cry 
had come. 

But I would not yield, and I never quailed, 
nor feared for the result. I knew the power 
I had to battle with, and I knew, too, the 
powers I wielded. They saved her. The blood 
circulated again through her veins, the faint- 
ness gradually dispersed, the smitten side 
flung off its paralysis, and the blue ring 
faded wholly from her limbs. 

The lady recovered under my care. And 
care, such as mothers lavish on their 
children I poured like life-blood on her. I 
knew that her pulses beat at my bidding, 
I knew that I had given her back her life, 
which else had been forfeit, and that I was 
her preserver. I almost worshipped her. 
It was the worship of my whole being the 
tide into which the peut-up sentiment of 
my long years of unloving philanthropy, 
poured like a boundless flood. It was my 
life that I gave her my destiny that I saw 
in her my deliverer from the curse of sin, 
as I had been hers from the power of death. 
I asked no more than to be near her, to see 
her, to hear her voice, to breathe the same air 
with her, to guard and protect her. I never 
asked myself whether I loved as other men 
or no ; I never dreamed of her loving me 
again. I did not even know her name nor 
her condition : she was simply the Lady to 
me the one and only woman of my world. 
I never gared to analyse more than this. 
My love was part of my innermost being, 
and I could as soon have imagined the 
earth without its sun as my life without the 
lady. Was this love such as other men 
feel 1 I know not. I only know there were 
jio hopes such as other men have. I did 
not question my own heart of the future : 
I only knew of love I did not ask for 
happiness. 

One day I went to see her as usual. She 
was well now ; but I still kept up my old 
habit of visiting her for her health. I sat by 
her for a long time this day, wondering, 
as I so often wondered, who it was that 
she resembled, and where I had met her 
before, and how ; for I was certain that 
I had seen her some time in the past. 
She was lying back in an easy chair how 
well I remember it all ! enveloped in a 
cloud of white drapery. A sofa-table was 
drawn along the side of her chair, with one 
drawer partly open. Without any inten- 
tion of looking, I saw that it was filled 
with letters, in two different handwritings, 
and that two miniature cases were lying 
among them. An open letter, in which lay 
a tress of sun-bright hair, was on her 
knee. It was written in a hand that made 
me sjart and quiver. I knew the writing, 
though at the moment I could not recognise 
the writer. 

Strongly agitated, I took the letter in my 



hand. The hair fell across my fingers. The 
darkness gathered close and heavy, and there 
burst from me the self-accusing cry of 
"Murderer!" 

" No, not murdered," said the lady, sor- 
rowfully "He was killed by accident.' This 
letter is from him my dear twin-brother 
Herbert written the very day of his death. 
But what can outweigh the blessedness of 
death while we are innocent of sin ! " 

As she spoke, for some strange fancy she 
drew the gauzy drapery round her head. It 
fell about her soft and white as foam. I 
knew now where I had seen her before, lying 
as now with her sweet face turned upward to 
the sky ; looking, as now, so full of purity 
and love : calling me then to innocence as 
now to reconciliation. Her angel in her 
likeness had once spoken to me through the 
waves, as Herbert's spirit now spoke to 
me in her. 

" This is his portrait," she continued, open- 
ing one of the cases. 

The darkness gathered closer and closer. 
But I fought it off bravely, and kneeling 
humbly, for the first time I was able to 
make my confession. I told her all. My 
love for Herbert; but my fierce fury of 
temper : my sin, but also how unintentional ; 
my atonement.- And then, in the depth of 
my agony, I turned to implore her forgive- 
ness. 

"I do," she said, weeping. "It was a 
grievous crime grievous, deadly but you 
have expiated it. You have repented in 
deed by self-subjugation, and by unwearied 
labours of mercy and good among your fellow 
men. I do forgive you, my friend, as 
Herbert's spirit would forgive you. And," 
in a gayer tone, " my beloved husband, who 
will return to me to-day, will bless you too 
for preserving his wife, as I bless you for 
preserving me to him." 

The darkness fell from me as she kissed 
my hand. Yet it still shades my life ; but as 
a warning, not as a curse a mournful past, 
not a destroying present. Charity and active 
good among our fellow men can destroy the 
power of sin within us ; and repentance in 
deeds not in tears, but in the life-long 
efforts of a resolute man can lighten the 
blackness of a crime, and remove the curse of 
punishment from us. Work and love : by 
these may we win our pardon, and by these 
stand out again in the light. 



This day is published, for jjrreater convenience, uud 
cheapness of binding, 

THE FIRST TEN YOLUMES 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 
WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO THE WUOLE. 

Price of the Set, thus bound in Five Double instead of Tea 
Single Volumes, 2 10s. Od. 



fublined t toe Office. Mo. 16, Wellington Street JSorth. Strand. Printed by URAUBUHI & KTAK., Whitefriws, Lon 



Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL, 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



- 258.] 



SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 1855. 



OLD LADIES. 



ARE there any old ladies left, now-a-days ? 
The question may at first appear absurd ; for, 
by the returns of the last census we find 
that seven per centum of the whole female 
population were, four yeai'S since, widows ; 
and that, at the same period, there were in 
Great Britain, three hundred and fifty-nine 
thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine " old 
maids " above the age of forty. Yet I repeat 
my question, and am prepared to abide by 
the consequences : Are there any old ladies 
left, uow-a-days ? 

Statistically of course, substantially even, old 
ladies are as plentiful as of yore ; but I seek 
in vain for the old lady types of my youth ; the 
feminine antiquities that furnished forth my 
juvenile British Museum. Every omnibus- 
conductor has his old lady passenger pattens, 
big basket, umbrella. The cabman knows the 
old lady well her accurate measurement of 
mileage, her multitudinous packages, for which 
she resists extra payment ; her objections to 
the uncleanliness of the straw and the damp- 
ness of the cushion ; her incessant use of the 
checkstriug and frequent employment of a 
parasol handle, or, a key, dug into the small of 
the driver's back as a means of attracting 
his attention ; her elaborate but contradic- 
tory directions as to where she wishes to be 
set down ; and, finally, her awful threats 
of fine, imprisonment, and treadmill should 
the much-ill-used Ixion-at-sixpeuce-a-mile 
offend her. No railway-train starts without 
an old lady, who screams whenever the 
whistle is sounded ; groans in the tunnels ; is 
sure there is something the matter with the 
engine ; smuggles surreptitious poodles into 
the carriage ; calls for tea at stations where 
there are no refreshment-rooms ; summons 
the guard to the door at odd times during 
the journey, and tells him he ought to be 
ashamed of himself, because the train is 
seven minutes behind time ; insists upon 
having the window up or down at pre- 
cisely the wrong periods ; scrunches the 
boots of her opposite neighbour, or makes 
short lunges into his waistcoat during iri- 
tempestine naps, and, should he remon- 
strate, indulges in muttered soliloquies, 
ending with, " One doesn't know who 
one is travelling with, now-a-days ; " and 



carries a basket of provisions, from which 
crumbs disseminate themselves unpleasantly 
on all surrounding laps and knees and from 
which the neck of a small black bottle 
will peep : the cork being always mis- 
laid in the carriage, and causing un- 
speakable agonies to the other passengers 
in the efforts for its recovery. There 
are old ladies at every theatre, who scream 
hysterically when guns are dischai-ged ; 
who, when the Blaze of Bliss in the Realms 
of Dioramic Delight takes place, seem on 
the point of crying "Fire ! " and who persist 
in sitting before you in huge bonnets, 
apparently designed expressly to shut out 
the dangerous seductions of the ballet. 
Churches teem with old ladies from the old 
ladies in the pews who knock down the 
prayer-books during the " I publish the 
banns of marriage," and turn over the mouldy 
hassocks, blinding you with a cloud of 
dust and sti-aw-chips, to the old ladies, 
mouldier and dustier than the hassocks, 
who open the pews, cough for sixpences, and 
curtsey for shillings ; and the very old 
ladies who sit in the free seats, have fits 
during the sermon, and paralysis all through 
the service. There are old ladies in ships 
upon the high seas who will speak to the 
man at the wheel ; in bad weather, moan- 
ingly request to be thrown overboard and 
block up the companion-ladder mere sense- 
less bundles of sea- sick old-ladyism. There 
is never a crowd without an old lady in it. 
The old lady is at almost every butcher's shop, 
at almost every grocer's retail establishment, 
on Saturday nights. Every housemaid 
knows an old lady who objected to rib- 
bons, counted the hearthstones, denounced 
the " fellows " (comprising the police, the 
household troops, and the assistants of the 
butcher and grocer aforesaid), and denied 
that the cat broke all the crockery at 
her (the housemaid's) last place. Every 
cook has been worretted dreadful, by the 
old lady ; every country parson knows her 
and dreads her, for she interferes with the dis- 
cipline of the village school, and questions the 
orthodoxy of his sermons. Every country 
doctor is aware of, and is wroth with her; for 
there is either always something the matter 
with her, or else she persists in dosing, pilling, 
and plastering other old ladies who have 



258 



98 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted l>y 



something the matter with them, to the stul- 
tification of the doctor's prescriptions, and the 
confusion of science. The missionaries would 
have little to eat, and nobody to eat them 
up in the South Seas, were it not for the old 
ladies. Exeter Hall in May would be a 
howling wilderness, but for the old ladies 
in the front seats, their umbrellas, and 
white pocket-handkerchiefs. And what Pro- 
fessor Mi'thusaleh and his pills, Profes- 
sor Swollow with his ointment, Doctor 
Bumblepuppy with his pitch-plaisters, and 
Mr. Spools, M.R.C.S., with his galvano- 
therapeutic blisters, would do without 
old ladies I'm sure I don't know : Yea, 
and the poor-boxes of the police-courts 
for their Christmas five-pound notes, the 
destitute for their coals and blankets, the 
bed-ridden old women for their llannel-petti- 
coats would often be in sorry plight but for 
the aid of the old ladies, bless them ! At 
every birth and at every death there is an old 
lady. I have heard that old ladies are some- 
times seen at courts. It is whispered that 
old ladies have from time to time been found 
in camps. Nay, irreverent youths, hot-headed, 
inconsiderate youngsters, doubtless bits of 
boys have sometimes the assurance to hint 
that old ladies have, within these last thou- 
sand years, been known to sit at the coun- 
cils of royalty, and direct the movement of 
armies, the intricacies of diplomacy, and the 
operations of commerce. 

But these are not my old ladies. Search 
the wide world through, and bring before 
me legions of old ladies, and I shall still 
be asking my old question. 

No. I will be positive and give my self- 
asked question a negative, once for all. 
There are no old ladies now-a-days. You 
know as well as I do that there are no chil- 
dren now ; no tender rump-steaks ; no good- 
fellows ; no good books ; no chest tenors ; no 
clever actors ; no good tragedies, and no old 
port wine. The old ladies have followed all 
these vanished good things. If they exist at 
all, they exist only to that young generation 
which is treading on our corns and pushing 
us from our stools, which laughs in its sleeve 
at us, and calls us old fogies behind our backs; 
to that generation which yet believes in the 
whisperings of fancy, the phantoms of hope, 
and the performance, by age, of the promises 
of youth. The old women have even dis- 
appeared. Women there are, and old, but no 
old women. The old woman of Berkeley ; 
the old woman of Tutbury who so marvel- 
lously supported herself by suction from 
her pocket-handkerchief ; the aerostatic old 
woman who effected an ascent so many times 
higher than the moon ; the old woman who 
lived in a shoe, and frugally nurtured her 
numerous offspring upon broth without 
bread ; the delightful old woman, and mem- 
ber of the society for the prevention of 
crutlty to animals Mother Hubbard who 
20 tenderly entertained that famous dog, 



though, poor soul, she was often put to 
it, to find him a bone in her cupboard ; 
the eccentric old woman who, is it pos- 
sible to imagine it, lived upon nothing but 
s ioUials and drink, and yet would never be 
quiet (she evanished from my youthful ken 
at abv/ut the same time as the old man of 
Tobago who lived on rice, sugar, and sago) ; 
the terrible old French woman, La Me>e 
Croquemitaine who went about France with 
a birch and a basket, wherewith to whip 
and carry away naughty little girls and boys, 
and who has now been driven away her- 
self by the principals of genteel seminaries in 
the Avenue de Marigny, Champs Elys6es ; 
the marvellous, fearsome old women of witch- 
craft, with brooms, hell-broths, spells, and in- 
cantations ; the good and wicked old women 
of the Arabian Nights and the Child's Own 
Book ; fairy godmothers ; hump-backed old 
women sitting by wellsides; cross old women 
gifted with magic powers, who were inad- 
vertently left out of christening invitations, 
and weaved dreadful spells in consequence ; 
good women in the wood ; old women who 
had grandchildren wearing little Redriding- 
hoods and meeting (to their sorrow) wolves ; 
Mother Goose; Mother Redcap; even Mother 
Damnable (I beg your pardon) ; all this 
goodly band of old women have been swept 
away. There are no types of feminine age left 
to me now. All the picturesque types of life 
besides seem melting away. It is all coming 
to a dead level : a single line of rails, with 
signals, stations, points, and turntables ; and 
the Cradle Train starts at one fifteen, and 
the Coffin Train is due at twelve forty-five. 
An iron world. 

Somewhere in the dusty rooin, of which the 
door has been locked for years, I have a cup- 
board. There, among the old letters how 
yellow and faded the many scored expres- 
sions of affection have grown ! the locks of 
hair; the bygone washing-bills: "one pare 
sox, one frunt ;" the handsome bill of 
costs (folio, foolscap, stitched with green, 
ferret) that came as a rider to that small 
legacy that was spent so quickly ; the minia- 
ture of the lady in the leg of mutton sleeves ; 
the portraits of Self and Schoolfriend Self 
in a frilled collar, grinning ; Schoolfriend in 
a lay-down collar, also grinning ; the rusted 
pens ; the squeezed-out-tubes of colour ; the 
memoranda to be sure to do Heaven knows 
what for Heaven knows whom ; the books 
begun ; the checkbooks ended ; the torn en- 
velopes ; the wedding cards with true lovers' 
knots dimmed and tarnished ; the ad- 
dresses of people who are dead ; the keys of 
watches that are sold ; the old passports, old 
hotel bills, dinner tickets, and theatrical 
checks ; the multifarious odds and ends that 
will accumulate in cupboards, be your pe- 
riodical burnings ever so frequent, or your 
waste paper basket system ever so rigorous : 
among all these it may be that I can find a 
portfolio shadowy or substantial matters 



Charlec Di.-l.m.i.l 



OLD LADIES. 



little where are nestled, all torn, blotted, 
faded, mildewed, crumpled, stained and moth- 
eaten, some portraits of the old ladies I 
should like to find now-a-days. 

Yes ; here is one : The Pretty Old Lady. 
She must have been very, very beautiful when 
young ; for, in my childish eyes she had 
scarcely any imperfections, and we all know 
what acute and unmerciful critics children 
are. Her hair was quite white ; not silvery, 
nor powdery, but pure glossy white, resem- 
bling spun glass. I have never been able to 
.make my mind up whether she wore a cap, 
a hood, or one of those silken head-cover- 
ings of the last century called a calash. 
Whatever she wore, it became her infinitely. 
-I incline, on second thoughts, more to the 
calash, and think she wore it in lieu of a 
bonnet, when she went abroad ; which was 
but seldom. The portrait I have of the old 
lady is, indeed, blurred and dimmed by the 
lapse of many winters, and some tears. Her 
title of the pretty old lady was not given to 
her lightly. It was bruited many years ago 
when ladies of fashion were drunk to, in 
public, and gentlemen of fashion were drunk 
in public that the pretty old lady was a 
"reigning toast." 

A certain gray silk dress which, as it had 
always square creases in it, I conjectured to 
be always new, decorated the person of the 
pretty old lady. She wore a profusion of 
black lace, which must have been price- 
less, for it was continually being mended, and 
its reversion was much coveted by the old 
lady's female friends. My aunt Jane, who 
was tremendously old, and was a lady ; 
but whose faculties decayed somewhat 
towards the close of her life, was never so 
.coherent (save on the subject of May-day and 
the sweeps) as when she speculated as to 
" who was to have the lace " after the old 
lady's demise. But my aunt Jane died first, 
and her doubts were never solved. More than 
this, I can remember a fat-faced old gold 
watch which the pretty old lady wore at 
her waist; a plethoric mass of wheezing gold, 
like an oyster grown rich and knowing 
the time of day. Attached to this she wore 
some trinkets not the nonsensical charms 
or breloques that young ladies wear in their 
chatelaines now, but sensible, substantial 
ornaments a signet-ring of her grand- 
father's ; a smelling-bottle covered with silver 
fillagree ; and a little golden box in the form 
of a book with clasps, which we waggish 
youngsters declared to be the old lady's 
snuff-box, but which, I believe, now, to have 
been a pouncet-box the same perhaps, which 
the lord, who was perfumed like a milliner, 
held 'twixt his finger and his thumb upon 
the battle-field, and which, ever and anon, 
he gave his nose. 

I trust I am not treading upon dangerous 
ground, when I say, that two of the chief 
prettinesses of the pretty old lady were her 
feet and their covering. "To ladies' eyes 



around, boys !" Certainly,Mr. Moore, wecan't 
refuse ; but to ladies' feet, a round boys, 
also, if you please. Now the pretty old lady 
had the prettiest of feet, with the most delicate 
of gray silk stockings, the understandings of 
the finest, softest, most lustrous leather that 
ever came from innocent kid. I will back those 
feet (to use the parlance of this horse- 
racing age) and those shoes and stockings 
against any in the known world, in ancient 
or modern history or romance : against 
Dorothea's tiny feet dabbling in the stream ; 
against Musidora's paddling in the cool 
brook ; against Sara la Baigneuse swing- 
ing in her silken hammock ; against Da 
Grammont's Miss Howard's green stockings ; 
against Madam de Pompadour's golden clocks 
and red-heeled mules ; against Noblet, 
Taglioni, Cerito's ; against Madame Vestris's, 
as modelled in wax by Signor N. N. 
There aie no such feet as the pretty old lady's 
now ; or, if any such exist, their possessors 
don't know how to treat them. The French 
ladies are rapidly losing the art of putting on 
shoes and stockings with taste ; and I deli- 
berately declare, in the face of Europe, that I 
have nut seen, within the last three months in 
Paris from the Boulevard des Italiens to the 
Ball of the Prefect of the Seine twenty pairs 
of irreproachable feet. The systematically 
arched instep, the geometrical ankle, the 
gentle curves and undulations, the delicate 
advancement and retrogression of the foot 
of beauty, are all things falling into de- 
cadence. The American overshoes, the ma- 
chine-made hosiery, and the trailing dra- 
peries, are completing the ruin of shoes and 
stockings. 

The pretty old lady had never been married. 
Her father had been a man of fashion a gay 
man a first-rate buck, a sparkling rake; 
he had known lords, he had driven curricles, 
he had worn the finest of fine linen, the most 
resplendent of shoe-buckles ; he had once 
come into the possession of five thousand 
pounds sterling, upon which capital quite 
casting the grovelling doctrine of interest to 
tlie winds he had determined to try the fas- 
cinating experiment of living at the rate of 
five thousand a-year. In this experiment he 
succeeded to his heart's content for the 
exact period of one year and one day, after 
which he bad lived (at the same rate) on 
credit ; after that on the credit of his credit ; 
after that on his wits ; after that in the rules of 
the King's Bench ; after that on the certainty 
of making so many tricks, nightly, at whist; 
and, finally, upon his daughter. For the pretty 
old lady, with admirable self-abnegation, had 
seen her two ugly sisters married ; had, with 
some natural tears, refused Captain Cutts,of the 
line.wliom she loved (but who had nothing but 
his pay) and had contentedly accepted the office 
of a governess ; whence, after much self-denial, 
study, striving, pinching, and saving (how 
many times her little cobwebs of economy 
were ruthlessly swept away by her gay 



100 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



father's turn for whist and hazard cobwebs 
that took years to reconstruct !), she had pro- 
moted herself to the dignity of a schoolmis- 
tress ; governing in that capacity that fine old 
red-brick ladies' seminary at Paddington, 
pulled down for the railway now Port- 
chester House. 

Twas there I first saw the pretty old lady : 
for I had a cousin receiving her "finishing" 
at Portchester House, and 'twas there 
being at the time some eight years of age 
that I first fell in love with an astonishingly 
beautiful creature, with raven hair and ga- 
zelle-like eyes, who was about seventeen, and 
the oldest girl in the school. When I paid my 
cousin a visit I was occasionally admitted 
being of a mild and watery disposition, and a 
very little boy of my age to the honours of 
the tea table. I used to sit opposite to this 
black-eyed Juno, and be fed by her with slices 
of those carious open-work cross-barred jam 
tarts, which are so frequently met with at gen- 
teel tea-tables. 1 loved her fondly, wildly: but 
she dashed my spirits to the ground one day, 
by telling me not to make faces. I wonder 
whether she married a duke ! 

The pretty old lady kept school at Portchester 
House for many, many years, supporting and 
comforting that fashionable fellow, her father. 
She had sacrificed her youth, the firstlings 
of her beauty, her love, her hopes, every- 
thing. The gay fellow had grown a little 
paralytic at last; and, becoming very old 
and imbecile and harmless, had been relegated 
to an upper apartment in Portchester House. 
Here, for several years, he had vegetated in 
a sort of semi-fabulous existence as the " old 
gentleman ;" very many of the younger ladies 
being absolutely unaware of him ; till, one 
evening, a neat coffin with plated nails and 
handles, arrived at Portchester House, for 
somebody aged seventy - three, and the 
cook remarked to the grocer's young man 
that the "old gentleman" had died that 
morning. 

The pretty old lady continued the education 
of generations of black-eyed Junos, in French, 
geography, the use of the globes, and the 
usual branches of a polite education, long 
after her father's death. Habit is habit ; 
Lieutenant-Colonel Cutts had died of fever in 
the Walcheren expedition so the pretty old 
lady kept school at Portchester House until she 
was very, very old. When she retired, she de- 
vised all her savings to her ugly sisters' chil- 
dren ; and calmly, cheerfully, placidly prepared 
to lay herself down in her grave. Hers 
had been a long journey and a sore ser- 
vitude ; but, perhaps, something was said 
to her at the end, about being a good 
and faithful servant, and that it was well 
done. 

Such is the dim outline which the picture 
in my portfolio presents to me of the pretty 
old lady. Sharpened as her pretty features] 
were by age, the gentle touch of years of 
peace of an equable mind and calm desires, i 



had passed lovingly over theacuities of her face, 
and softened them. Wrinkles she must have 
hail, for the stern usurer Time will have his 
bond ; but she had smiled her wrinkles away, 
or had laughed them into dimples. Our just, 
though severe mother, Nature had rewarded 
her for having worn no rouge in her youth, no 
artificial flowers in her spring ; and gave her 
blooming roses in her December. Although the 
sunset of her eyes was come and they could not 
burn you up, or melt you as in the noontide, 
the sky was yet pure, and the luminary sank 
to rest in a bright halo : the shadows that 
it cast were long, but sweet and peaceful, 
not murky and terrible. The night was 
coming ; but it was to be a night starlit with 
faith and hope, and not a season of black 
storms. 

It was for this reason, I thiiiK, that being 
old, feeling old, looking old, proud of being old, 
and yet remaining handsome, the pretty old 
lady was so beloved by all the pretty girls. 
They adored her. They called her a " dear 
old thing." They insisted upon trying their 
new bonnets, shawls, scarfs, and similar 
feminine fal-lals, upon her. They made her 
the fashion, and dressed up to her. They 
never made her spiteful presents of fleecy 
hosiery, to guard against a rheumatism with, 
which she was not afflicted ; or entreated her 
to tie her face up when she had no toothache ; 
or bawled in her ear on the erroneous as- 
sumption that she was deaf, as girls will 
do, in pure malice, when age forgets its 
privileges, and apes the levity and spright- 
liness of youth. Above all, they trusted 
her with love-secrets (I must mention, that 
though a spinster, the pretty old lady was 
always addressed as Mistress). She was great 
in love matters, a complete letter-writer, 
without its verbosity : as prudent as Pamela, 
as tender as Amelia, as judicious as Hooker, as 
dignified as Sir Charles Grandison. She could 
scent a Lovelace at an immense distance, bid 
Tom Jones mend his ways, reward the con- 
stancy of an Uncle Toby, and reform a Cap- 
tain Booth. I wax-rant the perverse widow 
and Sir Roger de Coverly would have been 
brought together, had the pretty old lady 
known the parties and been consulted. She 
was conscientious and severe, but not into- 
lerant and implacable. She did 'not consider 
every man in love a "wretch," or every 
woman in love a "silly thing." She was 
pitiful to love, for she had known it. She 
could tell a tale of love as moving as 
any told to her. Its hero died at Wal- 
cheren. 

Where shall I find pretty old ladies now- 
a-days ? Where are they gone, those gentle, 
kindly, yet dignified, antiquated dames, mar- 
ried and single ? 

My young friend Adolescens comes and 
tells me that I am wrong, and that there 
are as many good old ladies now as of 
yore. It may be so : it may be, that we 
think those pleasant companionships lost be- 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE BOARD OF TRADE. 



101 



cause the years are gone in which we enjoyec 
them; and that we imagine there are no more 
old ladies, because those we loved are dead. 



THE BOAED OF TRADE. 

A LARGE part of the administration of the 
domestic affairs of this country, which does 
not come under the cognizance of the Home 
Office* and the Treasury, is confided to a go- 
vernment department called the Board of 
Trade. Its formal title is, the Committee of 



the Privy Council appointed for the Con- 
sideration of all matters relating to Trade 
and Foreign Plantations. 

Though the Board of Trade is now, as it 
ought to be in the greatest trading country in 
the world, a useful institution, its earlier his- 
tory is not respectable. Its origin was, how- 
ever, good ; for it began with Cromwell, who ap- 
pointed his son Richard, and many lords of his 
council, to meet and consider by what means 
trade and navigation might be regulated and 
promoted. Before Cromwell's time English 
sovereigns had, for a century, been accustomed, 
now and then, to direct their privy councils 
to discuss particular questions of trad.e ; but it 
was Cromwell who established first a trade 
department of the state, and the labours of 
the committee so established helped to pro- 
duce the navigation laws of the Pro- 
tectorate. Cromwell's committee, however, 
was the thing without a name ; a Board of 
Trade, distinctly so-called, did not come into 
existence till the restoration, when it was 
established at the instigation of Lord 
Shaftesbury ; a nobleman who, though by no 
means upon all points sincere, took, there 
is every reason to believe, a real interest in 
the developement of Commerce. This is the 
Board denounced by Burke as "one amongst 
those showy and specious impositions, which 
one of the experiment-making administrations 
of Charles the Second, held out to delude the 
people and to be substituted in the place of 
the real service which they might expect from 
a parliament annually sitting." The continu- 
ance of the Board, good or bad, at any rate, 
was brief. Projected in sixteen hundred and 
sixty-eight, it perished in sixeen hundred and 
seventy-three ; the expense of it being found 
inconvenient to his sacred but straightened 
majesty. 

During the war with France which fol- 
lowed the Revolution of sixteen hundred 
and eighty-eight, our trade suffered greatly 
from French cruisers and privateers. Occa- 
sion was thereupon taken by a faction hostile 
to King William the Third to propose the esta- 
blishment of a Board for the Protection of 
Trade in parliament itself, so constituted as of 
necessity to draw into itself the chief func- 



tions of both the Treasury and the Admiralty, 
and thus deprive the king of a large part of 
his prerogative. The government with diffi- 
culty defeated this design, by opposing to it 



Sue Volume X., page 270. 



that revival of the Board of Trade and Plan- 
tations, which took place in the year sixteen 
hundred arid ninety-six. " Thus," according 
to Burke's comment, " the Board of Trade 
was reproduced in a job, and perhaps," he 
adds, speaking bitterly, in the year seventeen 
hundred and eighty, " it is the only instance 
of a public body which has never degenerated; 
but, to this hour, preserves all the health and 
vigour ot" its primitive institution." 

The Board, as constituted in the year six- 
teen hundred and ninety-six, consisted, in 
addition to the great officers of state, of a 
first lord and seven commissioners, each paid 
with a thousand pounds a year. Their duty 
was to promote the trade of the king- 
dom, and to inspect and improve the 
plantations. The appointment of so many 
well-paid officials, in times of political corrup- 
tion, led to much dishonest dealing, and the 
work of the Board, so far as it affected co- 
lonies, was purely mischievous. The only 
colonies established by it, Georgia and Nova- 
Scotia, cost vast sums to the nation, and never 
prospered until freed from the intermeddling 
of their founders. Correspondence between 
the crown and the colonies was indeed car- 
ried on, nominally, through a secretary of 
state ; but the secretary acted upon the reports 
and opinions of the Board of Trade in all 
matters relating to colonial government and 
ommerce. 

The mischief-making of the Board of 
Trade came to its climax in the reign of 
eorge the Third, after that king had re- 
solved to break the power of the great Whiw 
amilies of the revolution, to whom he, as one 
of the house of Hanover, was indebted for 
the English crown. George the Third desir- 
ing to increase his personal authority over the 
government, he and the ministers who stooped 
to his desires, endeavoured to win the support 
of the landed interest to his new system, by 
transferring to the colonies the weight of 
many burthens pressing heavily on land- 
owners in England. During the early part, 
therefore, of this king's reign, the Board of 
Trade was constantly employed in devising 
those experiments for taxing the American 
colonies, which led to their noble war of 
Independence and cut off the United States 
from the British empire. While the Board 
of Trade was occupied in this way it was 
doing little enough, and nothing useful, to 
advance the commerce of the realm. 

Although a secretary of state for the 
colonies had been appointed in the year 
seventeen hundred and sixty-eight, the 
powers of the Board of Trade remained un- 
altered until the year seventeen hundred and 



eighty-two, when 
of the American 
nomies in England 



the righteous successes 
colonists rendered eco- 
unavoidable. The 



Board, as it then stood, was accordingly 
abolished, and the business of the depart- 
ment was made over to a permanent com- 
mittee of the privy council, constituted as it 



102 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



is at present. Chiefly by this committee were 
conducted the enquiries that preceded the 
abolition, of the English :-l ive -trade ; but, 
with that exception, its duties were light until 
the close of war in eighteen hundred and 
fifteen. During the long peace that followed, 
and especially during the last fourteen years, 
the real uses of the Board of Trade have been 
developed. It has ceased to regulate colonial 
a Hairs, and is concerned only with the com- 
inereial state of the united kingdom. 

The Board of Trade as it now stands, consists 
of two paid acting members, a president and a 
vice-president, three or four selected privy 
councillors who are generally retired state- 
functionaries, and of a number of privy-coun- 
cillors who hold official seats in the com- 
mittee, namely, the First Lord of the Treasury, 
the Secretaries of State, the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker 
of theHouseof Commons, the Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster, the Paymaster-General, 
and such officers of state in Ireland as may hap- 
pen to be English privy-councillors. Such is 
the constitution and composition of the " Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council appointed for the 
Consideration of all matters relating to Trade 
and Foreign Plantations." But for almost all 
working purposes the Board of Trade simply 
consists of its president and vice-president, 
and of the staff of officials under their control. 
The president and vice-president, of course, go 
out and come in with the ministries to which 
they may belong. One sits in the lower and 
the other in the upper-house, and each 
receives as his salary two thousand pounds a- 
year. However they may privately divide 
their work, the responsibility of these two 
officers is not divisible ; and, as one is bound to 
answer to the lords, the other to the commons, 
it is necessary that each should be cognisant 
of all the business of his department. 

It is the duty of the Board of Trade to be 
as well informed as possible on all matters re- 
lating to trade, in order to advise other depart- 
ments on questions in which the commerce of 
the country is concerned. It is required to 
examine and report to the Colonial-office on 
all acts of the colonial legislatures affecting 
trade ; to direct the parliamentary course of 
all government bills concerning commerce, 
and to watch those which may have been in- 
troduced by private members. It assists the 
Foreign-office in the negociatiou of com- 
mercial treaties. It advises the crown on all 
applications by projected commercial com- 
panies for charters of incorporation ; com- 
municates with the great seats of commerce ; 
examines consular correspondence on com- 
mercial subjects, and receives and keeps all 
Foreign-office documents that concern our 
trade and navigation. These functions belong 
to the general scheme of the department. By 
naming the chief special labours that have 
been imposed upon the Board of Trade, since 
the year eighteen hundred and thirty, we 
shall, perhaps, best show Low steadily that 



branch of government has, of late, been in 
creasing in importance. 

In eighteen hundred and thirty-two it was 
charged with the duty of collecting and pub- 
lishing statistical information. 

Since eighteen hundred and forty it has 
exercised a certain degree of control over 
railway companies. During about the same 
length of time government schools of design 
have been placed under its superintendence. 

Offices for the regulation of joint stock 
companies, and for the registration of designs 
have also been attached to it. 

In eighteen hundred and fifty it was charged 
with supervision of the merchant shipping. 

In eighteen hundred and fifty-one it re- 
ceived large powers of controul over the steam 
navigation of the country. 

And last year the shipping laws generally 
have been consolidated and placed under its 
superintendence. 

The general business of this department of 
state is carried on in Whitehall ; but there 
are detached offices elsewhere for the trans- 
acting of certain portions of its business. 
Tha annual cost of the office of the Board of 
Trade which finds work for a staff of one 
hundred and twenty-four persons is about 
forty-six thousand pounds. The president 
and the vice-president have the salaries 
already mentioned ; two joint-secretaries 
receive not much less, namely, three thousand 
five hundred pounds a year between them. 
The private secretaries of the president and 
vice-president receive respectively three hun- 
dred and one hundred and fifty pounds a 
year. An assistant secretary for the railway 
department has a thousand ; one for the 
marine department eight hundred, growing 
to a thousand by the usual annual increase. 
A chief of the. statistical department has 
eight hundred ; his assistant four hundred 
and eighty. The railway chief's assistant's 
salary grows till he receives four hundred 
and fifty ; a legal assistant for railway busi- 
ness has five hundred guineas. Three inspec- 
tors of railways have together eleven hundred 
and fifty pounds. There are two sea captains 
attached to the marine department who 
divide between them fourteen hundred 
pounds. There is a librarian with about six 
hundred, and an accountant with about nine 
hundred a year. Then there are the comp- 
troller and deputy comptroller of corn 
returns, with five hundred and four hundred 
a year respectively. There are six senior, 
nine second, and twelve junior clerks, with 
salaries beginning at a hundred and ascend- 
ing to six hundred pounds. There are fifteen 
copyists at eighty pounds a year ; an office- 
keeper, a housekeeper, and a dozen messen- 
gers and porters. These people all work at 
the office in Whitehall. At the office of the 
registrar of merchant seamen there are em- 
ployed, a registrar, with from seven to eight 
hundred, an assistant registrar, with five hun- 
dred and a chief clerk with four hundred a 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE BOARD OF TRADE. 



103 



year. Under these are forty clerks, in five 
divisions, of whom the salaries ascend from 
eighty to three hundred and fifty pounds, 
The progressive rise of salary is managed 
upon the principle described in our account of 
the Home Department, it being one that .is 
common to all government offices. 

Certain changes in the staff of the Board of 
Trade have been suggested, and are being 
carried out. It is proposed, for example, to 
have only one chief secretary, and under him 
three assistant secretaries one for the gene- 
ral trade department, one for railway business, 
and one for the mercantile marine. It is 
thought that the statistics and corn returns 
may be thrown into the business of the 
general trade department, and that the num- 
ber of the clerks may be reduced by increasing 
the number of copyists. 

By adopting the division into three parts, 
recognised by the suggestion of the three assis- 
tant secretaries, we can describe the business 
of the Board of Trade in an extremely simple 
manner. The general trade department, 
which would have cognisance of miscellaneous 
matters, it will be most convenient to speak 
of last. We begin, therefore, with the 
Board's concern in railway management, and 
in the superintendence of the mercantile 
marine. 

The English railway system, as every one 
knows, is the result of private enterprise. 
Parliament has passed some general laws to 
regulate the internal administration of the 
companies with regard to capital, direction, 
meetings of shareholders, dividends, purchase 
of laud, etc., to protect the public against 
very improper construction and working of 
the lines of rail, to ensure due convey- 
ance upon fixed terms of troops and of the 



mails, 
orders 



Both 
which 



houses have their standing 
establish conditions that all 



applicants on behalf of railway enterprise are 
bound to fulfil. 

In the first place notice of each intended 
application must be sent to the Board of Trade 
before a certain day which precedes each 
meeting of parliament. All applications so 
received are classified by the Board, and pre- 
sented in a report made to the House of Com- 
mons as soon as it assembles. By help of this 
report the general railway committee of the 
house is enabled to distribute the various 
projects in the most convenient way among 
the sub-committees, which decide upon their 



fate, and from 
have no appeal. 



whose decision applicants 
Should a railway project 



deposited with the Board of Trade, after 
careful examination be found to contain in its 
provisions any legal defect or matter that 
seems to be prejudicial to the public interests, 
the Board directs to that fact the attention of 
the chairman of the general committee. Any 
clauses or amendments that may be required 
to give effect to its suggestions it prepares, 
and after the bill in question has passed the 



the Board of Trade again looks for any flaws 
that it may contain, and if they appear, points 
them out to the chairman. Finally, in order 
to provide still greater security to the public, 
there is a standing order of the House of 
Lords that no railway bill shall be read a 
third time in that house unless it has been 
deposited three days before such reading 
with the Board of Trade ; so that it receives 
then a third scrutiny from the Board with 
especial reference to its bearing on the public 
interests. The points chiefly looked to in 
the course of these three scrutinies, concern 
the way of raising and applying capital, pre- 
vention of excessive borrowing, or of the pay- 
ment of interest out of capital ; a due adjust- 
ment of the rights of shareholders, provision 
for compensation according to the very 
various cases that may possibly arise, and 
the insertion of a clause subjecting the rail- 
way to the authority of future legislation. 

After a railway has been authorised and 
its construction is complete, it cannot beopened 
unless notice of its completion has been sent 
to the Board of Trade, and it has been ex- 
amined and approved by the Board's railway 
inspectors. If anything be found unsafe or 
incomplete the opening must be postponed 
until the scruples of the Board are satisfied. 
After the railway has been opened, its line 
and rolling stock must be at all times open 
to the visits of the government inspectors. 
Upon the construction of roads and bridges, 
upon questions of junctions, curves, gradients, 
etc., in connexion with railway works, the 
decision of the Board is final ; and it may, 
after hearing evidence, by its certificate, per- 
mit any necessary deviation from the plans 
and sections authorised by parliament. The 
Board of Trade may also regulate the speed 
of trains with a view to the safety of the 
public, and the hours appointed for the run- 
ning on each line of the one parliamentary 
train that is required to take passengers for 
a penny a mile, at a rate not less than twelve 
miles an hour, must be such as the Board of 
Trade has sanctioned. The Board adjudicates 
in case -of dispute between railway and rail- 
way* gives effect by its approval to the bye- 
laws of each company, requires from all rail- 
way companies annual returns of tolls and 
traffic as well as of accidents, and being 
charged generally with the enforcement of 
all railway acts is at tLe same time the 
official referee to crown and parliament on 
any railway question that arises. Here, then, 
is no lack of work for one department of the 
Board of Trade. We pass on to another. 

One consequence of the repeal of the old 
English navigation laws was the necessity for 
a new regulation of the merchant service. 
This task was undertaken in the year 
eighteen Imndred and fifty, and is consi- 
dered to have been completed last year. Five 
years ago no department of state was charged 
with the care of the merchant service. We 



ordeal of the parliamentary sub-committee, 'have now a marine department of the Board 



104 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted br 



of Trade, consisting of two sea-captains, an 
-taut-secretary, and a proper establish- 
ment of clerks. A local marine board may 
be established at any outport that employs in 
foreign trade thirty thousand registered tons 
of shipping, and at sixteen such ports these 
boards have been established. In each case 
liii'v are composed of two members belonging 
to the municipality, four persons resident on 
the spot who are nominated by the Board of 
Trade, and six who are named by local 
owners, the possession of at least two hundred 
and lifty registered tons of foreign-going ship 
being requisite to qualify each owner for his 
vote. If any local board fails in its duty, the 
Board of Trade may either cause it to be 
superseded or assume its functions. The local 
boards, which are required to be in constant 
correspondence with the registrar of mer- 
chant seamen, must provide shipping offices 
and shipping masters for their several porte, 
and also medical inspectors. 

The registrar of merchant, seamen, whose 
office, subordinate to the Board of Trade, is in 
Thames Street, records all voyages of ships, 
and keeps a register of seamen and appren- 
tices, in which he enters the characters given 
them by their masters, and other information. 
The shipping offices in the various ports keep 
and transmit to head-quarters similar re- 
cords. Masters before clearing out must 
leave lists of their crews at the custom-house 
of their ports, to be transmitted to the 
registrar. The whereabouts of every seaman 
and his business history is thus on record. 
Masters of vessels wanting crews have only 
to apply to the shipping masters at the 
shipping offices, to which sailors in want of 
ships also resort, at which alone contracts 
can be made, crews discharged, and accounts 
between master and man settled. Balances of 
wages due to deceased seamen are also ascer- 
tained and paid into the hands of the 
shipping masters for the benefit of their next 
of kin. these balances having been formerly 
nearly all lost by the families of the lost men. 
Even now there is a three years accumulation 
of such balances that have remained un- 
claimed, to the extent of no less than ten 
thousand pounds. 

The registrar of seamen also keeps account 
of all contracts of apprenticeship. The old 
navigation laws compelled every ship to take 
a certain number of apprentices, and the 
withdrawal of compulsion very much reduced 
the number of youths entered to the merchant 
service. With a view to the encouragement 
in boys of a seagoing taste, the Board of 
Trade, proposes to establish nautical classes 
in all the national schools of seaport towns. 
Schools for adults, we may add, have been 
attached to the sailors' homes of the metro- 
polis. The sailors' homes, established now in 
all large ports, provide good board and lodging 
to the seamen at a reasonable rate about 
fourteen shillings a-week and are meant to 
save hiiu from tho hands of thieves and from the 



haunts of vice. Like ships, they are. however, 
monasteries ; and while they do much good, 
must to a certain extent fail of their inten- 
tions. Upon this, as upon many other 
points in the sketch we are here giving, 
comments will occur to many minds. It Fs 
our purpose, however, in giving outlines of 
the business of government departments, to 
state only what arrangements are existing. 
The local charges that arise out of machinery 
connected with the merchant service is a 
little more than paid for by a tax upon the 
seamen's earnings. 

Among other duties of the Board of Trade 
in its marine department these may be 
specified. It obtains shipping returns from 
consuls at foreign ports, or other crown 
officers able to furnish them. It may de- 
mand of any shipmaster his logbook, and 
cause his papers to be inspected, or his crew 
mustered, should such a proceeding appear 
necessary. It appoints inspectors to report , 
on accidents at sea, and gives them extensive 
powers for the purpose of enquiry. It super- 
intends the new system of examination to 
test the capacity of masters and mates of 
vessels, and furnish them with classed certifi- 
cates according to their merit. Examiners 
are appointed by the local boards, and the 
Board of Trade issues certificates (which in 
case of misconduct it may suspend or cancel) 
in accordance with the examiners' reports. 

Over steam- vessels carrying passengers the 
Board of Trade exercises much control. It 
appoints for their examination a shipwright 
and an engineer, and compels owners under 
heavy penalties to submit their steam vessels 
to such surveillance twice a year namely, in 
April and October. Sea or river certificates, 
for which a fee is paid, are allowed only on the 
reports of the surveyors. Lists of the qualified, 
steamers are hung up in the custom-house of j 
each port, and if a vessel plys without a 
license, it is liable to heavy penalties. 

Upon the third division of the business of 
the Board of Trade, its general and miscel- 
laneous duties, something has already been 
said, and a few more notes will suffice. It 
has an office in Serjeant's Inn for the regis- 
tration of joint stock companies. At this 
office, when such a company has been pro- 
jected, very full particulars must be filed, and 
certain fees paid. The scheme being thus 
" provisionally registered," may then but 
not until then be publicly submitted to the 
world. No such company, however, can 
commence business until its registration has 
been made complete, and " complete registra- 
tion" cannot be had by it until the draft of 
its deed of settlement has been approved by 
the Board of Trade, and sent in fully signed, 
with four copies for filing in the registration 
office. The company then has the legal pri- 
vileges of a corporation. Companies of all 
kinds have to be provisionally registered, but 
when as in the case of railway companies 
they can be established only by an act of 



Charles Dickent.] 



TWO FRENCH FARMERS. 



105 



parliament, the act supersedes the necessity 
for a completion of the registry. The cost of 
this office is under three thousand a-year, and 
it takes six thousand in fees, so that it yields 
a protit to the exchequer in the shape of a 
tax ou joint stock partnership. 

The Board of Trade is further charged 
with the promotion of science and art in 
their relation with industrial pursuits. It 
therefore has central training-schools for 
teachers aud local schools of design, which it 
maintains by inspection, by a cheap supply 
of good models, etc., by training teachers, en- 
couraging students with exhibitions, and by 
limited pecuniary help. There are in the 
provinces uo, schools of science ; but there 
are twenty-one schools of design, to which 
annual grants are made, varying from one 
hundred and fifty to six hundred pounds 
a-piece. The grants are administered by 
local committees, subject to the direction of 
the Board of Trade. An attempt is also 
being made to induce the formation, of self- 
supporting schools of design, by guaranteeing 
for the first year a master's salary. In con- 
nection with the central school of design at 
Marlborough House, lectures are delivered 
upon fabrics, wood engraving, porcelain 
painting, casting, and such topics. There are 
two other training schools in London one 
at Somerset House for males, the other in 
Gower Street for females. 

For the encouragement of science there 
exists at present only a central school con- 
nected with the Museum of Practical 
Geology in Jennyn Sti-eet. It has labora- 
tories and professors. It is the home also of 
the geological survey and mining records. 
The whole department of art and practical 
science costs forty-five thousand pounds 
a year. All the institutions in association 
with it furnish annual reports, and obtain 
every year some little direct attention from 
the legislature. 

There is an office in Whitehall Place 
belonging to the Board of Trade for the 
registration of useful and ornamental 
designs. The registry is first provisional and 
then complete ; when complete it confers a 
copy ri glit for a limited period, varying from 
nine mouths for a shawl pattern to three 
years for a carpet or for articles in earthen- 
ware, wood, glass, or metal. 

The corn-office, which is now a separate 
department, has lost all its glory since the 
abolition of the sliding-scale. It used to fix 
by averages struck from six weeks returns of 
price, the fluctuating rate of duty. Now it 
is merely a producer of statistics. The statis- 
tical department of the Board of Trade was 
devised for great purposes. It was to pro- 
vide figures on all subjects ; but since every 
department makes its own tables, more than 
half the work of this statistical department 
is executed and published and paid for in 
duplicate. These are the two departments 
which it is proposed to reduce to their just 



proportions, and throw into the miscel- 
laneous business of the Board of Trade. 

Throughout the preceding account, it will 
be observed the Board of Trade and Planta- 
tions is concerned with trade alone. Recently, 
some part of its function as an authority 
upon colonial matters was revived by Lord 
Grey. That nobleman, when colonial minis- 
ter, being required to furnish constitutions 
for the Cape of Good Hope and the Austra- 
lian colonies, remitted so grave a responsi- 
bility to the whole " Committee of the Privy 
Council appointed for the Consideration of all 
matters relating to Trade and Foreign Planta- 
tions." The president and vice-president were 
then, for once, surrounded by the whole 
august body of privy councillors, otherwise 
attached only nominally to their board, and 
in such committee the outlines of these two 
colonial constitutions were defined. 



TWO FRENCH FARMERS. 



DESIRING, for the sake of experience, to live 
during some time in the household of one of 
the small proprietors abounding in the villages 
of France, I took the train at Paris for a place 
of which I knew nothing aud had never heard 
the name. In an hour I was set down at the 
station, quitting which, I found myself on a 
large plain covered with ripening harvests. 
The walk of a mile or two brought me to 
some white houses roofed with red tiles and 
embedded in a nest of fruit trees. That was 
my village. Beyond, rose a hill cultivated 
half-way to the top, and giving promise of a 
happy vintage. Seen from a little distance 
all looked well. 

Closer acquaintance, however, did not pre- 
possess me with the place I had chosen for a 
temporary home. The entrance to the vil- 
lage was quite wretched ; the roadway was 
broken up and full of ruts or rubbish heaps ; 
the hedges ran to waste and rubbed the carts 
that passed between ; the fruit trees had an 
aged look ; the palings before houses were 
broken or wormeateu ; a black pool, about 
which pigs and ducks were busy, received 
the filth of the place and filled the air 
with pestilence. To this pool men brought 
cattle to water ; and here, women were 
beating and rinsing reddish-brown stuffs, 
kneeling upon straw and striking their stuff 
with the battoir or round stick on a smooth 
deal plank laid for the purpose. This was 
perhaps enough of clothes washing to satisfy 
a population that seemed to be almost wholly 
unaccustomed to the washing of the person. 

A high aud thick lichen-covered wall, 
pierced by a large doorway, belonged to 
the sort of farm with which I wished to 
make acquaintance. I pulled the latchet 
of a small side door, and entered a court 
that I had to travel ankle-deep in mire 
and the accumulated refuse of the stables. 
Cocks and hens, pigs, ducks and their 



106 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



ducklings, turkeys, and geese were the appa- 
rent live stock ; am), under a shed close at 
hand, 1 saw stacks of dry wood, carts, and 
tanning implements. As there was no man 
visible, I went forward to the house, which I 
found locked. Taking the liberty of a peep 
through a broken, pane of glass, patched but 
imperfectly with paper, I saw a living-room 
that contained what ought to have been re- 
garded as defunct articles of furniture ; 
decayed scraps of all sizes and pattcrrs 
picked up at sales, perhaps, or in the shops of 
the surrounding brokers. I turned then to 
the door of the stables which was much ob- 
structed by the dunghill and forced that 
open, to discover only cows thriving in spite 
of filth, and a superb bull ready to toss me. 

I turned back for such air as the yard 
afforded ; and, at that moment, the door of one 
of the outhouses creaked upon its hinges, and 
a little old man in a blue blouse, with long, 
thin, gray hair streaming from beneath a 
shabby cap appeared before me. He began 
at once to appraise me with his twinkling 
dots of eyes. 

"Good day, Monsieur," I said; "can you 
accommodate me with a lodging ? " 

" Is it a room you want ? " he replied. 
* Stop a minute, I will unharness the horses ; 
afterwards you shall taste my wine, and we 
will talk. Are you a citizen 1 " 

" I am." 

" An architect ? " 

" O, no." 

' Independent ? " 

Ah, no." 

" But I must have a good price for my 
room." 

" How much, Monsieur ? " 

" Two hundred francs a-year." 

During this dialogue the unharnessed 
horses which, by the way were of a large 
Norman breed, and ill-attended because they 
were too tall for their little master went 
their way to the stables. The farmer, con- 
cealing the act as well as he could with his 
blouse, took the house-door key from its 
hiding-place under a stone, opened his door, 
and led me down three broken steps into the 
low chamber that I had already inspected from 
without. I fe then reached down from an 
ancient dresser a black pitcher in the form of 
a priest's cap ; and, taking another key from 
behind the door, said to me, "Wait here for a 
minute." I was thus trusted alone among 
the furniture. My friend, when he returned 
with his pitcher full of wine, rinsed out a 
couple of glasses, and certainly did not stint 
the thin sour liquor over which he hoped to 
strike a lively bargain. After much chaffer- 
ing, it was agreed that I should have my room 
for one hundred and fifty francs a-year. 

My bouhomme, I found had been left a 
widower with a small family, consisting of 
one son and two daughters, and was then in 
possession of, or rather possessed by, a second 
wife, who managed him aud his affairs. She 



was laborious, and she was vigilant, and she 
was garrulous. I have seen her shed genuine 
(ears at an accident that had befallen a strange 
traveller, and J. have seen her rob her nei<*h- 
bours without pity. Like many of her class, 
she laboured all her life to con vert sous into 
dollars and dollars into napoleons, for ulti- 
mate conversion into lands or houses, or for 
ultimate enjoyment as a treasure laid up in 
an earthen pot. To eke out her savings she 
would lay hands not unfrequently on the 
possessions of her neighbours, thereby not 
greatly outraging the feelings of her friend, 
her familiar demon, the notary, with whom 
she held very frequent converse, and who was 
her father confessor and adviser in all worldly 
things. 

"One day," she herself told me, "I was 
making hay in the field and spied two aprons 
011 the other side of the ditch belonging to 
my neighbours. I crossed over and took 
them from the washing line, tied up my load 
of hay in them, and was travelling home with 
my head lost beneath the hay like a donkey at 
harvest, when suddenly I was tripped up and 
sent flying into the ditch. As soon as I could 
see anything, there were my two harridans 
upon the bank, not only taking their aprons 
but dividing my hay between them. I was 
up with a bound, though, brandishing my 
sickle, drew blood from one of them and 
bruised the other ; they went off with their 
aprons, but I re-conquered my hay." 

This was the dame who put the rennet into 
the milk, skimmed the cream, made the 
cheese, churned the butter, connted the eggs, 
and slept like a watchdog after a last peep at 
her savings. When she went to market, she 
was absent for four hours; half the time being 
spent in going and returning. Uer husband, 
on such occasions, went out in the morning 
and came back reeling at night. She was a 
wise woman ; and, being usually loquacious, 
startled him at such times by saying nothing 
on the subject. Nothing on earth is so em- 
phatic as a woman's silence, if she would but 
know it. Madame at the farm did know it ; 
and, by shrewd diplomacy, became the mistress 
of the whole establishment and keeper of its 
cash. Monsieur would have been left wholly 
without pocket-money for the tavern, if he 
had not been cunning enough to keep back, 
out of the produce of his bargains, certain 
small pieces of silver which he hid in an old 
stocking under a wine barrel behind the plas- 
ter on a beam in the wall. Sometimes this 
stocking fell into the old lady's hands; 
whereupon Monsieur looked like a culprit, 
and there was great scolding, and promis- 
ing never to do that sort of thing again. 
There was a rumour that the old gentleman 
had been a gallant when he was young. 
This rumour which he took as a set-off 
against his avarice he never contradicted. 
Like his second wife, he was at heart a miser. 
It cost him many a sigh to get any assistance 
on his farm. "For a long time he dispensed 



TWO FRENCH FARMERS. 



107 



with it, then he chose helpers from the beard- 
less youth who chanted the responses at mass. 
These he entrapped into his service by petty 
gifts, by occasional draughts of his sour wine, 
and by flattering, familiar jokes. As they 
grew older he enlarged his presents, so that 
they would include sometimes a pair of sabots, 
or a ten-sous piece on a Sunday. He supplied 
them also with more food, and warned them 
against evil company, meaning, within him- 
self, the company of other youths likely to 
ask " How much" does that old hunks pay you 
for your services ? " 

Friendly submission made on my part to 
their love of gain when manifested at my own 
expense, got me the close acquaintance of this 
couple. The old lady, then in her sixty-sixth 
year, sometimes set her cap at me, and went 
so far as to send me little gifts of cream- 
cheese, or fresh eggs, or short cakes, with bits 
of apple laid upon them. " Can you not teach 
me to read 1 " she asked one evening. " I 
know the letters well, but except where it's a 
prayer that I know by heart, I can't put 
them together. I'd be glad to pay you for 
teaching me to sign my name and understand 
my leases. Come now, just for an example, 
read me this bit of a page." The bit of a 
page was a document just drawn up by her 
notary, and the exactness of which I could 
see by her fixed eye and pursed up lip that 
she was verifying word for word while I was 
reading. She must have had some notion 
that the notary was capable of cheating her. 

The husband seeing that I took a lively 
interest in all his agricultural affairs, made 
me an offer one day which I closed with 
heartily. " I am going," he said, " to the sale 
of a proprietor's farm and farming stock, 
which takes place by adjudication. I have 
purchases to make there, and to look after 
the recovery of a debt. Will you .go with 
me, you shall have a seat in my charette and 
only pay your own expenses, eh 1 " 

It was agreed. The best horse from the 
plough, beating his heavy iron shoes heavily 
upon the soil, took us to the farm in about an 
hour and a half, at a dull, pitiless trot. The 
farm was not quite six miles distant. 

We found the farm-yard crowded with vil- 
lagers of every sort, from the proprietor down 
to the ploughboy. Farmers and farmers' 
sons with 16ng, white, flapped hats covering 
their side faces chatted with farmers' wives 
and daughters, capped with quilted towers, 
trimmed with white satin ribbons, and fixed 
with pins whose heads were golden bees. The 
notary, in his black gown, drank wine at the 
kitchen table while he turned over the leaves 
of an inventory with an absent air. The 
auctioneer and crier were already mounted 
upon a platform of boards supported by two 
empty wine barrels. Petty officers displayed 
themselves in all directions, and the crowd 
made itself heard. The sale commenced with 
the disposal of the land, which was divided 
into small lots and subjected to very eagei 



biddings. Then came the cattle. Troops of 
oxen, cows and sheep, each headed by a cow- 
herd, or a shepherdess, defiled before the 
assembled agriculturists, then followed the 
horses, every one mounted by a carter, or a 
carter's boy. The assembly crowding about 
each beast, became critical on ages, points, and 
vices, and the bidding went on tolerably fast. 

As I was strolling on to another part of the 
courtyard, I came unexpectedly upon a tall, 
robust man, apparently of about forty, whose 
swarthy countenance looked pale and grief- 
worn. He was the proprietor whose home 
was passing from him. Tears were in his 
eyes : he was engaged in the struggle to 
repress violent emotion. By his side stood a 
young girl, whose sunburnt features were as 
surely clouded by the present sorrow. Un- 
willing to intrude on their distress I turned 
back to the crowd about the auctioneer. Pots 
and pans and household articles were being sold, 
and upon these the women's tongues were at 
work mightily. They were discussing, wrang- 
ling, scandalising ; each eager to get the 
smallest article, though it were but a cracked 
saucepan, in the shape of a decided bargain. 
They displayed more fierceness and bitter 
animosity besides spending more time over 
the purchase of their skewers and pipkins, 
than the men had shown whilst bidding for 
cattle and lands of a thousand times their 
value. 

The sale was at last ended, and the 
creditors entered a low room in the house, 
where they held solemn conference with the 
officials. Out of this room my ancient came, 
rubbing his hands and exclaiming to me, " He 
is a staunch fellow. We shall get every sous 
after all." 

" And do you leave the unfortunate man 
nothing 1 " 

" What would you have ? Every one for 
himself. Who knows whose turn it may be 
next to go to wreck ] He is not the first, and 
will not be the last. Besides, it serves him 
right. His wife wears a silk gown, and his 
daughter has a watch and shoes from Paris." 

I was admitted to the dinner wherewith 
these proceedings closed. Dishes crowded 
the table, wine was abundant, and the sale 
having yielded twenty shillings in the pound, 
the mirth of all the creditors was loud 
and coarse. My landlord was treated, as a 
rich man, with great respect, and every 
one was silent when he made a speech. He 
was sure to say nothing prejudicial to the 
interests of Messieurs the small proprietors. 
He attacked vigorously, however, Messieurs 
the large proprietors, whose game devoured 
the lands of little people, and proclaimed him- 
self, amid general applause, a helping friend 
to poachers. Towards nightfall the conversa- 
tion became very heavy, and at night my 
landlord and I reached home, both of us stupid. 
As we entered, the old gentleman's wife 
screamed out to him from the recesses of her 
room, " Well, is there enough i " 



108 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



'All right, all right," he replied; "we 
shall not lose the whole." The apparent re- 
serve in this answer was a quality the old 
mail could not help ; for it had become an 
instinct with him to keep back little amounts 
and -set them to the credit of his stocking. 

Every eight or ten years my ancient gave a 
dinner to the children he had had by his first 
wife. His second wife, on every such occa- 
sion, after a few years of coaxing, did her 
part with a good grace. The large dishes 
and plates were taken from their place of 
almost eternal rest upon the shelves, and the 
farm cookery performed its best, for the old 
dame knew that a day might come when it 
would be worth her while to have been civil 
to her husband's heirs. It was in my time 
that this day did come. 

K \vry one knows that people in these coun- 
try places are more likely to fetch a doctor for 
the disorders of their cows, their horses, or 
their asses, than for any of their own. My 
friend acted in this spirit, and having con- 
tracted an ailment in one of his toes, begotten 
by perpetual uncleanliness, inflammation ex- 
tended, deepened into gangrene, and at last 
caused death. The old man's death was sud- 
den enough to disappoint his wife in many 
plans for the securing of possessions to her- 
self. She was dispossessed of the chief part 
of the estate ; but, thanks to her friend the 
notary, she had reserves of house and land. 
Moreover it was said that she carried off by 
night some earthen pots which did not contain 
cream, or wine, or water. 

At this period, of course, my residence upon 
the farm came to an end ; but, some time after- 
wards,! paid a visit to the place. The miser's 
son had altered it entirely. The approaches 
were quite clean, the road to it was mac- 
adamised, and bordered with a solid causeway. 
The doorway to the farm was new, of oak. 
studded with large pentagon-headed nails, 
Of the old buildings I found nothing left ex- 
cept the spacious barns. The stables con- 
tained good drains, the cattle stood over fresh 
litters. Order, liberality, and prudent 
economy, were visible in all the arrange- 
ments. Implements were in excellent con- 
dition ; tools were well polished ; there was a 
clear spring of water in the yard, and the 
house had clean windows. As for the house 
itself, it was both simple and elegant, con- 
structed on a plan now common in such cases, 
that reminds one of our country railway 
stations. The adoption of arches and pillars 
made of iron, of brick for the walls, and of 
zinc or slate for the roof, gives to the residences 
of many of the small French propi'ietors an 
appearance of convenience and comfort which 
is not visible always in the villas of the rich. 

"While noticing this change I was accosted 
by a fine young man of about five-and-thirty, 
with whom I had no difficulty in renewing 
previous acquaintance. He took me to see 
his threshing machines, talked about the dis- 
tillation of beetroot, and showed me improve- 



' ments which made it impossible for me not to 
surest comparisons with what I had before 
seen on the same spot. 

<; It is well," said the young farmer. " My 
father was a prudent man, but one of the old 
school. He made the funds. I have only to 
use them. If I have profited much by his 
economy, I owe that to the counsels of a wise 
friend who has joined me, my wife's father." 
When I was introduced to this wise friend, 
his animated and contented features did 
indeed contrast with those of the man whom 
I had seen as a debtor in the miser's clutches; 
nevertheless, it was the same man, and the 
girl whom I had on that day seen with him 
was now the young man's wife. 

A good wife too. Her house was full of 
quiet, order, freshness. Her tables were well 
washed, her floors well rubbed, her dressers 
j tiled with plates and dishes tastefully chosen, 
and her solid house furniture had also a 
touch or two of elegance added to its solidity. 
The woman herself none the worse for hav- 
ing owned a watch and worn shoes made in 
Paris sat at a window looking out upon a 
well-stocked flower garden ; she was neatly 
dressed, and had her hair carefully gathered 
up under one of the high caps peculiar to the 
district. Happy children sat about her ; boys 
in blue blouses and strong leather shoes ; 
girls busy over the needlework, which em- 
ployed them when they had no other work 
on hand. Through an open door that led into 
the kitchen I could see a plump maid with 
bare arms preparing dinner with the cleanli- 
ness that makes the meal a delight to 
partake of. I gladly agreed to stay and 
take my dinner at the farm, wishing much 
that I could yield myself up to the wishes of 
these people and become their lodger. 



ASPIRATION AND DUTY. 

OH, what is earth to those who long 
For higher, holier, nobler things ? 

I'd soar aloft on burning song 
Amid the rush of spirit wings ! 

But hush, proud heart ! While here below, 

At Duty's call fulfil thy fate, 
And humbly, onward, upward go 

So shall thou enter heaven's gate ! 



THE CHILDREN OF THE CZAR. 



A BOOK, written by Ivan Tourghenief, was 
published at Moscow in eighteen hundred 
and fifty two, of course in Russian, and has 
since been translated into English as Russian 
Life in the Interior, or the Experiences of a 
Sportsman ; and into French under the mo- 
dified title of Memoires d'un Seigneur Russe. 
We have just laid down the latter version, 
and are so impressed with the truthfulness of 
its delineations, that an irresistible tempta- 
tion arises to scatter broadcast, by means of 
our columns, a few of the sketches which it 
gives of Russian life. Some of these are 



CharlesDickcns.] 



THE CHILDREN OF THE CZAR. 



109 



touching groups, making us conscious, after 
all, of the bond of common brotherhood 
which urges us individually to fraternise with 
individual members even of a hostile nation. 
Other scenes are simply astounding, com- 
pelling us to lift our hands and eyes in 
wonder that such monstrous things should be 
possible in a land which protests that it is 
eminently a member of true Christendom. 
But the whole series of pictures, great and 
small, confirm the accounts previously cur- 
rent of the barbaric civilisation, the feudal 
tyranny, and the many instances of personal 
merit which characterise the multitudinous 
nation that bows itself down and is irrespon- 
sibly driven before hijn by the world's arch- 
enemy, the Emperor Nicholas. 

Although the volume is written in a form 
that might seem to denote a highly artificial 
mode of composition (for it consists of twenty- 
two chapters, each complete in itself, like 
articles that might appear in the pages of 
this journal, and sometines contains minute 
description's that remind us of Balzac's most 
finished pictures), on reading it, the effect 
produced is rather that of listening to an 
eloquent improvisitore, or Red Indian orator, 
than of perusing the work of a practised 
writer. M. Tourghenief is familiar with 
nature, loves her, courts her in her coyest 
moments, and often betrays the secret charm 
of out-door life with a passionate warmth 
that would do honour to Audubon himself ; 
while his social position as a barine, or terri- 
torial lord, enables him to give us traits of 
Russian high life with the same readiness 
that his sportsmanship introduces him to the 
interior of rustic huts. The writer is un- 
practised, inexperienced, new : and his ran- 
dom leaves, thrown out from time to time in 
a Moscovian literary periodical, excited 
attention by their truth and freshness. 
United, they prove to constitute one of those 
bold, popular volumes, which reflect the tone 
of public feeling, and which succeed, making 
their way to the hearts of all, because the 
national mind volunteers itself as their insti- 
gator, accomplice, and judge. M. Tourghe- 
nief shall speak for himself in an eminently 
suggestive visit to a neighbour. 

About twenty versts from my estate, he 
writes, there resides an ex-officer of the 
Guards, a handsome young gentleman, with 
whom I am acquainted. His name is Arcadi 
Pavlytch Peenotchkine. His domain has 
the advantage over mine, in being, amongst 
other things, well stocked with game. The 
house in which my friend P6enotchkiiie 
resides was built after the plans of a French 
architect ; his people, from the first to the 
last, are clad in liveries according to the 
English style. He gives excellent dinners. 
He receives you in the most amiable manner 
and with all that, you do not visit him 
with hearty goodwill. He is fond of the 
prudent and the positive : he has received a 
perfect education, has served in the army, 



has received the polish of high society, and 
at present devotes his attention, with marked 
success, to matters of rural economy. Arcadi 
Pavlytch, according to his own proper state- 
ment, is severe, but just ; he watches closely 
over the welfare of his vassals, and if he 
chastises them, it is the best proof of his 
affection for them. " They are creatures 
whom you must treat exactly like children," 
he says on such occasions ; " for in fact they 
are grown up children, my dear fellow, and 
we must not forget to bear that in mind." 
As to himself, when he happens to be placed 
in what he calls the sad necessity of acting 
rigorously, he abstains from any abrupt or 
angry movement, or even from raising his 
voice : he simply extends his forefinger, and 
says coldly to the culprit, " I begged you, rny 
dear man, to do so and so," or, " What is the 
matter with you, my friend ? Recollect your- 
self." His teeth are slightly clenched ; his 
mouth contracts imperceptibly, and that 
is all. 

> He is above the middle height, well-made 
and very good-looking ; he takes the greatest 
care of his hands and nails ; his cheeks and 
lips are resplendent with health. He laughs 
frankly and heartily. He dresses with infi- 
nite taste. He procures a great quantity of 
French books and publications of all kinds, 
without being a great reader the' more for that, 
and it is as much as he has done if he has 
got to the end of the Wandering Jew. He- 
is an excellent partner at cards. In short, 
Arcadi Pavlytch passes for a highly civilised 
gentleman, and, with mothers who have 
daughters to marry, for one of the most 
desirable matches in our whole "govern- 
ment." The ladies are mad after him, and r 
above all things, extol his manners. He is 
admirably reserved, and has the wisdom of 
the serpent : never has he been mixed up 
in any current bit of gossip. He spends his 
winters at St. Petersburg. His house is 
marvellously well managed ; the very coach- 
men have felt his influence so completely, 
that they not only clean their harness and 
dust their armiaks, but they carry their 
refinement so far as to wash their faces- 
every day, including the back of their ears 
and neck. Arcadi Pavlytch's people have a 
somewhat downcast look ; but in our darling 
Russia it is not very easy to distinguish 
moroseuess from mere sleepyhead edness. 

Arcadi Pavlytch has a soft and unctuous 
way of speaking ; he cuts up his phrases with 
frequent pauses, and voluptuously strains 
every word, curling it between his pufied-up 
moustachios. He is fond of seasoning his 
dialogue with French expressions, such as 
" Mais c'est unpayable ! Mais comment 
done ! " In spite of all that, he has no 
attractions for me ; and were it not for the 
game of his woods and heaths, and fields, 
the probability is that we should forget each 
other. 

Notwithstanding the slight sympathy which 



110 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



I entertain for Arcadi Pavlytcli, I once hap- 
d to pass the night at his house. Early 
the next moruiug I had the horses put to my 
caldche, but he would not allow me to leave 
till I had breakfasted in the English style, 
And lie dragged me into his cabinet. We had 
tea, cutlets, poached eggs, butter, honey, 
Swiss cheese, and so on. Two white-gloved 
valets, silently, and with the greatest 
promptness, anticipated our slightest wishes. 
We were seated upon a Persian divan, 
Arcadi Pavlytcli, in a heterogeneous Oriental 
costume, sipped his tea, nibbled a bit of some- 
thing, smiled, looked at his nails, smoked, 
tucked a cushion under his arm, and appeared 
in the main to be in excellent good temper. 
He soon made a serious attack upon the 
cutlets and the cheese ; and, after having 
worked away at them like a man, he poured 
himself out a glass of red wine, raised it to 
his lips, and knitted his brows. 

" Why has this wine not been wanned ? " 
he drily asked of one of the valets, who be- 
came confused, turned pale, and_ stood like 
statue. " I just ask you that question, my 
dear fellow," continued the young Seigneur, 
staring at the poor man with wide-open eyes. 
The only motion the culprit made was a 
.slight twisting of the napkin which he held 
in his hand. Under the weight of fascination, 
lie was unable to utter a syllable. Arcadi 
Pavlytch lowered his forehead, and continued 
to gaze thoughtfully, but covertly, at his 
victim. 

" I beg your pardon, my dear sir," he said 
to me with an amiable smile, laying his hand 
familiarly on my knee. He again gave the 
valet a silent stare. 

"Well! go!" he said, at last, raising his 
eyebrows, and touching the spring of a small 
alarum bell, which was followed by the 
entrance of a stout, brown-faced man, with a 
low forehead and bloodshot -eyes. 

" Get matters ready for Fedor," said Arcadi 
Pavlytch, with increasing lacouism, and in a 
state of perfect self-command. 

The thickset man bowed, and left the 
room. No doubt the correction for which he 
had received the order was duly administered 
to the delinquent servant-man. 

" This is one of the annoyances of country 
life," said Arcadi, in laughing mood. " But 
where are you going to 'I Stop, stop ! sit 
down here." 

" No, indeed ; I ana obliged to leave you. 
It is getting late." 

" To go shooting ? Always shooting ! 'Tis 
quite a passion with you. In which direction 
do you propose to start ? " 

" Forty versts off ; to Reabovo." 

"To 'Eeabovo ! But then I will accom- 
pany you. Eeabovo is only five versts from 
ray estate of Chipilovka, and I have been 
intending to go there for some time past. 
Till to-day, I have not had a moment at 
liberty. It is a lucky accident. You can 
shoot to your heart's content at Eeabovo, if 



such is your wish, and in the evening you 
will be my guest. We will have a good 
Cupper, fur I will take the cook with me. I 
want to show you Chipilovka ; my moujiks 
(peasants) there, pay their taxes punctually. 
I can't understand how they make two ends 
meet ; but that 's their affair. I must own that 
I have a hard-headed bourmister (steward) 
over them ; quite a little statesman, on my 
word of honour. You will see what a lucky 
mortal I am." 

It was impossible to refuse ; but instead of 
leaving at nine o'clock in the morning, it was 
two in the afternoon before we started. A 
sportsman will understand my impatience. 
Arcadi Pavlytch took with him such a stock 
of linen, provisions, clothes, cushions, per- 
fumes, and divers "necessaries," as would 
have sufficed an economical German for a 
whole twelvemonth, supplying him stylishly 
and pleasantly too. At last we arrived, not 
at Reabovo, where I wanted to go, but at 
Chipilovka. It was too late to think seriously 
of shooting, so I consoled myself with the 
reflection that what can't be cured must be 
endured. 

The cook had preceded us by several mi- 
nutes. I thought I could observe that he had 
already completed sundry arrangements, and 
especially that he had given notice of our 
coming to the person who had the greatest 
interest in being informed of it. At the gate 
of the village we were met by the staroste 
(elder), the son of the bourmister, a vigorous 
red-headed peasant, six feet high, on horse- 
back, without a hat, dressed in his best 
armiak, which hung unfastened and danced 
in the air. 

" And where is Sophron ? " asked Arcadi 
Pavlytch. 

The elder first of all dismounted, bowed 
very low, and muttered, "Health, father, 
Seigneur Arcadi Pavlytch." Then he raised 
his head, shaking his locks to make them 
stand upright, and said that Sophron was at 
Perof, but that he had already been sent for 
to return immediately. 

" Very well ! Go behind the caleche, and 
follow us." 

The elder, by way of politeness, led his 
horse ten paces away from us to the border 
of the road, remounted, and trotted after us, 
cap in hand. We made otir entry into the 
village. 

The bourmister's cottage was situated 
apart from the others, in the midst of a green 
and fertile hempfield. We halted at the en- 
trance of the courtyard. M. Peenotchkine 
rose, picturesquely threw aside his cloak, and 
stepped out of the caleche, serenely gazing 
around him. The bourmister's wife advanced, 
bowing very low in front, and making a dead 
set at the hand of the master, who graciously 
allowed the good woman to kiss it as long as 
she pleased, and then mounted the three steps 
that led to the front door. The elder's wife 
was waiting in a dark corner of the entrance, 



Ch&rlce DiclrenB.j 



THE CHILDREN OF THE CZAR. 



Ill 



bowing also very low, but without daring for 
a moment to aspire to the honour of kissing 
the hand. la what is called " the cold 
chamber," to the right of the entrance hall, 
two other -women were busily engaged in 
carrying off all sorts of objects empty jugs, 
old clothes, batter-pots, and a cradle wherein, 
amidst a heap of rags, an infant reposed, as it 
seemed to me. Their work ended, .A read i 
Pavlytch drove them out in a hurry, to seat 
himself OH the bench exactly under the holy 
pictures, which the common people never fail 
to salute, crossing themselves at the same 
time, whenever they enter any room what- 
soever. The drivers then brought in the 
large chests, the middle-sized trunks, and the 
little boxes. It is needless to mention that 
they took infinite pains to muffle the sound 
of their footsteps. Once, when they stood a 
little on one side, I saw the bourmistress 
noiselessly pinch and beat some other woman, 
who did not dare to cry out. Suddenly, we 
heard the rapid rolling, as rapidly checked, of 
a "telegue" which stopped before the door, 
and the bourmister made his entrance. 

The " statesman" of whom Arcadi Pavlytch 
had boasted was short, thickset, with broad 
shoulders, grisly hair, a red nose, small blue 
eyes, and a beard shaped like a reversed fan. 
Note, by the way, that ever since Russia has 
been in existence there has not been a single 
instance of a man's growing rich, without his 
beard at the same time becoming propor- 
tionally broader and broader. We may 
suppose that the Bourmister had copiously 
washed down his dinner at Perof. His face 
streamed with perspiration, and he smelt of 
wine at ten paces' distance. 

" Ah, you ! our fathers ! You, our bene- 
factors ! " said the cunning fellow, in a droll 
sort of chant, using the plural form to show 
his greater respect, and speaking in such a 
tone of emotion, that I expected every mo- 
ment to see him burst into tears. " You have 
come to us at last ! Your hand, father, your 
hand ! " he added, protruding his thick lips to 
their utmost stretch. 

Arcadi Pavlytch allowed his hand to be 
kissed, and said, quite caressingly : " Well, 
brother Sophron, how do our affairs go 
on?" 

" Ah, you, our fathers ! " Sophron replied. 
" And how should they go on otherwise than 
well, when you, our fathers, our benefactors, 
deign by your presence to enlighten our poor 
liltle village ? Oh ! I am happy to my dying 
day. Thanks to God, Arcadi Pavlytch, all 
goes well. All goes well that belongs to your 
grace." 

After a minute's silence devoted to mute 
contemplation, the "statesman" sighed en- 
thusiastically, and, as if carried away by 
sudden inspiration (with which a strong dose 
of ardent spirits might have something to do), 
he again solicited the lordly hand, and chanted 
with greater vehemence than before : " Ah, 
you ! our fathers and benefactors ! I am mad 



with delight ! I can scarcely believe my eyes 
that it is you, our fathers, our " 

The scene was well acted. Ai'cadi Pavlytch 
looked at me, smiled slightly, and asked me 
in French, " Is it not touching ? " 

" Ah ! Arcadi Pavlytch, resumed the 
bourmister; "what will become of you here? 
Just now, I think, you thoroughly vex me ; 
you did not let me know that you were 
coming. How will you contrive to pass the 
night, gracious Heaven? This is a dusty, 
dirty hole" 

" No matter, Sophron ; no matter," replied 
Arcadi Pavlytch with a smile. " We are well 
enough here." 

" Well ! our cherished fathers ; well ! yes ; 
but for whom ? For us clod-hoppers, well 
enough, but for you ! Ah ! our fathers 
ah ! our benefactors, excuse a poor imbecile. 
Yes ; my brain is turned inside out Father of 
Heaven ! inside out I am crazy with excess 
of joy." 

Supper was served : Arcadi Pavlytch sat 
down to supper. The old man soon turned 
his son out of the room, because he exhaled 
too potent a rustic odour, according to the 
remark of the father himself, who stood like 
an automaton three or four paces away from, 
the table. 

'"Well, old fellow! have you settled with 
the neighbours about the boundary?" asked 
M. Peenotchkine. 

" Settled, barine, settled thanks to thee, 
to thy name. The day before yesterday we 
signed the agreement. The khlynovski, at 
first, made a great many objections ; they 
demanded this, and that, and something 
besides, and Heaven knows what. Dogs, poor 
people, fools as they are ! But we, father, 
thanks to thy generosity, we have satisfied 
Nicolas Nicolae" vitch. We acted according to 
thy instructions, barine as thou hast said, 
we have done yes ; we have arranged and 
finished all, according to thy will, as reported 
by Egor Dmitritch." 

"Egor delivered in his report," said Arcadi 
Pavlytch, majestically ; " and now are you 
satisfied?" 

Sophron only waited for such a word to 
intone afresh his " Ah ! you, our fathers, 
our saviours and benefactors ! ah i we pray 
the Lord God for you night and day. Doubt- 
less, we have but little laud here." 

" Good, good, Sophron," said Peenotchkine, 
"I know you are a devoted servant, and 
what does this year's threshing produce ? " 

" The threshing ? it is not altogether satis- 
factory. But allow me, our good fathers, 
Arcadi Pavlytch, to announce to you a little 
matter which has befallen us unexpectedly." 
Here he drew near to M. Peenotchkine, 
leaned forward ^obliquely, and, winking his 
eye, said, " A dead body has been found upon 
our land." 

" How did that happen 1" 

" Ah ! our fathers, I ask the same question ; 
it must have been done by some enemy. It 



112 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



is fortunate that it lay upon the very verge 
of our estate, near a iield which belongs 
to other people. I cleverly caused the corpse 
to be transported to the neighbour's land. I 
posted a sentinel a little way off, and enjoined 
him to keep the strictest silence. I then went 
to the head of the police, gave information in 
my own way, and left him with a slight token 
of gratitude for the injury which he does not 
do us. By Our Lady, barine, my plan 
answered ; the corpse remained hanging 
round our neighbour's neck. You know that 
on such an occasion as this two hundred 
roubles (more than thirty pounds) have no 
more effect than a penny roll of the finest 
flour has on the appetite of a starving man." 

M. P6enotchkine laughed at his bour- 
mister's exploit, and said to me in French 
several times, pointing to him with a motion 
of the head, " What a jolly fellow ! Isn't he ?" 

The night came, the table was removed, 
and some hay brought in. The valet de 
chambre arranged two beds, covering them 
properly with sheets and pillows. Arcadi, 
before going to sleep, enumerated the admi- 
rable qualities of the Russian peasantry, 
adding that ever since Sophron had been 
manager he had never lost a farthing of in- 
come from this estate. 

Next morning we rose early. I had in- 
tended to go to Reabovo ; but Arcadi Pav- 
lytch testified a great desire to show me his 
property, and induced me to remain. I con- 
fess I was curious to witness with my own 
eyes the proofs of the great talents of the 
statesman whose name was Sophron the bour- 
mister. He soon, appeared before us. He 
was still dressed in a blue armiak with a red 
girdle. He was less talkative than the day 
before : he watched his master with piercing 
attention : he answered cleverly, and in proper 
terms. We inspected the barns, the sheep- 
fold, the outhouses, the windmill, the stables, 
the kitchen-garden, and the hemp-fields ; all 
was really in excellent order. The wan 
countenances of the moujiks were in trutli 
the only thing with which I could as yet find 
fault. "Arcadi Pavlytch was delighted ; he 
explained to me, in French, the advantages 
of the system of " obroc " (personal tax), and 
gave advice to the bourmister as to the best 
way of planting potatoes and physicking 
cattle. Sophron listened attentively, and 
sometimes even ventured to differ, for he had 
discarded yesterday's devoted adulation, and 
stuck to the text that the estate must be 
increased, because the soil was bad. "Buy 
more land, then, in my name," answered 
Arcadi Pavlytch ; " I have no objection." To 
which Sophron made no other answer than 
to close his eyes in silence, and stroke his 
beard. With regard to sylviculture, M. 
P6enotchkine followed Russian notions. He 
told rne an anecdote, which he thought very 
amusing, of a facetious country gentleman, 
who, in order to make his head forester un- 
derstand that it is not true that the more 



you strip a wood, the better it will sprout 
i gain, robbed him, at a single pluck, of half 
the beard that grew on his chin. 

In other respects, I cannot say that either 
Arcadi Pavlytch or Sophron were opposed to 
all innovation and improvement. They took 
me to see a wiunowing-machine, which they 
had recently procured from. Moscow ; but if 
Sophron could have foreseen the untoward 
event which awaited us there, he would 
certainly have deprived us of this latter 
spectacle. 

A few paces from the door of the barn 
where the machine was at work, stood two 
peasants, one an old man of seventy, the 
other a lad of twenty, both dressed in shirts 
made of odd scraps of cloth, both wearing a 
girdle of rope, and with naked feet. The 
elder, with gaping mouth, and convulsively 
clenched fists, was trying to drive them away, 
and would probably have succeeded if we had 
remained much longer in the barn. Arcadi 
Pavlytch knit his brows, bit his lip, and 
walked straight to the group. The two 
peasants cast themselves at his feet. 

" What do you want ? Speak ! " he 
said, in a severe and somewhat nasal voice. 

The poor creatures exchanged looks, and 
could not utter a word ; their eyes winked as 
if they were dazzled, and their respiration was 
accelerated. 

" Well, what is the matter 1 " resumed 
Arcadi Pavlytch, immediately turning round 
to Sophron. " To what family do they be- 
long 1 " 

" To the Tobol&f family," answered the 
bourmister slowly. 

" What do you want, then ? Have you no 
tongue 1 Speak, old man ; what would you 
have 1 " He added ; " You have nothing to 
be frightened at, imbecile." 

The old man stretched forward his bronzed 
and wrinkled neck, moved his thick blue lips, 
and said, in a bleating voice : " Come to our 
aid, my Seigneur ! " 

And again he fell with his forehead to the 
ground ; the young man acted nearly in the 
same way. Arcadi Pavlytch gravely regarded 
their bended necks ; then changing the posi- 
tion of his legs and his head, he said, " What 
is the matter ? Of whom do you complain 1 
Let us see all about it." 

" Pity, my Seigneur ; a moment's breathing- 
time. We are tortured ; we are " 

" Who tortures you ? " 

" Sophron Jakovliteh, the bourmister." 

" Your name ? " said niy companion, after 
a moment's silence. 

" Anthippe, my Seigneur." 

"And the other ?" 

" He is my son, Seigneur." 

Arcadi Pavlytch was again silent, twisting 
his moustache. At last he added, " Well, and 
in what way has he tortured you so cruelly ? " 
And he haughtily regarded the wretched 
man, looking down between the tufts of his 
moustache. 



Charles Dick.-ns.] 



THE CHILDREN OF THE CZAR 



113 



" My Seigneur, he has completely stripped 
and ruined us. Contrary to every regula- 
tion, he has compelled two of my sons to 
enlist out of their turn, and now he is going 
to rob me of the third. No later than yester- 
day, he carried off my last cow ; and his 
grace, the elder, who is indeed his son, has 
beaten my housewife. Ah ! good Seigneur ! 
Do not permit him to make an end of us." 

M. Poeiiotchkine was extremely embar- 
rassed ; he coughed three or four times, and 
then, with a discontented air, inquired of the 
bourmister, in an under tone, what he ought 
to think of such an allegation. 

" He is a drunkard, sir ; " replied the 
bourmister, with insolent assurance ; " a 
drunkard and an idler. He does nothing. 
For the last five years he has not been able to 
pay his back reckoning." 

" Sophron Jakovlitch has paid for me, my 
Seigneur," replied the old man. " This is the 
fifth year in which he has paid instead of me ; 
and, as he pays for me, he has treated me as 
his pledge, his own proper slave, my good 
Seigneur, and " 

" But all that does not explain the reason of 
the deficit," said M. Peenotchkine-, With ani- 
mation. The old man bowed his head. " You 
drink, don't you 1 You haunt the public- 
houses?" The old man opened his lips to 
justify himself. " I know you," continued 
Arcadi Pavlytch. "You pass your time in 
drinking and in sleeping on the stove ; and 
the industrious peasant has to answer for 
you, to " 

"And, besides, he is ill-behaved," added 
the bourmister, without scrupling to behave 
ill himself by presuming to interrupt his 
master. 

" Ill-behaved, of course ! it is always so ; I 
have often made the same observation. The 
lazy fellow indulges in dissipation and bad 
language the whole year through, and then, 
one day, he throws himself at his Seigneur's 
feet." 

"My good Seigneur," said the old man 
with an accent 6f fearful despair, "in the 
name of God, rescue us from this man. And 
he calls me ill-behaved, besides ! I tell you 
before Heaven that I cannot exist any longer. 
Sophron Jakovlitch has taken a spite against 
me. Why 1 Who can say 1 He has ruined, 
crushed, and utterly destroyed me. This is 
my last child. Well ! " A tear ran down 
the old man's yellow and wrinkled cheeks. 
" In the name of Heaven, my good Seigneur, 
come to our aid." 

" And we are not the only people whom he 
persecutes," said the younger peasant. 

Arcadi Pavlytch took fire at this word from 
the poor lad, who had hitherto kept so quiet. 
' " And who asked you any questions 1 Tell 
me that. How dare you speak before you 
are spoken to ? What does all this mean 1 
Hold your tongue ; hold your tongue ! Good 
God ! this is a regular revolt. But it will 
not answer to revolt against me. I will " 



Arcadi Pavlytch was about to make some 
hasty movement of which he would have re- 
pented afterwards, but he probably remem- 
bered that I was present, for he restrained 
himself, and stuck his hands in his pockets. 
He said to me in French, " I beg your par- 
don, my dear fellow," with a forced smile and 
in an undertone. "It is the wrong side of the 
tapestry, the reverse of the medal." He con- 
tinued in Russian, addressing the serfs, but 
without looking at them, " Very well ; very 
well. I shall take my measures. Very well, 
go ! " (The peasants did not stir). " Very 
well, I tell you. Take yourselves off. I tell 
you I shall give my orders. Begone." 

Arcadi turned his back, muttering the 
words, " Nothing but unpleasantnesses," and 
strode off to the bourmister's house, who 
followed him. 

A couple of hours after this scene, I was at 
Reabovo ; and there, taking for my companion 
one Anpadiste, a peasant, whom I knew, I 
promised to devote myself entirely to sport. 
Up to the moment of my departure, M. 
Peeuotchkine appeared to be sulky with 
Sophron. I could not help thinking that I 
had yielded extremely mal a propos to the 
invitation to stop and inspect, that morning. 
Whether I would or not, the thought was so 
completely uppermost in my mind, that while 
journeying with Anpadiste I said to him a 
few words on the subject of M. Peenotchkine 
and the Chipilovka serfs, and asked him if he 
knew the bourmister of the estate. 

" Sophron Jacovlitch, you mean." 

" Yes ; what sort of man is he ? " 

" He is not a man, he is a dog, and so bad 
a dog that from here to Koursk you would 
not find his equal." 

" Really ? " 

"Ah, sir, Chipilovka has only the appear- 
ance of belonging to to this never mind 
his Christian names" (in Russia, a person's 
Christian name and that of his father are 
used together, whenever it is wished to speak 
respectfully to, or of, any person : their sup- 
pression is equivalent to an insult) " to this 
M. Peenotchkine. He is not the owner : the 
real owner is Sophron only." 

" Do you think so 1 " 

" He has converted Chipilovka into a life- 
estate of his own. Fancy that there is not a 
single peasant there who is not in debt to 
him up to the neck. He, therefore, has them 
all under his thumb. He employs them aa 
he will, does what he chooses with them, and 
makes them his tools and -drudges." 

" I am told they are pinched for room, 
that the estate is not large enough." 

" Are we ever short of land or room in 
these districts ? Sophron traffics in land, in 
horses, in cattle, pitch, rosin, butter, hemp, 
and a hundred other articles. He is clever, 
very clever ; and isn't he rich, the brute ? 
But he is mad about threshing. He is a dog, 
a mad dog, and not a man. I tell you again, 
be is a ferocious brute." 



114 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



" But why do not the peasants make a com- 
plaint to their real Seigneur 1" 

"Ah, sir, the Seigneur pockets his revenue, 
the payment is exact, and he is satisfied 
In case of complaint, what will he do ? He 
will say to the complainant, ' Take yourself 
off, begone ! If not, Sophron will know the 
reason why. Make yourself scarce ; other- 
wise, he will settle your business, as he has 
settled So-and-so's and So-and-So's.' " 

I briefly told him what I had seen that 
morning respecting Anthippe and his son. 

" Well," said Anpadiste, " Sophron will 
now devour the old man. He will suck the 
marrow out of his bones. The elder will 
address him in no better language than 
blows of the list. Poor man ! live or six 
years ago, he resisted Sophron about some 
trifle, in the presence of others, and some 
words passed between them which rankled 
in the bourmister's heart. That was quite 
enough. He began by annoying him ; after- 
wards lie pressed him closer ; and now he is 
gnawing him to the very bone, execrable 
scoundrel that he is ! " 



RUINED BY RAILWAYS.' 



THE man was a tall, thin figure, dressed 
in black, rather worn, but neatly brushed, 
with an ill-washed white neckcloth. Over 
all, he wore a shabby sort of camlet 
cloak. He was continually busy making 
calculations with a short stump of pencil on 
the back of a bundle of papers. From time to 
time he took snuff in a rapid nervous way, 
from a once handsome, much worn Scotch box. 

He said and as he spoke he shivered 
with cold ; for he had no great coat or rail- 
way wrapper, and the second class carriage 
in which we were travelling had a hole in 
the floor It is very hard that it should 
have happened to me. I have always been 
careful : I never wasted a penny in my life. 
No, no ! they cannot say it was extravagance 
that ruined me. Why, sir, until this wretched 
business, I never had a debt in my life paid 
on the nail, and made up my cash-book 
every night before I went to bed. It seems 
only the other day although it's fifteen 
years ago that my poor father gave me a 
bright, 7iew sovereign, because I had saved 
ten shillings in niy money-box, while my 
brother Jack he enlisted soon after, and was 
killed in the Battle of Moodkee had only 
threepence, and owed a tick to the tart- 
woman. 

No, gentlemen (ho continued, after we had 
shown our tickets at the Biibury junction 
his was a free pass) I have always been pru- 
dent. Many a time have I had a shilling 
from my uncle Bullion for repeating poor 
Robin's maxims. " Take care of the pence, 
iny boy," he used to say, " and the pounds 
will take care of themselves." " A shilling 
saved is a shilling got." He promised to 
leave me his fortune ; and he would 



only, you see, being persuaded by his most 
respectable acquaintance, he put all his 
money into the Real del Monte at five 
hundred pounds premium, when they went 
down to fifty shillings, there was only 
thirty pounds balance after paying the 
brokers. 

I was apprenticed, when I left school, to 
old Alderman Drabble, who began life with 
half-a-crown, and was considered worth at 
least a plum. He did a great business with 
the West Indies, and there was not a man 
more respected in Mudborough, where he 
lived. For he did not spend above three 
hundred pound a-year, and always had ten 
thousand ready to invest at a short date on 
security of produce sugar, coffee, or tobacco- 
at proper interest, commission, and expenses. 

Well, I worked there early and late. When 
I was out of my time, he offered me a part- 
nership not much of a share, to be sure : 
not more than I could have got as cashier 
anywhere else ; but then he hinted that I 
should have all the business when he died. He 
used to say those were fools that retired from 
business that there was no amusement like 
making "money money, more money, my 
boy !" So he took me as a young partner, that 
he might work less and make more. He got 
me cheap enough. 

When I was an apprentice I used to be 
very fond of pretty Lucy Gradley, our 
surgeon's daughter. I often talked of marry- 
ing her as soon as I was in business for 
myself ; for we had been children together, 
and she was the nicest little creature I ever 
saw. But of course I was not going to be 
such a fool as to marry a pig in a poke ; so I 
got my mother to sound the doctor, and find 
out what he was going to give her. Would 
you believe it, I never could make out 
whether it was his extravagance he al- 
ways had hot sappers or his meanness : he 
actually declared he could only afford to give 
his three girls five hundred pound a-piece. 
Well, you see, that would not do for me. So 
I began to listen to my father who talked 
a great, deal about saving money ; al- 
though I found after all that he spent 
most of his fortune in foreign Lottery 
tickets. He used to say, when I spoke of 
Lucy, " Ben, my boy, take my word for it, 
beauty 's only skin deep. Depend upon it 
there's nothing like a good balance in the 
bank for making married life happy. Stick 
up to the alderman's daughter." 

Now Rebecca Drabble was not exactly my 
fancy. She was rather older than I was, 
and bony and yellow, and you always heard 
her nagging the maids. But when I told my 
father that, he said : " Ah, Ben, my boy, the 
chink of tlie money will drown her scolding ; 
besides, if she does scold the maids, she 
won't scold you." 

Well, I dropped poor Lucy ; she after- 
wards married young (Jharles Rally. He was 
first mate of the Golden Grove ; he's captain 



Charles Dickens.] 



RUINED BY RAILWAYS. 



115 



and a great ship-owner now ; they keep their 
own carriage, while I am obliged to travel 
third class when I can't get a free- 
pass. I married Rebecca. The alderman 
was quite agreeable. He said, " Benjamin, 
I shan't give my daughter any fortune. 
When I married my Rebecca I had but thirty 
shillings a week, and she'd saved a hundred 
pound. Now, you'll have all Rebecca's 
savings ; I allow her twenty pounds a year 
for clothes and pocket money, and when 
I die you'll have something handsome." 

I didn't much like this. It wasn't what 
my father planned for me ; but, if I gave 
it up, I knew I could not live in Mud- 
borough. Old Drabble would have made it 
too hot for me. So I married her. 

I began to repent the day after, and have 
repented ever since. My father's was a careful 
house : bread and milk for breakfast, or por- 
ridge ; roast or boiled and pudding for dinner ; 
and glass of grog on Sundays. But there it was 
more talk than anything else. Rebecca used 
to make me live on herrings and sprats, 
and never bought any meat but sticking- 
pieces. She used to dine by herself, before 
I came home, on some little nicety. 

After we were married the Alderman got 
into the habit of going to London a good deal 
to see about investments, leaving us to take 
care of his house. He left nothing in it but 
the furniture ; so we did not save much by 
that. One day news came from his London 
broker that he had fallen down dead at the 
Railway Hotel. I can't say I was much 
fretted by the news. No more was Rebecca, 
for he was a tiresome stingy old man. I went 
down to 'Change that day pretty proud. 
How they did flock round and shake 
me by the hand, and condole and con- 
gratulate me, and pay me compliments. There 
were a dozen of the first merchants asking 
my advice. 

I went up to town in a new suit of black, 
out of turn, for it was my rule to make a suit 
last twelve months. When Ifound the would 
you believe it 1 the old villain was married a 
second time, had a wife and a young family liv- 
ing in a house close to the London station. He 
had left all his money it was not so much 
by half as people thought to the young 
brats. Their mother was a turnpike gate- 
keeper's daughter, young enough to be his 
granddaughter. So we got nothing except 
five thousand pounds settled strictly on 
Rebecca. To add insult to the injury, he said, 
in his will " as my son-in-law is so frugal and 
industrious he will not want money so much 
aa my helpless babes." 

I had no peace after this happened at home, 
for Rebecca would have it that it was all my 
fault. 

However, in spite of everything although 
my friends looked very cold on me when I 
came back, and Alderman Tibbs, and the 
great Mr. Glight, of the firm Glight, Ribs, 
and Bibbs, treated me as if I had swindled 



them by accepting an invitation to dinner 
sent on the strength of the report that Mr. 
Drabble had left us an immense fortune, 
I did manage to make money. I had saved 
a nice little capital, and made some very 
pretty hits in underwriting ; for I thoroughly 
understood ships. People used to say, "as 
safe as Ben Balance ; " " Balance knows 
which side his bread is buttered ;" or " you 
can't come Yorkshire over Mr. Balance." 
" He can see through you, can Balance." 

I do believe I should have made a plum, 
perhaps have been mayor, and even knighted; 
though, to be sure, having always a delicate 
digestion, and never able to drink more than 
one pint of port wine, I could scarcely have 
been qualified to stand in the shoes of our true 
blue five-bottle man, Sir Peter Curley, who 
was knighted in especial compliment to the 
Oporto interest. Often and often I used to sit 
and think what a fool my uncle was, for not 
realising when he could have made thirty 
thousand pounds by the Real del Monte 
shares that I had to sell for thirty pounds, 
and that nothing would incline me to take a 
share in anything. When the railway 
fever broke out, I was worth at least ten 
thousand pound. 

At first I took no notice of all that was 
in the newspapers. I joined the steady 
set in the reading-room in laughing at the 
young fellows who were so deep and hot 
speculating, and flying by express trains up 
and down to and from London. But pre- 
sently one friend, and then another, dropped 
into the stream, and then came to tell me 
how much they had made. There was 
young Sploshton, not in business above 
six months, who realised a little for- 
tune in six weeks married the girl he 
had been engaged to for three years, and 
actually bought a small estate and retired 
from business. He lives on it now. There 
was young Tandemtit ; he had been so wild 
his friends had sent him to America. He 
returned in his shirt-sleeves, and was obliged 
to borrow a crown piece of the station- 
master at Bootlem to bring him to his 
father's house. He set up as a share-broker 
the second ever known in the town ; the 
other, old Foggerton, only dealt in go- 
vernment stock. The first year Tandemtit 
opened a good amount with Glight, Ribs and 
Bibbs, drove his mail phaeton, and gave open 
champagne lunches to his customers. There 
was Alderman Cobalt, who went up to town 
to his son's wedding, met an engineer in the 
train, and, from his information, made five 
thousand pounds in one transaction. It was no 
use shutting your ears ; these stories were 
dinned into your ears every day even the 
women talked of them. I made my two 
pounds, or five, and sometimes ten pounds 
a day, by my business. But when in every 
shop and every counting-house, and on 
'Change, at all hours we heard of thousands 
and tens of thousands made in a stroke of a pen, 



116 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted br 



ami saw im-ii ;uul buys of yesterday springing 
into importance in close consultation with 
our stonily old bankers, it was impossible 
not to feel discontented. I repeated to my- 
self all the cautious proverbs " Slow and 
sure ;" "More haste worse speed ;" "What's 
earned over the devil's back is spent," &c. ; 
and then met some one whom I had considered 
a stupid fellow, who would stop me to show 
a letter of allotment he was going to sell for 
ever so many hundred pounds. 

I could not help imparting my discontent 
one day to Joseph Sleekleigh, the cashier of 
the chief bank atMudborough. Sleekleigh was 
deacon of our chapel, universally considered a 
safe, steady man of business, and the future 
manager of the Joint Stock Bank whenever 
old Dummy, who had held it from the 
commencement, died. To this Sleekleigh 
answered, "Well, if we were to do anything, it 
ought to be on a large scale. These allot- 
ments are but paltry affairs for men like you 
and me." 

A few Sundays after this conversation, 
Sleekleigh called upon me, and said, as soon 
as we were alone in the garden, " B, are 
you ready to go into a really good thing on 
a large scale ? Are you prepared, in fact, to 
back your luck, and make a fortune ? Be- 
cause, if you are, I have a chance for you." 

I told him how disappointed I had been 
by my father-in-law's infamous deception. 
So he went on to say, " You know my 
nephew, young Tom fclum, who returned 
from Australia the other day." 

" Yes, of course ; always smoking cigars, 
di-ives hired tandems, goes to races with 
prize-fighters. I have seen him, and could 
never understand how a respectable man like 
you could have such a young ruffian for his 
nephew." 

" Well well," said Sleekleigh, " he is rather 
wild, but not such a fool as he seems. He 
now and then collects information worth 
having, for the bank ; and, although of course 
I can't receive him at my own house, I do 
meet him occasionally. Tom has a secret that 
may be worth a hundred thousand. Think 
of that. So make up your mind. Will you 
go in with me into the speculation 1 " 

After further consultation, I consented to 
ili'aw a check in four figures ; he then con- 
fided to me that Slum had been making love 
to the good-looking housekeeper of Alder- 
man Rugg, a widower, and chairman of the 
Pinnacle Junction Railway, and that he, or 
rather she for him, had discovered that a 
secret plan was nearly completed, for buying 
the Granite Valley Continuation in ten per cent 
stock ; indeed, Mrs. Jenny had somehow or 
other got possession of the torn pieces of the 
original draft memorandum, prepared at a 
private dinner between the alderman and 
Lawyer Cockle. 

To cut a long story short, I was tempted 
to go into the affair. I went to the London 
broker who had always bought Consols 



for me, quietly collected shares, and made 
lar^-ii time bargains in the Granite Valley 
Continuation, then at fifty per cent discount. 
In three weeks we divided nearly a hundred 
thousand pounds ! Yes, you may stare, a 
hundred thousand pounds. The news of the 
amalgamation came out in less than a week 
after I had operated. Up went the shares ; 
two hundred per cent premium ; the direc- 
tors who, in consequence of our getting 
into the secret, had not made quite as much 
as they expected, took the public while it 
was in the humour, and issued a lot of 
new extension shares. Of course we got 
our quota, and there was another famous 
pull. My total third came to thirty-two 
thousand pounds, nineteen shillings, and 
fourpence. 

You can't expect that I was going to attend 
to my beggarly business after that. Besides, 
this coup having been effected by me alone, 
ostensibly, gave me an immense reputation 
among the moat knowing hands as a sharp 
man of business, they never guessed how I 
got my information, and I was overwhelmed 
with offers of shares in good things, with 
seats in provisional committees, besides being 
consulted about plans for all sorts of under- 
takings. I never knew before how quick, 
how intelligent I was. I had been noted on 
our little 'Change for the decided way in 
which I underwrote a doubtful ship ; in my 
new line this served me wonderfully. I 
dined with a great East Indian, and got a 
letter of introduction which gave me two 
hundred shares in the celebrated Punjaub 
and Cape Comorin Railway, deposit five 
shillings. I sold them the day following, for 
twelve pounds premium. I was a director of 
the Great Metropolis and Mudborough 
Direct ; of the Great Metropolis and Coal- 
boro' Direct, and half-a-dozen other great 
projects. We brought them all out at ten 
pounds premium and every director had a thou- 
sand shares. We were quite above anything 
at less than ten pounds premium, and the Coal- 
boro' we brought out at twenty-five pounds. 
When I think that all the Directs but 
one have been wound up with a heavy 
loss ; that the Punjaubs have been sold at 
two shillings and sixpence discount, and that 
the lines at work which were at two hundred 
and fifty pounds are now at ninety pounds 
each it drives me almost mad. 

I got into a completely new line of life 
and set of society, instead of the aldermen 
whom I used to think it a great honour to dine 
with. I was intimate with lords and M.P's. 
Our Direction Boards were regular happy 
families. No prejudices, politics, or religion, 
or rank, or birth i prevailed there. We had 
Lord Jennet, who came in with William the 
Conqueror, and Trimmer the banker, whose 
father kept a gin-shop; and Muggins, who 
had been on the turf, but found the Stock 
Exchange more profitable; the Honourable 
Peter Plaudit, M.P., the celebrated radical 



CharlesDickens.] 



KUINED BY EAILWAYS. 



117 



philanthropist, and the Honourable Augustus 
de Brubber Fleecy, son of the Duke of 
Woolley, the celebrated protectionist. 

We used to meet about twelve o'clock, 
and have a little champagne lunch ; per- 
haps a basin of turtle, and then settle the 
allotments and the premiums. We had our 
expenses paid, including boxes at the Opera, 
and broughams for those who liked them. I 
didn't. I used to go to my lodgings in Blow- 
hard Square a guinea a week, including 
bed and breakfast and calculate my profits. 
I've got the book now. Of course it was 
nothing to anybody if I chose to save my 
allowance of live guineas a day. 

We thought nothing of a hundred thousand 
pounds more or less in those days. I re- 
member well, just before we started the 
Joint Stock Bank Company of Mexico, Meso- 
potamia, and New Zealand, that Peter 
M'Crawley (the celebrated ship-owner and 
patriot it was before he got into Parliament), 
made such an excellent thing by we tossed 
up whether the capital should be one million 
or five hundred thousand pounds, and the 
million won. We brought that out at two 
pounds deposit, and five pounds premium. 
It went down the following year to one 
pound discount, when M'Crawley bought up 
all the shares he could, broke up the under- 
taking, and got one pound fifteen shillings 
for every one of them. I lost thousands by 
mine. 

But to return to my partners in the first 
transaction. Young Slum went to London 
immediately : he travelled up in the same train 
with the Honourable Constantine Cudlip, 
who had just been obliged to leave Fizzington 
Wells after an unsuccessful attack on an 
heiress. Cudlip borrowed a thousand pounds 
of Slum, introduced him into some of the 
best society at Hyde Park Corner, and made 
him a member of the Raffle and Eiot Club. 
So Slum drove a four-in-hand drag divided 
his time between Capel Court and the 
." Corner," and took up his abode at the Gin 
Sling Hotel, in Cariboo Square, doing the 
same business that I did, but in quite a differ- 
ent style ; where I spent a shilling he 
spent a hundred pounds. It was astonishing 
how Teddy Slum he called himself Fitz 
Teddiugtou Slum was altered, what with 
his clothes and his ways; the station-mas- 
ter would never have known him ; I never 
altered. 

As for Sleekleigh he left the Bank set up 
as a sharebroker and had ail the best people 
in the county for his customers. Besides the 
bankers and merchants, there were old ladies 
and parsons in crowds, who sold out of consols, 
called in mortgages and brought their money 
to lay out as he pleased, and he made it a 
favour to take it. 

I can't make you believe what I was worth 
at one time. I know I staid at home one 
Sunday, and calculated by the premiums on 
the share-lists sent down on Saturday night 



that I was worth half a million, good. I de- 
termined to retire at a million. Here the 
narrator seized a wedge of pork-pie which the 
young woman who sat opposite to us kindly 
offered to him, and went on masticating and 
talking at the same time. 

Ah, I was happy then, although I lived 
in a fever. I did not waste my money 
as Slum did. My bankers never kept me 
waiting ; I was shown into their parlour the 
moment I appeared. In my old black pocket- 
book I used to keep a bundle of noteSj 
buttoned in a pocket close over my heart, 
and a score of sovereigns in my breeches 
pocket. I was never dull while I could 
jingle them. To be sure I was not quite 
happy at home. Eebecca was never the 
best of tempers used to worry and nag 
me out of my life to give her a carnage, and 
this and that and the other, and to move to 
a better house, although I had never seen the 
colour of her money. She took good care 
to save up all that I allowed her as much 
as three pounds a week to keep house quite 
enough too. I was not going to waste my 
money on coaches and houses after I had 
been so infamously cheated about Rebecca's 
fortune. 

Well, after a time things began to grow 
rather natter, but I had still a large balance at 
my banker's. I had sold all the small stuff, and 
put it out on good interest ; so I reserved my 
strength for my direct lines. There was a 
fortune. I thought at the lowest calculation 
they would pay ten per cent, and that on my 
shares would be forty thousand a year. 
We had the calculations of the celebrated Mr. 
Paul Stretcher, who made a fortune by his 
Railway traffic calculations alone in less than 
two years. 

A good many small people were smashed 
in the first panic, my losses were heavy, but 
still I had my solid savings to fall back on, 
and my direct shares. While Slum who had 
declined to take Lord Cornboy's mansion 
and park, because there was stabling for only 
twenty horses was obliged to borrow money 
at high interest. 

The time came for going to Parliament, 
many of our other shareholders, some of our 
directors, especially the Right Honorable 
ones, hung back. In fact, they had no ready 
money, and they had spent their premiums 
as fast as they got them. I had to choose 
between a great loss and going on. I went 
on, with four or five others; we put down our 
hard cash, and took the shares of the de- 
faulters, with the forfeit of what they had 
paid. I could have retired then with some- 
thing handsome. 

That was the most dreadful time of all. 
Every day the engineers, or the lawyers were 
at us for money. It was like putting a pistol 
to one's throat. It was pay, or lose all. 

While the railway committees were going 
on in Commons and Lords sometimes 
winning, sometimes losing my visits to 



IIS 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



the City were constant, and at times I 
made a pretty good thing of speculating on 
my information. But at length the "Long 
Session" grew to an end. Out of the slaught- 
ered innocents four of .the Direct Lines were 
saved. Conceive my horror when they all 
fell to par the moment the Royal Assent was 
obtained, and we were in a position to put a 
pickaxe in the ground. 

But I was determined to hold ; I was sure 
that better times would come when the ras- 
cally papers would cease to write against us, 
and we should spring up to our old premiums. 
Nay, I bought more shares to cover my losses. 

But down, down, down they went with 
partial gleams of hope like the fluttering 
leaves of an old almanack. 

This was not the worst ; my table was 
daily covered with notices and threatening 
letters from the solicitors of companies in 
which I had taken allotments, or accepted 
provisional direction. 

The creditors of the dissolved companies 
where I was director and committee-man 
began to sue me. I was in a hundred actions 
of law at once. I was torn to pieces with 
consultations with my lawyers and my brokers. 
My ready money was consumed in paying 
calls, paying law costs, and continuations on 
unsuccessful speculations on the Stock Ex- 
change. I ceased to keep exact accounts, I 
could not bear to see my darling scrip re- 
duced to the value of waste paper, but hoping 
for better times I pledged my good shares at 
my broker's. Good shares there was nothing 
good ! 

Yes, I who could have had my bills, when 
I began, done at two per cent, per annum 
was obliged to pay equal to twelve pounds, 
then fifteen, then twenty-five per cent, for 
discount, and the respectable bankers who 
sneered at Slum's friends, the Jews, took it. 

I think I might then have retired with ten 
thousand pounds. 

My old friend, Lucy's father, met me by acci- 
dent, and recommended me strongly to clear 
off all, and return to Mudborough. I was 
half-inclined when I came across Sir John 
Bullion, he held ine by the button-hole, oppo- 
site Capel Court, condoled with me for a quar- 
ter of an hour, and then in the kindest man- 
ner, gave me some important secret informa- 
tion, advising me to buy all the shares I could. 
I followed his advice, others believing that I 
was his agent, followed me, for he then had a 
reputation for finance. I operated largely, 
the shares rose rapidly that day, the next day 
they fell with a dead flop. We had been done. Sir 
John had put on me all his share of bad stock, 
as dead as ditch water. All my money went,and 
more, an acceptance to my brokers was niy 
only resource. I still had tlie shadow of 
credit with many, although my bank account 
was finally closed. I struggled on for a year, , 
made one or two good small hits, and then a ! 
final smash and dofault. I was posted in the ] 
Stock Exchange, arrested on the bill, and in > 



the Queen's Bench found my forgotten friend 
Slum, in a flowered damask silk dressinw- 
gown and a high state of delirium tremens. 
He lived long enough to be put on the poor 
side, and died with a bundle of letters in his 
hand from his noble friends, to whom he had 
written for twenty pounds to enable him to 
pass the Insolvent Court. 

In my despair I wrote to Sleeklei<rh, and 
got in answer a letter from a solicitor, in- 
forming me that the firm of Sleekleigh and 
Co., Stock and Share Brokers was bankrupt, 
that the accounts could not be balanced within 
a million, and that Sleekleigh himself had 
emigrated to California he afterwards be- 
came a judge and bar-keeper in Grizzly Bear 
Valley. 

When at length I was discharged by the 
Court, with a compliment on the smalluess of 
my personal expenditure, and a remand for 
actions vexatiously defended, I found that 
my wife had departed to live somewhere on 
the Continent, on the interest of her five 
thousand pounds ; leaving me a letter declin- 
ing all further acquaintance with me on the 
ground of my improvident habits. 

I have since tried to do a little business in 
my native town ; but I could not get on very 
well, it is so slow to work for shillings when 
you have been in the habit of making hun- 
dreds a day. 

However, I shall be all right again soon. I Ve 
got here a capital thing a Copper and Gold 
Mine in Wales. I have a half share in it, and 
am now travelling down to get my old friends 
to take shares. We only want five thousand 
pounds to begin with ; we have tested the 
rock, and it gives three ounces of gold to 
the ton in Nobbler's Gold Crushing Machine. 
Ten thoitsand tons a year, at three pounds 
ten shillings an ounce, beside the copper, 
which will pay the working expenses. 
There 's a profit for only five thousand 
pounds ! 

He paused here, took snuff vehemently, 
and looked round to see if any one would 
take a forty shilling share, one shilling 
deposit. When a bluff commercial traveller- 
looking man in a dark corner of the end 
compartment burst in with, "Is that the 
Penny Gwyg Mine you 're talking of ? " 

" Oh, yes, yes, do you know anything 
about it ? " 

" Know it well : it 's been worked by seven 
sets of people in ten years, and all lost money 
by it. There 's about as much gold as cop- 
per, and that wouldn't make up a five shilling 
packet. The last time it was sold by old 
Owen Gwynne, who got a cask of beer for 
it, from a man travelling for a new brewery. 
Ah ! ah ! hah ! " and be laughed a horse-bar 
sort of laugh. 

The thin man blushed, gathered up his 
papers from the s^eat, and when the train 
stopped at the Deadbury station, went 
out hastily. Two days afttT, the news- 
papers contained an account of a man with 



Cliarle Dickens.] 



BACK FROM THE CRIMEA. 



119 



B. B. marked on his linen, found cut to pieces 
on a level crossing on the Great Round About 
Railway. 

The verdict was, " Accidental death ; the 
railway authorities not to blaine." 



BACK FROM THE CRIMEA. 



YESTERDAY was a great day for the great sea- 
port where I live the day of the landing of 
the convalescent sick and wounded from the 
trenches and the battle-fields of the Crimea ; a 
long, long line of wan pale warriors, tottering 
to their resting-place, the hospital ; and those 
who could not walk, borne after them on 
litters. This was not the first sight of this 
kind we have witnessed here, and it will not 
be the last by many. The deepest feelings of 
gratitude and commiseration are weakened 
not one whit within us ; but the enthusiasm 
that requires novelty to re-awaken it has 
almost died out. No shouting crowds now 
follow these poor soldiers to the hospital gates : 
no flags wave from the windows ; no cannons 
roar. We have found out other ways of wel- 
come, there is a subscription-list lying open 
at the Town Hall, whereto you may add your 
help in supplying books and papers to the 
invalids ; and volunteers, who understand 
the art and mystery of letter-writing, are 
plentiful by the sick beds, to send for their 
disabled occupants a word of comfort home- 
wards. To-day a still more solemn scene took 
place : the sick and wounded who were too 
ill to be moved yesterday no convalescents, 
but men well nigh death's door were brought 
back to their fatherland to die. 

The great three-decker lies in the offing 
that conveyed them from Scutari, watched by 
us these three days with dim eyes, a vast 
death -ship and floating hospital between 
decks, and gay with flags and full of life 
above. 

There has been sad work at these dread 
landings of the wounded ; but to-day, at least, 
were all things fitting and in readiness. The 
Royal Rampshire sent its hundred men or so 
to the Dockyard Pier with litters, and almost 
all its officers were in attendance. A score of 
hardy seamen, too, were there, contrasting 
strangely with the slight slim figures of the 
young militiamen ; official people with the fear 
of The Times before their eyes ; surgeons, and 
dockyard dignitaries. It is cold enough wait- 
ing upon harbour piers for steam-tugs, with 
the wind and tide against them, and a little 
leap-frog does not seem out of place among 
the gallant Rampshire-men ; but directly the 
first puff of smoke is seen above the Bastion, 
the order is given to '"fall in," all eyes 
are directed to the approaching vessel, all 
hearts beat quickly, all faces lose their 
smiles. 

First, the dark dismal hull, and then the 
decks spread thick with dim white tarpaulins, 
whose shapes, as they draw nearer, are as of 



sheets above the dead ; and there the dying, 
perhaps dead, men are, the worst cases, that 
would not bear moving underneath, but lie 
with heaps of blankets over them, and only a 
prominence observable at heads and feet. 
The vessel is brought alongside, and four tars 
descend the narrow plank to bear the sick 
men, feet foremost. The litters cannot here 
be used, so bad are all these cases ; but 
through the thick canvass of these "cots" 
great poles are inserted, and shouldering 
these with difficulty, and keeping in step for 
the sufferers' sake, which is hard work also, 
the sailors land their burthen. Sometimes 
from under the great pile of clothes an ashy- 
white thin face just shows itself, or rather is 
shown by chance, for the eyes are lustreless, 
and express no gleam of interest. The heavy 
moustache and the military cap, still worn 
as bed-gear, contrast most painfully with 
the dependent, prostrate condition of their 
wearers. What expression yet remains to 
some is of a thoughtful cast. They have seen 
and suffered much these last six months ; 
and want and danger are such teachers as the 
most careless may not disregard. The bearers 
are warned of all impediments ; and tenderly 
and skilfully do they lift their heavy burthen, 
and the "wheelers" start with the left foot, 
and the " leaders" with the right, and so 
" slow -march " to the hospital. Now, too, must 
the less dangerous cases be brought from 
between decks, and transferred from their 
cots to litters. Each man is dressed in his 
great coat, and his knapsack lies beside him 
as though he should presently arise and walk ; 
but it is easy to see there is no walking for 
him these many weeks, though his eyes are 
bright with happiness, and he will answer 
softly if you address his ear ; and these, too, 
are carried to the sick wards to join their less 
fortunate brethren. 

These wards are warm and comfortable, 
with a fire at each end of them. " We have 
not seen a fire since we left old England," 
say many of the sufferers ; and medicines are 
in plenty and attendance good, though medical 
help is still greatly needed : but things were 
not go at first by any means. Ragged and 
swarming with vermin (as we are credibly 
informed) did our poor fellows lie for days ; 
for there was signing and counter-signing to 
be effected, and the " proper channel " to be 
quite decided upon, before the official mind 
could rightly understand the matter and pro- 
vide clean linen. Let, however, bygones be 
bygones. Now, we repeat, were there a larger 
medical staff (especially in the matter of 
dressers), all would be well. 

Accompany us, then, with some of the 
officers from the Royal Rampshire, and bring 
pen, ink, and paper, and a little writing-case ; 
seat yourself down on one of the deal stools 
that stand beside each bed, and hear a story 
of the war, quite unpictorial, without rose- 
colour, flame-colour, drum accompaniment, or 
any such thing, and let the look of each 



120 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



sad reciter be before you when men prate 
of glory for glory's sake; and believe him 
:is lie gasps upon his scanty pallet, iu the bare 
white-washed room, without one friend about 
him, and (but for you) unable to apprise one 
of his fate, when he .-ilhrius that this is Eden. 
Paradise, Heaven, to what he has endured these 
six months. Be sure this is the reality of the 
whole matter war stripped of its pomp and 
circumstance. 

First is a foot-soldier, wounded by a shell 
in the knee, who thinks he would like to 
write to his first-cousin. This first cousin 
is his only relative, and does not know even of 
his having volunteered for foreign service ; he 
is not sure about the direction, but knows 
that it is somewhere in the county Clare. In 
the next bed a woe-begoue sad creature 
answers your question in a hollow, despairing 
voice : " I have no friends," he says, and " Let 
me alone." The brain of this poor fellow is 
afl'ected, and we can be of no service to him 
at present, so pass on. There is a boy of only 
seventeen, wounded at the battle of the Alma. 
His face is quite beautiful, round, and healthy- 
looking. He seems quite happy and contented, 
and answers cheerfully enough, that he would 
wish to write to father and mother, and tell 
them he had lost his leg : such a letter he 
dictates as would shame a whole army of philo- 
sophers ; when he gets used to " those," he 
says, pointing to the crutches by his bed's 
head, he will do well enough. 

The next case is one of dysentery. A giant 
of an Hussar the skeleton of one at least 
all shaggy hair and eyes, with cough, accom- 
panied by moaning, would like to let his 
wife and children know about him ; they 
have not heard since he went out five 
months ago ; they will not see him again in 
this world, he feels sure, and truly his state 
is very sad ; his attenuated legs find even the 
weight of bedclothes insupportable, he can 
only fetch his breath to speak at intervals ; 
has been deadly ill these six weeks, as far as 
he could take note of lagging time ; would 
have sent home some money long ago, but 
that they robbed him in Scutari hospital of all 
he had which they cut from around his 
naked neck where he wore it in a bag ; 
there was some more due to him if he had his 
rights, and they should have all ; they must 
have wanted it, he knew, through this sad 
winter. Yes, he was iu the great horse-charge 
that was so famous, borne up by the men 
around him through the rain of bullets 
borne and back again to the Russian guns, 
and back again, he means, without much 
thought of danger ; there was no time. He 
does not wish that to be set down in the letter: 
said it to inform us only. We have written 
all he wishes ; and so, with a "Thank ye, 
thank ye," he sinks back in his bed and 
uis. 

The fifth place has no tenant; its latest 
jdRupant was borne out yesterday to a still 
narrower resting-place. 



The sixth is a maimed man ; his right arm 
was shot off at Inkermann ; he was in all the 

previous battles. This man talks freely of the 
war and without pain in utterance," which 
most can do (and let it be kept in remem- 
brance by all those making themselves useful to 
the sick, not to allow their compassion to be 
sacrificed to curiosity). The fearfullest thing 
of a battle-field is the treading upon the 
bodies of the fallen. The thunder of the guns 
and the flashes, the trembling of the ground 
under the horses, seemed as though heaven 
and earth were coming together ; but the step- 
ping on a wounded man that was the worst : 
before the fighting, it was not unpleasant, 
perhaps; and after, it was a dreadful time, but 
the fighting itself was enough to flush a man, 
a great while of excitement and madness ; 
often and often used to think of it as he lay 
in bed and on board ship. 

The seventh bed is occupied by a living 
being at present, and that is all we can call 
the shadowy form ; the eyes are sunk into 
the head, and all the features have the sharp- 
ness of death. He has ceased to disturb the 
ward (as he did at first) with coughs and 
groans, and a few hours will rid them of his 
presence. We must here mention that the 
want of a smaller apartment for the reception, 
of those who cannot cease from coughing 
and expressions of pain, is much felt in all 
our hospitals here. 

In striking contrast to this dying man is his 
neighbour, the eighth and last patient of the 
line ; he has lost three fingers of his left hand 
by a cannon ball, and has received a fracture 
of the leg, but is getting on capitally, and is 
in the highest spirits. He has no need to tell 
us he is an Irishman, for he has an accent as 
broad as from here to Cork : indeed it is 
with the greatest difficulty we can understand 
what he wishes us to write ; it takes us five 
minutes to unravel " respects to inquiring 
friends" (always "respects," however near 
may be the relationships) from the mass of r's, 
which he is pleased to insert amongst that 
sentence. Russia, as far as he knows, is abso- 
lutely good for nothing ; except, indeed, he 
must say, for grapes and lice. Amidst a heap 
of extraneous matter of this sort, he writes 
to his mother in Tipperary, ''Don't let our 
Patrick, mother, go for a soldier ; not that 
I mind for myself," he says, pointing to his 
shattered hand, " but one's enough." 



This day is published, for pi-eater convenience, aiid 
cheapness of binding, 

THE FIRST TEN VOLUMES 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 
WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO Till; 



Price of the Set, thus bound in V\\-<- Double i;i-;;> i . ul Ton 
olumes, 2 IDs. Od. 



Office, .No. 16, \YeUlUKUin Street North, Stnmu. fruited ij BRIDII/HT & Kvina, 'hltermn, 



"Familiar in tlteir Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL. 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



259.] 



SATURDAY, MAKCH 10, 1855. 



[P 



GONE TO THE DOGS. I its magic furniture ? Gone to the Dogs. 

j Canine possession was taken of the whole of 
WE all know what treasures Posterity will that estate, my youthful Araminta, about a 



inherit, in the fulness of time. We all know 
what handsome legacies are bequeathed to it 
eveiy day, what long luggage-trains of Sonnets 
it will be the better for, what patriots and 
statesmen it will discover to have existed in 
this age whom we have no idea of, how very 
wide awake it will be, and how stone blind 
the Time is. We know what multitudes of 
disinterested persons are always going down 
to it, laden, like processions of genii, with 
inexhaustible and incalculable wealth. We 



quarter of a century ago. 

Come back, friend of my youth. Come 
back from the glooms and shadows that have 
gathered round thee, and let us sit down 
once more, side by side, upon the rough, 
notched form at school ! Idle is Bob Tample, 
given to shirking his work and getting me to 
do it for him, inkier than a well-regulated 
mind in connection with a well-regulated body 
is usually observed to be, always compound- 
ing with his creditors on pocket-money 



have frequent experience of the generosity days, frequently selling-off pen-knives by 



with which the profoundest wits, the subtlest 
politicians, unerring inventors, and lavish 
benefactors of mankind, take beneficent aim 
at it with a longer range than Captain War- 
ner's, and blow it up to the very heaven of 
heavens, one hundred years after date. We all 
defer to it as the great capitalist in expecta- 
tion, the world's residuary legatee in respect 
of all the fortunes that are not just now con- 
vertible, the heir of a long and fruitful 
minority, the fortunate creature on whom all 
the true riches of the earth are firmly en- 
tailed. When Posterity does come into its 
own at last, what a coming of age there 
will be ! 

It seems to me that Posterity, as the sub- 
ject of so many handsome settlements, has 
only one competitor. I find the Dogs to be 
every day enriched with a vast amount of 
valuable property. 

What has become to begin like Charity 
at home what has become, I demand, of the 
inheritance I myself entered on, at nineteen 
years of age ! A shining castle (in the air) 
with young Love looking out of window, 
perfect contentment and repose of spirit 
standing with ethereal aspect in the porch, 
visions surrounding it by night and day with 
an atmosphere of pure gold. This was my 
only inheritance, and I never squandered it. 
I hoarded it like a miser. Say, bright-eyed 
Araminta (with the obdurate parents), 
thou who wast sole lady of the castle, did I 
not ? Down the flowing 'river by the walls, 
called Time, how blest we sailed together, 
treasuring our happiness unto death, and 
never knowing change, or weariness, or sepa- 
ration ! Where is that castle now, with all 



and whistle 
(in the par- 
duet with 



auction, and disposing of his sister's birth- 
day presents at an enormous sacrifice. Yet, 
a rosy, cheerful, thoughtless fellow is Bob 
Tample, borrowing with an easy mind, six- 
pences of Dick Sage the prudent, to pay 
eighteenpences after the holidays, and freely 
standing treat to all comers. Musical is 
Bob Tample. Able to sing 
anything. Learns the piano 
lor), and once plays a 
the musical professor, Mr. Goavus of the 
Royal Italian Opera (occasional-deputy- 
assistant-copyist in that establishment, I 
have since seen reason to believe), whom 
Bob's friends and supporters, I foremost in 
the throng^ consider tripped up in the first 
half-dozen bars. Not without bright 
expectations is Bob Tample, being an orphan 
with a guardian near the Bank, and destined 
for the army. I boast of Bob at home that 
his name is "down at the Horse Guards," 
and jthat his father left it in his will that " a 
pair of colours" (I like the expression with- 
out particularly knowing what it means), 
should be purchased for him. I go with Bob 
on one occasion to look at the building 
where his name is down. We wonder in 
which of the rooms it is down, and whether 
the two horse soldiers on duty know it. I also 
accompany Bob to see his sister at Miss Mag- 
giggs's boarding establishment at Hammer- 
smith, and it is unnecessary to add that I think 
his sister beautiful and love her. She will be 
independent, Bob says. I relate at home 
that Mr. Tample left it in his will that his 
daughter was to be independent. I put Mr. 
Tample, entirely of my own accord and in- 
vention, into the army; and I perplex my 



TOL. XI. 



259 



122 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



family circle l>v ivlating iV'its of valour 
; '-hieved by that lamented officer at the 
Battle of Waterloo, where I leave lain doad, 
with the British flag (which he wouldn't 
give up to the last) wound tightly round his 
left arm. So we go on, until Bob leaves for 
Sandhurst. / leave in course of time 
everybod}' leaves. Years have gone by, when 
I twice or thrice meet a gentleman with a mous- 
tache, driving a lady in a very gay bonnet, 
whose face recalls the boarding establishment 
of Miss Maggiggs at Hammersmith, though 
it does not look so happy as it did under Miss 
Maggiggs, iron-handod despot as I be- 
lieved that accomplished woman to be. This 
leads me to the discovery that the gen- 
tleman with the moustache is Bob ; and 
one day Bob pulls up, and talks, and 
asks me to dinner ; but, on subsequently 
ascertaining that I don't play billiards, hardly 
seems to care as much about me as I had ex- 
pected. I ask Bob at this period, if he is in 
the service still 1 Bob answers no my boy, 
he got bored and sold out ; which induces me 
to think (for I am growing worldly), either 
that Bob must be very independent indeed, or 
must be going to the Dogs. More years elapse, 
and having quite lost sight and sound of Bob 
meanwhile, I say on an average twice a week 
during three entire twelvemonths, that I 
really will call at the guardian's near the 
Bank, and ask about Bob. At length I do so. 
Clerks, on being apprised of my errand, be- 
came disrespectful. Guardian, with bald 
head highly flushed, bursts out of inner office, 
remarks that he hasn't the honor of my 
acquaintance, and bursts in again, without ex- 
hibiting the least desire to improve the oppor- 
tunity of knowing me. I now begin sincerely 
to believe that Bob is going to the Dogs, 
More years go by, and as they pass Bob 
sometimes goes by me too, but never twice in 
the same aspect always tending lower and 
lower. No redeeming trace of better things 
would hang about him now, were he not 
always accompanied by the sister. Gay 
bonnet gone ; exchanged for something limp 
and veiled, that might be a mere porter's 
knot of the feminine gender, to carry a load 
of misery on shabby, even slipshod. I, by 
some vague means or other, come to the know- 
ledge of the fact that she entrusted that inde- 
pendence to Bob, and that Bob in short, that 
it has all gone to the Dogs. One summer day, 
I descry Bob idling in the sun, outside a 
public-house near Drury Lane ; she, in a 
shawl that clings to her, as only the robes of 
poverty do cling to their wearers when all 
things else have fallen away, waiting for him 
at the street corner ; he, with a stale, accus- 
tomed air, picking his teeth and pondering ; 
two boys watchful of him, not unadmiringly. 
Curious to know more of this, I go round 
that way another day, look at a concert-bill 
in the public-house window, and have not a 
doubt that Bob is Mr. Berkeley, the cele- 
brated bacchanalian vocalist, who presides at 



(ho piano. From time to time, rumours float 
by me afterwards, I can't say how, or where 
they come from from the expectant and 
insatiate Dogs for anything I know touch- 
ing hushed-up pawning* of sheets from poor 
furnished lodgings, begging letters to old 
Miss Maggiggs at Hammersmith, and the 
clearing away of all Miss Maggiggs's um- 
brellas and clogs, by the gentleman who called 
for an answer on a certain foggy evening 
after dark. Thus downward, until the faithful 
sister begins to beg of me, whereupon I 
moralise as to the use of giving her any 
money (for I have grown quite worldly now), 
and look furtively out of my window as she 
goes away by night with that half-sovereign of 
mine, and think, contemptuous of myself, can 
I ever have admired the crouching figure 
plashing through the rain, in a long round 
crop of curls at Miss Maggiggs's ! Often- 
times she comes back with bedridden lines 
from the brother, who is always nearly dead 
and never quite, until he does tardily make 
an end of it, and at last this Acteeon reversed 
has run the Dogs wholly down and betaken 
himself to them finally. More years have 
passed, when I dine at Withers's at Brighton 
on a day, to drink 'Forty-one claret ; and 
there, Spithers, the new Attorney- General, 
says to me across the table, " Weren't you a 
Mithers's boy 1 " To which I say, " To be 
sure I was ! " To which he retorts, " And 
don't you remember me ? " To which I re- 
tort, " To be sure I do" which I never did 
until that instant and then he says how 
the fellows have all dispersed, and he has 
never seen one of them since, and have I 1 
To which I, finding that my learned friend 
has a pleasant remembrance of Bob from 
having given him a black eye on his fifteenth 
birthday in assertion of his right to " smug " 
a pen-wiper forwarded to said Bob by his 
sister on said occasion, make response by 
generalising the story I have now completed, 
and adding that I have heard that, after Bob's 
death, Miss Maggiggs, though deuced poor 
through the decay of her school, took the 
sister home to live with her. My learned 
friend says, upon his word it does Miss 
Whatshername credit, and all old Mitherses 
ought to subscribe a trifle for her. Not 
seeing the necessity of that, I praise the 
wine, and we send it round, the way of the 
world (which world I am told is getting 
nearer to the'Sun every year of its existence), 
and we, bury Bob's memory with the epitaph 
that he went to the Dogs. 

Sometimes, whole streets, inanimate streets 
of brick and mortar houses, go to the Dogs. 
Why, it is impossible to say, otherwise than 
that the Dogs bewitch them, fascinate them, 
magnetise them, summon them and they 
must go. I know of such a street at the 
present writing. It was a stately street in 
its own grim way, and the houses held 
together like the last surviving members of 
an aristocratic family, and, as a general rule, 



Charles Dickens.] 



GONE TO THE DOGS. 



123 



were still not unlike them very tall aud 
very dull. How long the Dogs may have 
had their eyes of temptation upon this street 
is unknown to me, but they called to it, and 
it went. The biggest house it was a corner 
one went first. An ancient gentleman died 
in ' it ; and the undertaker put up a gaudy 
hatchment that looked like a very bad trans- 
parency, not intended to be seen by day, and 
only meant to be illuminated at night ; and 
the attorney put up a bill about the lease, 
and put in an old woman (apparently with 
nothing to live upon but a cough), who crept 
away into a corner like a scared old dor- 
mouse, and rolled herself up in a blanket. 
The mysterious influence of the Dogs was on 
the house, and it immediately began to 
tumble down. Why the infection shoulc 
pass over fourteen houses to seize upon the 
fifteenth, I don't know ; but, fifteen doors 
off next began to be fatally dim in the win- 
dows ; aud after a short decay, its eyes were 
closed by brokers, and its end was desolation 
The best house opposite, unable to bear these 
sights of woe, got out a black board with al 
despatch, respecting unexpired remainder o; 
term, and cards to view ; and the family fled 
aud a bricklayer's wife and children came in 
to " mind " the place, and dried their little 
weekly wash on lines hung across the dining- 
room. Black boards, like the doors of so 
many hearses taken off the hinges, now be- 
came abundant. Only one speculator, with- 
out suspicion of the Dogs upon his soul, 
responded. He repaired and stuccoed num- 
ber twenty-four, got up an ornamented 
parapet and balconies, took away the 
knockers, and put in plate glass, found 
too late that all the steam power on earth 
could never have kept the street from the 
Dogs when it was once influenced to go, and 
drowned himself in a water butt. Within a 
year, the house he had renewed became the 
worst of all ; the stucco decomposing like a 
Stilton cheese, and the ornamented parapet 
coming down in fragments like the sugar of 
a broken twelfth cake. Expiring efforts were 
then made by a few of the black boards to 
hint at the eligibility of these commodious 
mansions for public institutions, and suites of 
chambers. It was useless. The thing was 
done. The whole street may now be bought 
for a mere song. But, nobody will hear of it, 
for who dares dispute possession of it with 
the Dogs ! 

Sometimes, it would seem as if the least 
yelp of these dreadful animals, did the busi- 
ness at once. Which of us does not remember 
that eminent person with indefinite resources 
in the City, tantamount to a gold mine who 
had the delightful house near town, the 
famous gardens and gardener, the beautiful 
plantations, the smooth green lawns, the 
pineries, the stabling for five-and- twenty 
horses, and the standing for half-a-dozen car- 
riages, the billiard-room, the music-room, the 
picture gallery, the accomplished daughters 



and aspiring sons, all the pride pomp and 
circumstance of riches 1 Which of us does 
not reeal how we knew him through the good 
offices of our esteemed friend Swallowfly, who 
was ambassador on the occasion 1 Which of 
us cannot still hear the gloating roundness of 
tone with which Swallowfly informed us 
that our new friend was worth five hun-dred 
thou-sand pounds, sir, if he was worth a 
penny '( How we dined there with all the 
Arts and Graces ministering to us, aud how 
we came away reflecting that wealth after all 
was adesirable delight, Ineed not say. Neither 
need I tell, how we every one of us met 
Swallowfly within six little months of that 
same day, when Swallowfly observed, with such 
surprise, " You haven't heard ? Lord bless 
me ! Ruined Channel Islands gone to the 
Dogs ! " 

Sometimes again, it would seem as though 
in exceptional cases here and there, the Dogs 
relented, or lost their power over the 
imperilled man in an inscrutable way. There 
was my own cousin he is dead now, there- 
fore I have no objection to mention his name 
Tom Flowers. He was a bachelor (fortu- 
nately), and, among other ways he had of 
increasing his income and improving his 
prospects, betted pretty high. He did all 
sorts of things that he ought not to have 
done, and he did everything at a great 
pace, so it was clearly seen by all who knew 
him that nothing would keep him from the 
Dogs ; that he was running them down hard, 
and was bent on getting into the very midst 
of the pack with all possible speed. Well ! He 
was as near them, I suppose, as ever man was, 
when he suddenly stopped short, looked 
them full in their jowls, aud never stirred 
another inch onward, to the day of his death. 
He walked about for seventeen years, a very 
neat little figure, with a capital umbrella, an 
excellent neckcloth, and a pure white shirt, 
and he had not got a hair's-breadth nearer 
to the horrible animals at the end of that 
time than he had when he stopped. How he 
lived, our family could never make out- 
whether the Dogs can have allowed him any- 
thing will always be a mystery to me but, he 
disappointed all of us in the matter of the 
canine epitaph with which we had expected 
to dismiss him, and merely enabled us to 
remark that poor Tom Flowers was gone at 
sixty-seven. 

It is overwhelming to think of the Treasury 
of the Dogs. There are no such fortunes em- 
aarked in all the enterprises of life, as have 
rone their way. They have a capital Drama, 
or their amusement and instruction. They 
lave got hold of all the People's holidays for 
the refreshment of weary frames, and the 
.enewal of weary spirits. They have left the 
People little else in that way but a Fast now 
and then for the ignorances and imbecilities 
of their rulers. Perhaps those days will 
;o next. To say the plain truth very 
eriously, I shouldn't be surprised. 



124 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



Consider the last possessions that have 
gone to the Dogs. Consider, friends and 
countrymen, how the Dogs have been en- 
riched, by your despoilment at the hands of 
your own blessed governors to whom be 
honour and renown, stars and garters, for 
ever and ever ! on the shores of a certain 
obscure spot called Balaklava, where Bri- 
tannia rules the waves in such an admirable 
manner, that she slays her children (who 
never never never will be slaves, but very 
very very often will be dupes), by the thou- 
sand, with every movement of her glorious 
trident ! When shall there be added to the 
possessions of the Dogs, those columns of talk, 
which, let the columns of British soldiers 
vanish as they may, still defile before us 
wearily, wearily, leading to nothing, doing 
nothing, for the most part even saying 
nothing, only enshrouding us in a mist of 
idle breath that obscures the events which 
are forming themselves not into playful 
shapes, believe me beyond. If the Dogs, 
lately so gorged, still so.voracious and strong, 
could and would deliver a most gracious 
bark, I have a strong impression that their 
warning would run thus : 

"My Lords and Gentlemen. We are open- 
mouthed and eager. Either you must send 
suitable provender to us without delay, or 
you must come to us yourselves. There is no 
avoidance of the alternative. Talk never 
softened the three-headed dog that kept the 
passage to the Shades ; less will it appease 
us. No jocular old gentleman throwing 
sommersaults on stilts because his great- 
grandmother is not worshipped in Nineveh, 
is a sop to us for a moment ; no hearing, 
cheering, sealing-waxing, tapeing, fire-eating, 
vote-eating, or other popular Club-perform- 
ance, at all imports us. We are the Dogs. We 
are known to you just now, as the Dogs of 
War. We crouched at your feet for employ- 
ment, as William Shakespeare, plebeian, saw 
us crouching at the feet of the Fifth Harry 
and you gave it us ; crying Havoc ! in good 
English, and letting us slip (quite by accident), 
on good Englishmen. With our appetites so 
whetted, we are hungry. We are sharp of 
scent and quick of sight, and we see and 
smell a great deal coming to us rather rapidly. 
Will you give us such old rubbish as must be 
ours in any case ? My Lords and Gentlemen, 
make haste! Something must go to the Dogs in 
earnest. Shall it be you, or something else 1 " 



THE SISTER OF THE SPIRITS. 



THE merchant Zara was uneasy that day in 
his shop in the Khan El-Khaleelee. He got 
up from his mat more than a hundred times 
to arrange goods that were not out of order, 
and answered customers who came to buy 
or bargain in so strange a manner that several 
went away, thinking he was mad. One person 
was sure of the fact, for he bought a piece of 
yellow silk cheaper than if it had been com- 



mon cloth, and walked away so rapidly, 
fearing the mistake would be discovered, that 
he nearly overturned an old Turk, unsteady 
from fat, and did not stop to laugh till he was 
round the corner. As Zara was one of the 
richest Christian merchants of Cairo, he would 
not have spent much time in regret even if he 
had discovered the mistake. But he had no 
leisure to think of matters of profit and loss. 
His mind was away in another place, hovering 
over a dwelling in a retired street not far off, 
where one whom he loved, and by whom he 
was loved, suffered and smiled, hoped and 
feared pale as a lily, yet joyful as a rose 
tree when the first bud reddens on its 
greenest spray. 

Two hours after noon, a black girl, without 
her mantle, which she had forgotten to throw 
over her shoulders indeed, they had pushed 
and hustled her out of the house as if she had 
been a thief came and advanced, her great 
round ebony face, that beamed with one vast 
smile, into the shop, and said, swearing, 

" Wallah ! thou didst not deserve it." 

" Speak reverently," quoth the merchant, 
reddening to the roots of his beard, "for I am 
going to pray ; shall it be for the health of a 
son or a daughter 1 " 

" Pray first," said the girl, maliciously. 

" Wallah ! " exclaimed the merchant, swear- 
ing also, " I will neither pray nor listen." 

With these words, he dropped a net over 
the -front of his shop, and, getting up, went 
down the bazaar, turned into a narrow street, 
and ran so fast that the black girl could 
scarcely keep pace with him. When he came 
to the door of his house, however, he stopped 
to gather breath and gravity, and then 
entered, saying, " Blessings on all those who 
may be under this roof!" He went softy up 
stairs, trying in vain to seem at home, but really 
looking, as we all do on such occasions, says 
the narrator, as if he had no right to be there. 

Zara had married, rather late in life, a 
young girl, whom her parents gave him for 
his wealth, and who loved him for his good- 
ness. Her name was Martha : and fortune, 
in distributing her gifts, had made her wise 
instead of beautiful, for which her cousins- 
all lovely maidens, coquettish and proud 
pitied her exceedingly. But Zara had seen 
the world, and prudence told him not to put 
his wrinkled visage and grey beard by the 
side of blooming cheeks and passionate eyes 
and ruby lips and all the qualities of form 
given to some few of the daughters of earth, 
that poets and youths may follow them and 
grow mad. He wanted a gentle house com- 
panion for himself, not a beacon to attract 
others, and Martha satisfied his ambition for 
many years. 

But at length so is man framed the 
house, which had at first seemed full to the 
very innermost corners of light, became in his 
eyes dimmer and duller. Martha was not 
less sweet and diligent ; but Zara yearned 
for something, he knew not at first what. In 



THE SISTEE OF THE SPIRITS. 



123 



truth, he had reached the time when he felt 
the stream of life flow more gently through 
his veins, and he wished to see a new spring 
burst forth before the other was dried up. 
In all countries, exceptions set aside, men 
grieve at the threatened extinction of their 
line ; but in the East, children are longed for, 
as if there were no other immortality but 
continued life in a succession of generations. 

At length Zara's desires were accomplished, 
and, as he was a good man, respectful of all 
things, even of what people of another faith 
respected, there was a peculiar blessing on 
the birth of his child. Spirits were overheard 
(by whom the legend sayeth not) to meet over 
the cradle in which Zara's daughter for it 
was a daughter was placed in the first hour 
of its life, and to greet one another with 
strange expressions. 

" Ginnee of the Christians," said one voice, 
"we unite with you to bestow all qualities 
and good fortune on this young thing, whom 
we name our sister. Let us divide the work." 

"Ginnee of the Muslims, it is agreed," 
replied another voice ; " begin your gifts." 

Then several Muslim spirits began, one 
after the other, to say, " Let her form be 
graceful as a wand, let her countenance 
resemble the countenance of one of the 
daughters of Paradise, let her eyes be sweeter 
than the morning, let pearls avoid comparison 
with her teeth, let her lips be such as to draw 
angels down from near the throne of the 
All-powerful, to find new delight in a kiss 
blessings on our sister ! " 

And so they proceeded until they had ex- 
hausted the blessings which woman, child of 
the earth, most prizes. 

But after wards the Ginnee of the Christians 
began to speak in their turn, and said, " Let 
her be wise, let her be modest, let her be 
pure, let her heart never suffer from sorrows 
that come from the outward world blessings 
on our sister ! " 

Then the spirits all bent forward until 
their heads touched, and remained like a 
canopy hanging over the cradle of the child. 

The merchant Zara had sat down by its 
side, unaware of these invisible spectators, 
and was saying, with the pride of a worldly 
man. 

"I have six ships upon the sea, and six 
caravans coining to me across the desert, and 
my shop is full, and my warehouses overflow, 
and my coffers are replenished, and there 
shall be no maiden in Cairo whose happiness 
shall be as great as thine ; princes will ask her 
hand in marriage on account of her dowry, 
but I will not grant her save to one who shall 
be perfect in virtue and in science." 

When the spirits heard these words, they 
remembered that they had forgotten the gift 
of good fortune, but as the merchant boasted 
of his wealth, and even, to some extent, spoke 
of what he intended should be, rather than 
what was for he had only a share in each 
ship and in each caravan they smiled satiri- 



cally at each other and flew away on various 
errands of good and evil. 

Martha was as proud of the pride of Zara 
as of the child itself. That was the beginning 
of a happy time. Those who noticed how 
unruffled was the life of this family, how the 
days seemed not long enough to savour the 
delights which Mina had brought with her 
into the world shook their heads, and said, 
" There is woe in store for those who forestal 
the rewards of heaven." Men are, indeed, 
ever disposed to believe that excessive joy is 
a sin which brings the punishment of mis- 
fortune, and interpret the varying chances of 
unstable life as providential compensations. 
If it be so, we have no right to complain, for 
prosperity is never pure, and we seem to take 
care to deserve adversity by pride and over- 
weening confidence. 

Martha was wise, but not perfect : when 
she saw the extreme beauty of her child, 
which increased every day, it was natural, but 
not admirable, that she should begin to des- 
pise the children of others, and to boast that 
Mina's hair was blacker and more silky, that 
her brow was purer, that her eyes were 
brighter, that her smile was sweeter, than 
the hair, the brow, the eyes, the smile of 
any other daughter in the world, including, 
of course, the daughters of Zadlallah and Han 
Hanna and Bedreldeen, and all the other 
merchants (Christian and Muslim) in Cairo 
even Ayshee, the princess, child of Zatmeh 
Hanem, the favourite slave of the Sultan, was 
but the foil of Mina. She was so little cau- 
tious in expressing her opinion, that all wives 
who were mothers began to hate her, and to 
predict suffering to her. No one knew how 
the truth got abroad, but in the harim and 
the public baths, when the women met 
together, they spoke of Mina as the sister of 
the spirits, and said, scornfully, that she was 
made so lovely only as a punishment to her 
parent, and that when she reached the perfect 
age she would be taken away to the dwelling 
for which she was fit. " Too beautiful for 
this world," is often a sneer on the lips of 
envy. 

We might linger long and pleasantly on the 
various stages by which Mina advanced, 
amidst smiles and prosperity, towards ripe 
maidenhood ; but it is sufficient to say that 
all the promises and blessings of the spirits 
that visited her cradle were fulfilled. Her 
loveliness was only surpassed by her excel- 
lence, and if her parents were not perfect in 
joy it was because they sometimes felt them- 
selves not on a level with their daughter. 
They instinctively missed in her the natural 
errors of humanity, and were uneasy in her 
presence occasionally, for she seemed with 
them, but not of them. Her father, not 
wanting in sagacity, would frequently specu- 
late on her anomalous position, and his imper- 
fect philosophy led him to believe that her 
virtue was almost out of place, a superfluous 
element in her existence. She was moderate, 



126 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



but could enjoy all tilings sober, but with 
the means of pleasure around her calm, but 
never opposed patient, but never disap- 
pointed ; in fact, she had all the qualities 
that would have made poverty acceptable. 
and yet wealth and honours ever increased 
around her. What he meant was, that she 
hail never been tried, only he could not doubt 
that in whatever position placed she would 
triumph. 

The merchant Zara possessed a country 
house out on the borders of the Nile, in the 
midst of a garden where pomegranate trees 
and orange trees and sweet lemon trees and 
bananas, with palms and sycamores, combined 
to throw a pleasant shadow upon the earth. 
There he dwelt with his family during the 
summer mouths, riding on his mule to the 
city in the morning, and returning in the 
evening. One day Martha and Mina were 
sitting in a little kiosque overhanging the 
banks of the river, which was resplendent 
in the sun, when a large barque, with many 
rowers, came rapidly down the stream. On 
the roof of the cabin sat an old man, dressed 
in a costume strange to Egypt. He was 
looking eagerly at the houses on the banks of 
the stream, as if seeking some sign. When 
he came exactly opposite the kiosque, he half 
rose, and, in a loud voice, commanded the 
steersman to guide the boat to the land. A 
few minutes afterwards he stood at the gate 
of the garden, saying, " Blessings be on Mina 
the perfect, and on Martha the happy ! This 
is the term of my voyage, and I beg to be 
allowed to rest under these beautiful trees 
until the master of the house returns from 
Cairo." 

Martha and her daughter came veiled from 
the kio-sque, wondering at the old man's 
knowledge of their names, and impatient to 
ask for an explanation. They admitted the 
stranger, who saluted them politely, and sat 
down on a bench under a sycamore. The 
gravity of his manner restrained their ques- 
tions, and they contented themselves with 
ordering coffee and pipes and sherbet to be 
brought from the house, that the stranger 
might be refreshed. All the time it was only 
the example of Mina, however, that restrained 
the inquisitiveuess of Martha, and she now 
and then whispered : " Daughter, shall I 
provoke him to speak ? " But Mina always 
shook her head, and so they remained igno- 
rant of the meaning of this visit until the 
arrival of Zara. The stranger, on perceiving 
the merchant, saluted him by his name, say- 
ing : " Oh Zara, I have travelled during two 
months for the sake of seeing thee and thy 
family, and by the blessing of Providence my 
desire is now fulfilled." 

Then, he related, speaking softly and 
sweetly in that calm evening in the garden, 
through which the beams of the setting sun 
shone in golden streaks, that his name was 
Sahel, that he was vizier of one of the kings 
of Abyssinia, who had a sou called Michail, 



perfect in knowledge and understanding, and 
excellent in beauty. When the time came 
that this king wished to persuade his son to 
marriage, the young man objected that none 
of the princesses whom lie had seen, or of 
whom he had heard, possessed the qualities 
which would satisfy him. His father smiled, 
and said : " So it is always with the young. 
They think that none but angels are n't to be 
their companions, and so it must be that they 
regard themselves as angels too. When life 
reveals to us our true value we become less 
fastidious, and fancy we have grown corrupt 
whilst we have only become humble. How- 
ever, seek my son and thou shalt find." 
Miehail had already formed his opinion on all 
the maidens of his people who were of suffi- 
ciently high birth to attract his notice. He 
might, perhaps, have found beauty and virtue 
enough in lower regions, but when men are 
placed on the summit of a mountain their 
fellow- creatures in the plain are diminished 
to dwarfs. So, at first, the young prince 
looked forward, not without some melancholy, 
to a life of celibacy. A worthy monk, learn- 
ing his state of mind, advised him to take the 
vow, and for a moment he was disposed to 
do so ; but on closely questioning his own 
heart he determined instead to make one 
more effort, and seek to discover a wife 
worthy to share his high position. 

His mind being full of these ideas, he retired 
one night to rest in a pavilion situated in a 
quiet corner of the garden of his father's 
palace. Here he slept to the music of his own 
thoughts ; but, though he slept, he seemed to 
see the forms around him almost as clearly 
as when awake the elegant dome, the pen- 
dent lamp, the slender pillars with the 
branches of beautiful trees gently waving 
between them. Suddenly he heard a rust- 
ling sound, as if invisible birds were flutter- 
ing around. Then he thought he made out 
the forms of women overhead, but so vague 
and indistinct that he saw the gilded roof 
through them. Then he heard a voice which 
said : 

" What news of our sister, oh, Ginnee ! of 
the Christians 1 " 

"She is beautiful and happy," was the 
reply. 

" But what of the prince whom her father, 
in his vanity, chose for her husband ? Has 
he come to woo her ?" 

"There is no prince worthy of her, unless 
it be this one." 

" Let us betroth her to him." 

Then all the spirits speaking together, said, 
or sang : 

" We betroth Mina, the daughter of Zara 
and his wife Martha, who are now in Cairo, 
of Egypt, to the prince Michail. Accursed 
be he if he take any other maiden to wife. 
Let him send a messenger for her. She will 
be found sitting with her mother in a kiosque 
on the batiks of the Nile." Then they de- 
scribed the place, and the hour, and the cir- 



Charles Dickens. J 



THE SISTER OF THE SPIRITS. 



127 



cumstances, and having added blessings on 
him, by whom our sister shall be made happy, 
flew away. 

Next day Michail went and threw himself 
at his father's feet, and begged to be allowed 
to depart in search of the perfect Miua. But 
the old king having much dabbled in the 
affairs of this world, and seen how vicious 
men were having in fact been from time to 
time, once a week or so, compelled to hang a 
fellow- creature had lost much more than he 
would have been willing to admit of the 
poetical illusions of youth, and replied in a 
tone that something savoured of impiety : 
" My son shall not depart on this wild-goose 
chase. There may be spirits ; but I do not 
believe that they have sisters worth marry- 
ing." Upon this Michail began to weep ; 
and so his father took a middle course, 
and said ; " My vizier, Sahel, is a wise man, 
and has served me faithfully for thirty years, 
so that he almost thinks that he is the Sultan 
and not I. It will enable him to rest from 
his fatigues, and be extremely beneficial to 
his health, if we send him to Egypt in search 
of this Mina." There was a wicked lustre 
in the old king's eyes as he expressed this 
opinion, but Michail did not observe it, and 
replied : " Let him depart immediately." 

The vizier, Sahel, had just completed an 
elaborate plan for reforming the finances of 
his master's dominions, and had made the 
grand discovery that in order to keep a full 
treasury it is necessary not so much to lay 
on new taxes as to restrict expenditure an 
idea, the perfect beauty of which the old 
king did not perceive. Some of the courtiers, 
indeed, had begun to talk of dotage, or 
treachery. As for Sahel, he grumbled at the 
duty imposed on him, but being very loyal, 
kissed his master's hand, hinted that on his 
return he intended to show that there need 
not be more than ten dishes placed at a time 
on the royal table, and departed. He tra- 
versed the desert, and descended the Nile, 
studying men, manners, government, and 
laws as he proceeded, and making such good 
use of his time, and such an inexorable appli- 
cation of logic, that he framed a still more 
wonderful theory than before, convincing 
himself that town and country folk had not 
been created only for the benefit of sultans. 
He was so charmed with the progress of his 
ideas, that he felt disposed to return from 
Dongola to communicate them to his master, 
but reflecting that there was no particular 
hurry, and that the world might go on a few 
months longer, according to old principles, 
continued his journey, and at length, as we 
have seen, reached his destination. 

When the merchant Zara and his wife 
heard this story, both were rejoiced in dif- 
ferent degrees. Martha, who was naturally 
prudent, and reflected somewhat of her 
daughter's qualities, simply drew aside her 
veil a little, and allowed the old vizier to see 
that she smiled benevolently at him ; but 



Zara, who had scarcely been able to contain 
himself during this narrative, no sooner 
heard the last words, than he took off his 
turban, and flung it up into the air with such 
violence, that it reached the topmost bough 
of the sycamore under which he was sitting, 
and caught there, and could not be got down 
by any means, so that the birds built their 
nests therein. When the confusion had a 
little subsided, and Zara's shaven head had 
been wrapped in a corner of his cloak, Mina 
spoke, saying : " This is a wonderful story, 
but wherefore should I leave my parents and 
travel to distant countries to please the fancy 
of a youth who cannot find a, wife to satisfy 
him except in his dreams ? " The vizier, 
Sahel, instantly made a speech, which had a 
beginning, a middle, and an end, and con- 
tained fifteen apposite citations from the 
poets : but all in vain. Then he addressed 
the parents, and proved to them that they 
had absolute power over their daughter. 
" Thy words are words of wisdom," said the 
merchant. " Mina, thou must become the 
wife of this prince." 

Wonderful to relate, Mina the perfect, in 
the gentlest and tenderest manner possible, 
announced her intention to disobey. Zara 
tried to fly into a passion, but failed, especi- 
ally as the wise Sahel observed : " Nothing 
should be done in a hurry. Let her have 
time to reflect." That evening, when she 
was alone with her mother, Mina, with some 
blushes and a few tears under which new 
aspect she looked more beautiful than ever 
confessed that she too had a story to relate, 
the chief incident of which was a dream. 
The spirits had appeared to her likewise and 
had led her, in vision, out into the desert 
where in a lonely valley she had beheld a 
youth poorly clad, but of great beauty and 
nobleness of demeanour, who had called her 
by her name, whilst many voices cried to her : 
" This is thy husband." It was evident, there- 
fore, she argued, that the Mina of prince 
Michail was quite another Mina. Her 
mother objected that a poor man out in the 
desert was not a very suitable match, and 
the conclusion was : " Let us wait awhile." 

Sahel seemed in no hurry to return to his 
country. He had never seen a capital like 
Cairo before, and busied himself so intently 
in studying its economy, that month after 
month passed away, and he did not insist on 
any definite answer from Mina or her father. 
One day, however, he heard a rumour in the 
market-place and the bazaars. The great 
merchant Zara was ruined. His ships had 
been destroyed by the anger of the ocean, 
and his caravans overwhelmed by the sands 
of the desert. A wealthy creditor, armed 
with the powers of government, was even 
seeking him to put him in prison, and he had 
disappeared with his family. This is a sad 
case, said Sahel to himself. My eloquent 
persuasions were just beginning to produce 
their effect. Of course they will now send a 



12fl 



HOUSEHOLD WOBDS. 



[Conducted by 



private messenger to me, begging me to lake 
them to Abyssinia, but the king, my master, 
took m> apart before I left him, and said 
that one of the perfections of Mina must 
1-f a. handsome dowry. How shall I get rid 
of these poor people 'i 

Meauwliile the merchant Zara, reduced to 
poverty and flying IVoui his creditors, had de- 
parted from Cairo, mingling with the humble 
followers of a great caravan bound for Da- 
mascus. For his own part he walked on foot, 
but he had three or four little asses to carry 
his wife, his daughter, and what property he 
had been able to save. As he looked back 
from the summit of a sandy hill, whence the 
minarets of Cairo could be distinguished for 
the last time, rising against the yellow sky 
where the sun had set, he wept bitterly, and 
in a moment of auger began almost to re- 
proach his daughter, because she had not 
accepted the wonderful offers made her. But 
Martha wisely said : " If she had left us this 
misfortune would nevertheless have happened, 
and without her neither you nor I should 
have been able to bear it." So thej 7 continued 
their journey cheerfully, and Mina. made the 
night hours pleasant by singing in a sweet 
voice, to which other sweet voices in the air 
overhead seemed to answer. 

They travelled many days, and had more 
than half concluded theii'jouruey; when, about 
the hour of sunset a great tumult was heard 
at the head of the caravan, and men and 
beasts began to fly wildly in various 
directions. The Arabs of the desert were 
attacking the merchants for the sake of plun- 
der ; and, whilst some resisted and others sur- 
rendered, many sought safety in flight. Zara 
with his wife and daughter entered a defile 
of the mountains, and proceeded until the 
sound of shouting and firing died away in the 
distance. Then they halted under the shadow 
of a rock, and determined to wait until morn- 
ing. They passed the night undisturbed ; and, 
when the sun rose over the yellow desert, 
found themselves quite alone at the foot of a 
range of mountains. They dared not ven- 
ture over the broad expanse of sand, but 
followed a valley at the extremity of which 
were some trees. It happened that Mina 
rode first. She knew not why ; but, since the 
day had dawned, all her fears had vanished. 
It seemed to her that this was not the first 
time she had been in that country. The hills 
were familiar to her, and the trees towards 
which she was advancing drooped in an ac- 
customed way. At length she uttered a loud 
cry, and her father and mother hastening up, 
found her gazing at a youth, dressed in pool- 
garments, and apparently weakened by fa' 
or sickness, sitting under the shade of a mi- 
mosa. Her heart told her that this was to 
be the lord of her destiny, but slu- did not at 
once learn that .she was in the presence of 
Michail. 

Strange things had happened in Abyssinia 
since the departure of Sahel. The king had 



taken another vizier, a young man with old 
ideas, and marvellous splendour at once sur- 
rounded the throne. It was discovered that 
the greatest happiness of the people consisted 
in giving all they possessed to their rulers, 
and a prodigious number of new taxes were 
at once laid on. The king had five hundred 
dishes on his table in a single day, so that he 
never spoke of the absent Sahel except by the 
irreverent name of jackass. It was clear 
indeed, that the worthy old man knew no- 
thing of finance. Feasting and jollity were 
the order of the day, but alas for the 
instability of human affairs ! Men never 
know when they are well-governed ; and 
some! ambitious wretch persuaded some 
spiteful people that Sahel was not such a fool 
after all. For his part, he expressed his 
opinion in a very brutal manner ; for, one fine 
morning, he attacked the king's palace, and 
drove him with his son, who was too much 
occupied with thoughts of Mina to know how 
matters were going on, into exile. The king 
and the prince escaped on board a vessel from 
Massowa, and landed at an Arabian port, 
whence they travelled, and after many dan- 
gers arrived at the valley where the mer- 
chant Zara and his family had found them. 
By this time, the king had become quite a 
j philosopher. " My son," said he, " the human 
race is not worthy that the wise should 
reign over them. Here are green trees and 
pleasant waters. Let us abandon the cares 
of government, and pass the remainder of 
our days in retirement." 

The good old man forgot that he was near 
the end of his life, whilst Michail was only 
just on the threshold. He was surprised, 
therefore, when the young prince answered : 
" I care not to reign over ungrateful men, 
and, perhaps, my wisdom is not sufficient. 
But I cannot rest in this valley unless I have 
Mina with me." So it was agreed that as 
soon as he had recovered his strength, he 
should go to Cairo and seek for his beloved. 
" At the same time," quoth the late king, 
benevolently, " you may find that foolish old 
man, Sahel. Say nothing to him about the 
deplorable results of his policy, which I felt 
after his departure, except to tell him that I 
forgive all." 

Michail led the merchant Zara and his 
family to the hermitage which his father had 
chosen in a very pleasant part of the valley, 
and the remainder of that day was spent by 
the wanderers in exchanging their stories. 
AVhilst the old people spoke, however, Mina 
and Michail sat near together, performing the 
ceremony of betrothment with their eyes. 

Here the narrative visibly draws to a close, 
althmigh oriental legends rarely leave their 
personages after they have fallen from wealth 
to poverty without restoring them at least to 
their former position. But it seems to have 
been thought that perfect goodness and per- 
fivt beauty may be sufficiently happy together 
without wealth. The blessings of the spirit 



Chnrlcs Dickens.] 



POTICHOMANIA. 



129 



which did not include good fortune were 
shared equally by the young couple. They 
remained in the valley and adopted the man- 
ner of life of the early father of nations, and 
it is said that a city now exists on that spot, 
far out of the track of commerce and travel, 
protected from the visits of the evil-minded 
by the spirits who still watch over the 
posterity of their sister. The old king lived 
beyond the natural term of humanity, and 
attributed the prosperity of the little district 
entirely to the wisdom of his own counsel. 
They have learned by experience a mar- 
vellous circumstance but it is necessary to 
add that the foolish vizier Sahel was sum- 
moned from Cairo, and when he fell into his 
old master's arms and heard that he was for- 
given, carefully concealed his face to hide one 
smile and two tears, which the reader may 
interpret as he pleases. 



POTICHOMANIA. 



WHAT new mania is this ? What is potiche 
or poticho, and why need women have an 
especial mania for it ? If potiche be some- 
thing good, why not have potichotechuy, 
or potichology, or potichonomy, or poticho- 
somy , or potichography, or potichometry ? 
A mania is almost as bad as a phobia : a 
madness for, is as little pleasant as a madness 
against ; and we may perchance yet have a 
potichophobia as an antidote to the poticho- 
mania. A learned pundit who has discoursed 
on this subject for the benefit of the public, 
reasons in this way that as metromania, 
bibliomania, and nielomania, are irreproach- 
able words, by which one expresses love of 
poetry, love of books, and love of music 
there seems no reason why we should not 
invent the word potichomauia. He admits 
that we have not yet become accustomed to 
the sound of such a word ; but what of that ? 
Is it not easier than angeiography, for a de- 
scription of weights and measures 1 or than 
ophthalmoxystic as a name for a little rye-ear 
brush used to smooth the eyebrows 1 Thus 
he claims the right to offer for academical 
baptism the word potichomania, on the ground 
that men are permitted or rather that 
science is permitted, under etymological pre- 
texts to add to modern languages by means 
of the Greek. How far the academical Greeks 
of the present day will approve of the compo- 
site name, it will be for them to declare. 
Potiches are said to be Chinese or Japanese 
jars : and hence the new art becomes a frenzy 
for jars a very pretty conclusion, which it is 
to be hoped will be satisfactory to all parties. 
That the art means something amusing, what- 
ever the name may mean, is evident enough ; 
for the advertising columns of the daily 
journals inform us that Mr. So-and-so, for a 
given number of shillings or guineas, will give 
a certain number of lessons in potichomania, 
whereby a lady may easily learn the elegant 



art ; while colour-makers and print-sellers 
adopt similar means of notifying to the world 
that all the materials necessary for the prac- 
tice of this art may be obtained at their 
respective establishments. 

To come to the gist of the matter, it 
seems that potichomania is a method of 
imitating in decorated glass, Japanese, or any 
other specimens of ware or porcelain. There 
seems no reason why pleasing and even 
elegant results may not be obtained ; but if 
it be used only as a means of imitating ugly 
specimens of oriental workmanship, its 
desirability as a means of art may be ques- 
tioned. If, on the other hand, natural taste 
be allowed fair play, there is no reason to 
doubt that very elegant results may follow. 

A recently published essay on the sub- 
ject, shows that the list of working materials 
is somewhat formidable, comprising glass 
vases, or potiches, or cups, or plates, shaped 
similarly to those made of pottery or porce- 
lain ; a well-assorted selection of coloured 
papers or gelatine sheets ; a fine-pointed 
pair of scissors for cutting out ; tubes or 
bottles of prepared colours of various tints ; a 
bottle of a peculiarly prepared varnish ; 
another bottle containing refined essence of 
turpentine ; a bottle of melted gum ; a round 
hog's-hair brash for gumming the paper or- 
naments, another for varnishing, and two 
flat brushes for colouring ; a vessel in which 
the colours may be diluted; and a box 
wherein to stow away all these treasures. 
As to the means of procuring the glass 
articles themselves, this must be left to the 
skill of the glass-maker. The object is to 
produce glass imitations of pottery and por- 
celain articles ; and therefore the glass must 
of course be wrought into a form consistent 
with such a purpose. It may be a vase, or a 
potiche, or a honey-pot, or a plate, or a cup 
anything, in short, which has a smooth 
surface (for articles with ornaments in relief 
do not seem to be susceptible of this mode of 
imitation) ; but the glass-worker must in any 
case precede the ornamentalist. 

Thoxigh most persons have a sort of 
obscure notion that the colours on cups and 
saucers, dishes, and plates, are in some way 
burnt in, yet the delicacy and nicety of the 
methods are little suspected. There is the 
majolica ware of Italy, copied from the 
Moorish pottery, adorned with copies of 
paintings by Kaffaelle and his contempories, 
and some specimens supposed to have been 
painted by the hand of the great master him- j 
self. There is the Delia JRobbia ware, so 
named from a Florentine artist, who modelled 
and sculptured excellent works in porcelain, 
and then adorned them with enamel and gold 
and colours. There is the Palissy ware, in- 
vented by a man whose life was a continuous 
romance, and presenting historical, mytho- 
logical, and allegorical designs on grounds of 
rich yellow and blue and gray. There is the 
delft ware, with its beautiful enamel, its blue 



130 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Colours, and its designs copied from the old 
Japan ]>roductious. Their are the stone 
wares from Chiua and Japan, -which fre- 
1 1 neatly serve as a coloured base for raised 
ornaments of soft porcelain. Tliere are the 
various Wedgwood wares, comprising the 
( >ueen's and the Basalt, the Jasper ;iud the 
Onyx, and other kinds. There are the old 
Chelsea china, llotherham china, and Derby 
china. There are the Dresden china and the 
Botticher ware aud the Sevres china. In 
short, if the reader knew how eagerly col- 
lectors look out for the different varieties of 
old pottery and porcelain, he would have 
some clue to the origin of that desii'e which 
exists to imitate in some degree those pro- 
ductions : not to imitate for dishonest pur- 
poses ; for he must be a shallow judge who 
would mistake modern decorated glass for 
old painted china. How the connoisseur dis- 
tinguishes the poteries & pate-tendre from the 
poteries a pate dur ; the poterie matt from 
the poterie lustroe ; the poterie vernissoe from 
the poterie emaillee ; the fayence Auglaise 
from the fayence Franchise ; the Wedgwood, 
the Botticher, the Palissy, the Delia liobbia, 
the Majolica, the Sevres, the Dresden how 
he learns to know these one from another, is 
a part of his business as a collector and con- 
noisseur ; but it may be worth knowing that, 
from the nature of the process, some of these 
varieties of ware are wholly unfitted to be 
imitated on glass. 

The imitative art to which the long Greek 
name is given bears no analogy to that by 
which these several kinds of ware are coloured 
and adorned. Some of the coloured wares 
have metallic figments mixed with the clay 
whereof they are formed, which imparts 
a uniform colour to the whole substance ; 
while, in other cases, colours are mixed with 
oils and turpentine, and are applied to the 
surface of the ware with a pencil of camel- 
hair, the fixture of the colour being ensured 
by a subsequent process of fixing in a small 
kiln or oven. Nor does the art resemble 
that of the glass-stainer ; for this skilful 
artist, after having sketched his design on 
glass, has a most elaborate series of processes 
to attend to : his mineral colours must be so 
chosen as to form a sort of enamel with the 
glass by the aid of heat ; and he must so 
select the components of his colours that 
whatever they may appear like when opaque, 
they must appear brilliantly transparent 
when applied to the glass. 

No ; the potichomania, the jar frenzy, the 
imitation of porcelain and pottery, must not 
claim to rank either with porcelain-painting 
or glass-staining. There is nothing chemical 
about it, nothing that requires kilns, or 
muffles, or ovens, nothing for which our 
leading artists will be called upon to contri- 
bute designs. Nevertheless, there is no reason 
why it should not constitute a pretty lady- 
like employment, susceptible of considerable 
variety of application. 



There have not been wanting imitations of 
old Dutch china manufactured in wood. The 
wood was turned in a lathe to the shape of a 
jar, or urn, or vase ; the wooden counterfeit 
was painted with oil colour ; flowers or orna- 
ments were cut out of coloured printed calico 
or linen ; these were pasted on in their proper 
relative positions ; and the pseudo-Dutch or 
Japanese production received its finishing 
touch by means of a coat of varnish. But 
this varnish had a tendency to crack, and it 
seldom presented such a surface as could well 
imitate the smooth glossy exterior of a real 
product of the plastic art. Hence it is that 
the inventors of the new process pride them- 
selves on the higher philosophy of their 
modus operandi. "They say, virtually if not 
verbally, " See, our exterior is the real thing ; 
the exterior of a porcelain vessel is a veritable 
glass, for all enamel and glaze are true glass; 
and our products exhibit a real glass.exterior, 
untouched by colour or varnish of any kind, 
ergo, our imitations are better than their 
wooden predecessors." The validity of this 
ergo depends upon the whereabouts and the 
manner in which the coloured adornments 
are applied. So long as sheets of paper or 
cloth alone could be used, it may be doubted 
whether the new art could have been prac- 
tised to any satisfactory degree ; because 
there is a solidity or opacity about them 
which interferes with anything like trans- 
lucency of effect. Every one knows that very 
pretty sheets of gelatine are now made, which 
receive colours of considerable brilliancy, and 
have a semi-transparency, which adds greatly 
to their ornate effect. Gold, too, may be 
combined with the colours in a rich and deli- 
cate degree ; and it is these qualities which 
seem to have suggested the employment of 
such a substance in the imitative art now 
under notice. As to the manufacture of the 
gelatine sheets themselves, it is one of the 
countless examples afforded by modern che- 
mistry of the production of useful substances 
from that which is either refuse, or at most 
a very common and cheap article. It is an 
illustration of the Penny Wisdom which has 
already received a little attention in House- 
hold Words.* Glass being transparent, while 
wood is opaque, and gelatine sheets being 
more transparent than sheets of coloured 
paper or coloured linen, we see at once the 
basis on which the new art claims to have 
some superiority over its predecessor. The 
coloration is effected inside the gl ass : this 
alone is sufficient to ensure a smooth exterior. 
One of the novelties of late years has been 
the production of brilliant globes and vessels 
of glass, in which the brilliancy results from 
the use of coloured glass coated behind with 
a layer of silver. The new art has no direct 
analogy with this ; but the one may serve, in 
some degree, to show how the other may 
produce softly-beautiful effects by the inter- 

Vol. vi. p. 97- 



Charles Dickens. I 



POTICHOMANIA. 



131 



position of a glassy layer between the colours 
and the eye. 

The name which the inventors have chosen 
to give to this imitative art is dependent on 
the primary object of imitating the Chinese 
or Japanese potiches or jars ; but a further 
display of skill may enable the workers to 
apply the process to glassy imitations of Sevres 
and Dresden porcelain. The eastern products 
are usually adorned with figures and plants 
and animals ; but those of Europe aim at 
applications of the historical and landscape 
painter's products. The potichomanist (a very 
hard word to apply to a lady) selects her glass 
vase or jar, cup or plate, pot or dish, and then 
sheets of coloured gelatine, such as will produce 
the colours of the device to be imitated. With 
her sharp-pointed scissors she cuts out the 
little bits of gelatine requisite to produce the 
device. This is probably the most difficult 
part of the whole affair ; for not only must 
the outlines of the device be carefully ob- 
served, but also the juxtaposition of any two 
or more colours which it may comprise. 

The coloured gelatine, then, is cut into little 
fragments, and the glass is clean and ready, 
and the pencils or small brushes are at hand, 
and the liquid gum is prepared, and the artist 
is in a condition to proceed with the delicate 
work. Sheets of gelatine are naturally adhe- 
sive when wetted ; but pieces of coloured 
paper may occasionally be used which have 
no adhesive layer upon them. The wet- 
ting or the gumming, are adopted according 
to circumstances ; but either must be done 
thoroughly, for it is of much importance to 
the completeness of the process that the 
cementing to the glass should be close and 
perfect in every part. A linen pad or cloth 
is applied delicately to ensure this closeness 
of contact. There must be no bubbles of air 
no branches of trees, or detached leaves of 
flowers, or wings of insects, must curl up at 
the corners and obtrude themselves unduly 
upon notice. All must adhere closely to their 
glass. 

It must be observed, however, that these 
gelatine sheets, if used at all, are not em- 
ployed by themselves. The gelatine appears to 
be simply a film on the front or face of the pic- 
ture, which film, if damped, becomes adhesive 
without the aid of gum. Our tasteful neigh- 
bours across the Channel supply us with 
these, as well as with the original idea 
whereby the art has been created. Theirs 
is the potichornanie, which we have changed 
into potichomania ; and theirs are the sheets 
of pictures Chinese ladies, landscapes with 
impossible perspective, foliage, flowers, fruit, 
birds, butterflies, arabesques, grotesques 
printed in lithography, brilliantly coloured 
and sold at six, nine, twelve, eighteen, or any 
other number of pence per sheet. Some of 
our teachers tell us to use hog's-hair brushes ; 
some say camel's-hair ; but others, more pro- 
vident than either, recommend both th 
hog and the camel to our notice. The sclass 



vessels themselves are apparently French, 
although we know of no reason why English 
glassblowers should not make them. The 
potiches en verre, vases, allumette vases, 
flower-pot covers, cups, and bowls, are many 
of them well and gracefully shaped ; but we 
would gently whisper, that if the glass were 
a little more free from air-bubbles, it would 
be better for the object in view ; because, 
whether we would imitate the bluish tint of 
old Sevres, or the greenish tint of Chinese, 
or the nankeen tint of Etruscan, or the tints 
of any other famous porcelain or pottery, we 
can certainly get on better without bubbles 
in the glass, than with them. It is a French 
professor, too, who assures us that " the ex- 
traordinary success which this art has ob- 
tained may be easily accounted for, if we 
remember that, after an easy, interesting 
labour of a few hours, we see a simple glass 
vessel transformed into a Chinese, Sdvres, 
Dresden, or Japanese vase." 

But the materials are only half the matter, 
the processes are the other half; and we 
follow our instructions, humbly and diligently, 
thus : 

We are especially, in the most energetic 
terms, cautioned not to proceed to the next 
process until the efficacy of the gum has been 
well ascertained ; but, this done, we advance 
to the varnishing. This varnish is intended 
partly to secure the coloured devices in their 
place, and partly to shield the gelatine from a 
layer of oil colour afterwards applied. The 
varnish is applied over the whole interior of 
the vase or jar ; but being clear and colour- 
less, it does not produce a disfigurement in 
the general appearance. We presume that 
the shape of the jar in respect to its mouth 
and general proportion, must be such as will 
admit of the artist's hand and varnish brush, 
and bits of coloured paper. There is a little 
vitreous conundrum occasionally to be seen, 
consisting of Napoleon Bonaparte or an 
English stage coach bottled up in a decanter, 
or phial, whose mouth is far smaller than 
the lateral dimensions of the great emperor ; 
and the puzzle is, to find out how Napoleon 
could possibly have got into the decanter, 
or the Brighton mail into the phial. In 
the present case, however, there is to be 
no difficulty in putting in or taking out 
anything which the jar or vase ought to 
contain. 

The varnishing being done, the painting 
or colouring follows, the object of this is, 
to give to the whole of the glass vessel a tint 
and an opacity corresponding with the tint 
and opacity of the specimen of pottery or 
porcelain imitated an important and dif- 
ricult part of the routine of processes ; for 
the selection of ingredients, and the mode of 
application, must each require much care. 
The colour-men have prepared an ample list 
of tints, to imitate the deadly white and the 
delicately white, the creamy white and the 
bluish white, the red lacquered, the black 



132 



HOUSEHOLD WOIIDS. 



[.Conducted by 



lacquered, the sea-green, the green yellow, the 
gold dust, the deep gold, the Pompadour rose, 
die deep blue, the bright blue, aud other 
colours of pottery and porcelain ; and we are 
told how, by employing zinc white, cobalt 
blue, yellow ochre, vermilion, lake, ivory 
black, Naples yellow, silver white, Veronese 
ureen, yellow lake, bitumen, raw 3101111:1, 
burnt sienna, cadmium, March violet, carmine. 
ultramarine, gold varnish, gold powder, we 
are told how all these, or some among the 
number, combine to produce tints which will 
imitate the ground colour of all varieties of 
pottery aud porcelain. And we are cautioned 
against numerous snares and pitfalls into 
which our ignorance may lead us. If our 
paint be too opaque, it will spread with diffi- 
culty over the surface of the glass ; if it be 
too thin, it will not cover the glass with suf- 
ficient body ; if it be not equable in distribu- 
tion, it will fail to imitate the homogeneity in 
the appearance of porcelain ; if there be not 
enough mixed at once, it will be difficult to 
match the tint afterwards ; if it be made to 
flow more easily, it may dry more tardily. 
As to the mode of applying the colours, there 
seems to be two varieties brushing and 
flowing. The application with a brush is the 
most obvious ; but the teachers assure us 
that it is difficult to avoid inequalities in the 
touch of the brush, and that, therefore, the 
method of flowing or flooding is preferred. 
In this process the liquid colour is poured 
into the vessel, and is rolled about in every 
direction, after which the surplus is poured 
out into a cup or other receptacle. One flood- 
ing seldom leaves a sufficient thickness or 
opacity of colour, and a second is hence 
required. This process is very similar to that 
by which artificial pearls are produced. A 
greyish liquid made from fish-scales being 
blown through a little tube, a drop at a time, 
into hollow glass beads, and then rolled 
about. 

Phrenologists say that man is blessed with 
an organ of colour, the greater or lesser deve- 
lopment of which indicates a greater or lesser 
capacity for appreciating the chromatic ele- 
ments of a picture ; and the potichomanist 
hints pretty strongly that the success of a 
student in this art will depend in a consider- 
able degree on the magnitude of this said 
organ. He declares first that the faculty of 
what painters call colour, is not given to 
every one ; he further declares that those 
who possess this faculty will produce in 
potichomania, as in painting, works far supe- 
rior to the production of those who are not 
endowed with it, inasmuch as the former will 
be artists, while the latter will be nothing 
more than skilful workmen, or clever imita- 
tors ; he acknowledges that the art of poti- 
chomania is still in its infancy ; but he roundly 
prophesies that, like the great art of painting, 
it will have its school, its masters, its disciples, 
its imitators securing a place for itself 
among decorative arts, developing its re- 



; sources in the embellishment of our apart- 
[ ments and furniture, and bringing honour 
and praise to its artists. May the prediction 
be verified, in spite of the jar-frenzy name 
given to the art ! Glass has advanced much 
in usefulness aud beauty, since the change in 
the excise duties ; and unless grim war shall 
urge the finance minister again to throw his 
longing eyes to glass, we may hope that the 
usefulness and the beauty, consequent in 
great part on cheapness, will be yet farther 
increased. 

PASSING CLOUDS. 

WHKRE are the swallows fled? 

Frozen and dead, 
Perchance upon some bleak and stormy shore. 

O doubting heart ! 
Far o'er the purple seas, 
They wait, in sunny ease, 
The balmy southern breeze, 
To bring them to their northern home once more. 

Why must the flowers die ? 

Prisoned they lie 
In the cold tomb, heedless of tears or rain. 

O doubting heart ! 
They only sleep below 
The soft white ermine snow, 
While winter winds shall blow, 
To breathe and smile upon you soon again. 

The sun has hid its rays 

These many days ; 
Will dreary hours never leave the earth ? 

O doubting heart! 
The stormy clouds on high 
Veil the same sunny sky, 
That soon (for spring is nigh) 
Shall wake the summer into golden mirth. 

Fair hope is dead, and light 
Is quench'd in night. 
What sound can break the silence of despair? 

O doubting heart ! 
Thy sky is overcast, 
Yet stars shall rise at last, 
Brighter for darkness past, 
And angels' silver voices stir the air. 



CHAMBEHS IN THE TEMPLE. 



FIFTEEN years ago, when I was a schoolboy 
in Paris, wearing a uniform very much re- 
sembling that of a Metropolitan policeman 
(the dress is military now, and they have me- 
tamorphosed my old college into an Imperial 
Lyceum) eating a distressing quantity of 
boiled haricots, washed down by the palest 
of pink wine and water, and conjugating a 
prodigious quantity of verbs, regular and ir- 
regular the tenses of which have become so 
very preterpluperfect since, that they have 
faded clean away from my memory fifteen 
years, then, since, there was an old gentleman 
inhabiting the English, or, St. Honore quarter 
of the French capital a white-headed, stormy, 
battle and weather-beaten veteran of the salt 
sea a rear-admiral in the English navy, and on 



Chwles Dickti-.s..] 



CHAMBERS IN THE TEMPLE. 



133 



the half-pay thereof. He had been celebrated 
all over the world in his time for deeds of 
daring and chivalrous bravery ; but that had 
been a very long time ago ; and the ungrate- 
ful generation among whom his latest years 
those that were to be but labour and sor- 
row were passed, celebrated only his eccen- 
tricities and ignored, or were indifferent to 
his glory. This is the way of the world, my 
Christian friend. When you and T come to 
be old men and should we ever have given 
the world cause to talk about us we shall 
find that the books we have written, the pic- 
tures we have painted, or the statues we have 
hewn, will be dismissed to oblivion with a 
good natured contempt as things meritorious 
enough in their way, but quite out of date ; 
should we be worth paragraphs, or anecdotes, 
they will have reference to the redness of our 
noses, the patterns of our trowsers, our man- 
ner of eating peas with our knives, our habit 
of putting the left leg foremost when we walk, 
or our assumed fondness for cold rum and 
water. The Duke of Marlborough's petty 
avarice and hagglings with the Bath-chair- 
men were talked about long after the con- 
queror of Blenheim was forgotten, and the 
nation had even grumbled about paying for 
the palace it had voted him in the first out- 
burst of its gratitude. Lord Peterborough 
walking from market in his blue ribbon, with 
a fowl under one arm, and a cabbage under 
the other, quite threw into the shade Lord 
Peterborough the hero of Almanza. When- 
ever the name of the Marquis of Granby 
occurs to us now-a-days, it is in connection 
with the Incorporated Association of Licensed 
Victuallers, with foreign wines, beer, and to- 
bacco not with battles won, or sieges suc- 
cessfully conducted. Whose aquiline nose, 
white ducks, and hat-saluting fingers, were 
household words in London to the populace, 
who had forgotten Waterloo, when they 
smashed the windows of Apsley House with 
stones, because its owner was an enemy to 
Reform ? Whose children grin now at the 
caricatured presentments of the prominent 
nose and plaid trowsers of the man who was 
the greatest orator, the greatest advocate, the 
greatest reformer of the law, England has 
ever seen, and who thirty years since shook 
this realm from end to end by the thunder 
of his eloquence, and dashed down walls of 
corruption, one after another, with his im- 
petuous hand ] The world is as ungrateful, 
as fickle, as petulant as a woman. I war- 
rant Omphale rapped the fingers of Her- 
cules when, sitting at her feet a-spinning, 
he happened to ravel the flax. He who had 
vanquished the Nemsean lion, and quelled the 
Erymanthiau boar, was forgotten in the care- 
less spinner. So it was with the old gentle- 
man whom I knew in Paris fifteen years ago. 
People talked of the strange fancy he had 
of leading an old white horse about the 
streets, on which he never rode ; much mer- 
riment was excited by the rumour that he 



slept with his head through a hole in a 
blanket (I am not exaggerating) the quid 
nuncs of the Rue St. Honore and the Champs 
Elysees were infinitely amused at his strange 
ways, his loud and rambling talk, his general 
oddity of manner ; very few people cared to 
remember that before most of them were born 
he was famous over the whole world as the 
English Commodore Sir SIDNEY SMITH, the 
heroic defender of Acre, the scourge of the 
French navy from the lofty three-decker to 
the smallest chasse-maree, and nearly the only 
man for whom the great Napoleon the impas- 
sible, ambitious, who no more deigned to love or 
hate men, with him, or against him, any more 
than Mr. Staunton, the chess-player, loves or 
hates the pawns in his game condescended 
to entertain a violent personal dislike. Sir 
Sidney Smith used coolly to declare that 
Napoleon was jealous of him. It is certain 
that he annoyed and chafed the Great Man 
horribly, and in Egypt drove him to the per- 
petration of a very sorry joke, having posi- 
tively challenged him to single combat, which 
Napoleon declined, till having rather an 
exalted idea of the " foeman worthy of his 
steel " he could produce the ghost of the 
great Duke of Marlborough. 

Sir Sidney Smith died in Paris ; but it is 
not with his death or latter days that I have 
to do. I wish to tell the story of his escape 
from certain chambers which he occupied in 
the Temple, while he was yet the famous com- 
modore, admired by Europe, and hated by 
the French Directory, and especially by 
General Bonaparte. How much of strict 
historic truth there may be in the story, it is 
not for me to say. The journals of the period 
tell pretty nearly the same tale ; but even 
newspapers will occasionally err, and even 
the buckets of grave history writers often 
stop short of the bottom of the well of 
verity. 

Sir Sidney Smith, taken prisoner in a 
daring cutting-out expedition on the coast of 
Brittany, was confined in the prison of the 
Temple in Paris, in the year seventeen hun- 
dred and ninety-eight. Some idea may be 
formed of the importance which the republican 
government attached to his capture and de- 
tention to the fact, first, that the Directory 
refused to liberate him in exchange for M. 
Bergeret, a post-captain in the French navy, 
and again, on another occasion, positively re- 
fused to receive as an equivalent for his 
person no fewer than twelve thousand French 
prisoners ! A man worth ten thousand pounds 
is something ; but a sea captain not to be 
bought for twelve thousand fighting men is, 
indeed, rich and rare. 

Unfortunately even distinction has its 
embarrassments, and such was the store set 
by the safe keeping of Sir Sidney by his 
captors, that his confinement was of the most 
rigorous description. Verdun or Biche was 
good enough for ordinary prisoners of war ; but 
the redoubtable commodore was transferred 



134 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



to the Tower of the Temple that gloomy 
revolutionary Bastile, the scene of tin 

- of Louis the Sixteenth ami Marie An- 
toinette, and of the slow agony and death of 
the poor little captive dauphin the tower 
that was afterwards to witness the darkest 
episodes of the Consulate the reported 
suicides, but whispered murders, of Pichegru 
and Captain Wright the last adieux of the 
simple, yet desperate, Cliouaus the stern 
presence of their leader Georges Cadoudal. In 
the Temple, then, Sir Sidney Smith was in- 
carcerated. The guards were doubled, the 
defences strengthened, all communication 
from without was denied him, and the most 
rigid surveillance was exercised over all his 
actions. 

Once having got their prisoner safe within 
the four strong walls of the Temple, however, 
isolated him from all exterior influences, and 
placed a strong guard over him, the Directory 
did not feel it necessary to treat him with any 
great personal severity. They did not load 
him with chains, they did not lock him up in 
a, dungeon, they did not feed him upon bread 
and water. Sir Sidney was amply provided 
with pecuniary resources, and was allowed to 
keep himself. Apartments, the most commo- 
dious that the prison could afford, were 
allotted to him, and, furthermore, he was 
allowed to maintain something like an esta- 
blishment of domestics. Besides Captain 
Wright, who acted as his secretary, he had a 
cook, a valet, and notably an English servant, 
half groom, half confidential man, called 
Sparkes. The cook and valet were freemen, 
and Frenchmen ; Sparkes had been taken pri- 
soner at the same time as the commodore, but 
the condition attached to the French who 
were permitted to attend upon Sir Sidney 
was, that they should share his imprisonment 
not one was permitted to pass the outer gate 
of the Temple. 

I am not aware whether it has ever been 
the lot of any of the ladies or gentlemen who 
read this to have suffered the slow torture of 
imprisonment. I hope not ; but if any such 
there be, they will readily understand how 
prone is the human mind, when the body is 
incarcerated, to devote itself to the culinary 
art. Most prisoners are good cooks, or, at 
least, love good eating. The man with the iron 
mask was a gourmand. The sham dauphin 
(one of the nine hundred and ninety-nine 
sham dauphins) who called himself Duke de 
Nortnandie, and had passed three-fourths of 
his existence in the different prisons of Europe, 
was renowned for the confection of roast 
turkey stuffed with chestnuts. When confined 
in Ste Pelagic, in eighteen hundred and thirty- 
three, it was a matter of daily occurrence to 
hear a cry from his fellow prisoners of " Capet, 
is the turkey nearly ready ?" and the pseudo- 
descendant of St. Louis would answer, " I am 
dishing it." The late Mr. Rush, on the 
memorable occasion of his trial, addressed 
a very specific and emphatic billet-doux from 



his retreat in Norwich Castle to the eating- 
house keeper opposite, commanding pig, " and 
plenty of plum sauce." I have seen in White- 
cross Street prison an analytical chemist 
frying pancakes, and it was once my fortune 
to know, in the Queen's Bench, a doctor 
of divinity whose mockturtle soup would 
have rather astonished Mr. Farrance of 
Spring Gardens. Now, though Sir Sidney 
Smith on shipboard would have been per- 
fectly content with ship's cookery, salt junk, 
salt horse, or salt mahogany, as it is indif- 
ferently called ; plum duff, grey pea-soup, 
sea pie, lobscouse, weevilly biscuit, and new 
rum no sooner did he find himself immured 
in the Temple, than he fell into the ordinary 
idiosyncrasy of prisoners, and became an 
accomplished bon-vivant. The choicest of 
fish, flesh, and fowl were procured from the 
Parisian market, and (after being strictly ex- 
amined at the gate to see whether they con- 
tained any treasonable missives) furnished 
forth, by no means coldly, his prison table. 
The famous roast beef of Old England was 
seen, and smoked within those gloomy walls. 
Sir Sidney had endless disputes with the 
French cook concerning the thickness of 
melted butter, the propriety of potatoes ap- 
pearing at table with their skins on ; the 
injury done to a rumpsteak by beating 
it ; the discretion necessary in the employ- 
ment of garlic, and the number of hours 
necessary to be devoted to the boiling of a 
plum-pudding. The cook would not boil it 
long enough. Unless closely watched, he 
would withdraw it furtively from the pot, 
hide it in secret places till dinner-time, and 
declare stoutly that it had been boiling eight 
hours when it had not been three on the fire. 
But, errors excepted, the captives lived as 
well as those bellicose bipeds of the galli- 
naceous breed whose spur-combats were 
formerly the delight of our British nobility, 
are popularly supposed to live. Nor were 
good liquids wanting to wash down these 
succulent repasts. For the first time, per- 
haps, in France that noble compound, the 
punch of the United Kingdom (for England, 
Scotland, and Ireland are all equally famous 
for it) was brewed within the prison walls ; 
and every Frenchman who tasted it even 
the rabidest enemy of " Pitt et Cobourg " 
thenceforth renounced the small-beer julep, 
half sour, half syruppy, thitherto misnamed 
" punch " abroad. Brandy, sherry, and claret 
also formed part of the commodore's cellar, 
and, in particular, he had laid in a supply of 
admirable old port wine rare old stuff 
bottles of liquid rubies, in a setting of rich 
crust and cobwebs. Money can do almost 
anything in any times. It can break the 
sternest of blockades, and, though it could 
not get Sir Sidney Smith out of prison, it 
could procure him a supply of the primest 
wines in the English market. The French 
cook admired the old port wine hugely. He 
discovered that ' : porto " was required for a 



Charles Dickens.] 



CHAMBE11S IN THE TEMPLE. 



135 



great many dishes and sauces. He was dis- 
covered in the kitchen one day by Sparkes, 
weeping bitterly into a stew-pan, by the side 
of an empty port wine bottle. He declared 
on that occasion, with some thickness of utter- 
ance, that the Directory were brigands, and 
the National Assembly thieves, and that the 
name of the legitimate ruler of France was 
Louis the Eighteenth. He was very pale and 
shaky next day, affected great republican 
sternness, and insisted more than ever upon 
being called "citizen," and "Junius Brutus," 
when, honest man, his name was Jean Bap- 
tiste all over, from his slippers to his white 
nightcap. These details may probably seem 
useless ; but the commodore's port wine had 
more to do with his escape from his chambers 
in the Temple than you may at present imagine. 
One gilt and burnished afternoon in the 
autumn of this same year 'ninety-eight, a 
party of four persons were assembled in Sir 
Sidney Smith's sitting-room in the Tower of 
the Temple. One of these persons was Cap- 
tain Wright, whom, as he has nothing further 
to do -with this history, I need not specially 
describe. Tli'e second was Sir Sidney Smith, 
then in all the pride and vigour of his man- 
hood a little pale, perhaps, through want of 
exercise, but a comely man, and fair to look 
upon. He had his hair powdered, and wore 
top-boots, which would seem somewhat 
strange articles of costume for a naval officer, 
albeit in plain clothes, in these days, but were 
the fashion in 'ninety-eight. The third was 
Mr. Sparkes, his body servant. Mr. Sparkes 
was of the middle height, and remarkably 
stout, though anything but corpulent in the 
face. He was so stout about the chest, that 
you could scarcely divest yourself of the im- 
pression that he had more than one waistcoat 
on. Perhaps he had. A very low forehead 
had Mr. Sparkes, and a very voluminous 
allowance of bushy red hair. He was 
freckled, and his chin was lost in the folds 
of his ample cravat. He had a consider- 
able impediment in his speech, which caused 
him to speak slowly, and not often, and not 
much at a time ; but he was a great humorist, 
and was an enormous favourite among the 
prison officials for his droll sayings, and foi 
the hideously execrable manner in which he 
pronounced the French language. A thorough 
Briton an incorrigible "rosbif" was Sparkes 
said they there were some hopes of the com- 
modore acquiring a decent knowledge o: 
French after a few years' residence, but as for 
Sparkes, he would never learn, not he 
Doctor Jollivet, the prison surgeon, who hac 
been in England, and spoke ravishing English 
declared J ohu as " tout ce qu'il y avait de 
plus Coqueui" by which, it is to be pre- 
sumed, he meant Cockney. Sparkes hac 
been brought up, he said, with the com- 
modore, which accounted for a certain degree 
of familiarity with which he treated him, auc 
which he was far from showing to the other 
servants. This present golden afternoon John 



lalf stood behind his master's chair, half 
eaned against the side-board. He was at- 
.entive in supplying the wants of the other 
iersons present, but he did not neglect to 
ielp himself liberally from a special bottle of 
jort behind him, nor did he refrain from 
oining, from time to time, in the conver- 
sation. 

The fourth person of this group, and who 
sat at the end of the table facing the Commo- 
dore, was a Frenchman, a very important 
aerson, too, you are to know, being Citizen 
Mutius Sctevola Lasne (formerly Martin), 
concierge, keeper or head gaoler of the Temple. 
He was responsible for the safe-keeping of 
the prisoners with his head. He slept every 
night with the prison keys under his pillow. 
He knew where the secret dungeons the 
underground cachots and cabanons were, 
and what manner of men were in them. He 
was not a man to be despised. 

Citizen Lasne was a very large, fat man, 
with a small head. Gaolers generally are, 
but let that pass. Now there is no medium 
of character or disposition in large fat men 
with small heads. They ai'e either intolerably 
vicious, slowly cruel, stolidly hard-hearted, mis- 
chievously stupid, torpidly revengeful, dully 
selfish, sensual and avaricious, or else they 
are lazy, good-natured, genial, soft-hearted 
giants, mere toasts and butter, giving freely, 
lending freely, spending freely, always ready 
to weep at a pitiful tale, to sing the best song 
they know, to lend you their best umbrella, 
and to walk wheresoever you wish to lead 
them. It is the same with bald-headed men 
who wear spectacles. They are either atro- 
cious villains or amiable philanthropists. The 
races admit of no mediocrity. Citizen Lasne 
happened, luckily for his prisoners, to be a 
large fat man, of the second or soft-hearted 
category. His exterior was rugged and his 
moustache was fierce. He was as stupid as 
the libretto of an opera, and as vain as a dab- 
chick ; but his nature was honest, simple, 
confiding, and compassionate. He was the 
foolish, fat scullion of Sterne metamorphosed 
into a man. He would have spared a flea 
when he caught him, a three-bottle flea, 
drunk with his life blood, and giddy with 
leaping over his body. He would do any- 
thing for a prisoner save allow him to escape, 
for, like all slow men, he had a fixed idea, 
and this fixed idea confirmed him in, and 
kept continually before him, the conviction 
that one prisoner the less in the Temple 
(unless legally discharged), was one head the 
less upon his own shoulders. This is why he 
always inspected the bolts, bars, and locks of 
the doors and windows every night, set the 
watch, and slept with the keys of the Temple 
under his pillow. 

Citizen Lasne liked drink. For port wine 
he conceived an immoderate affection. His 
liking for that beverage was pleasingly gra- 
tified, as the Commodore frequently invited 
him to his table. Misery makes us acquainted 



136 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



with strange bedfellows, and a gaol makes a 
man take up with strange boon companions. 
These eyes have seen the son of an earl hob- 
nobbing at a prison tap with an insolvent 
boot-closer. On. his own quarter-deck, in 
London, at St. James's, Sir Sidney Smith 
would doubtless have been as dignified, not 
to say haughty, aa an Englishman and a com- 
modore has a right to be. In the state cabin 
of his own flag-ship he would decidedly not 
have hobnobbed with Bob Catskin, the boat- 
swain's mate. But a prisoner in the Temple, 
far from home, almost solitary, any com- 
panionship was welcome to him. This is why 
he so often invited Citizen Lasne to dinner 
and to supper. This is why that fat citizen 
sat facing him at the table on the golden 
autumn afternoon I treat of. 

The citizen having eaten like an ox (he 
approved of English cookery much), was now 
drinking like a fish. He could stand a pro- 
digious quantity of drink, all fat men can. 
Only as he drank, his eyes, which were small 
and round, appeared to diminish still further 
in volume, for the little penthouses of his 
eyelids began to droop somewhat, and his 
round rosy cheeks to puff out upwards and 
laterally, while the eyes themselves seemed 
to recede into their orbits, as though they 
were lazy with repletion, and were throwing 
themselves back in their easy-chairs. 

The table was covered with plates of fruit 
and decanters of wine, from both of which 
Citizen Lasne was helping himself largely, 
the others in moderation. The citizen drank 
his old port out of a tumbler, the starveling 
and effeminate thimblefulls known as English 
wine-glasses not having as yet penetrated into 
the Temple. He persisted on calling the port 
"a little wine," un petit vin d&licieux, 
meanwhile taking hearty gulps of the libelled 
liquor ; for it is a mighty and generous wine, 
yea, that invigorateth the frame, and 
maketh the hearts of men strong within 
them. It hath cheered the vigils of great 
scholars, and armed brave warriors for the 
fray, port wine. As the citizen drank, how- 
ever, it was evident that the fixed idea was 
anything but dormant within him ; for he 
watched his host's countenance from time to 
time narrowly, and in the midst of his hilarity 
and talkativeness there would occasionally 
flit across his fat face an expression almost of 
alarm, for Sir Sidney was taciturn, pensive, 
evidently pre-occupied, drank little, and leant 
his head on his hand. 

" May I pass for a ' suspect,' " he cried sud- 
denly, laying down his glass, " if I drink 
another drop." 

" What's the matter, Father Latchkey ? " 
asked Mr. Sparkes in French, far too ungrani- 
matical to transcribe here. " Wine gone the 
wrong way, swallowed a fly ? Why you 
look as if you saw a tile in the bottom of your 
glass, and a bunch of skeleton keys in the 
Commodore's face." 

"May I sneeze in the sawdust" (when a 



person is guillotined, his head falls into a 
basketful of sawdust) u if the citizen prisoner 
of war is not thinking of his Three Muses at 
this very moment." 

The "Three Muses" were three royalist 
ladies, hiding their real names under the 
fabulous sobriquets of Thalia, Melpomene, and 
Clio, who had long and successfully evaded the 
pursuit of the police, and who were noto- 
riously continually conspiring to effect the de- 
liverance of Sir Sidney Smith. It should be 
known that at this period, notwithstanding 
the sanguinary severity of the Republican 
government against the Royalists, France 
and Paris swarmed with secret emissaries 
from foreign powers, known as "alarmists," 
" accapareurs ; " but more under the generic 
name of " agents de 1'etranger," and by the 
populace as " Pitt-et-Cobourgs." There were 
agents from London, from Vienna, from Ber- 
lin, and from Amsterdam. There were agents 
in the army, the navy, the salons, the public 
offices, the ante-chambers of the ministry ; 
among the .box -openers at theatres, the 
ruai-ket - women in the Halle, the coach- 
men on the stand, all well supplied with 
money, all indefatigable in obtaining informa- 
tion, in fomenting re-actionary disturbances, 
in promoting the escape of political prisoners. 
I might fill a book with anecdotes of Conrad 
Kock, the Dutch banker (guillotined) ; Ber- 
th old Proly (guillotined) ; the two Moravian 
brothers Frey, and their sister Leopoldine ; 
Andre -Marie Guzman, the Spaniard, who 
actually so far ingratiated himself into the 
confidence of Marat that the last letter the 
famous terrorist ever wrote was to him ; 
Webber, the Englishman, whose mission it 
was to obtain plans of French fortified towns, 
and paid twelve thousand francs for one of 
Douai ; one Greenwood, who was specially 
employed to give dinners to distressed 
Royalists ; Mrs. Knox ; and especially the 
two famous Pitt-et-Cobourgs, Dicksou and 
Winter, who braved the Terror, the Direc- 
tory, the Consulate and the Empire, and only 
gave up business in eighteen hundred and 
fifteen. It was pretty well known to the 
police, when our fat friend alluded to the 
Three Muses, that an intricate and elaborate 
network of intrigues, plots and counterplots, 
existed for the release of Sir Sidney Smith ; 
that neither money nor men were wanting to 
effect this, should an opportunity occur ; and 
that persons secretly powerful were working 
night and day to bring that opportunity about. 
This is why the English Commodore had 
been so particularly recommended to Citizen 
Lasue, and why the fixed idea I have men- 
tioned was so prominent in that patriot's mind. 

" You will pardon me, Citizen Commo- 
dore," the gaoler continued, rising, but cast- 
ing a loving look at the decanters, " but I 
don't like to see you look thoughtful. Think- 
ing means running. I must go and examine 
all the locks, and order the night-watch to be 
doubled." 



Chnrles Dickens.] 



CHAMBERS IN THE TEMPLE. 



137 



" A man may be thinking of his home and 
friends, his King and country, without me- 
ditating an escape there and then, my good 
Lasne," Sir Sidney said with a quiet smile. 

"Ah," objected the gaoler, shaking his fat 
Lead, "but you've too many friends in Paris, 
citizen prisoner. Your King sends too many 
guineas and spies over here. There are hun- 
dreds of them between here and the Rue St. 
Antoine at this moment, I'll be bound. Very 
kind indeed to think of your friends, but if 
you should feel inclined to say bonjour to 
them, my only friend would be Chariot (the 
public executioner).'' 

If citizen Lasne could have spoken English, 
and have made a pun, he might have said 
that that only friend would have cut him. 
But he was a stupid fat man, and could do 
neither. 

" Make your mind easy, my friend," replied 
Sir Sidney Smith, "I will promise you not to 
escape to-night." 

" You promise ! then it's all right : you 
promise mind," ejaculated citizen Lasne, 
joyfully. 

" I give you my word." 

" Then give me some more wine," cried this 
merry fat man. "More Porto, Monsieur 
Sparkes, my dear, ho ! ho ! " 

With which he sat down, and held out his 
tumbler with his great fat doughy hand, that 
looked as if it had just been kneaded, and was 
ready for the bakehouse. 

" More port, more port," grumbled or pre- 
tended to grumble Mr. Sparkes, filling the 
bacchanalian's glass to the brim, "What an 
old forty-stomach it is. He blows his wind- 
bags out like a sail. There'll be bellows to 
mend before long. Here's more port for 
you." 

"'Tis good, my friend, 'tis an exquisite 
little wine. Yet a little more. A drop 
guggl-gl-gl-gl" and he continued to drink. 

The gaoler knew that Sir Sidney Smith 
was a man of inflexible honour and integrity ; 
that to him his word as a sailor, a knight, a 
gentleman, was sacred. So he put the fixed 
idea out to grass for a time, and drank more 
port. 

But port, though an exquisite little wine, 
will tell its tale, and have its own way with 
a man at last, like labour, like age, like 
death. The citizen Lasne became very 
talkative indeed, which showed that he was 
getting on ; then he sang a song, which 
showed that he was getting further on; then he 
essayed to dance, which showed that he was 
getting drunk ; then he told a story about a 
pig in the South of France, and cried : which 
showed that he was very drunk indeed. 

" Citizen Commodore," he said all at once, 
"would you like to take a walk on the 
Boulevard ? " 

At this strange proposition Sir Sidney 
turned his eyes to the barred window. The 
rays of the setting sun threw the shadows of 
the bars upon the wall : the bright light was 



between. And the gentle breeze of the even- 
ing came into the room like the whisper of 
an angel. 

The hum and murmur of the great city 
came up and smote the captive upon the ear, 
gently, lovingly, gaily, as though they said, 
" Come, why tarry ? you are invited." And 
the birds were singing outside upon the 
gloomy terrace, where the little dauphin used 
to walk. 

" Monsieur Lasne," answered the Commo- 
dore, stifling a sigh, " there are subjects upon 
which it is both unjust and cruel to jest." 

" But I'm not jesting." 

" But do you really mean to say that you 
would consent ..." 

" Once more, would you like to take a walk 
on the Boulevard ? " 

" Would you like to take a walk on the 
Boulevard 1 " bawled Sparkes, applying his 
mouth to his master's ear, as though he were 
deaf. 

" If you are speaking seriously," Sir Sidney 
said at last, " I can but accept the offer with 
the greatest gratitude." 

" Seriously, of course I am," replied citizen 
Lasne, rising, and shaking off the load ot 
port wine from his fat form, as though it 
were a cloak, and really succeeding in 
standing straight. " First, though, let us 
make our little conditions. No attempts at 
escape." 

" Oh, of course not," replied the Commo- 
dore. 

" No speaking to any one you meet on the 
road. No Muses ; no words, gestures ; not 
a nod, not a wink." 

" I promise all this." 

" On the word of an honest man." 

" On the word of an English gentleman," an- 
swered the Commodore firmly. 

" Come along then," cried the gaoler, as if 
perfectly satisfied, linking his arm in that of 
his prisoner, and moving towards the door : 
" you shall see of what stuff the boulevards 
of Paris are made, Citizen Commodore." 

Although this fat turnkey had drunk a pro- 
digious quantity of port wine, he did not 
seem, once on his legs, so very much the 
worse for liquor. He gave one of his legs a 
little pat as if to reproach it for having been 
shaky, and took a last gulp of port by way of 
a final clench or steadier. Only his little 
eyes began to flame and sparkle greatly, 
which from the general dulness of his coun- 
tenance gave him the appearance of having 
an evening party inside his head, and having 
had the windows lighted up. 

The pair were going out when Citizen 
Lasne was aware of Mr. Sparkes, who leaned 
against the sideboard with his arms folded, 
looking anything but contented with the 
general aspect of affairs. 

" A citizen who has poured me out so 
many tumblers of good wine," said the gaoler, 
graciously, " deserves some little considera- 
tion at my hands. Pass your word for him too, 



138 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Commodore, and Citizen Spark shall come 
with us." 

" You have my word," Sir Sidney said, 
laughing. " Sparkes shall make no attempt 
at escape." 

" You might have asked me for my word," 
grumbled Mr. Sparkes. " That would have 
been quite sufficient. A nice republican you 
must be to think that the word of a gentle- 
man's servant is not as good as that of a gen- 
tleman. Is that your fraternity, or equality, 
or whatever you call it?" 

" Liberty, equality, and fraternity," replied 
Citizen Lasne, with vinous gravity, " are very 
pretty to look at on the two-sous pieces ; but 
the heart of man is deceitful. However," he 
added, " may I pass for a ci-devant, Citizen 
Spark, if I think that you would play me 
false. Citizen, come along. Citizen Secre- 
tary (to Captain Wright) I recommend my- 
self to your distinguished consideration till 
we return. Au Boulevard ! " 

He led the Commodore away, and Sparkes 
followed close at their heels, as a well-bred 
gentleman's servant should do. A few 
minutes afterwards the three were outside 
the great gate of the Temple. The Commo- 
dore had taken care to wrap himself in a 
cloak, and to slouch his hat over his head. 
As long as the sun remained on the horizon 
the party wandered about the Daedalus of 
narrow little streets which then surrounded, 
and even now to a certain extent surround 
the Temple. As it grew dark, the Commo- 
dore proposed that they should take the pro- 
mised walk on the Boulevard. 

Now Citizen Lasne, in regard to liquor, 
was somewhat of a spongy nature and tem- 
perament. He could suck up an astonishing 
quantity of moisture, but such moisture was 
very easily expressed by a few minutes' exer- 
cise, and then the citizen was dry, porous, on 
the alert and ready for more. When Citizen 
Lasne left the Temple with his prisoners he 
was considerably more than seven-eighths 
drunk. He had not been long in the fresh 
air before the fixed idea began to dominate 
over his mind with redoubled force. He 
began to repent of his somewhat too chival- 
rous confidence in the parole of his captives. 
He began to repent heartily of his impru- 
dence. He began, finally, like Falstaff, to 
perceive that he had been an ass ; and, worse 
than all, that hfe had effected that undesir- 
able metamorphosis himself. 

As they walked he scrutinised narrowly 
the countenances of the passers by to see if 
any marks of recognition passed between 
them and his companion. And almost inces- 
santly he glanced over his shoulder to assure 
himself of the whereabout of Citizen Spark. 
That trusty servant was contented with ti'eail- 
ing most faithfully upon his gaoler's heels, 
and with saying, when he caught his eye, 

" All right, citizen all right." 

If the fumes of the wine had been com- 
pletely, instead of very nearly, evaporated 



from the cerebellum of Citizen Lasne, he 
would have remarked a little circumstance 
which might have led him to entertain very 
grave suspicions concerning the safety of his 
prisoners. Ever since the party had quitted 
the Temple, they had been followed, step by 
step, by a female figure closely shawled and 
veiled ; and Sir Sidney could distinctly hear, 
though the gaoler from a trifling singing and 
buzzing in his ears, could not, the sound of 
stops behind them, regularly keeping time 
with their own. 

The night was dark, and Lasne, determined 
to keep his word at all hazards, proceeded 
towards the Boulevard. At the moment when 
the three were turning the angle of the Rue 
Chariot a hand was laid on the arm of Citizen 
Sparkes, and a timid voice whispered 

" Monsieur le Comte." 

Sparkes turned his head round, without 
slackening his pace. 

"I saw you start," whispered the veiled 
female, for she was the owner of the hand and 
voice. " I have informed my sisters. Roche- 
cotte and De Phelippaux are in readiness. 
One word and the Commodore shall be rescued 
from the hands of that wretch." 

" But the Commodore will not say that 
word," answered Citizen Sparkes, in very pure 
and elegant French. 

" And in heaven's name, why ? " 

" He has given his word, as a gentleman, 
not to attempt to escape to-night." 

"And you " the veiled figure con- 
tinued. 

" Oh, as for me the Commodore was secu- 
rity for me but " 

The night grew darker, and darker, and the 
three strange companions, with the phantom 
in the veil, were lost in the tumultuous sea of 
life upon the great Boulevards. 

There was no Boulevard des Italiens then ; 
no Rue de la Paix, no Madeleine, no Asphalte 
pavements, no brilliant passages, no gas-lamps. 
But the Boulevards were still the Boulevards, 
unequalled and unrivalled ; the crowds of 
promenaders and loungers were still the same, 
though attired in costumes far different from 
those they wear now. They passed some 
dozen of theatres, they passed Monsieur Cur- 
tius's wax-work exhibition ; they passed num- 
berless groups of tight-rope dancers, jugglers, 
mountebanks, learned dogs and quack doc- 
tors. All at once, just as they had arrived at 
the spot where the Passage Veudome has 
since been constructed, Citizen Lasne uttered 
an exclamation of horror and surprise. 

" By heavens ! " he cried, " Spark has dis- 
appeared ! " 

It was but too true, the body servant 
of Sir Sidney Smith was no where to be 
seen. 

In his terror and agitation the unlucky 
gaoler quite forgot his republican character. 
1 1 < was within a hair's breadth of making the 
sign of the cross ; but remembering that reli- 
gion had been done away with according to 



Charles Dickens.] 



CHAMBEES IN THE TEMPLE. 



139 



law long since, he twirled his moustache 
instead. 

" May heaven grant," said the Commodore 
to himself, " that the poor fellow has really 
succeeded in making his escape." Then 
he added, aloud, " Sparkes has no doubt 
lost us." 

" Lost us," cried the concierge, furiously, 
" lost us ! yes, to find himself in London. 
I am ruined, destroyed. Citizen, citizen, 
I am a poor man, the father of a family, 
I have a head I know I shall lose it let 
us hasten home like the very devil." 

He seized the Commodore's arm tightly as 
he spoke, and quickened his pace ; and Sir 
Sidney had no alternative but to walk as fast 
as his companion. They ascended the Boule- 
vard, and then rapidly descended the Eue du 
Temple. 

But the tribulations of Citizen Lasne had 
not yet reached their culminating point. At 
the top of the Rue Meslay they found the tho- 
roughfare obstructed by a numerous crowd. 
Men of equivocal appearance hovered about, 
and formed suspicious groups. Some carts 
and barrows had been over-turned in the 
road-way, evidently with the intention of 
forming a barricade. Lasne cast round him 
a desperate look. A gaoler, he scented a con- 
spiracy from afar off. 

" And where may you be taking this honest 
man, citizen," asked a man, placing himself 
directly in Lasne's way. The man wore a 
coarse blue blouse, but the ill-buttoned collar 
showed something most suspiciously like a 
lace shirtfrill beneath. 

" Room there ! " cried Lasne, to whom des- 
pair lent courage. 

" You're in a hurry, Citizen Donkey. If I 
relieve you of the care of that ci-devant who 
is hanging on your arm, don't you think you 
could walk faster 1 " 

' Room there ! " repeated the gaoler in a 
hoarse voice. " Room in the name of the 
Directory, in the name of the Republic " 

" One and indivisible ! " interrupted the 
man in the blouse. " We know all about it. 
Hallo ! attention there ! " 

The groups closed up. Citizen Lasne felt 
himself hustled, buffetted, half-strangled. 
Then he was violently dragged down a bye- 
street and thrust into a doorway. When he 
recovered his scattered senses, he was alone 
the Commodore had disappeared. 

" Oh my children, my poor children," mur- 
mured Citizen Lasne, pursuing his solitary 
walk towards the Temple. " What will be- 
come of them 1 Oh accursed be Pitt and 
Coburg ! O thrice accursed be the wine of 
Porto ! " 

A fat man in a fright is 'not a pleasant 
sight to see. He always puts me in mind of 
a pig just poniarded by the butcher, and 
running about in extremis. The legs of 
Citizen Lasne quivei'ed under him. A cold 
perspiration broke out all over him. He felt 
like a lump of ice in his backbone. The ends 



of his hair pricked his forehead ; the singing 
in his ears loudened into a yell. The pores of 
his flesh opened and shut like oysters ; and 
the whole of his inside became incontinent 
one mass of molten lead. 

As he neared the Temple, the opposite sides 
of the street formed themselves into a horrible 
proscenium, and in the middle an infernal 
drama was being acted. He saw, painted all 
in red, somebody having the hair at the back 
of his- head shaved off by somebody else 
hideously like M. Samson, otherwise called 
Chariot, the public executioner ; then some- 
body being strapped upon a plank and thrust 
head downwards bet ween .two posts, in grooves 
of which ran a huge triangular axe. And 
the axe fell with a " thud," and somebody's 
head fell into a red basket full of sawdust, 
and the fiends that were yelling in his ear 
called out " Citizen Lasne, Citizen Lasne, agent 
of Pitt et Coburg." And the devil danced 
before the theatre, playing upon a pipe. 

The unhappy gaoler reached the Temple 
gate. He rang and was about to enter, when 
he heard a voice behind him. 

" Will you permit me also to enter, Monsieur 
Lasne 1 " 

The citizen could hardly believe his ears. 
Much harder was it for him to believe his 
eyes, when, turning round, he recognised Sir 
Sidney Smith. 

" May I be consumed," (he used a stronger 
term than this), cried Citizen Lasne, " if the 
word of a gentleman is not worth all the bolts 
and bars in the Temple." 

Notwithstanding his high eulogium upon a 
gentleman's word, Citizen Lasne did not for- 
get to see the bolts and bars properly secured 
as soon as he got inside. But a vigorous 
pressure from without prevented the closing 
of the great door, and a voice was heard 
crying, 

" Let me in ! let me in ! 'Tis I, Sparkes." 

" And where the wonder,' 1 (he used even a 
stronger term this time), " do you come from?" 
asked Citizen Lasne, when the Commodore's 
body-servant had been admitted. 

" Where ! why from looking after you to be 
sure. Do you call this fraternity and equality, 
locking a man out of his own prison. A 
pretty country, where, instead of prisoners 
running away from the gaolers, the gaolers 
run away from the prisoners." 

Citizen Lasne was too delighted at the safe 
recovery of his prisoners to resent Mr. 
Sparkes's reproaches. He insisted upon light- 
ing the Commodore to his apartments ; he 
overwhelmed him with compliments and 
thanks. He positively wanted to embrace 
him. The Commodore repulsed him gently. 

"You owe me nothing, M. Lasne," he said. 
" I had promised, I have kept my word. But 
dating from this moment I withdraw my 
parole." 

" Wait till to-morrow," exclaimed Lanne, in 
a supplicating voice. " Only wait till to- 
morrow, Commodore, I'm so sleepy." 



110 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



Mr. Sparkes pinched the arm of Sir Sidney 
Smith. " Give your word till to-mon o\\ 
morning," he whispered. 

" Well, so be it," pursued the Commodore. 
"Till to-morrow morning I will give my word 
to remain quiet. But after that 1 shall court 
the Muses as much as I please." 
? " I wish to-morrow morning were this day 
month,'' murmured Citizen Lasne, as hi 1 bid 
the prisoners good night, and left them to their 
repose. 

" To-morrow morning may bring forth 
great things, Sir Sidney," remarked Mr. 
Sparkes, suddenly rising from the body-ser- 
vant into the friend. "You have kept your 
word in neither escaping nor planning escape. 
1 have kept the word you gave for me in not 
escaping. We shall see, \ve shall see." 

The historian relates, with what accuracy 
I know not, that when Citizen Lasne had 
retired for good for the night, Mr. Sparkes 
took off no less than five waistcoats, and also 
relieved his arms and legs from much super- 
fluous padding ; that underneath his red hair 
lie had some closely -cropped silky black 
locks ; that the freckles on his face were 
removable by no stronger cosmetic than or- 
dinary soap and water ; and that in less than 
one quarter of an hour after the departure of 
the gaoler, the bluff English body-servant 
had unaccountably assumed the likeness of 
an accomplished French gentleman. 

The next morning, very early, a yellow post- 
chaise, drawn by four horses, drove up to the 
great door of the Temple. On the box sat 
two individuals, who at a glance could be 
recognised as gendarmes in plain clothes. 
Two more gendarmes, but in uniform, de- 
scended from the chaise, and assisted to 
alight no less a personage than Citizen Auger, 
adjutant-general of the army of Paris. 

Shortly afterwards, the Commodore was 
sent for. to the prison lodge, and there he was 
shown an order, signed by the Minister of the 
Interior, for the transfer of the persons of Sir 
Sidney Smith and his servant, John Sparkes, 
Anglais, to the military prison of the Abbaye. 

"And many a poor fellow have I seen 
transferred to the prison of the Abbaye, who 
has only left it to be shot in the Plaiue de 
Grenelle," murmured Lasne. " However, tout 
est en rdgle, all is correct. I will just enter 
the warrant in the books, if you will be kind 
enough to sign a receipt for the bodies of the 
prisoners, Citizen Auger." 

The citizen signed his name to the prison 
register, " Auger, Adjutant - General," fol- 
lowed by a tremendous paraphe or flourish. 
He declined the escort of six men which 
Lasne was kind enough to offer him, saying 
that the four gendarmes were sufficient, and 
that, besides, he would depend on the honour 
of Sir Sidney Smith not to compromise him. 
The Commodore begged Lasne to accept the 
remainder of his stock of port wine, shook 
hands with him, took an affecting leave of 
poor Captain Wright, and with Sparkes en- 



tered the post-chaise. Citizen Auger fol- 
lowed ; the two gendarmes in plain clothes 
mounted the box, and the carriage drove 
away. For aught Sir Sidney Smith knew, he 
was riding to his death. 

The next morning, the newspapers teemed 
with accounts of the audacious escape of 
Commodore Sir Sidney Smith from the prison 
of the Temple, by menus of a forged order of 
transfer. Citizen Adjutant-General Auger 
was no other than the proscribed emigre, the 
Marquis de Rochecotte, and the gendarmes 
were doubtless agents of the indefatigable 
Pitt-et-Coburg. As for Mr. John Sparkes, it 
was subsequently elicited that he was a cer- 
tain Count de Tergorouac, a nobleman of 
Britanny, who had resided for a long time in 
England, and to whom it had luckily oc- 
curred, when taken prisoner, to assume the 
disguise of an Englishman. 

The French police performed prodigies of 
strategy to arrest the fugitives, but all in 
vain. They reached Calais, crossed the 
Channel in a smuggling-vessel, and arrived 
safely in England. 

As for Citizen Lasne, he could come to no 
harm ; for, though the order was forged, the 
signature of the minister appended to it was 
undoubtedly genuine. It was never known 
| by what stratagem the signature had been 
obtained. The fat citizen finished the com- 
modore's port wine gaily, and drank his 
health, and that of " ce digne Spark," in then 
now unoccupied chambers in the Temple. 



C H 1 P S. 



STEALING A CALF'S SKIN. 

AUBKEY, a gossipping antiquary, who has 
preserved some curious facts and half-facts, 
relates of Shakespeare that, when a boy, he 
exercised his father's trade of a butcher, 
" and when he killed a calf he would do it in 
a high style, and make a speech." How the 
boy Shakespeare addressed a calf as he skinned 
it, it is not difficult to imagine perhaps in 
the King Cambyses vein (certainly a high 
style), perhaps in a vein like that in which 
Burns indulged when he turned up a mouse's 
nest with his plough (certainly a touching 
style). What value Shakespeare set upon a 
calf's skin we may gather from the contemp- 
tuous clothing assigned to Austria by Con- 
stance and Faiconbridge 

And hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs. 

But how little could he have foreseen what 
punishment was to be assigned in this England 
of his and ours to a poor woman 'for the 
crime of stealing a single calf's skin. Had 
he been possessed of second-sight, he would 
have felt as the famous John Howard felt, 
whose active sympathy with a poor woman 
over-punished for stealing one calf's skin we 
are enabled to publish for the first time, and 
in his own words. The case has escaped the 



Charles Dickeus.] 



CHIPS. 



141 



numerous biographers of that benevolent 
man. The time is the year seventeen hun- 
dred and eighty-eight, when George the 
Third was king, and Howard thus puts her 
story to the then secretary of state for the 
home department : 

To the Right Honourable Lord Sydney. 
Elizabeth Baker, of the parish of Uffington, in 
Berkshire, was committed September 1st, 1785, and 
on the 20th of March, 1786, was convicted of felony 
for stealing one calf's skin, and sentenced to be trans- 
ported for seven years. By a letter from Lord 
Sydney, dated 25th November, 1786, she was ordered 
to be removed on board the ship Dunkirk, at Ply- 
mouth ; but being then ill, and since becoming a 
cripple, she still continues in the county gaol at 
Exeter. This woman has been married near eighteen 
years, has had fifteen children ; six are now alive, one 
of whom is blind. Her husband, a sober man, works 
constantly at his trade in the prison, and has uniformly 
declared he will never leave her. 

Now, my lord, from the consideration of these 
circumstances, I earnestly implore her free pardon. 

This petition, I am persuaded, will not be denied 
me, as amidst the many objects of distress in prisons 
that I have long been conversant with, this, my lord, 
is my first application. 

(Signed) JOHN HOWARD. 

London, Dec. 12, 1787. 
This touching story of overpunished crime, 
is lying, in John Howard's own manly hand, 
before us. After many years' knowledge of 
gaols, in almost every country, this was his 
first application to the secretary of state in 
England. No wonder he was roused. Seven 
months elapse between committal and con- 
viction, and seven years' transportation is 
adjudged for what is now only punished 
with three months' imprisonment. The inci- 
dent of the husband working constantly at 
his trade in the prison with his wife, 
and his uniformly declaring that he will 
never leave her, will bring tears to many 
eyes. Was John Howard's application ac- 
ceded to ? Did Elizabeth Baker return to 
Uffington in Berkshire through John How- 
ard's manly appeal to government in her 
behalf? We hope so. Of the six surviving 
children some may yet be living, unconscious 
of the touching story in their parents' lives, 
or of the interest which Howard took in pro- 
curing the free pardon of their mother. 



A FEW MORE LEECHES.* 

IT appears from a report by M. Souberain 
to the French Academy of Medicine, that 
some one is trying to do with leeches as 
others are trying to do with edible fish cul- 
ture them or nurse them from the embryo. M. 
Borne, an inhabitant of St. Arnault, in the 
Department of Seine-et-Oise, after long study 
succeeded in establishing a regular leech-factory 
near his native place. It consists of a sort of 
bog, two or three acres in extent, surrounded 
by a trench filled with water. M. Borne found 
by observation that leeches are wont to deposit 

* See Half a Dozen Leeches, Volume x. p. 200. 



their eggs in small galleries, which they form 
in the soft earth on the borders of ponds ; and, 
accordingly on the principle sometimes 
adopted in society of leading a man by letting 
him do what he likes the experimentalist 
formed a number of zig-zag channels reaching 
to the edge of the water, and covered them 
over with the stiff mud which he had removed. 
He found, by observation that leeches are 
wont to warm themselves in the sun in winter 
and lie in the shade in summer ; and, accord- 
ingly, he constructed small earthen pro- 
montories, one facing the south and the 
other the north, where they might congre- 
gate as instinct dictated. His mode of feed- 
ing them is this : He beats a quantity of 
blood with switches to separate the fibrin, 
which he has found to injure them ; he places 
a number of leeches in a flannel bag ; he 
plunges the bag into the sanguine fluid, and 
there he leaves the leeches to have their fill. 
He seems to know what is good for their 
health and their age ; he takes them out 
when he judges they have made a judiciously 
hearty meal, washes them in tepid water, to 
make them dainty and clean ; and re- 
stores them to their former habitat. The 
actual receptacles for the leeches are large 
pits sunk in the ground, and filled with water. 
When eggs have been deposited in the little 
zig-zag channels, the leech-rearer removes 
them from time to time, and places them in a 
small pit by themselves, where they are care- 
fully tended during the hatching process. 
The trench or ditch of water, which sur- 
rounds the boggy island, is destined to pre- 
serve the leech from enemies, of which he 
appears to have many. In a little wooden 
hut lives a man, the bog-king, whose sole 
duty it is to combat the birds, and the water- 
rats, and the insects, which would other- 
wise be likely to make short work with the 
leeches. 

PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE. 

DR. Hood, of Bedlam Hospital, in his 
work on criminal lunacy, shows from in- 
disputable data, that the largest portion 
of the inmates of our prisons and asylums 
is contributed by agricultural counties. That 
there should be less crime and insanity in 
towns and manufacturing districts, we may 
at once perceive ; because there the poorer 
classes find within their reach factory schools, 
mechanics' institutes, and free libraries. Their 
mental faculties are sharpened and kept in a 
state of wholesome activity. 

It is far otherwise in rural districts. 
During the long dreary winter evenings 
the ploughman or the hedger is without re- 
source. Their only refuge is the village ale- 
house ; where, by the abuse of beverages 
which might, taken in moderation, be no 
detriment to him, the rustic beclouds his 
already heavy faculties. 

It is certain, therefore, that the best cor- 
rection for this state of things must be, a 



142 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



i er diffusion of rural lending-libraries 
for Mu-li as can mid. schools for those who 
cannot read, and wholesome recreation for all. 



THE EOVING ENGLISHMAN 

FROM CONSTANTINOPLE TO VARNA. 

IK ajiy lady or gentleman should think 
proper to set out with me for my scamper, I 
recommend them to be careful in stepping 
into the crazy little caique which stands moored 
beside the official residence of the Pasha of 
Tophana. My imaginary friend must take 
care to step right in the centre of this 
ricketty little boat, for, I may as well mention, 
that a stout lady of my acquaintance, who 
neglected to attend to this precaution after it 
had been suggested to her by a mutual friend, 
was only saved from drowning in the 
Bosphorus by the rotundity of her figure and 
the swelling circle of a remarkably respectable 
silk dress. 

Our servants and luggage must follow in 
another crazy little boat, as there is not room 
for them in ours. So, swift over the sulky 
December waters then past many a bat- 
tered hulk which shows sad signs enough of 
the wild hurricanes in the Black Sea ; past 
transport ships by the score, and smug oily 
commissariat officers, a little the worse for 
their previous night's entertainment, but 
keeping good hope of an appetite again by 
and by at the hospitable board of a contrac- 
tor past barges with a score of extremely 
dirty fellows, gentlemen in fezzes and baggy 
breeches, labouring at a multitude of oars 
slowly toiling along towards some ship bound 
for Sebastopol, there to give up their dismal 
and disheartened cargo of astounded peasants 
from the far away interior, and who are 
bound chiefly against their wills for the good 
of glory. 

Away past men of war with jovial officers 
chatting to admiring visitors over the ship's 
side, and making light of the dangers they 
bore so nobly but yesterday, and will court 
again to-morrow. One's very heart warms 
towards the blue-jackets, and one cannot help 
contrasting their frank, open, fearless looks 
with the anxious, sly, shuffling appearance of 
the commissariat fellow who pulled past us 
in stealthy talk with a wily trader, just now. 

And salutes are firing from the ship and 
battlement, and gentle ladies of high degree 
flit swiftly by us in their gilded boats to visit 
the sick at Scutari I vow and declare there 
goes Miss Nightingale, and yonder, in the 
great official caique, sits kind Lady Stratford 
and her daughters fair. They are braving 
wind and weather, as they have been doing 
ever so long on the same kind errand, to 
carry to the sad couch of the wounded in a 
distant land, the meet tribute of Woman's 
sympathy and admiration. Let us look our 
last at a scene which has surely grown on my 
mind like affection for a friend. There stands 
rambling Scutari dismal enough, though 



the neighbourhood around is beautiful 
yonder is Leander's Tower, with its pretty 
legend of captive beauty and conquering love. 
There is the ricketty old wooden bridge, my 
favourite walk so long. There go, fussing 
and puffing away, the busy little steamers for 
Therapia and the villages of the Bosphorus. 
And I see through my glass that the shore is 
as usual crowded with a rabble rout of 
Greeks, Jews, Armenians, sailors, soldiers, 
tinkers, tailors, sutlers, gaily dressed young 
ladies, and all the dirty crowd of a sea- port, w 

There, some tearful widow who has left her 
world behind her, on the hard-fought field or 
the stormy sea, is being assisted into a boat 
by some kind friend whose stout arm is now 
perhaps trembling almost as much as her own 
pale hand, which is laid upon it. She is 
going aboard yon steamer where the union 
jack is hoisted, and she will return to her 
mockery of a home now lonely ever more in 
fatherland. She will keep holy the memory 
of the brave man whose living love was hers; 
who died, may be, with her name the last 
word upon his lips. 

There are horses embarking and disem- 
barking, and fat bales of merchandise toil- 
ing along, near the smart boats? of sea 
captains and the flashing caiiques of Pashas and 
ministers. Here raves a Frenchman, there 
roars a German, or yells a, Greek ; and the 
shrill boatswain's whistle skims the deep. 

Of all the steamers with which it was ever 
my misfortune to become acquainted, I have not 
the smallest hesitation in asserting that the 
Austrian Lloyd boat, the Stamboul, plying 
between Varna and Constantinople, is 
the dirtiest and most inconvenient. I 
scrambled, and tumbled, and slipped 
through a variety of people and things. 
At last the decks were cleared of hotel 
servants, who had been forgotten and who 
had come to claim some preposterous little 
account which had been forgotten too, accord- 
ing to the custom of their tribe. The last 
Greek huckster had given his last wily coun- 
sel to his supercargo, and the last Jewjhad 
wrangled with the last boatman, who, Greek 
as he was, wearied soon in the contest and 
we were off. 

Oh no ! We should have been off any- 
where but in Turkey. As it was, we beat 
about for several hours in the cheerfulest 
and most obliging manner, to wait for some 
impossible individual ; who finally appeared 
to have changed his mind, and declined making 
the voyage with us. 

It is the dusk of evening when we at last 
flit rattling down the Bosphorus, and al- 
ready our keel leaves a bright track of phos- 
phorus light on the darkening sea, like the 
steps of a water fairy. 

Away, past the pretty villages on the shore, 
where I have wiled away so many an en- 
chanted summer day ; away, past tower and 
fort and sleepy hollow. By the low rambling 
wooden houses of the great pashas, with their 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE EOVING ENGLISHMAN. 



143 



barred and guarded harems, and by quiet 
cemeteries with their turbaned dead. By the 
tomb of the Lesbian admiral, Barbarossa, the 
conqueror of Algiers ; and past the palace oi 
Sardanapalus, Past diplomatic Therapia and 
cockney Bujukdere. So out into the Black 
Sea, as the moon rises' mournfully and mistily. 

The captain, a gaunt, melancholy Don 
Juan, I see, has been alarmed by the recent 
accidents : so have we ; and therefore it 
is with some inward satisfaction though we 
would scorn to express it that we see he is 
making all taut and trim in case of sudden 
storm in the night. Some light skirmishing 
clouds to the northward look rather like mis- 
chief; but suppose we go down stairs and 
have some supper 1 We shall find, to be sure, 
nothing but a powerful species of cheese. 
But even that is better than nothing ; 
and a short pipe, with some brandy and 
water afterwards, will quite warm our noses, 
which are cold, and I am sorry to say have 
been so for some time. 

And here I wish to improve the occasion, 
by hinting to the docile traveller that one of 
the most dangerous things he can allow to 
occur to himself in Turkey, is in any way to 
get chilled. I would also suggest that the 
nose, especially if long, is an excellent natural 
thermometer, always at hand when you like 
to touch it. Now, if the temperature of the 
nose be colder than that of the finger under 
ordinary circumstances if it tingles or mis- 
conducts itself in any way whatsoever the 
possessor of that nose, if a judicious man and 
willing to be guided by the counsels of expe- 
rience, will immediately warm it either by 
active exercise or by means of the most zealous 
anti-teetotal remedies. I personally am in- 
clined to advise the latter method, supposing 
the said proprietor of the said nose to have 
already tired himself on the slippery deck ot 
a Varna steamer, and being otherwise dis- 
posed for rest, as we were. 

We passed Burgash in the night, and were 
dashing away merrily enough over waters 
hardly disturbed by a ripple when I woke in 
the morning. I was first up of our party ; 
and so I ought to have been, for I had slept 
in far more agreeable quarters. They had 
retired uncomplainingly to the dismal little 
holes in the wall which the steward had 
obligingly pointed out to them. I, on the 
contrary, had taken that functionary aside, 
and held sweet converse with him ; till he 
was thereby induced to make me up a 
very little bed on one of the sofas in the 
great cabin, where I had more leg and elbow 
room, with better smells ; though I am 
bound to confess that the odour of the pow- 
erful cheese we had had for supper was per- 
ceptible during a part of the night say till I 
got used to it, and went to sleep. 

We had a pretty good breakfast, the 
steamer cook being a deacon of his craft ; 
ham, fish, beefsteaks, caviar, macaroni, and 
the sort of things it requires a traveller's 



appetite to put under his waistcoat at ten 
o'clock in the morning. The steamer library 
was also remarkably good and very 
well chosen. There were just the kind 
of books that give spice and zest to a 
journey in a half civilised country. Cooper, 
Scott, Washington Irving (the kindest, 
gentlest, most amusing of all the rovers that 
have ever written). There were also Leake's 
Travels in Greece, and the transactions of 
some German antiquarian society, for those 
fond of solid things when sea-sick. 

I do not know that anything occurred 
during our voyage worth notice, except that 
we met with immense flocks of migratory 
wild ducks bearing with quivering flight and 
outstretched bills away for the marshes of 
Bulgaria and the Principalities. We had a 
discussion with one of the officers about our 
fare, however. I note it, because the same 
thing has occurred to me before on these 
Lloyd's boats, and cries loudly for notice. We 
had neglected from want of time to take our 
passage at Constantinople, and consequently 
had to pay on board. The officer, an ill-con- 
ditioned fellow, if there ever was one, deter- 
mined to turn this circumstance to account, 
and mulcted us of precisely two shillings in 
every Turkish pound above the legal exchange 
at Varna or Constantinople. This wants sadly 
looking into ; and therefore it is well to be 
explicit, and add that the officer, whose 
misconduct was very gross, was not one 
of the stewards, who are apt enough 
to do such things, but one of the superior offi- 
cers appointed by the Company. It has been 
objected to these kind of details that they 
show something like a settled intention to 
complain. Well, so be it, a traveller who 
only complains of things really complaiuable 
cannot complain too much. The fact is, few 
people will take the trouble to complain, and 
therefore folks should be the more obliged to 
those who will. 

It is said that Varna has about it a dirti- 
ness peculiarly its own, but I incline rather 
to the opinion that it is merely Turkish dirti- 
ness, and that there is nothing whatever re- 
markable about this little military hothouse. 
We landed not without some d fficulty 
and danger. The note of military prepara- 
tion was pealing everywhere. Officials 
belonging to the commissariat, and unused 
to riding, were holding on to the pom- 
mels of their new saddles, and jogging 
about uncomfortably in many directions. 
Officers were conversing in groups and 
in astounding unifoi-ms, supposed to 
to be that of the body guard of his majesty 
the King of Candy, in whose service they had 
been, and from whom they had obtained 
all sorts of impossible ranks and decora- 
tions. I never saw so many colonels and 
generals at once in all my born days. 

It was pleasant to see many a rollicking 
Irishman or canny lad from beyond the 
Tweed, who had obtained an introduction 



144 



HOUSEHOLD WO11DS. 



to the cutty-stool in early life, ami had 
become the scandal of his elders it was 
refreshing, I say, to see them shining away 
here as pashas, and knights, and generals. 
They were quite in their element. 

There they were, eating and drinking 
together like gipsies or mosstroopers; drinking 
brandy and water, to keep off cholera, out of 
tht-ir embroidered caps; and cutting up tough 
fowls with their doughty sabres. There they 
were lending money to each other out of 
purses slender enough probably ; disputing 
with consuls about unpaid tailors' bills for 
the wonderful uniforms ; laughing together ; 
quarrelling together, making it up with tears 
and assurances "that Jack was the best 
fellow under the sun, only, hang him, he is 
always coming the general over me so." There 
they were, believin g in each other, and believing 
in themselves, talking about their uncles who 
lived in parks, which were always the 
finest in the part of the United Kingdom in 
which they were situated. There they were 
talking of their sisters, who were all trumps 
of girls, and who had often helped to pay 
(perhaps out of a governess's salary) for the 
wonderful uniforms when they were paid 
for, w hich was not often. There they were, talk- 
ing of their wives, who had mostly behaved 
badly. Puncturing their breasts and arms 
with tattooed letters of the names of splendid 
women they had left behind at Bucharest, or 
bold devices like Erin-go-bragh or Eule 
Britannia. Many a fine fellow, as he lies 
stiff and stark beneath the inclement skies 
of the Crimea, shall be found by some 
dauntless friend among the thickest of the 
fallen, wherever glory was to be won, or the 
wildest valour dared to spur, and he shall 
be known by those brave words upon his 
breast, and buried with a tear, which shall 
not be the last shed over him. Yes, there 
will be mourners enough for them among 
bright-eyed women and true men. Among 
fathers, of whom they were still the pride, and 
among mothers, who will not be comforted 
when they hear that their bold sons have 
fallen. The sons with the open brows and 
hazel eyes, with the hot tempers and hearts 
of gold. Sons who, in spite of reckless habits, 
made little hoards stolen often from the 
necessaries of life to send some token of their 
unaltered and enduring love to far-away 
homes and relatives, who had looked coldly 
enough on them ; who wrote letters, tell- 
ing of their brightened fortunes ; who wrote 
letters ifchich had made the old folks stare and 
hold up their heads again, and given rise to 
paragraphs in county papers ; who wrote 
letters full of high hopes and honest simple- 
hearted projects for the future ; and who 
never wrote again. 

Then there were sparkling little French 
officers making jokes about their chances of 
promotion ; and prosy, good-natured soldiers 
(no one on earth is so prosy as a French 
private) telling extraordinary stories, per- 



fectly unintelligible, of coui'se, to British 
grenadiers, and Scotch or Irish soldiers listen- 
ing to them with polite and tipsy gravity. 
There were doctors hurrying about to and from 
the hospital, and orderlies galloping hither and 
thither over the blackened ruins of the Greek 
tire, for Greek it really does seem to have been. 
There were 1 army chaplains, with cui-ious 
recipes for making curry, who stopped oblig- 
ing linguists in the streets, and wanted 
to know " the Greek for Cayenne pepper ?" 
There were French and Italian hucksters 
driving roaring trades ; and impromptu 
hotels cheating many travellers ; for the mili- 
tary messes have all been broken up, and 
even the ex-officers of the King of .Candy 
usually such sticklers for military etiquette, 
and capital authorities on culinary matters, as 
indeed on all others, are obliged to dine by 
twos and threes. 

We adjoui-ned with some of them to the 
house of the consular interpreter. He was 
a grandiloquent man, as all Greeks in office 
are. He immediately took us mentally and 
bodily into a sort of custody. He implored 
us, as we trusted in his honour and abilities, 
to free ourselves from the smallest thought 
or trouble about anything. We found him, 
of course, a fearful scamp, and his 
house seemed merely a windy, wooden, 
trap, for vermin, and bad smells the 
latter coming quite unexpectedly and in 
stifling gusts. The former absolutely turned 
us out of bed, descending on us in such 
countless hosts when we put out the lights, 
that there was no keeping the field against 
them. 

The food we got here was, of course, bad : 
the Greeks having no idea of eating and 
drinking, except on festival days. The bill 
was so preposterous that it called forth a 
rather energetic remonstrance from the 
Almoner of our party. 

" Sare," whined the Greek, in defence of 
his charges, and with all the misplaced pride 
of his race, " I am not a common man." 

"No, faith," replied the Purse-bearer, 
wincing, " you seem to me a most uncommon 
rogue." 

We were glad to get away, touzled, 
bitten, dirty, comfortless, and sleepless, 
to go plashing along through the lonely 
moonlight to the sea-shore -where a boat 
was waiting for us. 



This day is published, for greater convenience, and 
cheapness of binding, 

THE FIRST TEN VOLUMES 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 
WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO THE WHOLE. 

Price of the Set, thus bound in Five Double instead of Tea 
Single Volumes, 2 10s. Od. The General index cuu 
be had separately, price 3d. 



"Familiar in their Mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS" SHAKESPEARE 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL, 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



- 260.] 



SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 1855. 



[Pure* Zd. 



A YARN ABOUT YOUNG LIONS. 



WHEN I hear people talking about the 
decadence of England I generally go for a 
day or two to Portsmouth. It is so pleasant 
to see the fleet of a third-rate power big 
enough, and heavy metalled enough, to hold 
its own against all other navies whatsoever ; 
and to feel that though we are sunk into in- 
significance and contempt, it is an insignifi- 
cance of a very peculiar kind, consisting of a j 
hundred sail at Spithead, mounting upwards 
of two thousand guns. So sinks a great Lord 
into poverty when his creditors make him an 
allowance of a hundred thousand a year ; so 
sinks Lucullus into fasting and abstinence 
when his table is reduced to four courses and 
a dessert. 

Being very much depressed in spirits last 
week, after reading some German pamphlets 
which proved that England was ruined, and 
several Irish and American newspapers 
which positively asserted that the sun of 
tyrannical Albion had sunk for ever, I be- 
took myself to the Boscawen Arms on Ports- 
mouth Hard, which is next door to the Ben- 
bow, which is next door to the Cloudesley 
Shovel, which is next door to the Earl St. 
Vincent, so that it seems like a set of stout 
volumes of the Lives of the British Admirals 
ranged on a library shelf, and, by means of the i 
smell of tar and salt water, and the sight of a j 
crowded harbour, and the echo of a thousand 
hammers in the dockyard, I soon got into a 
more comfortable frame of mind, and began 
already to believe that we should have a very 
fair chance against the King of the Two 
Sicilies, or even Otho of Greece. I don't 
know how it is, but whenever I am in any 
part of Portsmouth I always feel as if I could 
lick any amount of foreigners with the 
greatest ease; I feel a strange twitching in 
the shoulders, and a desire to hitch up my 
lower integuments, as if the braces had broke; 
and I find myself occasionally trying to ex- 
pectorate in a free and manly manner, as if I 
never had a quid out of my right cheek. The 
manner in which my legs flourish about, evi- 
dently believing they are on a quarter-deck 
in a considerable gale of wind, has often 
caused me great uneasiness as to the opinion 
my friends may entertain of the cause of so 
unsteady a gait ; but as everybody in Ports- 



mouth seems to heel over and sway from 
side to side pretty much in the same manner, 
let me hope they either don't notice the 
obliquity of my motion, or attribute it to the 
right cause a marine sympathy which it 
is impossible to resist. By the same pecu- 
liar action of the sea-breezes, my language 
becomes almost unintelligible to my friends, 
and sometimes even to myself. Do you think 
I could say I was walking down High Street ? 
No ; I 'd see you in Davy Jones's locker first ! 
I always either steer or bear down High 
Street, and wouldn't " walk " for the world. 
I always weigh anchor when I leave a room, 
and bring up when I sit down to dinner ; 
and yet would you believe it 1 I hate the 
real thing in spite of this strange, and, I be- 
lieve, involuntary imitation. I am seasick on 
the voyage from Gosport to Hyde, and never 
was on board* a man-of-war in my life. In 
fact I have never been able very distinctly to 
understand how any body ever got on board 
a man-of-war, except in dock. It seems to 
me impossible to clamber up such an immense 
height with only the help of a rope, and the 
uncertain footing of the planking seams,- for 
stairs, I understand, are done away with in 
blue water, and chairs let down for none but 
ladies. However, in spite of these draw- 
backs, I am conscious I have the soul of a 
Nelson in the body of a land-lubber, and 
feel positively certain that I would sing Rule 
Britannia and Hearts of Oak at the point 
of death. I do it constantly now or when I 
don't sing the words I whistle the tunes : 
" We burn them, and sink them, or drive them 
on shore ; And if they won't fight us what 
can we do more 'I " Ah ! What, indeed ? 

The water in the hai'bour is generally 
smooth, and I hire a boat by the day, and sail 
up and down for ever. Past the glorious 
Victory past the Excellent past the huge 
hulks we go, and up into a city of hooded 
houses, with port-holes for windows, lying 
upon their shadows opposite Portchester 
Castle, and waiting only to be called on to 
doff their roofs, and stick in their masts, and 
hoist their sails and behold the quiet line of 
sleepy monsters transformed into leviathans 
afloat, with their bulwarks on the brine, ready 
for all weathers, and as gay with pennon and 
streamer as a new made bride ! Thirty-six 
hours would send these vessels at any time to 



260 



146 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted by 



Spithead in case of necessity " For you see, 
sir," said Hill Wiiulus to me, " there's four 
thousand of us 'long-shore men 'tween S'thamp- 
ton and Selsey Bill, all old sailors, and with the 
help of some landsmen, we could man a famous 
fleet for home defence, till our sea-going ships 
could get at 'em from the Downs and Ply- 
mouth." Now, Bill Windus is my boatman, 
a man of very quick hands in managing a boat, 
but very slow comprehension in mastering an 
idea. For instance, all his notion of an enemy 
whom it would be his duty to oppose is 
strictly limited to a Frenchman of the old 
school. It has not yet reached his mind that 
there may be others whom it behoves us to 
take or destroy; and whenever he talks even 
of " them Rooshaus" he has an invariable 
habit of chucking his thumb over his right 
shoulder, in the direction of Cherbourg. 
Whether he thinks the French have taken a 
new name, or are masquerading in the dress 
of Muscovites, as sometimes they painted 
their frigates like merchantmen to come down 
upon our homeward bound, unawares, I do 
not know ; but it is very clear that Bill has 
not yet turned his attention to the fact of our 
present alliance. He has a deeply-grounded 
belief that it would be a great stroke of policy 
to bring the Imperial squadrons as fair cap- 
tures to Spithead. " 'Cause why ? " he says, 
" if they're all so kind and friendly, we can 
do the work ourselves ; and if they're not, it's 
better to draw their teeth in time, and then 
they can do no harm." 

But Bill is an old Tory, and a bad politician, 
though he has an excellent boat and handles 
her like a pilot of the fleet. The last day of 
my visit he asked permission to take an old 
chum with us up the harbour, and as I was 
rather tired of Bill's eloquence I was very 
glad of a change. A very different person 
from Bill was Harry Sparks a man of action 
a man of intelligence a man of few words, 
and an immense deal of tobacco, with a large 
mouth filled from side to side with amazingly 
yellow teeth, and a round close cropped head, 
that looked very like a sixt.y-eight pounder, 
sprinkled slightly over with shreds of oakum. 
A pleasant man to look at, for he never 
flinched from your eye, but exposed his ruddy 
countenance, as if he had never in all his life 
done anything to be ashamed of. He was 
almost as great an enthusiast in maritime 
affairs as myself, and we were friends in a 
moment. His enthusiasm was shown by a 
series of well-directed squirts over the side 
of the boat, when I spoke of the magnifi- 
cence of our first-rates ; and many approving 
nods with his bullet-shaped head when I 
dilated on the grandeur of our position as the 
first of maritime nations, and holding the 
trident of Neptune, which I explained to him 
was the sceptre of the world. 

"I seen it," he said, "in Plymouth Dock, and 
a rare good house it is, particular the egg-flip." 

We spent a delightful time of it on the 
water, and, on parting, I gave Harry Sparks I 



an invitation to a "pipe and can" in the 
Boseawen Arms. At seven o'clock a knock 
came to the door, a figure made its appear- 
ance in clean shirt and a very loose blue 
jacket, very wide Russia-duck trousers 
the image of Mr, T. P. Cooke in the sailor's 
hornpipe and ducked its head three or four 
times, while it kept it steady by holding on 
vigorously by a long lock of hair in front. 
I recognised my friend Harry Sparks in his 
quarter-deck manners and Sunday clothes. 

" Here I am, yer honour, and 'most ashamed 
of my company, for I ben't used to it." 

This, I perceived, in spite of the grammatical 
construction, was a compliment to my superior 
rank, and, with the help of a large bottle 
of Hollands I prefer that spirit to all 
other drinks whatever a large kettle of 
water, and a couple of stout tumblers, I soon 
put him at his ease, and the flow of soul 
began. It was at my expense for a long time. 
I was educated at a classical academy in 
Suffolk, and gave him an account of a Cartha- 
ginian galley and a Roman trireme. Mr. 
Sparks would have liked no better fun than 
to have swept the seas, both of Pompey and 
the pirates, with a revenue cutter like the 
Dart, mounting four guns, also a picked crew 
and a good captain " For you see, sir, it's a 
man that makes all tke differ." I agreed 
with him on this point in a very decided man- 

" You're' right, 
the use of all 



ner, and we 

Harry," I said ; " for what's 



these noble ships at Spithead, if they are 
manned by muffs and commanded by an aged 
pump, fit only to be a churchwarden or a lord 
chancellor? Now, Harry, you're a man of 
experience, also of extensive observation, and 
you, perhaps, can tell us, have we the man 
we want 1 " " Dozens ! " said Mr. Sparks, 
and, with a sound like the Maelstrom en- 
gulfing a ship, he engurgitated his grog, till I 
considered it a great mercy that he did not 
choke himself with the spoon. " Dozens, sir ! " 
he repeated, dinting his tumbler on the table 
with a force that nearly broke it ; " and, first 
and foremost, there's old Nero which some 
calls him the Lyon in the Black Sea which 
will take Semastyfool, as sure as the Scar of 
Rooshia has got skin on his nose, afore the 
summer's begun. I knows him, I do, that 'ere 
Nero ; and he's done harder things afore 
'cause I knows 'em very well, though, may- 
hap, I can't tell 'em so clear as you would, 
sir. Sir, you're a eloquent gentleman, I must 
say, and I drink your health again, sir, with 
many thanks for the same." 

By this time our pipes had diffused a dim 
but very agreeable atmosphere through the 
apai'tment : the fire burned cheerily, the 
water was always hot, as the kettle rested on 
the hob ; and, in s a very pleasant frame of 
mind, I swayed back on the hind legs of my 
chair, and listened attentively to the anec- 
dote delivered with great unction by my 
now communicative friend. 

" When old Nero was young as in course, 



CharlesDickens.] 



A YARN ABOUT YOUNG LIONS. 



.147 



he was once he was first-mate aboard 
a ship on the India station, which was a 
prime station at the time, for we was at war 
with the Dutch, and spices and pepper is 
the best of prize-money, besides sugars and 
rum. The whole of that 'ere sea, I've heard 
say, is spotted over with islands, as if the 
ocean had the small-pox, and the islands 
was the pits and very fine islands they be 
to look at, for the trees are wonderful large, 
and the fruits delicious, and the flowers 
for them that like such things the brightest 
and beautifullest in the world. All this I've 
only hearn, for I never served beyond the 
Cape, but I've heard of them so often I seem 
to have been born and bred among them cedars 
and camellias and seringas. The Dutch ain't a 
stupid set of people when left to their own ways, 
and would never have quarreled with England 
if it had not been for that 'ere Napoleon Bona- 
parte which set 'em on like a Highland terrier 
on a mastiff dog. Howsomever as they showed 
their teeth it was necessary for us to knock 
'em down their throats, and according we 
did it all the time of the war. Now, one day,, 
says the captain to young Nero, ' You go,' 
he says, ' in the tender, with twelve men of 
your choice, and bring us word what the myn- 
heers is a doing on in the island two hundred 
knots to our eastward, and let me know, 
d'ye hear ; for it's reported that they've sent a 
large army from Java, and I daresay the big 
breeches,' says he, ' are arter some mischief.' 
So young Nero touched his hat, named his men, 
and thought himself the king of Great Britain, 
France, and Ireland, and all the world beside, 
when he seen his flag for the first time, and 
bore away for his destination with all the 
canvas he could spread. The captain was a 
very strict man, and had given orders to run 
no manner of risk, but to be very careful 
both of vessel and men. So they came late 
one evening within sight of the island ; and 
high over all the rich trees that crowned all 
the coast, they saw far inland the Dutch 
standard a flapping on the flag-post, and even 
in the still air heard the military band a- 
playing on the parade ground of the castle, as if 
it was a playing a welcome to young Nero and 
his crew. This was remarkable civil in the 
Dutch, and Nero beckoned Will Hatch and 
says, ' They don't seem to be much on the 
look out,' says he, ' or surely they would have 
seen our sails as we rounded the high point. 
Now you see, Will,' says he, ' if they're so off 
their guard, and seem so fond of their fine 
tunes, it would only be respectful in us to go 
a little nearer, and pay them the compliment 
of a call. So tell nine of the lads to take two or 
three pistols apiece and a cutlass run us into 
one of them deep creeks, where the brush- 
wood is higher than our mast tuck in a pre- 
cious good supper, and be ready to follow me 
ashore.' Away through the thick jungle went 
the ten men, all their ears open, and their 
forefingers on the trigger ; and after strug- 
gling through the shrubs, which smelt like 



ladies' scent-bottles, all of a sudden they 
come to a clear space, and found themselves 
within fifty yards of the castle walls. It was 
now nearly dark a heavy sort of a night, as if 
the air was too thick with heat and perfume 
to be seen through in them parts it's never 
so pitch black as here. At the other side 
of the fortress either another band was a play- 
ing fine Italian music, or it was the same 
they had heard before, only moved away, per- 
haps, on their road to the barracks. Well, this 
was all the information as could be picked 
up, and Nero didn't think the captain would 
be satisfied if he only took him back a list of 
the tunes they played ; so he says, ' Come 
nearer,' he says, ' and make no noise till we get 
under the guns, for just at this present they 
could point them to where we stand, and 
blow us into conwulsions.' On tiptoe they 
hurried for'ard, and when they got close to the 
wall, they found the drawbridge down and 
gate open, and just at this time the music 
ceased, and it seemed as if the whole family 
had gone to bed and left the big doors of the 
citadel open to air the town. ' Now's the 
time, boys,' says young Nero ; ' follow me at 
the run, shoot the first sentinel you find, 
shout with all your might, fire off your spare 
pistols, split into parties of twos and threes, 
but always keep in hearing, and see what 
our luck will be ! ' The boys could scarcely 
keep from laughing, it was such a capital 
contrived lark ; but still they managed not 
to laugh too loud, and did as they were 
told. There was firing and shouting in a few 
minutes all over the place. The sentinels 
thought five thousand English at least had 
fallen upon them as the advanced guard of a 
tremendous expedition, and made off those 
that wern't shot and told the general what 
they thought. He was a very famous com- 
mander, and would do nothing contrairy to 
the rules of war ; so he determined to lead his 
men into the open country and wait for rein- 
forcements to enable him to retake the place. 
And away they went by the inland gates, 
which Nero instantly ordered to be closed, 
and set all hands to work. They spiked the 
guns there were sixteen of 'em and 
threw them into the moat ; they burned the 
barracks ; broke all the arms they found ; 
filled their pockets and hankerchers with 
anything that took their fancy, and before 
daylight evacuated the castle in the greatest 
order, locking the gate behind them, and 
rasping through the main hinge of the draw- 
bridge by way of preventing pursuit. In as 
great silence as they had made their ap- 
proach, they pursued their way through the 
forest to the creek, got quietly on board and 
warped out into deep water. You may guess 
what fun they had when morning dawned, to 
see the castle still a smoking, and no flag 
hoisted on the wall. The Dutch general fol- 
lowed the most scientific plans he could hear 
of in books, and made his approaches in such a 
skilful way that it was three days afore 



148 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



he got into the deserted fortress, and wrote ! high rank, and Bill Hatch, which went 

me that 



homo an account of how he had repulsed 
nine thousand British soldiers with the loss of 



throe men ; 
made a baron 
rank. 



for which exploit lie was 
on, and adwanced a step in 



"Now, when young Nero got on board hisship 
the captain asked, why the Wickeds he hadn't 
gone down to that there island, as he had 
ordered 1 ' I've been, sir,' said Nero, very 
sharp, ' and got all the information we re- 
quire.' Whereupon he told him all, just as 
I've told it to you, sir. But the captain was 
a gentleman that didn't approve of things out 
of the common, and he says, very coldly, 
' You have unnecessarily exposed the men's 
lives, and His Majesty's vessel, and you'll con- 
sider yourself under arrest. I will write an 
account of your behaviour to the admiral, and 
you will probably be dismissed the service.' So 
he wrote a full history of all that young Nero 
had done, tied it all up in the reddest of tape 
as he had, and was very fain to send him home 
at once as a dangerous character. But as soon 
as a fast sailing frigate could come from the 
admiral which was a friend of Nelson's, and 
kne \vthe Nelson touch aswell as anyrnan alive 
the captain was forced to call young Nero on 
the quarter-deck and, in the presence of all 
the ship's company, present him with a 
acting order to serve as lieutenant, and 
to join the admiral's ship without delay. All 
the twelve of the crew wanted to go with 
him, but he could only get leave for Will 
Hatch, which has never left him since, and is, 
at this moment, casting a loving ej'e on 
the batteries of Semastyfool, so let that 
there Scar of Rooshia look out, for Nero will 
take it as sure as a gun." 

Mr. Sparks rewarded himself for this inter- 
esting account with a rather copious infusion 
of fresh matter into his tumbler. And now 
that the flood-gates of speech were opened he 
poured forth : " I s'pose, sir, as I never seen 
you before, I never told you the story of how 
young Nero got his ship ashore, and as near 
as possible lost his commission. Well, sir, 
here it is short and straight, for you haven't 
time to be a listening here all night. You've 
heard, perhaps, of love, sir, a many songs 
have been written about it, and if you 
never met with it yourself you may know it 
by the descriptions. It's something like the 
meesels or hooping-cough, sir ; everybody 
must have it once in their lives, and if by 
chance it comes a second time, it's 
always exceeding mild. Well, when young 
Nero was first took with the eruption, he was 
in command of a sloop, and stood away for 
where his lady lived, though it was out 
of the bounds of the station where he was 
placed. But it was just out of bounds, 
and he thought by clever handling he might 
run close in shore, and post with quick horses 
up to where hiri sweetheart was, and be 
back on his station again afore his absence 
was noticed. His sweetheart was a lady of 



wiih him in the chase, has told 
better liquors was nowhere in England than 
he had that night in the servants' hall. Oh ! 
there was singing and dancing, and what not 
in the drawing-room : and 1 '11 be sworn a 
good specimen of the same in the kitchen, 
too, for I 've heard Bill crack a tumbler by 
the noise he made in ' Cease rude Boreas ;' 
and as to dancing, he would wear a hole in 
an oak plank afore he 'd give over the shuffle. 
So, when the gentlefolks was a thinking of 
going to bed, a little tap comes to the door ; 
and Will Hatch, which was in the middle of 
the Jolly Young Waterman at that very 
moment, felt a shock as if something was a 
going to happen; and a footman goes to the 
door, and Will hears a voice which said, 
' Tell Will Hatch to tell the captain she 's 
bumped, bows on, 'and will only have five 
foot water at low tide.' The footman looked 
surprised, and asked who "she" was ; but Will 
Hatch had gone to the door, discovered the 
captain of the foretop, and heard it was all 
true. A message was sent into the drawing- 
room, and young Nero come out into the 
passage. What was to be done ? It was 
two o'clock in the morning the tide would 
fall for another hour. In five minutes he and 
Will Hatch and the messenger was on their 
way : in a hour and a half they was on 
board. All the ship's company knew the 
scrape the captain was in. How they worked 
with the boats ; how they lightened the ship ; 
how they landed some of the guns ; how they 
toiled with heart and hand till morning light 
And then the tide was still on the rise 
higher higher and the work of unloading 
still went on. There was a coast-guard station 
near, and a line of telegraphs that held pa- 
lavers over hills and walleys with a great 
arsenal to the east. If the authorities heard 
of the accident, there would be a tremenduous 
kick up salvage court-martial dismissal. 
And still the tide come on ! But suddenly 
went up a cursed straight rod of the tele- 
graph, that meant 'ship ' followed in a mo- 
ment by a little arm that pointed downwards, 
and that meant ' ashore." So in three 
minutes it was known all over the port as 
a ship was on shore. Come on ! come on ! 
blessed tide! For in an hour and a half the cap- 
tain of the harbour will be here ; and lighters 
will be here ; and reporters for Times news- 
papers will be here ! Well it rose, and it rose, 
and at last with all the ship's boats a tugging at 
her stern, she heaved once or twice majesti- 
cally, and slipt her bows off the land it was 
only a spit of sand and no harm done and 
glided away into deep water as if nothing 
had happened. Then the work began. The 
cargo had to be taken on board, the guns re- 
placed, the disorder rectified ; and just when 
the last stroke was done, and the vessel was 
fit for service, a long line of craft was seen 
coming round the point ! There was the 
harbour-master's yacht, and the admiral's 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE ROYAL BALLOON. 



barge, find three or four lighters, and two or 
three sloops from Lloyds ; and they all 
backed sail with astonishment as they seen the 
beautifulest sloop in the Eoyal Navy, alooking 
as spick and span as if that moment out of dock. 
And then she hoisted a signal Good morrow, 
gentlemen and bore quietly out of the narrow 
into the wide sea. Some of the disappointed 
salvors went ashore, and gave the telegraph 
men as good a licking as ever they had in 
their lives. Well, sir, Nero was tried for the 
accident, and received a slight reprimand ; 
with such a high compliment for his zeal and 
activity in getting his ship off again that he 
got his promotion in a month or two, and 
took command of a frigate of forty-four guns." 

Other stories were told me by Harry 
Sparks, all tending to the same result ; 
inanely, that there really was a MAN on whom 
the country can rely, with^courage and discre- 
tion equally mixed. The heat, the tobacco, the 
grog, the excitement, the glaring eyes of Mr. 
Sparks, his prodigious mouth, his yellow 
teeth, his bullety head, all conspired to put 
me into the highest state of satisfaction with 
this ruined, weakened, disgraced, and power- 
less England. 

" Sparks," I said, " I' was born in an inland 
county, sir ; but, far from the dash of the 
wild sea I heard the music of Britannia's 
thunder, and felt that if all the world were to 
combine against us, we should still our foot- 
steps insupportably advance, and Britons 
never never never shall be slaves ! 
hurrah ! " 

Mr. Sparks entered fully into my feelings, 
though perhaps he did not understand the 
grandeur of my language, which was also 
rather obscure to myself ; and the last thing 
I remember was his scratching his oakum 
locks for a minute, and then engulphing his 
head in the tumbler, after saying, "The same 
to you, sir, and many happy returns ! " 



THE ROYAL BALLOON. 



BLUEBEARD'S wife is a faithful type of our 
common human nature, male as well as 
female. The secret chamber is the room 
we all want to penetrate into. One unburnt 
book from the Alexandrian library would 
be more attractive to bibliomaniacs than 
a whole college -full of learned folios that 
stand ready-ranged on their dusty shelves. 
The last volume, spared by the Sibyl, only 
increased the longing after those that were 
irrevocably gone. Who would not give a 
trifle for a peep at some of the treatises which 
those who used curious arts in the early days 
of Christianity, brought together and burned 
before all men 1 Dr. Young, since grown old, 
found more pleasure in contemplating an 
obelisk-side of hieroglyphics, than in running 
through the London Gazette ; doubtless for 
the simple reason that he could read the one 
and could not read the other. Herschell's de- 
light was to hunt after stars, invisible or dimly 



seen, which seemed to dive deeper into distant 
space the harder he tried to get a peep at 
them. We can easily fancy the intense de- 
light of the great modern interpreter of 
Ninevite literature, when he believes he has 
inserted the wedge of a lucky guess into a 
cuneiform inscription, and has a chance of 
splitting it up into sentences and words. The 
higher the wall that surrounds a garden, the 
sweeter, longing mouths and noses suspect, 
are the fruit and flowers inclosed within. 
The thick morningamist that veils a landscape 
makes us the more eager to discover its 
beauties. The clouds, the glaciers, and the 
treacherous snow, which ought to render the 
mountain-top inaccessible, only serve to invite 
the adventurous spirit to plant his foot where 
prudence and practicability forbid. What we 
cannot have, we resolve to have ; what we 
cannot know, we insist upon knowing. 

From this craving after forbidden lore I 
pretend to be no more exempt than my 
neighbours. A wayside monument has had 
the same effect upon me, haunting my dreams 
and fancies by night, and intruding on my 
waking thoughts by day. It has intrigued 
me, to borrow a French expression, beyond 
all bearing. 

The churchyard of the village of Wimille, 
about four miles north of Boulogne-sur-Mer, 
skirts the imperial road to Calais. Just 
! at the middle of the boundary-wall a stone 
tablet rises, inscribed with small capitals, 
and surmounted at the top with something 
which is very like a petrified cauliflower. 
It is meant to represent a balloon on fire. 
The inscription (in French) runs to the 
following effect : " In this cemetery are in- 
terred Francois Pilatre de Rosier and Pierre 
Ange Remain, who, desiring to pass over to 
England in an air-balloon, in which they had 
combined the agency of fire and of inflam- 
mable air, by an accident whose veritable 
cause will always remain unknown, the fire 
having caught the upper part of the balloon, 
they fell from the height of more than five 
thousand feet between Wimereux and the sea." 
The inscription is repeated in a Latin dupli- 
cate, for the benefit of travelling strangers 
who do not understand French. The said 
travellers are also apostrophised : " Passers- 
by, mourn their lot, and pray God for the re- 
pose of their souls ! " Annual masses for 
their soul's repose, at the date corresponding 
to their rapid descent, were founded in the 
parish church of Wimille ; whether or not the 
'ninety-three revolution swept away the 
masses I cannot say. The Cure would give 
an answer to those who wish to know. Their 
lot was mournful ; but even stronger than 
our pity is the feeling which ui'ges us to find 
out how the deuce it happened. I resolved 
to try what could be done to that effect, and 
at last made out a theory which may, or may 
not, be the true one. 

The churchyard memorial was not the only 
one that was raised to mark the horrible 



150 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



catastrophe. In the camp of Wimereux, just 
behind the Cate du Petit Ca])or:tl, which is 
next door to the Estamiuet du Ballon, a small 
obelisk of marble from the neighbouring 
quarries of Ferques, built without any, or 
with the least possible mortar, and riot more 
than eight or nine feet high, rises on the spot 
w here the aeronauts were dashed to the ground. 
When I first knew it, it stood in solitude in 
the midst of a grassy, down-like waste, half 
undermined by moles, and almost pushed off 
its pedestal by the cattl* who used it as a 
rubbing-post. The parties that seemed to 
favour it with the longest notice, were the 
mushrooms who peeped above-ground from 
time to time, some singly, some in little 
family groups of three or four, but all appa- 
rently considering, under their broad-brimmed 
hats, whether it would not be an act of charity 
to the memory of the deceased, to surround 
their halt-ruined monument with a railing. 
That also bears its record, in French, supply- 
ing a few additional particulars : " Here fell 
from the height of more than five thousand 
feet, at thirty-five minutes past seven in 
the moruiiig,the unfortunate aeronauts Pilatre 
de Hosier and Rornaiu the elder, who 
started from Boulogne at five minutes after 
seven, in the morning of the fifteenth of 
June, seventeen hundred and eighty-five. 
The first was found dead upon the spot ; the 
second gave a few signs of life during one or 
two minutes." 

The best means, I thought, of solving the 
problem of their fall, was to find up any 
persons who had witnessed it. I was more 
fortunate than might have been expected, 
with an event occurring sixty years ago. In 
a hamlet to the north of Wimereux, I found 
an old woman more than a hundred years old, 
who had seen the balloon ascend from Boulogne. 
She was dosing and dreaming over a fire of 
dry furze, staring at the sparks with her 
filmy eyes. I wonder whether she could see 
with those eyes, even after she turned them 
on me as I entered her hovel. 

" What do you want with me ? " she said, 
in a voice that belonged to the other world. 
" You don't know me, and I don't know 
you. I'm of no use to anybody, now." 

" But 1 know you," my companion said. 
And then he began to talk about their ac- 
quaintance, and then about the obelisk, and 
then about Pilatre de Rosier. 

" I saw him and his friend go up," she said, 
suddenly waking, as if inspired. "I was closeto 
them. He was a handsome man, and looked so 
smiling. As the balloon rose, he saluted 
and bowed to all the people, and waved his 
flags continually in this way, so, until he had 
mounted quite high in the sky." And then 
she suited the action to the word, waving her 
arms in imitation of poor De Rosier, "My 
arms then were not like this ; " she continued, 
pulling the skin which hung loosely about 
them. "Iliad handsome arms once. Yes ; 
he waved his arms so." And then she fell 



into her dreamy state, the precursor of 
the long sleep of death, from which nothing 
could rouse her. All the further information 
we could extract was, that he waved his arms, 
comme a, and that hers were ones handsome 
arms. 

It struck me that the excellent Museum at 
Boulogne might contain some relics of this 
tragical tumble. I found them there, and 
hetter than them. Monsieur Duburquoy, 
senior, an intelligent old man, the father of 
the present well-informed curator of the 
museum, was at Wimereux when the 
aeronauts fell, and helped to lift them from 
the ground. He was thirteen years of age 
at the time. He told me that De Rosier, 
quite dead, had one of his legs broken, and 
that the bone pierced through the tight fit- 
ting trouser ; and that Remain heaved three 
or four deep sighs, and then expired. He 
picked up a piece of bread, partially eaten, 
that fell with them. A bottle of wine, that 
had been uncorked, and had had a glass or 
two drunk from it, accompanied them in 
their fall, and most extraordinarily was not 
broken. 

The museum has the portrait of De 
Rosier in powdered wig and frilled shirt, 
besides a coloured medallion in wax. He is 
styled "the first aeronaut of the universe ;" 
to which title there would be nothing to ob- 
ject, if we were but perfectly cognisant of the 
atmospherical conditions of every other sun, 
planet, and satellite in the universe. There 
are besides, his barometer, thermometer, 
speaking-trumpet, and the wand to which his 
little waving flag was attached. There is the 
painted cloth which surrounded the gallery 
of the Montgolfie"re, or flying fire-place, which 
helped him to ascend ; there is a little piece 
of the taffetas or oiled-silk, covered with gold- 
beater's skin, which contained his float of hy- 
drogen gas ; and that is all the material 
evidence to be found. 

Our readers may remember that Pilatre 
de Rosier was ambitious to be the first to 
cross the English channel in a balloon.* He 
had already the honour of being the first mail 
who ascended in the earth's atmosphere, in a 
captive balloon as a first experiment, and 
afterwards in one at liberty to rise and wander 
whither it would, in which bold excursion he 
was accompanied by the Marquis d'Aiiandes. 
The lirst living creatures that made a 
balloon ascent, were a sheep, a cock, and a 
duck, conjointly travellers through the region 
of clouds. Since then, equestrian ascents have 
been made by terrified horses, mounted by 
fool-hardy men. In all these latter cases, it 
may be believed, that an ass made one of the 
party. 

In crossing the channel, De Rosier was 
forestalled by his countryman (Blauchard) 
and our compatriot (Jeff erics), who started 
from Dover and landed in the forest of 



cc "Over the Water," vol. vii. p. 483. 



Charles Dickene.] 



THE EOYAL BALLOON. 



151 



Gulncs on the seventh of January, seventeen 
hundred and eighty-five. Nevertheless, he 
had drawn upon government funds ; and he 
still adhered to his purpose of passing in 
a balloon from France to England, as his 
more fortunate rival had done from England 
to France. The latter feat has been several 
times repeated, the former has never yet 
been accomplished. De Eosier had given the 
Comptroller-General of Finances to under- 
stand that, if he would pay the expense of the 
expedition, he (Pildtre) would execute it. His 
request w;is granted ; he received forty-two 
thousand francs (sixteen hundred and eighty 
pounds sterling) as a first instalment, which 
was afterwards said to be increased till it 
amounted to the enormous sum of a hundred 
and fifty thousand francs. Eomain, who then 
enjoyed a great repute for manufacturing 
balloons, made an agreement with Pilatre, by 
which he bound himself to construct one of 
thirty feet diameter, or thereabouts, for the 
sum of three hundred louis-d'ors. Pilatre, 
whose business was to find the work-room, 
obtained from the governor of the Tuileries, 
the Salle des Gardes, and another apartment. 
The work, begun at the end of August seven- 
teen hundred and eighty-four, was com- 
pleted six weeks afterwards. Six hundred 
ells of white taffeta were employed in fabri- 
cating this ill-starred machine. 

Eomain had strictly kept to himself the 
secret of rendering taffeta impermeable to 
gas. He was careful beyond measure to con- 
ceal his mode of preparation. He worked in 
solitude, like an alchemist, and was only 
known to have one single companion of his 
studies, who aided him gratuitously in the 
construction of his balloon. The whole secret 
consisted in covering the taffeta with a coat 
of linseed oil made capable of drying by sugar 
of lead, and in pressing in till it only felt 
greasy in the hand. Every strip was then 
covered with gold-beater's skin, that was 
made to adhere by ordinary size, in which 
was incorporated a mixture of honey and 
linseed oil. These ingredients gave supple- 
ness to the size, and prevented the united 
superficies from cracking. A second and 
third layer of gold-beater's skin were added ; 
and the balloon, when finished, thirty-three 
and a half French feet in diameter, and orna- 
mented with tinsel in different parts, weighed 
three hundred and twenty pounds, including 
the cylindrical apparatus that helped to fill 
it. So impermeable was it that it remained 
distended with atmospheric air for two 
months, without showing a single wrinkle. 
If De llosier had then ascended from Paris, 
it would have carried him almost whitherso- 
ever he would. At the end of two months, 
the balloon, carefully packed, was transported 
to Boulogne, which Pilatre had chosen as his 
starting-point. Of course, the packing and 
transport for so long a distance by land-car- 
riage, rendered it still more difficult to pre- 
serve uninjured so perishable an article as a 



I balloon, with the little previous experience of 
! managing it that had been acquired. A 
montgolfidre also travelled with it, twenty 
feet high, whose cupola was formed of chamois 
leather. It was tested before its departure 
for the coast, and its success corresponded to 
the care that had been bestowed upon it. 

The montgolfidre, or fire-balloon, was, 
either accidentally or purposely, directly or 
indirectly, the immediate cause of Pilatre's 
fearful end. He had announced some new 
combination of the means of ascent, which he 
shrouded as far as he could in mystery. It 
seems to have been his idea, that the gas- 
balloon would be sufficient to carry him, while 
the fire-balloon would give him great com- 
mand of equilibrium, by increasing or dimi- 
nishing the fire in it, so as almost to render 
him independent of ballast. His confidence 
in the long-sustaining power of his machine 
was one means of procuring him pecuniary aid 
from the government. Whatever might be 
the aerostatic advantages gained, the danger 
was increased enormously. Either a gas- 
balloon or a fire-balloon, alone, was infinitely 
safer than the two united. To crown the 
whole rash scheme, the hydrogen gas must 
necessarily float above the montgolnere. As 
his friend, Professor Charles, remonstrated 
with him, "you are putting a chafing-dish 
under a barrel of gunpowder." 

Pilatre arrived at Boulogne on the twentieth 
of December, seventeen hundred and eighty- 
four, followed by the anxious wishes of the 
subscribers to his scientific Lyceum, and also 
of numerous ladies of the court, who had 
requested him to bring back innumerable 
small articles from England to serve as New 
Year's Day presents. Two days after his 
arrival he was informed of the preparations 
which Blanchard was making in England for 
a voyage which should compete with his own. 
He became alarmed. He went to Dover; 
saw Blanchard ; and, for a moment, enter- 
tained the hope (on account of the dilapidated 
condition of the balloon, from which the gas 
oozed in many places) that the rival ascent 
could not take place. His anxious fears soon 
resumed their power ; he returned to Bou- 
logne ; left there Eomain and his brother, 
who had accompanied him, and went to Paris 
in a feverish state of mental torture. 

Meanwhile, Blanchard and Jefferies as- 
cended from Dover, and reached the Forest of 
Gulnes safe and sound. Pilatre's pride re- 
ceived a mortal wound at failing to be the 
first to cross the sea. He entreated to be 
excused attempting the voyage. Some say 
that the Controller of Finances consented, 
merely claiming the surplus of what had not 
been disbursed about the balloon. But the 
wretched Pilatre, sure of success, had already 
spent it in enriching the experimental de- 
partment of his Lyceum. Others state that 
when he explained his donbts and apprehen- 
sions to M. de Calonue, the minister, he met 
with a cold and even rough reception. 



158 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



\\'e have not spent a hundred and fifty 
thousand francs," ho said, "merely to help 
YOU to make an inland trip. You must turn 
the balloon to some useful account, and cross 
the channel with it." 

However, in the impossibility of fulfilling 
the first conditions, and under the necessity of 
at least attempting the second, ho returned to 
Boulogne, prepared for, and evidently expect- 
ing, the worst. 

It may appear strange that a minister of 
the crown should be so anxious about the 
accomplishment of a mere scientific whim, 
as the balloon pa^a^e from France to England 
would seem to be, and should advance so 
large a sum of money to further it. But 
there was more than a scientific result in the 
background, and De Rosier was probably 
well aware of it. It was the common report 
of that day, that the grand object of Pilatre's 
attempt was to effect the escape of Louis the 
Sixteenth and his family to Great Britain, by 
an aerial route, since terrestrial ways, it was 
instinctively felt, were already closed against 
their departure. It was already foreseen by 
acute observers of the signs of the times, that 
the royal family of France was already 
doomed. The King's want of energy, Egalite's 
profligacy, Necker's vanity, the obstinate 
pride of the aristocracy, and the wrongs and 
sufferings of the people, all tended to one in- 
evitable catastrophe. The King, even then, 
had not a will of his own ; his house was not 
his castle, nor his actions free. He was drift- 
ing down the stream with that increased 
rapidity which denotes inimistakeably that a 
cataract is near. No person of ordinary 
penetration would be surprised to find him not 
long afterwards a prisoner in the Tuileries, 
walking in the gardens with six grenadiers of 
the milice bourgeoise about him, with the 
garden gates shut in consequence of his pre- 
sence, to be opened to the public as soon as 
he entered the palace. He might order a 
little railed-off garden for his son, the Dau- 
phin, to amuse himself iu ; but the poor boy 
could not be permitted to work with his little 
hoe and rake without a guard of two grena- 
diers. Louis's most attached friends, as well 
as his most implacable enemies, foresaw all 
this, and what followed it. A balloon was 
one of the schemes to rescue him ; and Pilatre 
de Rosier was the man pitched upon to 
manage it. 

It was a desperate chance, the moist san- 
guine will admit. Even had they been 
launched propitiously with a favourable 
wind, a sudden change of that tickle element 
might have swept them hopelessly towards the 
arctic horrors of the North Sea, or to the 
interminable waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 
We shudder to imagine such a dreadful fate 
as possibly awaiting a delicately-nurtured 
king with his wife and children ; we reflect, 
however, that such a speedy termination to 
their sulF-ring*, arriving at latest in the 
course of a few days, would have been mercy 



in comparison to what they were afterwards 
really made to endure. 

Pil.ltre, then, seriously prepared for his 
departure. He sent off numerous pilot bal- 
loons, which were constantly driven back to 
the continent by adverse west and north-west 
winds. All this caused considerable delay, 
during which the balloon, exposed to the 
wear and tear of the elements, was consider- 
ably damaged ; it was even nibbled by rats. 
Henceforward, the machine on which such 
care and expense had been bestowed, became 
leaky and worthless, in consequence of ill- 
treatment and want of shelter. 

A better prospect opened at last ; and as 
the wind was favourable, blowing from the 
south-east, the departure was fixed for the 
fifteenth of June. As the weather was ex- 
ceedingly hot, preparations were commenced 
at daybreak, and all was ready by seven 
o'clock. A salute of artillery announced the 
launch into air. The ascent was majestic. 
The balloon rose perpendicularly to its 
greatest elevation; it then sailed in a nor- 
therly direction, over the top of the cliff of La 
Creche, when a current from the upper regions 
of the atmosphere, which had been foreseen by 
sailors best acquainted with Channel naviga- 
tion, wafted it gently towards the continent. 
Twenty-three minutes had elapsed since the 
ropes were loosed which held the machine 
captive ; the acclamations of the spectators 
had not ceased ; every eye was strained to 
gaze after the aerial voyagers, when, just as 
the wind drove them back to France, cries of 
alarm from the united crowd announced the 
fearful calamity which it witnessed. A bright 
light burst from the upper balloon ; a volume 
of smoke succeeded it ; and then commenced 
the rapid fall which filled all present with 
consternation. The scene was frightful ; the 
crowd shuddered with apprehension of what 
was immediately to follow, and swung back- 
wards and forwards like tempest- tossed 
waves. After the first shock of terror, a great 
number of people rushed to Wimereux, in the 
vain hope of rendering some assistance. They 
arrived only to find the adventurers past all 
human aid. 

I cannot help entertaining a suspicion 
that Pilatre de Rosier perished by suicide ; 
that he wilfully set fire to the balloon when 
he found there was an end of all his hopes. 
It is true that the almost fulminating arrange- 
ment of his apparatus might have caused 
the explosion to result from accident or indis- 
cretion ; and therefore no more than a suspi- 
cion ought to be suggested. But persons 
who watched the progress of the balloon 
with telescopes, assert that the valve of the 
hydrogen balloon was not secured. Pilatre, 
too, was a doubly ruined man ; ruined in 
money, and ruined in prestige. Blanchard 
had robbed him of his crowning ambition ; 
and now an envious puff of wind forbade his 
ever being allowed to attempt the transporta- 
tion of the royal family. Pilatre's coolness, 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE ROVING ENGLISHMAN. 



153 



presence of mind, and faculty of avoiding 
impending danger, were notorious ; so also 
were his vanity, pride, violence, and reckless- 
ness of life. A man who, in prosperity, could 
rill his mouth with hydrogen gas, and set fire to 
it there, and who could expose himself repeat- 
edly to be struck dead in hazardous electrical 
experiments, was not likely to hesitate when 



with all the philosophy at your command to 
be jovial under difficulties, suddenly you are 
seized with agonising pains just below the 
chest. In vain you try to make light of it. 
You are obliged to lean for support against 
the first thing or person at hand. Your ex- 
tremities have become chilled and useless 
you sit and double yourself up, hoping 
something from warmth and quiet at last 



he had to choose between disgrace and 

despair. His friend Charles had threatened i you lie down and writhe in the intensity of 

to blow his brains out, if the timid king per- j your pain. If you are driven to take brandy 



sisted in forbidding him to make an ascent 
that threatened danger, and which, wisely on 
his part, was his first and last ascent, or 
rather two consecutive first and last ascents 
on one day. We know, too, the immense 
interest which the court (the queen particu- 
larly) felt in Pilatre's success. These, and 
numerous other minor scraps of evidence, 
all lead to the inference that De Hosier's 
death was even more tragical than has been 
currently believed. If there be the slightest 
truth in the notion, . Romain is even more 
greatly to be pitied. He had refused the 
Marquis of Maisonfort's offer of two hundred 
louis-d'ors to resign his place. 

The spot where they fell is a very, very 
little way from the sea. The conflagration 
must have taken place almost immediately 
after the direction of their course was altered. 
I have several times asked, of people compe- 
tent to judge, whether, if they had fallen 
into the sea, instead of upon the land, they 
could by any possibility have escaped with 
life. The answer has been that perhaps they 
might. Conceive the idea of talking face to 
face with a man who had fallen from the height 
of more than five thousand feet ! 



THE KOVING ENGLISHMAN. 

FROM VARNA TO BALAKLAVA. 

THE anchor is weighed, and we are standing 
out to sea. The prospect around is not very 
cheering. The sky is of a dull heavy lead- 
colour as if charged with snow and tempests. 
To the extreme northward a dense mass of 
cumbrous, fantastically-shaped clouds seem to 
menace the waters with their wrath, and they 
have that black, sullen look I have often 
observed on the eve of a storm. The short 
waves, which are a peculiar characteristic of 
the Euxine, chop fitfully against each other, 
and their angry spray shoots upwards with 
a hissing sound. A thick mist rises along 
the coast and soon hides it from our view, 
then it spreads along the sea, and seems 
to settle in a thin, penetrating rain which 
comes in sudden fretful gusts, and then 
subsides ; to return again presently and unex- 
pectedly. It is bitterly cold. That clammy, 
deadly, cold of these climates, against 
which no clothes seem able to protect you. 
It is a cold which is not felt in the chest, 



(hot brandy and water is best) you feel 
peculiar sickness for some minutes, and then 
the pain slowly subsides ; but it leaves you 
stupid and depressed for hours afterwards ; 
and trembling, and nervous. The only way 
to give yourself a chance of escape is by 
winding some twenty yards of silken or 
wollen sash tightly round your loins and 
abdomen. It is the custom of the country ; 
the dress of the peasant and the prince, and 
you will soon understand that it has not been 
adopted without a reason. This was the 
commencement of that sickness which car- 
ried off numbers of our troops. The doctors 
called it cholera ; it \vas only cold. 

Nothing can be much more dreary and 
dispiriting than our voyage. There is a good 
deal of brandy-drinking and a brisk con- 
sumption of cigarettes and pipes ; but it does 
not mend our spirits much. We know all 
about the wreck of the Prince and the gallant 
merchant fleet which carried the winter- 
clothing for the army. Sad accounts have 
reached us of the fate of dear friends, and of 
relatives exposed to melancholy privations. 
A few among us may be anxious for their 
own fate when they join the army which 
has hitherto so vainly beleaguered Sebas- 
topol. See yonder pallid lieutenant. He 
was sent invalided to the hospital at Scu- 
tari. He recovered; care and good-living 
soon brought him round. Then he begged 
the doctors so hard to let him rejoin 
his regiment that they consented. But 



already 
of the 



he feels the 
malady which 



numbing 
laid him 



hand 
low 



before, and he will return soon, or die. 
There is a fixed and steady light in his eye; 
such as I can fancy may have been wit- 
nessed, though unread, by those who stood 
round Arthur Conolly when he died at far 
Bokhara. It is the light which has been seen 
often in the eyes of true brave men who were 
prepared to fulfil their duty simply and un- 
flinchingly, whether death stood in the way, 
or not. Indeed this officer seems lo have laid 
this truth to heart : that he who does not know 
how to die, if need be, should hardly be a 
soldier. He tells me this as we talk together 
over the ship's side, merely expressing what 
is part of his quiet, noble creed. 

We leave the Isle of Serpents, and the 
mouths of the Danube on the larboard. Now 



nor hands, nor feet, as our cold in Europe and then we descry a war-steamer paddlino- 
is ; but it is sure " 
stomach. You were 



in. -i^imjjjc tmu tiien we utsui y it wcti-steamer pauuiing 
ire to strike first at the up through the haze, with despatches, and 
i-e well just now, and, trying \ there is an exchange of signals between us ; 



lf>4 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



but the ships look shadowy and unsubstantial 
as phantoms, so that, a moment after they 
have been signalled, the straining eye searches 
vainly for them. Still we are glad to make out 
a fi-ii-ndly sail, or to see the smoke of a funnel. 
It relieves the weariness of the voyage, and 
makes the slippery deck, and cumbered hold 
more cheerful. 

We do not make much way, for we are 
heavily laden. We are carrying all sorts of 
fresh provisions and stores : yet we know 
that our burthen will disappear, amongso many, 
like a drop of water in the sand; and this 
is another reason why we are glad to see 
other vessels steei'ing toward the same point. 
At last, however, as we draw near land, the 
heavy snow-storm which has been brooding 
so long in the air, descends with an effect that 
is quite blinding. Then we go below, and 
try to amuse ourselves as well as we can. It 
is too dark to read with comfort, except at 
night, when the candles are lighted; and then 
we are most of us drowsy. So we play at 
cards and tell each other stories, quite fami- 
liarly ; although, wonderful to say, we may 
not have been acquainted before. It is curious 
to mark how tolerant we are of each other's 
little weaknesses ; and how closely we seem 
to be drawn together by the mere tie of 
national brotherhood. I have never wit- 
nessed anything like it before amongst 
Englishmen. 

In about forty hours from the time we left 
Varna we anchored at Balaklava. We could 
hear now and then the stray boom of can- 
non to windward ; and we could see the flag 
of England flying from the heights. We had 
scarcely cast anchor, when we were boarded 
by a tumultuous and motley crowd of officers 
off duty, looking pale and haggard enough. 
Doctors with anxious faces and hurried looks, 
brawny boatmen, and lean slovenly servants 
on foraging expeditions. Yon could hardly 
recognise them as the trim smai't grooms who 
had left Constantinople a short time ago. 
I must own also to some surprise at being 
accosted by touters, who perceiving, I sup- 
pose, by my speculative and abstracted looks, 
that! was not a military gentleman, obligingly 
offered to procure me quarters for a con-si-de- 
ra-tion. Come, thought I, after all, things 
cannot be quite so bad as we've heaixl say, if 
a young fellow of no account, like this, is able 
to get me food and shelter. Whereupon I 
fell into a train of reflections. 

Our greatest curse in the Crimea has been 
our ignorance. We were obliged to do 
everything in the dark to feel our way 
at every step. Thus we knew that the 
casual visit of a Frenchman about sixty 
years ago had first given political import- 
ance to the Crimea. We knew that the 
name of that Frenchman had been of course 
forgotten. We should like to hear the name 
of the Frenchman who suggested the build- 
ing of old Westminster Bridge or any other 
work on which our national pride reposes. I 



warrant it would be as hard to come at as 
that of the founder of Sebastopol. 

Then we knew that there was a bay which 
Strabo called the Ctenus, and a Tartar village 
by the name of Aktiar (ancient). We knewthat 
the appellation of Sebastopol was altogether 
an invention of the respectable but lively 
Catherine. Indeed, there was no end to the 
things we knew which were not of the smallest 
importance for anybody to know. Of ancient 
Cherson, we knew all that Dubois de Mont- 
p6reuxand Kohl had to say upon the subject, 
and that I am sure was confusing enough 
especially to read when slightly sea-sick. 
With regard to Balaklava specially, we knew 
all about the colony of Symbolum (the 
Cembalo of the Genoese) ; also about Ulysses 
and the Lsestrigonians. We were well up in 
various matters relating to Diana : her fond- 
ness for roasted strangers, the elegance of her 
temple, and the mysterious functions of her 
friend Theos ; while we need, of course, 
scarcely allude to Orestes and Pylades, who 
have been, so to say, old familiar friends of 
ours these five-and-twenty years. We could 
have recognised their lodging even by the 
description of a Zouave, who offered himself 
as a sort of amateur laquais de place. The 
impei'ious Iphigenia was also a lady with 
whom we were well acquainted by repute, 
and we were fully instructed about subter- 
ranean Inkermann and the Arians. Our 
education, indeed, like that of most of our 
clear-headed practical countrymen, had been 
altogether in this direction so of course we 
could not be expected to know anything about 
the wild wind-gusts which come on unex- 
pectedly here, and one of which absolutely 
blew our ship's boat bottom upwards, and 
drifted it away like a straw before we were 
aware of it so completely were we taken by 
surprise in consequence of an event which 
an officer's Greek servant told me subse- 
quently was quite an every-day occurrence at 
this season of the year, and a very well- 
known peculiarity of the climate. The cap- 
tains of the little Greek boats which ply 
about these seas in peace time, are always 
very well prepared on these occasions. Some 
of these men would have been invaluable as 
pilots ; but it seems the naval authorities are 
now afraid to employ them another fine 
illustration of our far-sighted and able 
policy towards the Greeks at the outbreak 
of the war. A little prudent concession 
would have placed them completely on our 
side. Now, however, I have no doubt that 
the naval authorities have good reason for 
their suspicions, and that many a Greek 
pilot would risk his life to punish us. Indeed, 
the melancholy story of the Tiger is proof 
enough of it. 

These thoughts positively haunt me as our 
boat (recaught and brought back after a good 
deal of delay) is being hustled forward by a 
pair of short fat oars towards the shore, and 
moderately bumped and jockeyed by the 



Charles Dickens.] 



THE .ROVING ENGLISHMAN. 



155 



more lively craft going in the same direction 
We laud at last amid slush, and snow, and 
slippery loose stones. The sky over our 
heads is inky black, and the clouds on the 
verge of the horizon look white. The ships 
in the pretty harbour (for pretty it is, in 
spite even of the scowl of winter), are in- 
distinct and shadowy from the thick fall of 
snow which lies upon every spar, amid the 
folds of their drooping pennants, on their 
paddle-boxes, and their light sticks aloft, 
on the rim of the captain's hat, as he paces 
the deck thoughtfully; wondering, perhaps, if 
the little worm which eats holes in the bot- 
toms of vessels when at anchor in these seas, 
is already silently feasting upon his ; or per- 
haps he is too well-educated to know anything 
about so unclassical a subject as this vora- 
cious little worm a terrible reality, never- 
theless. 

The doctors have spurred hurriedly away, 
so have the officers and the foraging servants, 
though their horses look gaunt and shaggy. 
In colour they are quite rusty, as if their coat 
were made of iron wire which had been for 
some time exposed to the rain. 

There is an old, old look about Balaklava ; 
a tumble down air which especially belongs 
to things and places that were once in the 
possession of those strange trading Italians of 
the middle ages. The town, a miserable 
place, lies at the foot of a range of hills 
on the east, and the sea, shut in by the 
mountains, makes the harbour look almost 
like a lake. The ruins of an old Genoese 
fortress frown grimly down upon it, and 
seem as shadowy and indistinct as the ships 
in its covering of snow. On the hills towards 
Baidar lie the tents of the Highlanders and 
Turks, together with a contingent of marines 
and some sailors. 

We are soon made aware of the near neigh- 
bourhood of Turks and sailors. 

Sailor (with great contempt, and at the top 
of his voice). " Blow them Turks ! I say, 
you bono Johnny, drat you ! ahoy ! ahoy ! 
you beggar." 

Turkish soldier (with much courtesy). 
" Bono Johnny ! oo, oo, oo, Bono Johnny ! " 
he waves his pipe blandly as he speaks, and 
assumes an air of puzzled jocularity, as if he 
was aware that there was some pleasantry 
going forward, without being clearly able to 
divine the nature of it. 

Sailor (now roaring with tremendous ener- 
gy). " Ahoy ! I say, give us a light ! Do you 
think nobody wants to smoke but yourself, 
you son of a sea-cook ?" 

Turk (swaying his head from side to side 
smilingly). " Bono Johnny ! Bono Johnny, 
oo, oo, oo." 

Sailor (speechless with indignation for a 
moment, as if this were really too much for 
him). " None of that, or I'm jiggered if I don't 
spoil your old mug for you. Give us a light. 
Why don't you come, you beggar ? I speak 
plain enough, and loud enough too, don't I ? " 



Turk (perceiving at last that there is to be 
another row with an infidel, though unable 
to understand why) drops his arms by his 
side, and looks, blushing and wondering, at 
the excited seaman. He twiddles his thumbs, 
he shuffles with his feet, he looks the picture 
of listless incapacity, like most of his country- 
men when in difficulties. 

The sailor meantime marches up to him 
and attempts to light his pipe. The Turk 
is a petty officer. He has formerly been 
the aga of a village, and he looks upon this 
proceeding as a direct insult, an action at 
variance with all his previous ideas of cour- 
tesy and good breeding. It is indeed an 
action similar to that which eating out of the 
plate of a stranger or drinking out of hia 
glass, unasked, would be in England. 

The Turk withdraws his pipe therefore, 
and his looks display how deeply he thinks 
his dignity is wounded. 

And the sailor takes him by the ear 
by the left ear, for I paid particular attention 
to the circumstance. He then stands upon one 
leg, and begins to execute a species of horn- 
pipe, tugging at that ear to time. It is a sin- 
gular, though not to me a very agreeable 
sight, to see the Turk tucking in his two- 
penny, and following the stout tar in these 
agile movements. Were he to do otherwise 
he must make up his mind, I fear, to part 
with his left ear altogether, for the sailor 
holds it with a grasp like a vice, and 
gives satisfactory evidence how far human 
flesh and how far human patience can 
stretch. 

" Hulloh, Jack ! What are you about with 
that poor fellow ? " says a small man smo- 
thered in clothes, who now approaches the 
pair. " Here, I'll give you a light and some 
baccy too." 

_ "Lord love you, guv'ner, them beggars 
aint fit for nothing else but monkey's allow- 
ance, they 'aint. Why, I'm blessed, guv'ner, 
if I wasn't a hallooin' to un for an hour, 
to give us a light, and he wouldn't ! How- 
somedever, they'll laru by and by, how this 
here is British ground ; won't they, sir ? " 

"Ay, ay, Jack." 

The truth was, the sailor was as racy 
a tar as ever chawed a quid ; and the Turk 
was perhaps as good a Mussulman as any 
going. But the best folks do not always 
agree, when they try to force their ideas on. 
each other. 

" What ! No mustard with your beef, sir ?" 
cried Matthews, stranger, at the coffeehouse. 
" Confound you, sir, you shall have mustard ! " 
How often have I seen that stranger ap- 
plying his principles to other things than 
steaks and spices ! 

On the whole, Balaklava appeared to be 
" the thing," and it was generally expected of 
us to express the utmost satisfaction at being 
there. Every one we met spoke of it in the 
lioliday language used by country cousins 
who came up to London from the wilds of 



15G 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conduct, 1 *! by 



1/iiKvlnshiiv Injure the invention of railroads. 
In i'ni-t, theiv seemed :ni impression that all 
tilings might be had here, even to the luxury 
of something eatable. My companion, there- 
fore, looked at me with considerable surprise, 
when J told him ruefully, that I had some 
preserved meats and fruits carefully packed in 
tin cases somewhere among my luggage (a 
dreary pile), I did not clearly know where ; for 
my faculties were frozen. "Preserved things 
in tin cases," said ray-friend, brightening up 
when he clearly understood me, " Oh, we 
can send those on to the camp. Here we have 
got all sorts of things salt beef and pork 
and pork and beef and, and well, not much 
more, but we are fairly in clover compared 
with the rest of the fellows." 

It was quaint to hear my companion, a 
regular London swell whom I remem- 
bered very well with nerves, and a damaged 
digestion thus lauding the accommoda- 
tions of Balaklava. It is but a village 
a mere collection of huts. In oi'dinary 
times it must be inexpressibly dreary ; but 
now the General Post Office ten minutes 
before closing time is hardly fuller of bust- 
ling, and hustling, and scuffling. Busty, im- 
patient individuals on short leave from other 
places, flounder about hurriedly, yet with an 
odd air of business and authority in all they 
do, which bespeaks the stranger on a hostile 
soil. They are armed also needlessly just 
here but who' among them knows when he 
may be ' summoned to the front, and find 
himself hand to hand with the enemy 1 It is 
well, therefore, to ride prepared even when 
foraging within your own lines. They are 
strangely altered, some of those bucks and 
bloods I see stride slouchingly up the broken 
street, now in a mud hole, now out of it, now 
sending the splashes from a half-melted snow 
puddle flying right and left on each side of 
them. They hardly look the same men who 
used to step mincingly out of their cabs and 
strut daintily into their clubs. Barring a few 
soiled and torn remnants of what was once a 
uniform, and still looks something like one 
when you get quite close to it, they might be 
so many California!! Diggers. They are be- 
grimed, gaunt, grim, famished, and luckless 
enough. They have the boldest contrivances 
to keep themselves dry and warm. Wherever 
an article of fur or wool can be worn by any 
one who is fortunate enough to possess it, 
there it is. Hound their waists are twisted 
immense gay-coloured scarfs, bought at fabu- 
lous prices. On their feet, are coverings 
which might be the seven- leagued boots of 
the giant Blunderbore. 

The occupation of almost everybody seems 
to be connected with eating. Little knots of 
fellows adjourn for impromptu feasts to all 
sorts of places, and dispense with knives, 
and forks, and plates with the utmost readi- 
ness. They have at length acquired that 
branch of Turkish politeness, which consists 
ia eating with the fingers ; others more 



fortunate have invitations to cosy little things 
on board some of the ships in the bay. Lucky 
dogs ! 

Meantime, I wander about leisurely, no- 
body minding me by-and-by, at dinner 
time, there will be some conversation, but not 
now. So I get among the hovels near the 
shore, and enter one, knocking my head dis- 
tinctly, as I do so. It looks not unlike an 
all-sorts shop at Wapping. Rolling about in 
oozy, frozen barrels, is an immense quantity 
of salt pork that prime delicacy recom- 
mended for its being easier cooked, and keep- 
ing better than beef : also recommended, per- 
haps, because swine's flesh is precisely the 
sort of meat which is forbidden to be eaten 
by the inhabitants of those latitudes. Trim 
kegs of rum, piled up one over the other, look 
cheerily at us from corners. Something is 
carefully packed in sacking, and steadily lying 
in soak as it were between the wet ground and 
the snow. This, I am told, is part of the fresh 
supply of warm clothes sent from Constanti- 
nople or Bucharest since the loss of the Prince. 
There are stacks of guns, too, and piles of 
ammunition, also some cannon. Everything 
seems in a wretched disorderly plight. Out 
of doors there is a crowd fully equal to that 
of Whitechapel on a Saturday night, barring 
the ladies. There is quite as much shouting 
and hallooing, however, for provisions are 
being lauded from the transports and then 
hurried away to the camp. It is not very far 
off, but the road there is " too bad, sir, en- 
toirely !" as an Irishman has just told me. 
Neither horse nor man can make sure of 
reaching it when he goes hence, and a pound 
weight difference to their burthen may render 
the journey impossible to either. 

Wandering about, I find that Balaklava 
boasts a low wall, singularly useless and 
ill-built ; down a break-toe street also is a 
well, quite impregnable, I should say, from 
the difficult and ancle-wrenching nature of its 
natural fortifications. Farther on, are some 
melancholy hypochondriacal trees, four of 
them, I think, as straight and dull as so many 
gigantic vegetable policemen. Balaklava 
possesses also a good-for-nothing old Genoese 
fortress, a church of no account, and a brisk 
colony of a small Crimean insect which seems 
to have a wonderful partiality for fresh 
stranger considered in an alimentary point of 
view. This energetic little race provides me 
with considerable occupation: it is with satis- 
faction also that I notice several other persons 
furnished with employment similar to mine, 
and performing their allotted task with 
much diligence and apparent pleasurable 
feeling. 

Yes ; Balaklava is a wretched little place 
enough ; yet I dare say there are some who 
would rather not ride away from it through 
the last tailing snow to-night ; and I feel that 
many a bold fellow must turn longing glances 
at the lights which glow out of the snug 
cabin windows, and the blazes seen through 



Charles Dickens.] 



EALPH THE NATURALIST. 



157 



the open doorway as his friends bid him good 
bye, and his lauk horse plods wearily camp- 

j 
wards. 

ONE BY ONE. 

ONE by one the sands are flowing, 

One by one tbe moments fall ; 
Some are coming, some are going, 

Do not strive to grasp them all. 

One by one thy duties wait thee, 
Let thy whole strength go to each, 

Let no future dreams elate thec, 

Learn thou first what these can teach. 

One by one (bright gifts from Heaven) 

Joys are sent thee here below ; 
Take them readily when given, 

Ready too to let them go. 

One by one thy griefs shall meet thee, 

Do not fear an armed band ; 
One will fade as others greet thee, 

Shadows passing through the land. 

Do not look at life's long sorrow ; 

See how small each moment's pain ; 
God will help thee for to-inorrow, 

Every day begin again. 

Every hour that fleets so slowly 

Has its task to do or bear ; 
Luminous the crown, and holy, 

If thou set each gem with care. 

Do not linger with regretting, 

Or for passing hours despond ; 
Nor, the daily toil forgetting, 

Look too eagerly beyond. 

Hours are golden links, God's token, 
Reaching Heaven ; but one by one 

Take them, lest the chain be broken 
Ere the pilgrimage be done. 



EALPH THE NATUEALIST. 



A STRANGE dreamy fellow was Ealph 
Jessett, always wandering about the woods 
and fields by himself, and finding out more 
secrets of nature, in his queer shambling 
way, than he would have ever learnt from 
science had he gone through all the triposes 
of Cambridge. He knew where almost every 
nest in the garden was, from the tomtit's, in 
the wall of the old arbour, to the shy linnet's, 
hidden low among the shrubbery trees ; and 
the sitting birds never flew away from Ealph 
Jessett's looking at them. They seemed to 
know that he was a friend, and would not 
harm them. He would tell marvellous stories 
of the intelligence of all creation, from snails 
to dogs ; and as for spiders, and earwigs, and 
centipedes, and all manner of creeping, crawl- 
ing, wriggling creatures, why to hear him, 
you would think that Newton and Shak- 
speare were mere humbugs compared to 
them. He had no antipathies eithei 1 . It 
was quite curious to see the unconcern with 
which he would handle slugs, toads, water- 



newts, every kind of entomological abomi- 
nation ; saying, with his sweet smile and 
embarrassed humility, "The more one knows, 
the more one loves all things in nature." 
And then he would give long accounts of the 
love-worthiness of these creatures, the very 
mention of which would have made many a 
young lady scream and shudder ; but after 
hearing Ralph's biographies, one felt quite 
respectfully towards efts, and cleggs, and stag- 
beetles, and hundred-legs of every race, and 
almost ashamed somehow of being a man, 
and not an insect. 

He had always been queer, this poor rela- 
tion of the rich Temples of Manor House. 
His mother used to fret about him a great 
deal before she died ; for she fancied he was 
not quite " canny," as the Scotch say, and 
that he would never make his way in the 
world, left as he was without fortune, and 
with such unprofitable tastes only. For he 
cared only for natural history, and only for 
that experimentally, not scientifically. When 
quite a little fellow and obliged to stop at 
home alone, and not take part in any sort of 
game or play, because he was so sickly he 
might be heard talking to the butterflies and 
birds flying low about him, holding long con- 
versations with them, and telling them that 
he loved them, oh ! far better than any- 
thing else in the world ; which he did, except- 
ing his dear mother. 

In the days of witchcraft and fairy-folk, 
Ealph would have been thought an elf-child 
to begin with, and a wizard as he went on. 
As it was, he was such a withered, quaint, 
odd-looking creature, with so much irregular 
learning, and so much simplicity of character, 
that it was a puzzle to many whether he 
were 'cute or simple, as the country people 
say. And Avhen he went to live at Manor 
House, on his mother's death, it was thought 
quite a charity in Mr. Temple to take him, 
(though he received payment for his education 
and maintenance), and a very great honour 
for Ealph to be admitted to his establish- 
ment. They were cousins though ; and in 
early life Ealph's father had been of infinite 
service to Mr. Temple. But Ealph thought 
it an honour with the rest, and said so- 
loudly ; for he had not a very exalted notion 
of his own dignity, and was far more inclined 
to gratitude than to self-assertion. His birds 
and insects taught him humility, he used 
to say. 

The Temples were very kind, in their way, 
to Ealph. Mrs. Temple took great interest 
in him, and supplied him with books, and 
encouraged his tastes, so far as she could. 
For she was a sweet, placid, fair-faced woman, 
one of those women who go upstairs very 
slowly, and who breathe very hard while 
they are doing so, an indolent gentlewoman, 
who was never seen to run since her teens, 
and who was never known to be cross since 
she cut her teeth, a woman whose most 
positive acts were those that should make 



lf>S 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



other people happy, and whose only incentive 
to exertion was that she would do a kindness 
to another. She pelted Ralph a good deal. 
Her husband a hard pompons man, who 
carried everything before him in the parish 
by dint of quickness in figures and a deep 
voice said she spoilt the boy. He did not 
approve of poor relations with quaint tastes 
and inquiring minds. He thought they ought 
to be practical, " fit for clerkships and 
counting-houses, sir ; not always living in 
snail-shells and dog-kennels." But now he 
was obliged to confess that patronage might 
be worse bestowed than on that " loose- 
jointed awkward fool of a fellow, who, by 
Jove, sir, would not kill the slugs off my 
peach-trees, nor shoot the blackbirds in the 
cherry-trees, nor take the crows'-nests, nor 
shoot the sparrows, who would not even 
chop up a worm when he was digging in the 
garden ! " But at last he got accustomed to 
Ralph and his odd ways ; and, partly per- 
haps because all his energies were absorbed in 
opposing an obnoxious churchwarden whom 
he used to call a viper and a traitor to the 
blessed constitution, he let him alone, and 
allowed his wife to dispense her sweet cha- 
rities at her will. So Ralph wandered about, 
looking after grubs and caterpillars, or sat by 
the fire reading about ant--, and emmets, and 
song-birds, and dormice, till he knew as much 
about them as one of themselves, and per- 
haps more. 

Little Miss Temple and Ralph Jessett 
were great friends. She was a little lady of 
about five or six years old when Ralph came 
to Manor House, he a boy of eighteen or 
nineteen ; and they soon became the firmest 
and fastest allies possible. The way in which 
the little thing used to cling to him, follow 
him about the garden, and perch on his knee 
to hear his stories about creeping things, 
was quite beautiful. All the servants said 
that Master Ralph was the only one in the 
world who could manage Miss Letty, " the 
plague of the whole house," they used to add 
savagely, and truly ; for that she was this 
domestic inconvenience there is no denying, 
I fear. What can a healthy well-organised 
child be but a plague, if all her youth and 
energy of life be placed under the harrow of 
conventionality ] Miss Letty was no excep- 
tion to the rule that force must have an 
object, and that energy must be expanded ; 
still less to that which makes healthy children 
of high spirits family torments, unless they 
are allowed to live somewhat according to 
the necessities of their being. However, she 
was very good to Ralph, and did not tease 
him much. And Ralph, in return for her 
patronage, instructed her in a great deal of 
insect lore, and taught her the names of 
birds, and the habits of fishes, and the won- 
derful virtues of plants, Letty sitting on 
his knee down in the old arbour, where 
the tomtit's nest was, wondering if she should 
ever be as clever as Ralph Jessett, and what 



a pity it was her doll could not hear him as 
well as she did. So Ralph and Letty were 
great cronies, and believed in each other 
implicitly. 

Time gradually unfolded one after another 
of his huge iron books of years ; till the little 
Letty had grown into a fine handsome girl 
of eighteen, with eyes as blue as the sky 
on a hot summer's day, and hair as golden as 
the sun's. She was a magnificent specimen 
of a Saxon girl, with perhaps more animation 
in that fresh, round face of hers than many 
of the Saxon race "pure blood," with a 
pair of large round shoulders as white as 
snow, and arms and hands that would have 
made the fortune of a modeller, if he could 
have copied them correctly. Her lips were 
as fresh and red, and her skin was as white 
as human flesh may be ; and altogether she 
was as superb a being as you would see 
anywhere in England, and was consequently 
a great pride to the parents, and the acknow- 
ledged beauty of the county. She herself 
quite conscious too, in a good-tempered 
way, that she was beautiful and admirable, 
vain as a high-bred hunter would have been 
vain, if conversant with his own peculiar 
points of beauty, not like a peacock, but in 
a free, half-laughing, gallant manner, quite 
content to admire herself, but not fretting 
after the admiration of all the world beside ; 
perhaps because she had it. And all the 
time she had been developing into this grand 
creature all the time she had been growing 
stronger and handsomer, and fuller of life and 
more powerful Ralph Jessett had shrunk 
and shrunk, till now, at a little more than 
thirty, he was bald and gray, and withered and 
wrinkled ; shyer and more awkward than ever,; 
a better naturalist certainly, but stranger, 
more shambling and less worldly than he 
was when, as a boy of eighteen, he first came 
to Manor House as Mr. Temple's poor rela- 
tion, more loved than ever by everybody. 
Even the squire sometimes condescended 
to exchange a few kindly words with him, 
and sweet Mrs. Temple, stouter and lazier 
than in olden times, smiling on him placidly, 
as she kept him holding skeins for her to 
wind off his hands, by the hour together ; 
Miss Letty only changing somewhat in her 
demonstrations, eschewing now that parti- 
cular form of friendship which she and her 
doll used to indulge in, ten years ago, down 
in the tomtit's arbour, but capital friends 
still with Ralph, although she did no longer 
sit on his knee, and try to poke out his eyes ; 
but counting him as entirely her property 
and creature as Dido, her spaniel, or Frisk, 
her pony, Ralph nothing loth to be so classed, 
as much for love of his co-subjects as for their 
queen. 

As Miss Letty grew out into this brilliant 
womanhood, Ralph's manners were observed 
to change. Always respectful, even to the 
little girl, he became reverential to the 
young lady ; and while his anxiety to please 



Charles Dickens.] 



EALPH THE NATUEALIST. 



159 



her increased tenfold, his embarrassment 
and shyness increased tenfold as well. She 
herself saw it at last, and scolded Ealph 
soundly, for she was a free-spoken, free- 
hearted girl, and hated mysteries and misun- 
derstandings. She told Ealph once, that if 
he was dissatisfied with her, and spoke to 
her in that ridiculous way why she wasn't 
an eastern princess ! he had better go ; for 
she hated people to be unhappy because of 
her, and what had she done to make him so 
cool and reserved ? A speech which made 
Ealph cry as if his heart was breaking ; partly 
from distress at having offended her, and 
partly from gratitude at her condescension in 
taking any notice of his manners at all. At 
which Miss Letty said, she thought he must 
be really half an idiot Ealph looking as 
delighted as if she had called him an angel 
for how could people have been brought up 
together without getting fond of each other, 
and had they not been good friends all 
their lives ? so why shouldn't she care for 
him like her own brother now ? Which was 
such a pleasant ending to their quarrel, that 
Ealph had no sleep all night in consequence. 
About this time Mr. Temple took it into 
his head that Ealph Jessett should " com- 
mence a career of usefulness." He had his 
choice of every profession under the sun, 
said the squire ; but choose one he must. 
So Ealph, after a great deal of hesitation, 
chose that of an analytical chemist, which, 
at least, was a branch of natural science, 
he said. People laughed at the notion 
of such an awkward fellow ever making 
delicate experiments. "Why he would be 
frightened at his own chemicals," they all 
said ; but Ealph blushed and fidgetted, and 
told them he should get over that, per- 
haps, if it were necessary ; at any rate 
he would try. Good Mrs. Temple aided 
him in the way he was going as usual ; and 
Miss Letty, too, said he was right to obey 
papa, and do as he told him ; but she cried 
when the time came for him to go, and 
pouted a great deal. Ealph went almost 
beside himself at the sight of her tears, and 
was nearly giving up the plan, and bearding 
Mr. Temple in his den the library in a 
fit of enthusiastic rebellion, had he not been 
afraid of Mrs. Temple, who fortunately was 
in the room at the moment. But it was 
dreadful. He used to wonder afterwards at 
his own firmness, and always felt like a mur- 
derer whenever he thought that he had once 
made Miss Letty cry. However, Letty dried 
her eyes, which began to smart, and old 
Ealph went away to a chemist's in Edin- 
burgh ; and in a short time Miss Letty grew 
accustomed to his absence, and gradually re- 
organised her life without him. For she was 
not a very reflective young lady ; nor one 
whose affections went much beyond the limit 
of her vision. A joyous, red-lipped, white- 
armed girl, life was all before her, and 
pleasure for the present, hope for thei 



future, but no regret; for the past, bound her 
in a silver chain, strung through with flowers. 
So, while Ealph studied the properties of 
gases, and dreamed of Miss Letty by turns, 
the foot-prints of the past were being slowly 
effaced from that young lady's heart by the 
rising waves of new associations. 

Miss Letty went a visiting. To the De- 
laforces, of Delaforce House, an old French 
emigrant family, which, by intermarriage 
with English heiresses, had gradually raised 
themselves to opulence and consideration. 
There was one son now in the family, a young 
man just of age, owning a dog-cart and a pair 
of moustachios. There was also a daughter of 
Letty's own age ; who, as often chances with 
sisters possessing handsome brothers, was 
the especial darling of all the young ladies in 
the place, and chief of all with Letty Temple, 
the heiress of Manor House. When Letty 
went, she was gay ; when Letty came back, 
she was dull. Her father and mother both 
saw the change, and asked the reason ; but 
Letty pouted or laughed, according to her 
humour, and refused to give any. " There 
was none," she said, "it was all papa's 
fancy ; " and then she ran away down into 
the shrubbery at the end of the garden, where 
she had half-a-dozen hiding-places 110 one 
but Ealph and herself knew of ; and there 
they were obliged to leave her, till she chose 
to emerge of her own accord. And as in a 
short time she forgot to be quite so dull 
as when she first came home, and as she 
looked well, and eat well, and slept well, and 
was only rather cross at times, her father and 
mother ceased to ask her any questions on 
the subject, or, indeed, to think of her changed 
manner at all. Mrs. Temple only said, some" 
times, "My love, I am sure you are bilious 
to-day." 

Miss Letty was in love. The reader 
knows that, though the squire did not. But 
young Mr. Delaforce, who had had a love 
in London, had declared to his sister Julia, 
that " Miss Temple was not at all his style of 
beauty, and that he did not admire her the 
least in the world." Which complicated 
matters not a little. 

In the mean time Ealph came home for a 
vacation from his gases and retorts, and soon 
Letty and he were on their old terms of con- 
fidence together. Letty told him all- that 
moved in her world, and he told Letty all 
that he thought and felt in his. But as yet 
the name of Montague Delaforce had not 
been mentioned between them. 

" Ealph," said Letty, suddenly. They were 
in the arbour together, at the bottom of the 
garden ; the arbour in the shrubbery, where 
the old tomtit's nest used to be, when Letty 
was a child. " Ealph, do you think me 
pretty ? " She did not look merely pretty 
when she asked that question, but superbly 
handsome. 

" Yes," said Ealph, nervously, " I do, Miss 
Letty : very pretty," with emphasis. 



160 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



" Would every one, Ralph ? " 

" I should think so, Miss Letty, every one 
who hr.d eyes, and knew what beauty was 
when they saw it." 

Letty appeared to reflect ; her thoughts 
were never very profound, but this time she 
did think. And then she said, suddenly, 
"Then, Ralph, why does not Mr. Delaforee 
like me better 1 " 

A question poor Ralph was quite unable to 
answer ; excepting by' a vague invective 
against Mr. Delaforee, for daring to have any 
thought about Miss Letty Temple but one of 
reverence and awful admiration. 

" I wish you would tell him all that," said 
Letty, when he had ended. 

"Why, Miss Letty?" 

" Because he does not like me," said Letty, 
bluntly ; " and I wish he did." 

Ralph was indignant at Miss Letty's hold- 
ing herself so cheap. He thought she ought 
to be indifferent to Mr. Delaforee, and every 
other Mr. in the world. Why, there was not 
one fit to tie her very shoe-strings, he said 
angrily quite savagely, for him and "why 
did she care for Mr. Delaforee or any one 
like him ? A set of senseless puppies that 
wanted cropping what was there to care 
about in them ? 

" But I do care," persisted Letty. " And I 
don't like Mr. Montague to slight me as he 
does ; it is not pleasant. So, dear old Ralph, 
you must make him think better of me ; for 
I am so fond of Julia, that it is quite dis- 
agreeable her brother hating me as he does," 
she added, almost crying. And I daresay 
she thought she did care as much for Julia 
as she did for Julia's brother. 

Of course Ralph could only do as he was 
bid, and further his young queen's wishes to 
the utmost. So now, whenever he saw the 
Delaforces ; which, owing to Miss Letty's ex- 
cessive attachment to Miss Julia, was frequent, 
lie lost no opportunity of extolling that young 
lady's perfections ; especially before Mr. 
Montague, though it almost choked him to 
do so, to gain the admiration of such a puppy 
as that for his sovereign mistress. In which 
process of exaltation Ralph grew sadder and 
paler daily, though he could not himself have 
told what was the matter with him. 

One particularly fine day in Spring, Mr. 
Montague's love in London married Captain 
Wilkie of the Blues. They had been engaged 
for the orthodox time, unknown to Mr. Mon- 
tague Delaforee ; who, being an heir to a good 
estate, the young lady a practised politician 
had kept in her train lest Captain Wilkie 
should desert. But he came to the point 
after a great deal of by-play, and so the 
young civilian was dismissed ; whereupon 
Mr. Montague the heir came down to Dela- 
foree House in a rage, and buried himself 
among the elms and the oaks in the park, 
like a Bond Street Tiruon as he was. To 
divert the heir from his misanthropy, or 
rather from his misogyny, and to retuue his 



mind to social harmonies again, and make 
him fling off his mud boots and shave, the 
IMaforees thought of Miss Letty Temple; 
to whom an invitation was sent on the plea 
of Miss Julia's ardent affection, and the 
necessity that young lady was under of 
teaching her a new pattern in crochet. A 
necessity Miss Letty fully accepted, though 
she handled a crochet-needle about as deftly 
as an Amazon would, in the days of Theseus 
and his Athenians. 

The scheme seemed about to fail. Mr. 
Montague, full of that London love with 
black eyes, found no solace in those large 
liquid blue eyes which looked so frankly 
into his. He was even profane enough 
to call them like boiled gooseberries, in his 
eagerness of admiration for Mrs. Captain 
Wilkie of the Blues. Her hair he called like 
flax like tow he meant and then raved 
frantically about the " beauty of ebon tresses ; 
which spoilt an educated eye," he added 
disdainfully, " for anything so fade as Miss 
Temple." 

Of course Letty knew nothing of all these 
disparaging comparisons. She only thought 
that Mr. Delaforee was very cold to her, and 
that she wished he was kinder ; but she did 
not know that he positively despised her 
handsome face and noble carriage, and that 
he preferred a little dark Celtic creature, as 
Mrs. Wilkie was, to her large Saxon love- 
liness, which a savage would have thought 
came direct from heaven. I don't know what 
this large-eyed, white-shouldered girl would 
have done, if she had known the truth. Most 
probably offended pride would have driven 
every other feeling out of her head. So per- 
haps it was a pity she did not know. But a 
change came about. In this wise. 

One evening Miss Letty was asked to sing. 
She sang one of those delicious songs one sees 
advertised with pathetic titles, that make 
young ladies violently sentimental. It was 
something about loving for ever ; and " Forget 
t hee, no ! " Miss Letty sang it with emphasis, 
looking as if she had really a lover whom she 
was called on to abide by, or to renounce. This 
song touched the sore place in Mi-. Delaforee 's 
heart. It has been credibly affirmed that 
tears came into his eyes ; for he was thinking 
of that London love of his, who once had 
given him her bouquet, and once had pressed 
his hand he was sure of it when he pressed 
hers, in the quadrille chaine des dames : and 
he felt grateful to Miss Letty for bringing his 
woe so soothingly before him. When she 
h.-td ended, he went and sat down on the sofa 
by her, and began to talk sentiment ; which 
being sad trash, we shall not attempt to 
transcribe. It broke the ice between them, 
however ; and made poor Letty very happy 
silly child ! for she thought his romantic 
commonplaces the highest point to which the 
poetry of human feeling could go, and she 
began to cherish an intellectual esteem, as 
well as a personal admiration, for Mr. Mon- 



Charles Dicker.!.] 



RALPH THE NATURALIST. 



161 



tague Delaforce, which would have astonished 
none more than that young gentleman him- 
self, had he known it. He had been twice 
plucked at Cambridge for his little-go. 

In the midst of this incipient love-making, 
Ralph Jessett came shambling over with a 
sad face, to tell Miss Letty that her 
father was ill, and she must go home. The 
carriage would come for her in a few 
minutes ; and Miss Letty had better pack up 
her things before it did come, for they wanted 
her back directly. 

As Letty was an affectionate daughter, she 
began to cry violently on receiving this news. 
Ralph was overwhelmed at the sight of her 
grief. He had never known that she was so 
fond of her father ; and he called himself all 
sorts of names, like dolt and idiot, because he 
had told her too suddenly, and had shocked 
and scared her. Letty only sobbed the 
more, as she turned her back full on poor old 
Ralph, and clung round Julia's neck, as if 
Julia had been her guardian angel entering 
on a term of banishment. And Julia cried 
too, and said, " ssh ! ssh ! " patting Miss 
Letty 's back with both her hands. It was a 
formula of consolation that had not much 
effect on the patient. And then the carriage 
came, and the fatal moment ; and poor Miss 
Letty was obliged to say farewell ; Mr. 
Montague looking the deepest tragedy 
as he handed her into the barouche ; 
and Ralph feeling somehow that he had 
incurred everybody's displeasure, and stood 
at that moment in the position of a moral 
Ishmael : which position Miss Letty kept 
him in all the way home it was -eight miles 
not deigning to look at him nor speak to 
him once during that whole drive, but 
making him profoundly sensible that she 
considered herself injured by him, and that 
she was his victim and his prisoner. 

" Ralph," she said the next day, " I be- 
haved very ill to you yesterday." 

" No, Miss Letty ; not ill to me. You 
were only unhappy, and so behaved ill to 
yourself." 

"Nonsense, Ralph; you know that I did. 
Will you forgive me ?" 

" Yes, Miss Letty, if you did ; but " 

"Well, never mind buts. Will you walk 
over to Delaforce House for me, this after- 
noon 1" She spoke very quickly, and looked 
down. 

" Yes, Miss Letty." 

'' And take a letter from me to Julia 1 I 
want to tell her that papa is better, and that 
it is nothing catching." 

"But who ever said it was?" asked Ralph, 
in astonishment. " I did not bring that mes- 
. sage yesterday." 

" Never mind," retorted Letty ; " take the 
letter, and don't ask questions." 

Which closed Ralph's mouth at once. 

So the letter was written, and Ralph set 
out through the woods to Delaforce House ; 
miserably unhappy, and with the kind of 



feeling he would have had if there had come 
stealing on a perpetual eclipse of the sun. 
But he got to the house at last, and delivered 
his credentials ; and Miss Julia made her 
ringlets dance as she ran off to Montague, 
saying, " Oh, Monty, we can go to the Manor 
when we like !" A piece of news that made 
that young gentleman smile below his mous- 
tache gaily ; and declare his intention of 
riding over to-morrow. And when his sister 
had embodied that intention in a small three- 
cornered note, Ralph was sent home again, 
dimly conscious that he had been instru- 
mental in a plot, he did not know how. 

But the plot went on, under the same instru- 
mentality. Ralph Jessett was soon installed 
regular postman between the Manor House 
and the Delaforees ; and did actually go 
twice in one day to please Miss Letty. He 
walked thirty-two miles on a hot summer's 
day, to the end that Mr. Montague Delaforce 
should know the right meaning of this phrase : 
" You are very cruel to doubt me. If I tell 
you to wait until papa is better, it is not that 
I am indifferent to your feelings, but only 
more careful of the future than you are ; " 
which, Mr. Montague being a youth more 
gifted with beauty than with brains, and 
being moreover one of those sensitive people 
who are always taking offence at nothing 
considered to be a phrase wounding to his 
dignity and common sense ; requiring ex- 
planation before things could go on any 
farther. And thus matters continued. When 
Mr. Temple grew better, the plot ex- 
ploded, the mystery was dissolved, and Mr. 
Montague Delaforce, asking for the honour of 
Miss Temple's hand, and accepted, opened 
Ralph's eyes as with the touch of a magic 
wand. And, amidst a storm of agony and 
grief such as one would not have imagined 
that such a gentle creature as he could have 
felt, he came to the knowledge suddenly 
that he had been unconsciously the instru- 
ment of his own sorrow the innocent suicide 
of his own happiness. So long as Miss 
Letty was unmarried, and he, Ralph Jessett, 
could live near her and with her ; could read 
to her, wait on her, do her pleasure, attend 
to her commands, devote his whole life to 
her, and live as a slave in the shadow 
of the altar, he would have been quite as 
blessed as he desired and, as he thought, 
deserved in his unconscious love and un- 
selfish adoration. For, Ralph thought it was 
joy and honour enough for him to be allowed 
to love Letty in his own way. But now 
taken from him, and married to a man 
he thought as little worthy of her, in spite 
of his curling hair and grand moustache, as 
if he had been a blackamoor from Africa: 
it was more like his own death than 
her marriage. If Mr. Montague had 
been better ; if he had been wiser, and 
older, and steadier then indeed ; but as it 
was ! Oh ! his queen, his darling, his little 
Letty, who used to sit on his knee, and ask 



IG-2 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



him for stories by the hour ; his gracious 
young lady who had always beeii so good and 
condescending to him ! Ralph could not bear 
it. With a wailing stifled cry he fell back 
against the old oak tree ; and, for a long 
time, all nature and all grief alike were shut 
out from him. But when the faiutuess 
] Kissed, and he was obliged to remember 
again, he turned away with a breaking heart 
from the blank of his future; feeling that his 
life without Miss Letty as its queen and 
guiding star, would be a mere desert without 
shade or verdure. Even his earwigs and 
his emmets lost their charm : chemistry 
seemed a mere phantasmagoria of flitting 
vapours, without form or object. 

He would go away again, he said. His 
vacation was over, and he would go back to 
Edinburgh. He was of no use here : a queer 
fellow like himself was out of place in such 
times as weddings. He looked so ill and 
worn when he said this, that Mrs. Temple 
noticed it, and asked him, breathingly, what 
was the matter with him 1 So did Miss 
Letty, even in the midst of all her rose- 
coloured excitement and most fervent girlish 
love. She went to him, after breakfast, and 
pouted in her old way of command, and told 
him, for the thousandth time in their joint 
lives together, that he was an idiot and an old 
baby, and asked what was wrong now ? 

" Oh, Miss Letty ! " began Ralph ; but he 
could get no farther. He gave a loud sob, 
and rushed from the room, down the garden 
to that favourite retreat the shrubbery, where 
he burrowed in among the trees, and remained 
all the day. He was a little consoled by 
finding a new red fungus and a variety of 
ladybird. 

" Can Ealph be jealous ? " thought Miss 
Letty, with her blue eyes very wide open. 

However, Ralph was not allowed to go 
away before the wedding. Letty, who, of 
course, had no idea of the truth, insisted on 
his staying. She should not feel happy ; she 
should not feel married, she said ; unless 
Ralph was there. So Ralph smothered his 
own feelings and obeyed her, and found a 
certain amount of happiness for the time, as 
usual, in his obedience. It was something to 
suffer at her command ! But, when the wed- 
ding-day came, and he had seen her given 
away, his pride, his joy, his life, his own soul 
given away to the keeping of a handsome, 
foolish, petulant fop when there was no 
longer any joy on earth for him, no longer 
any hope, even of the moonlight pleasure of 
his life when, standing in the dusty road to 
see her pass, taking off his hat as to a queen, 
and letting his long gray hair stream in the 
summer breeze as he gazed his last look at 
her, lying back in the carriage in all her white 
wedding loveliness and glory when, on her 
turning back again and again, leaning out to 
see him so long as she could, and waving her 
hand and handkerchief to him kindly, she 
saw him still standing there, like a statue 



without life or motion and when the car- 
riage finally disappeared behind the trees 
then Ralph plunged wildly into the woods, 
and wandered away from Manor House for 
ever. Wandering through the world in 
poverty and privation, a gentle, harmless, 
half-crazed naturalist, who knew the haunts 
and habits of every tiny creature to be found 
in England, and who sometimes in his restless 
sleep large tears rolling quietly down his 
withered cheeks murmured plaintively, 
" Miss Letty ! " and " Lost ! lost ! " 



OUR BEDFORDSHIRE FARMER.' 



IT was harvest-time when we went down on 
our first visit to the friend whom for anonymous 
distinction we will call the Bedfordshire farmer. 
We travelled by railroad of course, and 
were set down on a platform almost within 
sight of his hospitable chimney. In this 
roadside station, which is in effect an 
inland iron port, to a purely rural district, 
we have a specimen of one of the mecha- 
nical revolutions of modern agriculture. 
The fat beasts and sheep of this parish 
formerly required four days to travel along 
the road to market, at a loss of many 
pounds of flesh, beside growing feverish 
and flabby with excitement and fatigue ; they 
now reach the same market, calm and fresh, in 
four hours. If news of a favourable corn- 
market have arrived by the morning's post, 
fifty quarters of wheat can be carried from 
the stack, thrashed out by steam-driven ma- 
chinery, sold, and the money returned in much 
less time than it would have taken merely to 
thrash out fifty quarters by the hand-flail. 

The farmer himself met us on the platform 
a disappointing personage, considering that 
he had been more than twenty years getting 
a living by growing corn and sheep ; for he 
had not an atom of the uniform associated 
from time immemorial with the British 
farmer no cord-breeches, no top-boots, not 
even gaiters, no broad-brimmed hat, not a 
large red face or ample corporation in fact, 
Wcis not half so much like the conventional far- 
mer as my friend and fellow-traveller Nuggets, 
of th e eminent firm of Nuggets and Bullion,who 
cultivates eight and a half acres at Brixtou, 
on the most scientific principles, at an annual 
loss of about twenty pounds an acre. The 
Bedfordshire farmer looked and was dressed 
very much like any other gentleman not 
obliged to wear professional black and white. 
His servant, too, who shouldered our carpet 
bags, wore neither smock-frock nor hob- 
nailed shoes ; he might have been the groom 
of a surgeon or a parson. 

The Grange presented what amateurs in 
French would call more disillusionment. A 
modern villa-cottage, with one ancient gable 
and one set of Elizabethan chimneys, planted 



* See Beef, Mutton, and Bread, page 113 of the 
tenth volume. 



Charles Dickens.] 



OUE BEDFORDSHIRE FARMER. 



163 



in the midst of a well-kept garden, with the 
"regular three sitting-rooms of a suburban 
villa, reminded us that times were changed 
since Bakewell received crowds of visitors of 
the highest rank, including royalty, "clad in a 
brown metal-buttoned coat, a red waistcoat, 
leather breeches, top boots, sitting in the 
chimney corner of his one keeping room, 
hung round with dried and pickled specimens 
of his famous beasts." The book-shelves in 
one of our friend's rooms are filled not only 
with works on agriculture, but with histories, 
biographies, novels, and poems. The win- 
dows, fringed with monthly roses, look out 
upon the gardens, across a fence to where a 
steep hill of pasture rises, once a deer park, 
still studded over with fine trees. There 
Suffolk horses, a long-tailed gray mare, some 
dairy cows, and Southdown sheep are feeding, 
and are chewing the cud in the shade. 

Our first visit was to the farm buildings, di- 
vided by a road from the nag stables and offices 
of the house, which therefore is not troubled 
with either the smell or the dirt of the farm- 
yard. A picturesque untenanted dovecote, 
half-covered with ivy, is the only remainiu 
monument of the farming days when five 
year-old mutton was fed, and wooden ploughs 
were used. Pigeons don't pay in cultivated 
countries. On one side of the occupation road 
leading to the first field of the farm, were 
the sheds for carts and implements ; on the 
other the cattle yards, the feeding houses, 
the cart stables, the cow-house, and the 
barn-machinery and steam-engine. One- 
horse carts were the order of the day, 
a system far preferable to waggons, when 
each horse is well up to his Avork. Our 
friend's horses are always in good con- 
dition. The implements made a goodly 
display, eight or nine of Howard's iron 
ploughs, light and heavy, harrows to match 



the ploughs, a cultivator to stir the earth, 
and a grubber to gather weeds, drills 
and manure distributors, and horse-hoes, a 
Crosskill's clod-crusher, and a heavy stone- 
roller, a haymaking-machine and horse- 
rakes. These were all evidently in regular 
use ; some for strong clay, others for light 
sand. 

The cattle yards form three-sided squares, 
the open side facing the road and the sun, the 
other three sides bordered with covered feed- 
ing-sheds, or verandahs, about which there was 
nothing remarkable, except that the roofs were 
all carefully provided with spouts, by which 
the rain that would otherwise flow into 
the cattle yards and saturate the straw, was 
effectually carried away into the main drains. 
The floors of these yards are dish-shaped, 
slightly hollow. In winter a thin layer of 
mould, covered daily by fresh straw, imbibes 
every particle of liquid manure. Under the 
treading of the beasts, which are turned in 
as soon as grass fails, there to feed on hay, 
turnips, and mangold wurzel, or corn, or cake, 
in turn, according to relative price and, 



supply of the last nothing is cheaper than 
oil- cake when it can be bought at a penny 
a pound the straw made on the farm is 
converted into manure of the richest quality, 
which is in due time returned to the fields. 

In every yard was an iron tank filled with 
pure clean water, by a tap and ball, which 
regulated a constant supply from a spring- 
filled reservoir, established on the hill that 
overlooked the Grange. These iron tanks 
were substitutes for those foul inky ponds, 
to be found as the only drinking places ou 
too many old-fashioned farms. In the stable, 
which was carefully ventilated, we found a 
team that had done a day's work of ploughing, 
munching their allowance of clover and 
split beans. They were powerful, active, 
clean-legged animals, as unlike drayhorses 



as possible ; the 
neatly arranged 5 



harness of each 
harness- room, 



was 
not 



tumbling above the dirty stable, as too often 
seen. The feeding house, where twenty-five 
beasts could be tied up and fed, was placed 
conveniently near the granary, and here again 
at every beast's chain-pole a perpetually full 
tank was to be found. The doors opened, so 
that the manure of the feeding houses could 
straightway be added to the accumulation of 
the yard. 

Our Bedfordshire farmer does not indulge 
in fancy, in purchasing his cattle. Noblemen 
and owners of model farms adhere rigidly to 
some one breed, Devons, Herefords, or Scots, 
and have to pay an extra price to make up 
their number. He purchases every spring 
or summer, at the fairs where cattle are 
brought from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, 
Devonslm-e, Herefordshire, and Yorkshire, for 
the purpose, one hundred good two-year-old 
Devons, Herefords, or Short-horns, or three- 
year-old Scots or Anglesea runts. These he 
runs on the inferior sward until winter ; then 
takes them into the yards and stalls, and 
feeds them well with hay and roots not 
exceeding a hundred -weight of turnips a 
day more would be wasted ; to this he adds 
from time to time linseed and barley meal, 
in preference to oil-cake, which he generally 
reserves for sheep. He has experimented 
with cooked food, but has not found the 
result in weight pay the cost and trouble. 
In the spring these beasts are put on the 
best grass, and sent off to market as fast as 
they become ripe, having left behind them in 
the yards a store of manure available for all 
the land within easy carting distance. 

On our autumn visit we saw in the empty 
yards and in the styes a few pigs of no parti- 
cular breed, but all of that egg- shape which 
betokens rapid fattening. As there is no 
dairy, the Beds farmer nuds it does not pay 
to breed pigs or feed more than just enough 
to consume what would otherwise be wasted. 
Lastly, we came to a compact building 
forming the one side or wing of the cattle 
yards, marked by a tall chimney : here 
was a high-pressure steam-engine of six-horse 



1(54 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



power, under the care of a ploughboy, which 
put in motion the barn machinery, thrashed 
and winnowed the corn, separated it into 
wheat, first and second, tailings, cavings, 
and chaff, and carried the straw into the 
straw house, and the wheat into the granary. 
The same engine also put in motion stones 
for grinding corn or linseed, or crushed beans, 
and worked a chatl-cutter. 

The steam-driven barn apparatus has more 
advantages, and creates more profit to the 
farmer, than can be explained in a few words. 
Under the hand flail system, a great barn 
was needed, where it was necessary to thrash, 
not when you wanted to send to market, but 
when thrashers could be had, and then very 
slowl}', with great loss by imperfect thrashing 
and systematic pilfering. Our Bedfordshire 
farmer having had the building provided by 
his landlord, put up the steam-engine and 
machinery himself, at a cost of five hundred 
pounds ; and now, with coals costing fifteen 
shillings per ton, his steam-engine thrashes and 
dresses two hundred bushels of wheat in one 
day, at a cost of one penny a bushel, which, 
with horse-power, would cost fourpence, and 
with flail thrashing, sixpence a bushel. Be- 
sides this economy in time and money, there 
is an economy in space, as the corn can 
remain in the rick in the field, until wanted. 

Some very pretty things have been said 
about the flail ; and thrashing does make 
a very pretty picture, although it is a 
most soul -deadening occupation. But to 
a thoughtful mind, there is something much 
more beautiful in the regularity with which 
the sheaves, delivered from the cart, are 
consumed and distributed. The steam-driven 
barn machinery was not a complete piece of 
work until linked, by the railway, with the 
-corn-market. In Scotland machine-thrashing 
has long been universal, but in England it 
makes way slowly, and is introduced with 
excuses in some counties our poor-laws 
having been in the way. 

We next mounted our friend's hacks and 
climbed the hill to take a bird's-eye view of 
the farms before descending into details. 

On our way we crossed a broad belt of grass 
fields which surround the house and garden, 
and are always mowed, other fields farther off 
being always grazed ; by this arrangement it 
is thought that the best kinds of grass for 
feeding are cultivated on the one, and the 
best for mowing on the other ; while the hay 
so grown near the yards where it is to be 
consumed, and near the manure heaps 
which restore fertility to meadow.?. Mea- 
dows round a house are, it must be admitted, 
much more agreeable than ploughed land, 
besides having the advantage of keeping 
the cattle and horses grazing within an easy 
distance if not within sight. After ascending 
a hill, considered steep in the midland 
counties, we stood upon a sort of inland pro- 
montory, marking the division of the farm, 
all above being sand-laud of the character 



well known as Woburn sand, and nearly all 
below stiff clay, being part of the rich valley 
which runs on to the sea at King's Lynn in 
Norfolk. 

I'Yom this promontory we could review, as 
in a panorama, the farmer's crops wheat in 
great fields of forty, fifty, and sixty acres a 
golden sea, fast falling before the scythe and 
the sickle ; barley not so ripe, some of it 
lying here and there in rucks as if a great 
flood had rolled over it ; too much manuring 
swelled the cars without stiffening the straw 
enough, and so anxiety to raise a large crop 
had defeated itself. There were oats too, 
verdant and feathei-y ; beans, dark ugly 
patches on the landscape ; mangold, with 
rich dark green luxuriant leaves ; and fields 
of something that was not grass, though like 
it in the distance, being, what is called in 
farmer's phrase, seeds, that is to say, artificial 
grasses, such as Italian rye grass, red clover, 
or white clover and trefoil mixed, which 
form a rotation crop only to be grown once 
in four or in eight years, according to the 
soil. 

Experience and scientific investigation have 
but slightly and slowly added any new crops 
for the use of the farmer. When any one 
loudly announces a new crop, which will 
supersede all others in utility and profit, we 
may as safely set him down as a quack 
as if he announced a universal medicine. 
For England wheat, barley, and oats, are 
the best cereal crops ; rye, except green to 
feed stock, is not in demand ; wheat in many 
varieties fits itself to suitable soils, the finest 
kinds cannot always be carried to a distant 
country without degeneration. The finest 
barley for malting is grown in a few counties 
on light soil, while oats attain a perfection in 
Scotland and Ireland rarely to be found in 
districts where oatmeal is not the food of the 
people. 

The proportions which a farmer shoiild 
grow of each crops will depend on his soil 
and on his market, supposing always that 
the landlord is, like our friend's landlord, 
sufficiently intelligent to allow his tenant to 
make the best of his land. For instance, 
having six fields on his clay land of about 
fifty acres each, he has found it convenient to 
adopt the following rotation : First year, 
either a fallow or a fallow crop, such as cole- 
seed, tares, early white turnips, mangold, &c.; 
second year, wheat ; third year, beans ; fourth 
year, barley ; fifth year, clover ; sixth year, 
wheat, instead of the Scotch rotation, in which 
beans stand fifth, and the laud becomes 
too full of weeds for a good crop. On the 
sand land the rotation is first, turnips ; 
second, barley ; third, clover ; and fourth, 
wheat ; white and red clover being used 
alternately. 

It will be observed that root crops form 
the foundation of this style of farming, lioot 
crops do two things for the farmer ; they pre- 
pare the land for corn crops, and they supply 



diaries Dictions.] 



OUR BEDFORDSHIRE FARMER. 



ICo 



food for a great number of lambs and sheep. 
Under the old system, two hundred acres of 
this farm were poor grass pasture. Under 
the rotation named they feed more live stock 
than before, in addition to the crops of wheat 
twice in six years. Of course on six fields two 
are always in wheat. But on hundreds of 
thousands of acres of fertile under-rented 
land, the intelligent cultivation of roots is 
quite unknown ; indeed, without security of 
tenure in lease or agreement, it cannot be 
practised, because it takes six years to com- 
plete a never-ending circle of improve- 
ment. There are landed baronets, who 
having gone so far ahead as to adopt the 
short-horn, which superseded their grand- 
fathers' long-cherished, long-horned, thick- 
skinned, Craven beasts, still look askance at 
guano and superphosphate the best food 
for root crops as condiments of revolu- 
tionary origin ; and as for leases, you may 
as well speak of confiscation at once. 

As we looked down the beautiful fertile 
valley, and gossipped over the cardinal 
principles of good farming, we could see the 
marks in the shades of vegetation, and here 
and there a land-mark in a stately tree, where 
four miles of fences had seven years previ- 
ously been cleared away, and superseded 
wherever fences were needed at all, by double 
ditches, and rails arranged with niatl e- 
inatical regularity to protect growing thorns 
from the assaults of the beasts and sheep 
feeding around. Before coals came by canal 
and railway, hedges gave faggots for winter 
fires. 

Turning our nags' heads upwai'ds, we next 
traversed the sand half of the farm, an undu- 
lating four hundred acres, sprinkled over 
with many pretty wooded dells and bordered 
deep belts of plantation, where our friend, 
having the game in his own hands, kept up a 
fair head of pheasants and hares. Farmers 
seldom object to the game they may shoot 
themselves. 

On the sand we found a different rotation, 
viz., turnips, barley, clover, and wheat ; 
neither mangold or beans. 

The prettiest sight was our farmer's breed- 
ing flock of South Downs, feeding on a hill of 
seeds : four hundred black-faced, close-fleeced, 
firkin-bodied, flat-backed, short-legged, active 
animals, without a hollow or a bump on any 
part of their compact bodies, as like each 
other as peas, and as full of meat. 

They were under the amiable care of an 
old shepherd, a boy, and a dog of great dis- 
cretion a real Scotch colley, who also 
attend to the whole sheep stock. It had cost 
our farmer twenty years of constant care to 
bring this flock to their present perfection, 
during which time he has tried and given up 
the long-woolled Leicester, of which half his 
sheep stock formerly consisted, finding the 
Soutli Down more hardy and profitable on his 
land and with his market. The total sheep 
stock always kept on this farm amounts to one 



thousand head, of which what are not bred 
on the farm are bought. Thus in the course 
of the year about one thousand sheep and 
lambs, and one hundred and fifty bullocks, 
are sent to market. 

Now we had seen all the raw material for 
growing corn and wool. 

Bullocks fed in yards in autumn and 
winter, on roots grown on well-drained, and 
hay on well-manured land, with corn and 
cake to finish them these produce while 
getting fat, and tread down and solidify 
manure which is ready in the spring to bo 
carted out where wanted, for growing more 
roots for green or hay crops. On the other 
hand, light land is consolidated and enriched 
by a flock penned upon it, and there feeding 
with turnips, corn, or pulse and cake. If 
they are store-sheep they are allowed to gnaw 
the turnips on the ground for part of the 
year ; if they are young and to be fatted, the 
turnips are drawn, topped, and tailed, and 
sliced for them by a boy with a portable 
machine a simple affair, and yet one of the 
most valuable of agricultural inventions. 
Thus, feeding in the day, and penned succes- 
| sively over every part of a field at night, the 
j sheep fertilise, and with their feet compress 
! more effectively than any roller, light, blow- 
i ing sand, and prepare soil which once would 
scarely feed a family of rabbits on an acre foi 
such luxuriant corn crops as we saw waving 
around. 

What neither farm-yard manure nor sheep- 
treading will do toward stimulating vegeta- 
tion and supply the wants of an exhausted 
soil, is done with modern portable manures, 
which do not supersede, but aid the home- 
made fertilisers of our forefathers. 

Cantering on, now pausing to examine a 
root crop, then pushing through a pheasant 
cover, then halting to chat with the 
reapers, we came to a field of wheat on sand 
inferior to the rest. The choicest seed from 
the Vale of Taunton Dean had been used ; 
but it seemed that, in this instance, what 
suited a Somersetshire valley did not thrive 
on a Bedfordshire hill. Such special expe- 
rience a good farmer is continually collecting. 
Again : repeated trials had convinced the 
farmer that guano, the most valuable of all 
portable manures, was wasted on the sand ; 
as, in the event of a dry season, the fertilising 
powers were evaporated and entirely lost. 
On another fifty-six acres of wheat a 
most wonderful crop was being mowed, 
estimated at six quarters to the acre. The 
extra weight could only be accounted for by 
the field having been rolled with more than 
ordinary care with a heavy iron roller. 
Nevertheless, amateurs must not rush off to 
roll their wheat fields, because on a plastic soil 
it would be total ruin to reduce a field after . 
rain to the consistence of smooth mortar. 

I have advisedly said, mow, not reap, 
several times in this narrative. The Bedford- 
shire farmer has no doubt of the superior 



166 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



advantages of the former plan. Neverthe- 
less, he reaps a few acres as shelter for tin- 
partridges. Mowing is done by piece-work, 
at per acre. Formerly the harvesters re- 
ceived so much money per aero, and five 
pints of beer for a day ; but the farmer 
having one July day expressed his discontent 
to a party of mowers snugly lying in the 
shade, pipe hi mouth and beer-can in hand, 
at the slow progress of the work, was an- 
swered with fatal candour by a jolly foreman 
"Maister, we come here to drink your 
good beer, and as long as you gie us five 
pints a day we beant agoin' to hurry 
the work." From that season an additional 
shilling per acre replaced the five pints of 
the mowing charter ; and there is no lagging. 
Mowers are not the only people who like 
idleness and five pints of beer a day. 

It was brilliant weather on the second day 
of our visit. Carts, each drawn by one 
cleaned-legged horse, were at work at a pace 
that would have choked the old hairy- 
legged breed. The picturesque wagon, with 
its long team, is disappearing fast from modern 
harvest-fields. The horse-i-ake, following the 
binders, leaves little for the gleaners. 

While the carts were at work in one field 
and the mowers and binders in another for 
there were two hundred acres of wheat on 
this farm in a fallow-field a party of boys 
were cross-ploughing with some of Howard's 
beautiful wheel ploughs, which can be 
managed by boys of thirteen, for such work 
the object being only to pulverise the land. 
On almost any land the superiority of the 
iron-wheel plough is incontestable. 

We rode back through a great grass field, 
well dotted with shady trees, under which 
shorthorns, Devons, Herefords, and black 
Anglesea runts were comfortably chewing 
the cud ; all the different breeds being found 
profitable to feed when bought at a proper 
price, as the account-books of our fi-iend, care- 
fully kept for twenty years, distinctly show. 
From the horned stock and the sheep, a 
draught of the fittest and fattest were sent 
to Smithfield every week from May to the 
following March, and replaced by fresh pur- 
chases from the neighbouring fairs. 

After dinner, while looking out between 
rosebushes at the cattle on the hills, we 
talked, of course of farming past and present 
of what practice and science had done, 
and what it could and could not do for 
farmers. 

In what we had seen there was nothing 
startling, although the results, as to quantity 
of produce in corn and meat in a year, would 
have been incredible if foretold to any brown- 
coated farmer in seventeen hundred and 
fifty-four. There was no land wasted by 
fences or devoured by weeds ; there was no 
time lost one crop prepared the way for 
another ; there was no labour lost horses 
and men and boys were fully employed. The 
live stock for market was always full fed ; 



the breeding-stock was kept up by retaining 
only the best-shaped ewe lambs, and hiring 
or buying the best rains from skilled South- 
down breeders. So the farm was continually 
sending to market a succession of lamb, 
mutton, and beef. 

All this requires for success some con- 
siderable skill and experience, and not a 
little expense. Twelve or thirteen hundred 
pounds a-year for rent, and as much more 
for wages ; two hundred a-year poor's- 
rates, no tithes ; three hundred a-year 
for corn and cake purchased ; one hundred 
and fifty pounds for portable manures. A 
capital laid out in two hundred store beasts, 
which cannot be bought for less than ten 
pounds each, and four hundred breeding 
ewes, worth two pounds ten shillings each 
also thirty carthorses, worth forty pounds 
a-piece on the average, and all the agri- 
cultural implements, too. So, in round num- 
bers there was evidently, without asking 
impertinent questions, some ten thousand 
pounds invested. 

The labour of this farm would in its num- 
ber astonish a farmer of the old school of 
anti-guano and anti-steam-engine preju- 
dices, as much as the implements. It consists 
of about twenty men and thirty boys. Of 
these, six men are ploughmen, and have the 
care of four horses each, being assisted by 
eight ploughboys. The boys are divided into 
two sets, of which the younger consists of 
fifteen boys between the ages of eleven and 
thirteen, who are under the command of a 
steady experienced farm-labourer. He never 
has them out of his sight ; under his orders 
they do all the hand-hoeing of wheat, thin 
out turnips, spud thistles out of grass-land, 
gather the turnips into heaps for tailing, 
carry away the straw from the threshing- 
machine, bring the sheaves from the stack to 
the man who feeds the machine, and do other 
work suited to their strength. When the 
harvest is off, and repeated ploughings have 
brought the couch-grass roots to the surface, 
they gather it in heaps and burn it. A great 
bare field dotted over with heaps of this 
troublesome weed, each on fire, and each 
industriously fed and tended by an active 
little boy, presented a very amusing sight to 
us in a second visit to Bedfordshire, in Oc- 
tober. 

Thus these boys are trained to work regu- 
larly at all kinds of farm-labour, and form a 
regiment of militia from which the regular 
army of the farm is recruited. The most 
intelligent are promoted to be ploughboys, 
and grow up to be very useful men. 

They receive three shillings a-week wages, 
and every week, if well-behaved, a sixpenny 
ticket, which, once a year, in September, is 
converted into money to be laid out in clothes. 
The stoppage of a ticket a very rare occur- 
rence is considered not only a loss, but 
a disgrace. In harvest time they receive 
double wages, and double tickets. 



Charles Dickens.] 



FATALISM. 



167 



Such, is a short view of the system on a 
well-managed corn and wool farm. 

If able to lay out the needful capital skil- 
fully, and manage the men, boys, and horses 
needed for a thousand acres of average corn 
and sheep land, the farmer, on an average of 
years, can reap a fair return for his risk and 
labour. He cannot under ordinary circum- 
stances, expect to make a fortune except by 
saving out of ordinary income ; for there 
are no patents, or secrets, or special un- 
discovered markets for farmers, as there are 
for clever manufacturers. Those who under- 
take to do wonderful things in agriculture 
invariably sacrifice profit to glory. But the 
skilful -farmer is not tied to a day, a week, or 
even a month, except at harvest or seed time ; 
he lives among pleasant scenes, socially and 
hospitably, and runs not the risks and 
endures not the sleepless nights of the manu- 
facturer, whose fortune depends on the 
temper of a thousand hands, and the honesty 
or good fortune of debtors on the other side 
of the globe. 



FATALISM. 



ONE of the popular tales current among 
the Servians which we take from a collection 
made by Wuk Stephanovitsch Karadschitsch 
emphatically illustrates a well-known orien- 
tal doctrine, and suggests how stern a curse 
such doctrine becomes to the people among 
whom it is once admitted. 

Once upon a time there were two brothers 
who lived together. One was industrious 
and did everything, the other was lazy and 
did nothing except eat and drink. Their 
harvests were always magnificent, and they 
had plenty of oxen, horses, sheep, pigs, bees, 
and all else. The brother who did every- 
thing said to himself one day, " Why should 
I work for this idler ] It is better that we 
should part." He said, therefore, " My 
brother, it is not just that I should do every- 
thing, whilst thou doest nothing but eat and 
drink. I have decided, therefore, that we 
ought to part." The other sought to turn 
him from his purpose, saying, " Brother, let 
not that be so ; we prosper as we are, 
and behold all things are in thy hands, as 
well those which belong to me, and those 
which are thine. Thou knowest also that 
whatever thou wilt thou doest, and I am 
content." But the elder pei-sisted in his 
resolution, and the younger yielded, say- 
ing, " If it must be so, yet I will have no 
part in this act. Make the division as thou 
wilt." The division was then made, and 
each brother took what was his portion. 

Then the idler hired a herdsman for his 
cattle, and a shepherd for his sheep, another 
herdsman for his goats, a keeper for his 
swine, and yet another for his bees; and 
said to them all, " I entrust my property to 
you, and may God keep you." Having done 
that, he continued to live as before. 



The worker, on the contrary, continued to 
exert himself as he had always done. He 
kept no servants, but himself attended to 
his own affairs. Nevertheless all went 
wrong with him, and he became poorer 
every day, until at last he did not possess 
even a pair of shoes, and was obliged 
to walk about barefooted. Then he said to 
himself, " I will go to my brother and see 
how it is now with him." 

His way was over land covered with grass. 
He saw a flock of sheep feeding there unat- 
tended by a shepherd. Near them sate a 
beautiful girl, who was sewing with a golden 
thread. After having saluted hei*, he asked to 
whom the flock belonged ; and she answered, 
" To whom I belong, these sheep also belong." 

" And who art thou ? " he inquired. 

She replied, " I am the Genius of thy 
brother." 

Then was this man's soul filled with rage 
and envy, and he said to her, " But my 
Genius, where is she ? " 

The girl said, " Ah ! she is far from thee." 

" Can I find her ? " he asked. 

She answered, " Yes ; after long travel." 

And when he heard this, he went straight- 
way to his brother ; who, when he saw his 
wretched state, was filled with grief, and, 
bursting into tears, said to him, "Where 
hast thou been so long ?" And when he had 
heard all, and knew that his brother wished 
to go in search of his far-distant Genius, 
he gave him money and a pair of shoes. 

After the two brothers had remained some 
days together, the elder one returned to his 
own house, threw a sack upon his shoulders, 
into which he put some bread, took a stick in 
his hand, and set out to walk through the 
world to seek his Genius. Having travelled 
for some time, he found himself at last 
in the midst of a great wood, where he 
saw, asleep under a bush, a frightful hag. 
He strove long to awaken her, and at last in 
order to do so put a snake down her back ; 
but even then she moved with difficulty, and 
only half unclosing her eyes, said to him, 
" Thank Heaven, man, that I am sleeping 
here ; for had I been awake thou wouldst not 
have possessed those shoes." 

He said, " Who then is this that would 
have prevented me from having on my feet 
these shoes 1 " 

And the hag replied, " I am thy Genius." 

When the man heard that, he smote him- 
self upon the breast, and cried, " Thou ! 
Thou my Genius ? May Heaven exterminate 
thee ! Who gave thee to me ? " 

And the hag replied, " It is Fate." 

" And where is Fate '? " he asked. 

The answer he received was, " Go and 
search for him." And the hag disappeared. 

Then the man went in search of Fate. After 
a long, long journey, he again entered a wood ; 
and, in this wood, found a hermit, whom he 
asked whether he could tell where Fate was 
to be found. The hermit said, " Go up that 



168 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



mountain, my son, and tliou wilt reach his 
castle ; but, when in his presence, do not 
speak to him. Whatever thou shalt see 
him do, that do thou, until he questions 
thee." The traveller having thanked the 
hermit, took the road which led up the 
mountain. 

But, when he had arrived at the castle, he 
was much amazed at its magnificence. Ser- 
vants were hurrying in all directions, and 
everything around him \\as of more than 
royal splendour. As for Fate, he was seated 
at a table quite alone ; the table was spread, 
and he was in the act of supping. When 
the traveller saw that, he seated himself, and 
ate with the master of the house. After 
supper, Fate went to his couch, and the man 
retired with him. Then, at midnight, there 
was heard the rushing of a fearful sound 
through all the chambers of the castle ; and, 
in the midst of the noise a voice was heard 
crying aloud " Fate ! Fate ! To-day such 
and such souls have come into the world. 
Deal with them according to thy pleasure !" 
Then, behold, Fate arose, and opened a gilt 
coffer full of golden ducats, which he sowed 
upon his chamber floor, saying, " Such as I 
am to-day, you shall be all your lives ! " 

At the break of day, the beautiful castle 
vanished ; and, in its place, stood an ordinary 
house ; but a house in which nothing was 
wanting. When the evening came Fate sat 
down to supper, and his guest sat by his 
side ; but not a word was spoken. When 
they had done supper they went to bed. At 
midnight the rushing sound was heard again ; 
and, in the midst of the noise, a A 7 oice cried, 
" Fate ! Fate ! Such and such souls have 
seen the light to-day. Deal with them accord- 
ing to thy pleasure ! " Then, behold, Fate 
opened a silver coffer ; but there were no 
ducats therein, only silver money, with a few- 
gold pieces mingled. And Fate sowed this 
silver on the ground, saying, " Such as I am 
to-day, you shall be all your lives !" 

At break of day this house also had dis- 
appeared ; and, in its place, there was one 
smaller still. Every night the same thing 
happened, and every morning the house be- 
came smaller and poorer, until at last it was 
nothing but a miserable hovel. Then Fate 
took a spade and dug the earth, the man 
doing the same. And they worked all day. 
In the evening Fate took a piece of bread and 
broke it in two pieces, and gave one to his 
guest. This was all they had to eat ; and, 
when they had eaten it, they went to bed. 
During all this time, they had not exchanged 
a word. 

At midnight the same fearful sound was 
heard, and the voice which cried, " Fate ! 
Fate ! Such and such souls have come into 
the world this night. Do unto them accord- 
iiiLT to thy pleasure!" And, behold. Fate 
arose, and opened a coffer, and took out of it 
fctnni'.-, and sowed them upon the earth, and 
among the stones were small pieces of money. 



This he did, repeating at the same time, 
"Such as I am to-dav you shall be all your 

1*1) 

lives. 

When morning returned the cabin had 
disappeared, and the palace of the first day 
had come back again. Then, for the first 
time, Fate spoke to his gue.st, and said, " Why 
earnest thou here ? " The other told him truly 
all the story of his journey, and its cause, 
namely, to ascertain why Fate had awarded 
to him a lot so unhappy. And Fate an- 
swered, " Thou didst see how, on the first 
night, I sowed ducats, and what followed. 
Such as I am in the night wherein a man is 
born, such will that man be during all his life. 
Thou wert born on a night when I was poor, 
and thou wilt remain poor all thy days. As 
for thy brother, he came into the world when 
I was rich, and rich will he be ever. Yet, 
because thou hast labom-ed hard to seek me, 
I will tell how thou mayst aid thyself. Thy 
brother has a daughter named Miliza, who 
was born in a golden hour. When thou 
returnest to thy country take her for thy 
wife. Only take heed that of whatsoever 
thou shalt afterwards acquire, say that it is 
hers, call nothing thine." 

And the man, thanking Fate, departed. 
When he had come back to his own country, 
he went to his brother, and said, " Brother, 
give me Miliza ; for thou seest that without 
her I am alone." The brother answered : " I 
am glad at thy request. Take her, for she is 
thine." Therefore he took her to his' house ; 
and, from that time, his flocks and herds 
began to multiply, so that he became rich. 
But he was careful to exclaim aloud, every 
day, " All that I have is Miliza's ! " 

One day he went to the field to see his 
crops, which were all rustling and whispering 
to the breeze songs of plenty ; when, by chance, 
a traveller passed by, wlio said to him : 
" Whose crops are these 1 " And he, without 
thinking, replied, "They are mine." Scarcely 
had he finished speaking, when, behold, the 
harvest was on fire and the flames leapt from 
field to field. But, when he saw this he ran with 
all his speed after the traveller, and shouted, 
" Stop, brother ! I told you a lie. These crops 
are not mine, they are my wife's ! " The fire 
went out when he had spoken, and from that 
hour he continued to be thanks to Miliza 
rich and happy. 

This day is published, for greater convenience, and 
cheapness ot binding, 

THE FIRST TEN VOLUMES 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS, 

IN FIVE HANDSOME VOLUMES, 
WITH A GENERAL INDEX TO THE W1H '].!]. 

Of the Set, thus bound in Five Double instant of Ten 
le Volumes, X''J HK od. The (juiienil hi'io.x c.in ba 
1 finitely, price 3d. 



"Familiar in their Months as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." SHAKESPEARE. 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 

A WEEKLY JOURNAL, 
CONDUCTED BY CHARLES DICKENS. 



- 261.] 



SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 1855. 



[PRICK 2d. 



FAST AND LOOSE. 



IF the Directors of any great joint-stock 
commercial undertaking say a Railway 
Company were to get themselves made 
Directors principally in virtue of some blind 
superstition declaring every man of the 
name of Bolter to be a man of business, 
every man of the name of Jolter to 
be a mathematician, and every man of the 
name of Polter to possess a minute acquaint- 
ance with the construction of locomotive 
steam-engines ; and if those ignorant Direc- 
tors, so managed the affairs of the body cor- 
porate, as that the trains never started at the 
right times, began at their right beginnings, 
or got to their right ends, but always devoted 
their steam to bringing themselves into vio- 
lent collision with one another ; and if by such 
means those incapable Directors destroyed 
thousands of lives, wasted millions of money, 
and hopelessly bewildered and conglomerated 
themselves and everybody else ; what would 
the shareholding body say, if those brazen- 
faced Directors called them together in the 
midst of the wreck and ruin they had made, 
and with an audacious piety addressed them 
thus : " Lo, ye miserable sinners, the hand of 
Providence is heavy on you ! Attire your- 
selves in sackcloth, throw ashes on your 
heads, fast, and hear us condescend to make 
discourses to you on the wrong you have 
done ! " 

Or, if Mr. Matthew Marshall of the Bank 
of England, were to be superseded by Bolter ; 
if the whole Bank parlour were to be cleared 
for Jolter ; and the engraving of bank-notes 
were to be given as a snug thing to Polter ; 
and if Bolder Jolter and Polter, with a 
short pull and a weak pull and a pull no two 
of them together, should tear the Money 
Market to pieces, and rend the whole mercan- 
tile system and credit of the country to 
shreds ; what kind of reception would Bolter 
Jolter and Polter get from Baring Brothers, 
Rothschilds, and Lombard Street in general, 
if those Incapables should cry out, " Provi- 
dence has brought you all to the Gazette. 
Listen, wicked ones, and we will give you an 
improving lecture on the death of the old 
Lady in Threadneedle Street ! " 

Or, if the servants in a rich man's household 
were to distribute their duties exactly as the 



fancy took them ; if the housemaid were to 
undertake the kennel of hounds, and the 
dairymaid were to mount the coachbox, and 
the cook were to pounce upon the secretary- 
ship, and the groom were to dress the dinner, 
and the gamekeeper were to make the beds, 
while the gardener gave the young ladies 
lessons on the piano, and the stable-helper 
took the baby out for an airing ; would the 
rich man, soon very poor-, be much improved 
in his mind when the whole incompetent 
establishment, surrounding him, exclaimed. 
" You have brought yourself to a pretty pass, 
sir. You had better see what fasting and 
humiliation will do to get you out of this. We 
will trouble you to pay us, keep us, and try ! " 

A very fine gentleman, very daintily dressed, 
once took an uncouth creature under his pro- 
tection a wild thing, half man and half 
brute. And they travelled along together. 

The wild man was ignorant ; but, he had 
some desire for knowledge too, and at times 
he even fell into strange fits of thought, 
wherein he had gleams of reason and flashes 
of a quick sagacity. There was also veneration 
in his breast, for the Maker of all the wondrous 
universe about him. It has even been supposed 
that these seeds were sown within him by a 
greater and wiser hand than the hand of the 
very fine gentleman very daintily dressed. 

It was necessary that they should get. on 
quickly to avoid a storm, and the first thing 
that happened was, that the wild man's feet 
became crippled. 

Now, the very fine gentleman had made the 
wild man put on a tight pair of boots which 
were altogether unsuited to him, so the wild 
man said : 

" It's the boots." 

" It's a Rebuke," said the very fine gentle- 
man. 

" A WHAT ? " roared the wild man. 

"It's Providence," said the very fine 
gentleman. 

The wild man cast his eyes on the earth 
around him, and up at the sky, and then at 
the very fine gentleman, and was mightily 
displeased to hear that great word so readily 
in the mouth of such an interpreter on such 
an occasion ; but, he hobbled on as well as he 
could without saying a syllable, until they 
had gone a very long way, and he was 
hungry. 



VOL. si. 



261 



170 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



There was abundance of -wholesome fruits 
and herbs by the wayside, which the wild 
inaii tried to reach by springing at them, but 
could not. 

" I am starving," the wild man complained. 

"It's a Rebuke," said the very fine gentle- 
man. 

" It's the handcuffs," said the wild man. 
For, he had submitted to be handcuffed before 
he came out. 

However, his companion wouldn't hear of 
that (he said it was not official, and was un- 
parliamentary), so they went on and on, a 
weary journey ; and the wild man got nothing, 
because he was handcuffed, and because the 
very fine gentleman couldn't reach the fruit 
for him on account of his stays ; and the very 
fine gentleman got what he had in his pocket. 

By and by, they came to a house on fire, 
where the wild man's brother was being burnt 
to death, because he couldn't get out at the 
door : which door had been locked seven years 
before, by the very fine gentleman, who had 
taken away the key. 

" Produce the key," exclaimed the wild 
man, in an agony, " and let my brother out." 

" I meant it to have been here the day be- 
fore yesterday," returned the very fine gen- 
tleman, in his leisurely way, " and I had it 
put a-board ship to be brought here ; but, the 
fact is, the ship has gone round the world in- 
stead of coming here, and I doubt if we shall 
ever hear any more about it." 

" It's Murder ! " cried the wild man. 

But, the very fine gentleman was uncom- 
monly high with him, for not knowing better 
than that : so the brother was burnt to death, 
and they proceeded on their journey. 

At last, they came to a fine palace by a 
river, where a. gentleman of a thriving ap- 
pearance was rolling out at the gate in a very 
neat chariot, drawn by a pair of blood horses, 
with two servants up behind in fine purple 
liveries. 

"J'.less my soul!'' cried this gentleman, 
checking his coachman, and looking hard at 
the wild man, " what monster have we here ! " 

Then the very fine gentleman explained 
that it was a hardened creature with 
whom Providence was very much incensed ; 
in proof of which, here he was, rebuked, crip- 
pled, handcuffed, starved, with his brother 
burnt to death in a locked-up house, and the 
k-y of the house going round the world. 

" Are you Providence ? " asked the wild 
man, faintly. 

" Hold your tongue, sir," said the very fine 
gentleman. 

" Are you ? " asked the wild man of the 
gentleman of the palace. 

The gentleman of the palace made no reply; 
but, coming out of his carriage in a brisk busi- 
ness-like manner, immediately put the will linn 
into a strait-waistcoat, and said to the very 
fine gentleman, " He shall fast for his sins." 

' I have already done that," the wild man 
protested weakly. 



" He shall do it again," said the gentleman 
of the palace. 

" 1 have fasted from work too, through 
divers causes you know I speak the truth 
until I am miserably poor," said the wild man. 

"He shall do it again," said the gentleman 
of the palace. 

" A day's work just now, is the breath oT 
my life," said the wild man. 

" He shall do without the breath of his 
life," said the gentleman of the palace. 

Therewith, they carried him off to a hard 
bench, and sat him down, and discoursed to him 
ding-dong, through and through the diction- 
ary, about all manner of businesses except the 
business that concerned him. And when they 
saw his thoughts, red-eyed and angry though 
he was, escape from them up to the true Pro- 
vidence far away, and when they saw that he 
confusedly humbled and quieted his mind be- 
fore Heaven, in his innate desire to approach it 
and learn from it, and know better how to 
bear these things and set them right, they said 
"He is listening to us, he is doing as we would 
have him, he will never be troublesome." 

What that wild man really had before him, 
in his thoughts, at that time of being so mis- 
construed and so practised on, History shall 
tell not the narrator of this story, though he 
knows full well. Enough for us, and for the 
present purpose, that this tale can have no ap- 
plication how were that possible ! to the 
year one thousand eight hundred and fifty- 
five. 



A GHOST STOEY. 



I WILL relate to you, my friend, the whole 
history, from the beginning to nearly the 



The first time that that it happened, 
was on this wise. 

My husband and myself were sitting in a 
private box at the theatre one of the two 
large London theatres. The performance 
was, I remember well, an Easter piece, in 
which were introduced live dromedaries and 
an elephant, at whose clumsy feats we were 
considerably amused. I mention this to show 
how calm and even gay was the stateof bothour 
minds that evening, and how little there was 
in any of the circumstances of the place or 
time to cause, or render us liable to what 
I am about to describe. 

I liked this Easter piece better than any 
serious drama. My life had contained 
enough of the tragic element to make me 
turn with a sick distaste from all imitations 
thereof in books or plays. For months, ever 
since our marriage, Alexis and I had striven 
to lead a purely childish, common-place 
existence, eschewing all stirring events and 
strung passions, mixing little in society, ami 
then, with one exception, making no associa- 
tions beyond the moment. 

It was easy to do this in London ; for we 
had no relations -we two were quite alone 



.. Dickons.] 



A GTTOST STORY. 



171 



and free. Free free ! How wildly I some- 
times grasped Alexis's hand as 1 repeated 
that word. 

He was young so was I. At times, as on 
this night, we would sit and laugh like chil- 
dren. It was so glorious to know of a 
surety that now we cottld think, feel, speak, 
act above all, love one another haunted by 
zio counteracting spell, responsible to no living 
creature for our life and our love. 

But this had been only for a year I had 
thought of the date, shuddering, in the 
morning for a year, from this same day. 

We had been laughing very heartily, cherish- 
ing mirth, as it were, like those who would 
caress a lovely bird that had been frightened 
out of its natural home and grown wild and 
rare in its visits, only tapping at the lattice 
fora minute, and then gone. Suddenly, in the 
pause between the acts, when the house was 
half-darkened, our laughter died away. 

" How cold it is," said Alexis, shivering. 
I shivered too ; Imt it was more like the in- 
voluntary shudder at which people say, 
"Some one is walking over my grave." I 
said so, jestingly. 

"Hush, Isbel," whispered my husband, re- 
provingly; and again the draught of cold 
air seemed to blow right between us. 

We sat, he in the front, I behind the cur- 
tain of our box, divided by some foot or two 
of space and by a vacant chair. Alexis tried 
to move this chair, but it was fixed. He 
went round it, and wrapped a mantle over 
my shoulders. 

" This London winter is cold for you, my 
love. I half wish we had taken courage, 
and sailed once more for Hispaniola." 

" Oh, no oh, no ! No more of the sea !" 
said I, with another and stronger shudder. 

He took his former position, looking round 
indifferently at the audience. But neither of 
us spoke. The mere word Hispaniola was 
enough to throw a damp and a silence over 
us both. 

"Isbel," he said at last, rousing himself, 
with a half-smile, "I think you must have 
grown suddenly beautiful. Look ! half the 
glasses opposite are lifted to our box. It 
cannot be at me, you know. Do you remem- 
ber telling me I was the ugliest fellow you 
ever saw ? " 

"Oh, Alex!" Yet it was quite true I 
had thought him so, in far back, strange, 
awful times, when I, a girl of sixteen, had 
niy mind wholly filled with one ideal one 
insane, exquisite dream ; when I brought 
my innocent child's garlands, and sat me 
down under one great spreading, magnificent 
tree, which seemed to me the king of all the 
trees of the field, until I felt its dews dropping 
death upon my youth, and my whole soul 
withering- under its venomous shade. 

" Oh, Alex ! " I cried, once more, looking 
fondly on his beloved face, where no unearthly 
beauty dazzled, no unnatural calm repelled ; 
where all was simple, noble, manly, true. 



"Husband, I thank heaven for that 
'uglinesss' of yours. Above all, though blood 
runs strong, they say, that I see in you no 
likeness to " 

Alexis knew what name I meant, though 
for a whole year since God's mercy made it 
to us only a name we had ceased to utter 
it, and let it die wholly out of the visible 
world. We dared not breathe to ourselves, 
still less to one another, how much brighter, 
holier, happier, that world was, now that the 
Divine wisdom had taken him into another. 
For he had been my husband's uncle ; like- 
wise, once my guardian. He was now dead. 

I sat looking at Alexis, thinking what 
a strange thing it was that his dear face 
should not have always been as beautiful 
to me as it was now. That loving my hus- 
band now so deeply, so wholly, clinging to 
him heart to heart, in the deep peace of satis- 
fied, all-trusting, and all-dependent human 
affection, I could ever have felt that emotion, 
first as an exquisite bliss, then as an ineffable 
terror, which now had vanished away, and 
become nothing. 

" They are gazing still, Isbel." 

" Who, and where ? " For I had quite for- 
gotten what he said about the people staring 
at me. 

" And there is Colonel Hart. He sees iis. 
Shall I beckon 1 " 

"As you will." 

Colonel Hart came up into our box. He 
shook hands with my husband, bowed to me, 
then looked round, half-curiously, half-un- 
easily. 

" I thought there was a friend with you." 

" None. We have been alone all evening." 

" Indeed ! How strange." 

" What ! That my wife and I should enjoy 
a play alone together ?" said Alexis, smiling. 

" Excuse me, but really I was surprised to 
find you alone. I have certainly seen for the 
last half-hour a third person sitting on this 
chair, between you both." 

We could not help starting ; for, as I stated 
before, the chair had, in truth, been left be- 
tween us, empty. 

" Truly our uiiknown friend must have been 
invisible. Nonsense, Colonel ; how can you 
turn Mrs. Saltram pale, by thus peopling 
with your fancies the vacant air 1 " 

" I tell you, Alexis," said the Colonel (he 
was my husband's old friend, and had been 
present at our hasty and private marriage), 
"nothing could be more unlike a fancy, even 
were I given to such. It was a very remark- 
able person who sat here. Even strangers 
noticed him." 

" Him ! " I whispered. 

" It was a ma, then," said my husband, 
rather angrily. 

" A very peculiar-looking, and extremely 
handsome man. I saw many glasses levelled: 
at him." 

"What was he like?" said Alexis, rather 
sarcastically. " Did he speak ? or we to hi ;n ?"' 



172 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



"No neither. He sat quite still, in this 
chair." 

_My husband turned away. If the Colonel 
had not been his friend, and so very simple- 
minded, honest, and sober a gentleman, I 
think .Alexis would have suspected some 
drunken hoax, and turned him out of the 
box immediately. As it was, he only said : 

" My dear fellow, the third act is beginning. 
Come up again at its close, and tell me it 
you again see my invisible friend, who must 
find so great an attraction in viewing, gratis, 
a dramatic performance." 

"I perceive you think it a mere halluci- 
nation of mine. We shall see. I suspect the 
trick is on your side, and that you are har- 
bouring some proscribed Hungarian. But I'll 
not betray him. Adieu." 

" The ghostly Hungarian shall not sit next 
you, love, this time," said Alexis, trying once 
more to remove the chair. But possibly, 
though he jested, he was slightly nervous, 
an. 1 his efforts were vain. "What nonsense 
this is ! label, let us forget it. I will stand 
behind you, and watch the play." 

He stood. I clasping his hand secretly and 
hard. Then, I grew quieter ; until as the 
drop-scene fell, the same cold air swept past 
us. It was as if some one, fresh from the 
sharp sea-wind, had entered the box. And, 
just at that moment, we saw Colonel Hart's, 
and several other glasses levelled as before. 

" It is strange," said Alexis. 

" It is horrible," I said. For I had been 
cradled in Scottish, and then filled with Ger- 
man superstition ; and my own life had been 
so wild, so strange, that there was nothing 
too ghastly or terrible for my imagination to 
conjure up. 

" 1 will summon the Colonel. We must 
find out this," said my husband, speaking 
beneath his breath, and looking round, as if 
lie thought he was overheard. 

Colonel Hart came up. He looked very 
serious ; so did a young man who was with 
him. 

" Captain Elmore Mrs. Saltram. Saltram, 
I have brought my friend here to attest that 
I have played off on you no unworthy jest. 
Not ten minutes since he, and I, and some 
others saw this same gentleman sitting in 
this chair." 

" Most certainly in this chair," added the 
young captain. 

Ivly husband bowed ; he kept a courteous 
calmness, but I felt his hand grow clammy in 
mine. 

" Of what appearance, sir, was the unknown 
acquaintance of my wife's and mine, whom 
everybody a j. pears to see, except ourselves T' 
' Jlo was of middle-age, dark-haired, pair. 
His features were very still, rather hard in 
expression. He had on a cloth cloak with a 
fur collar, and wore a long, pointed Charleu- 
the-First beard." 

]\jy husbanii and 1 clung- hand to hand with 
an inexpressible horror. Could there be 



another nmn a living man, who answered 
this description ? 

" Pardon me," Alexis said faintly. "The 
portrait is rather vague ; may I ask you to 
repaint it as circumstantially as you can," 

" He was, I repeat, a pair, or rather a sal'mw- 
featured man. His eyes were extremely 
piercing, cold, and clear. The mouth close- 
set a very firm but passionless mouth. The 
hair dark, seamed with gray bald on the 
brow " 

" O heaven ! " I groaned in an anguish of 
terror. For I saw again clear as if he had 
never died the face over which, for twelve 
long months, had swept the merciful sea 
waves, off the shores of Hispaniola. 

" Can you, Captain Elmore," said Alexis, 
" mention no other distinguishing mark ? 
This countenance might resemble many 
men." 

" I think not. It was a most remarkable 
face. It struck me the more because " 
and the young man grew almost as pale as 
we " I once saw another very like it." 

" You see a chance resemblance only. 
Fear not, my darling," Alexis breathed in my 
ear. " Sir, have you any reluctance to tell 
me who was the gentleman 1 " 

" It was no living man, but a corpse that 
we picked up off a wreck, and again com- 
mitted to the deep in the Gulf of Mexico. It 
was exactly the same face, and had the same 
mark a scar, cross-shape, over one temple." 

"'Tishe ! He can follow and torture us 
still ; I knew he could ! " 

Alexis smothered my shriek on his breast. 

" My wife is ill. This description resembles 
slightly a a person we once knew. Hart, 
will you leave us 1 But no, we must probe 
this mystery. Gentlemen, will you once more 
descend to the lower part of the house, whilst 
we remain here, and tell me if you still see 
this figure sitting in this chair." 

They went. We held our breaths. The 
lights in the theatre were being extinguished, 
the audience moving away. JSTo one came 
near our box ; it was perfectly empty. Except 
our own two selves, we were conscious of no 
sight no sound. A few minutes after Colonel 
Hart knocked. 

" Come in," said Alexis, cheerily. 

But the Colonel the bold soldier shrunk 
back like a frightened child. 

"I have seen him I saw him but this 
minute, sitting there." 

I swooned away. 

It is right I should briefly give you my 
history up to this night's date. 

I was a West Indian heiress a posthumous, 
and soon after birth, an orphan child. Brought 
up in rny mother's country, until I was six- 
teen years old; I never saw my guardian. 
Then he met me in Paris, with my governess, 
and for the space of two years we lived under 
the same roof, seeing one another daily. 

I was very young ; I had no father or 
brother; I wished for neither lover nor hus- 



Charles IMckcns.] 



A GHOST STORY. 



173 



band ; my guardian became to me as the one 
object of my existence. 

It was no love-passion ; he was far too old 
for that, and I comparatively too young, at 
least too childish. It was one of those insane, 
rapturous adorations which young maidens 
sometimes conceive, mingling a little of the 
tenderness of the woman with the ecstatic 
enthusiasm of the devotee. There is hardly a 
prophet or leader noted in the world's history 
who has not been followed and worshipped 
by many such women. 

So was my guardian, Anastasius not his 
true name, but it sufficed then and will 
now. 

Many may recognise him as a known leader 
in the French political and moral world as 
one who, by the mere force of intellect, 
wielded the most irresistible and silently com- 
plete power of any man I ever knew, in every 
circle into which he came; women he won by 
his polished gentleness, men, by his equally 
polished strength. He would have turned a 
compliment and signed a death-warrant, with 
the same exquisitely calm grace. Nothing 
was to him too great or too small. I have 
known him, on his way to advise that the 
President's soldiers shoixld sweep a can- 
nonade down the thronged street stop to 
pick up a strayed canary-bird, stroke its 
broken wing, and confide it with beautiful 
tenderness to his bosom. 

how tender ! how mild ! how pitiful ! 
could he be ! 

When I say I loved him, I use for want of 
a better, a word which ill expresses that feel- 
ing. It was Heaven forgive me if I err in 
using the similitude the sort of feeling the 
Shunamite woman might have had for Elisha, 
Religion added to its intensity ; for I was 
brought up a devout Catholic ; and he, what- 
ever his private dogmas might have been, ad- 
hered strictly to the forms of the same church. 
He was unmarried, and most people supposed 
him to belong to that order called Heaven 
knows how unlike Him from whom they 
assume their name the Society of Jesus. 

We lived thus I entirely worshipping, he 
guiding, fondling, watching, and ruling by 
turns, for two whole years. I was mistress of 
a large fortune, and, though not beautiful, 
had, I believe, a tolerable intellect, and a 
keen wit which he used to play with, as a 
boy plays with fireworks, amusing himself 
with their glitter sometimes directing them 
against others, and smiling as they flashed or 
scorched knowing that against himself they 
were utterly powerless and harmless. Know- 
ing, too, perhaps, that were it otherwise, he 
had only to tread them out under foot, and 
step aside from the ashes, with the same un- 
moved, easy smile. 

1 never knew nor know I to this day, 
whether I was dear to him or not. Useful I 
was, I think, and pleasant, I believe. Possibly 
he liked me a little as the potter likes his 
clay, and the skilful mechanician likes his 



tools until the clay hardened, and the fine 
tools refused to obey the master's hand. 

I was the brilliant West Indian heiress. I 
did not marry. Why should I ] At my 
house at least it was called mine all sorts 
and societies met, carrying on their separate 
games ; the quiet, soft hand of M. Anastasius 
playing his game in, and under, and through 
them all. Mingled with this grand game of 
the world was a lesser one to which he 
turned sometimes, just for amusement, and 
because he could not cease from his metier a 
simple, easy, domestic game, of which the 
battledore was that said white hand, and the 
shuttlecock my foolish child's heart. 

Thus much have I dilated on him, and my 
own life in the years when all its strong, 
wild current flowed towards him ; that, in 
what followed when the tide turned, no one 
may accuse me of fickleness, or causeless 
aversion, or insane terror of one who after all 
was only man, " whose breath is in his 
nostrils." 

At seventeen I was wholly passive in his 
hands ; he was my sole arbiter of right and 
wrong my conscience almost my God. As 
my character matured, and, in a few things, I 
began to judge for myself, we had occasional 
slight differences begun, on my part, in shy 
humility, continued 1 with vague doubt, but 
always ending in penitence and tears. Since 
one or other erred, of course it must be I. 
These differences were wholly on abstract 
points of truth or justice. 

It was his taking me to the ball at the 
Tuileries, which was given after Louis Napo- 
leon Bonaparte had seized the Orleans pro- 
perty, and it was my watching my cousin's 
conduct there, which made me first ques- 
tion, in a trembling terrified way like one 
who catches a glimpse of the miracle-making 
priest's hands behind the robe of the wor- 
shipped idol whether, great as M. A.nas- 
tasius was as a political ruler, as a man of 
the world, as a faithful member of the Society 
of Jesus, he was altogether so great when 
viewed beside any one of those whose doc- 
trines he disseminated, whose faith he pro- 
fessed. 

He had allowed me the New Testament, 
and I had been reading it a good deal lately. 
I placed him, my spiritual guide, first in 
venerating love, then, with a curious marvel- 
ling comparison, beside the fishermen of 
Galilee, beside reverently be it spoken- 
beside the Divine Christ. 

There Avas a certain difference. 

The next time we came to any argument 
always on abstract questions, for my mere 
individual will never had any scruple in 
resigning to his instead of yielding and 
atoning, I ceased the contest, and brought it 
afterwards privately to the one infallible rule 
of right and wrong. 

The difference grew. 

Gradually, I began to take my cousin's 
wisdom perhaps, even his virtues with 



174 



HOUSEHOLD WOEDS. 



[Conducted l>y 



> i-taiu n -, i vations, feeling tliat there was 

L'T'iwiug in me some antagonistic quality 

>h pivvmtcd my full sympathy with both. 

" But," I thought, ''lie is iv Jesuit ; he follows 
the law of his order, which allows tem- 
purising, and diplomatising, fur noMe ends, 
j le merely dresses up the Truth, aud puts it ill 
most charming and safest light, even as 
we do our images of the Holy Virgin, using 
them for the adoration of the crowd, but our- 
selves worshipping them still. I do believe, 
much as he will dandle and play with the 
Truth, that, not for his hope of Heaven, would 
.asius stoop to a lie." 

One day, he told me he should bring to my 
NiK'.ms an Knglishman, his relative, who had 
determined on leaving the world and. entering 
the priesthood. 

" Is he of our faith ?" asked I indifferent!}'. 

' Ife is, from childhood. He has a strong, 
line intellect ; this, under fit guidance, may 
accomplish great things. Once of our Society, 
lie might be my right hand in every Court in 
Europe. You will receive him 1" 

" Certainly." 

But I paid very little heed to the stranger. 
There was nothing about him striking or 
peculiar. He was the very opposite of M. 
Anastasius. Besides, he was young, and I 
hail Learnt to despise yguth my guardian 
was lifty years old. 

Mr. Saltrani (you will already have guessed 
that it was he) showed equal indifference to 
me. He watched me sometimes, did little 
kindnesses for me, but always was quiet and 
silent a mere cloud floating in the brilliant 
sky, which M. Anastasius lit up as its gor- 
geous sun. For me, I became mooiilike, ap- 
pearing chiefly at my cousin's set and rise. 

I was not happy. I read more in my Holy 
Book and less in my breviary : I watched 
with keener, harder eyes my cousin Anasta- 
sius, weighed all his deeds, listened to and 
compared his words : my intellect worshipped 
him, my niemoried tenderness clurg round 
him still, but my conscience had fled out of 
his keeping, aud made for itself a higher and 
diviner ideal. Measured with common men, 
he was godlike yet above all passions, weak- 
nesses, crimes ; but viewed by the one perfect 
standard of man Christian man in charity, 
humility, single-mindedness, guilelessness, 
t ruth my idol was no more. I came to look 
for it, and found only the empty shrine. 

He went on a brief mission to Home. I 
marvelled that, instead of as of yore wan- 
dering sadly through the empty house, its air 
ielt freer for me to breathe in. It seemed 
hardly a day till he caine back. 

L happened to be sitting with his nephew 
Alexis when 1 heard his step down the cor- 
ridor the step which had once seemed at 
every touch to draw music from the chords of 
my prostrate heart, but which now made it 
shrink into itself, as if an iron-shod footfall 
had passed along the stru 

-.isius looked slightly surprised at 



seeing us together, but his welcome was very 
kind to both. 

I could not altogether return it. I had 
just found out two things which, to say the 
least, had startled me. I determined to prove 
them at once. 

" My cousin, I thought you were aware that, 
though a Catholic myself, my house is open, 
and my friendship likewise, to honest men of 
every creed. Why did you give your relative 
so hard an impression of me 1 And why did 
you not tell me that Mr. Saltrani has, for 
some years, been a Protestant ?" 

I know not what reply he made ; I know 
only that it was ingenious, lengthy, gentle, 
courteous that for the time being it seemed 
entirely satisfactory, that we spent all three 
together a most pleasant evening. It was 
only when I lay down on my bed, face to 
face with the solemn Dark, iu which dwelt 
conscience, truth, and God, that I discovered 
how Anastasius had, for some secret doubt- 
less blameless, nay, even justifiable purpose, 
told of me, and to me, two absolute lies ! 

Disguise it as he might, excuse it as I might, 
and did, they were lies. They haunted me 
flapping their black wings like a couple of 
fiends, mopping and mowing behind him 
when he came sitting on his shoulders, and 
mocking his beautiful, calm, majestic face 
for days. That was the beginning of sorrows ; 
gradually they grew until they blackened my 
whole world. 

M. Anastasius' whole soul was bent, as he 
had for once truly told me, on winning his 
young nephew into the true fold, making 
him an instrument of that great purpose 
which was to bring all Europe, the Popedom 
itself, under the power of the Society of 
Jesus and its future head Auastasius. 

The young man resisted. He admired and 
revered his kinsman ; but he himself was 
very single-hearted, staunch, and true. Some- 
thing in that strong Truth, which was the 
basis of his character, struck sympathy with 
mine. He was very much inferior in most- 
things to Anastasius lie knew it, I knew it 
but, through all, this divine element of 
Truth was patent, beautifully clear. It was 
the one quality I had ever worshipped, ever 
sought for, and never found. 

Alexis and I became friends equal, ear- 
nest friends. Not in the way of wooing or 
marriage at least, he never spoke of either ; 
aud both were far, oh how far ! from my 
thought but there was a great and tender 
bond between us, which strengthened day 
by day. 

The link which riveted it was religion. 
He was, I said, a Protestant, not adhering to 
any creed, but simply living not preacliin_r, 
but living the faith of Our Saviour. He 
was not perfect he had his sins and 
shortcomings, even as I. We were both 
struggling on towards the glimmering light. 
So, after a season, we clasped hands in 
friendship, and with eyes steadfastly upward, 



Charles Dickens.] 



A GHOST STOEY. 



175 



determined to press on together towards the 
one goal, and along the self-same road. 

I put my breviary aside, and took wholly 
to the New Testament, assuming no name 
either of Catholic or Protestant, but simply 
that of Christian. 

When I decided on this, of course I told 
Anastasius. He received the tidings calmly. 
He had ceased to be my spiritual confessor 
for some time ; yet I could see he was greatly 
surprised, afterwards he became altogether 
changed. 

" I wish," said I, one day, " as I shall be 
twenty-one next year, to have more freedom. 
I wish even" for since the discovery of my 
change of belief he had watched me so closely, 
so quietly, so continually, that I had con- 
ceived a vague fear of him, and a longing to 
get away to put half the earth between me 
and his presence " I wish even, if possible this 
summer, to visit my estates in Hispaniola ] " 
" Alone ? " 

" No ; Madame Gradelle will accompany 
me. And Mr. Sal tram will charter one of his 
ships for my use." 

For, I should say, Alexis was, far from 
being a Eoman Catholic priest, a merchant 
of large means. 

h I approve the plan. It will be of advantage 
to your health. But Madame Gradelle is not 
sufficient escort. I, as your guardian, will 
accompany and protect you." 

A cold dread seized me. Was I never to 
be free 1 Already I began to feel my guar- 
dian's influence surrounding me an influence 
once of love, now of intolerable distaste, and 
even fear. Not that he was ever harsh or 
cruel not that I could accuse him of any 
single wrong towards me or others: but I knew 
I had thwarted him, and through him, his 
cause that cause whose strongest dogma is 
that any means are sacred, any evil good, to 
the one great end Power. 

I had oppressed him, and I was in his 
hand that hand which I had once believed 
to have almost superhuman strength. In my 
terror I believed it still. 

" He will go with us we cannot escape 
from him," I said to Alexis. " He will make 
you a priest and me a nun, as he planned I 
know he did. Our very souls are not our own." 
" What, when the world is so wide, and life 
so long, and God's kindness over all when 
too, I am free, and you will be free in a year 

when" 

"I shall never be free. He is my evil 
genius. He will haunt me till my death." 

It was a morbid feeling I had, consequent 
on the awful struggle which had so shaken 
body and mind. The sound of his step made 
me turn sick and tremble ; the sight of his 
grand face perhaps the most beautiful I 
ever saw, with its faultless features, and the 
half-melancholy cast given by the high bald 
forehead and the pointed beard was to me 
more terrible than any monster of ugliness 
the world ever produced. 



He held my fortune he ruled my house. 
All visitants there came and went under his 
control, except Alexis. Why this young 
man still came or how I could not tell. 
Probably because in his pure singleness of 
heart and purpose, he was stronger even than 
M. Anastasius. 

The time passed. We embarked on board 
the ship Argo, for Hispaniola. 

My guardian told me, at the last minute, 
that business relating to his order would pro- 
bably detain him in Europe that we were to 
lie at anchor for twelve hours, off Havre 
and, if he then came not, sail. 

He came not we sailed. 

It was a glorious evening. The sun, as he 
went down over the burning seas, beckoned 
us with a finger of golden fire, westward to 
the free, safe, happy West. 

I say us, because in that evening we first 
began unconsciously to say it too as if 
vaguely binding our fates together Alexis 
and I. We talked for a whole hour till 
long after France, with all our old life 
therein, had become a mere line, a cloudy 
speck on the horizon of the new life we 
should lead in Hispaniola. Yet all the while, 
if we had been truly the priest and nun he 
wished to make us, our words, and I believe 
our thoughts, could not have been more 
angel-pure, more free from any bias of human 
passion. 

Yet, as the sun went down, and the sea- 
breeze made us draw nearer together, both 
began, I repeat, instinctively to say we, and 
talk of our future as if it had been the future 
of one. 

" Good evening, friends ! " 

He was there M. Anastasius ! I stood 
petrified. All the golden finger of hope had 
vanished. I shuddered, a captive on his 
compelling arm seeing nothing but his 
terrible smiling face and the black wilder- 
ness of sea. For the moment I felt inclined 
to plunge therein I had often longed to 
plunge into the equally fearsome wilderness 
of Paris streets only I felt sure he would 
follow me still. He would track me, it seemed, 
through the whole world. 

" You see I have been able to accomplish the 
voyage ; men mostly can achieve any strong 
purpose at east some men. Isbel, this sea- 
air will bring back your bloom. And, Alexis, 
my friend, despite those close studies you told 
me of, I hope you will bestow a little, of your 
society at times on my ward and me. We 
will bid you a good evening now." 

He gave his nephew my powerless hand ; 
that of Alexis, too, felt cold and trembling. 
It seemed as if he likewise could not resist 
the fate which, born out of one man's indo- 
mitable will, dragged us asunder. Ere my 
guardian consigned me to Madame Gradelle, 
he said, smiling, but looking through me with 
his eyes, 

" Remember, my fair cousin, that Alexis is 
to be must be a priest." 



176 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



"It is impossible !" said I, stung to resist- 
ance. '' You know lie has proved the falseness 
of your creed ; lie will never return to it. His 
conscience is his own." 

I 'ut not his passions. He is young I am 
old. He will be a priest yet." 

With a soft hand-pressure, M. Anastasius 
left me. 

Now began the most horrible phase of my 
existence. For four weeks we had to live 
in the same vessel ; bounded and shut up 
together, Anastasius, Alexis, and I ; meet- 
ing continually, in the soft bland atmosphere 
of courteous calm ; always in public never 
alone. 

From various accidental circumstances, I 
knew how, night and day, M. Anastasius was 
bending all the powers of his enormous intel- 
lect, liis wonderful moral force, to compass 
his cherished ends with regard to Alexis 
Saltram. 

An overwhelming dread took possession of 
me. I ceased to think of myself at all my 
worldly hopes, prospects, or joys over which 
this man's influence had long hung like an 
accursed shadow ; a sun turned into dark- 
ness, tlie more terrible because it had once 
been a sun. I seemed to see M. Anastasius 
only v/ith relation to this young man, over 
whom I knew he once had so great power. 
Would it return and in what would it re- 
sult ? Not merely in the breaking off any 
feeble tie to me. I scarcely trembled for that, 
since, could it be so broken, it was not worth 
trembling for. No ! I trembled for Alexis' 
soul. 

It was a soul, I had gradually learnt more 
than ever perhaps in this voyage, which every 
day seemed a brief life, so fall of temptation, 
contest, trial a soul pure as God's own 
heaven, that hung over us hour by hour in 
its steady tropic blue ; deep as the seas that 
rolled around us. Like them, stii'ring with 
the lightest breath, often tempest-tossed, 
liable to adverse winds and currents ; yet 
keeping far, far below the surface a divine 
tranquillity, diviner than any mere stagnant 
calm. And this soul full of all rich impulses, 
emotions, passions, a soul which, because it 
could strongly sympathise with, might be 
able to regenerate its kind, M. Anastasius 
wanted to make into a Catholic Jesuit priest, 
a mere machine, to work as he, the head 
machine, chose ! 

This was why (the thought suddenly struck 
me, like lightning) he had told each of us 
severally those two lies. Because we were 
young, we might love we might marry; 
there was nothing externally to prevent us. 
A ml then what would become of his scheme ? 

I think there was born in me while the 
most passive slave to lawful, loving rule a 
faculty of savage resistance to all unlawful, 
unjust power ; also a something of the female 
wild-beast, which, if alone, will lie tame and 
cowed in her solitary den, to be shot at by any 
daring hunter ; whereas if she be not alone if 



she have any love-instinct at work for cubs or 
mate her whole nature changes from terror 
to daring, from cowardice to fury. 

When, as we neared the tropics, I saw 
Alexis' cheek growing daily paler, and his eye 
more sunken and restless with some secret 
struggle, in the which M. Anastasius never 
left him for a day, an hour, a minute, I 
became not unlike that poor wild -beast 
mother. It had gone ill with the relentless 
hunter of souls if he had come near me then. 

But he did not. For the last week of our 
voyage, M. Anastasius kept altogether out of 
my way. 

It was nearly over, we were in sight of 
the shores of Hispaniola. Then we should 
land. My estates lay in this island. Mr. Sal- 
train's business, I was aware, called him to 
Barbadoes ; thence again beyond seas. Once 
parted, I well knew that if the power and 
will of my guardian could compass anything 
and it seemed to me that they were able to 
compass everything in the whole wide earth 
Alexis and I should never meet again. 

In one last struggle after life after the 
fresh, wholesome, natural life which contact 
with this young man's true spirit had given 
me I determined to risk all. 

It was a rich tropic twilight. We were all 
admiring it, just as three ordinary persons 
might do who were tending peacefully to 
their voyage-end. Yet Alexis did not seem 
at peace. A settled, deadly pallor dwelt on 
his face, a restless anxiety troubled his whole 
mien. 

M. Anastasius said, noticing the glowing 
tropic scenery which already dimly appeared 
in our shoreward view, 

" It is very grand ; but Europe is more 
suited to us gi'ave Northerns. You will think 
so, Alexis, when you are once again there." 

" Are you retiiruiug ? " I asked of Mr. 
Saltram. 

My cousin answered for him, " Yes, im- 
mediately." 

Alexis started ; then leaned over the poop 
in silence, and without denial. 

I felt profoundly sad. My interest in Alexis 
Saltram was at this time and but for the 
compulsion of opposing power, might have 
ever been entirely apart from love. We 
might have gone on merely as tender friends 
for years and years, at least I might. There- 
fore no maidenly consciousness warned me 
from doing what my sense of right im- 
pelled towards one who held the same 
faith, and whose life seemed strangled in the 
same mesh of circumstances which had nearly 
paralysed my own. 

"Alexis, this is our last evening ; you will 
sail for Europe and we shall be friends no 
more. Will you take one twilight stroll 
with me ? " and I extended my hand. 

If he had hesitated, or shrunk back, one 
second, I would have flung him to the winds, 
and fought my own warfare alone ; I was 
strong enough now. But he sprang to me, 



Charles Dickens.] 



A GHOST STORY. 



177 



clung to my hand, looked wildly in my face, 
as if there were the sole light of truth and 
trust left in the world ; and as if, even there, 
he had begun to doubt. He did not, now. 

" Isbel, tell me ! You still hold our faith 
you are not going to become a nun ? " 

" Never ! I will offer myself to Heaven as 
Heaven gave me to myself free, bound by 
no creed, subservient to no priest. What is 
he, but a man that shall die, whom the worms 
shall cover ? " 

I said the words out loud. I meant M. 
Anastasius to hear. But he looked as if he 
heard not ; only when we turned up the deck, 
he slowly followed. 

I stood at bay. " Cousin, leave me. Cannot 
I have any friend but you ? " 

" None, whom I believe you would harm 
and receive harm from." 

"Dare you" 

" I dare nothing ; there is nothing which 
my church does not dare. Converse, my 
children. I hinder you not. The deck is free 
for all." 

He bowed, and let us pass, then followed. 
Every sound of that slow, smooth step seemed 
to strike on my heart like the tracking tread 
of doom. 

Alexis and I spoke little or nothing. A 
leaden despair seemed to bind us closely 
round, allowing only one consciousness, that 
for a little, little time, it bound us together ! 
He held my arm so fast that I felt every 
throbbing of his heart. My sole thought was 
now to say some words that might be fixed 
eternally there so that no lure, no power 
might make him swerve from his faith, the 
faith which was my chief warrant of meeting 
him never, oh never in this world ! but in 
the world everlasting. 

Once or twice in turning we confronted 
fully M. Anastasius. He was walking, in his 
usual slow pace, his hands loosely clasped 
behind him his head bent, a steely repose, 
even peusiveness, which was his natural look 
< settled in his grave eyes. He was a man 
in intellect too great to despise, in character 
too spotless to loathe. The one sole feeling 
he inspired was that of unconquerable fear. 
Because you saw at once that he feared 
nothing either in earth or Heaven, that he 
owned but one influence, and was amenable 
but to one law, which he called "the Church," 
but which was, himself. 

Men like M. Anastasius, one-idea'd, all- 
engrossed men, are, according to slight varia- 
tions in temperament, the salvation, the laugh- 
ing-stock, or the terror of the world. 

He appeared in the latter form to Alexis 
and me. Slowly, surely came the conviction 
that there was no peace for us on God's earth 
while he stood on it ; so strong, so powerful, 
that at times I almost succumbed to a vague 
belief in his immortality. On this night, espe- 
cially, I was stricken with a horrible curio- 
sity, I think it was a wish to see whether he 
could die, whether the grave could swallow 



him, and death have power upon his flesh, 
like that of other men. 

More than once, as he passed under a huge 
beam, I thought should it fall ! as he leaned, 
against the ship's side should it give way ! 
But only, I declare before Heaven, in a 
frenzied speculative curiosity, which I would 
not for worlds have bi'eathed to human soul ; 
especially to Alexis Saltram, who was his 
sister's son, and whom he had been kind to 
as a child. 

Night darkened, and our walk ceased. We 
had said nothing, nothing, except that on 
parting, with a kind of desperation Alexis 
buried my hand tightly in his bosom, and 
whispered, " To-morrow 1 " 

That midnight a sudden hurricane came on. 
In half-an-hour all that was left of the good 
ship Argo was a little boat, filled almost to 
sinking with half-drowned passengers, and a 
few sailors clinging to spars and fragments 
of the wreck. 

Alexis was lashed to a mast, holding me 
partly fastened to it, and partly sustained in 
his arms. How he had found and rescued 
me I know not ; but love is very strong. It 
has been sweet to me afterwards to think 
that I owed my life to him and him alone. 
I was the only woman saved. 

He was at the extreme end of the mast ; 
we rested, face to face, my head against his 
shoulder. All along, to its slender point, the 
sailors were clinging to the spar like flies, 
but we two did not see anything in the world, 
save one another. 

Life was dim, death was near, yet I think 
we were not unhappy. Our Heaven was clear ; 
for between us and Him to whom we were 
going came no threatening shadow, holding 
in its remorseless hand life, faith, love. Death 
itself was less terrible than M. Auastasius. 

We had seen him among the saved pas- 
sengers swaying in the boat ; then we thought 
of him no more. We clung together, with 
closed eyes, satisfied to die. 

" No room off there ! No room ! " I heard 
shouted, loud and savage, by the sailor lashed 
behind me. 

I opened my eyes. Alexis was gazing on 
me only. I gazed, transfixed, over his 
shoulder, into the breakers beyond. 

There, in the trough of a wave, I saw, clear 
as I see my own right hand now, the up- 
turned face of Anastasius, and his two white, 
stretched-out hands, one of which had the 
well-known diamond-ring for it flashed that 
minute in the moon. 

" Off ! " yelled the sailor, striking at him 
with an oar. " One man's life's as good as 
another's. Off!" 

The drowning face rose above the wave, 
the eyes fixed direct on me, without any 
entreaty in them, or wrath, or terror the 
long-familiar, passionless, relentless eyes. 

I see them now ; I shall see thuiu till I die. 
Oh, would I had died ! 



178 



HOUSEHOLD WORDS. 



[Conducted by 



English girl, who did not much like the 
Continent, and was half shocked at some of 
my reckless foreign ways, on board steam- 
boats and on railways. She said I was 
a little just a little too free. It might 
have seemed so to her ; for my southern 
blood rushed bright and warm, and my 
manner of life in France had completely 
obliterated early impressions. Faithful and 



tender 
believe 



woman, 
I was 



For one brief second I thought of tearing 
off the lashings :ui<l giving him my place; 
for I had loved him. But youth and life were 
strong within me, and my head was pressed 
to Alexis' breast. 

A full minute, or it seemed so, was that 
face above the water ; then I watched it sink 
slowly, down, down. 

We, and several others, were picked up 
from the wreck of the Argo by a homeward- 
bound ship. As soon as we reached London 
I became Alexis' wife. 

That which happened at the theatre was 
exactly twelve months after as we believed 
Anastasius died. 

I do not pretend to explain ; I doubt if any 
reasoning can explain a circumstance so sin- 
gular so impossible to be attributed to either 
imagination or illusion. For, as I must again 
distinctly state, we saw nothing. The appa- 
rition, or whatever it was, was visible only to 
other persons, all total strangers. 

I had a fever. When I arose from it, and 
things took their natural forms and relations, 
this strange occurrence became mingled with j science was 
the rest of my delirium, of which my hus- ! passions." 
band persuaded me it was a part. He took I knew always and rather rejoiced in the 



and true wife, as I was, I 
unlike an English woman 
or an English wife, and that Mrs. Hart 
thought so. 

Once for being weak of nature and fast 
of tongue, she often said things she should 
not there was even some hint of the kind 
dropped before my husband. He flashed up 
but laughed the next minute ; for I was 
his, and he loved me ! 

Nevertheless, that quick glow of anger 
pained me bringing back the recollection of 
many things his uncle had said to me of him, 
which I heard as one that heareth not. The 
sole saying which remained was one which, 



in a measure, I 



had credited that his con- 
his hand, " but not his 



me abroad 
me dearly ! 
happy. 



to Italy Germany. He loved | knowledge that Alexis Saltram could not 
He was, and made me, entirely 



In our happiness we strove to live, not merely 
for one another, but for all the world ; all who 
suffered and had need. We did nor shrunk 
from the doing many charities which had 
first been planned with Anastasius with 
what motives we never knew. While carry- 
ing them out, we learnt to utter his name 
without trembling remembering only that 
Avhich was beautiful in him, and which 
we had both so worshipped once. 

In the fu